Posted in Books, Romance, Writing

Alphas? Betas? Which Heroes Are Greatest?

I didn’t go to RWA in Orlando last week. Every July the Romance Writers of America hold their annual National Conference. I’ve been twice, in San Antonio in 2014 and San Diego in 2016. It’s where 2,000 Romance writers from all over the country (and world) get together to learn more about the craft and business of writing Romance, meet with editors and agents, and celebrate the genre we all love.

I wasn’t able to go this year, but I did follow many of my writer friends who either live tweeted from some of the workshops or set up an alternative online Tweet-stream to enlighten those of us not there.

One of the topics that comes up every year is the Alpha Hero (and to some extent heroine). Love him, hate him, or have no idea what that means, the Alpha male is a stereotype that has long been a staple of Romance. Without going into the psychology of alphas vs. betas, I’ll just sum up. He’s the strong, silent type. The Billionaire, Navy Seal, Bad Boy, Vampire, Police Chief, etc.  They are often powerful, rich, take-charge kind of men, both in and out of the bedroom.

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For better or for worse, he’s the kind of hero most people think of when they think of Romance novel hero (and I suppose for some, the reason they don’t want to read Romance).

But there is a growing segment of readers who prefer a kinder, gentler, man to sweep them off their feet. Betas might be the boy next door who has grown up into a surprisingly sexy man. He might be the guy you’re just friends with until you realize he’s everything you didn’t know you wanted in a man. He could be a co-worker who works with you on an important project rather than competing with you for a promotion. But he’s no less of a man, by any means.

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In fact, he may be more of a man because he doesn’t have to constantly prove himself to the world.

I tend to write more Beta heroes and heroines, but they all have some aspects of their lives where they feel in control. Like Fisher Jones, the heroine of my upcoming book Diving In. She’s kind of an Alpha on the river. She’s confident, strong, and knows what she’s doing. But when it comes to relationships, well, she’s in way over her head.

But that’s the fun thing about Romance. Finding that special someone who can not only see past their lover’s weaknesses, but help them overcome them. While their lover helps them overcome theirs.

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Diving In (A Swift River Romance #3) is available for preorder.

For more information about all my books, check out my website.

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Posted in Romance, Writing

Sometimes You Want To Go Where Everybody Knows Your Pain

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I’ve reached the stage of my writing career where I’m no longer a wide-eyed newbie, yet I’m not yet at the point where I can write full time and expect to put out three to four books a year while my assistant handles things like marketing and scheduling book tours.

I’m trying to plan for a new release in September and keep up interest in my backlist. But with each book, it seems harder and harder to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

So when I first saw the topic for this month’s  Sacramento Valley Rose chapter of RWA workshop, Planning To Set Your Authopreneurship on Autopilot, I signed up thinking this is one area I really need to improve in. But other than the fact that Yvonne Kohano is a chapter member who has moved to Oregon, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to working on a creating a business plan and finding out I’m already behind the curve with a publishing schedule and other dry business stuff.

It ended up being one of the most inspirational meetings I’ve been to in a long time.

It was so encouraging to know I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed by the ever changing marketing madness. I’m not the only one who finds plotting too much stifles my creative flow. And I’m certainly not the only one with impostor syndrome.

We’re all in this together. We celebrate each others’ triumphs with chocolate and roses. We comfort each other’s disappointments with hugs and (Hershey’s) Hugs.  And most importantly we get it. We get what it’s like to have story ideas crawl out from under the bed in the middle of the night and stalk us in our sleep. We get it that sometimes the best way to get unstuck is to take a shower. And while we all wish we could rent a Villa in Tuscany in order to have a perfect creative retreat in which to write our masterpiece, we’ve all realized that sometimes our work has to be written during our kids’ baseball (or swim or dance) practice or while waiting for an aging parent’s doctor’s appointment or while getting the tires rotated.

The first thing I tell anyone who wants to become an author is to find their tribe. I write Romance so being a member of Romance Writers of America is crucial. But there are other writer’s groups out there. Find one. While the actual writing must be done alone, surviving in this business is a group effort.

Posted in Adventure, Romance

24 Years and Counting

It’s my anniversary. My husband and and I are celebrating 24 years of happily ever after. When we were newlyweds I often joked that we would never make it as a Romance novel couple. Not enough conflict.

That is true some of the time. But trust me, we’ve had our share.

But we’ve also had our share of romantic moments. I’ll share the ones my kids won’t be embarrassed by.

Our first date was to the grocery store. No, really. We’d been hanging out, getting to know each other for about a month, but we always had at least one of his fraternity brothers around. And the fraternity’s dog Buttkiss. So the first time we were alone together was when we made a dash to Albertsons to grab some Diet Coke and ramen between our morning and afternoon classes. I left the soda in his room at the house, planning to go back for it later. And maybe a kiss.

Our first trip together was a long weekend of rafting on the Tuolumne River with his older brothers and their wives and friends. All three of the Mathews brothers were raft guides, and my then boyfriend was trying to impress me with his manliness. He was so cool, he didn’t even need a tent. Which was a problem when it rained the entire weekend. But it was still a lot of fun, and I quickly became hooked on the sport. So much so that he bought me a life jacket long before he bought me jewelry.

Actually, I can’t think of a more romantic gift. It showed he wanted to protect me and join him in an important part of his life. He bought me a new life jacket a couple of years ago, and we’ve been spending more time on the river now that our kids no longer have baseball games on the weekends.

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20 years later our love is still afloat

Our oldest son is off on a training trip with ARTA, the company my husband and his brothers worked for. Several of the guides decided to raft a stretch of the American River that isn’t usually runnable, but with all the water this year, it’s got some big rapids. Really big rapids.

My husband wanted to go up and take pictures along the way. My son was annoyed that we were stalking him. No one else’s mom showed up. And I’m not sure he’s told everyone his dad was a legend in the 90s. So they went down the first run, I shot a short video, and they looked good. Then they hit a gnarly hole. My son is the one in blue.

We ended up taking the kayaks in our truck and making sure everyone made it the rest of the way down.

We’ve had our share of adventure together. Adventure, sports, and romance.

Here’s to many, many more.

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 Books, Romance, Uncategorized

In Too Deep, A Swift River Romance #2

It’s release day. In Too Deep, A Swift River Romance #2 is finally here. It’s the second book in my new series, and my sixth book overall.

Oh, baby!
For the first time in her life, adventure reporter Miranda Wilde has a plan that doesn’t involve scaling mountains or swimming with sharks. Miranda is about to do something scarier—she’s about to become a mother. Determined to deliver the news to her unborn baby’s father, Miranda arrives in Swift River to find the rugged resort owner with whom she shared an unexpectedly sexy weekend. Except Carson Swift is out of town—on his honeymoon—leaving his twin brother in charge. It’s all Miranda can do not to fall apart in Cody Swift’s strong arms….
Miranda is the only woman who ever tempted Cody to settle down, which is exactly why he doesn’t reveal that he’s the twin who shared those soul-searing nights with her. Cody knows Miranda needs more than a rough-edged river guide to give her the life she deserves. Then he learns Miranda is carrying a baby—his baby—and he’s ready to stake his claim. But can he prove his heart is in the right place—and that this is one adventure they’re meant to have together, for a lifetime?

in-too-deep-final-designExcerpt:

He could do this. Get her on the river, show her a good time, and somehow find a way to bring up the fact that he was the guy she was looking for, not his brother, Carson. Cody had been kicking himself for not making plans to meet up with her again after their little adventure in the desert. But they’d both made it very clear that a continued relationship was not possible. She lived in San Francisco, but traveled a lot for work, so it would be difficult to connect.

And Cody? He’d never had a relationship that lasted longer than a weekend. And by Sunday he’d felt trapped. So he’d been surprised at how disappointed he was to watch her drive away after five days together. He knew the name of the magazine she worked for and she knew he had his own company in California, but they hadn’t exchanged numbers or any means of communication.

So now he wondered what had made her change her mind. Or was it just coincidence that brought her to his river? His company? Didn’t matter. She wanted a story. He’d give her a story. Hopefully one with a happy ending. Maybe a love scene or two.

“So, Miranda.” Just saying her name brought back memories. How her skin held the day’s warmth like the sandstone. How her smile brightened his nights like the full moon. And her touch? Her touch was like an oasis. “You’ve been on the Yampa. What other rivers have you run?”

“The Salmon, the Pacuare, the Zambezi.” She rattled off the rivers in Idaho, Costa Rica, and Africa as casually as someone might list roadside attractions.

“I haven’t traveled outside of California much.” Cody hoped he didn’t sound too much like a stick in the mud. “I’ve got pretty much everything I need right here. I’ve got my river to run, trails to hike or bike, beautiful women to entertain.”

He flashed his trademark grin, hoping she’d fall for it, like she had back in Utah.

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Posted in Books, Romance, Writing

What I’m Working on Now

Taking a quick break from edits on Diving In, A Swift River Adventure #3 to update you on new releases, sales, and upcoming projects.

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In Too Deep, A Swift River Adventure #2 will be out December 20, 2016

Swept Away, A swift River Adventure #1 is on sale for 99 cents until December 4.

I’m working on a proposal for a new series, a small-town romance series set in a fictional Normal, California, located at the base of Mt. Shasta. The former mill town and its residents is dealing with growing pains as tourism increases. Healing crystals, fly-fishing, and skiing are just some of the reasons people are coming to Normal. Love that’s bigger and more majestic than the mountain are reasons they stay.

I haven’t quite given up on my More Than A Game series. I have three more books in the planning stages. I have a third baseman, his twin sister who happens to be a better ballplayer than him, but chose to enter sports medicine, a groundskeeper, a ballpark announcer, a cocky new catcher, and a rookie infielder are all looking to score.

I’ve also updated my website.

And as always, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter and I’m trying to figure out Instagram.