Hi everyone — I’m so thrilled to be able to announce the release of High Balls. As you may know, this is the first entirely new book in the popular Balls to the Wall series since 2013. Volley Balls is mostly new, but this one is a brand new story and set of heroes. I had a blast revisiting my ballsy guys and weaving their lives into the love story of Theodore and Snake. I hope you love it — and be sure to enter to win! HUGS!
Blog Tour Stops
October 4, 2017
books are love
October 5, 2017
Making it Happen
Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews
October 6, 2017
My Fiction Nook
October 9, 2017
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
October 10, 2017
The Reading Addict
Bayou Book Junkie
Available for purchase at
Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iTunes | Dreamspinner Press
A second later in his bedroom, as Theodore stood in his boxer briefs staring at his minimal wardrobe, Andy stuck his head in the door. “Hiya, Dad.”
“Trying to figure out what to wear.”
He wandered in and plopped on the unmade bed. “You got a date?”
“Uh, kind of. I mean, yes.”
“So what kind of guy is he?”
“What do you mean?” Was his son checking his date’s résumé?
“You know, is he, like, really conservative—I don’t mean, like, Republican, I mean, does he wear ties and stuff? Or is he, like, ace?”
“Uh, like, rad, cool?”
“Okay.” He flipped on his stomach and pointed toward the closet. “Black jeans.”
Theodore pulled his one good pair from the hanger and slid them on.
“Excellent. Now white shirt.”
“Really? Isn’t that kind of conservative?”
“No, you gotta trust me.”
“Okay.” He shrugged on the shirt. “Do I tuck it in?”
“Of course. Black belt.”
He did as instructed. Had to admit those jeans did show off his ass and the shirt made him look more mature and a bit—well, cool.
“Okay, now take the vest you wear to work.”
“You mean, like, a suit vest?”
“Which one? I have two.”
“Let me look.” He hopped to a cross-legged position as Theodore held up his navy blue vest and his tan vest.
“That one.” He pointed toward the tan.
“You sure?” Andy nodded. Hell, humor the kid. I can take it off later. He slid on the vest and—son of a bitch if it didn’t look bitchin’. “Hey, good job, this looks—” He grinned. “—ace.”
Theodore sat on the edge of the bed next to his fashion consultant. “I won’t be real late, but go to bed on time for Jillian so you can get up and be smart tomorrow. How’s your homework?” Personally he thought they gave second graders too much, but he didn’t want to have Andy falling behind.
“I’ve got a lot done.”
“Ask Jillian to check it over when you’re finished, okay? If you need me, call me.”
“Sure. Have a good time with the ace.” He flashed his little teeth with the big gap in the middle.
“I will, derp.” He kissed Andy’s nose.
“Dad, nobody says that. Especially not grown-ups.”
“How could someone so hopelessly uncool have such an awesome son?”
“Mr. Walters, please explain the methodology of your research.”
And so it began. The words flowed across his tongue—the thousands of questionnaires and over a hundred personal interviews showing the education, expertise, and experience of romance writers, their use and extension of techniques pioneered by Austen and other major literary figures. He discussed tropes and their application in so called “fine” literature as well as genre fiction. Quoting verbatim from scholars he’d interviewed, he showed how many academics dismissed romance fiction purely because of its association with female readers.
Dr. Willamette said, “How large is the romance market, Mr. Walters?” She actually seemed interested.
“It’s a moving target and difficult to pin down due to the vastness and fluidity of the ebook market, but well over a billion dollars, for sure. It’s the largest book market in the world by double over the next genre.”
“Oh my. Wouldn’t it be nice to bring those people more actively into the field of literature? More teachers and more students?” She smiled.
“My point exactly.”
Ashworth sputtered, “You want to bring these illiterate, uncultured old maids and housewives into the literary tent? You must be joking.”
Dr. Willamette’s face fell, and Theodore worked to ungrit his teeth.
Dr. T. tried to keep the tone upbeat, but every time Mr. Karl or Dr. Willamette asked a good question or seemed to show interest in his research, Ashworth would find a way to belittle their opinions. They practically shrank in their seats. The chances they’d stand up to the chairman? Zilch.
Theodore kept fighting, but he felt like a salmon on a dammed-up stream.
Dr. T. said, “Why did you undertake this research, Mr. Walters? What do you feel it contributes to the future of literature?”
Theodore gazed at the carpet for a minute. “When my wife was dying, I would read to her. Classics and current literary fiction felt so cold and helpless in the face of death. Only love prevailed. So I bought a romance novel, just for diversion. I was amazed at the true literary value the book possessed. I tried another and another. Yes, I found bad ones, but then that can be said of any type of literature. Gradually I came to realize that what I’d been taught about romance fiction was bull. Here were truly gifted writers, more of them than in any other type of fiction, toiling away with not only no recognition, but also actual denigration, and still producing exceptional work. I decided to find out why.”
He looked up at each member of the panel, even the sneering Ashworth. “I think if I can encourage or inspire even one of these excellent authors to persevere and have some of their work recognized, my research will have succeeded.”
Dr. T. said, “Thank you, Theodore. I wish to add that the dissertation reader agrees with Mr. Walters. She states that the paper has done more to legitimize one of the most popular forms of world fiction than anything she’s seen. She highly recommends the paper for publication.” He looked down the panel. “If there are no more questions, Mr. Walters can go and we can determine the time for our deliberation.”
Ashworth said, “I have one more. Walters, do you really expect us to take this dissertation seriously?”
Theodore stood. “Yes, sir, I do.” He looked down the table. “Thank you all for your consideration.” He turned and walked from the room with a straight spine.
“Dad?”Snake whispered, “Showtime.” He stood.
Teddy looked up and rose.
Andy rubbed his eyes and his nose. “How come you guys are on the floor?”
Teddy smiled and picked up Andy. “I was just surprised and unhappy when Snake told me what your grandparents did.”
“Yeah.” He snuffled and snuggled into his dad’s shoulder.
Teddy sat on the couch and settled Andy on his lap. Snake started to sit in the chair across from them, but Andy looked up. “Snake? Will you sit by me?”
“Sure, buddy.” He glanced at Teddy, who looked up quickly and then away. Snake sat beside Teddy, who held Andy in his arms. Snake took Andy’s feet.
Teddy started to rock him. “So you know about babies coming from mommies, right?”
“Moms might have different possible dads around before their baby is born, but after the baby is born, the mom might choose a dad.” He looked at Snake, pleading in his eyes.
Snake picked up the thread. “It could be that the dad the mom chooses isn’t the same dad that actually caused the baby in the first place. But that doesn’t matter.”
“Right.” Teddy kissed Andy’s hair. “You mom chose me, and we got married right away, and I was there the whole time you were in her tummy, and I saw you get born and loved you when you were barely an idea.”
Snake blinked hard. “That guy who came to talk to you might have caused the baby, but then he was gone, and he never married your mom or helped her or saw you born or raised you—or loved you. So guess who your dad is?”
Andy tightened his grip on Teddy. “Daddy is my dad.”
“Ding, ding, ding, ding. Give the prize to Andy Walters!”
Andy was quiet for a minute. “But that guy caused me?”
Teddy’s chest rose and fell. “He might have, sweetheart.”
Andy sat back and stared at Teddy with his brows scrunched over his nose. “You didn’t cause me ’cause you don’t like girls, right?”
Snake bit the inside of his cheek.
Teddy smiled. “Kind of. I actually loved your mom a lot. She was my best friend. And when she told me she was going to have a baby, I said maybe I could be the dad. She loved that idea, and we had such a good time raising you.”
“Wish I remembered her better.”
Snake had to look away or Andy might see the tears pushing out of his eyes.
“She loved you so much. Just like I do.” Teddy hugged him tight.