Monday, September 23, 2013

Today's Special - - Tracy Solheim

Tracy Solheim is an author who speaks my language.  Like her, I've been a sports enthusiast since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Give me an athlete hero and I'm sure to give your book a second...and third...look!  

After years of writing reports and testimony for Congress, Tracy Solheim decided to put her fiction writing talents to better use.  In May, Berkley Publishing launched her Out of Bounds series, featuring the fictional Baltimore Blaze football team.  GAME ON, book one in the series is available where all books are sold.  FOOLISH GAMES, book two, will be released December 3, 2013.  She lives in the heart of SEC country, also known as the suburbs of Atlanta, with her husband and their two works-in-progress.   When she’s not at the barn with her daughter or working out with friends, she’s writing.  Except for when she’s reading, but according to her, that’s just necessary research.  See what she’s up to at www.tracysolheim.comWomenUnplugged and Romancing the Jock.  Be sure to LIKE her on Facebook to be eligible to win an advanced copy of Foolish Games!

Please give Tracy a warm Romance Dish welcome!





PUTTING A LITTLE GAME IN ROMANCE
Long before I cracked the spine of my first Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel and well before I was introduced to Deirdre Martin’s New York Blades hockey team or Jill Shalvis’ Santa Barbara Heat baseball team, I was dreaming of my own jock hero.  Just ask my mom.  While other girls were reading Seventeen, I was pouring through Sports Illustrated, cutting out pictures of hunky athletes to tape up to my bedroom wall.  (Don’t mention the tape to my mother, though.  She’s still unhappy about the damage to the freshly painted room.)
            When it came to writing my first contemporary romance, GAME ON, I naturally gravitated to an athlete as the hero.  At the time, Navy SEALS were the rage and there weren’t enough books on the contemporary shelves about jocks.  (Not that I don’t love a good Navy SEAL book, because I really do!)  But times have changed since that first draft a couple of years ago and sports romance has quickly developed into a strong sub-genre of its own.  Which leads me to ask:  What took so long?
            Athletes—like the aforementioned Navy SEALs—are larger than life. They’re warriors with hard bodies, ego-induced swagger and lots of disposable income.  What’s not to love, right?  They are the absolute perfect romance hero.

Not so fast, though.  It takes more to make a reader cheer for a jock.  The best sports romance heroes have to be vulnerable, too.  Vulnerable to injury or loss of the championship, or worse, their career.  In GAME ON, quarterback Shane Devlin is scrambling to keep his career alive.  Not for the money, necessarily, but so he can surpass NFL records set by his estranged father.  In FOOLISH GAMES, the second book in the Out of Bounds trilogy, linebacker Will Connelly’s vulnerability is an infant son he never knew he had and will do anything to keep.  In the third book, RISKY GAME, tight end Brody Janik is hiding a potentially career-ending secret. Of course, all three players meet women who help them navigate their vulnerabilities to score their happily ever after.  It is romance, after all.
            But let’s look at this from a totally different perspective.  What about a book with the heroine as the sports star? Would her vulnerabilities be the same as a male athlete?  I think most would.  More importantly, what would her hero look like?  I’m seriously toying with the idea, so I’d appreciate your perspective.  
Leave me a comment with your thoughts and you’ll be eligible to win a signed copy of GAME ON and some fun, handmade bath soap! (U.S. addresses only)





62 comments:

  1. Congrats on your debut release, Tracy. I love sports romances and would like to see more heroines as a sports star. VK Syke's "Caddy Girls" features a heroine who is trying to become a pro golfer. It's one of my all time favorites.

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    1. Thanks, Jane! I will definitely pick up a copy of "Caddy Girl". Thanks for dishing with us today. :)

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    2. Jane, thanks for recommending Caddy Girls. Good book!

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  2. Hi PJ and Tracy! This sounds like a terrific debut release, Congratulations!

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  3. Hi Tracy .... Good luck with the new book.

    I was glued to the last Olympic Games with so many heroes and heroines to admire.

    I also love romance and sport and think that a sporting heroine is a fabulous theme.

    I think I would choose a sport where skill matters more than strength and where a woman could easily disguise herself as a man. Cricket would be perfect with the baggy whites disguising the more obvious feminine features ... but I gather the sport isn't well understood in America.

    A talented heroine could then get into a male team on ability alone and show those men how to play!

    Proximity would hold huge potential for romance ... what more could you ask for!

    PS I'm a male in the UK with a preference for heroines! LOL

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    1. Interesting concept! I'll have to brainstorm more on that one. ;) Thanks for sharing your perspective with us!

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    2. Thanks, Q! I like the idea of the heroine disguising herself but I also love athlete heroines who are proud to be front and center in their sport. Lots of potential in both scenarios!

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  4. Hi Tracy! So great to have you here today! As I said in my intro, I've been a sports fan since I was a wee little one and love sports themes in romance. I have a copy of GAME ON and am looking forward to meeting your characters.

    With the number of women playing sports these days, I think an athlete heroine makes perfect sense!

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    1. Thanks for inviting me to blog today, PJ! I've already picked up some great ideas for future books. :) Your readers are awesome.

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  5. I'm another sports fan. I grew up in a football-mad town, and some of my most cherished family memories are centered around cheering for my brother at football, basketball, and baseball games and track meets. With the grands, I've added soccer. Everybody at my house is grinning today because the Braves are NL East champs again. :)

    I love the idea of a heroine as athlete. Tennis, golf, soccer, basketball, skiing, swimming, driving--there are so many possibilities.

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    1. I'm with you, Janga! Go Bravos!!

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    2. I'm excited for the Braves! I knew you'd be on board with this one, my sports-loving friend. ;-)

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  6. I love sports romance and also soaps. Thanks for giveaway.

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  7. PS - Am so happy - how could I forget to mention - my Dodgers won the NL West and are headed for the playoffs! Yay!

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    1. Pat,
      Maybe we'll see those Dodgers in Atlanta! Can't wait for the playoffs. :)

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    2. Congrats to your Dodgers, Pat! It's going to be an exciting series.

      I love homemade soaps too!

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  8. As the Dishes know, I'm a huge sports fan and love sports romances! Footie, American football, baseball, rugby and of course, hockey! I'm thrilled that my hockey hunks finally made it to press :)

    I think a sporting heroine makes for great conflict possibilities - having seen our women excel in all sorts of Olympic sports, even boxing, I think there are many sports you could use.

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    1. I do, too, Anna. Lots of ideas are floating around in my head this morning. Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Hi Anna! Thanks for stopping by. Anna has a terrific hockey hunk hero in her new book, A Perfect Distraction.

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  9. I am loving all the sports related romance books. I have read baseball, football, hockey, and even bike riding. Something about all those sweating muscles. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book!

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    1. And the swagger, Trish. Don't forget that. ;)

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    2. Oh, yeah. Love that swagger! I saw a little boy, about 9 years old, at the Panthers game yesterday. He was so darn cute and already had the swagger. I mentioned to my friend, "There's a sports romance hero in the making!" :)

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  10. Congratulations Tracy. Sports romances are appealing and very special. Women excel in many events and a major character in a novel would be wonderful. Best wishes.

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  11. I love sports romances. Good question, never thought of the heroine being the athlete. Hmmm. Her hero would have to be the same type of hero that I would like a non-athlete to be - strong, sure of himself, and a good sense of humor.

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    1. You're so right, Helen. I like a hero who can laugh at himself. :)

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    2. Excellent hero qualities, Helen! :)

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  12. I enjoy sports related novels for their characters and the storyline which is unique and memorable. Thanks for your lovely post.

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  13. I like sports related romances--I'll have to look for your book.

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    1. Stop by my website for a list of the books in the series. Maybe you'll win Game On here today. :)

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  14. I would love to win this book. The heroine would have to find a hero that could deal with her (probably) strong personality and her traveling for her games. So it could be a tough situation. But I definitely want to read this book.

    Patty B Coral

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  15. I like sports heroes but I don't remember reading a sports heroine. I think it is a great idea though but the hero would have to be a very supportive type of person.

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    1. I agree, Maureen. The hero needs to be someone with enough self-confidence to be able to remain in the background. I was watching a documentary on Billy Jean King this weekend and it got me wondering about her husband of many years and all he went through supporting her.

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  16. I don't think I've read a sports related story but I enjoy watching many sports and the idea of a sports heroine sounds unique and quite interesting.

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    1. If you win Game On, you'll have to let me know what you think of the sports story. :)

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  17. I like sports as a backdrop to a romance. susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson are particular favorites. The only time I read about a female athlete was in an old Nora Roberts' Silhoutte romance book. The heroine was a professional tennis player.

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    1. Kim, tennis was one of the sports I was thinking of. Maybe a woman who got into tennis to make her parents happy? I'll have to look for the Nora Roberts book!

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  18. this is a fabulous idea of the female being the athlete - they may have some different vulneribilities, but also some of the same challenges - I can't think of the name of a book with a female in sports, but I know I've read some with an ice skater

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    1. Juliana Stone has a hockey playing heroine in her Barker Triplets trilogy. I know I've read some other sports playing heroines but they're few on the ground. I'd enjoy reading more!

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  19. I think sports heroine would work just as well as a sports hero. Just look at the Olympic Games. ;)

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. My daughter suggested an Olympic equestrian. She does have a one track mind, however. :)

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  20. a sports heroine would be awesome! My only fear is that she would be portrayed as frigid and non experienced since she's "focused" on her sport. The few that I've read had the sports heroines emotionally stunted and the hero had to "teach" her how to be live outside the sport. Thumbs down! I wanna see a vibrant, sexually confident sports heroine! Thanks for sharing and congrats to Tracy on the new release :)

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  21. Tracy, thanks so much for visiting with us today. Now I'm even more excited about reading Game On!

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  22. Thanks for having me, PJ! Thanks to everyone for the great ideas about a future book. :)

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  23. I like the idea of an ice skater. Her hero would have to be just as patient with her career as if the situation were reversed.

    Natalie's Mama

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  24. I need a confident, quirky heroine sports star and an awkward, geeky interviewer hero who wears glasses, stat. *Winky face*

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  25. What a great idea. Women are involved in sports and must be well trained and capable to do so. They aren't playing the big league teams in most sports (football, hockey, etc) but they do play in their own leagues. The desire to excel is not gender specific. Women want to be at the top of their sport. They suffer injuries and set-baccks. They have to be a bit tougher to make it and hold their spot at the top. She would need a strong, supportive man. I'll be interested to see if you come up with a book or series dealing with such strong, capable women.


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  26. I always like the mix of the athlete and the completely unaware of sports person... I do think women/girls have more body issues than guys when being in sports..but then women have more body issues than guys in general...

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  27. I love the premise, something different - always like a new storyline - the male non athlete hero would have to be very understanding of the heroine's profession and what that would entail to their relationship; hey if the female can do it then so can the man. LOL.

    Cuzie Dawn

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  28. I have a close friend whose daughter played for the University of Wisconsin Woman's National Championship Hockey Team. My niece was on the University of Minnesota Swim Team. I know all about the time, money and commitment it takes to excel at a sport.

    I do like playing and watching sporting events. I also enjoy athletic heroes and heroines.
    Books:
    Sandra Brown - tennis player, THRILL OF VICTORY.
    Julianna Stone -hockey player- OFFSIDES

    I've read about an ice skater but I can't remember the title. (Cutting Edge movie)
    I also read one with a barrel racing star.
    I read one with an Olympic skier

    Possible ideas for books:

    1) H&Hare both competitive athletes but the women is doing better and the hero has a hard time accepting her success

    2) She's athletic, he's not and how they adapt their lives to deal with her success and time involvement, while he's a successful businessman or doctor

    3) She's an athlete he's a physically fit policeman or fire fighter jobs interfere

    4) She's a successful athlete dealing with an injury. He's a writer, newscaster or sport's journalist who wants an exclusive story

    5) She's a star athlete, he's a film star -competing egos force huge compromises

    6) Pairs ice skating couple

    Future books: women are now successful in almost every sport:

    soccer, volleyball, skiing, swimming, diving, track, tennis, basketball, baseball, boxing, roller skating, ice skating, competitive dancing, rodeo events, NASCAR racing, sailing, surfing, ice dancing


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  29. I would think that it woudl work best if both were athletes think there might be problems if the guy wasn't sports minded or maybe not.... I saw your book at the book store looking forward to getting it soon.

    Donna

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  30. I love reading sports related books but I think the only one with a female sports heroine was about an ice skater and I think it was a Donna Kauffman book. So count me in for the drawing. This is really a different type of storyline - and the hero would have to be understanding of the profession so maybe a male athlete hero would be good or a sports writer - maybe he could follow her around sometimes.

    lrmegtom@gmail.com

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  31. I enjoy reading sports related books, but can't remember the last one I read. The heroine would be vulnerable. The hero should be a sports jock who would be able to understand her schedule.

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