December 23, 2015
Hi, all! Shell Taylor here! I’m so, so excited to take up some of DSP’s space today and share with you a little bit about my newest release, Resurrecting Hope. It’s the second in the Home for Hope series, which focuses on the individuals who filter in and out of the Center for HOPE, an LGBT center for at-risk youth.
The first book, Redeeming Hope, told Elijah Langley’s story of redemption after losing his first love and subsequently closing himself off from the world. Through a chance meeting, he eventually became involved with HOPE and more importantly (for the purposes of our story at least) HOPE’s sexy owner, Adam Lancaster. These two were supposed to get their happy ending and move aside for other patrons of HOPE to have their story told, but generous, kind, empathetic, and trustworthy Adam had his own story that never seemed to fit anywhere in Redeeming Hope.
Did everyone see that plot bunny hop across the screen? Because that’s pretty much what happened. Adam’s traumatic childhood and transformation into the man he became had to be told. Needed to be told. Screamed at me to be told. And I’m so glad it did.
Writing Resurrecting Hope was quite possibly the most enjoyable writing experience I’ve ever had. I don’t know if it was pure adrenaline from just having signed my first book contract with Dreamspinner or the fact that I knew Adam’s background and struggles from the very first word of Redeeming Hope, but Adam’s story poured out of me with ease.
Although I knew Adam’s childhood, it wasn’t until I was listening to the song Say Something by A Great Big World that the rest of the story came together. The image of Elijah screaming these words at Adam, pleading for him to share his deepest insecurities, was so clear in my mind. The cover LC Chase beautifully designed captures a tender moment of Elijah comforting Adam right after that confession. I can never thank her enough for bringing that moment to life so perfectly for me.
I hope you all enjoy the book. Be sure to pick up Redeeming Hope first if you haven’t read it already! I’d love to hear from you guys. Anyone who comments and tells me about their favorite childhood memory will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Redeeming Hope!
And I love chatting with people, so feel free to come find me! I mostly hang out on Facebook, but I do flaily things with Marvel, OUAT, mooshy boys, and randomness on Twitter and Tumlr!
Pre-order your copy of Resurrecting Hope here! Available December 25th, 2016!
December 21, 2015
Hi, everyone! I’m Antonia Aquilante, and I’m here to talk with you about my novel, The Artist’s Masquerade, which is out today. The Artist’s Masquerade is the second book in the Chronicles of Tournai series, but it can be read on its own if you haven’t read the first book in the series yet. Here’s the description:
As the first-born son of the Duke of Tournai and cousin to the prince, Cathal has always tried to fulfill his duty to family and country, including following through with an arranged marriage to Velia, cousin to the emperor of Ardunn. But it’s Velia’s companion, Flavia, who fascinates Cathal. Cathal doesn’t know that Flavia is really Flavian, a man masquerading as a woman to escape Ardunn, a restrictive place in which Flavian’s preference for men is forbidden.
Even when Cathal discovers Flavian’s true gender, he cannot fight his attraction to him. Flavian is intrigued by Cathal, but Cathal is still betrothed to Velia, and Flavian worries Cathal is more taken with his feminine illusion than the man beneath it. While both men battle their longings for each other, spies from Ardunn infiltrate the capital, attempting to uncover Tournai’s weaknesses. They are also searching for Flavian, who possesses a magical Talent that allows him to see the truth of a person just by painting their portrait—a skill invaluable to Ardunn’s emperor.
In The Artist’s Masquerade, as the title states, Flavian is an artist, and he’s an extremely talented one who hopes to make his living as an artist once he is able to shed his disguise and is settled in Tournai. Things don’t go quite to plan upon his arrival in Tournai, but his belief in his dream and his confidence in his own talent never waver.
There are many references to art in this book, and in the previous book in the series, The Prince’s Consort. Amory, one of the main characters of that book, enjoys art and drawing, though he’s only a talented amateur. Tournai is famous all over for its glass art. And of course there’s Flavian himself, who spends as much time with his art as he can.
I would love to say I planned all of this out before I started writing the series, but I really didn’t (I’m such a pantser!). I can tell you that my own love of art certainly influenced and inspired the inclusion of the art references in the stories. I’ve always enjoyed art, learning about it, drawing and painting. I took art class each year in high school and drawing class in college, and my art history class in college was one of my favorite classes. I went to college in Washington, DC and spent so much time in the National Gallery of Art during those four years, wandering among the paintings, even sitting and sketching. My family used to joke that I made a weekly visit to the Monets there. The National Gallery is one of the places I miss most now that I don’t live in DC anymore. But I do live near New York City, so the Met isn’t far, and I love visiting art museums when I travel (my family puts up with it… to a point). When I was lucky enough to visit Florence, Italy, a major highlight for me was the Uffizi Gallery. I could have spent all day there (my family would not have liked that), and most of it staring at Botticelli’s Primavera, which is one of my favorite paintings.
So I guess it’s no surprise that my love of art has made its way into my stories.
Giveaway: My favorite types of art are Renaissance and Impressionism. For a chance to win an ebook of The Artist’s Masquerade, tell me your favorite artist or type of art or even your favorite art museum.
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.
She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.
Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy
She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers.
Find Antonia here:
December 18, 2015
Hello! I’m Dianne Hartsock, one of the new authors here at Dreamspinner Press. I’m so excited to say my novel, NICOLAS, releases today. Yay! Just in time for Christmas, though I can’t promise this is your traditional Christmas story.
Christmas, two years ago, we were sitting around the tree talking idly while waiting for dinner to be ready, when my cousin’s husband made a comment about Krampus taking all the gifts away before we got a chance to open them. Krampus? What was he talking about?
His family is Dutch, and he told us a very condensed version of the legend of St. Nicolas and the Krampus, the dark goblin that follows Santa around, punishing the naughty children while St. Nicolas leaves the gifts. I needed to know more! I’d never heard of the Krampus before and was intrigued.
So, I do what I always do, and headed to Google for answers. First, I read everything I could on the Krampus. What a creepy little troll! He leaves coal for the naughty children, switching them if they’ve been very bad. And for the very worst, he simply snatches them up and takes them to his home in Italy, never to be heard from again. Yikes!
St. Nicolas, on the other hand, is everything good, spreading the word of peace and goodwill. He was a man born in the third century in a small town in Greece, who used his family’s wealth to help the poor in his community. After his death, it is said he raised three children from the dead after they’d been murdered by a butcher during a famine.
Aha! There was my story. I took this good man, the one behind our modern Santa Claus, and paired him with this terrible creature who wants to do nothing more than destroy all the good Nicolas does in the world. The death and resurrection of those children brought them together, and now Nico can’t be rid of the monster.
What would it be like to be chased through the centuries by a terrible presence, never allowed to form meaningful friendships, your lovers torn away or seduced from your arms? Yes, I said seduced. I write romances, after all! It took me about three seconds to decide that the Krampus could take the form of a beautiful, sensual man when he chooses.
And Nico needed a love interest, someone sweet and lovely who would believe in him no matter how preposterous his story sounded. I gave him Jamie, a sensitive artist with a core of steel under the gentleness.
NICOLAS is a contemporary romance wrapped up in the old legends of St. Nicolas and the Krampus with just a taste of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale thrown in. Just the thing for the holidays!
For a chance to win an e-book copy of NICOLAS, in a comment below, please tell me what your favorite holiday story is, whether it’s a childhood book or one you read now, or even a movie you watch every year.
You can find me here:
December 9, 2015
Hello! I’m Charley Descoteaux, here to celebrate the release of my holiday story Cascades!
Cascades is a standalone holiday novella…sort of. It stands alone, but doesn’t include a decorated tree or anyone in a red suit, or even a massive holiday meal (there is a string of fairy lights, however). The story opens the day before Christmas and ends on New Year’s Day, but that’s about it. If you’ve read my short story “Toy Run” you probably know how much “holiday” to expect from this story.
During the editorial process, while I worked with my lovely editors to polish the sharp edges from this rough little story, I played with the idea of including one of those snappy warnings in the blurb. You know the kind, they usually start out with a real warning and end up talking about sex in trees or a hairstyle you can see from space. I love those, they can be fun and still give enough of a hint that the story might include a trope I’m not interested in reading that day.
The warning for Cascades might’ve gone something like this: Warning: this story includes a man who leaves the country to escape the holidays, a random hookup with a stranger, a love interest living on the streets, references to girls deflowering boys, and Canadian potatoes.
Maybe I should’ve subtitled this story Unpopular Tropes. (Except for the potatoes, those are always popular.)
I’m laughing, but it’s true. Male-Male Romances usually don’t allow the love interest to be homeless—unless he’s a rent boy, engaging in survival sex until the main character rescues him from the streets. Doug isn’t a sex worker (and not because he’s pushing 50) but he does things most of us wouldn’t want to seriously consider doing to survive.
Probably less popular, though, is JB’s dalliance before the two heroes get together. I can understand this, sort of, but if we want stories to reflect the experiences of real people we have to accept that it happens. Sometimes real people jump immediately into monogamous relationships and sometimes they don’t. Especially if the hero has been alone for a long time. And that goes double if the hero has no idea the love of his life is waiting for him a few pages later.
Cascades is one of those stories I wasn’t sure if I should submit once it was finished—it’s about two older dudes and neither are easy to know and love. I enjoy stories with atypical heroes, though, so I held my breath and hit Send. Cascades isn’t your typical holiday tale, but the folks at Dreamspinner took a chance on it and I hope you will too.
What are your favorite “unpopular” Romance tropes? Do you love a story about sex workers who don’t give up their careers for love? How about a December/December Romance or an overweight hero who doesn’t lose weight by the end of the story?
Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a backlist book of your choice.
I’ll be in and out for the next couple of days and will choose a winner on Friday, 12/11.
Join me on the Dreamspinner Press Facebook page on 12/12 for more chances to win!
You can read all of Chapter One on the Dreamspinner store. Just about all the unpopular tropes are included there!
This excerpt is from Chapter Two: JB and Doug are having breakfast on Christmas morning at a dive that shares space with the hostel where JB is staying. It might explain the potato reference above.
A guy who looked lonelier than I felt brought our breakfast. Two steaming plates full of eggs, bacon, toast, and potatoes. His Merry Christmas sounded more like fuck you.
Yeah, me too, buddy.
Doug and I ate without talking. He seemed to relax as his plate emptied. For the most part. The tension in his face didn’t ease, but he leaned back in his chair and his breathing slowed to normal.
After a while the silence got to me. “Damn, these potatoes are good.”
“Too lowbrow for you?” I tried for a joking tone, but didn’t quite make it.
He frowned. A moment later he looked up at me. The lines on his face cut deeper than Uncle Pete’s. “It’s just seasoned salt. You can get it at any grocery store.”
“I’ll have to remember that.” The smile I tried out didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped. He frowned deeper and turned his whole body away from me.
Neither of us spoke again until the lonely guy had bussed the table and we’d both finished a third cup of coffee.
“Come on back up to the room with me.” I stood, paused a moment to give him a chance to answer, and then headed back the way we’d come. By the time I rounded the corner, his footsteps were right behind me.
He followed me up the stairs and pushed past me into the room. I locked the door, and when I turned around, he was stretching out on the bed. Nude.
Justice “JB” Bishop tells himself he’s satisfied with life in the small town of Upright, Oregon. He was born and raised there, and has settled into a comfortable, if lonely, routine working at his uncle’s bar. JB doesn’t expect anything to change after he turns fifty, until an old friend drops in. She suggests he get out of town for the holidays, and soon JB finds himself on an Amtrak to Canada. JB expected to feel different in Canada, to see things he couldn’t see at home. He never expected to find the one who got away.
About the Author:
Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.
Rattle my cages—I’d love to hear from you!
Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879
December 4, 2015
Hello and welcome. I’m E E Montgomery and I’m here to share the release of The Planet Whisperer with you.
It’s an exciting time for me right now because my first Science Fiction novel is about to be released through Dreamspinner Press. The Planet Whisperer touches on a lot of things: ethics of scientific experimentation, changing the evolutionary path of planets, criminal justice, care of children, trust and honor, to name just a few. But at its heart, The Planet Whisperer is a love story. It’s a story of hope and joy and future.
Where did it all come from? The human brain is a wondrous thing that I’ll never understand, but I’ll be forever grateful I can pull random facts from mine and link them together, no matter how obscurely.
This is where it all began…
No one could ever confuse me with one of the popular kids, not even as an adult. I’m not a geek either. Sure, I love Dr Who and Star Trek and random facts (like the Earth’s magnetic field is strong enough to land a spacecraft, or buttons were once made of bone, sometimes human bone) but I don’t have the memory I need to be a ‘real’ geek. I fall somewhere in the middle—the forgettable middle.
That’s where I fall in my family as well. While my mother did go through a stage of forgetting my birthday (I received my parents wedding presents hurriedly wrapped in newspaper for a few years), I didn’t actually feel like I was a forgotten child. There were numerous times my family noticed what I was doing and decided I needed to be spoken to. :/
I’ve often wondered what it would be like—to be forgotten.
Tolifax is home to thousands of forgotten people. Some of them began life as a remembered person, only to do something against the laws of the day and end up abandoned on the planet commonly known as the garbage dump of the universe. They were dropped there and, as individuals, were forgotten.
Under the rule of a conservative and narrow-minded government, the people of Tolifax eked out an existence. Some of them thrived, some got by, but most of them floundered, forced into harsher and harsher lives by those climbing over them so they could survive.
Jonah is one of those forgotten people. He was a child, helpless and vulnerable, at the bottom of Tolifax’s food chain. No one knew, no one cared. At seven, he was caring for his mother after a john broke her jaw. He procured customers for her, kept her clean and kept her fed. He discovered he had an affinity with plants and grew vegetables for them to eat and to sell. Apart from his mother’s injury, life was the best it had ever been. Then the john came back. Jonah, in protecting his mother, committed a crime that would have horrified even the most hardened criminals on Tolifax. His mother, who’d seen more of the underbelly of humanity than any person should, was more terrified of her eight year old son than she was of anything else.
So she sold him.
And forgot him.
For years, Jonah remained forgotten. He might have been used and abused, but his existence wasn’t important to anyone. No one would have noticed if he had disappeared completely.
Then Wes saw him, and bought him. Jonah thought that, finally, someone noticed him, and he pinned all his hopes and dreams on being important to Wes.
Wes wasn’t the prince charming Jonah had hoped he’d be, but at least Jonah was no longer forgotten.
Sometimes though—sometimes he wished he was.
Jonah’s life from eight to sixteen wasn’t the stuff of romances. Nor were the following sixteen years with Wes. They happened, nothing can change that. Through all of it, Jonah never lost hope that somehow he’d have a better life; that now he’d ceased to be one of the forgotten, he’d be remembered for the right reasons.
And there you have it: the single thought that caused Jonah to become real, for his whole life to exist, if only in my imagination—and now yours.
Has there been a time in your life you’ve felt like you were forgotten, or wanted to be? I’d love you to tell me about it. I’ll get an independent person (ie family member) to choose a response at random. That lucky person will receive an ecopy of one of my backlist books (your choice).
Jonah Starovski, a Planet Whisperer, harnesses the energy surrounding dead planets and redirects it into new growth. Abandoned by the man who bought him from a brothel sixteen years ago, Jonah flounders in a world he’s ill-equipped to deal with. He must accept the help of a stranger in order to rebuild his life.
First Lieutenant Marcus Davis volunteers as Jonah’s assistant without realizing the terraforming process requires Jonah’s sexual release. Balanced on the knife-edge of fear and ambition, Marcus is faced with his mother’s machinations and threats to his career. Marcus’s parents bring their illegal scientific experiments to the planets Jonah is terraforming just as Marcus learns to accept himself and his feelings for Jonah. At the same time, Jonah’s past catches up to him, putting them both in danger.
Jonah and Marcus must trust in each other to put a stop to the illegal activities, rescue an endangered animal, and create the future they both want—a future they can share.
Web, blog and free short stories: www.eemontgomery.com
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/e-e-montgomery
November 26, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Lex Chase here with something a little special on today’s fine National Tryptophan Day.
Thanksgiving is a special time here in the US—or as the rest of the world calls it Thursday. This year families gather round the table, eat more than they ever thought possible, and then pass the hell out for the rest of the day. Or if you’re like some crazy people, you’re in line before the sun comes up for Black Friday sales.
But let’s stop to think of what we’re truly thankful for beyond material possessions and bickering in-laws.
I for one am thankful for my family. Yes, we may bicker and we may get obnoxious, but we laugh, and we’ll be there for each other when it matters most. My mom goes to GRL with me every year and we have an awesome time. After 45 years in the Navy, my dad has finally retired this past week. My brother has found his calling as an amazing pastry chef.
I couldn’t have gone as far as I have without them. Their constant support, and constant nagging of getting books done on time so they can come to you on time. HAH.
I’m thankful to Dreamspinner for taking a chance on me. To Elizabeth North, and Lynn West for putting up with my weirdness. To all the friends I’ve made where we’ve gone from talking shop, to talking about the silly habits of our pets.
Also, to someone very special in my life right now. DSP Publications author C.S. Poe seemed to think I was someone that was worthy dating material. So, here we are spending our first Thanksgiving together. She makes me want to be a better person. And she put up with all my overflow of emotion with her relentless optimism.
She refuses to let me be self-depreciating. And she refuses to let me dream small. Which both are very easy for writers. The woman sent me flipping flowers when I finished Urban Fairy Tale. Who does that?
When you get two romance writers in a relationship, it’s adorkable how we can be with little gestures.
So, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Even if it’s just another day for you. Or it’s the day that you have the awkward conversation with your distant relatives of how you’re not married yet. It’s a day to be thankful that you are here and I’m thankful you’re here, too.
Let’s do something a little different than a giveaway this time. How about you do something special for someone else. Drop a donation of 10 or so bucks to a charity of your choice and email me a copy of the receipt. In exchange for your being awesome for someone else, I’ll give you an eBook copy of any one of my books, including Bayou Fairy Tale if you haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Email receipts to firstname.lastname@example.org! Get donating!
November 13, 2015
Susan Laine here, saying big thanks to everyone reading these posts about Yellow Streak by Dreamspinner Press. I hope you’ve enjoyed the excerpts, pictures (few more delicious ones below), and insight into the issues being dealt with in the Heroes At Heart series. Thank you for your company and comments, and I hope you continue to enjoy my stories. Goodbye, and see you around the internet
THE GIVEAWAY: Anyone who comments on any of the Release Party posts is part of the giveaway, for one e-book copy of Yellow Streak, Yellowbelly Hero, or any book in my backlog. The winner will be named tomorrow, so comment anywhere and stay tuned!
A few last pictures to whet your appetite <3
(CrisArt) The last picture hints at the future of Yancy and Curt’s relationship, as Yancy wants to be a writer and Curt just loves listening to his voice <3
Susan Laine is an award-winning, multi-published author of LGBTQ erotic romance. Susan lives in Finland, where summers are wet and winters long. Thankfully, she’s kept plenty warm by the spark for writing, which kindled when Susan discovered the sizzling hot gay erotic romance genre. Trained as an anthropologist, Susan’s long-term plan is to become a full-time writer. Susan enjoys hanging out with her sister, two nieces, and friends in movie theaters, bookstores, and parks. Her favorite pastimes include listening to music, watching action flicks, eating chocolate, and doing the dishes while pondering the meaning of life.
November 11, 2015
Hi, all. I’m here to talk about my new release, Like No One Is Watching, which is the first book in a new series titled Dance, Love, Live. The series is about a group of friends, most of them dancers, but also instructors, former dancers, or those whose lives have been overrun by the passion most dancers have for their art. Oddly enough, the series came about because I thought I had lost my own passion there for a minute.
There was a day, a while back, when I was going about my routine, trying to come up with a new story idea to get myself out of a rut. I wanted something that would write itself. Something I didn’t have to think too hard about. Something I wouldn’t have to spend hours researching. But my life, I thought, as I looked around my daughter’s dance studio (I was cleaning it at the time) was so devoid of anything, lately, other than sitting at my computer writing stories…or trying to write stories…that I just didn’t have anything interesting to bring to the table.
As I stood there, gazing through the mirror at the rest of the room, a spider flitted across the floor about ten feet behind me. It was big enough for me to see it in the mirror ten feet away. Knowing the studio’s Director as I do, I hunted that sucker down and evicted its ass before she got back, thereby avoiding any awkward moments when a grown woman in charge of a gaggle of tutued young ladies had to try not to freak out over it.
I was still standing there, writing the spider scene of this story in my head when my fellow cleaner (aka: Husband) came along and asked me what the ever loving heck I was doing leaning on my broom staring into space.
For weeks before that day, I hadn’t felt much like a writer at all. I’d spent many an hour doing just about anything I could find to do other than write. I felt like I was losing it. But when he asked me that, and I answered “writing” without even missing a beat, I realized there are some things, once they are in your system, in your blood and under your skin, they never go away completely.
And there it was. The opening scene of book one, the theme for the series, the setting and characterization for the first book. I had the landscape. The rest was details. I hope you like the first act, because it rekindled that need to do what I do, even when I should be doing something else.
So what is it in your life that drags you away from the everyday and burrows into your soul so that you can’t let it go or walk away, or finish folding the laundry and washing the dishes? For me, it’s writing.
If you want to read the book, you can find it here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7060
If you’d like a copy of something else from my back list, talk to me about your passion in the comments, and let me know what you’d like to read, and I will chose one winner at 9:00 AM Eastern November 12.
November 11, 2015
Drumroll please and here it is, my big debut, both as a Dreamspinner Press author and as a writer of m/m romance. It’s pretty nerve-wracking for any author on release day, but with those additional factors, I’m a bit of a wreck right now. My new sci-fi book, Raider Captured, is finally available after what has seemed like months and months of writing, submitting, waiting, and editing. Hold on a minute, that’s exactly how long it has taken. Hopefully all that hard work both on my part and all the talented folks at Dreamspinner will result in an entertaining read for you.
Raider Captured, as the title implies, is, in addition to being a romance and outer space adventure tale, my exploration of the strictures and pressures of imprisonment on both sides of the cage. My initial inspiration for the story was putting two characters in opposition to each other in the most fundamental way; prisoner and jailor. How could I weave romance into such a power imbalance? Both characters would have to overcome many obstacles to eventually place trust in each other and finally discover love. Equally important was having each character empathize with the other’s position. Sagiv, the captured warrior, knows that Daran, his young captor, is facing tremendous pressure to return him for a ransom. Sagiv is certain none of his people would offer up anything for his return as he’s disgraced in defeat. Daran realizes he should feel nothing but disdain for Sagiv, a man who attacked his ship, but he can’t suppress his innate curiosity about the mysterious fighter. There is a connection between them, forged first in the manacles around Sagiv’s wrists, and only strengthened when Daran decides to remove the restraints and free his fearsome prisoner.
There’s always an element of risk when falling in love. Oftentimes we have to give up things we thought were important in order to create that emotional bond with another person. We might have to move, face a friend or family’s disapproval, or open ourselves up to the possibility of rejection. Everyone has to make a leap into the unknown for the chance at romance.
I’m curious about what you had to risk in order to find love. Please leave a comment below for the chance to win a copy of Raider Captured or something useful if you’re ever captured by an alien.
Check out Raider Captured here!
November 9, 2015
Hello DSP readers! I’m Elle Brownlee, and I love baseball. I also love writing, and writing gay romance. These two loves lead to an inevitable conclusion: I wrote a baseball-themed book entitled Force Play.
I’ve always loved baseball. I was raised on it (I think it’s likely I heard my first game while in the womb). Baseball was something I shared with my family, and something I’ve taken pains to pass on to my niece and nephew. Many of my cherished memories are of going to Triple-A games as a kid, thinking it was the Big Leagues and believing our team couldn’t lose. Even if they did, we agreed they’d get ‘em next time, and we’d drive home listening to a different game all the way from another state far away crackling on the radio.
There’s always a game to be found during baseball season, and I’m always glad to listen along when one is playing. I know I’m not alone in thinking baseball games make the perfect ambient background noise for just about any task, from cleaning house to falling asleep with the radio tucked under your pillow. When you’re a fan of baseball the game itself gets deep inside you, down to your marrow, and there’s inherent comfort in having its reliable rhythm around.
That idea of being grounded by the game itself is what sparked my character’s journeys for Force Play. Harmon is at a major crossroads where the book opens, and Caleb is in a rut. Harmon wants to leave the game for good, and Caleb can’t walk away despite never being given the chance to shine. They argue, and clash, and sparks fly. But despite their differences, and different directions life has taken them, at their hearts they still have baseball. Baseball is the one thing that defines them separately, connects them to while they figure out being friends, and binds them as they start falling in love.
As I wrote Force Play I listened to old favorite games played by My Team. I’d steep a pot of tea, fire up Word, and stick Game 7 from the 2011 World Series in the DVD drive. (Psst, if you follow baseball, you’ll see I’ve just given away who I root for as My Team.) Often, as soon as the sounds of the game started filling the room, the words would flow, and Harmon and Caleb would be there telling me about their place with each other, and in the game. Even on days when writing was hard, I trusted my guys to show up the next day ready to give it and each other their best, because that’s what a true ballplayer does.
Baseball has so many stories to tell because baseball is about struggles and triumphs we can all relate to. So even if you’re not a superfan like me, there’s no need to worry. As the game begins and the sounds and rhythms surround you, you’ll understand what’s going on. There’ll be outs, runs, hits and misses—and I promise, the good guys win in the end.
Do you love baseball as much as I do? What is one of your cherished baseball memories—who does baseball connect you to? If you’re not a baseball fan (gasp!) what’s your go-to perfect ambient background noise?
I’ll be checking in to comment and I’m looking forward to your responses. I’ll also choose a giveaway winner from the commenters to nab the title of their choice from my backlist, so take a few swings or put on your glove. Play ball!
Find me all over the web. I’m always glad to chat—baseball and writing or both!