Coming soon...


The Tao of Hockey is now available for pre-order. Find it here on Amazon.com. And here's a sneak peek:


Cover Reveal for The Tao of Hockey



Finally, my evil plan is coming together. Okay, perhaps it’s not evil or a plan—but my next book is coming together. The Tao of Hockey is getting closer. The first draft has been completed and beta-read. The feedback from the beta reads has been whipped into the second draft. The second draft is currently at the editor. 

The book is the first one in a series I'm writing about a fictional AHL team, the Vancouver Vice. Here’s what Tao is about:
After being selected in the first-round of the NHL draft, Eric Fairburn was in a car accident that destroyed his career. Now, five years later, he’s getting one last chance. If he can make the Vancouver Vice of the AHL, it could be the first step to making his hockey dreams come true. There are only two things standing in his way—the coach from hell and his own self-destructive ways.

The one talent he hasn’t lost is his way with women. So he’s surprised to be shot down by a mysterious woman he meets in a bar. Eric finds himself pursuing her when he should be focusing on hockey. Yet he’s drawn to her confidence and independence, believing that might be the key to fixing his own on-ice issues.

And meantime, the cover is finally done. My poor cover designer went through the wringer on this one. It was a tough balance because while the book is full of the usual hockey drama, but the hero is a zen philosopher. Finally, I think she tired of my nitpicking and went full tilt make-Mel-happy. She changed the colour to purple and added bokeh lights which I love.  I would put those little light circles on the whole world if I could. So, here we are. What do you think?

I am really excited about this book. What’s not to like? It’s got an attractive hero, a kick-ass heroine, a fast-paced plot, and lots of hockey goodness. The launch date will be December 26th. I can hardly wait for you to read it.


Of Cookies and Men


If my books were a house, I’ve been renovating them one room at a time. First I did all the bedrooms, one for Kelly, one for Jimmy, and one for Phil. Wouldn’t that be a fun place to live? Now I’ve gotten to the kitchen and what a lovely room it is. New Subzero fridge and Wolf cooktop where Frankie loves to cook up dinner for Jake.

That analogy will make sense only if you’ve read all my books. What I’m trying to say is that I have been redoing my covers one by one. Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Parts One, Two, and Three all got new covers. And now for the last one—How The Cookie Crumbles! My designer came up with this great cover, which perfectly communicates the laughter and eating that make up Frankie and Jake’s relationship. Because we’re not putting sex on the cover.

A few people have asked me whether there will ever be a sequel to this book. The answer is a resounding maybe. I have something written in rough, but it’s kind of a downer, so I’m putting it away until I can figure out how to solve the book’s problems. Sadly, that may or may not happen.

And meanwhile I’m proceeding on my new series… more about that next post!
  



Catch 'em all!


The Hockey Is My Boyfriend trilogy traces the story of Kelly Tanaka, intrepid girl hockey player, as she grows and develops into a confident woman. Part One shows the blossoming of her first love in high school. Part Two is takes place during her university years both on and off the ice. Part Three traces her life after graduation and her eventual happy ending. 

The Relaunch


It's Kelly and Phil. Or K-Phil.

Well, my evil plans are coming to fruition. The relaunch of Hockey Is My Boyfriend is well under way, with new editions of Part One and Part Two uploading onto Amazon as I write this. A new cover for How The Cookie Crumbles is coming as well. And the only tasks remaining are a final read-through of Part Three and then off for some special formatting with the guru of formatting, Jaye Manus.


It's Kelly + Jimmy. Couple name: Jelly.

I also wanted to sing the praises of my cover designer, Murphy Rae. She’s at Indie Solutions by Murphy Rae. I found her ages ago while websurfing, but I didn’t pull the trigger on a redesign until I could see the end of Part Three. I have to confess it was hard to find a cover designer I really liked, since I’m pretty fussy. My day job is in visual arts, so I have strong opinions on what I like.


Imagine you’re a cover designer and your client says she needs three covers. And the girl has to look the same, but the two guys have to look different. Also, she’s half-Asian, athletic, and she can’t be wearing dresses or too much make-up. Um, if you could add a little hint of hockey, that would be good. If I were the designer, I’d be pulling the eject button, but Murphy Rae was extremely professional and came up with covers that I love. She even did surgery on one model so her nose looked more Asian.

Also, did you know if you search for half/Asian/women on stock photo sites, this is what you get:

 What’s really embarrassing is how long it took me to figure that out.


I am still writing the bridge story, but will get it to everyone on the mailing list this week. Meantime, reread Parts One and Two, and get ready for the awesomeness that is Part Three! (She said modestly. Hey, I’m just so excited for you to read it.)

It's Kelly + ?

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.



Where's that book, Mel?

Not reading my book, since it's only available as an e-book.

Whew, it’s February. How did that happen?

I’ve been working hard on Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Three. I want to wrap this series up strong, so my editing process has been extensive. Apparently my inner critic could hardly wait to be unleashed. However, I decided on a fairly big change in December, which has necessitated a huge re-edit and a ton of rewriting.

The more you write, the better a writer you become. While this may sound like a truism, it has made writing this trilogy a lot harder. I had the entire book written in draft form before I published Book One. However as the series progressed, I became a more critical reader and writer. This has resulted in major restructuring and rewriting of the books. I think the final result is a stronger book and so I’m giving Book Three all the time it deserves.


So apologies to anyone holding their breath and waiting for the final book. You’ve probably passed out by now. There is some good news though—a time jump means that there will be a free mini-story to bridge Books Two and Three. I will write it as soon as this book goes in for final edits.  Make sure you’re on the mailing list to receive it.

Hockey Is For Girls



Working on Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Three, I have been thinking a lot about women’s hockey. Our heroine, Kelly Tanaka, is dealing with the end of her competitive hockey career and what lies for her beyond hockey.

But in the real world, women’s hockey is alive and well. I was able to watch the All Star Game of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League on national television. The game itself wasn’t that great, but what was awe-inspiring was the camaraderie between the women playing on both teams. Although their expenses are covered, they play for no money—only for the chance to play at a high level and build the future of women’s hockey.

And speaking of the future, the crowd at All Star Game was made up mainly of young girls who love hockey. Girls don’t play hockey for the same reason as boys. There may be college opportunities but there is no money. There is no NHL paycheque at the end of the rainbow, or even work in the AHL, ECHL, or Europe. For the very best, there is only the tiny chance to play for the national team. Most girls play just because they love the game.

In today’s Globe and Mail, I read an article about backyard rinks, by the wonderful hockey writer Roy MacGregor. It’s filled with heart-warming reader photos and stories. One in particular moved me. It shows a photo of two young hockey players lit up on a small rink in the darkness, like an Edward Hopper painting. Here is Jan Krahenbil’s story:


“The rink was built this year by my husband for our two children. Our 11-year-old daughter asked for it in particular so she could practise her shooting. She has been out there for hours every day. We live on a busy street in Winnipeg and, since the rink is in the front yard, many cars drive by and honk as they see her skating by herself. One of the pictures was taken at 7 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. On her own, she will wake up and bug her older brother to go out with her. He usually obliges, but when he doesn’t, she’ll be out there on her own that early in the morning. My husband and I argued the day he came home from Canadian Tire with a $400 bill for floodlights and extension cords, but given the amount of time our daughter spends out there, I now agree it was money well spent.”

Playing for the love of the game. It doesn't get any sweeter than that.

Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two: Deleted Scene

Dogs will not appear regularly on this blog. Signed, Rex.
Surprise!

Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two is now available for pre-sale here. It takes place two years after Part One, so heres a little update for you.

When I passed my new book on to a beta reader, she sent me an electronic groan that said, I’m not going remember all the characters from Part One. I was shocked, since I’ve been obsessively rewriting about Kelly and the gang for months. But if you’re normal and unable to remember characters for weeks on end, then this post is for you. 

Originally the first chapter of Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two, was an update on all Kelly’s friends from high school—especially Phil Davidson. But most of Part Two actually takes place in new settings with new characters, so I decided to change the beginning. Thus, I deleted this chapter, which I am now presenting for your reading pleasure. It takes place nearly two years after we last saw Kelly speeding away from everything familiar, in Donna Crofton’s car. Kelly is back in Vancouver, the summer after her second year at McGill.

“I still can’t believe you made me buy a bikini,” I told April as she drove us home from Metrotown. I peeked into the bag at the two tiny scraps of brightly-printed fabric. They barely looked big enough for a Hawaiian purse dog.

“I can’t believe that you didn’t look at yourself in the mirror and decide to start living in bikinis. You actually have abs of steel, whereas mine seem to be made of Play-Doh. Seriously, Kelly, you’re in better shape every time I see you!”

“I had to be in good shape to do the West Coast Trail,” I explained. Keeping in game shape was easier if you set goals during the summer. So in early June, I had hiked the Vancouver Island trail with three of my teammates from McGill. It took us a week, the scenery was spectacular, the camping was insane, and we had seen whales and a sea lion. We all had to be in top condition to take on the trail with fully-loaded backpacks. The ladders alone were a challenge, but it was tougher still with my competitive friends trying to outdo each other.

“I liked meeting your friends from McGill,” April said. “And you know what was weird? Seeing how proud you were of Vancouver while you showed everyone around. I guess you have a different perspective since you left here, I take the city for granted.”

“I love Vancouver,” I declared. I had to show those Easterners what real mountains and big trees look like.”

“If you like it so much, why are you leaving so soon?” April complained. I was leaving in three days for a job at a hockey camp in New Brunswick.

“Don’t you start. Between my friends and my parents, I feel like I’ve spent half the summer defending why I’m not going to be here for the other half. Teaching at a hockey camp will be a great experience for me.”

“Too bad it’s not closer. Although I suspect you have ulterior motives for fleeing, like avoiding commitment.”

“This is actually why I’m leaving Vancouver. I’m hoping to find a place where the amateur psychologists don’t already know my flaws.”

“No wonder you’re going to the Maritimes, Vancouver and Montréal are already out. I noticed that Deirdre can read you like a book. She’s a hoot.”

Deirdre Tough was my best friend on the McGill team. She was the one who got me the hockey camp job. It was hers originally, but then she got a chance to join the national team training camp in Calgary so she recommended me instead.

“Are we not going to your house?” I wondered as April turned up my street.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot to mention that I have a late date,” April explained.

“Who’s the lucky guy?” I wondered.

“Damien. Remember, you met him at a couple of weeks ago? He’s doing a play, so we’re getting together afterwards.”

April’s acting career had gone up and down. She had a recurring role on a teen drama in L.A., but that had just been cancelled. So now she had nothing going on and was doing every possible audition. She pulled the car into my driveway and yanked up the parking brake. “I still have half an hour, so I can stay for a chat,” she declared.

“Okay. My mom was baking up a storm today, so there’s probably something good to eat.”

“No way!” April patted her stomach. “Abs of flab, remember?”

We walked up to the front door. The house looked strangely dark since my whole family had been there when I left.

“That’s weird. Maybe they all went to a movie or something,” I said. But the door was unlocked. I opened it, and suddenly all the lights came on.

“Surprise!”

To my shock, there was a big crowd of people, with my mom and dad in front. My mouth opened, but not one word came out. Everyone was watching my reaction and loving the complete shock on my face.

My mom came over and gave me a big hug. “It’s a surprise party, darling. For your birthday and because you’re going away.”

“It’s not my birthday,” was all I managed to say.

My mom laughed. “I know, dear, I was there. But you won’t be here on the real day.”

Someone turned on music. I managed to close my mouth and look around. All my good friends from high school were here, as well as a few of my parent’s close friends. There were even a couple of McGill friends who lived here.

Cameron zipped over. “Hi, April. Can I get you a drink?” Without even turning my way, he added, “Uh, you too, Kelly.”

“We’ll both have Cosmopolitans,” April declared, and off he went.

“Unless my parents have conjured up a bartender, I don’t know how he’s going to get a complicated mixed drink in this house.”

April flipped her hair. “When a guy wants to be your white knight, he wants a difficult task to perform. So until there be dragons in the Cove, a Cosmopolitan will have to do.”

“I can’t believe he still likes you, high school was two years ago!”

“It’s only because he hasn’t actually dated me. Reality sucks,” April said.

Charmaine came over, and she wasn’t alone. There was a tall, skinny dark-haired guy with her. He was nerdy-cute.

“Kelly! Happy early birthday.” She gave me a hug and then introduced us to her date. “April, Kelly, this is Will.”

We both smiled and greeted him politely. Even April was on her best behaviour because Charmaine had been mentioning Will, each time with goofy grin that was quite unlike her. Not only had she started dating at university, but now she wasn’t even dating Chinese guys—much to her parent’s disapproval. But not only did Will seem smart and nice, I liked the way he was looking at Charmaine with puppy dog eyes. They were both smitten.

Cameron returned with two red drinks in martini glasses. I didn’t even know we owned martini glasses. Maybe he drove out to a real bar and bought them. He looked extremely proud.

“M’lady,” he said, offering the drink to April with a flourish.

She sipped it and gave him a slight nod. “Not bad.”

“Thank you very much, Cameron,” I said and took a sip. It hardly tasted like alcohol, which was a sure sign there was a lot of alcohol in it. I was not a big drinker and looked around for a discreet place to leave my special drink. I noticed Phil was sitting on the couch and watching me with a smirk. We both knew what happened when I had too much to drink.

Poor Cameron, as soon as he had stammered out his latest programming accomplishments in his coop stint, April declared that we needed food and steered me to the kitchen. I was hungry. I grabbed one of my mom’s yummy cheese puffs and some carrots sticks. Then I turned to April. “I can’t believe we were together all night and you didn’t give me a hint that this was happening.”

“Never let it be said that I am not a wonderful actress. Of course, anyone but you would have noticed I was way overdressed for shopping.” She motioned to her glittery top and black mini-skirt. “And don’t forget to thank me for making you change out of shorts and a tank top.”

“I wish she was still wearing the shorts. Especially short-shorts,” said a voice behind me.

“Marcus!” I gave him a hug, “Great to see you.”

I hadn’t seen Marcus since Christmas. We started talking about his new job, he had finished a two year college degree, and now he had a job in construction management.

“I’ve got my own place now,” he bragged.

“A bachelor pad?” April wondered.

“Definitely. Just give me time to get rid of my two roommates before you come over.”

We all laughed, but Marcus was starting his real life already and that seemed pretty grown up. The whole evening was like that, catching up with everyone and joking around. I had a great time. Finally things wound down and people started to drift away.

“Can I help you clean up, Mom?” I asked. My mom was putting dishes away in a kitchen that was already surprisingly neat. I hugged her from behind. “Thanks so much for everything.”

“You’re welcome, darling! You’ve been so busy, I thought this would be a nice send-off for you.” She kissed me. “I’m fine in here. Why don’t you go out and keep your friends company.”

“I think almost everyone’s gone,” I said. I knew there was at least one person left, and I wasn’t in a rush to see him.

“Not everyone,” Phil said from the doorway. My mom beamed at him and he smiled back. Ah, the Phil Davidson Fan Club was once again in session with Molly O’Brien-Tanaka, President. My mom gave me an unsubtle shove and I went into the living room with Phil. We sat down on the couch together.

“Finally, I get to talk to the birthday girl. You’ve been ignoring me.”

“Not true. I noticed you giving me your sex-ray look all night.” I spoke in a low voice, I knew my mom couldn’t hear me but I still felt uncomfortable.

Phil laughed. “My sex-ray look?”

“Yeah, like you’re imagining us naked and having sex. You’re doing it right now!” He was looking at me with his eyes half-closed. Well, I guess it wasn’t that big an accomplishment since I already knew what Phil looked like naked, right down to the pale scar that ran up his right thigh and ended at his—I shook my head to get that image out of my head.

He was watching me. “Gosh, Kelly, that’s just my normal expression. I think you’re projecting your own fantasies. But is does it work?”

“Definitely.”

“Oh, really?” Phil moved closer and slid his arm along the couch behind me.

“Not on me. Allie Malcolm got caught in the crossfire as you were trying to zap me. I think you melted her panties right off.”

“I don’t think I even know who Allie Malcolm is,” Phil replied, puzzled.

“Well, I’m sure you’ll be hearing from her soon.”

He shrugged and leaned back. “Still doesn’t explain why you didn’t talk to me all night.”

“I don’t know, because everyone was waiting for it.”

“When have you ever cared what people think?”

“It’s not what they think so much as doing what people expect. Don’t you ever feel like rebelling a little?”

“I do what I want. It’s not a big deal to me.” He had magically moved right next to me. “I’m really going to miss you.”

I told Phil straight up that I didn’t think it was worth getting all involved when I was only in town for a few weeks. Of course, he’d seen it as a few weeks where we could be reuniting our heads off. After first year, wed gotten back together in the summer. 

“I don’t understand why you’re going to this hockey camp in New Brunswick. The flight alone will cost you more than you’re going to make.”

“Not quite. But it’s mainly to get coaching experience.”

“Why can’t you do that around here?”

“It’s not easy to get hockey jobs, everyone wants them. And this is a good camp run by an ex-NHL player. They wouldn’t have even interviewed me without Deirdre’s recommendation.” Phil didn’t look convinced, so I tried to explain how I felt. “Plus, I wanted to do something different this summer. I felt like a change. I’m tired of being old predictable Kelly.”

“Hey. I like Kelly—in all her forms.”

“Seriously, Phil, don’t you ever feel like doing what you want instead of what everyone expects.”

“I already do what I like, so it’s not a big deal. Are you becoming a teen rebel just before your 20th birthday?”

“You know me, always the late bloomer.” I was late to date and now a late adolescent.

“You weren’t late for everything,” Phil said, his voice loaded with innuendo. Yeah, because once I did start dating, I did it with a bang. Ha ha. I looked over and he was giving me that sex-ray look again. Damn. Maybe it wasn’t deliberate, but I was still getting an urge to shed all my clothing.

“Well, good night, you two.” My mom appeared in the doorway, on her way upstairs. Startled, I tried to move away from Phil but I was already at the end of the couch. Phil didn’t even twitch.

“You’re so calm,” I chided him. “When we’re here on the couch, it reminds me of high school. I feel like my parents are going to come down and get mad at us for staying up too late.” And for fooling around, I thought, but I didn’t say that part.

“We’re adults now. I’m sure your parents understand that you have a sex life.”

“Please. Don’t use 'my parents and 'sex in the same sentence.”
Naturally, even saying the word “sex” made me blush, but even more so when Phil was so close that I could feel his breath on my shoulder.

Phil inched even closer, so our thighs were touching. “How come we havent had any time alone all summer?”

“It’s just happened that way,” I lied. “I’ve been busy. We did our road trip from Montréal, then Deirdre was here, and we got ready for our big hike.”

“Okay, if that’s how you want to play it, the fact that this is the first time we’ve been alone is a complete fluke.” I knew exactly how skeptical his expression would be, which saved me from having to look at him. “But being back together last summer was great. So, why didn’t you want to go out again this summer?”

We did have a lot of fun last summer. It didn’t take Phil long to work his way right back into my life, and there was an easiness about the two of us together.

“I don’t know, a few reasons. The fact we knew we were going to break up didn’t make it any easier.” It had been surprisingly wrenching, for me anyway. Phil had seemed to roll with it, and I got the feeling he was looking forward to going back to Calgary.

“And what else?” Phil’s arm was now curled around my shoulder.

“I don’t want to do the expected thing,” I said, for the second time tonight. It bothered me a lot that Phil took for granted that when we were both in the same place, we’d get back together. I knew he had this idea in his mind that we would get back for real once university was over. But I couldn’t keep doing this over and over. “And really, Phil, the whole point of breaking up was supposed to be having new experiences.”

His body moved slightly away from me. “You seem quite able to have new experiences. What about that goalie?” Phil had not been too happy to find out that I had finally dated someone else in the winter. I’d met J.P. Denis at the rink and we had fun until he left to play hockey in Europe.

“That wasn’t a serious thing. I can’t be like you—compartmentalizing everything,” I replied.

“What are you talking about?”

“You seem to be able to pick up where we left off and then go back to Calgary and party like nothing happened. Meanwhile, I take ages to get over breaking up, and then I see you all over again—at Christmas, at reading week, in the summer. It’s like this emotional seesaw.” 

I couldn’t get into a new relationship as long as Phil was constantly on my mind. Ever since I left for McGill, I’d found that there were lots of other amazing things to do and see out there.  I wanted to have new experiences, and that included dating too. Not dating with my ex hovering in the background like some chaperoning spirit.

Phil grinned. “So, you’re fleeing across the country because you find me irresistible?”

I frowned. “I wouldn’t put it exactly like that.”

But maybe he was right.

New Book Launch



The official date for the launch of Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two will be October 30th 31st. 


Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two

Kelly Tanaka has moved on. Moved on to university and a whole new life in Montréal. She left behind her high school boyfriend, Phil Davidson, even if he keeps trying to rekindle their romance. The only thing she hasn’t left behind is her fear of commitment. 

Luckily for her, a job at a summer hockey camp is the last place she would expect to meet Mr. Right. Sure enough, from an overconfident ladies man to a tongue-tied nerd, all the guys here are Mr. Wrong. And there’s no way she could be interested in a tall, muscular centreman with the face of a fourteen-year old.


Even if he is the best hockey player she has ever seen in real life.

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. 


French Kiss


If you're on the mailing list, this is the hosting site of the short story, French Kiss, which bridges the Parts One and Two of Hockey Is My Boyfriend. If you are not, it will eventually be available as part of the complete collected version of Hockey Is My Boyfriend.
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Are you on The List?


My photos are so much lamer since I started respecting copyright.

It’s autumn, back to school, cooler nights and you know what that means: hockey season! At this time of year, I’m filled with optimism that my team will have their best season ever. But that’s because they’re full of potential and haven’t yet broken my heart. I’m sure you can sympathize, since most fans experience emotional highs and lows during the long hockey season.

Ironically, I find it easier to write in the off-season, since I’m not watching hockey games all the time. And I’ve been writing and editing a lot this summer. If you have already read Hockey Is My Boyfriend, you know that there are three parts. Part One was released on July 21st. And Part Two should be released around the beginning of the hockey season, which is October 8th. I’ve got my fingers crossed—as well as my legs, toes, and eyes—that all the revisions will be done by then.

Meantime, what to read? I’ve written a short story that links Parts One and Two. If you’re on my mailing list, I’ll be sending it out on Monday. If you’re not on my mailing list, there's a place to message me at the bottom of the righthand sidebar. If you haven’t even read the book yet, what are you waiting for?

Here’s a sneak peek of the short story, French Kiss, for you. It takes place two months after Kelly arrives at McGill.

October 2004
Kelly

Kiana, my next-door neighbour, and I were walking back to our residence after a late breakfast. It was the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend, and our residence had emptied out. Everyone within driving distance of home had fled Montréal, and the building felt strangely forlorn.
“I feel like a loser since I have nowhere to go for Thanksgiving,” Kiana complained. But she wasn’t a loser at all; she had turned down multiple invitations because she was trying to get a big assignment completed. “It’s not like I could have gone home to Oakville anyway. My parents are in Istanbul right now.”
“No way I could afford to go home to Vancouver.” I missed my family and friends a ton, but the airfare alone would have been over $600. Besides, I had games on Sunday and Monday.
“Ahmed told me that the foreign students are doing a Thanksgiving dinner, with turkey and everything, on Monday. Did you want to go to that?”
“Actually we’re doing a team potluck after our hockey game. Since we’re all here anyway, one of the assistant coaches offered to host. I’m supposed to bring a dessert. What should I get?” No way I was cooking, but dessert was easy; I’d zip over to Provigo and buy something.
“Pumpkin pie, of course,” Kiana said. But I figured someone else would do pie, maybe even bake one. I liked chocolate desserts better.
When we got up to our floor, we could see a guy hanging out down at the end of the hallway.
“Who is that?” Kiana wondered, squinting. “Oh boy, is that Carl? I thought he went back to Ottawa.” 
Carl was the “hot guy” on our floor. Kiana, as well as half the girls here, had a crush on him. Possibly she saw this as her big chance to be alone with Carl and work her charms.
“I thought everyone else left,” I said. It felt empty enough. When we got closer, the guy turned around at the sound of our voices.
“Not Carl,” Kiana whispered to me. “But something even better. Who is that hottie?”
I sighed. “It’s my ex-boyfriend. But what the hell he’s doing here, I do not know.”


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.”