New Website!

I’m very excited to share my new website:

Finally, I have one place that organizes and links to everything I do online: this blog, my Forbes SportsMoney blog, my Comcast Sports Southeast blog, my fiction blog, etc.  There’s a live feed on the home page that shows my latest posts from SportsMoney on and from my baseball blog, It’s a Swing and a Miss.  My SportsNite segments, radio interviews and media kit are up, information on my book and other publications, and much more to come! 

A huge thanks goes out to Mara Lubell of Works Progress Design for my tastefully and beautifully designed website!  I spoke with a number of web designers, and I knew when I hung up the phone with Mara that she was the one I wanted to work with.  I couldn’t be happier with my website!

Watch soon for a new design here that will compliment the new design!

And the winner is…

Contest Entry #3!!

Congratulations to Jennifer Armentrout!  Please stop by and read her entry.  I think she did a great job of hooking the reader from the very beginning!

All of the entries were great.  I attempted to find an outside judge, but unfortunately everyone was tied up this week.  Jennifer, I’ll contact you about the prize. 

As a side note, entries #1, #4 and #6 were mine.

Sexual Tension

I have a short story I’m working on where the characters have some sexual tension building between them as they get to know one another.  What do you all think of this scene?

She was trying to make out the shape of an owl on a distant tree when she felt him come up to the railing beside her.  She turned to face Mark only to find the figure next to her was at least six inches shorter.  It was Cole.

“So, Mark Harrison, huh?”

Was he snickering?  “What about him?” she asked. 

“He doesn’t really seem like your type,” Cole said, tilting back his beer to take a long swallow.

Amy looked around for Mark and saw through the window that he’d been derailed by some of the basketball guys.

“How would you know what my type is?  You don’t know anything about me.”  They were standing almost hip to hip, facing out toward the woods.

“Really?” he asked, cocking a suspicious eyebrow at her.  Turning back to the trees, he took another swig.  “I know you get goose bumps on your arm when I touch your leg,” he said, reaching down to the small space between their legs and running a fingertip across an inch of her exposed thigh. 

Looking at her arm, she realized he was right about the goose bumps.  She hoped he hadn’t felt the shudder too.

Jerking away from him to put a few inches between them, she said, “Don’t be so sure of yourself.  Did you ever think maybe I’m a little chilly out here?”

He looked away from darkness beyond the porch and directly in her eyes.  “I don’t think you’re cold.”  He put his left hand on the right side of her face and she was sure he was going to kiss her.  Instead, he leaned in and kissed the left side of her face near her hairline.  She could feel his hot breath on her ear as he whispered, “In fact, I think I make you a little warm.”

She flinched, backing away from him before he could feel the heat radiating from her skin or hear the pounding of her heart. 

“Get over yourself,” she said with all the force she could muster.  She felt as vulnerable as if she were naked out there. 

“As soon as you learn how to get over me,” he said, winking before turning to walk away.

Amy stared after him, too shocked to speak. 

Before she could regain her composure, Mark was crossing the porch in her direction.


What inspires you?  Whether it’s writing or simply getting out of bed every morning, I think we all have things that inspire us.

I’ve always loved to write, but I never considered being an author.  When I decided to write my non-fiction book two years ago, I still didn’t consider writing full time.  Not even when I signed the conract for the publishing deal did I think I would ever write another book.

Then things changed one day.  I was reading a diary I started after a traumatic event in my life, and I decided to start a fiction manuscript (very) loosely based on that time in my life. 

So, that’s my first inspiration.  Life.  So many of my characters have a piece of me or one of my friends.  In one manuscript, I have several characters very heavily based on friends of mine (who will sign permissions, thank goodness).  From things they say to clothes they wear, they inspire my characters every day.

My other two inspirations are far more embarassing.  The first is the tv show One Tree Hill.  In Season Five, Lucas’ novel has been published and we follow his journey to write a second novel.  My favorite episodes of this season are the first couple as we see how his novel (based on his own life) has affected the lives of those around him, paticularly his ex-girlfriend Peyton. 

Seeing the success of Lucas’ first novel makes me eager to have a first novel of my own published.  When I can’t write, I watch episodes from that season, and somehow they inspire me to go back to my laptop and write something…anything. 

In the bigger sense, One Tree Hill (which I own six season of) reminds me of typical situations teenagers and twenty-somethings face on a daily basis.  Something about watching the show sparks creative juices and inspires new scenes in my works-in-progress.  

Don’t read this the wrong way – I have never copied any of the characters or scenes from this show.  There’s just something about the show that inspires me to make my characters flawed and have them face tough situations.  Maybe because that’s what I love about the show; every character is flawed in some way, but in a way I can identify with and in way that makes me want to see what they’ll do next.  They face everything from unplanned pregnancy to death of loved ones to marriages and births and career success.  I never get tired of watching it. 

I also have One Tree Hill to thank for introducing me to Kate Voegele and Sophia Bush.  Kate is an incredibly talented artist, whose first two albums are permanent fixtures in my car’s CD player.  Sophia, who plays my favorite character on the show, is an incredible woman in “real life,” who is incredibly environmentally conscious, and has inspired me to be through her tireless efforts via Twitter to bring awareness to us all.

Last but not least, Miranda Lambert’s songs inspire me.  Again, like One Tree Hill, I do not copy the situations she sings about, but they put me in the right mood to write certain characters.  The emotions in her songs are raw and you believe she really means every word she says, as if all those situations and feelings are really straight from her heart.  They range from beautiful ballads to spunky kick-ass tales of women who take control.  I’ve always heard you shouldn’t listen to music with lyrics when you write, but I’m a rule breaker.  I often  listen to Miranda Lambert.  

So, what inspires you?  I’m particularly curious what inspires others to write?  Where do your character ideas come from?  Are any of them based on you?  A friend?

Contest Entries Up!

All of the entries for the First 250 Words contest are up, each as a separate post.  The winner and prize will be announced Thursday!

Until then, if you participated, please leave constructive comments for the other entries.  If you did not participate, we still welcome your thoughts!  Please be sure any comments you leave are meant to help, and not insult, the author. 

Great job everyone, and best of luck!