Great News

Lots of good news! Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Three is finally done. It’s in copy-editing right now and unless there are drastic changes or formatting issues, I am planning to release the book on June 1. There will be no presales so I can get the book to you the soonest—after all, it’s only four months later then I said it would be.

I have been working and reworking this book for the last seven months, no lie. Part Three went through a lot of different iterations, but I believe it’s a lot stronger now and has some interesting structural quirks. I’m really excited to hear your reactions.

I am currently writing the bridge story, so I will send it out in my newsletter next week. And if you’re not like me—completely immersed in the life of Kelly Tanaka—it may be time to reread Parts One and Two. If you’re not on the email list yet, you can sign up right over there -----> 

And I have new covers too. I’ve been working with a fantastic cover designer and I’m redoing all my covers. I now have a marketing mentor, author Zoe York. Her first directive was to get my books looking more like other hockey romances. So I have done that, and I will do a full relaunch of my books on June 1st as well. Party! Confetti! Just in time for the Stanley Cup Finals too.

I want to thank everyone who took a chance on me when my covers were different. I like to think that you are all people who put writing first, which is what I do when I choose books. I think my book sales have been great and I’ve been been in touch so many lovely readers. However, Zoe thinks I can reach a wider audience. And that’s what all authors want, right?

I will reveal all the new covers soon, but here’s a sneak peek!

Yup, full wrap covers. That means real, live books too.

Coming soon... really!

Hello to all my patient readers!

If you’ve been holding your breath, waiting for Part Two of Hockey Is My Boyfriend, then you’ve probably passed out by now. And I’m really sorry about that. I know I promised this book for October, and I was aiming for the start of the hockey season. However, now it’s going to be closer to that other momentous October date, Hallowe’en. Still, it’s better than my first two books, which were both months behind schedule—something to do with that toxic mix of editing and perfectionism.

But enough of my psychological issues, I will have an official launch date and online presales later this week. In the next two weeks, I'll tell you lots more about the book. I have a special offer. And the blog will have a deleted scene from the book which will update you on everyone from Part One. And newsletter readers will get another deleted scene as well—so sign up on the right, if you haven't already.

And what’s the book about? Well, it takes place two years after the first book. Kelly has completed two years at McGill, and she’s come home for the summer. But she’s not staying in Vancouver for very long. She’s winging her way cross-country to a town in the Maritimes, called Fredericton. Do you know Fredericton? A quick poll of my on-line writing group found all the Americans scratching their heads and a few Canadians giving guarded “Yes, but don’t make me find it on a map” answers. One woman answered, “Of course,” but she lives there.

So if you don’t know it, Fredericton is a very pretty town and the capital of New Brunswick. Don’t make me explain New Brunswick. Let’s just say it’s in Eastern Canada. Take a left from Sidney Crosby’s house, drive five hours and you’re there. And Kelly’s there too. Well, she's nearby at the wholly fictional Lake Carswell, working at a hockey camp. And she’s going to meet someone there, because it’s a romance, right?

I don’t like to brag, but I genuinely feel that after all the writing, editing, and sweaty effort, this is my best book yet! I really hope you’ll enjoy it. 

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.

Friday Night Romance

Where's that recipe?

Today, my book is featured on Friday Night Romance. This site has one of the sexiest landing pages I’ve seen on a book blog. I’d like to imagine myself reading a book that way: dressed in a sequinned dress with an icy martini on a Persian rug. There’s undoubtedly a guy or multiple guys admiring me as I read, because I don’t put on those false eyelashes for nothing. Am I right?

The reality would be me, lying on the couch in yoga pants and a t-shirt, reading a book. I am being admired by a cat, who is actually wondering when I might feed him, or failing that, die so he can eat my corpse like that episode of C.S.I. I once saw.

Okay, enough morbid digressions. You may be wondering how I got my book on a sexy book blog. Especially one that usually reviews paranormal and fantasy romances.

Easy peasy, the blog is written by a woman named Kelly Matsuura. See the parallels to the heroine of Hockey Is My Boyfriend? Kelly first-name, Japanese last name? Coincidence? I think not. Kelly (the real person) jokingly thanked me for naming my heroine after her! Truth was I found Friday Night Romance ages ago, noticed the similarities and decided that when I finally published this book, I would approach her.

So although Kelly Matsuura does not read hockey romances, she does like multicultural heroines, and here we are. I confess that my heroine isn’t really that Japanese—much to the disappointment of Dave Vanderhauf. (That’s an in-joke. You have to read the book to get it. Chapter 35? Anyone? Anyone?)

So, promotional lesson learned: make sure your book heroine has a similar name to a cool blogger. Check out Friday Night Romance here.  

Launch Day!

Is that a rocket in your pocket?

Well, today is launch day for Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One, and so far it’s been fabulous, darlings! I just looked at the latest sales numbers and my book is already in the top 100 of sports fiction on Amazon. I’ve even made a sale on the brand new Kindle Unlimited. Woohoo, catnip for everyone. Well, everyone who’s sitting on my desk as I write this.

However, I got even better news late last night. From my personal research (aka obsessiveness) there are only a few book bloggers who review hockey books regularly, and the best one is Diane Subsits Lynch. Diane sincerely loves hockey and reads most of the hockey fiction that comes out. She was nice enough to feature How The Cookie Crumbles on her blog when it debuted. This time out, being slightly more organized, I was able to offer her an advance copy for review.

Earlier this week, I had expressed my nervousness about sending the new book out in the world. So imagine how I felt when Goodreads let me know that Diane was currently reading the book. Breathe in, breathe out.

But Diane loved the book! Her review completely blew me away. I’m trying to be cool, but this is actually my first review on a real book blog and I’m absolutely ecstatic. As an indie author, it’s more challenging to get publicity and this begins my launch on such a high note. Being a pro, Diane also cross-posts her review on 18 different platforms, including Goodreads and Amazon. Phew!

But why take my word for it? Check out the review on  Diane’s Book Blog here. And check back with her regularly for more hockey book reviews!

And most of all, thanks to all my readers for their support while I was endlessly editing and for making this launch day a big success.

Only One Sleep Left!

Whew, Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One will launch tomorrow. And just in time, since I have completely run out of questions to ask myself. So this is the last Q & A session. This is the last time I will ever interview myself—much to the relief of everyone, including me.

Q: When can I buy this book?
A: Well, I have uploaded it and Amazon says it will be available in 12 hours, which would be midnight tonight. So exactly on July 21st, which is the birthday of our heroine, Kelly Tanaka! Of course, the Zon is little unpredictable, so it could be live right now, or not until tomorrow morning. I will post the link when it's live.

Q: Who will like (y)our new book?
A: People who like to read about hockey and/or relationships, but like a dash of realism. Also any of my friends and family who want to remain so.

Q: How will you be celebrating the publication of your third book?
A: To celebrate I am going to be eating cake and possibly drinking something with fruit and tequila. Maybe I’ll replay a hockey game to get into the spirit. I can choose between the Olympics and a whole DVD of World Junior Hockey Championships I got on sale. Then, I’ll start editing Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two.

Q: Any last words, Mel?
A: Buy the book! You’ll enjoy it and you’ll be keeping me in cake.

Drive Me Crazy

Woot, only two days left until the launch of Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two.
I’m very excited, mainly because I can finally stop asking myself questions. People around me are starting to whisper and give me pitying glances. More than they do normally.

Q: So Mel, in a sentence, what is the book about?
A: This book is essentially about first love. That time of life when you search for meaning in every word or action. When just the touch of someone’s hand sends your body into overdrive. That crazy mix of hormones and emotion, where everything is so important and dramatic. 

Q: That was more than a sentence. You seem to be speeding down Memory Lane in a Ferrari.
A: Yes, and now I must go and take a cold shower. Speaking of cars, here’s another excerpt. Kelly is confiding in her most practical friend, Charmaine.  
Charmaine shook her head. “You’re asking the wrong person. I know nothing about relationships. I do know I could never go out with a guy like Phil.” 
“What does that mean, a guy like Phil?” 
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you.” Charmaine peered at me to make sure I wasn’t offended. “I only meant that I could never date him because he’s so out of my league.” 
“Why not? You’re cute and really smart. What more could a guy want?” 
She started to giggle nervously. “Phil is so good-looking and experienced with women. Dating Phil would be like learning to drive in a Ferrari—way too much car for a beginner.” 

April Showers... And Bathes As Well

....bring May flowers
This is part of a daily series of interviews leading up to the July 21st launch of Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One, where I ask myself questions and then answer them. You don’t have to tell me, I know it’s weird. I’m looking forward to the actual book launch, where I’ll get to answer someone else’s questions.

Q: Well, our reading audience seemed to enjoy hearing about the hero of the book, page hits were way up. Except for the hero sandwich photo. I’m sure some other kind of ribs would have gone down better. Heh, heh.

A: I refuse to objectify men. Except in my writing.

Q: Let’s get back on track. Tell us more about Kelly’s best friend, April Lachance?

A: I have a beta reader named Daisy who adores April. She likes her sarcasm, her confidence, her great clothes, and the fact she gets to dole out advice to Kelly all the time. Daisy has a secret dream to be an advice columnist or a television judge. I think she identifies with April, big time. Daisy was quite offended when April said something slightly cruel to Kelly and made me take that part out of the book. Daisy seems to be bossy enough to be a judge. Good thing she doesn't read my blog.

What I like is the easiness of the relationship between April and Kelly. They’ve known each other since they were ten years old, and remained best friends the whole time.
I love my long-term girlfriends, the ones I too have known for years. We understand each other’s personalities so well and there’s no fooling each other or pretending to be something that we’re not. April knows Kelly’s idiosyncrasies and helps her when she wants help.

And the book has one of my favourite kind of scenes: a makeover! I love all kinds of makeovers—rooms, finances, gardens—but my fav is appearances. So that’s what I wrote in here. In fact, April fixes Kelly up in each book in the series! You’d think Kelly would get the hang of dressing herself, but apparently not. So if you too like that, here’s a little excerpt from Chapter Nine, Makeover Magic.

Back at her place, April sat me down at her dressing table. “Okay, makeup time.” 
“Really? I don’t want to wear a lot of makeup,” I protested. This date was turning into a way bigger deal than I thought. 
“Don’t worry, Kelly. After all these years, I know you.” April and I had been friends ever since I moved to North Van seven years ago. “Close your eyes.” 
I closed my eyes, felt April’s fingers near my eyes and then a sharp pain. 
“Ouch! What are you doing?” I asked. My eyes flew open, and she was holding a pair of zebra print tweezers with one of my hairs in them. 
“Do you know how long I’ve been wanting to clean up your eyebrows? You have nice brows, but when I take out a few stray hairs, it’s really going to open up your eyes.” 
“But it hurts,” I protested. My eyes were watering as she kept plucking. 
“Don’t be a baby. I’m sure getting slammed into the boards hurts more than having your eyebrows plucked.”

Hello Hero

What you get when you Google image search "hockey hero"

Q: Well Mel, yesterday’s post was kinda whiny. So today, let’s talk about something more exciting—sex! Tell us about the hero of Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One, Phil Davidson.

A: If you like guys who are tall, dark and good-looking with great bodies, you might find Phil attractive. Also, he has a soft side: he’s into music and likes to play guitar. And he's definitely vulnerable when it comes to anything around our lovely heroine, so awwww. Phil is packing heat, if that matters to you. But most importantly for Kelly, he’s athletic and good at hockey. They do all kinds of outdoor things together: hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and swimming. 
It’s a match made in Vancouver. Really, around here all anyone wants to know on Monday is whether you went to Whistler in the winter or the beach in the summer.

Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One is about first love. Phil and Kelly have known each other since they were ten years old and they’ve always been good friends. As Phil has, er, matured, he’s become interested in Kelly in a whole new way. Apparently that’s a whole romance genre: the friends-into-lovers thing. But really, it makes a lot of sense, a person that you know and feel comfortable with is a good candidate for a relationship. Or maybe they set the bar for what your ideal may be.

I’ll let Phil explain it himself. When Phil was sixteen, he started looking at Kelly differently. Here’s an excerpt from the book, from Phil’s POV:

I could also pinpoint the day I started liking Kelly for real. 
It was a few months ago. For a while, I’d been noticing that she was developing physically, and I was changing too. 
One day, we went for a long kayak ride. It started raining on the way back, and we were getting chilled. After we put the kayak away, we ran up to the deck, and jumped in our hot tub to warm up. She didn’t have her bathing suit, so she stripped down to her sports tank and borrowed a pair of running shorts from me. 
“Holy doodle, this feels great.” Kelly sunk down into the water. “Really, it’s like everything good at once, we’re getting warm and the jets are massaging us.” 
She fully immersed herself for a moment. Then she brought her head up and made this noise, almost a moan, and I got a hard-on. 
Her eyes were closed, and I really looked at her.Lots of half-Asian girls are cute, but Kelly was all bright and energetic. When she talked, her whole face lit up. But now, when she was completely relaxed, she looked beautiful. Her face was kind of heart-shaped, with tanned skin, a few freckles, long eyelashes, and really full lips. And her body was hot, too. Kelly was strong; she went to the gym a lot, so she had great definition in her arms and legs. But she also had a tiny waist and this incredible ass. 
She opened her eyes and smiled at me. Luckily she had no clue what I was thinking, which was mainly how I’d like to jump her, right there and then. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post. And remember, Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One will be available for download on July 21st.

Party Girl

If nobody comes to my party, I'll eat these all by myself.
Today our Q & A is less breathless. There’s only one question: What kind of expectations do you have for Hockey Is My Boyfriend?

A: Augh. Such a tough question.

Each time you write a book, it’s like throwing a party. You do all the preparation: cleaning your place, buying drinks and food, cooking, decorating, etc. Then there’s this one moment before the party starts that you think, “Is anybody going to come?” Right now is that moment.

I feel pretty blessed with the sales of my first long novel, How The Cookie Crumbles. I knew very little about book marketing or promotion, so basically I put the book out there and crossed my fingers. Lots of great people found the book and let me know how much they enjoyed it. I took it for granted that many indie authors had good sales, but since then I’ve learnt that many sell less than a dozen books to non-family member.

As I’ve written before, I think my success is partly due to the fact that romance readers are avid readers who are able to size up books from the sample and don’t need a ton of hype. In addition, lots of readers—me included—just like hockey books.

Having said that, I don’t think that my books are typical. They are usually longer than most novels, and mix up humour, drama, and sex in a way that makes them a little harder to classify.

Hockey Is My Boyfriend is different in a few ways. In the first chapter, the heroine is only fifteen years old! I’m pretty sure that will turn off some readers right there. But it’s about first love, so I wanted to start at the beginning. Don’t worry, nothing statutory happens, and I fast-forward two years soon afterwards. 

The other way that HIMB is different is that it’s divided into three parts. Part One takes place in high school. Part Two takes place during Kelly’s third year at university. Part Three is when she graduates and starts working. So it’s a long story—surprise, surprise, I know.

So, while I’m extremely excited about the book (after all the rewriting and editing I’ve done, I should be!) I’m still getting the pre-party jitters. I worry that people sampling the beginning will write it off as some lame young adult novel. And I’m worried that people who think it’s a YA novels are going to freak out when they get to the sex scenes. 

But why worry? This book is for smart readers who are interested in relationships. And hockey. And I’m sure those people will find it.

A Week of Awesome

Only one week to the July 21st launch of Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One! So, leading up to the big day, I will post daily questions about my latest masterpiece. And then I will answer them! A circle of self-indulgence, really. But hopefully the Q & A will tantalize you enough to want to read the book.

Q: So Mel, what’s the new book about?
A: Well Mel, the new book is about Kelly Tanaka. Our heroine is a little hockey-obsessed, she plays hockey and loves to watch hockey and discuss hockey.

Q: Hmmm, a hockey-obsessed woman? This is sounding a little familiar….
A: I can’t skate. So, not that similar at all.

Q: Are there any attractive guys in the book?
A: Yes. At least two. And so romance as well as hockey. Therefore, a hockey romance!

Q: Why is it called Part One? Is this like Star Wars, where there are all those stupid prequels and sequels? That irritating Jar Jar Binks isn’t involved is he?
A: No irritating characters here, except maybe Ada in Chapters 37 & 38. Hockey Is My Boyfriend is a trilogy. The completed adventures of Kelly Tanaka currently sit at 300K words—so rather than creating the proofreading job from H-E-double hockey sticks, I divided the narrative into three parts. Parts One and Two are both the size of a normal novel at 70,000 words—well, actually 69K *snicker snicker*—and Part Three is 160K. And I haven’t yet edited Parts Two and Three. When I edit, sometimes things get longer…

Q: Is there a happy ending?
A: Well, you know, it depends what you mean by a happy ending. Some people might consider the personal growth and independence of the heroine as a happy ending. Others might see the evolution and hardiness of the human spirit as a good note to end upon.

Q: So, no.
A: No. Not until Part Three.

Q: Is there a cat?
A: Of course, there’s always a cat. This one is named Gino. Yes, after that Gino.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's awesome questions and so-so answers!
A: I think you've got that reversed.

Happy Days!

Today is Canada Day and the perfect day to announce that my very Canadian heroine, Kelly Tanaka, will have her book launched this month. Maybe her name doesn't sound Canadian, but she is. She loves hockey! She's multicultural! She's sexually backward. These are all proud Canadian traditions.

The book is written, edited and finalized. Formatting is in progress, and I have a new cover. I did keep the results of the cover vote in mind, but I also went back to my original design brief of quirky minimalism and tweaked a whole bunch of stuff. And when I say "design brief," I mean that I brief myself and then tell myself how I've done. A weird process, but then I also pay myself $10,000 for the great cover. Don't tell the tax department.

Without further fanfare, here's all the news: Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One, will launch on July 21st, which is coincidentally Kelly Tanaka's birthday. Yay, cake all around!