First Friday: Talkin' Sports With the Crew

Welcome to GLIAS on this first Friday of April. Yes this is the month of first flowers and Easter and all things pretty and warm--like sunshine and crocuses and tulips--but it's also the time of year when winter sports give way to summer ones. Since yesterday was National Student Athlete Day--the crew is talking about something a little different this month.
We're sharing our thoughts on the sport or sports we played in school – and/or what our kids play or played. You might even hear about our favorite sports and whether or not they play parts in our stories. At the end we want to hear from you. Enjoy our thoughts on all things active and sporty!


I grew up in a family of four kids, the oldest and the only girl. I also grew up before the era of Title Nine and all the benefits it brought to girls who liked sports--so I played on a community-sponsored softball team for two seasons (catcher--because I was the only one crazy enough to volunteer for the position). I also got A's in phy ed--not because I was so great but because I was such a tomboy I tried really hard to be good at "guy" things. My greatest wish was to be a jockey, but there were no race tracks in Minnesota when I was a kid, so I made do riding trail horses whenever I could, and I managed to get my horseback riding patch in Campfire Girls even though I lived in the city!

My children had no such trouble finding their sports. My son played varsity hockey, golf, and tennis. My daughter played softball but then concentrated exclusively on horseback riding as a three-day eventer, dressage competitor, and polocrosse player. (That's Jen at age 4 months with me and my horse Sep in a local Fourth of July parade--yes we didn't know about helmets yet then, don't do this at home--and Jen 25-years later with her horse Spoofin on a cross-country course.) She parlayed her love of horses into a career by becoming an equine veterinarian. She now runs a horse barn complete with borders and six of her own horses!
As for me--I parlayed my love of horses and sporty girls into a writing career. ALL my books feature horses and their loving owners, and my current series takes place on a cattle ranch where horses are still very important members of the ranching team. My brand new release is Betting on Paradise; Book #4 in the "Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys" series. The horses in this story are Jessica Rabbit and Panda the Pony! And...there's lots of romance and a couple of hot humans as well.

Betting On Paradise is available now!
Amazon | Nook |  iBooks | Kobo

I personally was never a “sports” kid. My days were spent in the school library and the art room every chance I could get. However, like any good parent, when I had kids, all that changed.
Amanda's son, Ben, is #68
*Clock a bazillion+ miles to watch & support sporting events.
*Volunteer concession stands for all sports
* Crash course in wrestling, baseball, football, track & field, Little League, and basketball.
*Balance schedule of four kids involved in sports & the arts (Vocal ensembles/marching and symphonic bands/theater/anything that involved music)
*Countless uniforms. Tons of laundry. That “special” smell after football practice.

Yep, like it was yesterday. I wouldn’t trade it for all the riches in the world. And don’t even get me started when it comes to the last four stellar years of Iowa State basketball! Go Cyclones!

Releases April 17
But being the mom shadow all these years taught me a resiliency about myself and my kids. I saw them learn loyalty to their teammates, pride in a job well done, tenacity to keep moving ahead despite the adversity and loss. The jubilance of receiving a State Championship win (2002) and a well-deserved spot in the Iowa Shriners’ All-State Football Team. And watching, supporting, sharing their triumphs and setbacks made me realize how very much I brought those same lessons with me on this journey I call writing. Hard bodies, notwithstanding—maybe that’s why we adore sports. We all aspire to be our best selves.

 Amanda's upcoming release is Georgia On My Mind; an End of the Line novella. Digital preorder now: Amazon | Nook |  iBooks | Kobo


My family is the most unsports-loving one I know. Even the men don't watch football. But my son went to a high school in New England that was "old school" and required the students to play sports so he did, lettering in Varsity wrestling, lacrosse and sailing. On the right is a picture of him at 3 with a football (he liked to play catch). He's now 6'5", has his MBA and is in banking. Go figure.

As for me, in high school, I was the football team mascot, the Dynamite Stick. (I know, I know. I'll spare you the details, but whenever the team made a touchdown, I did a dance under the goalposts and, yes, there was a costume. Only my arms and legs (in black tights, no less) showed. No pics of that one, thankfully.) Today the only football I watch is the Superbowl.

My latest release would be The Refuge: An Inspirational Novel of Scotland. It just won the Gold Medal in the Illumination Awards for 2017. 

And just before that, I released King's Knight, the last in my Medieval Warriors series.

Both are love stories with adventure set in 11th century Scotland and England.

On Amazon: The Refuge and King's Knight


Favorite sport? I did play softball as a kid, and football with the boys in the backyard. Being a Florida girl, I was game for pretty much anything outdoors: climbing trees, swimming, water skiing, skating. But my first and longest lasting love is horseback riding. Frankly, just being around horses makes me happy. I rode horses whenever and wherever I got the chance, although I never lived in a place where we could have a horse, and didn't have the money to board horses. When my daughters were born, I hoped one of them would share my passion. But it wasn't until the third one came along that I found a soul mate when it came to horses. My youngest daughter Kathryne and I recently started volunteering at a local ranch where the owners rescue horses and also provide a place for children with disabilities to experience the healing power of bonding with these beautiful creatures. 

Here's a photo of my daughter Kat taking a ride around the ring, and one of the Rocky Mountain horses we are in the process of training. 

I don't write books about animals, but I often have animals in my books. In fact, my new series (out later this year) features a Texas horse ranch. Here's a sneak peek at the introduction to the series, which is being released as part of a special collection from 20 New York Times, USA Today and Amazon best selling authors.

Maybe Baby, A Texas Hardts Novella
Preorder Here
Available April 26

Could a contract between them lead to more than a baby? Maybe.

High-powered executive Jen Chandler can’t ignore the urgent ticking of her biological clock. The nesting instinct has kicked in big-time, and she wants a baby. The only problem, she isn’t interested in acquiring a husband first. Taking control of her future, she sets out in search of a donor.

Logan Hardt, a laid-back cowboy who shows up at her Atlanta home one day, turns out to have the right genes, as well as a pressing need for cash. He’s seduced by more than Jen’s generous offer, and the closer the time comes to say goodbye, the less willing he is to honor a contract that would require him to walk away and never look back.

Preorder Here

Kids sports weren't popular in small towns when I was growing up. Okay, I should narrow that and say GIRLS sports weren't popular. I didn't play softball until I was an adult and I wasn't terribly bad. Catching and throwing...I was pretty darn good. HITTING? Well, let's just say I was a better teacher. I became involved in softball for my daughters and coached for 18 years (sometimes two teams at once). I also was an umpire for 15 years and ran the concession stand AND set the fields. I didn't retire until my fourth book released. The girls were pretty good but there was one thing they could never get past...that they were legitimately good. What? Well, when your parent is the coach, you never believe what others are telling you about yourself. At least that's the way it was with my All-District Pitcher. (Yeah.) 
So as a fan, I tend to watch college softball and professional baseball. It's easy and relaxing (especially when I'm not behind the plate). But now I'm a little more into hockey. The third book of my new BODYGUARDS IN HEELS series is about a hockey player. The USA Today bestseller HOT ON ICE is available through April 21st so grab your copy.  Kindle  
iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Kindle |
BODYGUARDS IN HEELS: A little magic, a little suspense, a little comedy and a whole lot of loveThe first THREE books in the series release April 25th. Enter my April giveaway.


Sport has never been a huge part of my life – either as a player or as a spectator. I did play a few sports in school – hockey (not ice - this is Australia after all), volleyball and basketball spring to mind – and I was on a volleyball team at university, too. But seriously, at heart I’ve always been more of a nerd with a book in one hand and a pen in the other. About the only physical activity I get these days is going for a daily run. I hate every step, mind you, but I need to do something to counterbalance my insane love of food and booze! It’s also amazing when you need to solve a plotting problem – clears the mind like nothing else, probably because I’m usually so focused on hating it, other thoughts manage to sneak in through a back door. Mind you, none of this stopped me writing a sports hero – Nick Savage, rugby league player, in Escaping Mr Right. 

Grab Escaping Mr Right on Amazon

I came from a pretty athletic family. All the girls took dance. We had a trampoline in the backyard
and my brother and I were in a competition to see who could do the most spins in flips. (2 1/2 for me 3 for him.) We skied, both snow and water. And we played golf.
Big Sky -Much Older!
Arapahoe Basin - 9 Yrs Old
One Mother's Day when I was eight, my mother got a set of clubs, and my sisters and I all got clubs too. All right-handed clubs. Dad had forgotten I was left-handed -- or just decided it would be too much work to find left-handed clubs for me. Best thing that ever happened. It meant that when I learned to play, I had my strong left side guiding my swing and pulling through the ball. 
Golf became my passion. I was on the high school team and played tournaments during the summers.
My father and I made a deal, if I wasn't going to get a summer job, I had to hit 200 balls a day, spend an hour on the practice green and I usually played 27 holes.
Univ of Minn Golf Team
Captain Stevo (me) holding
the trophy
When I went to college, I took a golf course for my PE credit and the Men's coach loved my swing and worked with me and encouraged me to go out for what was then an extramural women's golf team. Which I did.
But the next year, we became a Varsity sport. And we had so much fun. I was the Captain for three years. Both playing golf and being Captain got me my first job.
I exercised my writing back then, too. I kept a Captain's Log -- Golf Date XXX. (Yes I was a Trekkie)
We spent hours in University vans driving to our meets, so I documented all the strange things that happened to the team. Like when we were at Michigan State playing in a tournament, and half the rooms were evacuated while SWAT teams crawled along the roof and captured a fugitive. Or when we ran out of gas in the middle of Indiana at two in the morning. Or the tire blew. Weird those last two were all the same driver--Jake! We all had nicknames. I was Stevo.

The first book I wrote had golf. (It is under the bed.) The series I will be working on after UNDERCOVER WITH THE HEIRESS releases August 2017 has skiing and Big Sky, Montana. Can't wait to get back to that series!


And now we'd love to hear from you! Tell us about your sports, your kids' sports, or just plain your favorite sport! Do you like sports-themed romances? I have an e-copy of Betting On Paradise for a commenter this weekend!


  1. not big on sports

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  2. I enjoy watching NASCAR or volleyball... otherwise I prefer playing a sport over watching it! Love reading sport romances though! greenshamrock atcox dotnet

  3. I played a lot of sports in jr high as it was track and softball badmitton then got to hs and couldn't as you had to stay late we lived to far away. Now love baseball and football fav is baseball SF Giants and the Cubs. peggy clayton ptclayton2@aol.com