It’s Release Day for Love Game!

LOVE GAMES

Love Game (Love Games #1) 

Kate Snyder scored her first national championship in her undergrad days at Wolcott University, and now she’s a coaching legend. The last thing she wants is to work beside a washed-up coach escaping scandal, but the university hands her Danny McMillan.

Danny was hoping his transition at Wolcott University would go smoothly, but clashing with snarky Kate has made things difficult. Even as she finally lightens up towards him, a local reporter can’t get enough of their verbal fireworks on camera. What the cameras don’t know is that the sparks are even hotter behind the scenes…

Available at: Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google Play ~ Kobo  ~ Powell’s ~ Books-A-Million ~ The Ripped Bodice  ~Audible

Love Game earns a Publishers Weekly STARRED Review!

Debut author Wells scores big with a perfectly paced and gutsy romance that takes the push-pull heat of competitive flirtation to the max. Kate Snyder, a “feminine but formidable” women’s basketball coach, is determined to defend the successful sports empire she’s built at Wolcott University. She fears being overshadowed by the high-priced hiring of scandal-ridden hottie Danny McMillan to rescue their failing men’s football team. The friction in Kate and Danny’s public fights, laden with “so much chemistry, there’s been talk of handing out hazmat suits,” is a publicity boon, but their private relationship may butt up against the morality clause of Danny’s contract. Wells masters the slow-burn buildup, giving each lead a steamy solo scene before even getting them together, and transfers their fierce banter smoothly from the school hallways into the bedroom. The boldness with which this power couple takes on the workplace issue as a team displays egalitarian and mutually supportive strength too rarely seen in heterosexual romance. A side plot focusing on family drama is weaker, but Kate’s two gossipy, feminist girlfriends are delightful and well positioned to be the next leads in the series. This is a very impressive debut sure to garner an instant following for Wells. (Feb.)New

Monday Mayhem – Alllllllmost….

So, tomorrow is the big day for LOVE GAME. Remember to look for it at your favorite book store or superstore. If you don’t see it on the shelf, do me a favor and ask for it, okay? Thanks!

In celebration of the big release, I wanted to share an excerpt with you and the inspiration for that particular scene. Are you ready for this?

****

Kate yanked open her front door and almost dropped her beloved Tea-Rex mug as she stared bleary-eyed at the surprise addition to her front porch. An oversized shoe box sat on her “Come back after basketball season” doormat.

She toed the mystery box, then glanced from left to right, making sure no one lurked in the shrubs waiting to snap a picture of her bending over in stretched-loose gym shorts and a faded T-shirt. The warm mug curled close to her chest, she squatted and flipped the lid off the box with one finger. Breath caught in her lungs, and she blinked in surprise.

The shoes nestled in the folds of tissue paper were a swirl of outlandishly obnoxious neon colors. So bright, mere humans would need a pinhole projector to view them properly. She fell in love on sight.

“Come to me, my pretties,” she whispered, setting her tea aside to draw the box closer. The tissue crinkled as she pushed it back. “Where did you come from, huh? Shoe fairies?” She touched one neon-orange lace and sighed. “Are you looking for a good home?” She peeked at the label on the box. “Look at that. Just my size.”

Caffeine and nowhere-to-be-seen newspaper forgotten, she lowered the lid, gathered the box in her arms, and carried the precious foundlings inside.

Perched on the edge of the sofa, she stared at the prize in her lap. Her heart thrummed against her breastbone, and a giddy, bubbly rush of anticipation simmered in her veins. She couldn’t remember the last time someone had given her a present, much less one this heart-trippingly perfect. She bit down on the tip of her tongue as she tossed the lid aside. A girly laugh of delight rushed past her lips the second she caught a glimpse of the shoes in the light.

Hooking her fingers under the laces, she plucked them from their tissue nest. The box fell to the floor unheeded as she gave the shoes an impetuous little hug. She knew it was silly but didn’t really care. Let other women swoon over toothpick-heeled Jimmy Choos. She was a pushover for leather and mesh uppers with gel-filled insoles.

Setting one shoe aside, she gathered the tips of the laces to line them up. Her greedy gaze cataloged the number of eyelets and mapped the exact route she’d take through the tongue flap. It wasn’t until she reached for the second shoe that she noticed the words inked inside the box lid. The thick, bold slashes of black magic marker seemed harsh and sharply incongruous with the colorful gift.

Dinner? D

She stared at the message, the pricey shoe dangling from her fingertips and her heart lodged in her throat.

Danny.

She shook her head hard. No. It couldn’t be.

Or could it?

****

Some women collect ceramic figurines, others handbags…Kate Snyder collects shoes. Athletic shoes, to be precise. This particular character quirk was inspired by the quirkiest character I know, Julie Doner.

In celebration of the release of LOVE GAME, Julie agreed to a photoshoot. Here’s a glimpse at this author’s inspiration:

Pick up a copy of LOVE GAME tomorrow and get the whole story on Kate’s seduction by shoe. If you want to order online, here are some handy-dandy links!

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google Play ~ Kobo  ~ Powell’s ~ Books-A-Million~ The Ripped Bodice

Monday Mayhem – The calm

It’s the calm before the storm. At least, I’m trying to remain calm. The next three months are going to be a doozy.

I’ve been so focused on LOVE GAME, it’s easy to forget that EASY BAKE LOVIN’ (March 6) and PLAY FOR KEEPS (April 3) are following close behind.

How can you help?

#1 Buy the book. I know that sounds trite, but it’s true. Publishing is a business, and if these books don’t sell, my publishers have no reason to publish additional titles from me. Even if you don’t read romance, consider buying a copy for a friend, or to donate.

#2 Tell people! Talk about it. Suggest a title to your book club. No amount of paid advertising can match the power of word of mouth.  That’s a fact.

#3 Be a ripple: We are so inundated with images these days, it takes a minimum of seven visual impressions. If you see one of my books mentioned on social media or one of my posts somewhere, please share it with your friends (if you feel comfortable doing so). That’s a ripple.

#4 Review. Customer reviews on Amazon, B&N, and GoodReads are vital for an author. I’m not talking ego gratification. Many authors don’t even look at their reviews because, good or bad, they can impact writing productivity. Why do we ask for them? Because other readers look at them. So do book promotion sites. Some sites won’t allow an author to buy advertising unless they have a minimum number of positive reviews. So, even if it’s just “Hey, I really liked this book.” please  review.

#5 Tell the author. Not just me, but any author whose work you enjoy.  A letter, and email, a facebook post, a tweet – doesn’t matter if you tie note to a carrier pigeon (though I would probably make Fodder remove it from the bird’s leg). Writing is hard. This business can be brutal, and no one is immune. With each book an author places a little piece of their soul on the page. If you like something you read, tell the author. Even the biggest names have bad days. Make someone’s day.

I’m asking for your help. I need your help. Please and thank you.

Monday Mayhem – Because you’ve gotta have friendssssss

I believe it’s important for every woman to have a close female friends. Wether it’s one, or a dozen, makes no difference. The strength and resilience of female friendships is something I try to incorporate into every story I write.

The friends you can text with random questions concerning bodily functions. Those who will hold you through the worst times and cheer you through the best. I have a few I lose contact with for months or years, but when we do get together, it’s like no time has passed at all. I have some I talk to every day.

I’m lucky enough to have two groups of friends who are integral to my life:

The first is simply known as The Cabinet.

These are my closest advisors. The ones who knew me in those halcyon days before everything we did went digital. We’ve been friends since we were teenagers and will be in each other’s pockets when we go to our graves. They pre-date the husbands and kids, and have outlasted the parents in some cases. Fodder knows better than to even think about contradicting the word of the cabinet.

Smart nieces and nephews know that inviting and/or allowing Aunt Moogie’s rowdy friends to come to the festivities results in more fun and quadruple the presents! Here we all are at my nephew’s wedding + my mother the photo bomber. <3

The other group you’ve heard me mention a number of times, because without them, I would not be a writer. Period. End of story.

They are my Super Cool Party People.

This is an ever expanding group of women drawn together by a common love, and bound together by unwavering support. We are scattered all over the globe and came to each other later in life (for some of us), but that doesn’t make our bond any weaker. My life would truly suck without them.

Love Game is the start of a new series that features three women: Kate Snyder, basketball superstar and all-around champion at life;  Millie Jenkins, the PR spin master who’s better at sorting out other people’s problems that thinking too hard about her own; and Avery Preston, Feminist Literature and Women’s Studies professor who harbors a secret desire.

I hope you’ll get a chance to meet them all. LOVE GAME goes on sale in just two weeks! And, in case you missed my gushing, you can read a couple of great pre-release reviews here and here!

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google Play ~ Kobo  ~ Powell’s ~ Books-A-Million ~ The Ripped Bodice

Monday Mayhem – Quite sporty

This may or may not come as a surprise, but I am a sporty girl. After all, I was raised with a half-court basketball court for a backyard. Remember?

It’s Martin Luther King Day here in the States. A day when people dream big. When I was little, I dreamed of being Dorothy Hamill, and every time the winter Olympics roll around, I get all excited again.

You can bet I’ll be glued to the coverage. Even the curling. Hell, especially the curling.

One of the people who proofed by upcoming release, LOVE GAME, was surprised to discover how much I actually knew about sports. I guess she didn’t know I like to cook chicken while looking sportsy.

Or that I ran over three whole miles without anyone chasing me – not once, but twice!

I was raised a Cubs fan, and a Purdue Boilermaker backer. In the course of my life, I’ve been a Central Catholic H.S. Saint (4-time IHSA state football champs!) and an Illinois State Redbird.

I admit I’m certainly not the most athletic person. I may be a bit…vertically challenged, and now I’m just middle aged and lazy. My friend Julie likes to play ALL the sports.

 

  But even those of us who aren’t stoked to play soccer in a sweaty plastic bubble can be sportsy.

My friend Laurie’s family are all huge Seattle Seahawks fans:

And aside from being a football mom and show-shoer, my pal Michelle sure loves a bull rider bull riding.

Women love sports. I married an Arkansas Razorback fan. He learned to say “Go, Cubs, go!’ and I took on ‘Woo pig! Sooie!’ On my first trip to Arkansas, Fodder offered me a chance to see a musical playing downtown (and you know I love musicals), or a Razorbacks football game.

You should have heard me call those Hogs!

How about you? Are you sporty? Who are your favorites? Did you ever have the dream of being a professional athlete?

Monday Mayhem – Ramping up!

Gang, we are t-minus 29 days until LOVE GAME is released into the wild, and boy-howdy things are happening. Big things. Wow things.

In case you have somehow managed to miss my spastic whooping, this happened this week:

Yes, Publishers Weekly gave my book a STARRED review! If you want to read the whole thing, you can find it here.

I admit I cried a little when I read it. Not just because they liked my book, but because they got it. I wanted to write a book where two stubborn, strong-willed people fell in love and neither of them had to make themselves less so they could have more of a relationship.

I’m particularly proud that they caught the strong feminist streak that bonds the three female friends in the book.

Feminist is a word I had to grow into, but now I find it fits me like a glove. Maybe that’s one of the perks of becoming a woman of a certain age. I am so over apologizing for being awesome. Like Kate, Millie, and Avery, I am a strong, accomplished woman with opinions that matter, and a voice that carries. I no longer feel the need to explain or tone down my feminist tendencies.

I just hope the world can handle us.

Both LOVE GAME and PLAY FOR KEEPS are available for pre-order at every outlet imaginable (Target! Walmart!) and will be in stores February 6th and April 3rd. Be watching for a call to action here.

Avery’s story, DOUBLE PLAY, is shaping up nicely!

I’ve started reading for BINGO, have you?

I admit I’m not being very strategic, but since I can’t give myself a prize, I figure I can flit around a bit.

How about you? How is your new year going thus far?

 

Monday Mayhem – Happy New Year!

There’s so much happening in 2018 and I cannot wait to share it with all of you!

My word for the year in 2018 is BOLD. I’m going to try to live my life more boldly in the New Year.

How about you? If you had to pick one word to encapsulate your 2018 ambitions, what would it be?

Monday Mayhem – I challenge you…A challenge revised

I’ve created a reading challenge for us to start in the new year!

As some of you may know, I’m named for my grandmother, Margaret (famous for hula dancing with Don Ho at the Polynesian Palace).

They called her Grady, and there was little Grady loved more than a good game of BINGO. Don’t get me wrong, Lawrence Welk and Miller High Life (the champagne of bottle beers) were right up there, but Grady loved to play some bingo.

So, I thought in 2018, we could play some book bingo!

You in? Click to download this PDF version of the game card, and play along. I’ll make only one rule and a vague promise:

Rule: the book must be read in 2018. No counting previously read material.

Promise: The first person to BINGO will get a bookish prize. The first to cover their card will get an even better bookish prize.

Sound like fun? Start scouring your TBR lists!

ETA: I realized that Something Sporty was on there twice. I created an alternative grid if people want something…less sporty…click here. But, if you want to stick with the original, you can read both Love Game and Play For Keeps and have them covered! Just sayin’…

Monday Mayhem – The Gift of Giving Up

This time of year, I’m always focused on what I want to accomplish next year. The list is always fairly lengthy. I won’t get to everything, but I will complete some things. As I get older, I find that accomplishing some things is more than enough. The things I don’t get done will shift to the following year’s list, and life will go on.

Opened personal organizer with a to do list.

Patience is one of life’s great lessons. I haven’t mastered it, but I am learning to embrace it. I’m also learning how to let things go. This year, I plan to carry over my list of anti-resolutions. Remember these?

Stop showing and telling everything to everyone.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Stop worrying about what others think of you.

Stop waiting.

Stop doubting.

Stop being a stranger.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Stop standing in your own way.

Stop feeling guilty.

Stop thinking money creates value.

Stop feeling obligated.

Stop saying yes all the time

Stop thinking everything is a competition.

Stop trying to be like everyone else.

Stop thinking you have to get it right on the first try.

I’ve discovered that the list of things I plan to stop doing is the very definition of a work in progress. Some days I’m better at them than others.

In 2018, I’m giving myself a different kind of gift: permission to give up.

Not writing, or my day job, or anything important. But the time has come for me to put some conscious effort into quitting things that do not make me feel good.

Almost seven years ago, I quit smoking. Now, just because I list that here, don’t think for one minute I didn’t love smoking. I did. I just didn’t like the way smoking made me feel. So, I screwed up my determination and quit.

This year, I plan to give up some other things that don’t make me feel good. The first I plan to attack will be my social media habit.

No, I won’t be disappearing entirely, but I will be limiting the time I spend absorbing other people’s thoughts and opinions.

I will be around to post pictures and chat about life in general, but I’m going to start sticking to topics of polite conversation: the weather, health, and…books.

How about you? Do you plan to be a quitter in 2018? What baggage will you be ditching?