Kisses For Everyone

Well, it’s been a month since Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One was born. So far, it’s been a fantastic launch. On the first day, the book got an amazing review from book blogger and hockey lover, Diane Subsits Lynch. You can read it here. I also did a fun interview about the book on the blog of my friend and fellow author, Jaymee Jacobs. Check it out here if you want to find out what I said when a hockey player proposed to me.

Most of all, I want to say thank you to all my readers. Book sales and borrows—yes, if you’re on Kindle Unlimited you can borrow all three of my books—have been amazing! After I did my taxes this year, I made a bet that in 2014 I would double my book sales from 2013. Now that the July numbers are out from Amazon, I’m elated to say that I’ve already done this. And I still have another book coming out this year. I guess I should have made the stakes on my bet higher, but I’m still getting a free lunch!

Speaking of the next book, I figured I’d have Part Two edited by now. Ha ha. But I am working hard on the revisions and the book is taking shape nicely. I’m pretty excited about it. Can there possibly be someone better suited to Kelly Tanaka than Phil Davidson? You’ll have to read HIMB, Part Two, to find out. I’ve said that it will be out in the fall, and I’m sticking to that very vague launch date.

So, what to do in the meantime? If you haven’t done so already, I am shamelessly pleading for reviews. Being raised on serials (not Rice Crispies, the story kind) I am hooked on feedback. I crave it like a hockey fan craves the beginning of the season, which is Wednesday, October 8th for anyone else who’s keeping track. Anyway, reviews on Amazon or Goodreads are much appreciated. Honest reviews, because I can take criticism. Whimper, whimper, really I can. Although if you hated my book, why are you reading my blog?

And to show how grateful I am to everyone, I have finished the short story, French Kiss, that goes in between Parts One and Two. To get this story, absolutely free, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar. I will post an excerpt on my blog very soon, it’s a fun little tale about Montréal and cathartic violence. There’s also sex and hockey. Because that’s how we roll around here.

Introducing Melanie Ting, Book Reviewer

Like most writers, I love to read as well. My reading habits are pretty diverse, but when I first got my Kindle I made the mistake of getting a bunch of free romances. That was a trip to the intersection of Credulity Crescent and Predictability Place. I understand that some readers like to escape the real world, but I think you can escape without completely breaking the gravitational pull of common sense. However I may be wrong, which happened once in 2010.

So when it comes to romance, I stick to ones about hockey. At least if it’s bad, I still get to read about hockey. Sadly though, certain hockey romances seem to have been written by people who don’t know anything about hockey. This is something that mystifies me. Why on earth would you write about something you didn’t have a real enthusiasm for?

Anyway, I’m the world’s pickiest reader when it comes to hockey romances. And I can’t even vent, since reviewing hockey romances would be a conflict of interest for me. Not to mention the possible retaliation. “Oh, so Melanie Ting hated my realistic novel about an orphan from Africa who made his way up to the top line in the NHL and won the love of a beauty queen/sports reporter/trial lawyer/animal rights activist? Well, let me trash her stupid book about…cookies? What the heck?”

Meanwhile, Ali Crean offered to review my book for her fabulous book blog, All the Things Inbetween. And by offered, I mean she put a call out for indie books to review and I applied. She scheduled a review of my book for April, but then she got so sick that she completely stopped posting and reviewing. Desperate, she sent out a message asking if anyone would like to help her out by providing blog content. 

SuperMel to the rescue. I offered to write a couple of book reviews and author interviews. But because I’m lazy busy, I reviewed two books I had already loved and interviewed two authors I already knew. I figured I could kill a whole flock of birds with one stone (with that analogy, I’m clearly not an animal rights activist heroine) by helping out Ali, promoting two authors I admire, and also getting my name out there. And now maybe when Ali finally reads my book, she’ll think, “Well, that Cookie book’s okay, but Mel did me a solid by doing those reviews, so 5 stars!” I know, Machiavelli has nothing on my twisted mind.

My interviews and reviews have already started running. This week I interviewed Kate Willoughby and reviewed her book, On the Surface, is today. Next week, I interview Jaymee Jacobs, and review Play the Man. And do check out the rest of Ali's book blog. Her review style is like a literary cat on crack. And I mean that in the best possible way.

Having no experience at all in book reviewing, I went for the humour, and both Kate and Jaymee were totally hilarious in their interviews. Check them out and see for yourself.

Interview with Kate Willoughby where we play Marry, Date or Dump with members of the Los Angeles Kings. Woot!

Review of Kate Willoughby's hockey romance, On The Surface.

Review of Jaymee Jacob's hockey romance, Play The Man.

Interview with Jaymee Jacobs, where she explains how to tell if you're talking to a puck bunny or a hockey fan. In case you didn't know. Also you can play the Love Triangle Game, invented by me!

Q & A with author Jaymee Jacobs

Can you be close friends with someone you’ve never met? I think so! Jaymee Jacobs is my good friend and writing buddy. Even though we’ve never met in person, we’ve shared our problems, our triumphs, and most of all, our love of hockey and hockey stories. My novella, Fresh Air, resulted from a bet I had with Jaymee – as well as the inability of the Canucks to defeat the Penguins.

I initially met Jay on Blogger, where she was the reigning queen of a serialized fiction group. Her stories were exciting, realistic, steamy and most of all, literate. I started reading her stories, and one day I emailed her about some issue on her blog and as Humphrey Bogart said, it was “the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Because we believe our hockey books would appeal to the same readers, we decided to do a little cross-promotion, and interview each other. Besides, it’s fun to turn the tables and talk about someone else's writing.

Jaymee’s first book, Play The Man, is the story of Jenna, who is torn between two men. Both are extremely hot NHL superstars, so it’s not the worst dilemma a girl ever had to face. The book explores the emotional dynamics of a love triangle in a very believable way. If you havent read it yet, do check it out.

And now, Jaymee has a new book out: Shots on Net. Although I got to read the first version during the editing process, I’m currently reading the book again and I have to say, it’s really different. It’s a romance, yet the characters are completely believable. They are normal people with dreams and aspirations, who have to struggle to achieve their goals. Kevin is an attractive and intelligent hockey player, striving to make his dream of reaching the NHL even when the odds are stacked against him. Shannon is a character many of us could identify with, she’s a romantic idealist who is happiest when she’s reading a good book. Shots on Net explores both the romance and realities of being in your twenties and trying to create a fully-realized life. So without further ado, here's our Q & A session:

Q: Your new book, Shots on Net, is about the AHL. Have you been to a lot of AHL games, and how do they differ from NHL games? And how are AHL players different?

A: Believe it or not, but I've never had the pleasure of going to an AHL game. I can't seem to find anyone to take the road trip with me to see the farm teams. But I've always been curious about the AHL and the development of hockey players. There's something special about a player who grinds it out and works their way up to the NHL. It takes a lot of dedication, ambition, and practice to make the leap from juniors/college/the minors, whereas players with pure talent seem to transition straight into the NHL.

Q: I agree 100% with you on that, players who had a tough road to the NHL seem to appreciate everything more and work hard every single shift. Shots on Net is also about unfulfilled dreams. Which would you say is more important: a fulfilling career or a relationship with Mr. Right?

A: Definitely a more fulfilling career. You see, I don't think it's possible to feel "fulfilled" by a person. A significant other can make you feel loved, special, and important, but he/she can't make you feel purposeful. That only comes from pursing your own interests and dreams. I've learned from personal experience that, while the emotions another person can give you or make you feel are wonderful, those emotions don't last. The feeling of accomplishment, however, sticks with you.

Q: Another important part of the book is the fact that Shannon is a keen reader, and loves to read romances. Who are your favourite writers? What genres of books do you like to read?

A: Oh man. To answer this question succinctly is impossible. Basically, I enjoy most genres. My favorite stories involve ones with memorable characters who grow and learn to adapt, and whether that's classic literature, young adult, or chick lit, then I'll read it. Pride and Prejudice. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Good in Bed. Oh, I love Jennifer Weiner. And Jane Austen. And Dennis Lehane, who does mysteries/psychological thrillers. I'm just a sucker for a great story. 

Q: There seem to be a lot of books about hockey players lately. Why do you think that readers like hockey players as heroes?

A: Hockey players make perfect heroes. Compared to other high-paid athletes, they are humble and down-to-earth. I think it all starts with the early morning skates. They learn from a young age to work hard, and when that's a lesson learned young, it stays with them as they become adults. That attitude's so attractive!
Plus, they're professional athletes. They're hot. Masculine. Strong. What's not to like?!

Q: Jay, I know you’re a Penguins fan, but so far your books have been set in Chicago and Connecticut. Do you think you’ll write a book set in Pittsburgh?

A: I don't know! I'd love to, for obvious reasons. I'm familiar with the city, so I can give lots of details and specifics. The stories that I had written were already set in other cities. The next one that I start from scratch, though, I think will be set here in Pittsburgh. 

Q: What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a book right now?

A: I am! Readers of my blog will know that I'm working on my third title, Game On, which features Audrey Hunt and Nathan Fox. Audrey's a tenacious, smart woman who's ready to take on the world when she accepts her first post-graduation job as a reporter covering the Columbus Blue Jackets. That's all I'll say about that for now!

If youre not already familiar with Jay's writing, you have a real treat in store. Check her books out here:
Play the Man
And heres her blog, where these days she's discussing how a book comes together.