Real Men, Fictional Heroes, and Sports Romance

My first novel, Better Than Perfect, was published in 2014. When I started writing a book about an athlete who was perfect, once, for nine innings, athlete heroes were still frowned upon in the publishing world. This was around 2010, when traditional publishing was still the most desirable route. Things have sure changed, and Sports Romance is a pretty big sub-genre.

Portrait of baseball player with bare chest holding bat

But my books are still a little different than most.

My hero, Johnny “the Monk” Scottsdale was a player on the diamond. But off the field, he was, well, monk-like. He didn’t screw around. His locker-room talk was about keeping the opposing team from scoring any runs and not about how he’d score after the game. His reputation was the opposite of most “jocks” in real life and in fiction.

I also included the character of a thirteen-year-old boy. His hero was Johnny Scottsdale. Not only because of his ability on the mound, but because of his character off the field. Here was a guy a kid could truly look up to.

Johnny is a character I’d want my own sons to look up to.

He’s modelled in part after real-life pitcher Christy Mathewson. But also the men I know in real life. Men who don’t sleep around. Who try to do the right thing. Men who love and lose and get back out there, trying to be a better person. He’s not perfect. Except for that one nine inning game, where he was. (As a side note, I finished the first draft about six weeks before San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain pitched his Perfect Game in 2012).

There were times when I thought the world wasn’t ready for Johnny Scottsdale. The few sports romance books out there were all about the Bad-Boy jock who scored more off the field than he did on it. Until they met that one special woman who tamed the raging beast. I’ve never been a fan of those types of stories, and when I do try to write “Bad Boys” they don’t stay that way for long.

I write the kinds of heroes I’d want my sons to be. I write relationships that I would wish upon them. (Except for the black moments, the heartbreak they have to go through to get to their HEAs. As a mom, I don’t want them to suffer. At all. But I know they will).

One of the more ridiculous criticisms of the Romance genre is that they set up unrealistic expectations for women. If a man who will treat a woman with respect, give her orgasms on a regular basis, and strive to do their best in their professional lives is unrealistic, then I don’t want to live in the real world.





Where Can You Find Me, My Books, Or The Remote Control?

SWEPT AWAY [23795120]

I’ve been surprised at the number of people I’ve come across in real life recently who didn’t know my fifth book came out in July. And these are people I see on a fairly regular basis.

So, it got me thinking that there are probably many of my online friends, readers, and fans (okay, it’s kind of weird to think I have fans. Like Buster Posey has fans) who don’t know either.

There are several places online where you can follow me. My blog. My website. My Kensington author page. My Facebook page. Twitter. Book Bub. Instagram. My Amazon author page. Goodreads. You can follow me on Amazon, Book Bub, and my Kensington page and get an email when I have a new release. Handy.

I try to post on my Facebook page at least once a day. I’ll often share news from sites I follow, whether other authors, the Giants, ARTA (American River Touring Association, the rafting company my husband retired from and our son is now working for), or other things I think are interesting.

My Twitter feed is most active during baseball season. But I do share other random thoughts. I don’t use a service or scheduler, so my Tweets are all me responding in real time.

I recently joined Instagram. I have no idea what I’m doing, so don’t expect too much until I get the hang of things.

So, there you have it. Come find me. Find my books. Interact.

You’re on your own with finding the remote. Maybe someone is sitting on it? Or it fell down between the couch cushions. As a last resort, check the bathroom or the fridge.


End Of Summer Blues


My youngest son started his Freshman year of high school yesterday. His brother will start college in two weeks. And I will go back to work at the elementary school on Thursday. A lot of people complain about school starting so early. They didn’t go back until after Labor Day. The reason for the early start is to finish the first semester before Christmas break. Which means no studying for finals over the holiday. No major projects due the day after New Years. I’m good with that.

The hard part for me isn’t the day on the calendar. It’s all the things I was going to accomplish over the break. Cleaning out the closets, re-covering the patio chairs, redoing the second shower that has been unusable for months. Staining the deck. Finishing the second AND third books in my Swift River Romance series.

Add in a family vacation, which could be our last with our oldest son since he’s taken a job as a whitewater guide and will be working the whole summers for the foreseeable future.

Let’s see, what did I accomplish this summer? Besides catching up on my sleep?

I finished the second book, while we were on our family vacation. We took a road trip to Jackson, Wyoming. We were able to stay at our cousin’s place in Wilson, we took day trips to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and the boys were able to explore bike trails in the area while I worked in the shadow of the Tetons.



And I ordered the parts for the shower, calculated the tile needed, and I’m in the process of trying to figure out what to do about the fact that the tile we have is about eight square feet short of what we need. And since the tile I want to use is about ten years old, it’s going to be really hard to get an exact match. I’m thinking I’m going to have to find something in a similar texture but a different color. Darker, maybe. Then there’s the demolition of the old tile and getting a plumber in to do the inside parts of the shower so I can tile the walls after ward. It’s going to have to be a weekend warrior project.

I attended the Romance Writers of America annual convention in San Diego. Had a wonderful time meeting other authors, taking workshops on craft and finding my readers, meeting with my publisher, and celebrating the world of Romance.

My fifth book, Swept Away, was released. This is the first of three books in the Swift River Romance series.

SWEPT AWAY [23795120]

I went through the editing process on In Too Deep, the second book in the series and I’m working on Diving In, the third book.

I’m working on a proposal for a new series.

We have taken a couple of trips down the American River in our ancient raft. We even got to see our oldest son while he was working and did our best to embarrass him by asking if he remembered his sunscreen when he paddled past us.


We attended a wedding and a Bar Mitzvah. We’ve taken a couple of day hikes, gone swimming, and spent some time at our family cabin near Mt. Shasta.

So I guess it was a good summer, even if it felt too short. I have a feeling they’re only going to get shorter.


It’s Release Day for Swept Away, Book 1 in the Swift River Romance series.

Today’s the day. My new book is finally available. Cue the trumpets. Toss the confetti. Pour the champagne.

SWEPT AWAY [23795120]

Carson Swift may look exactly like his twin brother Cody, but they’re as different as tie dye and camouflage. Reliable, responsible, and usually the designated driver, Carson is also over being his brother’s keeper, but suddenly his plans to break free are complicated by the woman they fish out of Hidden Creek . . .

Lily Price is not your typical damsel in distress. Infidelity, infertility, and downsizing provide a triple threat to her ego, but falling into the swollen river nearly ends her life. If not for the handsome stranger—make that two handsome strangers—she might not have had a chance at having a baby by any means necessary . . .

As Carson helps Lily overcome her fear of the river, she helps him save his rafting business from going under. She also saves him from abandoning all that is important to him in order to get a taste of freedom. Together they find that love is the ultimate adventure.

Available at your favorite online retailers, in eBook and print.

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google


Is It Possible To Have Jet Lag When I Didn’t Even Change Time Zones?

I’m home from #RWA16, or the 2016 Romance Writers of America annual conference. This year was in San Diego, at the other end of my home state. A short flight, but a world away. Part of me wants to stay in that world. A world where the weather was perfect. Not too hot or humid. A world where everyone smiled and made me feel like a part of a very special family. 2,000 attendees were all there to celebrate romance and learn how to further their careers. Because, yes, writing is a business. It’s not just something to fill our time while the kids sleep, or in my case, practice whatever sport they were playing that season.

Sure, many of us started out writing as a hobby, or therapy. I spent my high school years filling journals of bad poetry and teenage angst. Then I started writing stories. At first, they were only in my head, but I eventually started writing them down. And many years later, I admitted that I was a writer. I joined RWA in 2010, which is the date I attribute to when I became an author. My first book was published in 2014, the year I attended my first conference.

There is something special about finding your tribe. It doesn’t matter that they come from all over the country–and in some cases, the world. It doesn’t matter what size, age, race, gender (although the majority are women), orientation, or any other artificial means we have of separating ourselves from each other out in the “real world.” At RWA, we are all actively seeking happily ever after. Not just for our characters, but also for our books, our careers, and our genre.

Many of us are by nature, introverts. We spend the majority of our lives inside our own heads. Yet something magical happens when you find yourself among others just like you. You already know you have something meaningful to talk about. They know the struggle of being in the middle of writing a love scene and being interrupted by your teenager or a phone call from your mother. They’ve been through the rejection process, whether it’s from agents or editors or even worse, readers.

We are all romance writers, whether we write sweet small-town contemporaries, hot billionaire erotica, or seventeenth-century French historicals. We may have different opinions what type of books we consider our personal “crack.” But we all want a satisfying ending, and for Romance, that means HEA.

After all the workshops, chats, speaker presentations, and pitch sessions. After the publisher spotlights, book signings, and parties. After meeting my favorite authors (and my soon-t0-be favorite authors) and meeting my readers. After crying at literally every single RITA and Golden Heart award acceptance speech. After staying up too late and waking up way too early, I’m exhausted. But recharged. And ready to take my career to the next level.

But I didn’t take nearly enough pictures.



The view from my room.


At the Kensington signing

Getting Ready for #RWA16

In twenty-four hours I will be getting on a plane for a short flight to San Diego. I know,  the All-Star game is tonight and the San Francisco Giants don’t play until Friday. I’m not heading south for baseball, although I wish I could take part in the festivities.

I’m going to the annual Romance Writers of America conference. This will be my second national conference and I’m really excited. With my fifth book releasing next week, I’ll be in good company.

I’m packed, mostly, except for the last minute things that I’ll need between now and then, like my blow dryer. And makeup. I will be wearing makeup and dresses and high heels.

I’ll attend workshops, book signings, and I’ll be signing on Thursday with several other Kensington authors, some of whom I’ve only met online.

I’ll try to post on my Facebook and Twitter pages, look for the hashtag #RWA16.

In the meantime, here are pictures from RWA14 in San Antonio.


Better Than Perfect #Sale

The first book in my More Than A Game Series is on sale until July 3.

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, make sure you download it before the Holiday Weekend.

Portrait of baseball player with bare chest holding bat






Better Than Perfect: More Than A Game #1

Johnny “The Monk” Scottsdale has won it all on the baseball diamond. He’s even pitched a perfect game. Known for his legendary control both on and off the field, his pristine public image makes him the ideal person to work with young players in a preseason minicamp. Except the camp is run by the one woman he can’t forget…the woman who made him a “monk.”


Alice Harrison once traded her dreams so that Johnny Scottsdale could make it to the Majors—and then everything fell apart. Now here comes Johnny back into her life, just when she’s ready to finally step up to bat. This time she’s not letting up, even if she has to reveal what she’s kept secret for too long from her son and Johnny. She can’t be sure how things will turn out, but she’s not leaving until she swings for the fences…

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