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This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. It’s a day to be with family, eat and reflect on everything in your life you’re thankful for. Oh, and football. It’s also a day dedicated to football. (more…)

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I know it’s not politically correct in this day and age to refer to anything as being gender-specific. I mean, if a guy wants to run around wearing a push-up bra all day because he likes women’s clothing, more power to him. And if little girls want to play with hot wheels and little boys want to play with dolls, who’s stopping them. No one’s going to laugh or poke fun. It’s all okay nowadays.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

But me, I’ll about the “girl sports.” I like figure skating, ice dancing and gymnastics. I can really get into a good game of beach volleyball. My husband – not so much. He’s into the manly man sports, you know, football, Nascar, golf, although I’d argue that last one is a little foo foo. Watching golf is like watching grass grow if you ask me. I do like me some good old-fashioned rodeo, though and thankfully, the hubs and I both enjoy a good round of team roping, steer wrestling, and bull riding. Yee haw!!!

Kristina Mathews.  Photo courtesy Amazon.com

Kristina Mathews.
Photo courtesy Amazon.com

Now my friend Kristi Mathews, she’s all about baseball. Baseball is one of those “guy” sports in my mind, but Kristi is no guy and she’s one of the biggest fans around. What’s super cool about Kristi is that she’s found a very clever way to combine her two passions and get one fantastic result – a romance book about baseball.

Let me tell you a little bit about Kristi. She doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn’t until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing. While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she’s remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books.

Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors and serve as a “Ball Dudette” for the San Francisco Giants.

Yes folks, she’s a Giants fan, but don’t hold that against her. She’s about as nice as they come.

Her debut novel, Better Than Perfect, is available everywhere today (there’s a link at the end of this post). Well, maybe not everywhere, but I’m sure if there’s a place that sells e-books, you’ll be able to find her. And today, I’m giving away a few copies to some very lucky followers. Just leave a comment below and you’ll automatically be in “the drawing.”

Kristi's debut novel Better Than Perfect. Photo courtesy Amazon.com

Kristi’s debut novel Better Than Perfect.
Photo courtesy Amazon.com

I’ve asked Kristi some questions. Her answers are in blue. My interview with Kristi starts now:

Me: Tell us about your experience with “the call.”
Kristi: I’d participated in a Savvy Authors pitch party, where they had several agents and editors post their submission requests and I pitched to a couple who were looking for my kind of book. I had also sent a cold submission to a big eBook publisher and I was literally on my way to a funeral when I got their form rejection after 12 weeks on submission. Then I got a pretty thorough and harsh (think dental hygienist harsh) critique on my manuscript. But I got a request from the editor at Lyrical Press. I was feeling pretty discouraged, but I knew if I didn’t send it out one more time, I’d always wonder. So I hit send. A few days later (not three months) I got an e-mail from the editor. She liked my story, liked the conflict, connected with the characters…I kept reading, waiting for the “but…” There was no but. She wanted to add me to their roster. I ran out to the driveway to catch my husband before he left for work. I made him read it, just to be sure I wasn’t reading it wrong.
Me: After you received “the call,” you received another “call.” Tell us about that call.
Kristi: On January 2, I got the news that my small eBook publisher was being acquired by Kensington Books. A big New York Publisher. Exciting, yes, but also a little scary. I’ve never worked for a big company. Not unless you count the three months I worked at McDonalds in college. I worried about getting lost in the shuffle. And despite having to mail my contract a second time I think it’s going to be great.
Me: So far, besides that second “call,” what has been the most surprising thing that you’ve experienced working with a big publishing house?
Kristi: After a slow start, things seem to be moving very fast. Or maybe it’s just that the timing of my book’s release and the completion of the merger are making it seem that way. They updated my cover. Twice. And they put the book up for preorder. I’m on Amazon. And Kobo. And Nook. And iTunes, although I couldn’t figure out how to provide a link. I have reviews from them putting my book up on NetGalley. I even have an author page on their website. So I’m hoping to find an audience that goes beyond my friends and family, many of whom have already bought my book.
Me: I’m assuming that’s how you came to have 2 covers for this book. Which cover do you prefer and why?
Kristi: It’s hard to pick a favorite. One of the things I liked about the original cover was that it was very different. But then the newest version is pretty hot. And I honestly have no clue as to what makes a good cover, and since I couldn’t use real life baseball players (or Kevin Costner) I was glad to pass that job off to my publisher. They changed the cover when they were working on the second book in the series, and the two covers work well together. 
Me: What are you hoping readers will remember most about your debut novel?
Kristi: I hope they will enjoy the book and see that an athlete doesn’t have to be a player off the field to be sexy and strong.
Me: Anything else you want to share about your book that’s not already covered in your book blurb below?
Kristi: I came up with the name for my hero from a nickname my husband’s cousin gave him when they were kids. They were on a long road trip, I think to Yellowstone, and my husband’s older cousin tormented him by telling him he wasn’t really a Mathews. His real name was “Johnny Scottsdale.” He was traumatized to think he didn’t belong. And believe me, having been a part of the Mathews family for over twenty years, I could understand how sad that would be. So I thought it would be a good name for a baseball player and a great way to honor the man who has helped me realize my dreams. And now whenever his cousin calls him “Johnny Scottsdale,” he’ll have to pay me royaltiesSmile
Me: When does the sequel come out and how can folks get their hands on a copy?
Kristi: The second book in the series, Worth The Trade, was originally scheduled for a September release, but it will come out in July instead. I’m very excited about that. Both books will be available on all eBook retailers, and I’m expecting a print option through Amazon, but I’m not sure of the details, yet.

Here’s the blurb:  More Than A Game, #1

Better Than Perfect new cover

Better Than Perfect, the second cover

The woman he left behind and the son he never knew are tougher opponents than any he’s met on the field.

Pitcher Johnny “The Monk” Scottsdale has won awards, been named an All-star and has a perfect game to his credit. Known for his legendary control both on and off the field, his pristine public image makes him the ideal person to work with youth players in a preseason minicamp. Except the camp is run by the one woman he can’t forget…the woman who made him a “monk.”

Alice Harrison’s three strikes include an unexpected pregnancy, a marriage of convenience and young widowhood. She once traded her dreams so Johnny could have a chance at making it to the Majors. Johnny comes back into her life just as she’s ready to resign as foundation director and pursue her own dreams of finally earning her teaching credential. Her plans may go on hold, though, depending on the reaction when she confesses she may have kept a major league secret from Johnny and her son.

With the minutes ticking by until Johnny will leave for spring training, they’ll need to let go of the past and work together in order to win the game of love.

If you have a question for Kristi, her book, or baseball, leave it in the comments section below. She’ll be stopping by periodically to answer.

If you have a question for me, the answer is no. Just kidding. You can ask questions any time in the comments portions of any blogs I’ve posted. Thanks for visiting, sharing your thoughts and being a good and faithful follower. For more information about Kristi and her books click here: http://kristinamathews.com/2013/11/03/whats-new/

Are you a baseball fan? Any sport in particular you like / hate? Which cover do you like better?

Word of the Day: Gigot

Fun fact about me: I played second base on my little league team a very long time ago. We took second place. I still have the trophy.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, March 2014. Photos courtesy Google Images and Amazon.com. Kristi’s book, Better Than Perfect is available by clicking here: www.amazon.com/Better-Than-Perfect-More-Game-ebook/dp/B00IT6IC0W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1394751847&sr=1-1&keywords=better+than+perfect

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