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Thursday, September 20, 2018

BASEBALL FUN FACTS - ADORA SMUTZ INTERVIEWS MATT JACKSON, CATCHER




BASEBALL FUN FACTS

  • Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. didn't miss a game in 16 years. He played in 2,632 consecutive games from April 30, 1982 to Sept. 19, 1998.
  • Pete Rose, who played for the Cincinnati Reds and then was banned from baseball for life for betting on games while managing the team, holds the all-time record for hits (4,256) and games played (3,562).
  • In 2001, San Francisco's Barry Bonds broke the all-time single-season home run record when he hit 73. He broke the mark of 70, set by St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire in 1998.
  • Fourteen players have hit four home runs in one game: Bobby Lowe, Ed Delahanty, Lou Gehrig, Chuck Klein, Pat Seerey, Gil Hodges, Joe Adcock, Rocky Colavito, Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, Bob Horner, Mark Whiten, Mike Cameron and Shawn Green.
  • Pitcher Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons in major league baseball and struck out more batters in his career than any other pitcher.

MATT JACKSON, CATCHER
INTERVIEW WITH ADORA SMUTZ


Why did you choose to be a catcher?Catching is a heck of a lot easier than throwing. I leave the pitching to Dan. But catching? A snap! (snaps fingers) When did you start playing baseball?
My folks signed me up for Little League when I was about seven. Anything to get me out of the house. They weren’t big with kids. Don’t know why they bothered to have ‘em.

Which do you prefer, blonde, brunette or redheads?I’m kinda partial to redheads. (Grins.) Gotta say they are unique.

How old were you when you started dating?Odd question for a baseball interview. I was a later starter. Had my first date at fifteen. For a school dance. I was pretty clueless.

Who is your all-time favorite baseball player?Babe Ruth, Elston Howard, Yogi Berra. All catchers, excepet Ruth. That’s the hardest position, no matter what Dan Alexander tells you. They were the greatest.
A.S. Again with this Ruth person. And she was a “Babe”, too? She surely got around. Were you in love with her?M.J. What the Hell? Babe Ruth was the greatest player of all time!
A. S. She must have been a player if she had you AND Dan panting after her.
M.J. You’re nuts.

How old were you when you lost your virginity?What is this? This isn’t baseball. None of your business.

Which team do you most fear facing?
It’s a toss-up between the Boston Bluejays and the Georgia Gators. They’re both tough. Other teams are no picnic, either. But those two are the worst.

Do you believe in sex on the first date?Wait a minute. Dan warned me about you.

How many women you’ve dated agreed with your sex-on-the-first-date policy?
What? Who said anything about a sex on the first date policy? Jean? What’s going on?

Do you ask a girl out a second time if she refuses to sleep with you?Who refused to sleep with me? And how do you know? Jean, you’re in BIG trouble (shakes fist at author). I mean it.

How long was it before your girlfriend gave in?Dusty, my lips are sealed. Jean is going to answer for this. And Adora, Ms. Smutz, I’m not answering any more of your questions. You crossed the line.

What’s your favorite position for sex?
(Matt stands silently, lips compressed into a frown, arms folded across his chest. Adora shrugs.)


That’s all we have time for today. Thank you for stopping by. Leave your cell phone number with my secretary and the next Saturday night you’re free (wink, wink) This is Adora Smutz, signing off until next time.



 Matt Jackson, clutch hitter, fielder extraordinaire, and team captain, is dynamite on the baseball field, but a loser with women. Or is he? He makes a show of coming on to chicks in bars, but always strikes out. Convinced being dateless is safer, Matt keeps his distance from women. Is he simply an insensitive chauvinist, or a crafty man hiding a secret?



   Everything he believes in is challenged the day he walks in on a beautiful woman in the locker room. Dusty, the sharp-tongued spitfire, cuts the all-star pro down to size. Unwilling to accept second-class status, she challenges everything he knows about women.
Does a solo life make living with emotional pain easier? Drawn to the stunning, talented woman, Matt has a long way to go to win her trust. Getting close to Dusty is dangerous. Can he risk his well-protected heart? Matt faces a difficult choice -- will he make the right decision?

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Monday, June 4, 2018

SANDY & RAFE: SECOND PLACE HEART - new book in the Echoes of the Heart series #romance #secondchance




NEW BOOK! 
UP FOR PREORDER, RELEASING JUNE 8. 
STANDALONE SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE.

A bit about the book: 
   Torn between two men proposing marriage, Sandy accepted Lyle, and moves in with him.  After months of watching their love slip away, she thinks things couldn’t get worse. Wrong.  Sliding from heartbreak to humiliation on national television, Sandy becomes gossip fodder from coast-to-coast. Deserted by family and friends, she suffers the consequences of her mistake alone. After all, life doesn’t offer up second chances, does it?
   Devastated when Sandy turned him down, Rafe couldn’t stop thinking about her. Witnessing her hideous public spectacle, his heart aches. How he wishes she had selected him. But it’s too late, now. He’s heading for a job in England in a few weeks. There’s no time for a second chance. And, as everyone knows, wishes don’t come true, do they?  

A taste...

Eleven months ago. Behind the scenes at the reality TV show, Marriage Minded.
“Lyle, Rafe, Lyle, Rafe? Bill, help!” Sandy moaned into the phone.
“Okay, give me the shit on these guys,” her brother Bill said.
“Lyle is in real estate. He’s funny, nice, and keeps talking about our future. He wants to renovate old buildings in Detroit and start a renaissance there. He said we make a good team.”
“Sounds good. And the other guy?”
She sighed. “He’s so sweet. He’s French Canadian. He’s an architect. I think he really loves me.”
“Architects don’t make crap. Real estate is where the money is.”
“But Rafe…”
“You asked my opinion. So, you like this Rafe guy better?”
“I did, until Lyle told me Rafe only went on the show to get his green card.”
“What? Fuck that. Easy choice, Sandy. Dump the Rafe guy. That’s all you need, a guy who sleeps with you for six months, gets his green card, and takes off.”
“He doesn’t seem the type.”
Bill snorted. “Yeah. Right. Like an asshole like that is gonna show his hand?”
“But he’s been so nice.”
“Who do you love?”
“Both, I think.”
“One more than the other? Come on, Sandy. No one loves two guys exactly the same.”
“Guess I’m leaning toward Rafe.”
“Mr. Green Card? Forget it. If you think you could do marriage with this Lyle guy, then pick him. The other one looks like a phony.”
“Thanks, Bill.”
“Hey, what are brothers for?”

At the final ceremony, Sandy said “yes” to Lyle’s proposal. It broke her heart to see Rafe cry. He turned away from the cameras and shielded his eyes with his hand. Sandy hugged him and walked him to the limo. Guilt washed over her until she reminded herself that he was simply seeking a green card and not a wife.

Doubts about his reasons for being on Marriage Minded nagged at her, but would asking him directly get her the truth? She doubted it. Of course, he’d lie, then act offended she’d questioned his motives, spouting on about his true love and how he only had eyes for her. No man would admit to such low motives on the show—in front of the cameras, anyway.

What a cynic she’d become! She had to do the right thing for her, no matter what. Lyle would provide a stable future. At least that’s what he said, and her brother had agreed. Their arguments swayed her. Why, now that she’d said “yes” and Lyle was prancing around like a prize-winning rooster, did she not share his joy?

Pre-order it here:

Saturday, May 19, 2018

AVAILABLE NOW, ONLY $0.99! "THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY" - ECHOES OF THE HEART series


   Mike Sullivan’s dating Amy, the perfect woman. Everyone says she is, even his best friend, Bill. She urges him to move in with her, and he agrees. To Mike, living together means getting engaged. He’s picked out the ring and is ready to pop the question, isn’t he?

   If Amy is the one, why can’t Mike forget Heather? He’d spent a magical ten days with her on Fire Island, ten days that changed his life. Then he’d screwed it up. As quickly as she entered his world, Heather disappeared, blocking his calls, and leaving him bereft.
   

   That was five years ago. Finally ready to accept the fact that he’ll never see Heather again, Mike’s poised to take the big step -- until a magazine article turns his universe upside down.   



SNEAK PEEK OF: Heather & Mike

The One That Got Away
(Echoes of the Heart, #1)


A NEW SERIES - ECHOES OF THE HEART 
Second Chance Romance Stories.


New York City, Upper East Side of Manhattan
Thrusting his hand into his pocket, Mike Sullivan made sure the little box from the jewelers was there. Of course, Amy might prefer to pick out her own ring, but she’d been hinting around about marriage for so long he guessed any ring would be welcomed.
On his way to the hair salon to pick up his girl, his phone dinged. It was a text saying they had been backed up and she was behind schedule. Already halfway there, he kept going.
His stomach became queasy. Was proposing to Amy a good idea? Good, old reliable Amy. Bill, his buddy, had made a case for her. He’d pointed out how dependable she was, how down-to-earth, rock solid, predictable. She’d never surprise him with something unpleasant, like screwing around. Mike gave a short laugh. Nope, Amy would never cheat on him because he doubted anyone would ask.
It wasn’t that she wasn’t a beauty, though she put out a lot of effort and came damn close. The woman had no sexual heat, but she was dependable as hell. He knew, when he got home from work, dinner would be on the table fifteen minutes later—every single night. As he waited for a red light to change, Bill’s words echoed in his head.
“What do you expect? Marriage is about give and take. You want someone who’s gonna be there to raise your kids. Pick ’em up from school every day. Cook dinner. Amy’s an excellent cook.”
He was right about that. Amy could cook like a gourmet chef. Mike frowned.
“You’re not still mooning over that flaky chick from Fire Island, are you?” Bill had asked.
“You mean Heather?”
“Yeah. That’s the one. It’s fuckin’ five years already. You’ve looked everywhere for her. She’s gone, buddy. You need a dependable girl, like Amy. Get married. Have a couple of kids.”
“What about happiness?” Mike had asked.
“Much overrated,” Bill had said as he shook his head.
Mike wasn’t so sure. Still, he’d planned to move into Amy’s apartment. In three days men were coming to stuff his belongings into a storage locker. His place was pretty well packed up. He couldn’t move in with her without at least the promise of marriage, could he? A lot of men did, but not Mike. He didn’t roll that way. Still, marriage meant giving up his dream of Heather. Was he ready to do that? He pushed her out of his mind and crossed the street.
When he arrived, he had about a half hour wait. Her hair had to be perfect. Everything about Amy had to be perfect; her clothes, her house, he hesitated to put down a glass, even on a coaster, on the coffee table. So God damn perfect it made him nervous. That was about to come to an end, once he moved in. “Messy Mike” she’d nicknamed him. He hated it, but she was right.
Heather popped into his mind. Her shoulder-length light brown hair hadn’t been perfect. Wind-blown from the ocean breezes, it had whipped around her face before settling on her shoulders in loose, messy curls. She’d worn no makeup that he could see, except a little lipstick. Pages of articles and stories had littered her beach house. There had been nothing perfect about Heather, except that she’d been perfect for him.

ONLY $0.99!!






Monday, May 7, 2018

The House that inspired "The House-Sitter's Christmas" #sweetromance

 I love when unusual experience happen, especially when they are inspired by my books. Last Saturday, I went to the Romance Writer's of American NYC chapter brunch on the East Side. When the event was over, I decided to walk a few blocks before catching a cab home.
   As I strolled up Park Avenue, the light change. In the mood to read, I decided to reread my "House-Sitter's Christmas" book when I got home. While waiting for a green light, I turned to peek at the magnificent townhouses on East 61st Street. And BLAM! There it was.
   I'd forgotten where the townhouse was that inspired "The House-Sitter's Christmas." It was on East 61st street. I'd passed it by on several occasions while visiting the dentist.
   I hadn't been back to that neighborhood for a year, so I hadn't seen it. Having some free time, I wandered over to get a closer look. My book had just tied for a third place award, and I wanted to refresh my memory on the magnificent building.
   I couldn't believe it, but there was someone working on the building. He was adding some cement to the wall by the stairs down to the basement door. I ambled over and started a conversation. Of course, he didn't own the building, but he worked on it often for the people who did.
   I told him about the book. He seemed fascinated, surprised that anyone would write a book about a building. It's a sweet romantic story, like a modern fairy tale. But the building does take on the role of supporting character.

   As we chatted, he assured me that the owners took good care of the building, maintaining all the old wood and beautiful features of a townhouse of that era. Practically drooling, I wished I could have seen the inside. Of course, I'd never ask. Too shy. Still, my imagination began to churn.
   Up close, the house is still stunning. The big staircase is one aspect that attracted me in the first place. And, yes, just like in the book, it has a big wooden door.
   We exchanged names. He wanted to know where he could get the book. I gave him my card and wrote the name of the book on the back. I doubt he'd actually buy it, but just the fact that he wanted to made my day.
   Such a serendipitious meeting. What are the chances I should happen to walk by that enchanting edifice, totally out of my neighborhood, on a Saturday and he'd be working there, outside?  I guess I was drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. As I gazed at it, I could swear I saw Laura Fleming and C.W. Banley in the window.
   A writer's inspiration can come from anywhere, at any time. I owe the elegant townhouse a vote of gratitude for inspiring an award-winning story. The romance of the era rubbed off on me.

Curious about this quirky little novella? Here's
a bit about the book:

At Christmas, Laura Fleming lived her fantasy adventure. Paid to house-sit for the fabulously wealthy financier, C.W. Banley, while he traveled, she eagerly headed for New York City. As mistress of his elegant townhouse, she baked cookies and dressed the old gent’s richly-furnished residence for the holidays.
As December rolled around, the lonely, lovely writer eagerly anticipated soaking up the Christmas atmosphere in the grand city. With only the cat for company, she’d turn Banley’s elegant home into a wonderland of sparkling lights, fragrant garland, and shiny tinsel. 
Every year, she wished, in vain, for a happy ending. Will this be the year that Miss Fleming discovers her dreams can come true, even in a big city, like New York?

A sweet, New York City Christmas Fairy Tale.


You can get a copy in ebook, paperback, even in large print paperback, or audio (with male and female voices) here (click on the site name):



























Thursday, May 3, 2018

Matt Jackson, Catcher - Bottom of the Ninth, Baseball romance series

I received this review from a reader on Book Bub: 

I recommend this book
I received a complimentary copy of this book and loved it so much that I purchased a copy. This was a fantastic book and a great addition to the series. I just love the entire Nighthawks and their women. Reading each of their stories has been a wonderful journey. I love the dual POVs and the addition to the having the entire Nighthawks reappearing in all the stories. This book was wonderful. I loved the scene with Matt at his sister's grave. What a touching scene. I cried. The book is so well written that I do get disappointed when the stories end. I highly recommend this story as well as the entire series to anyone!!!
Reasons I enjoyed this book:Easy-to-readEntertainingFunnyHappily Ever AfterOriginalPage-turnerRealisticTear-jerkerWonderful characters 

*****************

After reading this, I went back and reread the scene. I agree with her, the graveside scene is poignant. I want to share it with you. Here it is:

“Come on, Matt. Going to Texas de Brazil. Steak. Meat. Lots of it,” said Jake Lawrence.
“You go ahead. I’ve got to be somewhere.”
“What’s more important than red meat?”
Matt laughed. “Not today, buddy.”
“Okay, but it’s your hard luck.” Jake headed for his car.
“So it is,” murmured Matt to himself.
Not quite out of earshot, he heard Jake complain to Dan. “Where the hell does he go when we get to Pittsburgh? Every time. He disappears.”
“It’s personal business, Jake. Don’t worry. He’s okay.”
“If you say so.”
Matt silently thanked his friend for stopping the query. He didn’t want to let everyone in on his personal pain. Pity embarrassed him. He slid behind the wheel and maneuvered the car to the Allegheny Cemetery, where Marnie was buried. He’d paid for her plot and the upkeep on it. He stopped to pick up some flowers on the way. Roses, if he could find them, were her favorites.
He placed the flowers on her grave and sat on a cement bench nearby. He was thirty now. She’d been gone two years. He smiled to himself. Last month she would have been twenty-two.
Sometimes, he’d simply sit there. Other times, he’d talk to her as if she was still alive. Today was one of those days.
“I’m doing good this season. Not batting as well as I could. Yeah, yeah, I know. I need to practice more. Maybe I’ll let Dan pitch to me. If I can hit his shit, I’ll be doing fine.”
He recounted the game, almost play-by-play. Marnie had loved to listen to his commentary on who was good and who had had a bad day. She swore she learned from his teammate’s mistakes and smart moves. Her attention had filled him with pride. So, he kept doing it, even though she wasn’t there to comment. He’d hear it in his head. Yes, he had known her that well.
After he reached the final out, he stared at the sky. A few wispy clouds blew by overhead. A bright red, male cardinal landed on her headstone. The creature watched him for a bit. Matt reached out. The bird darted his head from side to side, looked at Matt once more, and flew off.
“I get it. So, you’re wondering about my love life, right? I knew you would be. You always wanted me to get married. Don’t think that’s gonna happen, Marnie.”
He was quiet, as if listening to her voice.
“Yeah, I did meet someone. She’s hot. And like you, she plays ball. No, no, she’s not the one. I tried to tell you last time, there isn’t going to be ‘the one.’ Not for me. Women. Too much heartache.”
He sighed and looked away. “Maybe if I could find someone like you, well, that’d be different. But they broke the mold, sweetheart. Not gonna happen. Dusty comes close. The way she took care of my foot. Nothing to worry about. It’s fine now. But that’s because she nursed it. Like you would have.” He glanced at his watch.
“Gotta go. Having dinner with Pop tonight. Yeah, I promise. No yelling. Okay, kitten. I’ll be back when I can.” He pushed to his feet, took a deep breath, and walked to his car. “See ya next time,” he mumbled.
Visiting Marnie had helped him. It always did. But following it with time with his father…well, two steps forward, one step back. He maneuvered the rental car to Mifflin Mobile Court, where his dad lived.
Most of the mobile homes were in good condition. His father’s was passable, thanks to the handyman and housekeeper Matt had hired. They came by once every two weeks, fixed things, prepared meals, and cleaned. And the catcher footed the bill. His father had a small pension and social security, but barely enough money to scrape by every month.
He knocked on the door, and his father answered. He was taller than Matt, and slim. His eyes were bloodshot and his thin hair, gray. His shoulders were wide, but bony.
“Hi, Dad. Ready?”
“I thought we’d eat here instead. Grendel came by today. She fixed some stew for us. Come on in. Take a load off,” Tom Jackson said, moving away from the door.
Matt stepped inside, grateful that the housekeeper had been there. At least there wouldn’t be mold in the bathroom and a ton of dirty dishes in the sink. Something smelled good. He smiled. Guess she was a good cook too.
“Have a shot,” his father said, waving a bottle of gin at his son.
Matt raised his palm. “No, thanks, Dad. I don’t drink on the road. And you shouldn’t either.”
“Hell, we all shouldn’t do a lot of shit, but we do it anyway.” He poured himself half a glass and took a slug.
“It’s killing ya, you know,” Matt said, easing into a fake leather chair.
“So, what? What have I got to live for, anyway? Who cares if I die? You?”
“We’ve had this discussion a thousand times.”
“Yeah. So, let’s can it.”
“I promised Marnie I wouldn’t fight with you. So, let’s talk about baseball.”
“Marnie? She’s dead. She can’t talk to you.”
“I visit her grave, Pop.”
“I should do that. I’m a shitty father. Always have been.” He took another jolt of alcohol, to wash down the bitter words.
“Why don’t we have a pleasant conversation? How about those Yankees, huh?”
“You won yesterday. Way to go,” his father said, bringing the glass to his lips.
“It wasn’t too hard. The Wolves aren’t bad, but we’re better.”
“You always had confidence. God knows where the fuck you got if from. Sure as hell wasn’t from your mother or me.”
“Pop, can’t we have a pleasant conversation? What’s going on in your life?”
“Nothing. Not one Goddam, fucking thing. Screwed any girls lately?”
Matt made a face. “I’ve got a girlfriend.”
“She hot?”
“Yes. Nice too. She plays ball, like Marnie.”
“Bangin’ her?”
“Pop, that’s not an appropriate question.”
“Well, are ya? I bet you are.” His father sniggered.
“None of your business. Geez. Shit. Don’t you know when to shut up?”
“Stew’s probably ready. Let’s eat.” Tom pushed up on the arms of his chair and wobbled.
Matt grabbed his dad’s skinny arm and steadied the old man. “Why don’t you sit down? I’ll serve,” the catcher said.
“Good idea.” Tom plunked down onto a metal chair by the tiny table he called his kitchen.
Matt went to the stove. He took down two of the three bowls in the small cabinet and filled them with stew. Searching through a drawer, he managed to locate two forks and knives. He shook his head. Living like this was shameful. Last time Matt had given his dad enough money to move to a nicer place, the man had drunk it up in two months.
His father’s liver was failing. He didn’t have much longer to live, according to his doctor. He surely wouldn’t be a candidate for a transplant. Matt’s mouth pressed into a thin line when he remembered the conversation. Tom had been present and threw a fit when the doctor refused to put him on the donor list.
Matt wasn’t a man accustomed to doing nothing. He shifted his weight as he evened the portions in the bowls. He was a man of action, on the field and off. He took charge of his life. During off season, he had taken a short course in money management and handled his own finances. He’d done pretty well too. Watching his father throw his life down the neck of a gin bottle killed him. Anger gathered inside. What Marnie wouldn’t have given to have had this many years?
He carried the bowls to the table and prayed for silence while they ate.
“She’s a damn good cook,” his dad said, stuffing a piece of meat in his mouth.
Matt had to agree. As soon as he finished, he cleared, washed, and dried the dishes. Breathing a sigh of relief, he headed for the door.
“Great seeing you, Pop,” he lied, shrugging his jacket over his impressive shoulders.
“Say, son, can you spare a twenty?”
Every visit, he tried to make his getaway before his father hit him up for money. But the old man had caught on and snagged him at the door.
“Sure, Pop,” he said, slipping a crisp bill out of his wallet.
“Take care. Don’t get hurt now,” his father said.
“I won’t. Go easy on the booze, Pop.”
“I will, I will. Love you, son.”
“Love you too.” It was that last double lie that left a bad taste in his mouth. He pulled away from the parking lot and hit the gas pedal. He needed a shower.When he returned to the hotel, he raised a palm to his buddies in the lobby, but didn’t stop to talk. He turned on the water as hot as he could stand it and stood under it for fifteen minutes. 


Matt Jackson, clutch hitter, fielder extraordinaire, and team captain, is dynamite on the baseball field, but a loser with women. Or is he? He makes a show of coming on to chicks in bars, but always strikes out. Convinced being dateless is safer, Matt keeps his distance from women. Is he simply an insensitive chauvinist, or a crafty man hiding a secret?
Everything he believes in is challenged the day he walks in on a beautiful woman in the locker room. Dusty, the sharp-tongued spitfire, cuts the all-star pro down to size. Unwilling to accept second-class status, she challenges everything he knows about women.
Does a solo life make living with emotional pain easier? Drawn to the stunning, talented woman, Matt has a long way to go to win her trust. Getting close to Dusty is dangerous. Can he risk his well-protected heart? Matt faces a difficult choice -- will he make the right decision?

In case you want to read more of this stand-alone book, you'll find it in ebook, paperback and audio here:






 KOBO