Aren’t baseball and football players hunky? They sure make great heroes for romance novels. Here to share her experience writing sports romances is Vanessa Kelly! For a chance to win two of her athletic hero novels, read on!
Hi, Julie! Thanks so much for having me on your blog today—it’s great to be here! For those of you who don’t know me, I write historical romance as Vanessa Kelly. But I’m also part of a husband and wife writing team that goes by the pen name of VK Sykes. Those joint books are sexy contemporary romances, mostly set in the world of major league sports. Much to our delight these sports romances—all but one self-published—have been doing very well.
But here’s the interesting thing—we’d heard for years from various editors and agents that sports romances were “box office poison.” That unless you’re Susan Elizabeth Phillips, nobody wants to read about hot athlete heroes or immerse themselves in the uber-masculine world of dressing rooms, playing fields, Nascar racetracks, or competitive alpha males. According to the powers that be, nobody wanted to read those types of romances.
Good thing that hubby and I never listened to that advice, because our experience with sports romances has been just the opposite. Readers love them, as I’m sure authors like Jaci Burton, Marie Force, and Belle Andre will tell you.
I actually believe there’s a subtle form of sexism in the assumption that women don’t like sports romances, i.e., that sport is primarily a male domain and that women just don’t like all that macho, nasty stuff. Women, in fact, are avid watchers of most professional sports in North America, especially football and baseball. That being the case, why wouldn’t they be interested in sexy athletes as heroes?
Fortunately, through the wonders of self-publishing, we’ve been able to bring those sports romances to our readers, who are clearly more open minded than some in the traditional publishing world give them credit for. In fact, there are so many authors these days who wrote books that were rejected over and over again by publishers as too different or not marketable, and who’ve gone on to achieve real success by self-publishing those very same books. Thank God for that, because it means a greater diversity of reading material for all of us and what could be bad about that?
What about you? Do you think the powers-that-be are off track? Do you like sports romances, or do they make you break out in hives? One person who comments will win a copy of our soon to be released book, Curveball, plus the first book in our sports series, Fastball.
A synopsis of Curveball, book 4 in the Philadelphia Patriots series:
Taylor Page has never wanted anything but a career in major league baseball. Through talent and guts, she’s clawed her way through the ranks of league management to land a position as Assistant General Manager of the Philadelphia Patriots, the team her father once scouted for. The only problem is that most men in baseball still don’t take a woman exec seriously, especially a thirty-year old blonde with no on-field experience. She needs to do something big to convince her bosses she has what it takes to manage a team.
Veteran Pittsburgh outfielder Ryan Locke knows his career is in jeopardy when a suddenly unreliable throwing arm comes on top of rehab from a major injury. He’s had a solid run—especially at bat—but he’s not a star with a mega-contract. As a single parent with a troubled daughter and an alcoholic mother to provide for, retirement is out of the question. Ryan’s best hope is for a trade to an American League team as a designated hitter, allowing him several more years of play.
When Taylor needs to find a replacement for an injured first baseman, she comes up with an innovative but risky idea: convince her boss to make a trade for Ryan Locke, and then convince the still talented slugger to play first base for the Patriots. Unfortunately, Ryan is dead-set against that plan.
With both their careers on the line, neither Taylor nor Ryan can afford the explosive physical attraction between them. But despite Taylor’s best efforts to resist Ryan’s campaign of seduction, she’s not sure she’s got to willpower to keep from playing along.
Vanessa Kelly writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of VK Sykes. She also writes award-winning historical romance under her own name, and was named by Booklist as “one of the new stars of historical romance.” You can find her on the web at www.vanessakellyauthor.com or www.vksykes.com.