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

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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.

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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

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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?

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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?

 

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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?

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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’…

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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?

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Monday Mayhem – Kari Lemor New Release

It’s the season of giving. I hope to dedicate my blog posts this month to sharing some treats with you!

My fellow Lyrical Press author, Kari Lemor, has a new release this week. Check it out:

Fatal Evidence

Kari Lemor

What you don’t know can get you killed . . .

Construction company owner Scott Holland doesn’t go looking for trouble, but he’s just stumbled on plenty. The rundown mill he’s bought is plagued with mysterious incidents, and his investment partner, heiress Heather Silva, is as stubborn as she is intriguing. Dumped by his ex because of his blue-collar job, Scott is wary of Heather’s privileged background. Yet he’s drawn to her independence and strength, especially as the “accidents” grow more terrifying.

Determined to succeed without anyone’s help—especially her wealthy parents—Heather clashes with Scott again and again. But a grisly discovery makes them both targets. Someone wants Heather and Scott silenced for good. And as a killer closes in, the only option is to trust each other—or become the next victims…

Early Praise for Fatal Evidence:

“Fatal Evidence is fun and flirtatious, the characters are nicely developed and the story is engaging. Lemor has brought happily-ever-afters and laughter into the hearts of readers.” ~ RT Book Reviews

Fatal Evidence has the right amount of everything I love in a book: mystery, suspense, intrigue, sexual chemistry, family drama and great friendships. Throw in an heiress turned real estate agent trying to get out from under her rich family and her entitled role and add a blue-collared construction worker with a chip on his shoulder and it’s perfect. …Enjoyed all the books in this series so far and loved the hint at the next to follow.” ~ Carolyn’s Book Reviews

“Lemor once again incorporates humor, romance and suspense to make this novel another must read!” ~ Goodreads

Excerpt:

“Hold still,” he scolded and pulled her tighter to his chest. “Now listen up while I give you the run down on the condos up here.”

He walked around the space as if he wasn’t carrying a full-grown woman in his arms. Damn impressive. The pectoral muscles beneath her hand weren’t too shabby either. Continuing on with his description, he seemed to not even realize she was there. At the windows, he set her down and stood behind her looking out, pointing to certain landmarks in the small mill town that you could see from here.

He had been affected by carrying her. The erection digging into her back was evidence enough. Good to know. Not that she wanted anything to happen. They were business partners now. They had to be professional.

“Ready to go?” His gravelly voice sent goose pimples crawling across her arms, and she rubbed them.

“Cold? You should have worn a warmer coat. You’ve lived in New England all your life. You should know April can be chilly. Plus the heat hasn’t been on in this building for years.”

“I’m fine,” she lied. The cold wasn’t getting to her. It was him and his annoyingly sexy presence. She wouldn’t tell him though.

“I’ll make sure to let you know when the permit comes through. If I don’t have it by next week, I’ll call and check on it.”

“Perfect, but remember I’m in on this too. If you need me to do anything, you only need to ask.”

“I will.” His sexy smile was back as he glanced up and down her body. “Ready for your ride down.”

“You don’t have to carry me. I’m fine walking.”

“And killing yourself by falling down three flights of stairs. Then where does my funding for this project go?”

“You already have access. You don’t need me.”

“Stealing from a dead woman, though. That just seems…wrong.”

The chuckle escaped before she could stop it. He seriously had a warped sense of humor at times. Moving closer, he placed his hand on her hip.

At her indignant look, he said, “You could always ride piggyback if you don’t like me carrying you.”

Scanning her slim skirt, she scoffed. “A piggyback ride? In this?”

“You could hike up the skirt then jump on.”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

His eyebrows went up and down. “Very much.”

Closing her eyes, she sighed then held out her arms. “Fine, come get me, my prince. Rescue me from the dangerous crumbling castle.”

Scott sidled closer then ran his hands down her hips. One hand continued down her leg until it slipped under. His other hand caressed her back then he scooped her up in his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held on as he trotted back down three flights of stairs. At the bottom he didn’t release her right away. And for some reason she didn’t tell him to.

His eyes roamed over her from head to toe and lingered on those heels. Slowly, he allowed her feet to slide to the floor, her body rubbing against his hardness, sending fluttering sensations through her blood stream. As her shoes touched the ground, he leaned in close, his manly smell assaulting her nostrils. Inhaling the scent, she waited for his next words.

His breath drifted across her cheek. “Next time, you should think about wearing a sensible pair of shoes.”

 

Buy Links:

Amazon

Apple

Google

Kobo

B&N

Check out the other books in the Love on the Line series:

Wild Card Undercover:  http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/34406

Running Target:  http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/34984

Follow Kari on social media:

https://www.karilemor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Karilemorauthor

https://twitter.com/karilemor

https://www.pinterest.com/karilemor/

https://karilemor.tumblr.com/

 

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