A while back, a father blogged that he liked one of his sons better than the other one. He didn’t say he loved one more than the other, just that he enjoyed spending time with the older one more than the younger one because—duh!—he and the older son could do more fun things together. The admission caused quite a stir in the parenting blogosphere and everywhere else it reached. While I applaud the guy’s honesty, I think he’s an idiot for putting it out into cyber space for the entire world to see. But he’ll get his payback years from now in the form of therapy bills for his younger, least favorite child.
If we’re admitting to having favorites, though, I’ve got a little confession to make: I have a favorite child. No, no! Not one I created with my husband, but one I created in my head. (Note to my daughter: Just because you changed your contact to “Favorite Child” in my phone doesn’t mean you own the title.)
Next week, RISKY GAME, my fourth book in the Out of Bounds series will be released. (In case you missed it, the third book in the series, A NUMBERS GAME, was released as a digital novella last month.) The book features Baltimore Blaze tight end, Brody Janik, my favorite child among the Blaze players. I don’t know what it is about Brody, but from the minute he ambled into my head, he became larger than life. Laughing blue eyes, a wicked smile and a laid back demeanor all make him America’s favorite cover boy, but there’s more to Brody than just a handsome face who can catch a football. I think that’s what I love about him so much.
Growing up with four older sisters, Brody understands women. But, as he told Julianne in FOOLISH GAMES, he just wants a woman who “gets” him. Too bad for Brody that he’s still trying to figure out who he is himself. With a guy like that stomping about in my head, of course I had to put a smart woman in his path who could unravel the man-child and point him in the right direction. Shannon works hard and makes her own way in life. She doesn’t need Brody or his money and fame to validate her. There’s a reason this book is dedicated to five young women who are just entering the adult world. I want them to be like Shannon. My wish is that they own it—whatever it is they wish to be. Especially that girl who calls herself my favorite child.
What do you think? Is it possible to have a favorite child? Is it easier for a father to make that type of declaration than a mom?
Romance novels involving athletes have become extremely popular in the past several years. Thanks to authors like Susan Elizabeth Phillips and her Chicago Stars, Deirdre Martin and her New York Blades and Jill Shalvis and the Santa Barbara Heat, readers have been culling the shelves for more sports romances.
Why? Because sports romances are inherently sexy. For starters, they feature athletes with ripped bodies, nimble fingers, and lots of stamina. These guys are the ultimate Alpha hero because jocks live their lives playing a game. Not only that, but they get paid well to do it. Most of them are extremely self-confident and driven to win at all costs. In a word, they’re egocentric. Oh yeah, successful, athletic men are very sexy.
A good sports romance will give the reader a peek at the more vulnerable side of athletes, too. These men harbor fears of not making the play or being injured or worse, cut from the team. Some even have quirks or superstitious idiosyncrasies that make them endearing. (Although, I’m not so sure a scruffy beard is sexy, Boston!) A glimpse at the more human aspect of life as a professional athlete adds to the sexiness.
But, the best part of a sports romance is watching these alpha heroes have their whole world turned upside down when they meet the one woman they can’t live without. Athletes approach relationships much like they do a game and they don’t like to lose. So when they meet a woman that changes the game on them, it makes the sparks fly off the pages.
In my latest release, Foolish Games, Baltimore Blaze linebacker, Will “William the Conqueror” Connelly is a cerebral, intense, behemoth man who takes care of business on the playing field while keeping to himself off the gridiron. When he’s blindsided with the news he’s a father, Will believes he can orchestrate the lives of both his son and the baby’s mother much the same way he executes defensive plays during a game. Of course, his game plan doesn’t work out exactly how he expected—what would be the fun in that?
What do you find sexy about a sports romance? What are some of your favorites that you’ve read?
I still remember the first book I wasn’t able to read. It was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. My problem was not for the reasons you’d think. Yes, this was a controversial book at the time—I attempted to read it in 1973 as a young elementary school student. But the issue was that I physically couldn’t read it. You see, I was the girl with the Coke-bottle glasses and the rare vision disorder that’s only cool to ophthalmologists. By the time I’d reached the fifth grade, the books I wanted to read—the one’s everybody was talking about—were printed with a smaller font than the Weekly Reader and my mixed up brain just wouldn’t let my eyes hold focus long enough to see the tiny words.
For an eleven-year-old, not being able to read about Ponyboy, Sodapop, Two-Bit, Johnny and the rest of the Greasers was devastating. My options were slim since audio books were still a blip on some entrepreneur’s radar. Fortunately, I had a group of devoted friends who volunteered to read the book aloud to me every day at recess. I spent the next few years being read to, until technology and ophthalmology made life a little easier for me. Still, I remember being sixteen and having a doctor tell me I would most likely have difficulty earning a college degree much less being able to realize my dream of becoming an author. The synapse connecting my brain to my vision just wouldn’t allow me to accomplish those goals.
Ten years later, that same eye-doctor marveled at my earning not only a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, but a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. Better yet, I was working as a writer. Well, sort of. I was actually a Congressional investigator who got to write reports and testimony for Congress. But one of those blue books turned out to be my first best seller, a feat I’m still proud of today—even if the subject matter could be used as a sleep aid.
Fast forward another two decades and I’ve finally accomplished my dream of becoming a published novelist. Sure, I can’t actually read the printed version of my books. Not without specially ground hard contact lenses, reading glasses, and a magnifying glass. But I don’t have to read it. I wrote it. Those words on the page came from the voices in my head; voices that refused to be silenced by a nagging disability. (Okay, there are those who think the voices in my head are my real nagging disability, but we’ll save that for another post.)
My process of getting those words on to the actual page is pretty convoluted. Fortunately for people like me, the technology that allows speech to text has been perfected and is now widely used. Who knew back in the days of being read to by friends that a talking phone named Siri would become my constant companion? Or that the British voice on my GPS would take the place of struggling to read the fine print on a map?
Unfortunately, my reading vision will never improve. But the stories in my head refuse to be denied. They flitter before my eyes and throughout my brain demanding to be told. One way or another, I’ll get them on paper and if just one person reads my books and enjoys them, all my efforts will be worth it. This holiday season, I’m grateful to all the readers out there who’ve taken the time to read and review my books, it really means a lot to me.
So tell me, what kinds of obstacles have you had to battle to achieve that one thing in life you always wanted?
(This post originally appeared on the Totebags and Book blog site.)