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HUG IT OUT!

By Shae Connor

One of the Atlanta Braves’ newer stars is first baseman Freddie Freeman, a tall, red-haired, corn-fed boy from central California. All of 23 years old, Freddie’s nonetheless become a clubhouse leader and a fan favorite, not just for his stellar play on the field but also for one big reason: Freddie LOVES to give hugs.

freddiehugs

In particular, Freddie loves to hug his BFF, Dan Uggla.

freddiedanhugs

Freddie and Dan hug so often, and so well, that it’s become an advertising gimmick (link: http://wapc.mlb.com/atl/play/?content_id=27085283&c_id=atl), a meme (link: http://freddiefreemanhuggingpeople.tumblr.com/), and even a fandom, complete with their own portmanteau: Fruggla.

fruggla

Their bromance gets even cuter when you realize that Freddie is 6 inches taller, and Dan is 10 years older. Seriously, how many gay romance stories have you read with setups like that?

It’s close friendships between teammates like these that lend themselves to fiction, and baseball is full of them. No, the characters in Home Field Advantage aren’t based on Freeman and Uggla (though Caleb does have some similarities to Freddie), but that doesn’t mean they won’t end up in the pages in some form somewhere. If not mine, then someone else’s.

I’d love to hear from other fans about your favorite pro sports friendships. Not just in baseball, either! A friend of mine is a big fan of two hockey players who are BFFs. What sports friendships do you follow, and what makes them so great?

While you’re thinking that over, take a minute to enter our giveaway! We’re offering two prizes. The grand prize is a print copy of Playing Ball signed by all four authors, a unisex BBQ apron featuring hot athletes from Originals by Lauren (https://www.etsy.com/shop/OriginalsbyLauren), and swag from all four authors. The runner-up will get an ebook copy of Playing Ball and swag from all four authors.

The giveaway will run from 12 AM Central on September 21, 2013, to 12 AM Central on October 11, 2013. To give an opportunity for the authors to get together to sign the book and gather swag, the winners will be picked and the prizes shipped after the end of GayRomLit 2013.

Rules: You must be a resident of Earth, 18 years or older, who lives in a place where the viewing of adult material is legal. By entering the giveaway, you are indicating your agreement to the rules. Winners must provide a physical mailing address to receive their prizes. If a winner does not respond to the prize notification within 48 hours, the prize will be re-awarded.

  Click here to enter!

Playing Ball

Playing BallShae Connor, Kate McMurray, Kerry Freeman, and Marguerite Labbe

Cover by Aaron Anderson

Published by Dreamspinner Press

270 pages

Blurb

Baseball—America’s favorite pastime—provides a field wide open for romance. A Home Field Advantage may not help when Toby must choose between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it. In 1927, Skip hides his sexuality to protect his career until he meets One Man to Remember. Ruben and Alan fell victim to a Wild Pitch, leaving them struggling with heartache and guilt, and now they’ve met again. And on One Last Road Trip, Jake retires and leaves baseball behind, hoping to reconnect with Mikko and get a second chance at love.

The anthology contains the following novellas:

Home Field Advantage by Shae Connor

Toby MacMillan, grandson of Atlanta Braves owner Ray MacMillan, lives for baseball and loves his team. When he meets new team member Caleb Browning, an innocent welcome-to-the-big-leagues dinner leads to a not-so-innocent night together. Toby quickly calls things off, afraid of the ramifications of their tryst, but the two men develop a friendship that soon becomes more. After Caleb takes a fastball to the head, their budding romance hits the news—and Toby’s grandfather hits the roof. When Ray MacMillan demands Toby deny the relationship, Toby must choose between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it.

One Man to Remember by Kate McMurray

It’s 1927, and in New York City, Babe Ruth and the Yankees’ unstoppable batting lineup, Murderers’ Row, is all anyone can talk about. Across town, the Giants’ rookie infielder Skip Littlefield racks up hits, creating a streak to rival the Babe’s. Worried his secrets could get out, he avoids the spotlight, but he catches the attention of lauded sports reporter Walter Selby, a notorious dandy whose sexuality is an open secret. Skip reluctantly agrees to an interview, and mutual attraction is sparked. Skip can only hope the more charismatic stars will draw attention away from his romance with Walt. Otherwise, his career and everything he loves is at stake.

Wild Pitch by Marguerite Labbe

Ruben Martell fell in love with Alan Hartner during their years playing baseball. They stepped over the foul line once, but the encounter left them struggling with heartache and guilt, turning away from each other to focus on their families. Now retired from the majors, they run a batting cage together and coach rival Little League teams as they juggle fatherhood and being single again. Though Ruben has never given up hope that Alan might look at him as more than a friend, Alan seems determined to keep things the way they’ve always been. But long-buried feelings and desires have a way of resurfacing, and Ruben can’t wait forever.

One Last Road Trip by Kerry Freeman

With the last game of his Major League Baseball career behind him, Jake Wilson hits the road. Years have passed, but he never got over the romance he shared with Mikko Niemi back in college. Finally, he’s ready to do something about it. He starts with some crucial visits to his ex-wife in New Mexico, his son in Oklahoma, and his daughter in Tennessee. But his true destination is Mikko’s home in Georgia, where he’s hoping to get a second chance at love.

Buy at Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4197 (ebook)

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4198 (paperback)

Buy at ARe:

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-playingball-1304727-166.html

Buy at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Ball-ebook/dp/B00FF0X2BE/

Check out the full schedule of this Blog Tour here:

http://shaeconnorwrites.com/2013/09/20/playing-ball-blog-tour-schedule/

Comments
  1. Trix says:

    For me it’s Torrey Mitchell and Devin Setoguchi. They were instantly inseparable as San Jose Sharks rookies, rooming together and sharing a rented Corolla. (There are many classic Shark Byte interviews of them together; I always liked the one where Torrey discusses his PlayStation FIFA soccer expertise, and Devin rolls his eyes and harrumphs like a long-suffering spouse [since he claims he’s better at it].) They were housemates for four years through all sorts of ups and downs (including a season-long brutal injury where Torrey’s shin collided full-force with a goalpost during ’08 training camp) and then I actually cried when Devin got traded to the Minnesota Wild on NHL draft day in 2011. (There were still some moments to make me feel better, like the classic Puck Daddy article on hockey players’ love of Lululemon underwear…Mitchell was quoted as saying that most of his went suddenly missing when Seto got traded, and he was going to ask Devin what color his were when they next played a game, since he knew what color he bought.) In 2012 Torrey signed with Minnesota as a free agent (more tears for me, since he was my favorite Shark, but I was happy that he was reunited with Devin). This summer, Devin got traded to the Winnipeg Jets, so I’m sad for them again, but they’ll always be my favorite bromance. And hockey’s got a lot of stories like that…

  2. H.B. says:

    I don’t watch any sports in RL. I’m just not interested enough in the games to sit through hours of televised sports with my basic knowledge of the games. I like reading sport tropes though and find the blurbs interesting.

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