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Are You Ready for Some Football Food?

If you follow this blog regularly, you know that I’m a bit of a football fan.  Okay, more than ‘a bit’.  It stands to reason that this is my favorite time of they year–those few weeks before the opening kick-off when we’re all still in the hunt for the NCAA championship or the Lombardi Trophy.  But there’s more to football than just watching the game or listening to the marching band.  There’s food.  Tailgate food, specifically.

Next week, the fourth book in my Out of Bounds series, Sleeping with the Enemy, will hit e-readers and bookshelves.  To publicize it, I created fun recipe cards that double as book marks.  The recipe we put on the back is a great football snack whether you’re tailgating or camping out in front of your big screen.  Since I can’t send you all a bookmark, here’s the next best thing:

Thanks to Su at Earthly Charms for the beautiful recipe cards.

Thanks to Su at Earthly Charms for the beautiful recipe cards.

Here’s the scoop on Sleeping with the Enemy:

Dot-com millionaire Jay McManus is discovering that owning a pro football team like the Baltimore Blaze isn’t easy. An anonymous blogger is out to destroy his reputation, and now his team is being sued by its own cheerleaders. If Jay’s not careful, he could lose big—and not just financially.

Bridgett Janik’s brother may play for the Baltimore Blaze, but she’s not thrilled to be defending Jay McManus, the man who broke her heart. It’s bad enough she has to mingle with Jay during games, but working beside her former lover may be too much for her body—and her heart—to resist.

Jay’s determined not to let Bridgett slip away from him a second time. But, as the two follow the mysterious blogger’s trail, secrets—both past and present—are revealed, and Jay and Bridgett must decide if their relationship can be something more than just sleeping with the enemy.

Get your copies here:

Apple iBooks
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
Google Books
IndieBound
Kobo
Powell’s Books

Best of luck to your team this season!!

Spotlight On Debut Author Jenna Sutton

I’m wrapping up book 2 in the Second Chances series, but while I was writing, I took a short break to preview a hot new book by debut author, Jenna Sutton.  The book is called ALL THE RIGHT PLACES (Berkley Sensation, June 2, 2015) and it reminds me of some early Rachel Gibson books–the ones that made me fall in love with the romance genre–with a hint of Julie James’ sophisticated banter thrown in for good measure.  I enjoyed this book so much that I wanted you all to meet Jenna Sutton, the author.  Here’s a little background on Jenna:

jsuttonauthorphotoJenna Sutton spent most of her career as an award-winning journalist covering business-related topics including healthcare, commercial real estate, retail, and technology. Nowadays she writes about hot, lovable guys and the smart, sexy women who make them crazy. It’s the culmination of a lifelong dream, and she feels so lucky to be able to do it. Jenna has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Texas Christian University and a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University. She and her husband live in a 103-year-old house in Texas. All the Right Places is her debut novel.

Tracy: Welcome to Women Unplugged, Jenna.  First and foremost, can you tell readers where they can find you on social media?

Jenna:
http://www.jennasutton.com
http://www.facebook.com/jennasuttonauthor
@jsuttonauthor
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9761992.Jenna_Sutton

If someone wrote a book about you, what would the title be and why?

Insatiably Curious. My favorite words are actually questions: what, why, who, when, how, and where.

What are 5 things readers should know about you?

1. I’ve worked as a journalist for most of my career, so I have been writing for a long time… fact, not fiction.
2. I am blessed to have a fabulous husband, a loving, supportive family, and a great group of friends.
3. I started reading romance novels way too young. And though it may seem counterintuitive, I think reading romances actually kept me a virgin longer than other girls my age!
4. After a lifetime of hating sports, I suddenly love football. And I’m increasingly interested in hockey, although I’m sure all the new hockey romances have something to do with that.
5. Every time I go out to eat, the tines of my fork are uneven. It doesn’t matter if I’m eating at a casual restaurant or a five-star bistro, crooked forks always find their way to me. I see them as a sign that the universe is in balance.

What is the significance to the title ALL THE RIGHT PLACES?
The title has a double meaning. The perfect jeans fit in all the right places, and my characters touch each other in all the right places, both emotionally and physically.

Please share a few random facts about ALL THE RIGHT PLACES.

• It’s the first book I ever wrote
• It took me about nine weeks to write the manuscript, but it took two plus years for it to be published
• It’s the first in the Riley O’Brien & Co. series
• I got the idea for the book from a bumper sticker
• The fictional jeans company in ALL THE RIGHT PLACES is based on a real company. I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out which one.

What was your favorite scene to write? Why?

I had a lot of fun writing ALL THE RIGHT PLACES, but I think my favorite scene is the one where my hero, Quinn, sees the heroine, Amelia, wearing a piece of clothing made by his biggest competitor. Here are a couple of lines from that scene:

Aggression flooded his veins. He had the ridiculous thought that if Amelia wanted to brand herself with someone’s name, it damn well better be his name. He felt like pulling her down across his lap, jerking up that damn skirt, and spanking her sweet round cheeks right where his competitor’s logos were located.
Before his mind could even think about what to do next, his body moved toward her. When she saw him coming, she pivoted and darted toward the exit. He reached her just as she opened the door, slamming a palm against it and forcing it closed with a bang.
Her lush little body was sandwiched between him and the door, and he crowded even closer until she had to turn her head to the side to keep from smashing her nose. He put his mouth to her ear.
“Don’t ever wear another piece of denim that doesn’t have my name on it,” he growled.

Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book were optioned for a movie?
I’ve always thought a scruffier, taller Henry Cavill would be a great Quinn, although his eyes need to be a little darker, the color of a blueprint. Or maybe a younger, taller James Marsden. He seems to get hotter as he ages. As for Amelia, it’s hard to cast her, but the closest I can think of is Isla Fischer, but with freckles and curlier hair.

If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
I’d tell them to have a little faith. Both of them suffer from self-doubt, and Amelia doesn’t have faith in a lot of people.

What are you currently working on? What other released do you have planned for 2015?
Book two in the Riley O’Brien & Co. series, Coming Apart at the Seams, is scheduled for release on Dec. 1, 2015. The third book, Hanging by a Thread, is due to my editor in the fall, and it is scheduled for publication in spring 2016.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today, Jenna!  Because I loved this book so much, I’m giving away a digital copy to one random commenter.  It’s easy to win, just tell me how long you’ve had your favorite pair of jeans.  It takes me a few years to get them broken in the way I want them. 🙂

AllTheRightPlaces_hires purpleAmelia Winger is a small-town girl with big dreams of becoming a successful designer. So when she gets a gig designing accessories for denim empire Riley O’Brien & Co., it’s a dream come true. Amelia can handle the demanding job, but she isn’t quite prepared for sexy CEO Quinn O’Brien. She’s doing her best to keep things professional, but the attraction sparking between them makes it personal. And so does the secret project she’s working on behind his back…

Quinn’s not interested in the new accessories, but he is interested in the woman designing them. Amelia is smart, sexy, and talented, and he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her since they met. Mixing business and pleasure isn’t wise, but that doesn’t stop him from coming up with excuses to spend time with her. He thinks he understands the risk he’s taking when he gets involved with Amelia. But he doesn’t know he’s risking a lot more than his heart.

Where Have All the Role Models Gone?

I remember a summer day ten years ago when my sports fanatic son declined going to the pool with his friends so he could watch the final stage of the Tour de France.  He was fixated on his new idol, Lance Armstrong.  So fixated, in fact, that immediately after Armstrong won, my son begged me to take him to the Discovery Channel Store so he could spend a hundred dollars of his lawn mowing money on a replica of the yellow jersey Armstrong wore during much of the Tour de France that year.

My son even wore it as his Halloween costume.

My son even wore it as his Halloween costume.

This was a very big deal because, not only has my son always been a sports nut, but he loves his money, too.  So it took a lot for him to part with his hard earned cash.  But his father and I let him do it because we believed at the time that Lance Armstrong was a pretty worthy role model for a twelve-year-old boy.  Little did we know.

Now here’s the funny (or sad, depending upon your perspective) part:  Armstrong’s fall from grace didn’t traumatize my son as much as I would have thought.  By that time, my teenager had already been jaded to the duplicity of the world of professional sports.  Everybody does it has become a catch phrase that really angers me.  Too many Millennials and Gen-Xers (or Y’s or whatever they are) adopt the phrase as a mantra.

Sure, the list of role models who turn out to be more human than super hero is long:  Alex Rodriquez, Ryan Braun, Michael Phelps, Tiger Woods, Shaun White and Hope Solo, to name a few.  But there have to be some role models out there, right?  Surely the Kardashians aren’t who we want our children looking up to?  And I’m not even going to suggest they should look up to elected officials who refuse to lead.brian williams

And then there’s Brian Williams.  I have to admit this one is a lot harder to swallow than some of the others.  He’s a likeable guy in a business that I was once a part of.  Because I still consider myself a journalist, the offense of “misrepresenting the facts” really sticks in my craw.  I’m not saying we should hold journalists in esteem higher than others–hello Steve Kroft and Dan Rather, not to mention an entire cable news channel–but, hey, we just can’t go making things up.  Well, unless you write fiction like I do, but that’s not the business Brian Williams was in.  At least not yet, anyway.

This whole mess has left with me a sense of melancholy, especially as a parent.  Who are kids supposed to look up to these days?  My motives are purely selfish here.  It’s a lot of pressure to be the only role-model for your child–especially since they think you’re dumber than dirt for a majority of their life.  Of course, we could all go around adopting the philosophy of Dr. Greg House from TV’s House and submit to the tenet that “everybody lies”.

Photo by Jackolyn

Photo by Jackolyn

I don’t want to be a cynic, though.  I want to believe in the good within people.  That’s why I write romance, because I want to read a happily ever after.  I want role models who are worthy.  And not just for my kids.

But I also subscribe to the notion that we are all human.  We all make mistakes.  It’s how we move on after those mistakes that shows our character.  So no, A-Rod, a hand written “I’m sorry” isn’t going to cut it with me.  And Lance, having your girlfriend lie for you is just unmanly.  It’s left to you, Brian. Please don’t let me down.

A Black Friday Bargain

I’m almost done with my fourth Out of Bounds book, Sleeping with the Enemy, phew!  I should be back to my regular blogging schedule next month.  Thanks so much to those of you who’ve sent me notes of encouragement.  It means a lot!  Writing is harder than it looks and I’ve certainly learned that this fall.  Of course, I would have helped myself out had a I started with more than a title and a paragraph as a book proposal. 😉  This Christmas, I’m gifting my agent a year of I-told-you-so’s.  holiday on sale

But, while I finish this book this weekend, I didn’t want you all to miss a Black Friday deal:  My holiday novella is on sale today for .99.  One reviewer called it “sweet as a holiday dessert without the calories.”  But, it does have a Navy Seal so expect some heat, too. 😉  Grab it today to enjoy after you shop.

Happy holidays everyone!

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