Hi, all. It’s been a while since I’ve jumped in with a My Sexy Saturday post. But with BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER set to release in mid-March and SLIDING INTO HOME in mid-April , it’s high time I get back in the habit.
Blog hops like this are a fun way to share info about a new release, don’t you think?
A quick refresher on the rules:
Post 7 paragraphs or 7 sentences or 7 words ONLY. The choice is yours. It can be from a WIP or something you already have published. Your post should be live by 9 am US Pacific Time on Saturday. Put those lucky 7s to work for you!
BEAUTY is my newest release, but it’s far from a new story. It’s the manuscript secured me my first (and only) RWA Golden Heart finalist title, way back in 2011. (Wow 2011 seems like forever ago …) It’s the second book in my Love & Baseball series, and the only one set in my adopted hometown of Flagstaff. The Arizona Condors are in Flagstaff for spring training. Matt, the team’s catcher, is feeling every one of his 28 years now that the manager has added a rookie catcher to the roster.
Here are seven paragraphs from the opening scene, in which Meg, who just that morning discovered she’s pregnant, and Matt meet in a bar. What’s a pregnant woman doing in a bar, you ask? Drinking 7-UP and commiserating with her coworkers, all of them glad they’re still employed after a fresh round of layoffs at the ad agency where she works.
Hard to say which of them is having a worse day, eh?
After enduring his appraisal, Meg had no qualms about completing one of her own. She slid her gaze from the tuft of thick, chestnut hair poking through the back of his burgundy-and-white cap downward, over his golden-brown eyes, straight nose and smiling mouth. She took in his toned arms, broad chest, tree-trunk thighs and—oh my.
Perhaps he had good reason for his arrogance. She jerked her eyes back to his face. After they’d mentally stripped each other, it didn’t feel right to not know the man’s name. She extended her hand. “I’m Meg.”
He eyed her outstretched hand and his lips lifted again. She grinned back as she rescinded her offer. He was right. They already knew each other too well for a mere handshake.
Awareness jolted through Meg when he rested a hand on her knee. “Matt.”
“Well, Matt, I’d like to say it’s nice to meet you, but I can’t say that to the guy who took my table.” She shifted ever so slightly, hoping to break the strange hold he had over her.
Matt chuckled. “Would it help if I told you I’ve had one hell of a day?”
BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER, coming from Turquoise Morning Press in March 2014.
Feb. 8-9 was a weekend of firsts for me.
I attended my first book signing and got my first mention in the Arizona Daily Sun.
The book signing was Saturday down in Glendale, at the Chocolate Affaire. From 2 to 10 p.m., I had a spot at a table with at least a dozen other romance authors, mostly from the Valley of the Sun RWA chapter.
The Chocolate Affaire is a big outdoor festival celebrating — you guessed it — chocolate. Signs like the one below, touting the benefits of one of my favorite desserts, were posted all over the park.
With all the chocolate around — everything from pie in a jar to chocolate-dipped Twinkies to chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick — would you believe I didn’t eat any? I know, I know. There’s something wrong with me.
That’s not to say I didn’t eat any junk. I had an orange creamsicle float and a Reuben sandwich for lunch after I arrived and before I went on duty. At dinnertime, I ventured away from the table to find a bratwurst with onions and mustard. I seriously considered getting some cheesecake on a stick, but ended up too busy to leave my post.
The park was packed when I arrived, carrying my box of books around as I searched for the romance writers’ booth. (In retrospect, I should have left the box in the car, found the table and then gone back for my books. Live and learn, right?) And the park stayed busy throughout the day. Paths were wall-to-wall people.
That cover still gives me goosebumps. Beautiful!
Plenty of people stopped by. I had a fantastic time telling folks about my debut, Diva in the Dugout. Even managed to sell a handful of copies. I also gave away a lot of bookmarks and business cards. Hopefully some of those contacts will translate to online sales.
It might have been my first book signing, but by the end of the night, I had my pitch down:
“I write contemporary romantic comedy featuring baseball players. This (pointing to DIVA) is the shortstop’s story. It’s my first book and it came out in October. The catcher’s story (tapping the BEAUTY bookmark) comes out next month.”
If they wanted to know more about the story, I explained: “The Condors’ bad-boy shortstop finds out five years after the fact that he’s a father — and must win over not only his little girl but her mother.”
When pressed, I may have compared myself to better-known romantic comedy authors like Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis and Jennifer Crusie. “They’re some of my favorite writers. I’m not that well known — yet — but my books are definitely funny. If you enjoy their books, I think you’ll like mine.”
*Blushing* Maybe I got a little carried away in the heat of excitement. In the cold light of morning, I can admit that.
Then again, there’s nothing wrong with being my own biggest fan, right? And I honestly believe my stories will appeal to readers who like that kind of story.
It was a fun day — long and exhausting, but fun. I’m glad I was lucky enough to get a spot at the table.
I was also lucky to meet Cap’n Jack, in the flesh. He was great. When I asked him if he liked to read, he answered, “Yes. Mostly maps.”
Glad I checked the weather down in the Valley. Otherwise, I’d have shown up in a sweater and roasted. (It was cold in Flagstaff when I woke up Saturday morning.)
A few things I learned:
I want a banner like these for the front of my area. See how they draw the eye? Once I get a cover for Sliding into Home, I’ll get right on that. I think they’ll make one at Kinko’s.
Some kind of easel to stand one of my books up on would be a good idea, too.
I also need to get some postcards or something to promote Blind Date Bride. Since I plan to release it this summer, it’s not too soon to start thinking about selling it.
Maybe I should market it and its related story, Trouble in Paradise, as the “Reality TV Bites” series …
Oooh … That’s actually not bad.
Aw, damn. Just googled it, and someone already wrote a book titled “Reality TV Bites.” So much for that idea.
Ahem. On to my other first: An article in the Arizona Daily Sun.
Abbie Gripman talked to me and Anne Marie Becker about our books and why we think romance sells. It’s a nice article that appeared in Sunday’s Arts & Living section. I didn’t come off sounding like a total idiot, which I appreciate.
It was the first time I’d been on that side of an interview. Usually I’m the one interviewing other people. But it was pretty painless. And the exposure is much appreciated.
I haven’t been doing the best job of getting my name out there. I’m working on that.
Last week, I shared the details of my writing process.
This week, if you hop on over to Susie Haught’s place, she’ll tell you about hers. It’s hard to believe we’ve only known each other for three years. She really is one of my biggest supporters, always ready with words of encouragement and willing to read for me.
I’ll be giving away some of Susie’s bookmarks at the Chocolate Affaire in Glendale, Ariz., next weekend. Did I mention I’m signing copies of DIVA IN THE DUGOUT Saturday? It’s my first book signing. If you live in the Valley, be sure to stop by and say “Hi.” I’ll be there from 2 to 10 p.m.
I ordered 15 print copies of DIVA, and would love to sell out so I have to order more for my next signing at Desert Dreams in April.
The book is gorgeous — trade paperback size, 198 pages.
When the box arrived on a Friday night, I took a dinner break from work just so I could run home and see it. (Give me a break — it was my first time seeing the print version. When I ordered copies for the RITA, I had them shipped directly to RWA HQ.)
It looks amazing!
When I go to the Chocolate Affaire, I’ll also be bringing a sign-up sheet for my newsletter, and some bookmarks for BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER. Its mid-March release date is getting closer. Only about six more weeks and BEAUTY will join DIVA on virtual shelves.
In fact, this happened last week:
I’m a little scared that I missed something. Susie had a chance to read the galley of DIVA for me. Between us, we found quite a few things to change. This time, I went it alone.
Fingers crossed that I had my editor’s hat pulled low over my ears, firmly affixed to my blonde head. (You know, I think I saw a few strands of gray in there the other day … I’m so not ready for that.)
As I worked, I started making a list of some of my favorite lines. Not sure where or how they’ll pop up, but rest assured you’ll be seeing them somewhere.
Good morning! It is a very good morning, even if you’re waking to snow and subzero temperatures. If you are, please stay warm and dry.
It’s not exactly warm here in northern Arizona, either. I’m in the mountains, not the Valley of the Sun, where 60 degrees is considered “jacket weather.” Still, the ground is (for now) snow-free, and daytime temps have been reaching the high 40s and mid-50s.
Temperatures like that are enough to make you start thinking about baseball, right? Heh. Who am I kidding? I’m always thinking about baseball these days. That’s what happens when you write stories about men who play the game.
In fact, spring training is right around the corner. The Cactus League comes to Arizona in mid-February, and the D-backs report to training camp even earlier than that.
Because baseball season is almost upon us, I’m at Fresh Fiction today, blogging about my Boys of Summer, the men of the Arizona Condors. I had fun getting them to answer a bunch lightning-round questions.
This is my first visit to Fresh Fiction, but I hope it won’t be my last!
Stop by to learn some surprising fun facts about Dave, Matt and Greg, the heroes of DIVA IN THE DUGOUT, BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER and SLIDING INTO HOME. (You can get there by clicking the link or the photo itself.)