Posted in Baseball

Longing For Little League Madness

You basketball fans think you have a lock on Madness in March? Try being a Little League parent. With two kids and two teams with practice or games on two different fields, life got pretty crazy. Throw in typical Spring weather, and the question of game or no game tonight? For eleven seasons, we spent from late February to mid-June schlepping our boys to baseball. Some weeks we had a practice or game every single day.

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Until it stopped.

The kids grew up. Went on to high school and other sports.

No more mad dash to get the uniform clean. “Where’s my other sock? My hat? My cup?” No more scrambling to get from one game to the other on the other side of the county.

No more snack bar sign ups. Or dinner at the ballpark.

No more sunflower seeds in the laundry.

No more heart in throat when my son pitched. Or soaring above the ballpark when he got that hit. Scored that run. Won the game.

No more warm summer nights at Rotary Park, under the lights. No more freezing cold nights at that same park hoping the weather holds off one more inning.

No more picture day. No more double headers. Or post-game snacks.

I walked into Big 5, the sporting goods store where I bought numerous cleats, gloves, socks and belts. The baseball equipment was displayed up front and my heart did a funny little lurch as I walked right past it to look at shoes for myself.

Yeah. I miss it. Even the craziness of living in the car with the bat bags rolling around in the back. The cups under the seats, and no, not the ones that hold soda or sunflower seed shells. Those cups. The ones they would take out the minute they got into the car.

We spent some of the best springs and early summers as a family at the ballpark. Hopefully my boys will carry on the tradition when they have kids of their own. And you can bet their grandma will be at as many games as she can.

Posted in Baseball, Writing

Baseball Is Back!

I’m listening to baseball on the radio. It doesn’t matter that it’s only a Spring Training game. It doesn’t matter that by the end of the game, I won’t recognize many player names. It doesn’t even matter who wins or loses. Sure, I hope my team wins, so I can feel really good about their chances this year. But if not, it’s only Spring Training. It’s only the second game. There’s still a lot of baseball left.

There’s a lot of baseball left in the season. As in all of it. Excitement, struggle, romance. And there may even be a few tears along the way. No offense to Tom Hanks, but there is crying in baseball. And chills. And thrills. And disappointment. And hope. Always hope.

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Kind of like in a Romance novel. Each book starts out with the hope of a happily ever after. And for the author, hope for a bestseller. Oh, there will be struggles along the way. Can’t make it too easy for the characters, and it’s never easy for the author, despite what you see in the movies. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Just hard work, perseverance,  practice, coaching, mentoring, and a little bit of luck.

But like baseball, writing is something I can’t imagine living without.

Posted in Baseball, Books, Romance

Free Baseball (Books)

Great News!

Pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training. Teams are gearing up for a new season. Baseball is coming. And BETTER THAN PERFECT, the first book in the More Than A Game series is now being offered for FREE! It’s like extra innings for your eReader.

Get ready to fall in love with Johnny Scottsdale and his Goliaths teammates. They’re willing to give it their all on the diamond and in love.

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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…

Available at the following retailers:

Amazon

Apple

Google

Kobo

Nook

 

Posted in Baseball, Books, Romance, Uncategorized

Love and Baseball and Romance

It’s February, and that means a very special day is coming up this month. On February 14, Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training.

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Oh, and I’m told it’s also Valentine’s Day. Which is the perfect time to share a Romance with your sweetie.

Come on, Ladies. How many times have you wished your man has acted more like the heroes of your favorite Romance novels?

And how many times have you Men wished there was some kind of manual to help you understand women?

Guess what. There is hope. Which is at the heart of the Romance novel. And in my More Than A Game series, there is also baseball.

I’ll admit, that I’m especially romantic about baseball. One of the first movies my husband took me to way back when we were dating was Field of Dreams. And for my bachelorette party, I watched Bull Durham with my bridesmaids. Our Anniversaries often involve baseball games. Oh, and a few years ago, my ultra romantic husband bought me Javier Lopez’s batting helmet at the game used store at San Francisco Giants Fan Fest.

And I have a bit of a romantic side myself. I did name the hero of my first book, Johnny Scottsdale, after my husband. Well, the name his cousin used to call him when they were kids to tease him. Cousin Mike told my sweet honey that he wasn’t really a Mathews, his real name was Johnny Scottsdale, and he was left on the doorstep. But I got the last laugh.

So, if you’re looking for a Romance that you can share with your sweetie, I have had several men tell me they enjoyed Better Than Perfect. And it happens to be on sale this month for only 99 cents. Plus, the eBook means they don’t have to worry about their friends seeing the cover.

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The other books in my More Than A Game series are good too. And they just might inspire a game of catch, or whatever.

Cover Worth The Trade Making A Comeback cover Portrait of baseball player with bare chest holding bat

Hope you enjoy celebrating Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training day. It’s the most romantic day of the year. (Unless you’re married to a pitcher or catcher. Then the rest of us thank you for your sacrifice).

Posted in Baseball, Books, Romance

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Baseball, Books, Romance

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.

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Kindle

Nook

Kobo

Google

iBooks

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…

Posted in Baseball, Writing

How Writing Is Like Baseball, Part ?

I know I’ve mentioned the parallel before, but after the first week of the new baseball season, I’m reminded how my writing life is similar to a baseball season.

Some days, it’s all good. Your team manages to score a run or two in each inning to start the game. There are home runs, amazing catches, and stellar pitching. Everything is clicking and victory seems almost assured.

Some days my writing flows. The dialogue is snappy, the underlying tension between the characters is right where it should be, and the story moves along without effort. My fingers fly over the keyboard and the real world fades into the background.

And then there are the days where it seems like nothing is going right. Your starting pitcher gives up five runs in the first inning. Your suddenly deep lineup is getting no-hit by a kid making his first start. Your normally solid defense makes an error on what should have been a game ending double-play sending the game into extra innings.

With writing, some days it’s harder to get the words down on my computer than it is to get a green vegetable down a toddler’s throat. Or I can write a whole scene before realizing it’s in the wrong character’s point of view. The scene that was so vivid while I was driving, taking a shower, or laying in bed in the middle of the night now seems as hard to grasp as the end of a rainbow.

But even on the worst of days, there’s always hope. A rookie catcher can come in and not only break up the no-hitter but tie the game on a two-run homer. Or the starting pitcher can settle down and let his offense chip away at the lead until a couple of home runs and a well-timed double get them not only back in the game but take the lead.

For a writer, sometimes it’s the little things that can get you back on track. A good review or message from a reader serves as a reminder that, yes, you can do this. You can write a book that people will enjoy. Or that witty dialogue that was so clear in the car on the way to work is still there when you finally sit down at the computer and it flows so well that you don’t even need to dialogue tags.

It’s a long season. And sometimes it doesn’t go as scripted. The ace of the pitching staff comes down with the flu and gets rocked in his first start. Or the solid start is wasted with a blown save. There will be winning streaks, and losing streaks. Comeback wins and walkoffs by the opponent. There will be moments you talk about the next day. The pitcher’s home run off the guy who never gives up the long ball. The rookie who comes out of AA and not only forces his way into the lineup, he makes a darn good case for Rookie of the Year.

There are also games your team should have won, but didn’t. Leads given up in the late innings. Bad calls that contribute to a loss. Errors, home runs off the relief pitcher who is usually lights out. Baserunning mistakes from someone who should have known better. And then health is always an issue. What would 2011 have looked like if Buster hadn’t busted his ankle? Did Hunter Pence’s absence from the lineup doom the 2015 team? Can Matt Cain make a complete comeback from his injuries?

But if we knew exactly how the games would come out, it wouldn’t be as much fun. I mean, with all the hype of Bumgarner vs Kershaw, two of the most dominant left-handed starters in the game, the baseball gods decided to leave it up to the bullpen to determine the outcome of the game. And how many long-time Giants fans would have thought they’d come back from a five run deficit to win nine to six? I mean, we all remember the torture. Or what about that time Cain got ten runs in support. Ten. So what did he do that day? Just threw a perfect game. The surprise wasn’t that he was capable of pitching that well, the surprise in 2012 was the offense he had behind him. The come from behind, elimination games. The inside-the-park walkoff homeruns. And even the devastating blown lead in game six back in 2002. I would have started Woody for game seven, but then I’d just had a baby, so what did I know.

The thing that makes a romance novel fun, isn’t in wondering how it ends. We all know the couple will get together and find their happily-ever-after. The fun part is in getting there. All the little challenges and romantic gestures along the way. The unique ways this romance is different from the last romance you read (or wrote). The journey is what makes it interesting for the reader and the writer.

And the journey is what makes a baseball season interesting. I have a feeling it’s going to be another wild ride in another even year.