Category Archives: Romance

Guest Post: How a Baseball Virgin Becomes a True Fan

Hint: It involves hot guys, both the girlhood-crush kind, and the one-you-marry kind.

Today I welcome Mindy Klasky to planetpooks.

Mindy is a friend, a fellow member of Book View Café, and an inspiration as a writer and a promotions goddess. I’m thrilled to be part of her blog tour to launch the first book in her Diamond Brides series, a series of nine romance novels involving the players on her fictitious team, the Raleigh Rockets.

Take it away, Mindy!

Mindy KlaskyIF I CLOSE MY EYES, I can still see the scene:  Me, in a hideous green and white uniform, standing at the plate.  We’re in ninth grade gym class and it’s baseball season.  My team is behind by three runs, the bases are loaded, there are two outs, and I’m at the plate.  (For people who don’t play baseball, that all adds up to:  The entire game depended on me.  Which was seriously unfortunate, because I hadn’t managed to get my bat on the ball for the entire semester.)

We had a new gym teacher.  Mr. Harrison was drop-dead gorgeous – tall, blond, with a killer smile and a glint in his eye.  Every girl in ninth grade was in love with him, myself included.

Mr. Harrison stood behind the plate.  He told me to choke up on the bat.  He instructed me to keep my eye on the ball.  He told me to balance on my back leg.  He gave me a hundred and one different instructions, and I did my best to follow them.

Strike one.  Strike two.  Strike three.  I was out, and my team lost the game.

What?  You were expecting some miracle ending?  Mr. Harrison was a miracle to look at, but that gym class was very much rooted in the real world.

But as I walked back to the locker room, Mr. Harrison said, “Good try.  Next time.”  And he smiled at me.  And to a fourteen-year-old girl with a monster crush, that smile was enough to get me to suit up the next day, to pick up the bat the next time, to try again.

Okay, I never hit a game-winning home run.  But I did eventually get the bat on the ball.  And Mr. Harrison said, “I knew you could do it!”  And I floated for days after that vote of confidence.

At the end of the year, I moved away from that town. At my new school, we spent more time cross-country skiing than playing baseball.  (I wasn’t any better on skis than I was at the plate.)  Mr. Harrison was replaced by Coach Anastos (and that was definitely not an improvement.)

Decades went by.  I dated a bunch of guys who were wrong for me.  I found one guy who was right for me, even though he was a baseball fan.  I married that guy. I learned a lot about baseball (originally as a matter of self-defense, so that I could talk with my husband about the pastime he loves so much, then as a matter of honest independent enjoyment.)

I watched a lot of baseball.  We’re talking dozens of games a season, all nine innings of every game (because who would ever stop watching a game before the end?)

And I started to put together an idea for a romance series, building it around the (imaginary) Raleigh Rockets baseball team.  I knew I wanted to write nine novels – nine innings in the game, nine position players on a team.

I came up with nine heroines.  I figured out conflicts for each of them, plots to wrap around them.

And then I began to focus on my heroes – who they were, how they played the game.  And I was as surprised as anyone that Mr. Harrison resurfaced in my mind.

Sure, he was transformed a bit when he became DJ Thomas, the hero of PERFECT PITCH.  DJ was nowhere near as supportive of his son as Mr. Harrison had been of me.  But the drive to succeed?  The belief that we can each live up to our full potential?  The killer smile that made a naïve schoolgirl melt?  That was Mr. Harrison, through and through.

Inspiration surfaces in the strangest places.  If you’re a writer, what’s the oddest inspiration you ever used in your work?  If you’re a reader, what’s the oddest link you ever made with a book, the strangest connection that just twanged and let you know that was the right book for you at that precise moment in time?

~~~

Klasky-PerfectPitch200x300Reigning beauty queen Samantha Winger is launching her pet project, a music program for kids. All she has to do is follow the pageant’s rules—no smoking, drinking, or “cavorting” in public.

That’s fine, until D.J. Thomas—God’s gift to baseball—throws her a wild pitch. He slams her in an interview, and the video goes viral. Sam’s no shrinking violet. She parlays D.J.’s apology into a national T.V. appearance—and a very unexpected, very public kiss.

Soon, paparazzi catch the couple in a steamy make-out session, and Sam’s music program is on the block. The blazing hot relationship is threatened even more when D.J.’s son begs to trade in Little League for music class.

Can Sam and D.J. sizzle past the sour notes and find their perfect pitch?

Available for purchase here: Perfect Pitch  (Amazon Kindle | Amazon Print | B&N Nook | B&N Print | Book View Cafe | Createspace Print | Kobo)  More links to come!

17 Comments

Filed under Guest Posts, Romance

Add a little Razzmatazz to your Christmas!

This is it, peeps–the last of my backlist, RAZZMATAZZ, the last of my romances. As 2013 zooms toward its close, I have emptied out my vault and cleared the path for new books in 2014!

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Meet Kennie Sue Ledbetter, spunky and street smart—

razz-50-percent 300

…as long as the streets are in Tahoka Springs, Texas.

Meet Alexander Carruthers III, who has never known anyone like Kennie Sue. But one look—one hunch—is all it takes for him to want to know her better.

When small town girl Kennie Sue Ledbetter wakes up in a Reno hotel between two guys in rumpled tuxedos, she thinks things can’t get any worse.

When she steps on the wedding bouquet and sees the ring on her finger, she knows things can’t get any worse.

But then she finds out she’s married to the guy who won her in a coin-toss in front of the wedding chapel, and ‘worse’ has a name and a face:

Alexander Carruthers, the gorgeous silver-tongued devil who believes in love at first sight, in fate, and in doing whatever it takes to keep her—

Even if that means following her back to Texas and letting all the good people in Tahoka Springs know what she did on her summer vacation.

He’s Lear jets and high society charity balls.

She’s Ford Pintos and rodeos.

She won’t fit into his world and he sure won’t fit into hers.

This spells disaster—calamitous, embarrassing, tempting-as-sin disaster….

But can it also spell love?

Did I mention that I loved this book? It was a RITA Finalist for Best Short Contemporary Romance, and was part of a new wave of humor in the romance genre.

So take a trip with me back to the late 1980s, check your skepticism at the door, and let Kennie Sue and Alex show you how it was, once upon a time…

When slot machines still had arms to pull, casinos still handed out free drinks, and the world was just discovering parachute pants.

[Okay let’s forget about parachute pants.]

[There are no parachute pants in this book.]

[Pinky-swear!]

I hope you enjoy the ride!

7 Comments

Filed under Book Pooks Wrote, Book View Cafe, Romance, Texas

So. I went to war this morning with my desk.

And just as i was getting my desk cleared so i could:

Go to work on the edits that are due oh-sometime-soonish.

Fiddle more with CreateSpace for my first attempt at POD.

Write some on the not-a-prologue.

Fill a fountain pen with ink to be ready for all the work.

Amongst other things.

I spilled iced tea across my MacBook Air.

All hail the genius of solid state engineering and Apple! It dried out.

One of my shift keys isn’t working. So far, that’ the only prob and maybe it will start working soon.

So much for best laid plans. it’s time to leave Robbie Burns behind and follow the philosophy of Scarlett.

Tomorrow is another day.

(What? You thought I was going to say fiddledeedee?)

In the meantime, here is something pretty to look at.

Meet Cecil. Coming to Amazon and Book View Cafe July 17, 2014!

Meet Cecil. Coming to Amazon and Book View Cafe July 17, 2013!

5 Comments

Filed under Book Covers, Book Pooks Wrote, Book View Cafe, Books, Romance

Janine made me do it.

I just did something I haven’t done in many years–bought a contemporary romance novel. Not historical. Not set in the UK. No magic or fantasy around.

And I freaking hate the cover.

Why did I buy the kind of book I don’t read with a cover I hate?

Janine on Dear Author made me do it.

You see, I often like what Janine likes, and she has pointed me to some really good books. Even if it’s not the kind of book I ordinarily read.

Even if I hate the cover.

But.

Cross-country bike trip with camping*?

Janine liked it?

I am so in.

Ride with Me: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance. It’s a Loveswept Romance, which is what two of my romances were, back in the last century.

Some of you have been around long enough to remember back when I was a bike-riding person*.  I need to get my bike fixed so I can ride again. But that’s a different subject.

Do you have a reviewer or friend who can convince you to read something even when it’s something you don’t usually like?

$20 Amazon Gift Certificate to one lucky Amazon reviewer!

 

And I have to remind you–it’s here! The chance for you to win a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate for leaving an Amazon review of Scandalous (available at Book View Cafe, Amazon, Kobo and BN) before February 14. Details here.

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Bicycles, Camping, Reading, Romance

Blog Hop and WWW Wednesday (12-12-12)

My WWW Wednesday entry is at the bottom of this post, for those who are more interested in what I’m reading than what I’m writing.

I was invited to join in this blog hop by WP Admirer, whose post is here.  Thanks, Sarah! This is my first-ever blog hop!

The questions:

1) What is the title of your book?

Scandalous

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

My muse had madcap heroines from the 20s/30s on her mind, I’m afraid, even though I was writing about a world firmly set in the (then) contemporary 90s. Before I knew it, speakeasies and flappers and romances of Christmases past were occupying my mind and the life of Paisley Vandermeir.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Louise Brooks

Romance. It was meant to be a romantic comedy, and it definitely has those elements, but it ended up having a bittersweet poignancy as well, as Paisley deals with the death, bequests and scandals of her great-aunt.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Louise Brooks is the obvious choice, but alas, she is dead.

Jennifer Lawrence

So I’d go for Jennifer Lawrence, whose spin in Silver Linings Playbook is spot on perfect and has the kind of tough vulnerability (compounded by being downright weird) that I see in Paisley, even though the characters are very different from one another.

Also, even though she’s much too young, I definitely can see Susan Sarandon as the fiercely independent Aunt Isadora [aka Auntie Mame on acid]. I wrote a screen adaptation of this book in which Aunt Izzy comes back as a ghost and haunts Paisley in an attempt to make her do things she wants done. That was more fun than a bag of monkeys.

As for Chris–I don’t know. He just needs to be able to look charmingly befuddled, as if he doesn’t know what just hit him, splendid in a tux, and also be willing to fight like hell for love when he finds it.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“All she needed was a safe little scandal, and he seemed as safe as they come. Oops.”

6) Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Represented by an agent in its print format. The digital edition available now was published by Book View Café. I’m currently looking for an agent who specializes in my current areas of writing interest, science fiction and fantasy.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Probably three months, though that was once I sold the proposal. Creating the idea, characters, proposal–that all takes more time than I can usually calculate because some of these things live in my head for years before I actually put them down on paper.

8) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The fashion! Aunt Izzy left a magnificent couture wardrobe behind, and Paisley is having to let go of it one memory at a time.  I am not a fashionista, but I had so much fun researching this book!

And I had fun with this blog hop. Thanks, Sarah/WP Admirer for inviting me!

I’m tagging these terrific writers, all of whom have tales to tell!

Jeffrey A. Carver
Katharine Eliska “Cat” Kimbriel
Pati Nagle
Steven Harper Piziks
Deborah J. Ross

Now for WWW Wednesday. Again, this meme is from shouldbereading:

 

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?

I’m listening to The Twelve Clues of Christmas (A Royal Spyness Mystery) by Rhys Bowen. Yes, it’s set in the 30s. Do you detect a trend? It’s the newest book in a series of mysteries set between the wars in England. “Her ridiculously long name is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. And she is flat broke. As the thirty-fourth in line for the throne, she has been taught only a few things, among them, the perfect curtsey…” Lots and lots of fun.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Khepera Rising, by Nerine Dorman. Horror… fantasy… not sure which it’s considered but it’s graphic, brutal, compelling, and I liked it a lot. Set in South Africa, and the first book I’ve read about that nation that wasn’t political. Nerine says, “Khepera Rising is my first novel, a tale following the doings of Cape Town-based black magician James Edward Guillaume. Themes in this work include drug abuse, religious intolerance, violence, magic, alternative cultures and sexuality.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up!

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I can never answer this question!

What about you? What have you been reading lately?  Put the link to your WWW Wednesday entry in comments, or just tell me!

 

20 Comments

Filed under Blog Hop, Blogging, Book Pooks Wrote, Book View Cafe, Books, Out of Paisley's Closet Contest, Reading, Romance, Scandalous, Writers, Writing, Writing Process, WWW Wednesday