Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Today's Special - - Anna Sugden


I am beyond excited to introduce you today to debut Harlequin SuperRomance author, Anna Sugden!  If you follow the Romance Bandits or their visits to the Romance Dish, then Anna's name and face are familiar to you. What makes her visit today so special is that it's the first time we're welcoming her as a published author. As someone who has followed her writing journey for more than six years, that is a very special thrill!  

Anna is a three-time Golden Heart finalist who loves reading and writing happy endings as much as hockey! When not reading or watching hockey, she loves football, good food & wine, making simple cross-stitch projects, and collecting memorabilia, penguins and fab shoes! 

A former marketing executive and primary teacher, Anna lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and two bossy black cats. 

Learn more about Anna, her heart-warming romances and her shoes (the woman has some fabulous shoes!) at www.annasugden.com . 

You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.






Hi Anna!  It is such a thrill to welcome you to the Romance Dish!  Congratulations on yesterday’s release of your debut novel, A Perfect Distraction.  Will you please tell our readers what to expect from this story? 

Hi PJ! It’s such a thrill to be here as a guest! I love visiting the Romance Dish as a reader, so it’s a huge honour to be here celebrating the release of my first book! Thank you so much for having me J
A Perfect Distraction is a story about two people who have to learn not to judge a book by its cover. They have to look deeper than what’s on the outside when it comes to each other, but also within themselves.
Naturally, there is a glimpse into the world of professional hockey and the amazing players who lace up the skates. Readers will also meet some fun secondary characters (and one or two who are not so nice!) who help Maggie and Jake on their turbulent journey towards happily ever after.

You've created deliciously complex characters, Anna.  I can't wait to find out more about some of those secondary characters! 

As a fan of hockey since childhood, I can’t tell you how excited I was when I first discovered that the hero of this book is a professional hockey player.  What would you like readers to understand about Jake Badoletti?


Thanks, PJ! It’s funny, when I first started writing this book, back in 2007, sports star heroes were a big no-no. I’m so glad times have changed, thanks to authors like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Deirdre Martin, Rachel Gibson and Kate Angell.

What fascinates me about hockey players is that no matter how tough/hard/nasty they are on the ice, nine times out of ten they are decent blokes off the ice. My working title for this book was Bad Boy, Good Man because that’s Jake in a nutshell! Only he doesn’t see himself as having that ‘good man’ side.
I think it’s also tough for people outside professional sports to understand what it takes to play at the highest level. There has to be a level of confidence - even arrogance - and self-belief, as well as a feeling of invincibility you don’t see in everyday life. Jake is at a stage in his life when he’s been forced to realize that he’s not invincible, nor can he take his skills for granted. That’s why he doesn’t need distractions ;)




Your heroine, Maggie Goodman carries a lot of emotional baggage that makes her understandably wary of Jake.  What surprised you most about Maggie?

Maggie was full of surprises! Women who survive abuse are strong; they have to be, even if they don’t feel it. Even at Maggie’s toughest moments, her strength shone through. She would not be defeated. What surprised me most was how her sense of humour also shone through - she does like to wind Jake up!

Will you share a short excerpt from the book with us?

I’d love to!

Swallowing her apprehension over what she’d see within, Maggie gripped her briefcase tightly and stepped into the doorway.
In the large sitting area of the suite, by the floor-to-ceiling windows, a group of women fluttered around a tall, dark-haired man, like a flock of brightly colored, exotic birds. That must be Jake Badoletti.
Her mouth went dry.
None of the photos in Tracy’s file had done him justice. She’d known he was good-looking, but that didn’t begin to describe the man in person.
Heaven help her, he was gorgeous!
Square-jawed and rugged, with piercing, blue eyes and a crooked grin. He was clearly a warrior of the ice, but his broken nose and scars somehow added to his appeal and made him more intriguing. Unlike the hulking bodies of the thick-necks, Jake had the firm, solid lines of an athlete in peak condition. Lean, corded muscle shaped the snug-fitting black shirt and faded jeans. Exciting and enticing, he brimmed with charm and hints of danger.
No wonder he had that reputation—any woman would have a hard time resisting the pull of this particular bad boy. Once upon a time, she’d have been in that crowd, fighting for his attention. Not anymore. Never again.
Still, she couldn’t help feeling a little relieved that she probably wouldn’t see him again.
He’d be Tracy’s problem, assuming Maggie did what she had to in this meeting. Pushing aside a last-minute nervous quiver, she donned her polite, but reserved media smile and entered the lion’s den.

We love to hear call stories.  How did you receive the news that you had sold?  Who was the first person you told?  Did you do anything special to celebrate?

On December 18, 2012, I was sitting in my office, working on some revisions to a romantic suspense proposal, when the phone rang. It was my lovely agent, Jill Marsal, telling me she had an early Christmas present for me. The funny thing was that I was so sure I was going to get yet another rejection, that I didn’t register that my agent calling from Los Angeles was something special. I chalked it up to it being one of those ‘nearly, nearly there’ rejections. Needless to say I was completely stunned when Jill said that Wanda Ottewell at Harlequin Super Romance wanted to buy my book! It took a while for the news to sink in. When it did, I began to cry.
At that moment, my lovely husband walked in and saw me on the phone, crying, and began to panic that I’d received bad news! As soon as he heard me say it was Jill he knew it was the best Christmas present ever!
You know me, PJ - it’s all about the shoes! I treated myself to a lovely pair of Christian Louboutins.

Aww, what a great story!  Love - but not one bit surprised - that you celebrated with shoes!  lol!

Let’s talk about you for a bit.  What occupies your time when you’re not busy writing?  Any favorite activities?

I love to watch sport - hockey, obviously, but also football (both soccer and American football). I also like to make small craft projects - usually cross-stitching - to potter about in the garden, read <g> and collect stuff … memorabilia, penguins, cats, shoes. Oh and I might have a mild addiction to adventure games on the computer.

You live in England, a country most romance readers would love to visit.  What country would you most like to visit?  Why? 

I’m very lucky in that I’ve travelled a lot, so have visited many of the places I’ve always wanted to see. I love being able to get back to the States and to Canada and exploring different parts of those countries. There are so many places left to visit! Maine, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington … to name a few. Plus I’d love to do a west coast swing when my Devils play Calgary, Edmonton and Vancuover to kill two birds with one stone!

Sounds like a great plan!  What are you working on now?  How long will we have to wait for your next book?  I’m invested in this team now.  I want to find out what happens next!  ::grin::

Aww - thank you, PJ!

I’m currently working on the second book in the New Jersey Ice Cats series <g>, so it’ll be next summer before it hits the shelves. This is Tru and Jenny’s story - so you’ll get to find out what caused the tension between them and whether they’ll be able to overcome the pain of the past to get their happily ever after. Next up after that is Ike’s book.

Thanks so much for answering all my questions, Anna.  Is there anything else you would like to add?  Would you like to ask our readers a question today?

It’s been my pleasure - thank you again for having me!

What I’d like to know from your readers is what is their perfect distraction? And does anyone else have a minor addiction to one of their distractions J

 

Okay, readers, let's hear about those perfect distractions in your life!  Anna is graciously giving one randomly chosen person who leaves a comment a signed copy of A Perfect Distraction as well as a special pack of Jane Austen commemorative stamps.  (open internationally)



A face-off—head vs. heart 

For Jake Badoletti, this year is all about his career. He has a rare second chance to make the most of being a pro hockey player, so no parties, no scandals. Too bad he's met a woman who could sideline those plans. Maggie Goodman is not his usual type—right down to being a single mom. Still, the sizzling connection with this gorgeous brunette can't be ignored.

With a little juggling and a lot of focus, Jake manages to have the game and Maggie. Then his performance on the ice suffers and a scandal erupts. Now he can't afford the distraction of Maggie…even if she is perfect for him.




60 comments:

  1. Hello Anna,
    Congrats on your debut release. So excited about "A Perfect Distraction." Watching hockey is a perfect distraction, but my minor addiction is online shopping/browsing.

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    1. Hi Jane, my fellow hockey addict! Thanks for stopping by. A-ha, now we know your secret! ;)

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    2. Hi Jane! Right there with you in hockey addiction land. I've been a fan since I was a wee sprout.

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  2. Anna, I'm so happy for you and so excited about A PERFECT DISTRACTION!!!

    One of my favorite distractions is reading :-D And yes, I'm definitely addicted LOL.

    A distraction I've had to work hard to curb, though, is playing games on my iPad. I never allowed games on my computer since I knew it'd be too tempting to play instead of write, but the iPad seemed safe enough. Except it's just as easy to play on it in front of the computer as it would be to play on the computer itself. So I've put myself on game restriction, only playing games for a short time each day with my daughter.

    I can't wait to be distracted reading your book (again) though :-D It's going to be a special treat!!!

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    1. Hey Tawny! Thanks so much - couldn't have done it without you!

      As we share a minor addiction to the same type of computer games, I'm nodding - yeah, I tried that iPad versus computer thing and it didn't work for me either :)

      I can't wait to be distracted by your next awesome release - your Cosmo novella, Fearless! I know it's going to be hot, hot, hot!

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    2. Hi Tawny! I count reading as one of my main distractions too. Happily so! :)

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  3. Hi Anna!! Congrats on your release!

    My perfect distraction is watching hockey or just sports in general. I can leave my TV on to any sport and I'll watch until it's over.

    And a bad distraction would be my addiction to Candy Crush. I have to beat this level (currently stuck on level 245) but I can't wait for new lives. It's just bad lol

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    1. Hi Ada - thanks so much for stopping by! Yay! Another hockey/sports fan - awesome. I'm assuming you love sports romances too?

      Let's not mention Candy Crush ;) - I swore I wouldn't download it or play it or get addicted to it. Then I swore I wouldn't pay for boosters or lives or anything. I just want to say Level 147 UGHHH!!!

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    2. Ada, I'm in the middle of my favorite fall sports addiction: College Football!

      I don't play any of those online games. I'd never be able to walk away.

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  4. Reading is my perfect distraction. There's nothing like a great book that will make me forget to sleep! My minor addiction is following blog hops and book tours. You think you've found all the good blog sites and bam, follow a hop and you find another one to check out!

    Congratulations on your release, Anna!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and joining my blog tour! Reading is the perfect distraction - I'm terrible for getting lost in a book and forgetting that I have to write my next one to a real deadline LOL.

      Blog hops and book tours are lethal to my TBR pile - I have to limit myself or I end up following lots of blogs and discovering lots of authors and bam there goes my TBR pile again! ;) Hanging out with the Dishy Dames is especially addictive and lethal - good thing they're so awesome ;)

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    2. Same here, Anita. My tbr pile is threatening to take over!

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    3. Awwww...thanks, Anna. You're such a sweetie!

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  5. Congratulations on your debut release, Anna! I'm especially happy to get a chance to say that here since I had visiting grands over Labor Day and missed your launch party at the Lair. I did read A Perfect Distraction yesterday and loved Jake and Maggie. I'm not a hockey fan, but I love hockey romances along with football, basketball, baseball, and golf romances. :)

    I'm addicted to reading. I average about 1.5 books a day, so that doesn't leave much time for other distractions.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Janga - we missed you at the Lair party (though visiting grands are a wonderful excuse!) - it was wild. I'm sure there are still some BBs snuggled up in the fur blankets with some of the Swedish ice-carvers! ;)

      Thank you so much for buying and reading A Perfect Distraction - and a double thank you for loving Jake and Maggie's story! That's made my day!

      Yay on loving sports romances, especially hockey romances when you don't love hockey :)

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    2. Janga, I'm so glad you enjoyed Jake and Maggie. I did too and am already counting down the months until we get the rest of the stories!

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  6. Congratulations, Anna!!! Woohoo, this is so exciting to have your hard work finally become a reality in print. (That doesn't make much sense, but you know what I mean.) I'm not usually a fan of sports stories, but I like the sound of APD, maybe because it's a different kind of sport. I love your line in the interview about hockey players being good blokes off the ice; love the English phrasing of that statement. :)

    Perfect distraction for me would be reading a book or watching a musical. A bad distraction is darned Facebook. It's hard not to check in and out with it every day. Dumb, but I do.

    Congrats again and HURRAY!!!

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    1. Hey Deb! It's great to see you here - I understood what you meant and thank you! :)

      I'm glad you're willing to give APD a go, despite not being a fan of sports stories - you never know we may yet get you addicted to the boys of the ice ;)

      Yeah, FB is a major time-suck. Some days it's quite easy with not much going on - other days, it's full of fun stuff.

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    2. Deb, do give A PERFECT DISTRACTION a try. It's a wonderful character-driven romance!

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  7. I love sports related books.

    As for distraction, watching a fav t.v. show, going to the movies, READING, going out to eat. LOL.

    Patoct

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    1. Hi Patoct - thanks for stopping by today and for loving sport-related books!

      Your favourite distractions sound perfect :)

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    2. Good distractions! I'm a sports lover too. Give me a sports themed romance and I'm there!

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  8. Hi Anna! **waving wildly**

    Thanks so much for visiting with us today! I can't begin to tell you how much fun it was for me to write "debut author" in that introduction. I grinned the entire time!

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    1. Hi PJ! *waving back*

      I've been grinning all day at the thought that I'm actually here as an 'author' and not just a wannabe :) So cool!

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  9. As PJ and Andrea know I love a good book. Can't wait to read yours. My perfect distraction is reading

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    1. I count reading as one of my perfect distractions too. I hope you enjoy A PERFECT DISTRACTION, regencygirl!

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    2. Thanks for taking part, regencygirl. Hope you find my book a perfect distraction :)

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  10. Hi Anna. I grew up with Hockey Night in Canada. If it was Saturday night then the game was on. I grew up in a house of four brother's and my father, so sports a lot of the time won the night. So my distraction was books...I could lock myself away in my room away from the loud moans and groans and shouts, until I went to my first live hockey game. Then Hockey became my sport. I love my Maple Leafs and am loyal to them.
    I love football, and baseball and golf.. I have even been known to watch a little soccer.
    I am looking forward to reading this book.. Congrats Annie and good interview PJ.

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    1. Hey Kathleen! I was the older of two girls, with a sports-mad dad. So, I grew up watching footie, rugby, cricket and later American football and baseball. You just can't beat a live game! I was hooked after my first live hockey game too :) You know, there is a lot of similarity between hockey and soccer in pace and skill and excitement.

      I have many friends who are staunch Leafs fans - including my lovely editor :). When we were living in Jersey, we took a trip up to Toronto to see my Devils play your Leafs - great fun, even though we lost. Hope you enjoy APD and the New Jersey Ice Cats!

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  11. Hey, a whole gathering of my fave peeps! Hiya Dishies! Hiya Anna! Anna, congratulations again on the release of A PERFECT DISTRACTION. I'm so looking forward to reading it - the postie is sick of me hassling him about when my parcel will arrive from the Book Depository! My distractions? Definitely reading. Honestly, I wish I was paid to read!

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    1. Speaking of favourite peeps ... it's the wonderful Anna Campbell!! Yeah, I bet the postie is loving you hassling him - it's deliberate! ;)

      I wish I had more time to read too - it's true what they say about not having the time to read once you're published! But, A Rake's Midnight Kiss is on its way to me - I may have to make an exception for that one ;)

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  12. Congratulations on the new release. A perfect distraction is reading or watching a major tournament, such as the US Open (tennis) or the Masters (golf).

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    1. Thanks, Kim. I'm not a big fan of tennis or golf, but I do love watching tournaments like the Stanley Cup or the European Championship or the Superbowl. :)

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  13. Congratulations, Anna. As for distraction and addiction it's definitely reading first but I play way to many games online too lol. Candy Crush anyone! I'm at 259 but they keep adding more levels!

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    1. This is why I never accept all those game invitations on facebook. I spent way too much time on there as it is. If I started playing games, I'd never get off the computer!

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  14. Thanks, catslady! Yeah, those games are addictive. I normally like the adventure games, but Candy Crush is doing my head in - I'm only on Level 147 and I've been stuck there for weeks. I refuse to buy anything extra so it's just luck if I'll ever be able to move on!

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  15. Hey Anna! So good to see you on the Dish as a debut author -

    When I'm hitting a difficult spot in the WIP I'm writing it's really easy to find distractions to avoid writing. While I don't watch much TV, I do love the mini-series that seem to be "the thing" these days. Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, THe White Queen, Walking Dead - Love them all. I have a counted cross stitch project that I've been working on for years. It calls me around Christmas every year which makes sense as it's a tree skirt. And - I do like to go to college football games with the dh. Easy to find something distracting - even laundry - when trying to avoid work :-)

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    1. Sorry, Donna. Laundry is one distraction that I'd never choose! lol Football, on the other hand, is one of my primary distractions this time of year. Love me some college football! :)

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    2. LOL Donna - I know what you mean about the distractions when you're at that tough spot in the WIP. I've been known to have a burning desire to clean the house eg bathrooms (shocking, I know!)- although never ironing :) It does work - perhaps it's the smell of bathroom cleaner that triggers something in my brain and I find myself back off and running in no time!

      With you Buckeyes, I'm not surprised you're a college fan. We even got into following Rutgers when we lived in Jersey!

      Ooh we'll have to talk about your Christmas tree skirt - I do small counted cross stitch projects and love them.

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  16. Congratulations, Anna! I must say, if you're going to be distracted, then A Perfect Distraction sounds like just the ticket! LOL.
    I get distracted by Mark Harmon on NCIS ... Kurt Browning doing a fun figure skating routine ... weeds in my yard (I swear they call out to me!) ... and talking with friends on the phone. Tsk, tsk.

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    1. Oh, I do like your distractions, Laney! I've had a crush on Mark Harmon since his college football days. That's one man who gets better looking every year! Kurt Browning is so much fun. Love to watch him skate!

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    2. Thanks so much, Laney! :) I could very easily get distracted by Mark Harmon *sigh*. I'll have to Google Kurt Browning. Yeah - weeds are in that same category as bathroom cleaning - see my comment to Donna!

      Love talking with friends on the phone/Skype or Facetime!

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  17. Books of course! :)

    Also giggling with my kids...

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    1. Giggling with kids is one of the best distractions out there. I'm sitting here grinning just thinking about it! :)

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    2. Books are the perfect distraction :)

      Oh I love giggling with kids!

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  18. Love, love, LOVE this book! Course...I love the author too :D Congratulations Anna! Let's hear it for the hockey hunks!

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    1. Isn't it great, Joanie? Loved this story and can't wait to tag along with the other hockey hunks on their own journeys to love!

      Congrats on your own recent release, Barbarian's Soul. Can't wait to read it!

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    2. Awww thank you, my beloved Bandita sister! We are blessed in the Lair with your gorgeous Romans and my hockey hunks :)

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  19. Congrats, Anna!

    Besides reading (my #1), I also watch reality tv. LOL

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Which reality shows do you watch, Marcy?

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    2. OMG Marcy - reality TV?! Really? ;)

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    3. Is that a good "reality TV?! Really?" or an appalled one, Anna? Now I'm not sure if I should answer PJ's question. LOL

      I like Top Chef, Master Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Big Brother and Project Runway. At least you WON'T catch me watching Honey Boo Boo. Even I have standards. *gg*

      Marcy Shuler

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  20. My most common perfect distraction is reading, my second is traveling. They compliment each other. I like to read stories set in areas we are going to or have visited. It makes the book come alive and makes the visit more of a return to some place we have visited before.

    A PERFECT DISTRACTION sounds like it will be an enjoyable read. I grew up on the Canadian border about 65 miles south of Montreal. The Canadians were always our team and my dad still follows them. I hadn't watched it in a while but did catch some of the Stanley Cup games this year. I'd forgotten just how fast the game moves. You get a workout just trying to keep up.

    Congratulations on the release of A PERFECT DISTRACTION. Hope the release goes well. Best of luck on your writing career.

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    1. Reading and traveling...two of my favorites too!

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    2. Hi librarypat - thanks for stopping by! reading and travelling are two of my favourite distractions too. In fact, these days, reading while travelling seems to be the only time I really have time to read!

      Ooh a Habs fan - your captain is one of my favourite players - the Rochester Rocket, Brian Gionta. He was great playing for my Devils. The Playoffs and the Cup are something else - hockey is fast at the best of times, but when there's something on the line - wow! Being there and watching them live is even better :) *sigh* I miss going to games!

      Thanks! :)

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  21. Distractions:

    Fantasy Football- My second year We had our draft on Monday night. Now I'm trying to research all the players to improve my team . It's addictive. I finished 6/12 last year.

    Walking and swimming- I have to get outside everyday and do some activity.

    Reading- definitely a must do everyday

    Internet Blogs and Facebook- This is how I start my mornings.

    I love to watch hockey. I started watching college hockey. Go UW-Badgers! My oldest son loved the Boston Bruins. I like Colorado Avalanche.

    I enjoy books with sports athletes. I'd love to read your book A PERFECT DISTRACTION, Jake and Maggie's love story.

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    1. Hey Laurie! Thanks for stopping by! I know I shouldn't like the Avs after 2002, but I've always like Joe Sakic! One of my favourite trips was to Denver to see the Avs play the Devils! Joe is actually the image in my head for the hero of book 2 *g*.

      You have some wonderful distractions. Go you on fantasy football - I've always wondered about laying fantasy hockey, but worry I might get too sucked in :)

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  22. Reading, and I am most definitely addicted! But in the best of ways :-) Also: Blog surfing, binging on the DVR, and seeing movies :-)

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