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1. Guest Post and Giveaway: Julie Brannagh, Author of Covering Kendall

Please give a warm welcome to Julie Brannagh!  She’s here to share a Top Ten list about Drew, her hunky hero from Covering Kendall.

The top five ways Drew McCoy of COVERING KENDALL unwinds after a game

Drew’s workplace isn’t a cubicle in an office or on a construction site. He spends his Sunday afternoons from September until February each year playing in front of 70,000+ screaming fans. Drew loves what he does, but it’s tough for him (and many other pro football players!) to unwind after a game. Here’s the top five things Drew might be doing shortly after he walks through the front door of his house on a Sunday night…

  1. Drew’s a little hungry after chasing some other team’s quarterback around Sharks Stadium for three hours. As a result, he might be out for dinner with one or more of his teammates.

Zach Anderson stopped by his locker as Drew picked up the overnight bag he brought to home games.

Hey, come on out with us. We’re going to Jak’s Grill in Laurelhurst. Cameron’s meeting us there, too,” Zach said. He grinned at Drew. “You know you want a big, juicy steak and a beer.”

It sounds great, but I think I’m going to have to pass this time.”

Other plans, huh?”

You could say that. Give your woman a hug from me.” Drew got to his feet and gave Zach an elaborate handshake. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

  1. Drew loves to read. He owns an e-reader, but prefers the feeling of a book in his hands. A comfortable chair and a new book might be just the thing he needs right now.

Drew stopped on the way home and picked up a to-go dinner. He’d watch some mindless TV, have a beer, and go to bed early with the book Kendall had given him.

He pulled into his garage, disabled the alarm system, and walked into his house. He dropped the overnight bag in his laundry room. He’d unpack it later. He moved through the kitchen and turned into the hallway by his front door to scoop up the book he wanted to start reading.

As he picked up the plastic bag with the two books, he heard a phone ringing. He unfurled the top of the bag, pulled the phone out, hit “talk,” and said, “Hello?”

Is this Drew? It’s Kendall Tracy. You have my phone.”

  1. Maybe a visit to a warm, sunny climate might improve his mood.

Drew rubbed his hand over his face and let out a groan. His concern about how he could return her phone in the most convenient way possible wasn’t self-serving at all. It had nothing to do with wanting to see her again, or spend a few more minutes chatting and laughing together. He’d go to the same lengths for anyone else.

He shook his head and muttered, “No, I wouldn’t.”

  1. Drew McCoy: Overgrown Boy Scout to the rescue.

She moved back, pulling the door open enough for him to step inside. He moved over the threshold into her house. They were still staring at each other, and she licked her lips. He tried and discarded twenty things to say to her in his head. Maybe he should keep things light. He reached into his pocket, pulled out her cell phone, and handed it to her.

I believe this belongs to you,” he joked.

Her fingertips lingered as she took the phone out of his hand. He felt the tingle all the way up his arm.

  1. If all else fails, a visit from someone special might work.

Drew was interested in watching the TV program, but he couldn’t stay awake. It had been a long day. He usually was in bed by ten on game days. He held up his phone to see what time it was: Ten forty-four. Hopefully, his mom and dad were sleeping now. He shoved his phone back into his pocket and heard someone knocking on his front door.

It was pretty freaking late for the guys to drop by and see if the cake was all gone. Maybe one of them left their phone at his house. He hurried to the front door and looked through the peephole.

Kendall looked back at him.

Drew has a few more ways of unwinding after a game. You’ll have to read COVERING KENDALL to find out what they might be!

Again, thank you so much for inviting me to visit, and Go Sharks!

Covering Kendall

Love and Football # 4

By: Julie Brannagh

October 21, 2014

Avon: Impulse

Blurb

Kendall Tracy, General Manager of the San Francisco Miners, is not one for rash decisions or one-night stands. But when she finds herself alone in a hotel room with a heart-stoppingly gorgeous man-who looks oddly familiar-Kendall throws her own rules out the window…and they blow right back into her face.

Drew McCoy should look familiar, he’s a star player for her team’s archrival the Seattle Sharks. Which would basically make Drew and Kendall the Romeo and Juliet of professional football…well, without all the dying. Not that it’s an issue. They agree to pretend their encounter never happened. Nothing good can come from it anyway, right? Drew’s not so sure.

Kendall may be all wrong, but he can’t stop thinking about her and he finds that some risks are worth taking. Because the stakes are always highest when you’re playing for keeps.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/covering-kendall-love-and-football-4-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21805397-covering-kendall?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Covering-Kendall-Love-Football-Novel-ebook/dp/B00JDKBU1Q

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/covering-kendall-julie-brannagh/1119471858?ean=9780062363817

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/covering-kendall

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/covering-kendall/id852754397?mt=11  

Author Info

Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.

Author Links

Website: http://www.juliebrannagh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulieBrannagh
Twitter: http://twitter.com/julieinduvall
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7127296.Julie_Brannagh?from_search=true

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Digital Set of Love & Football Series Books 1-3)

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Julie Brannagh, Author of Covering Kendall appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Interview with Sawyer Bennett, Author of ALEX

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Sawyer!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Sawyer Bennett] Empathetic, funny, creative, honest, procrastinator

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Sawyer Bennett] Alex is the first book in my new series with Loveswept, called the Cold Fury Hockey Series. Alex Crossman is a professional hockey player with the Carolina Cold Fury. He’s a bit damaged, a little bit of an ass, and completely averse to developing relationships with people. He’s one of those men that you just want to “fix”. Sutton Price is a social worker that gets sort of gets stuck with Alex to create an outreach program for at-risk youth. Both of them have traumatic backgrounds, but both of them let it shape them differently in their adult lives. This is very much a book about Alex’s journey to really find himself and let the past go. Oh, and it’s pretty steamy and romantic as well!!!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sawyer Bennett] The concept was easy. I’ve written a few indie books about hockey players that were well received and figured an actual series would be fun. The characters for this story very much grew organically, but I started with this very basic concept… Alex Crossman is a professional hockey player that hates playing hockey. I mean… how messed up is that? I knew I could fashion an interesting story of growth and redemption from that concept.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Sawyer Bennett] Honestly, I loved writing Alex’s voice most. This is dual POV, and I loved writing “asshole Alex”. It’s fun to sort of let go and make a guy distasteful and then try to redeem him later.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Sawyer Bennett] Honestly, not much. I mean, there are some serious issues involving drug addiction and abuse, and I will admit writing the epilogue made me cry a bit. It’s totally my type of swoon, but this book flowed pretty easy for me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Sawyer Bennett] What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong (which is also my favorite song)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Sawyer Bennett] My underwear! Ha ha. Okay, that’s not necessarily true so I’ll say my cell phone! I can’t stand not being able to have access to the digital world.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Sawyer Bennett] Picture of my dog, a bottle of papaya scented lotion that I just noticed and have no clue where it came from, and a check dated August 28th that I just noticed I forgot to deposit.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Sawyer Bennett] Without a doubt it would be the President of the United States. I wouldn’t care who was in office at the time, just the acting President. I’d like to be in charge and have all that power (and stress) for just one day.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Sawyer Bennett] OMG! Black Lies by Alessandra Torre. I read it over a month ago and it’s still plaguing my thoughts.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sawyer Bennett] I love to read but I don’t have much time for that. I have an 8 month old baby girl so I spend most of my free time with her. The best is when she falls asleep on my chest. *swoons hard*

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sawyer Bennett] I love interacting with readers. They can reach me at:

www.sawyerbennett.com

www.facebook.com/bennettbooks

www.twitter.com/bennettbooks

sawyer@sawyerbennett.com

Alex

Cold Fury Hockey # 1

By: Sawyer Bennett

Releasing October 14th, 2014

Loveswept

Blurb

USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett scores big-time with the first novel in a sexy new series hot enough to melt the ice.
Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.

As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people—like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries—and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy façade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/alex-cold-fury-1-by-sawyer-bennett.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21794306-alex?ac=1

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/125350-cold-fury-hockey

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Cold-Hockey-Novel-Carolina-ebook/dp/B00JTCH5RQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1410967793&sr=1-1&keywords=Alex%3A+A+Cold+Fury+Hockey+Novel

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/alex-sawyer-bennett/1120019672?ean=9780553393002

iTunes: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/alex-a-cold-fury-hockey-novel

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/alex-a-cold-fury-hockey-novel

Order: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Author Info

USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett is a snarky Southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Author Links

Website: http://www.sawyerbennett.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bennettbooks
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bennettbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6950682.Sawyer_Bennett

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Alex Crossman/Carolina Cold Fury Hockey Jersey)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Sawyer Bennett, Author of ALEX appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. Are you ready for some football…books?

I love the fall. I do not love people asking me, “Hey, how about that [insert-local-football-team] game?” I have nothing against the sport; it’s just not my thing.

Working at an all-boys school, though, I am surrounded by a mass of gridiron fans. As stereotypical as it may be, I think any of my coworkers would agree that the vast majority of our guys live for sports. They play them. They watch them. They passionately debate about them. And in the fall that means football.

Being a sneaky English teacher, I try to capitalize upon this interest to trick kids into reading. Here’s a list of books about football I find myself recommending to students time and time again.

wallace Muckers 198x300 Are you ready for some football...books?   bradley CallMeByMyName 198x300 Are you ready for some football...books?   herbach StupidFast 200x300 Are you ready for some football...books?   bissinger FridayNightLights 197x300 Are you ready for some football...books?   smith winger 196x300 Are you ready for some football...books?

Muckers by Sandra Neill Wallace
Based on a true story, Muckers follows a 1950s quarterback from a struggling mining town as he tries to lead his team to a state championship in the final year before the high school closes. A great look at a town on the cusp of historical change and the spirit of determination found in athletes.

Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley
Set in a slow-to-integrate Louisiana town, Bradley tells the story of two friends and teammates — one black, one white. It’s a well-told tale that explores the power and limitations of athletics to bridge the racial divide.

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
A growth spurt punts a once-runty kid into the world of the jocks. With a wonderful voice, Herbach tells a hilarious and real story about navigating sudden change. (My “reluctant” readers often tear through this one.)

Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger
The source material for the movie (best soundtrack ever) and the TV series (one of the best TV shows ever), Bissinger spends a season with the Permian Panthers of Odessa, Texas. It’s a great look at what happens when gifted high school athletes are treated like throwaway gods.

Winger by Andrew Smith
Winger tells the story of a 14-year-old high school junior and rugby player as he tries to navigate life and girls at a boarding school. Smith’s hilarious and soul-crushing novel perfectly captures both the real and tenuous bonds that exist between teammates. (Yes, I know that rugby is not football. But I don’t foresee myself making a “books about rugby list” anytime soon, so here it is.)

share save 171 16 Are you ready for some football...books?

The post Are you ready for some football…books? appeared first on The Horn Book.

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4. Review: Winning Ruby Heart by Jennifer Lohmann

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I had a hard time with Winning Ruby Heart.  I was fascinated with the premise, especially with all of the reports of terrible behavior by athletes during the last week.  While Ruby hasn’t committed domestic abuse, she has committed abuse of another kind: she doped before the Olympics, costing her a gold medal and leaving her reputation in tatters.  She was forced to forfeit the one thing she lived for.  Now she can no longer participate in any Olympic sport, and for a period of five years, she can’t compete in any sport at all. 

The story begins right after her five year suspension has ended.  Ruby has always loved running, and she can’t give it up.  She’s competing in her first ultramarathon, and as luck would have it, Micah Blackwell, the reporter responsible for crumpling up the last of her career and tossing it in the trash, is covering the race.  He recognizes Ruby and is instantly curious.  Why is she there?  What is she up to?  Is she breaking her suspension by participating in the race?  He smells a story, and he won’t rest until he’s uncovered it.  Besides, there’s an anchor slot available at his network, and he knows that this story will seal the deal for him and give him his dream job.

My biggest problem with Winning Ruby Heart was Ruby herself.  I didn’t understand her.  She was already the best in the world at her distance, so why did she allow herself to be talked into cheating?  She is firmly convinced that she would have won the race anyway, but she let her coach chide her into blood doping.  Everyone is doing it is not a good enough reason to risk your entire livelihood and your ability to participate in the one thing you love most in the world.  She knew the consequences if she got caught, but she cheated anyway.  Worse, when she was first interviewed by Micah, she wasn’t even repentant. With his skillful prodding, she came across as spoiled and self absorbed, and certainly unworthy of a second chance.

The romance left me unmoved as well.  At 29, Ruby has always been dependent on her parents.  She lives in their home, her father’s law firm has been handling her legal matters at no cost to her, and with no job, she has no means to support herself.  Her parents are fearful that she’ll embarrass them again, and they make no secret of their disapproval.  Once Micah reenters Ruby’s life, they know it’s only a matter of time before the family is paraded through the papers again, making their lives a nightmare.

I wasn’t convinced that Ruby and Micah made a good match.  Micah has had to work hard for everything he has, while Ruby was given the world on a silver platter – which she promptly threw away.  After an accident on the football field leaves Micah paralyzed, he turns all of the energy and dedication that made him a stand out player into becoming a stand out sports reporter.  And that was where all of my skepticism for their  HEA flourished.  When Micah was kicked on his backside, he found the strength and the willpower to reinvent himself.  Ruby crawled into a hole and hid.  I just don’t see them making it for the long haul, because I wonder what Ruby will do when things go south again?  Even with Micah’s support, she doesn’t come across as a fighter to me, and she’s not one to deal adequately with adversity.

I found the training interesting, and I can’t remember reading romance with a paralyzed hero in a long time.  I enjoyed the introduction of Dotty into Ruby’s life (because dogs make everything better), but overall, I was disappointed with Winning Ruby Heart.

Grade:  C

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

It’s a race to their beginning…

Exposing world-class athlete Ruby Heart’s cheating scandal five years ago made reporter Micah Blackwell’s career. Falling in love with her now could end it. Yet watching her determination to return to the top, he can’t resist the woman she has become. 

Working with Ruby to tell America her story, Micah falls deeper under her spell. But at a crucial moment, his feelings for her conflict with his job—the very thing that once saved him. Now he must choose between his skyrocketing career and the unlikely love of a good woman….

The post Review: Winning Ruby Heart by Jennifer Lohmann appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. NY Mets rookies in female superhero cosplay hazing ritual

ByFjt2FIEAEs4Nb NY Mets rookies in female superhero cosplay hazing ritual
Where is Milo Manara when you need him? The regulation baseball season has seven days to go, which can’t come soon enough for NY baseball fans, although the tearful Derek Jeter final sendoff still looms. In another fall ritual, baseball rookies were subjected to generally harmless “hazing.”A few years ago this consisted of just wearing a My Little Pony backpack around the bullpen, but since that’s practically normal now, the ritual has become much more complicated, as the NY Mets rookies were required to dress as female superheroes for the road trip from Atlanta to Washington.

While even I can’t ID all of them from left to right that’s Dario Alvarez, Wilmer Flores as Lady Thor, Dilson Hererra as a saucy Batgirl, unknown, Juan Centeno as Lady Green Lantern, unknown and slender rookie phenom pitcher Jacob DeGrom rocking a bold (some called it skimpy) “Pretty Patriot” outfit. Also unknown s Wonder Woman in the front row. Hey, they’re rookies who just got called up! I am saddened that we didn’t get to see Jeurys Famiglia as Power Girl.

While this is a hazing ritual everyone seems to be taking it with very good humor.

In case you were wondering, the LA Dodgers rookies had a similar stunt but got to dress as male superheroes.

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6. Fantasy League, by Mike Lupica | Book Spotlight

Twelve-year-old Charlie is a fantasy football guru. He may be just a bench warmer for his school's football team, but when it comes to knowing and loving the game, he's first-string.

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7. Offsides - Kerry Madden-Lundsford

The best advice I ever got, as an author was, "Write what you know." Kerry Madden-Lundsford takes that to a whole new level with her debut novel (republished - 2014), Offsides.

The daughter of a college football coach, Kerry Madden-Lunsford grew up in a series of hometowns, transplanted from one place to the next with the changing of the football season, uprooted from childhood friends with almost no warning. It is this hectic, whirlwind lifestyle which Madden-Lunsford draws upon in writing her first novel, Offsides.

The first thing Kerry will tell you is, "No, my father isn't John Madden." She does, however, pull memories-some good, some bad-from her days as the oldest child of a football coach, being uprooted from one football-crazy college town, to the next.

I found Madden-Lundsford's characterization of an awkward, self-critical, defiant Liz Donegal, refreshing and believable. While she protests every move, we know she will eventually give in and pick up roots, once more, in order to follow her father's never-ending search for that elusive head-coaching job.

On the surface, Liz appears to be an island; never quite fitting in, even with her family, but in between the lines, you feel the love and loyalty the Donegal family possesses, even when her closest confidants, her mother's sister and her father's brother, appear to leave her behind.

While I'm a dog lover, and cringe at the thought of losing a beloved dog, Madden-Lundsford writes an especially vivid scene in which the grave of "Bear Bryant" is dug up by his replacement, "Halfback". Equally traumatic is that all this takes place during Liz's boyfriend's first meeting with her family.

I highly recommend this book for YA and mature teens.

Further proof that Offsides is written from experience? Check out this picture from one of the author's latest booksignings.


Kerry Madden-Lundsford with Lynn Majors, wife of famed Tennessee football coach, Johnny Majors

Offsides: Amazon Kindle
Kerry Madden Books


Mary Cunningham, author, Cynthia's Attic Series,
The Adventures of Max and Maddie Series
 

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8. Offsides - Kerry Madden-Lunsford

The best advice I ever got, as an author was, "Write what you know." Kerry Madden-Lunsford takes that to a whole new level with her debut novel (republished - 2014), Offsides.

The daughter of a college football coach, Kerry Madden-Lunsford grew up in a series of hometowns, transplanted from one place to the next with the changing of the football season, uprooted from childhood friends with almost no warning. It is this hectic, whirlwind lifestyle which Madden-Lunsford draws upon in writing her first novel, Offsides.

The first thing Kerry will tell you is, "No, my father isn't John Madden." She does, however, pull memories-some good, some bad-from her days as the oldest child of a football coach, being uprooted from one football-crazy college town, to the next.

I found Madden-Lunsford's characterization of an awkward, self-critical, defiant Liz Donegal, refreshing and believable. While she protests every move, we know she will eventually give in and pick up roots, once more, in order to follow her father's never-ending search for that elusive head-coaching job.

On the surface, Liz appears to be an island; never quite fitting in, even with her family, but in between the lines, you feel the love and loyalty the Donegal family possesses, even when her closest confidants, her mother's sister and her father's brother, appear to leave her behind.

While I'm a dog lover, and cringe at the thought of losing a beloved dog, Madden-Lunsford writes an especially vivid scene in which the grave of "Bear Bryant" is dug up by his replacement, "Halfback". Equally traumatic is that all this takes place during Liz's boyfriend's first meeting with her family.

I highly recommend this book for YA and mature teens.

Further proof that Offsides is written from experience? Check out this picture from one of the author's latest booksignings.


Kerry Madden-Lundsford with Lynn Majors, wife of famed Tennessee football coach, Johnny Majors

Offsides: Amazon Kindle
Kerry Madden Books


Mary Cunningham, author, Cynthia's Attic Series,
The Adventures of Max and Maddie Series
 

0 Comments on Offsides - Kerry Madden-Lunsford as of 9/16/2014 10:42:00 AM
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9. Playing Man: some modern consequences of Ancient sport

Playing Man (Homo Ludens), the trail-blazing work by Johan Huizinga, took sport seriously and showed how it was essential in the formation of civilizations. Adult playtime for many pre-industrial cultures served as the crucible in which conventions and boundaries were written for a culture. Actions were censured for being “beyond the pale”, a sports metaphor for being “out of bounds”.

A quasi-sacred time and space set apart for games were a microcosm for the lives of all who played and for the spectators. Sport was a place in which individual merit was the rule and performance was regulated by the terms of the event.

The Ancient Olympic Games, an invention of the 700s BCE, preceded Athenian Democracy by about 200 years, and yet those earliest Games allowed any free citizen to participate and win the supreme Panhellenic crown. Yes, probably most of the first contenders were wealthy by token of having more leisure time to train and travel to the festival. 

Yet in the pre-democratic centuries, the sporting model showed that what counted was individual ability and acquired skill, not status by birth. So the era of rule by tyrants and elite families was balanced by models of egalitarian display in the stadium in footraces, wrestling, boxing, and other track and field events.

Chariot racing was of course still the exclusive domain of the wealthy, a vestige of heroic tradition, but the athletes contending mano a mano ushered in more meritocratic ways. The Greek custom of requiring athletes in track and field and combat events to participate in the nude underscored this democratic ethos, perhaps popularized among the communally oriented Spartans by 600 BCE, but soon adopted universally by all Greeks.

The double entendre in my title “playing man” is intentional, with allusion to the sense that sport has been for most of history and globally a performance by and for males. For the Greeks, athletics were for men only, with a few interesting exceptions, notably girls’ ritual races at Olympia to ask Hera for a happy marriage.

In the modern Olympics, there was no women’s marathon race until 1984, almost 90 years into the games. Even then, in 1984, only 25% of all Olympic participants were female; today it is still at less than half (45% in 2012). The first women boxing events came in 2012. 

A competitor in the long jump, Black-figured Tyrrhenian amphora showing athletes and a combat scene, Greek, but made for the Etruscan market, 540 BC, found near Rome, Winning at the ancient Games, British Museum. Photo by Carole Raddato. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
A competitor in the long jump, Black-figured Tyrrhenian amphora showing athletes and a combat scene, Greek, but made for the Etruscan market, 540 BC, found near Rome, Winning at the ancient Games, British Museum. Photo by Carole Raddato. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Women’s participation in sports at all venues and events has slowly improved over the last 30 years, thanks to gender equity movements as a whole. Still, males have been the participants in and the most avid audiences for competitive sports globally throughout history.

Is it tradition and culture or nature (testosterone and men’s greater muscle bulk) that has driven this trend? Scholarly disagreement continues, but the answer must include nature and culture, with nature perhaps playing a heavier role. The attempts to bring women’s sports to the fore have largely not succeeded: world viewers, broadcasters, and corporate sponsors overwhelmingly prefer male contests.

Overt displays of machismo characterized the ancient Greek contest, or agôn, whence our term agony, the pain of struggle. Combat sports of boxing and wrestling topped the popularity charts and the rewards at the festivals that gave valuable prizes.

At the Olympics, there were no second or third place prizes; only first counted, and one boxer said “give me the wreath of give me death”. Many were brutalized or killed, as is shown on vases in which blood streams from the contestants.

The Greeks were overly familiar with violence meted out by men in war on a daily basis, and so violent sport here did not inspire violence. But the association of athletes with Homeric heroes maintained the display as acceptable and even superhuman (see the funeral games of Iliad 23).

Greek sport, then, is worthy of our attention as the model in many ways for our own very different contests. Yes, the modern Olympics appropriated the Greek ones for its own very different aims. But arguably the ‘deeper’ social inheritances from the Greek men who “played” are, on the one hand, a greater egalitarianism, and on the other a heroized violence and machismo with which we all still wrestle.

The post Playing Man: some modern consequences of Ancient sport appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. The Bambino and Me, by Zachary Hyman | Book Review

The inspiration, passion, and illustrations make The Bambino and Me a wonderful, well rounded, addition to any reader’s roster.

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11. Review: Keeping Secrets by Maggie Dana

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I always have the urge to read a horsey book right before a horse show.  I kept seeing the Timber Ridge Riders series on Amazon, and wanted to check it out, so when I had the chance to do just that, I jumped at it.  I don’t ride hunt seat, so I always find depictions of hunter shows interesting.  The horse care details were spot on, and nothing made me cringe due to inaccuracies.  I’ll tell you what did make me cringe: the behavior of Kate’s rival, Angela.  What a spoiled, selfish girl!  If I was her coach, she would have been booted from my barn.  Her casual treatment of the animals and her teammates had me boiling mad!

Keeping Secrets is a middle grade book, but it will appeal to horse enthusiasts of all ages.  I felt so awful for protagonist Kate.  She has spent the last six months blaming herself for the death of  a horse at her old barn.  A convenient scape goat, she was kicked out, banished for allowing the horse to escape from his stall, get into the feed room, and colic.  What a crappy thing to do to a 14 year old girl.  The old trainer earned zero respect from me, and poor Kate, heartbroken over the loss of her favorite horse, decided that horses would no longer play a part in her life.  Kate’s disinterested father didn’t help her with her grief.  The guy, a professor, was never home, and he probably didn’t even know about the horrible experience Kate was struggling to deal with.  Instead, he traipsed around the planet research butterflies. 

With her father on a trip, she’s moved in with her aunt.  Kate wants a job, so when she hears about a babysitting job, she applies for it.  Her charge is actually her own age, and Holly has been confined to a wheelchair after an auto accident.  Kate’s job is to be her companion for the summer, so her mom can continue coaching riders at the barn behind their small house.  Barn?  Yes, barn!  So even though Kate wants nothing to do with horses, she is stuck having to deal with them every day.  Holly’s dream is to get back in the saddle again, and she drags Kate to the barn every day.  To hide her new discomfort around the animals, Kate lies and tells Holly that she’s terrified of them, and, oh, yeah, she’s allergic, too.  When her secret is outted, she has to earn back Holly’s trust, as well as help save Holly’s mom’s job.

This is a very fast paced read, and I couldn’t put it down.  Once Kate gets back in the saddle, things accelerate even more.  She has to help win a team competition, but guess what?  Angela is out to get her, because Kate rides better than she does, so Kate has to learn quickly to avoid Angela’s attempts to sabotage her.  I loved all of the conflict Angela started.  She’s the perfect girl you love to hate, but because her mother demands constant perfection from her, you feel a smidge, just a smidge!, of pity for her.  She’s afraid that Kate will show her up in front of her mother, and all her mother cares about is that Angela is the best.  Her mother also has a lot of control over whether or not Holly’s mother will keep her job, it turns out, so there’s even greater friction between the girls.  Add in the fact that Angela is a bully and likes to pick on what she considers weaker girls, and you really have the perfect villain.

I enjoyed Keeping Secrets, and I’m looking forward to more adventures with Kate and Holly.  I’m sure that Angela will continue to make trouble for the girls, making for more entertaining reading.

Grade:  B/B+  (I love the cover – that gets an A)

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A valuable horse is dead, and it’s all her fault, which is why 14-year-old Kate McGregor has banished horses and riding from her life … forever!

But her new summer job as a companion to Holly Chapman, a former riding star who’s now confined to a wheelchair, takes her back to the barn—the last place Kate wants to be. 

Can Kate keep her terrible secret from Holly, who is fast becoming her best friend? And, more important, can she keep her secret from Angela Dean, a teenage bully who lives for only two things: winning ribbons and causing trouble? 

Kate manages to keep her secret hidden until an accident forces it into the open … and it’s just the moment Angela has been waiting for.

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12. If You Were Me and Lived in … Portugal: An Introduction to Learning About Other Cultures | Dedicated Review

Discover the western European country of Portugal with award-winning author and former social studies teacher Carole P. Roman.

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13. Learn About Sleepover at the World Cup in Brazil, by Geeta Raj

Geeta Raj brings an 11-year career in international development and humanitarian assistance to The Global Sleepover series, including over 8 years as a Senior Program Analyst with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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14. A Soccer (or Football) Sleepover in Brazil: Sleepover at the World Cup in Brazil

A Soccer (or Football) Sleepover in Brazil is part of the Global Sleepover series of interactive storybooks that aim to introduce young readers to different countries and cultures.

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15. Babe Conquers the World

Babe Conquers the World: The Legendary Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias  by Rich Wallace and Sandra Neil Wallace Calkins Creek (an imprint of Boyds Mill Press), 2014 ISBN: 9781590789810 Grades 4-12 The reviewer received a galley from the publisher. Most children probably don't realize there was a time when women weren't allowed to play professional sports or when society frowned upon women

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16. Portsong’s Tribute to the World Cup

Portsong will never host a World Cup. Our only stadium is open air, mowed by livestock, and has no bleachers.  It would take too long to mark Hargit’s Field and we simply aren’t prepared for the crush of humanity that such a tournament would bring. I’m not one of those Americans who hates soccer. I really have no problem with it and would be okay if it took hold. With all of the kids playing and international flavor in the U.S., it really is amazing that professional soccer can’t seem to get off the ground.Leon_Rugilo

So what’s the problem? Why does the average football or baseball fan have such a disregard for the sport? Some say it is too slow. Okay, I get that – we like things fast and instant. But nothing is slower than baseball. When you have the league itself changing rules to speed up the game, you know you are in the paint-drying business.

Last week, I watched a little bit of Ghana vs. Germany and think I stumbled on a few things.

First, what is the deal with the goaltender wearing a different uniform? What makes that guy special – either you are on the team or you’re not! If they do that so the ref can tell who gets to touch the ball with their hands, they need new refs. Can these guys not identify one guy quickly enough to call a handball? They usually wear Mickey Mouse gloves anyway, which kinda stand out. No, the refs aren’t the problem. There is clearly some socialistic motive behind the goalie’s garb.

Second, the flopping. It has become a big topic of conversation around here. I have never seen grown, athletic men act like such drama queens in all my days. It is crazy how when their shin gets touched, their arms fly up wildly before they flop, drop, and roll. Have you further noticed that each victim assumes the same paralyzed position holding their knee until they realize the call didn’t go their way? Then instantly, they pop back up and resume play at full speed as if a good, old-fashion faith healer has smacked them on the forehead and made them well. Hockey and Basketball have instituted rules to punish such behavior. Since they have yellow and red, maybe soccer could give a pink card for flopping.

Lastly, it’s the low scoring and the fact that a game can end in a tie. Nobody likes that. Ties are like whacking off the last five minutes of a movie and saying The End. Somebody has to win!

wcI’ve come to the rescue with a simple idea that kills all three objections. Here is what soccer should do. If a player flops, he has to stay face-down on the ground motionless like a kid playing freeze tag until the guy with the big gloves comes over and tags him. Think about that! Empty nets while the goalies run all over the field bringing players back to life means higher scores. Motionless players make for built-in impediments – therefore, more contact – which leads to additional flopping and more speed bumps. Soccer has just become a high-scoring, contact sport, with frozen men lying face down all over the field! Genius.

And if anyone shows up in a different uniform, they have to lay down in the center of the field and balance the ball on their lips as a tee for kick-off. That’ll teach him teamwork.

If I can get to someone with this idea, we’ll have a thirty team mega-league in the United States by 2016.

 

Photo credit: Leon Rugilo


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

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17. Review: Midnight Play by Lisa Marie Perry

I jumped all over this book for two reasons; it features a quarterback hero, and it’s a release under Harlequin’s Kimani imprint.  I haven’t had the pleasure of reading anything under this imprint, and since I am a sucker for all things Harlequin, I started hopping up and down with my arm in the air, shouting, “Oh, pick me! Pick me to read this one!”

Right from the start, I felt a bit sorry for Danica.  She has expended so much effort to live up to everyone’s expectations of her, and all she’s gotten in return is grief.  Her ex-husband, a music producer, confessed to cheating on her, giving her self-esteem a serious dent.  While a bit of distance had grown between them over the past ten years, she still believed in their marriage and she still believed that they were meant to be life-mates.  Married at eighteen, her demanding parents heartily endorsed their union, so when the marriage fell apart, she was left confused, hurt, and wondering where she had failed.  Guys can be such jerks!

After firing Dex Harper, the quarterback of her parents’ football franchise, she’s furious when he goes over her head and requests a meeting with her parents.  As the GM of the team, he should have come to her and not jumped rank.  Fuming about his behavior, she and Dex get off to a contentious start.  He’s angry that he’s been sacked from the team, for reasons that are patently false, and she’s pissed that he won’t just go away.  I have to say that I liked this twist – Danica is in the power position here, and Dex is scrambling to get his job back and prove that he wasn’t on the take like the former owner of the team.

The chemistry between Dex and Danica is instantaneous, and it quickly burns out of control.  She can’t get him out of her head, and he can’t keep his hands off of her.  Too bad there’s that whole firing thing spoiling what would otherwise be a fantastic relationship.  As Danica gets to know Dex better, she sees the real man underneath all of the attitude and brazen behavior.  He’s got a rep as a complete bad boy, and Danica, the ultimate good girl, doesn’t trust him with her heart.  I enjoyed the tension between them, and wondered how they would ever get their happily ever after, especially since Danica was responsible for taking away the thing that Dex loved most.  If he couldn’t play football, he was adrift, and with his history and his reputation, other teams wouldn’t even glance his way.

Danica is gifted as a spin queen, so she offers to help Dex clean up his image so another team will take a chance on him.  I have to say the one plot thread that didn’t make sense to me was the whole firing Dex and then not taking him back when it’s proven that he had nothing to do with the corruption of the former team owner.  Accused of throwing games, he vehemently defended his innocence, and when his playing abilities are questioned, he blames other teammates who have been implicated in the corruption case.  The other players have been released, and no one has proven that Dex was on the take.  His replacement on the team is not cutting it; he’s playing with an injury and can’t play well under pressure, so it didn’t make much sense to me to can Dex, a proven player, for the new guy.

The story really took off for me when Danica started doing things for herself.  This caused a lot of friction between her and her mom, and I have to say – good!  Her mom could be cutting, selfish, and not supportive of  her daughters.  Used to getting her way, she bristles when Danica puts her foot down and pushes back.  Her parents constantly interfere in her life, demand total obedience, and it was so awesome when Danica finally said, “Hell, no!”  Good for you, girl!  Don’t let anyone push you around and dictate what’s going to make you happy!  I really did not like her power couple parents.

Midnight Play was a successful foray into an imprint I hadn’t sampled before, and I’ll have to keep an eye out for more in the future.  As for the Blue Dynasty, I didn’t have any trouble figuring what was going on, even having not read the first book in the series.  I’d like to read more about Danica’s sisters, if for no other reason than to see them give their mom a hard time!

 

 

MIDNIGHT PLAY

Love evens the score 

As general manager of the Las Vegas Slayers, Danica Blue goes toe-to-toe with players whose size is matched only by their egos. Quarterback Dex Harper is the biggest and toughest of them all, with a hell-raiser reputation that he insists he doesn’t deserve. And Danica, the good daughter who’s always played by the rules, is suddenly tempted to break every last one. 

Football is the only thing Dex has ever been able to count on. To save his career he needs Danica’s PR savvy, and he’s happy to help her discover her inner bad girl in return. But glimpsing the real woman behind that sexy, flawless facade is making him realize how much is at stake. Because getting back on the team could mean losing Danica, unless he’s willing to risk it all—and play for keeps….

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I66GD5G/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i4?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0CCDZ7437VWK9DMJMXG6&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midnight-play-lisa-marie-perry/1118053061?ean=9780373863648

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/03/now-booking-tasty-review-tour-for.html

Author Info

Lisa Marie Perry encounters difficult fictional men and women on a daily basis. She writes contemporary romance fiction with plenty of sizzle, energy and depth. Flawed, problematic, damaged characters are welcome. Her tales feature exciting multicultural mash-ups, sexy guy-next-door heroes and powerful larger-than-life alphas who are brought to their knees by the love of complicated women.

According to Lisa Marie, an imagination’s a terrible thing to ignore. So is a good cappuccino. After years of college, customer service gigs and a career in caregiving, she at last gave in to buying an espresso machine and writing to her imagination’s desire. She lives in America’s heartland and she has every intention of making the Colorado mountains her new stomping grounds. She drives a truck, enjoys indie rock, collects Medieval literature, watches too many comedies, has a not-so-secret love for lace and adores rugged men with a little bit of nerd.

Author Links

http://www.perrytalebooks.com/

https://twitter.com/PerryOrdinary

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7729201.Lisa_Marie_Perry

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18. The World Cup Reminds Me…the time I proved I had no coordination skills

The 2014 World Cup has begun!! Now here’s a fun fact, soccer was my first sport. Gosh how I loved it, I played for seven years and looked forward to every Saturday’s game (confession: the after-game snack a LOT too!) like nobody’s business. Why did I stop after seven years?? Enter exhibit A:
running sports cartoon
I sucked. Like I REALLY sucked. I can vividly remember scoring my first goal…mostly because it was my first and last. I don’t even have an excuse for one goal in seven years, like I played goalie or defense…nope, I was a forward and mid-fielder. Right where one with any iota of coordination would be set RIGHT up to score a goal.

Hey, at least I can own my suckiness. I know I can handle turning left and running in a straight line. So I stopped soccer when, totally honest here, the only team I could still make was the rec team. The qualifications for making the rec team is having your mom or dad write the $35 check to the community rec league. I was in junior high at the time, meaning my rec team would be all the 4th and 5th graders still too young for the Comp and Select teams.

That’s when my mommy-o suggested I try cross country. I thought it was a traveling team, “Cool!! I get to go touring around…I’ll bet I’ll find lots of fun new foods to try!” I though. Yea, even at that age it all comes back to foods and treats, right? I was in for a shock. No traveling done unless you run there. I got tripped pretty bad my first practice and later had to pick gravel out of scars I still have today.

i run. i'm hungry. cartoon

i run…do the math.


My first race I spent hovering over a bush for about 15 minutes certain I’d barf. I didn’t, but my dad still has a picture of me hovering over the bush. The thing is though, I kinda liked it. I sucked at anything with ‘real’ coordination skills but I kinda liked that I could grimace in pain and pass some girl up a hill. I would like to also mention I sucked at running too. That girl I passed up the hill, maybe was the only girl I passed. Like I was slow, but in my mind I didn’t fully grasp 1) how slow I was 2) how HORRENDOUS my form was!! Gosh, even my mom in later years admitted, “Yea, I’ll never forget trying not to laugh the first time your little club coach saw you run and remarked that you looked crazy.”

I owned my crazy then and I own it now though! ;) But hey, I stuck with this whole running thing. I do promise I kinda really hated it the first couple weeks, but I swear there was like this insane shift after you get past the ‘hump’ I call the hazing weeks. Basically once you become consistent enough to where your body and muscles don’t go into the shock of thinking, “Wait, she’s running…that must mean there’s a bear chasing her!!” resulting in unwalkable sorenesses the next day. Get past that and you’re golden. ;)

Look at running, turning into about my favorite thing to do. Shall we just be thankful that I actually DID have a little too much pride to out-age my rec teammates by four years? Best $35 my mommy-o didn’t have to spend. ;)
———-
My latest on RunBlogRun: Phoebe Wright Can’t Be Stopped! <--- this is actually one h*ll of an inspiring story and she's HILARIOUS!! Read the story then check her blog and twitter feed!!

Also on Want to Run in College? This is what it takes: Hakon DeVries of the University of Kentucky
———–

1) Are you a big soccer fan? Will you be unreachable and completely ignore any and all of your surroundings until the World Cup is over?

2) Were you good at other sports besides running?

3) Have you ever barfed after a race?
Hey, I hovered over that bush but nothing came up. Never have thrown up after a race or workout, that one time over the bush was the closest I’ve come.

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19. The Hulk joins Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and more in epic Nike ad


The World Cup is coming in June and most of the world, and even an increasing number of Americans, will be stopping everything to watch it. Nike has released a new 4 minute mini film about kids playing a ipck up came up imagien they are international superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney and more, including Neymar, Zlatan Ibrahimović (the guy with the ponytail), Gerard Piqué, Gonzalo Higuaín, Mario Götze, Eden Hazard, Thiago Silva, Andrea Pirlo, David Luiz, Andrés Iniesta and Thibaut Courtois. I also spotted Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Jon Jones and Anderson Silva among other sports/Nike luminaries.

Even The Hulk appear at one point, subbing for goalie Tim Howard, who is is the goalie on the US team! Yes, an American footie player made this film and I think we should all be proud of that. (Some say the Hulk is there because one of the players is nicknamed The Hulk, but I think it’s because of Howard’s green kit.) The Hulk still doesn’t have is own movie franchise but he will appear in next year’s Avengers 2.

hulk-nike.jpg

The spot—which is pretty amazing all around—was produced by Wieden + Kennedy Portland for Nike.

The World Cup kicks off on June 12 in Brazil. The US team has drawn the group of death—Ghana (who knocked them out of the last two World Cups), Portigal, who boast one of the worlds greatest superstars in Ronaldo, and Germany, who are perennial finalists. BUt easing the sting of what might be a painful World Cup for ths US, at least the games take place in EST so you can watch the games at night and not get up at 8 am last the last few times.

On a personal note: I liked the morning hour World Cups! It was an excuse to get together for brunch with friends sand then go about your day. I’ve never been through a EDT World Cup though so we’ll see.

2 Comments on The Hulk joins Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and more in epic Nike ad, last added: 4/29/2014
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20. If You Were Me and Lived in … Australia, by Carole P. Roman | Dedicated Review

Here’s a bonza (first-rate) addition to award-winning author Carole P. Roman's fun and informative series, If You Were Me and Lived in …. This time readers are introduced to the sunburned country found down under in the southern hemisphere, Australia.

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21. Spotlight and Giveaway–RUSH by Nyrae Dawn

This morning I have a spotlight and giveaway for Nyrae Dawn’s RUSH.  Can you say hot football players and hot romance??

A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.   A love story about two men who want nothing more than to love each other, and to figure out, and be okay with who they are.

Which of your characters has been the most fun to write so far?  This is a really hard one for me because I really love both of these boys. They’re both very special to me. I don’t know that Brandon was more fun to write than Alec, but I do feel a special closeness to Brandon and has struggle.

What is a common misconception about male/male or any LGBT romance? That it’s somehow different than other romance novels. Love is love, it doesn’t matter the gender, so while certain specifics may change, at the base they’re the same—love stories.

RUSH by Nyrae Dawn (May 6, 2014; Forever Yours Digital Original; $4.99)

Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he’s desperately tried to put behind him.
Alec Andrews has never quite forgiven Brandon for walking away when their friendship turned into something more. But he can’t deny help to one of his closest friends. As the two spend the long, hot summer working together, their old attraction comes flooding back.
Now as Alec thinks about coming out to his conservative family and Brandon considers revealing he’s a gay football player, the two men must be strong to fight for a love that could be the greatest rush of their lives.

Buy Links:

Amazon

B&N

iTunes

 

About the author:

Writing has always been Nyrae Dawn’s passion. Nyrae gravitates toward character-driven stories. She loves going on emotional journeys with characters whether it be reading or writing. And yes, she’s a total romantic at heart and proud.
Nyrae resides in sunny Southern California with her husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two awesome kids.
When she’s not with her family, you can be pretty sure you’ll find her with a book in her hand or her laptop and an open document in front of her. Nyrae also writes adult romance under the name Kelley Vitollo.

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Excerpt

“I want you to smile again too. It’s in there, Brand. I saw it tonight. When you had the ball and then when we were talking to my dad.”

I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do but it’s the only thing I can do. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t stop myself. I step toward Alec and slide my free hand around the back of his neck. It only takes a gentle tug to bring him even closer, his hand moving to the same place on me that mine rests on him.

Alec closes his eyes and drops his forehead to mine. Neither of us talk, and I wonder if he’s just feeling the way I am. It’s that same rush that sweeps through me every time I touch him, my nerve endings like live wires, sparking with electricity. Everything inside me screams that this is right. He’s right. How can anyone not understand this? How can I fight us?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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22. Common Core IRL: Baseball Edition

It's time for another installment of Common Core: IRL  (In Real Libraries), and we've turned our attention to baseball.  Our goal in writing this series is to shed light on quality books for children that educators can use in the classroom to help address the standards. The books reviewed on the four blogs feature books about baseball that increase in text complexity. Visit all of the blogs to

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23. Sam sells

By Adam Grossman


It is rare for a seventh round National Football League (NFL) draft pick to be at the center of the sports world. Then again, Michael Sam is not an average draft pick. Sam is trying to become the first openly gay player to compete for a NFL team.

While it is not clear that Sam will make the St. Louis Rams’ final roster, what is certain is the impact that Sam has already had without playing a down in the NFL. Sam’s story and the conversation it has sparked on sexuality in the NFL has been well documented. What has received less attention is the economic impact Sam could have in helping the NFL reach out to an often non-targeted customer demographic.

Organizations should more heavily seek out lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) sports audiences as customers. Not only do LGBT demographics have estimated annual buying power of $790 billion, but they are often highly engaged sports fans who are looking to become more involved with leagues and teams. Yet, sports organizations rarely target LGBT audiences in effort to grow revenues. Even as leagues and teams increasingly target new demographics such as women, Latin, African American, and international audiences among other groups, LGBT fans often do not receive the same amount of attention.

Fans flock senior defensive end Michael Sam as he carries his souvenir (a rock from the rock 'M' at Memorial Stadium) after the win vs Texas A&M. 30 November 2013. Photo by Mark Schierbecker (Marcus Qwertyus). CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Fans flock senior defensive end Michael Sam as he carries his souvenir (a rock from the rock ‘M’ at Memorial Stadium) after the win vs Texas A&M, 30 November 2013. Photo by Mark Schierbecker (Marcus Qwertyus). CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Sam’s jersey sales are one example of why this could be a mistake. As Outsports’ Cyd Zeigler first reported, Sam’s jerseys sales were the second highest among the NFL’s most recent draft class. His jersey has outsold number one overall pick Jadeveon Clowney and number three pick Blake Bortles, the first quarterback taken in the draft. Only Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has more jersey sales than Sam.

Sam’s jersey success is similar to that of NBA Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins. When he announced he was gay after completing his season playing for the Washington Wizards, Collins jersey became the highest selling jersey for the team. In addition, thousands of orders were placed for Collins jersey when he signed his first 10-day contract with the Nets.

We recognize that not every jersey sale for Sam and Collins was purchased by an LGBT audience member nor is it required to have an openly gay player to target these fans. Yet, Sam and Collins show there is an appetite for products marketed to and by LGBT audiences. For example, sports sponsors have already made significant efforts to pursue the LGBT demographic. During the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Chevrolet produced two commercials featuring gay couples. In addition, Nike has launched the Be True Campaign with products, advertising, and events specifically targeting LGBT demographics throughout the United States.

To the credit many sports organization across the world, there have been significant efforts to encourage equality and tolerance for LGBT athletes, fans, media, and sponsors. The NHL’s combined efforts with the You Can Play Project are a particularly notable example of how sports leagues are trying to take a leadership role in ending homophobia with internal and external audiences.

However, Sam and others demonstrate that sports organizations now have an opportunity to include LGBT audiences as their customers. By targeting LGBT fans, media, sponsors, and supporters now, sports organizations can grow their customer base and gain a competitive advantage.

Adam Grossman is the Founder and President of Block Six Analytics (B6A). He has worked with a number of sports organizations, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Capitals, and SMG @ Solider Field, to enhance their corporate sponsorship and enterprise marketing capabilities. He is the co-author of The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High-Performance Industry with Irving Rein and Ben Shields.

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24. Spotlight and Giveaway–Catching Cameron by Julie Brannagh

Catching Cameron

A Love and Football Novel #3

By: Julie Brannagh

Releasing May 6th, 2014

Blurb

Julie Brannagh’s sexy, charming Love and Football series continues …
Star sports reporter Cameron Ondine has one firm rule: she does not date football players. Ever. She tangled with one years ago, and it did not end well. Been there, done that.

But when Cameron comes face-to-face with the very man who shattered her heart—on camera, no less—her world is upended for a second time by recklessly handsome Seattle Shark Zach Anderson.

Zach has never been able to forget the gorgeous blonde who stole his breath away when he was still just a rookie. They’ve managed to give each other a wide berth for years, but when their jobs suddenly bring them together again and again, he knows he has to face his past once and for all.

Because as they spend more time together, he becomes less focused on the action on the field and more concerned with catching Cameron.

Excerpt

Zach devises a surprisingly romantic late-night date with some homemade brownies by candelight…

He leaned over the table toward her. Their candlelit table for two was an oasis in the dimness of the huge cafeteria, and her heart rate picked up a little. She could see the twinkling lights of boats bobbing around on the lake outside of the facility. It was surprisingly romantic for the most inexpensive date she’d been on in her life.

Date? Oh, no. Not a date. What was she thinking? He was still the guy who’d left her, and he didn’t even have the courtesy to tell her why.

He reached out and patted her hand with his much bigger and warmer one. “You and I seem to rub each other the wrong way.”

She was shaking her head before he even finished his sentence. “No, we don’t. That’s not true. I stopped thinking about you a long time ago—”

“That’s why you went after me like a pit bull on a porterhouse the last time we saw each other, huh?”

“You took my cab.”

“You took my cab.” The timer on his phone went off, and he let out a long sigh. “Let me go get the stuff, and I’ll be right back.”

A few minutes later, he returned to the table with two bowls full of freshly-baked brownies, laced with chocolate sauce, and the can of whipped cream tucked under one arm.

“I told you I shouldn’t be eating this,” Cameron said.

“Just a few bites.” He held the can of whipped cream over his forearm like a waiter displaying a rare bottle of wine. “Want some?”

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Catching-Cameron-Love-Football-Novel-ebook/dp/B00DB3AANA

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/catching-cameron-julie-brannagh/1116759070?ean=9780062279736

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/catching-cameron/id660528732?mt=11

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/04/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_7043.html

Author Info

Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.

Julie hasn’t quite achieved the goal of owning a pro football team, so she created a fictional one: The Seattle Sharks. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of four contemporary sports romances.

Author Links

http://www.juliebrannagh.com/

https://www.facebook.com/JulieBrannagh

https://twitter.com/julieinduvall

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7127296.Julie_Brannagh

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway–Catching Cameron by Julie Brannagh appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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25. The World Cup Post

Brazil 2014 starts today, and I admit, I'm happier than a kid on Christmas morning or my middle schooler on the last day of school. In my house, we breathe, eat, drink, and dream futbol (I detest the word soccer, sorry). This is the one time my two passions merge. Books and sports are beautiful. Sports inspire my writing, and writing has always been the medium through which I express myself, like a sport. It's no wonder my first "real" novel had a futbol soccer star love interest, and this one I'm working on is about an Irish dancer. Some say dance is an art, others that dancers are God's athletes. I tell you, my Irish dancers practice up to eight hours a day during the summer. They're athletes in every sense of the word.

If you're new to the World Cup but want to know more about it, this short clip explains how it works.

And here's a link that will tell you all the schedules, TV listing, etc.

Now back to books. Alex Morgan, the US Women's National Team super star and my daughters' heroine, has a series out. It's cute and fun and it's about girls being strong and wonderful!

There's also Hope Solo's bio for young readers.  

There's even a Magic Tree House: Soccer on Sunday.

Do you know of any books I can add to this small list? Name them in the comments! I hope you have a wonderful World Cup month, whatever you do!

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