Monday, April 11, 2016

Softball, Baseball, and The Heartbreaker - by Maddie James

It's that time of year again -- softball and baseball season.

When my son and daughter were young, we spent many a summer at the ball fields. My daughter played fast-pitch softball, and my son baseball. We lived in the bleachers from spring to fall. Suppers were often hot dogs or nachos from the concession stand, flavored with dust from the infield. A bottle of water or a fountain Diet Coke washed it all away--until next time. (I really miss these days but that's another story...)

After I sold my first book, I was eager to sell again. While sitting in the bleachers one evening at my daughter's practice, my son joined me and asked what I was thinking about. I could have said I was concentrating on what his sister was doing on the field, but I didn't. I said, "I'm thinking about the next book I need to write. Brainstorming in my head."

He replied with, "I can brainstorm with you."

Smiling, I thought it was pretty cool that this thirteen-year-old kid would even consider brainstorming a book with his mother. But he did. "I want it to be set in a small town, like ours--but not ours. I need to make up a new one."

"Freedom, Tennessee," he responded without a hitch. I looked at him, surprised.

"Why Freedom. And why Tennessee?"

"Because we live in Kentucky, and if you don't want it set here, Tennessee is close. And Freedom is a cool name."

I agreed. So, Freedom, Tennessee, it was--the setting for my new story. From that beginning, we decided that the heroine would work for the local Parks & Rec department--something we knew a little about since my kids had been highly involved in all kinds of sports since preschool. The hero, we decided, would be a doctor. They would live next door to each other--in fact, grew up next door to each other--although the doctor had recently moved back.

But why? To take care of his younger brother, we decided. A troubled, teenage younger brother. And from experiences both my son and I have had, we created a loose plot for the book. I even borrowed, generously, from something that one his friend's little brother did--with a BB gun. (You'll have to see the opening of the book, for more on that!)

The Heartbreaker was my second published book by Kensington for their Precious Gems line. (Take a look at that mullet on the cover!) And as exciting was it was to sell that second book, the thing I remember most about writing it, was sitting there with my son that evening plotting away. He's thirty-years-old now, and I doubt he even remembers, but it's something I will never forget.

So, The Heartbreaker, lived a good, long life with Kensington, and enjoyed some foreign sales, but I'm glad to say that the story has been republished under my own imprint now. I hope you'll check it out.
****

The heartbreaker is back in town… 

Lucki Stevenson spends most of her time coaching unruly teenagers and avoiding the unwelcome advances of a co-worker in her Parks Department job. So when all-grown-up, boy-next-door, Dr. Sam Kirk moves back into his childhood home, she doesn’t hesitate welcoming him back into town and her life, as her childhood best friend, of course. Because that’s all they will ever be—best friends.

Sam broke her heart once; she won’t give him a chance to do it again.

Returning home to care for his younger brother J.J., after his mother’s death, Sam is happy to accept Lucki’s expert advice about kids—and even happier that the tomboy he remembers is now a beautiful woman. When Lucki agrees to help him with J.J., Sam is sure he’s on the road to success as an instant parent, and possibly as a husband—but first he’s got to convince Lucki that he’s not the heartbreaker of her past.

In fact, he might have to get the whole town in on the act.

Maddie James writes romance – don’t try to pin her down to one genre. From edgy suspense to flirty contemporary romance to darker erotic titles, she just wants to silence the people in her head. Find out more at www.maddiejames.com.

22 comments:

  1. I love this post! And I loved those years on the bleachers, too. Thanks for sharing those memories, Maddie.

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    1. You're welcome, Liz. I relive those years now with grandkids, but I don't get to their games nearly as often as I would like....

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  2. What a great post! I've plotted with family, too. One Christmas we were all involved with plotting one of my books. It was a lot of fun even though it was very dark. Someday I'm going to write it.

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    1. That's great, Karen! I, too, have a bunch of those "yet to write" plotted books. One day we will get to them. :)

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  3. The story about your son is beautiful and your book sounds great. Good luck with the re-release. I remember my mom sitting in the bleachers for all of my softball games. Good memories of my summers.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Carol! It's great to see you here. Yeah, summers with the kids were awesome. I sure do miss those days!

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  4. What a great storry, Maddie! Those memories are truly the stuff life is made of. I,too, have had my kids involved in various aspects of the creative muse. The Hardt brothers is courtesy of one of my sons when I was stuck for the right last name.

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    1. Hey, those kids come in good for all kinds of things, don't they?

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  5. What a nice memory and fun interaction with your son. I know what you're saying, that those times were great. So happy you've had and are having a successful writing career. I love the setting for your book. Your son was good inspiration.

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    1. Thanks, Lynn. He's a great kid. Now a great dad too!

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  6. What a fun story! Brought back softball memories for me, too. And plotting a middle-grade (I think) book with my daughter...which I never wrote. But I should some day.

    I can't wait to get back out watching ball games though. Grandson should be ready in about 5 or 6 years!

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    1. Bonnie, 5 or 6 years will be here soon enough! I can't believe my oldest granddaughter is now in middle school, and playing fastpitch like her mom. Really takes me back!

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  7. What a great story about brainstorming with your son! I couldn't begin to count the hours I've spent at ball fields. Starting a new round with the grands now. :-0

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    1. I hear ya, Becky! I have two sets now two. The olders and the youngers. :)

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  8. Now working on a story while sitting in the bleachers brings back so many memories. Most of mine were spent on bleachers at the local pool while my younger daughter competed in swim meets. At first the other parents looked at me as if I had two heads when I arrived with a stack of pages and a red pen for editing my work or doing page proofs back in the "old days" when they were sent on paper. One finally asked what I was doing, and the word apparently spread quickly through the swim moms. After that I was introduced to new swim parents as "our author." Of course, I was delighted to be so designated when I was sitting there with hair frizzed out to there and sweat running down my face. LOL!

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    1. Jo Ann, isn't it interesting how people you've known, or have been acquainted with for a long time, look at you differently once you are "outed?" I was buying a car once when the finance person came out and asked me about being an author. He looked at my boyfriend at the time and said "I bet going out to dinner is fun. Do you take a jet?" I about spit my coffee on the floor. Jet? He should have known from my paltry income that a jet was not in the realm of possibility! it is just so interesting, the perspectives...

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  9. Man, what a great son you have! And, man, you made me think of all those years we sat on bleachers with out boys, first for more than a dozen years of Little League, then high school.
    Wonderful days! Miss them. And I miss the other parents to whom I used to be close but don't see much any more. Your covers are both good, but I do love the new one. And the "new" author name!

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    1. Thanks, Cheryl! I'm glad the post hit home (pun intended) with so many of you. I don't feel so alone anymore with my memories. :)

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    2. The park story was a wonderful, warm memory but I was completely caught by the "jet to dinner" story. Bet you have a lot more where those came from.

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    3. Patricia, maybe that's a good topic for some blog posts one of these days -- all of the assumptions people have about us "famous authors!" I liken it to when I was teaching and I would see my students in the grocery story. They're like, "You buy groceries? Why aren't you at school?"

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  10. Great post, Maddie, because you mention some of my favorites: baseball (hurray, it's back), brainstorming ideas, and the surprising things kids come up with. Your son is a treasure. Does he still brainstorm with you now that he's grown?

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  11. Thanks, Joan. Not so much these days. He's a busy husband and father of two little girls. The youngest, is a medically fragile infant with congenital heart defects. She had open heart surgery at 12 hours old! She's 6 months old now and doing great (with limitations) but most of that time she's been hospitalized at two different hospitals. Sooooo, he's been totally busy and occupied with his family. And that is understandable!

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