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with an interesting article on Popeater that showcases Old Spice commercials through the years.  My dad used to wear Old Spice and I remember almost all of the commercials they dug up for the article–well, except for the one from 1957.  I’m not quite that old!  I haven’t seen it on TV yet but the newest Old Spice ad is a winner, one of those that you actually don’t mind seeing over and over again.  Hmm…maybe if we had more commercials like this one, I’d watch more TV.  Then again, maybe not, I’d still rather read a book  or even write one.

Speaking of which, I hit 41,000 words on my latest WIP yesterday.  Woo-hoo!  Halfway to the finish line.  Crossing my fingers that the dreaded mid-novel slump stays away!

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Sluggers-069-Sammy-SosaSammy Sosa tested positive for steroids–yep, Sam(my) is playing the same old tune.  It’s become a recurrent theme in baseball these days; another star player who let thousands of fans down and/or vindicated thousands of critics by getting caught cheating.

So, steroids again.  Do I care?  No, I can’t say that I do, but then I’m a grown woman and though I admit to being a bit of a fangirl where some of the players are concerned–can we all say Manny?  Phffft!–I’m old enough to know baseball players aren’t perfect and I don’t idolize them or dream of being like them.  Unfortunately, that’s not true for a lot of baseball fans, namely those under the age of eighteen and those who have kids under the age of eighteen who love baseball.  Nor is it true for minor league players whose idea of the great life is playing in the major leagues one day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love baseball and though I know steroids are a problem we’ll be hearing more about and one we need to find a solution for, I think major league baseball has a bigger problem than steroids.  Wait, no, I meant MLB commissioner, Bud Selig, has a bigger problem than steroids.  It’s obvious to me, given the leaks from a list that was supposed to be confidential, that one of Bud’s minions has turned against him.  Someone out there is doing their best to make Mr. Selig look like a bumbling idiot with his head firmly planted in the sand.  Not to mention the worst MLB commissioner ever…

and they’re doing a pretty good job of it.

**image courtesy of g6733 on PhotoBucket

I probably shouldn’t be writing about this, but I just can’t seem to help myself so here goes…all the sports news sites are talking about how the Red Sox own the Yankees this year.  My guys have won the first seven games against their arch rivals and when you throw in the last game they played against New York last season, they’ve won eight games in a row.

*fingers crossed, knocking on wood, etc.*  Boston hasn’t had a winning streak like this against the Yankees since 1912.  Yes, that’s right, 1912, before Babe Ruth entered the picture and long before the possibility of a curse reared its ugly head in the mind of Red Sox fans everywhere.

Eight straight games.  Will it last?  Probably not, but I’d be tickled pink red if it did.  I’m loving every minute of this, but my husband, the Yankees fan, well, not so much.

He keeps saying the Yankees will come back and I have to agree with him on that one, they always do.  But, and this is a big but, their starting pitching stinks this year, even with the two aces they paid a gazillion or so dollars to get in the off-season, and their bullpen sucks.  On the flip side, Boston’s starting pitchers, after a rocky start for some of them, are getting better, and our bullpen is one of the best in the league.  And of course, we’ve got Tim Wakefield.  Wake has become our go-to man, the pitcher you can always count on to go deep into a game and give the bullpen a rest if they need it.  The ace, who in his quiet, steady way gets the job done without a lot of posing and posturing, just straight-forward pitching.  Seriously, he disproves the Yogi-ism that “all pitchers are liars or crybabies.”

So, have I just jinxed my guys, especially Wake, or will this streak continue?  Back in March when my husband was gloating about how good the Yankees were going to be this year, all I would say to him is that this would be an interesting season.  So far, it has been–well, okay, more for me than him–but there are a lot of games left and if there’s one thing you can count on in baseball, it’s that the Yankees are never down for the count, or if they are, they’ll come roaring back and just like Yogi said, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

A special note to David Ortiz:  next time a reporter says something to you about being in a slump not hitting, give them Yogi’s answer, “Slump?  I ain’t in no slump, I just ain’t hitting.”  And remember, “swing at the strikes” and don’t overthink your game because as Yogi said, “How can you think and hit at the same time?”

Go Red Sox!

I’ve had, for the most part, a really great week.  All the reviews sites I queried about doing a review of my book asked for an ARC or PDF file and they’ve been sent–whew!–I’ve been working on the second book of my series–yay!–I’ve gotten most of my spring cleaning done–yuck!–I started a new short story, this one with a ghost as the main character–fun!–I finally went to the library and got a library card–’bout time!–and while I was there I talked to the head librarian about doing an “Afternoon with the Author” this fall after my book comes out–woo-hoo!

Like I said, a great week, except the Red Sox have been in a bit of a slump and they’ve slipped into second place behind Tampa Bay–yes, Tampa Bay!–in the AL East.  But the Yankees are tied for last place, which is never a bad thing.  But, my boys are back at home now, and they almost always play better at Fenway.

And Manny…ah, my man Manny seems to be having the time of his life.  In fact, as he puts it, “This is a game — you’ve got to go enjoy it and have fun.”

Truer words, and all that.

The thing is…if more people would live by those words, I think the world would be a better place for all of us.  Too many people spend their life filled with hate, bitter about the way the world is treating them and doing their best to cause other people pain.  I ran up against one of those people this week and I admit, I was really pissed at this person at first.  It took a full day of agony and frustration, not to mention a lot of house work, before I realized I needed to just forget about it and get on with my life.

Or as Manny says, enjoy it and have fun.  So, that’s what I’m going to do!

Thanks Manny!  

P.S.  Congrats on number 498!  And that double play last night–oh, baby, that was a thing of beauty!  I found myself wishing I was the fan in the stands you jumped up and high-fived.  Then again, it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t because I would’ve grabbed hold and never let go!  You know how it is with us rabid fangirls! 

 

In an earlier post today, I talked about March Madness and the Romance world coming together in the DA BWAHA tournament.  Well, this seems to be a day for world collisions since it happened again just a few minutes ago–at least in my mind.

As an author, you just never know where you’re going to find inspiration for a story and I’ve come to the conclusion that blog posts fall under that same unpredictable umbrella.  I was reading the MLB Fanhouse blogs and came across the big brou-ha-ha in Florida about the Red Sox players boycotting today’s spring-training game and the trip to Japan if MLB didn’t pony up the money promised to the coaches and staff for the trip.  A lot of people were giving my boys a hard time about this, saying they make enough money to pay the coaches and staff out of their own pockets.

I don’t get that, and maybe it’s just the baby-boomer in me, but why in the hell are fans aiming their vitriole at the players over this?  Seems to me their acid comments would be better directed to MLB.  The players are only standing up for their friends and fellow staff members and trying to right a wrong.  

Okay–bear with me, I promise I do have a point here!–so, I was sent a message on MySpace a few days ago from a Rabid Cassie Edwards Fangirl.  She called me a bitch and said the reason I was being so mean to Ms. Edwards is because I’m jealous that Ms. Edwards has sold more books than I have and because her name is more well-known than mine. 

That’s true on both counts, Ms. Edwards is better known and has sold more books, but I’m not in the least bit jealous of her.  In my opinion, she’s a plagiarist and that makes her a cheat and a thief.  I wouldn’t trade places with her for all the money in the world, because regardless of her status as a best-selling author, cheating and stealing are wrong.  If that’s what it takes to get ahead in the world, well, count me out.

The thing is…the Red Sox players did exactly what I would’ve done in their shoes.  They saw a wrong and were brave enough to stand up and try to make it right–which is all I’m trying to do when I walk into a bookstore and hide all the Cassie Edwards books I can find.  It’s my way of righting a wrong and I’ll keep doing it as long as she and her publishers continue to sell her books–see, told you I had a point!

I’m not jealous of Cassie Edwards and/or her money.  If anyone does their job and does it well, I think they’re entitled to compensation, but…

if someone lies, cheats, or steals in that job, well…sorry, but that’s wrong.  I don’t care if that makes me a jealous bitch in the eyes of some people and really, I think Ms. Edwards, if she ever admits she was wrong to do what she did, might just agree with me.

Yes, I know, I’ve loved him since…forever, but after reading this article on the Red Sox site, Manny finds wisdom with touch of gray, by Maureen Mullen, I’m more in love with him than ever.

He is, to me, the epitome of a baseball player, one who plays the game and plays it well, who enjoys what he does, and one who keeps his head on straight.

Yes, that’s right, I said Manny has his head on straight.  I know there are many people who don’t agree with me, who say uncomplimentary things about his intelligence, but I’m here to tell you, it just ain’t so.  Manny has his moments, sure, but if you listen, really listen to what he’s saying, he makes a lot of sense.

For instance, on growing older:  “The older you get, the smarter you get.”

On the power of positive thinking:  “…if you think positive stuff, all the positive stuff is going to come to you. Making things happen for yourself. Hey, that’s what it’s all about. If you said to yourself, ‘Oh, I’m tired today, brother.’ Then you’re going to be tired all day. That’s it. That’s what it’s all about.” 

On reading (his new favorite pastime):  “That’s all I do is read, read, read, read, read.  I love it.”

Followed by:  “Hanging out with my uncle and taking him everywhere with me, he always tell me, ‘When you got time, when you’re killing time, when you don’t got nothing to do, go get a book and start reading.'”

About life after baseball:  “All this stuff here — baseball — is just like a fantasy that you have.  But you leave that when you leave the game. You start living your life after you retire, your real life.”

And later:  “My main goal when I retire is that I want to see my kids grow. I want to teach them about life. The game is good and everything, but … “

Now, if that’s not a man who has his head screwed on right, I don’t know who or what is.

The thing is…I’ve been a fan of Manny’s for a long time.  Don’t know why that is, other than the first time I saw him play for the Red Sox, something just turned over in my heart and I’ve loved him ever since.  Now that he’s getting older, with a little gray in his hair, that just adds to the appeal for me–hey, ask my husband if you don’t believe me.  I love a man with a little sprinkle of gray, like laugh lines, it adds character. 

I’ve always said Manny knew what the game of baseball was all about and people always laughed at me for that.  Well, now I’m saying Manny not only knows baseball, he also knows what the game of life is about.

Be still my heart!

If you’d like to read the entire article, click here:

http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080312&content_id=2421424&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=bos

And thanks to Ms. Mullen for this wonderful article about my favorite player! 

Well okay, not so much here in the mountains where it’s another rainy cold day, but in Florida, with less than a week to go until the first game, baseball is definitely getting warmer because…Manny’s in the house!  For the first time since 2005, Manny arrived on time for Spring training, and from his statements to the press he’s ready to play and looking forward to this season.

Could it be his last as a Boston Red Sox?  I have a hard time believing that and hope it won’t happen.  But then, as everyone knows, I’m a Manny Fan Girl.  I just can’t imagine the Red Sox without him, can’t imagine watching a game where there isn’t the Big Papi/Manny threat hovering over the opposing pitcher’s head, can’t imagine a time when another player will take on the job of taming Fenway’s Green Monster.

The Red Sox without Manny?  Say it ain’t so–ever!

And then there’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  I caught an informative and interesting article about him in Men’s Vogue the other day.  Did you know he’s the first Navajo to play in the Major Leagues?  Just another reason for me to appreciate him.  I’m not an official FG of his yet, but the more I learn about him the more I like him and I can see myself becoming one, especially after reading the article.  Here it is if you’d like to read it:

http://www.mensvogue.com/health/feature/articles/2008/03/jacoby?currentPage=1

Like I said, very interesting.  Put longer hair on him and he could be the cover model for the book I have coming out later this year, Snow Shadows.  Yep, he could be my Cherokee shape-shifter, Matt, especially since he spent his time in the off-season beefing up.

Hmmm, I wonder if he’d be open to posing for a pic of a paranormal romance hero who, in my editor’s words is “SO HOT!”  (hee-hee, I’ve been giggling over that little tidbit for days!)

The thing is…I’m about 50 pages into the next book, Storm Shadows (working title), and now I’m starting to worry about making the hero of this one, Matt’s brother Marc, “HOT!”  Can I do it?  Well, the only thing to do is write the story.  And now that I have a picture in my head of Jacoby Ellsbury, I think that will help immensely because the brothers in each of the four books in this series look very much alike, about the only difference being the color of their eyes and the length of their hair.  Jacoby’s is still shorter than Marc’s, but not by much.

So thanks, Jacoby, for the inspiration!

I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day.  Don’t know why that is, it just never meant very much to me.  I mean I love getting flowers and my husband just sent me a beautiful bouquet of red carnations–my favorite–but I’m not into chocolate and I’m against the whole card thing because hey, dead trees!  So Valentine’s Day is way down my list of preferred holidays.

I know, I know, I write romance, it should be right up there at number one, right? 

Well, this year it is, because it’s also the day pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.  You know what that means–baseball season is almost upon us and after the beating the sport–and my love of it–took yesterday, it can’t come soon enough for me.

(Fair warning I’m going to go off on a little side rant here!)

So, I wasted two hours of my life watching Roger Clemens testifying to Congress about the Mitchell Report yesterday.  If you ask me, Clemens represents everything that’s wrong with professional sports and after his repeated attestations of innocence, I found myself having to control an urge to throw the nearest hard object at my TV.  Good thing I didn’t have a baseball handy!

Can we all say overpaid arrogant jerk?  Well, I can, and let me assure you, I did.  Several times, in fact.

The thing is…I already knew I didn’t like Clemens, but after yesterday I have to tell you, I’m even more disgusted by his wife.  There’s an acronym that’s popular in the romance community right now; TSTL.  It refers to a character, most often, but certainly not limited to, the heroine of a book who is Too Stupid To Live.

And that’s exactly how I feel about Debbie Clemens.  It’s bad enough she’s married to a jerk, but now she’s letting him use her to try and clear his name…or maybe just deflect some of the suspicion away from him…or something.  I’m not really sure at this point, but IMO, her saying she let Brian McNamee inject her with HGH without her husband’s knowledge, just made me think maybe these two were meant for each other.

Why would a woman do that?  Why, if you had a husband who was being raked over the coals, would you throw yourself down there with him?  I suppose it could be love, but I think it’s more a case of protecting all those millions her husband has milked from baseball.  Or maybe she’s been living with someone who is TSTL for so long that she’s caught the disease.  Whatever.

And so, on this day for lovers, I crown her TSTL Queen of the Day.

As for Mr. Clemens, my pick for TSTL King, I’d like to ask him what kind of a man that makes him?  You remind me of the playground bully who when challenged runs home to Mommy and hides behind her skirt.

Like I said, arrogant overpaid jerk–and might I toss in, moronic, idiotic, childish, immature…well, you get the picture!

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I want to wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Spring Training Day!  The future’s so bright we have to wear shades…

Especially if you’re a Red Sox fan!  

Only a day and a half until the pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training–those that aren’t already there, of course, like the inspirational Jon Lester–and with each passing minute, I’m getting more excited.  Not just because baseball season is fast approaching, after all opening day is still more than a month and a half away, but to me, that day in cold, dreary February when the pitchers and catchers report, is the epitome of what spring is all about–new birth, endless possibilities, and a brighter, warmer outlook…er, weather forecast.

Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, but the way I see it, if I can’t have cold and snow, give me warmth and sunshine.  If I still lived in Maine–where I’m told they got another 8 inches of the white stuff this past weekend–I’d be willing to wait for spring because, hey, what else can you do up there?  And besides, the long wait makes it that much sweeter when it does finally arrive.

But down here in North Carolina, where we’ve had maybe an inch of snow total this winter, and we’ve been plagued with cloudy, gloomy weather for the last, oh, millenium, or so, I’m more than ready for spring. 

And spring to me, means baseball!

So, I’ve moved the official site of the Boston Red Sox up to the top of my favorites list and I’ve been checking out various sports blogs for a little entertainment.  It won’t be long, I’m sure, until the first thing I do in the morning is turn on Sports Center and suffer through the seemingly constant basketball coverage, just to get a minute or two of baseball news.

But right now, I’m watching the blogs and the Red Sox home page, both of which are starting to heat up like the weather in spring.  Here’s the latest news (in no particular order of importance):

1.  YOUK!  Kevin Youkilis just signed a one year, three million dollar contract and will be back at first base this year.  Quite possibly the best news I’ve heard in this long, long offseason, because IMO, he’s one of the most underrated–and underpaid!–players in baseball.

2.  Curt Schilling is already on the DL and likely will be out until at least the All-Star break with right shoulder problems.  I’m not sure how I feel about this…Curt’s an asset to our pitching staff, granted, but I think it might have been a good thing if he’d retired this year.  Sorry Curt!  You’ve been a favorite of mine ever since I first saw that commercial you made when you came to Boston–you know, the one where you’re hitchhiking?  Can’t remember if it was Dodge or Ford or even Chevrolet, but I remember when the truckdriver picks you up and asks where you’re going, you answered (paraphrased), “Boston.  I’ve got an eighty-six year curse to break.”  When I saw that commercial, I got a funny feeling that you just might do it–and I was right!  So, while I value you for everything you’ve brought to the Red Sox–including your um…outspoken bluntness, shall we say?–I still think your best bet for this year may have been retirement.  Too many injuries over too many years, and no matter how much I love baseball, it’s still not worth your health.

3.  Moonshot Manny!  From everything I’ve read, he seems more relaxed and happier than ever that he’s a part of this team and I think the team will only benefit from that.  I’m not happy that it’s his last year under contract with Boston because as you know, I’m a squee! fangirl! of his and can’t imagine the Red Sox without him.  But I’m glad he’s more content than he has been in the past and well, you know, the Red Sox still hold options for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.  *fingers and toes crossed as I pray to the baseball gods for the owners not to let you go*

In the words of Jon Lester:  “It’s going to be another fun year, and hopefully, we can go do it again.” 

Oh yeah!

And from Tessie by The Dropkick Murphys: 

“Boston, you know we love you madly,
hear the crowd roar to your sound!
Don’t blame us if we ever doubt you,
You know we couldn’t live without you,
Red Sox, you are the only only only!”

  

The sun is shining here in western North Carolina–finally!–the thermometer’s pushing 70–take that Mr. Groundhog!–and I just saw on the Red Sox site that Jon Lester is in Ft. Myers already doing the Spring Training thing!  Woo-hoo!  

Now that’s exciting news for a baseball fan like me and the fact that it’s Jon Lester makes it doubly exciting!

For those of you who don’t know who Jon Lester is, I offer up this little bit of wisdom:

**Jon Lester, who came back from a cancer diagnosis in 2006 to win this year’s World Series clincher for Boston, was honored Wednesday with the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity through spirit, determination and courage.

The 23-year-old pitcher was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in August 2006. After cancer treatment during the offseason, he started the year on the disabled list. Lester was recalled in July and finished the regular season 4-0 with a 4.57 ERA.

The thing is…I saw him pitch with the Portland Seadogs in Maine before he was diagnosed with cancer, was devastated when I heard the diagnosis, and thrilled beyond belief when he returned last season after going through chemo-therapy.  And the fact that he won the Tony Conigliaro Award last year means he’s a winner in my book–forever!–because, well, you know how I feel about Tony C!

And judging by Lester’s early appearance in camp, he’s just as anxious as I am to get this season started!

So, am I ready for some baseball–yes!  Yes!  Hell, YES!  Bring it on! 

 **Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press–here’s the full story:  http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3132061

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams

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