Hockey Snacks

I’m back for another bonus post. Once again, I’m about to combine two of my loves. Here, on Creole Bayou, I enjoy posting recipes that give me that homey feeling. I also enjoy tailgating. I’m one of the tailgating royalty. Honestly, not being biased (but I probably am), I think tailgating is in the DNA of all southerners. (Scream at me later, okay?) And what is at the heart of all good tailgates? Food, of course. Since I’m releasing a sports romance novel, Ice Gladiators, on 02/15/20 it only seems fitting that I bring the yummy snacks to my virtual release tailgate party.  That led me to think about which foods I enjoy eating while watching a game at home or if I’m tailgating in the stadium. It didn’t take me long to come up with a few of my Creole/Cajun recipes that I whip up. These spicy treats will heat up any game day. They are also perfect for having while reading Ice Gladiators (just saying).

When starting any gameday, almost always poppers are on the menu. This treat has it all—heat, taste, and quick. The thing I love the most about poppers is that they can be dipped in a variety of sauces and can vary in heat from mild to scorching. There likely hundreds of recipes for this, and most are easy to make. Personally, I find not only that homemade poppers are tastier than the store-bought frozen ones, but they are also cheaper. I’ve had a few frozen brands that had a blah taste and all the coating crumbled off. The one below may look like it takes a lot of work, but really it doesn’t.

Hockey Jalapeno Poppers

  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 2 tbs mint (fresh, chopped)
  • 3 tbs butter (melted)
  • 2 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 oz cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 2 oz pepper jack cheese (shredded)
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 4 bacon slices
  • 12 jalapeno peppers

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray non-stick baking spray on a medium-size baking sheet and set aside.
  3. In a medium pan, fry bacon until crispy and dice. Set aside.
  4. Vertically, slice peppers in half and remove the seeds.
  5. Rinse the peppers and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the peppers on the baking sheet.
  6. In a medium box, mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cilantro, and mint. Mix well. Set aside.
  7. In a medium pan, melt butter over medium heat.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in panko bread crumbs and diced bacon.
  9. Fill the cream cheese mixture into the peppers.
  10. Bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and turns gold.

 

My brother hates guacamole. I don’t know what’s wrong with him because who dislike guacamole? I think he’s thrown off by the color or only has had that in the grocery store tub kind. Now, I’m not knocking grocery story guacamole, but I’ve found most of the premades to be lacking flavor and the texture to be too lumpy for my liking. Additionally, I like my guacamole at room temperature while most of the premade guacamole has been sitting in the refrigerator for days. Once cold, I find it takes a long time for it to reach room temperature again. My brother has never tasted my guacamole, and no one complains because they all divvy up his share.

Holy Hockey Guacamole

Ingredients

  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic
  • 3 tsp lime juice
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup red onion (diced)
  • ¼ cup jalapeno peppers
  • ½ cup roma tomatoes (diced and seeded)
  • 4 avocados (peeled, pitted, and mashed)

 

Instructions

  1. Slice the roma tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. After removing the seeds, dice and set aside.
  2. Peel and put avocado.
  3. Using a fork or a potato masher, mash the avocados in a medium bowl to the consistency of your desired choice.
  4. Add the cayenne pepper, salt, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, and jalapeno pepper. Mix until all ingredients are blended.
  5. Add tomatoes. Mix

 

What sports tailgate is complete without a big ol’ kettle of beans? This is a staple; do you hear me? This comes in especially handy if you are hosting a large group because it goes such a long way. Just whip it together, put it in a pot, and forget about it. This dish can be prepared days ahead of time and stored in the freezer for later use. Plus, this one saves a lot of coins. Now, if you want to take the time and have the patience, dried beans can be substituted, which makes this dish even less expensive. Actually, I have a friend who makes this recipe using dried beans. She soaks all the beans overnight and tosses everything in a slow cooker.

 

Hockey Kettle Beans

Ingredients

  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
  • ¼ tsp garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbs bacon drippings
  • 3 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 2 cans pork n beans (15 oz)
  • 2 cans kidney beans (15 oz)
  • 2 cans Cannellini beans (15 oz)
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 large onions (diced)
  • 1 lb bacon (‘cause everything is better with bacon, right?)
  • 1 lb ground beef

 

Instructions

  1. Cut the bacon into small cubes and cook in a large skillet, cook bacon until slightly crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside.
  2. Drain the bacon fat into a measuring cup and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef until nearly done. Add the garlic and onion and cook until the beef is cooked thoroughly. Drain.
  4. Pour all ingredients in a slow cooker and mix well.
  5. Cook on low heat for two hours.

It’s fair to say that I love dips. Crockpot dips hold a special place in my heart because they can be prepared and remain warm for the duration of the game. It’s not uncommon for me to have several crockpot dips at a tailgate. Nearly always there is a chicken dip and a queso blanco dip. The key to this dip is stirring it until it is smooth. To help do this, I like to add my milk in parts and stir it in slowly. Skim milk also can be used, but to me, it does not make an as creamy dip. Oh, and a note about the cheese. If I’m serving a small crowd, I buy cheese from the deli, especially the pepper jack. The packaged cheese can be drying. I will caution against using imitation cheese. Imitation cheese tends to make the dip too salty and it seems to thicken faster once it begins to cook.

 

Queso Blanco Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs butter (salted)
  • 4 tbs milk (whole)
  • 6 oz white American cheese
  • 6 oz pepper jack cheese
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz green chilies (undrained)

Instructions

  1. Cut cream cheese into ½ inch cubes.
  2. Add to the slow cooker
  3. Add American cheese, pepper jack cheese, butter, and green chilies.
  4. Cook on high for 30 minutes
  5. Stir well combined until blended.
  6. Add milk and stir until creamy
  7. Allow to cook until all the cheese is smooth and melted. (approximately 20 minutes)

These are some of my favorites. What are yours? What is your must-have game day snack? Tell all in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post and are interested in some of the other food-related blogs that I have posted, scroll below. Also, do not overlook participating in my giveaway.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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Resources:

Hockey Superstitions

Welcome again to my continued celebration for the release of my new sports romance, Ice Gladiators, that will go live on 02/15/20. In celebration of this release, I’m doing a series of bonus posts all this month on topics that in any way relates to Ice Gladiators.

Triskaidekaphobia. Never heard of it? Well, how about paraskevidekatriaphobia. Never heard of it, either? Well, neither had I, at least, not by those names. So, let’s dissect these. Phobias are extreme fears. Triskaidekaphobia (TRIS·kye·DEK·ə·FOH·bee·ə) is the fear of the number thirteen. In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of “completion.” Since thirteen follows twelve, it is considered as being insignificant. Thirteen also is considered evil.

Paraskevidekatriaphobia (PARAS·kye·DeK·ə·tric·ə·FOH·bee·ə) is more than a tongue twister. It is the name for the irrational fear of Friday the 13th. No, not the slasher movies, the date. Many people have a true fear of this date believing it is unlucky or some unfortunate/negative event will occur. It is estimated that approximately 8% of people have this phobia. Fears/phobias and superstitions are not the same thing. While fears, phobias, and superstitions may coexist and be related, fears and phobias do not necessarily lead to superstitions. In short, having a fear or a phobia does not cause one to engage in superstitious behavior. A person holds a superstition because he/she makes an assumption that if a particular behavior is not performed, it will result in a negative (or sometimes positive) consequence.

So, why am I discussing this? From the title of this article, you probably have a good idea as to why. Superstition is nothing new to sports, and it surely is nothing new to hockey. Many players have them.

What is superstition? According to the dictionary definition, a superstition is an unjustified or excessively credulous belief, reverence, or practice resulting from the trust in luck or magic, fear of the unknown, or ignorance. It is a belief in mystical causation leading to specific consequences of an event or action and/or an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, perception retained despite indication or evidence to the contrary, and/or a false conception of causation, nature, or God resulting from superstition. Now, isn’t that a mouthful.

Now that the superstition is defined, what are some of the superstitions found in hockey? There are many, that’s for sure. Some are quite bizarre while others are so subtle, they may go unnoticed. Listed below are some of the more common superstitions seen in hockey. They are listed in no particular order or significance.

  1. No matter what sport, all athletes must get from the dressing room to the playing field. In hockey, the playing field is, of course, the ice. Now, one may think this is a no brainer and wonder why it’s mentioned here. It’s because, for many hockey teams, the march to the ice is a big deal. Many teams have a lineup order. Others may not have a line order but have a superstition about who should lead the team to the rink. For some teams, it is the goalie, and for others, it is the captain. Yet, others may be led by the player who scored their last winning goal.
  2. But getting onto the ice isn’t the only journey superstition. Getting off of the ice has its superstitions, too. Some players feel they must be the last player to leave the ice after the conclusion of a game or the end of each period. This can be problematic if two players in the same game hold this superstition. One example of this is Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars and Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets. These two players have settled who is the last to go off the ice in some interesting ways including flipping coins and playing rock, paper, scissors. Yes, they really did that.
  3. In the 1980s, the New York Rangers had a series of playoff and championship wins. During that time, none of the players shaved. It is said this is where this next superstition originated. It’s commonly referred to as the playoff beards. During playoffs, hockey players do not shave and allow their beards to grow.
  4. Players tapping their sticks on the ice is not an unfamiliar sight to most fans. However, for many players, tapping their sticks is an important ritual they must complete. Some players may need to tap their stick a designated number of times. Others may need to engage in the behavior in a particular spot on the ice. Then, for some players, they may need to do this before or after a specific drill or task.
  5. Another superstition fans may witness players engaging in, especially during pre-game warmup is, flipping the puck or stickhandling. It may seem like harmless horseplay (puck play) or showing off, but many times this is serious business for players. Some players engage in the superstition by flipping the puck in his hands. Others do so by flipping the puck and catching the puck on their stick. Again, they may have a designated number of times that they must flip the puck. They believe engaging in this behavior will affect their performance in some way.
  6. Probably the most common hockey superstition is the ritual of taping the stick. Just about every player has a preferred and unique way of taping his sticks. These may include the type of tape used, the direction in wrapping, the number of times the tape must wound around the stick, and too many others to mention them all here. If the tape isn’t wrapped precisely, the player takes all the tape off and begins again. Some players are noted to not allow anyone else to touch their sticks once they have taped them. If this happens, the player may untape them and begin the ritual again.
  7. And speaking of not touching, the is a superstition that players cannot touch the championship trophy until their team has won it. Touching the trophy that hasn’t been won will bring bad luck to the entire team. So, even for players who aren’t superstitious, their superstitious teammates keep them in check.
  8. One superstition that fans may not see is players getting into the zone by listening to music. This may not seem superstitious since many people use music to unwind, relax, or focus. I use it while writing. What makes this a superstition for many players is that they never alter their playlist. They must listen to the same songs in the same order before each game.
  9. Music isn’t the only thing that has to be in order. Some players must dress in a certain order. For example, a player may put on his left sock first and then the right followed the left skate and then the right, left shin pad followed by the right, etc. This behavior is often referred to as left-right-left or right-left-right, depending on the direction the player begins dressing.
  10. Along the same lines, some players are superstitious regarding changing anything about their routine on game day. They may start by eating the same breakfast, drinking the same number of beverages, wearing the same clothes (sometimes without washing—imagine how that must smell…foul!). Instead of replacing worn clothes, they have them mended or patched. It may also include driving the same route to the arena, parking in the same spot, using the same exercise machines in the same order, using the same soaps or deodorants, or playing the same pre-warmup games.
  11. Now, let’s talk goaltenders. There are two superstitions specifically involving goalies that I want to mention. First, some goalies hit the post or the crossbar before the start of each game or each period while others talk to the goals. Personally, I’ve always wondered about that conversation. I’d image it’s pretty one-sided.
  12. Second, and I’m unsure if this stems from the goalie as personal superstition or from the team as a whole, but players tap the goalie’s pads before face-offs and after blocking goals. To fans, this may seem a congratulatory or well-wishing behavior, but for a lot of players, this is a full-blown superstition that they must do.
  13. Finally, I’ll end with a thirteenth superstition (cause I’m special that way). This last superstition is called the hat trick. After a player scores three goals in the same game, fans toss their hats/caps onto the ice. Originally, the goals scores had to be consecutive with no other player scoring in between. However, now the term-hat trick is used more generally, and natural hat-trick is sometimes used to refer to consecutive goals. There are many legends about how this tradition started. Some hypothesize because hats were given to any player who scored three goals in a game. According to the Hockey Hall of Fame, the term came to be due to Alex Kaleta making a deal with a store owner. Reported, Kaleta entered a store to purchase a hat. He didn’t have enough money, and the store owner agreed to give him a hat if he scored three goals in the game later that night. Kaleta ended up scoring four goals, and the store owner made good on the deal. By definition, this may not be a superstition, but some fans may feel that breaking this tradition will bring a team bad luck. Thus, it’s included in this article.

What are your thoughts on superstitions? Do you have any superstitions of your own? What hockey superstitions did I overlook that should have been listed here? What is the wildest superstition you have ever heard of? Sound off in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. If you enjoyed this type of post, please click the like button and give me a follow. Also, if you know someone else who would enjoy this post, please share it with them.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored or affiliated in any way with any of the people, brands, or franchises mentioned herein. Links to their websites are listed for the convenience of readers who desire more information about those people, brands, or franchises.

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What’s In Your Hockey Bag?

Greetings all! I’m back with another bonus post in celebration of the release of my new sports romance, Ice Gladiators, which will be released on 02/15/20. Today’s post is inspired by my mini-me. No, she isn’t a hockey player. She’s a dancer. So, what do dance and hockey have in common, and why did this inspire me? Let me explain.

I used to spend many hours at the dance studio. When my daughter was approximately seven years old, she began to take dance lessons. She had asked to take lessons years before then, but the only studios I could find at that time did not have classes for her age at a time I could work it into my schedule. All of the classes for younger dancers were taught early during the day, while I was at work. See, in the area that I lived, the homeschool population is about thirty percent, or, at least, it was back then. The numbers may have dropped since there have been many changes in both the private and public school systems. Many of the homeschoolers were members of a Home School Association Co-op. If you’re like me, I had no idea what this was. When I heard homeschool, I assumed that parents did all the teaching. While that is the case for some, many homeschool students have classes taught by various people who are associated or affiliated with the homeschool association. Dance was one of those. Let me explain further.

See, the owner of one of the dance studios I attempted to enroll my daughter had a high percentage of homeschool students. In fact, the majority of the students during that period were homeschooled. Dance served as physical education and provided socialization opportunities. The owner had multiple classes designated and reserved for homeschool girls. They were listed as HS classes, which I thought meant high school. Since homeschoolers have flexible schedules, many of these classes occurred early in the day (starting at 1:00 pm and ending around 4:00 pm) while I was still at my day job. The classes available by the time I got off work was for older girls.

It was a shock to me when my daughter asked to take dance. She asked out of the blue one day. At the time, she was on a pee-wee cheerleading squad and taking gymnastics. I’m a firm believer that parents shouldn’t live vicariously through their children. I had enrolled her in cheerleading because it was something I had enjoyed as a child. I thought it would be fun for her, good exercise, and experience of how to work with others on a team since she was an only child. At her age, she hadn’t expressed interest in anything. I could have enrolled her any extracurricular sport, but cheerleading is what I knew. So, when she approached me with wanting to do dance, that was her desire uninfluenced by me. Therefore, off I went to seek her a class. Honestly, I didn’t think she would stay enrolled. Silly, girl! Boy, did she prove me wrong, but I digress.

Anyway, initially, I could not find a class for her. However, the owner of one of the studios placed my name on a mailing list. And then, one year, there it was—a class for her age at a time I could take. The class was only thirty minutes, and I had to drive like a speed demon to get there, but I made it. Now, why go through all of that? Well, I think this background is important to understand the operation of how this studio operated and later evolved. See, this studio was different on two levels. First, it was a Christian-based studio. I lived in an area known as the Bible Belt. One of the reasons the homeschooling was so popular is the majority of those parents felt that the public school system went against or ignored their Christian beliefs. Now, I’m not saying ALL homeschooling parents hold this philosophy or beliefs. That just how it was in my area. The homeschool parents flocked to this studio because it was aligned with their beliefs. As a result, they had a great deal of influence in the studio policies. They were the ones who basically dictated the times of classes for groups of students, and they had first priority in everything. Not only that, but in the early days, the students began class being taught dance history, how to mend tights, how to sew ballet shoes, and French. They even had a book; although not called a textbook, and the homeschooled dancers received a grade. And this wasn’t just an attendance or participation grade as most physical education classes give. No, this was a grade based upon the mastery of skills.

The second point is what I just mentioned. Due to their financial support, the parents of the homeschoolers were the ones who had a huge voice in what the studio looked like, everything from the physical building to the manner of dress. These parents helped upkeep the studio with both building and lawn maintenance. They pushed that the only music played was classical or Christian—even for the contemporary and “hip hop” classes. (What was called “hip hop” would make any MTV watch cringe.) And their influence was especially seen in the dress code, which is what I really want to discuss, as this is the most important to how I arrived at this topic.

The owner had a vision of how she wanted her studio. The parents of the homeschoolers helped her achieve that and push it beyond. This, in turn, caused this studio to be different than all the other studios. Although it was designed to teach children dance principles, parents of homeschool children wanted their children taught as if they would become professional dancers. Their classes were longer and more intense. Non-homeschooling parents. children were taught less stringently and solely for recreation. They were given less intense classes and shorter class times. At recital, this divide was obvious. The homeschoolers danced circles around all the other students, which is why at recital, the two divisions did not share the stage simultaneously.

As the school grew, there became shifts. More non-homeschool pupils enrolled, and the number of homeschoolers decreased. The classes began to merge. However, by then, the policies of the studio were well-established. The dress code strict, including specific colored leotards for certain age groups/dance levels; mesh-seamed convertible tights, specific brand ballet flats (pointe shoes had a separate category), and hair in a bum held by thirty-two bobby pins. (Don’t ask me why thirty-two, because I don’t know. I’m just told that’s how professional dancers do it.) These were just a few of the rules. At the beginning of the year, there was a twelve-page packet outline the rules to parents. The owner was more lenient to the younger students, but honey, oh, when they got older, there was not much tolerance for rule-breaking.

I had no idea at first what I was enrolling my child into, but she loved it. Therefore, I began taking my cues from other parents. I was instructed that I should invest in a robust, quality ballet bag, and I’m so thankful that I did. That one bag lasted, and it was drug everywhere in all sorts of conditions. It also had many interior storage compartments. Most people think the only thing in a ballet bag is a couple pairs of tights, shoes, and a leotard. They’d be wrong. My daughter easily had over fifty items in her bag at any given time—not junk items, but required items. So, I got to wondering. If she had all of that in her bag, what do hockey players have in their bag? I sought to find out.

It took me a minute, but I got in contact with some minor league hockey players and I asked to peek inside their bags. (Fair warning. I advise no one do this without nose guards and air freshener.) Not surprising, their bags are just as stuffed as my daughters. So, if you ever were curious about what in a hockey players’ bag, here is what I found.

  1. Pads & Protective Gear
  2. Shoulder pads
  3. Pants/shorts/girdle
  4. Shin pads/knee pads/leg pads
  5. Elbow pads
  6. Gloves
  7. Slash guards
  8. Helmet
  9. Mouthguards
  10. Hardware
  11. Blade/steel skate pouch (skate guards)
  12. Extra blades
  13. Replacement visor
  14. Screwdriver
  15. Skate blade sharpeners
  16. Stick tape
  17. Shin guard tape
  18. Stick wax
  19. Stick (obviously doesn’t fit into the bag)
  20. Clothes
  21. Water-resistant base layer shirt
  22. Water-resistant base layer pants
  23. Jockstrap
  24. Guarder belt
  25. Socks
  26. Player socks
  27. Skates
  28. Shoelaces
  29. Jersey
  30. Cleaning
  31. Visor cleaning spray
  32. Microfiber visor cleaning cloth
  33. Towel
  34. Miscellaneous
  35. Water bottle
  36. Deodorant

One final note is the players informed me of the importance of the bags themselves. They stated that in their opinion, the best bags had sturdy straps, divided sections, internal storage, compartments, mesh ventilation sections, be brightly lined for easy location of equipment in dimly/poorly lit arena/locker rooms, and constructed of waterproof material.

A special thanks to the players who allowed me to snoop around in their bags and explain it all to me. They really went into detail about brands, performance, function, and fit. There’s no way I could do any of those topics justice in this post. I will, however, mention that most of the players I talked to preferred the brands Bauer and CCM. These are not the only brands out there, and I personally cannot attest to their durability or quality. Anyone wanting to make an investment in hockey equipment should get advice from someone knowledgeable with the sport and sporting equipment. Additionally, this post is not sponsored or affiliated in any way with persons, brands, or products named herein.

As always, I’m interested in reading your opinions and comments. Did I miss list anything that you feel is important and should be included in the bag? Do you play hockey or any sports? What’s in your sports bag? If you would like to see me write more of these types of posts, please let me know in the comments below.

DISCLAIMER: This post is in no way sponsored or affiliated by any person, brand, or product mentioned herein. I make no money or obtain any sort of financial gain or gifts from the mentioned brands.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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Resources

Hockey Cocktails

Whether you’re chilling at home watching a game on the television, cheering from the stands, or hanging out at a happening tailgate, something refreshing to drink is always appreciated. Since Ice Gladiators is about hockey, the Water Moccasin fans undoubtedly would be tailgating—at least, in my world. So, that leads me to today’s post. What would they be drinking (other than beer)? Here are a few cocktail recipes you may want to kick back and enjoy. Be sure to let me know below if you’ve tried any one of these and which one is your favorite. Also, what is your favorite game-day cocktail? Sound off below.

DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored. No monies, monitory payments, or gifts have been promised or received by any brands or companies mentioned in this post. There are no affiliate codes or links listed. Brands listed are suggestions for these recipes but may be substituted as a matter of preference. This post does not advocate or condone underage consumption of alcohol and is written for readers who are of legal drinking age and consent. For anyone who is suffering from alcohol addiction or substance abuse, help may be sought from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357. For persons with hearing impairments, contact 1-800-487-4889. This helpline is a free and confidential information and treatment referral service. It is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week year-round. Assistance is available in English and Spanish.

The first drink tends to be a fan favorite because of its sweet taste. It goes down smooth. Even if a game isn’t on, this is a nice drink to lounge around the pool. But on game day, it gets the party started. But be careful. Too much of this can sneak up on you.

Fruity Hockey Cocktail

Ingredients

  • ½ oz lime juice
  • ½ oz pear brandy (St. George and Clear Creek Pear Eau De Vie are good selections to consider)
  • ¾ oz cinnamon syrup (DaVinci or Monin for consideration)
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1½ oz wild turkey
  • 1 tsp fernet (consider Fernet-Branca)

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake until chilled.
  2. Strain into short tumbler with pebbled or crushed ice
  3. Sprinkle with grated cinnamon as a garnish.

 

The next drink is a fun drink to make and may impress your friends, especially with an embellished tumbler and lots of wrist action. If perfected, consumers may not even care if their team wins. (Nah, that’s not likely to happen. But it certainly may make losing easier to take.)

Hockey Kick Cocktail

Ingredients

  • ¼ oz lime juice
  • ¼ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz Select Aperitivo
  • ½ oz honey syrup
  • 3 raspberries (muddled)
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 3 mint leaves

 

Instructions

  1. On a smooth, hard surface, roll raspberries beneath the palm of hand to release the juices inside the skin. Be careful not to squish or mash.
  2. Set a 10 oz – 14 oz pint glass, on a flat, firm surface. (NOTE: The tumbler needs to have a thick-wall glass to avoid chipping.)
  3. Place raspberries, mint, and honey syrup in the glass.
  4. With a muddling tool, press down on the ingredients and twist a quarter of a turn. Repeat until all the juice is out of the berry. However, be sure not to overmuddle. (NOTE: Use a muddling tool that is 8 in – 10 in long, with a wood tip, and no lacquer.)
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake thoroughly.
  6. Chill for 10 minutes and strain into a glass.
  7. Garnish with a mint sprig, raspberries, a maraschino cherry, and pebble or crushed ice

 

I do not remember who introduced me to this next drink, but it has been in my list of tailgating go-tos for years. It takes a little more effort than most cocktails I make as well as specific in the liquors used. However, it is worth it.

Goaltender’s Cocktail

Ingredients

  • ¼ oz lime juice
  • ¼ oz honey syrup
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz strawberry syrup
  • ½ oz vermouth
  • 1 oz Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum
  • 1 oz Paul Beau V.S. Cognac

 

Instructions

  1. Fill a shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Shake until vigorously until chilled and diluted.
  2. Double strain into a cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with a slice of lime and strawberry on the rim of the glass.

 

Someone told me this next drink has to do with a certain team in…well, I’m not even going to go there, as most people know where my allegiance lie in sports and these would be the sworn enemy. All joking aside (although, I was only half joking), I have heard this drink called by several names. If one walks in a bar and asks for it, the bartender is likely to serve something close to the following recipes. So, I’m going to go with it for a name.

Alabama Slammer

  • 1 oz Southern Comfort
  • 1 oz sloe gin
  • 1 oz amaretto
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 1 orange wheel
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Instructions

 

  1. Mix all ingredients in a shaker and then fill with ice. Shake thoroughly.
  2. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
  3. Garnish with orange wheel and maraschino cherry.

 

This is an oldie but a goody. Who doesn’t love chocolate or martinis? Plus, as an added bonus, it’s simple to make.

Chocolate Martini

  • ½ oz vanilla vodka
  • ½ oz crème de cacao liqueur
  • ½ oz Irish cream
  • 1¼ oz milk
  • 1¼ oz half and half
  • 2 oz chocolate liqueur
  • 1 cup ice

 

Instructions

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour all ingredients in the shaker and mix well. Pour into chilled glasses and serve.

 

There are times when your favorite team is behind (or not in the game at all) and there seems to be nothing to cheer about. Well, this next drink is definitely worth cheering. It’s an awesome alternative when the game has gone to pot.

Get Back in the Game

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 3 tbs pineapple juice
  • 1 oz grenadine
  • 1 oz amaretto
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 3 cups tonic water
  • 8 oz tequila
  • Ice
  • Lime zest (garnishing)

Instructions

  1. Pour lemon juice, lime juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, amaretto, tequila, and tonic water into a large pitcher.
  2. Tilt pitcher and pour grenadine down the side.
  3. Pour into glasses filled with ice.
  4. Stir
  5. Garnish with lime zest.

 

This next cocktail I made and fell in love with instantly. For one thing, I adore blue drinks. It does not matter what it is. If it’s blue, I want it. Now, I’m not always happy with the taste once I get it. I once had a bubblegum flavored snow cone. That was disgusting. But again, I saw the color and had to have it. It is dazzling in the glass. Be sure that if you make this to have your camera ready. It is definitely a drink that you want to post on social media.

Electric Ice Tea Cocktail

Ingredients

  • ½ oz vodka
  • ½ oz light rum
  • ½ oz tequila
  • ½ oz gin
  • ½ oz blue curacao
  • 1 oz sour mix
  • 1 oz lemon-lime soda

Instructions

  1. Build the vodka, light rum tequila, gin, blue curacao, sour mix, and lemon-lime soda in that order a Collins glass.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Stir well.

(NOTE: This cocktail comes from Collen Graham at The Spruce Eats. Visit that website at www.thespruceeats.com for this and other great recipes.)

Now, here’s the best part of the post—the part where I ask for readers’ opinions. What are some of your favorite gameday cocktails? (Does not have to be an alcoholic beverage.) Or do you prefer beer to cocktails? Feel free to share your favorite cocktail recipes below. And if you try or have tried one of these, please share your experience. Remember to please drink responsibly and never drink and drive.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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Resources

Speakeasies

Today’s topic stems from a conversation with a colleague and good friend who beta read my sports romance, Ice Gladiators. Well, technically, he wasn’t a beta; although, he claims that he was. The real tea is that he came over for a visit; and while I was in the kitchen finishing lunch, he helped himself to a printed copy of the story that I had out for editing. He later talked me into allowing him to read more of it. In the story, there is a discussion about speakeasies. (No, Ice Gladiators is not a historical or regency romance. It is a contemporary love story set in 2019.) My friend made a comment that he was unfamiliar with the term speakeasy and had several questions. Since it is my desire that all readers enjoy Ice Gladiators to the fullest and have a supreme reading experience, a discussion about speakeasies seemed appropriate. Hence, he inspired me to write this post.

Let’s start with what is a speakeasy. Originally, the term speakeasy was used to describe an illicit and secret establishment that provided the sale of alcoholic beverages or unlicensed liquor sales. Illegal gambling also was sometimes hosted in speakeasies. Admittance to the establishment was gained by whispering a code word. `However, a more modern use of the term is to refer to any retro style bars. Being illegal is what differentiates between a bar and a speakeasy.

The name speakeasy is said to have originated from a saloon owner named Kate Hester. Reportedly, Hester, who illegally sold alcohol in her saloon/bar, instructed her boisterous customers to “speak easy” in order not to attract the attention of the authorities. Patrons needed to be subtle and discreet in discussing the existence of the establishment to avoid arrest and closure of the establishment. The phrase caught on, and establishments began to be referred to as speakeasies.

Speakeasies also are known by other names such as blind tigers or blind pigs. These terms originated from the practices of bar owners charging a fee to view an attraction, such as an animal, and then providing the customers with a “complimentary” drink. By stating the drink was “complementary,” it circumvented the prohibition laws. The term blind tiger also was used to indicate an unlawful drinking establishment where the owner’s or seller’s identity was unknown or concealed.

Speakeasies saw their heyday during Prohibition. The Prohibition Era was the period of time from 1920 to 1933 in the United States by the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment. The Eighteenth Amendment made the manufacturing, import, and sale of alcohol was illegal. This was mainly due to the Temperance Movement, which was popular at the time.

The core belief of the Temperance Movement was that the consumption of alcohol was the root of most personal and social problems and resulted in the breakdown or demise of the family unit. It further thought that alcohol corrupted moral values. This movement was led by Progressives (Anti-Saloon League), Protestants, and women (Women’s Christian Temperance Union). To help push this movement, it was argued that the barley used in brewing beer instead could be used to make bread to feed the solider of World War I. However, the movement became unpopular when the prohibition restrictions did little to minimize problems it hoped to address (e.g., driving under the influence, alcohol poisoning, public drunkenness, crime, illness, violence, and poverty.) In fact, prohibition is hypothesized to be one of the reasons for the rise in organized crime. Many of the speakeasies were owned and operated by the mafia and organized crime families. Additionally, due to alcohol being illegal, its manufacturing was unregulated. As a result, some of the alcohol made and sold was not fit for consumption and caused thousands of people to die.

Finally, it was difficult to enforce prohibition laws. The Eighteenth Amendment did not make owning or the consumption of alcohol in one’s private residence illegal. Only the sale and manufacturing were illegal. Thus, people stockpiled alcohol prior to prohibition laws taking effect. Some states that were opposed to the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment refused to enforce or failed to enact these prohibition laws. Alcohol used for medicinal or religious purposes was exempt. The law also did not apply to hotels. (Go figure.) As a result, many bars added bedrooms and hid under the guise of being a hotel. This increased another illegal activity. You guessed it: prostitution. I bet that went over big with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. That saying of “be careful what you ask for” comes to mind.

Another big push against Prohibition was the Great Depression. Anti-Prohibition activists contended that the taxes obtained from the sale of alcohol could help ease economic burden. In 1933, the Twenty-First Amendment was passed and repealed the Eighteenth Amendment. This put an end to Prohibition, and the decline of speakeasies began. However, this does not mean that all speakeasies have closed or disappeared.

Speakeasies were of all sizes and found in various locations across cities. Some were located in the most unlikely places. Their décor ranged from top-end with chandeliers and plush carpets to bottom of the barrel dingy walls with creaking floors in basements. Usually, each speakeasy had some feature or event that made it unique from other speakeasy venues. That is something that still has not changed. Modern speakeasies attempt to have an element that differentiates it from all others.

Another interesting fact about speakeasies has to do with the minimal drinking age. Since by definition, a speakeasy is a place of business that illegally sells alcohol, there can be no legal minimum age. It is the same principle as an illegal contract cannot be enforced legally. Thus, if a business owner hired someone to set fire to his place of business and later refused to pay the person after the job had been burned to the ground, the person hired could not sue the business owner. Well, he “could,” as in he could file the initial paperwork, but it wouldn’t be wise. The case would be thrown out, and both parties would be thrown under the jail after the judge finished laughing. Likely, the incident would make an episode of the World’s Dumbest Criminals. That being said, it is likely that most speakeasies did not (and do not) solicit underage customers. Yet, there always be those who are willing to bend that area of the moral compass, too.

Speakeasies continue to exist today. While the sell of liquor is no longer banned, modern speakeasies attempt to capture the dynamics of their Prohibition-era predecessors by mimicking the décor, innovative cocktails, and elusive locations. With social media, maintaining the secrecy of speakeasies is a challenge. It’s especially difficult since most businesses today depend on social media to attract business. Therefore, one could argue that “speakeasies” no longer exist, and modern bars that consider themselves speakeasies are tribute bars. Another argument is that modern bars cannot be speakeasies because they all have become cliché. Without a feeling of uniqueness, the core of being a speakeasy is lost.

What is your opinion on modern speakeasies? Have you ever visited one? If yes, what was your experience? If you haven’t visited one but had an opportunity to do so, would you? Is going to a speakeasy something that interests you? Sound off in the comments below. I would love to read everyone’s opinions. If you’re curious as to why people would be interested in a current speakeasy, check out Liam’s answer and his story in Ice Gladiators.

If you found this post interesting, informative, or entertaining please share it with others. As they say, sharing is caring. And since you’ve made it this far, continue reading for details of my giveaway if you have not already entered and a ton of other good stuff. Be on the lookout for other bonus posts this month.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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How to Be a Good Winner

One of the best quotes that I have heard spoken about being a good winner is, “The humbled athlete is gracious in defeat and modest in victory.” (Please forgive me that I do not know who to credit this quote. I believe it is C.J. Mahaney. Please correct me in the comment section if I have that incorrect.) To me, this quote embodies how to be a good winner. In my upcoming sports romance, Ice Gladiators, being released on 02/15/20, players experience both victory and defeat. That has inspired me to write today’s post.

In any game or sports, it is important to show good sportsmanship and not be a sore loser. Showing good sportsmanship means an athlete has the intention of playing fairly, treating their opponent with respect, displaying a sense of ethics, and feeling a sense of fellowship with competitors. Being a sore loser is defined as not accepting defeat well. However, it is equally as or more important to be a good winner. This also holds true for business ventures.; only, in business, it is referred to as professionalism.

The following list is some tips on how to remain a good winner. They are arranged in no particular order.

  1. A huge sign of a good winner is one who shakes his opponent’s hand. Try to be the first to extend your hand. If you’re not, that’s okay. However, be sure to firmly grasp the person’s hand but not overly aggressive. A good handshake lasts approximately five seconds and avoids excessive pumping (i.e., the up-and-down hand movement; two to three pumps should be sufficient). While shaking the person’s hand, make good eye contact. (NOTE: If shaking hands after participating in a sporting event or any activity that has caused the palms to become sweaty, it is a good idea to dry hands on a towel or with a cloth. Many athletes may rub their palm down their pants or across their shirt if shaking hands immediately after the game has ended.) Additionally, shake hands as soon as possible. In hockey, there is the on-ice handshake line at the end of games.
  2. Being courteous to the defeated. Acknowledge your competition as being a worthy competitor. Pay the person a compliment. However, if a compliment is given, be genuine about it and ensure that it comes across as being authentic. Any backhanded comments will be viewed as criticism or belittling. A nice added touch to a compliment is when the compliment is specific (e.g., “I know you put in a lot of hard hours, and you presented strong ideas to the board.”)
  3. This tip may sound like the previous in reverse; however, this goes a step further. It should go without saying, but it needs to be said. A good winner does not tease, taunt, or make fun of the losing team. Be humble and not boastful. You’ve already bested your competition. There is no need to brutally rude and obnoxious. Even if the winner does not pay a compliment or shake hands with the defeated, those may be overlooked. Purposely saying cruel words making cruel gestures is the epitome of a poor winner. As an example of this, there was an athlete who was recruited by a rival university to the largest university in his native state. This was a top athlete, and his recruiting was top news in the sporting world. Initially, this athlete indicated he would attend the university in his state but later changed his mind. He made some derogatory statements towards the university and their fans, which led to bad press in his home state. When the two universities played (in his native state), the team he’d joined won. As he exited the field, he made several rude gestures as well as more rude statements. Fans of the winning team took his lead and began making similar statements and gestures. The situation quickly spun out of control and fights erupted, mostly with the winning team’s fans being the ones needing medical care. The athlete began receiving death threats on social media. Now, none of this backlash was appropriate or justified; however, this situation could have been avoided by displaying a little decorum and good sportsmanship.
  4. Which brings me to the next point. Even if the opponent proves to be a sore loser does not justify one being a poor winner. Winners should take the higher ground regardless. Once victory is awarded, no one can take it away. Therefore, what is the point in stooping low to prove that the winner’s performance was better? Stooping to the level of a sore loser makes the winner also look like a loser.
  5. Hold back full-on celebrating until you are no longer in the presence of your opponent(s). This may consist of waiting until they have left the area or until you return to your dressing room. Most time defeated opponents do not stick around long. One of the most heart-wrenching events I’ve witnessed was the look on the Boston Bruins players after they lost the Stanley Cup to the St. Louis Blues in game seven in Boston. I was pulling for the Blues and was set to celebrate until that camera flashed to the opposite bench. I could feel the hurt and disappointment. And although they lost, the Bruins had no reason to hold their head in shame. They emitted a good performance throughout the series. It was instinctive to the Blues to celebrate. They’d earned it. That night they’d made history, winning The Cup for the first time in the duration of the franchise. But the handshake line was amazing how much respect was being shown. It was clear that the Blues displayed restraint in the handshake line, and the true celebration began after the Bruins left the ice. Class was exhibited by both clubs.
  6. Remaining until the end of the game and/or ceremony. There have been many examples where athletes have stormed off fields or left awards ceremonies when they were not on the winning end. One would think this behavior is only seen in young children, but that person would be wrong. One also may think this behavior is only exhibited by the defeated. Wrong again. There have been times when winners have exited early as a final insult or snub to their opponent. It’s as if the winner is making a statement that he/she is too good or elite to share the same space with his/her opponent. Staying until the end shows maturity and tact.
  7. Follow the golden rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s simple enough.
  8. In cases where the winner is interviewed, try to be complementary, or at the very least non-derogatory, towards the opponent. This is especially the case if the two will be challengers to each other in the future. An example of this may be seen in politics. In primaries, when a defeated candidate concedes, he/she often encourages his/her supporters to support another candidate. Many times, the winning candidate will need that endorsement to gain the support of his defeated opponent’s supporters in order to win the general election. Being especially nasty and insulting in winning the primary may harm the winner’s chances later.

That’s pretty much it. It does not take much effort to demonstrate the behaviors of a good winner. Remember, once a winner does not mean always a winner. Losing does come around, and when it does, it is much easier not having to eat as much crow.

So, what are your thoughts on these tips? Did I miss anything? What do you think constitutes being a good winner? Have you ever encountered a poor winner? What was your experience? I would love to hear other’s opinions. Please leave your comments below.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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Ice Gladiators Interview: Part 1

Hello again, and welcome back to the celebration of my upcoming book release. I hope you have been enjoying all of the bonus content thus far, and there is more to come. A lot of love and effort has gone into this book and I want to share it with each of you. So, be sure to read to the end and get the details on my GIVEAWAY.

Today’s post will be answering questions readers and betas have posed. First, many people asked me to discuss why I decided to write Ice Gladiators. It’s a simple question to answer, but there are multiple reasons that led to my decision. In this post, I’ll break down each of those reasons and provide insight into my thinking and/or decision-making process.

First and far most, I enjoy writing. Ever since I was in grade school, writing gave me a great release. I had older parents and grew up in an area with very few children in the neighborhood. The children who moved there either did not stay long or they were not close to my age. If by chance a family with children in my age range moved close, I lived in the era of go-inside-when-the-streetlamps-lit. Many summer days I didn’t make it that long because the vampire mosquitos used me as a feast. With skin on fire, I headed inside the minute I heard the “stink truck” coming. To this day, I do not believe that air pollution pesticides killed anything other than human brain cells. Seriously, after the truck sprayed that mushroom death cloud, the mosquitos swarmed. And don’t be chewing gum and blowing bubbles. You’d regret it real quick. You couldn’t conjure enough spit to get the taste out. Of course, during the winter months, it was dark by five, around the time my parents arrived home from work and I was brought home from my great grandmother’s or grandmother’s home. That’s where I stayed much of my pre-school days.

In short, I spent the majority of my time playing alone in either a dollhouse or making up stories to occupy my time. Don’t get me wrong. It was not an unhappy childhood. I had two loving parents and caring older brothers. I had toys and television. I was not isolated from people, just limited access to children.

When began attending school, I saw my peers only during the week. However, the school was very strict. Students were only allowed to talk and interact with other students at recess. All other times, we were expected and required to remain silent in our designated desks. Sometimes, we had group projects, but those were few and far between. This is why I laugh today when I hear that classrooms are unruly and students can’t be managed. Oh, yes, they can with the proper discipline in place. My school had less than zero tolerance. If students even thought about stepping a toe out of line, they were snatched practically out of their jockeys. But I digress. I did not see my classmates regularly outside of school.

On Sundays, there were kids at church, but my family was one to worship and leave. We didn’t stick around more than five minutes for fellowship. (I don’t know if we even called it “fellowship.”) We shook hands or hugged parishioners on the church steps, and then we left. And honestly, I was uninterested in mingling with most of those church folks anyway. They all came across as being snooty. As a child, I wasn’t allowed to say that aloud. Even if I could, I do not know that I had the language to communicate the sentiment effectively. Again, I’ve strayed slightly off topic. My point is, where I lived, my school and church carved an environment that for the majority of the time required me to entertain myself. I did so by writing.

Second, which is really part of the first, I love sports especially hockey and football. In the south, football is a second religion. I grew up breathing it. However, I attended a school where the team perpetually sucked in all sports. I’ve heard that has changed since I graduated a thousand years ago, and they have been invited to state championships. But I remember having 1-11 seasons. The college and professional teams in the area struggled as well. I discovered hockey, not because there was a team around—let’s face it, it’s the south and there’s no ice outside of a freezer—but due to wanting a team to be able to celebrate a victory. Baseball, which is popular here, moved too slowly from my taste. I never quite got into basketball. Golf, I fell asleep at the commentator’s voice. Tennis, I didn’t understand. Bowling was too repetitive. And eventually, that brought me around to hockey. Now, I may have complaints about the other aforementioned sports, but I do enjoy watching them occasionally. However, I clicked with hockey. The speed of play takes my breath away. I decided I wanted to experience winning at least a few times a year, and there are a lot of hockey games. While I was unable to attend in person, my parents had satellite, which included multiple channels dedicated to hockey.

Third, I’m a sucker for a good romance. In a world where there is so many things to drain a person’s mood, it’s a relief to have something positive and uplifting. There is nothing like a wonderful happily-ever-after to put a smile on my face. It’s all those doggone princess fairytales, Masterpiece Theatre, and Hallmark Channel movies. I grew up thinking, that is how the world was supposed to be. See, being around older adults, all I witnessed were couples who had been married for over thirty years unless their spouse had passed away. Divorce was taboo to speak of in mixed company—mixed being with children present. Most couples I knew looked happy and were always smoochy-smoochy.

By junior high, my peers began pairing off. Sock hops, holding hands, drawing hearts with names inside, and getting hickeys in the hallways were the thing. Sappy love songs topped the top 100 weekly, with the occasional nonsense teeny-bopper pop tune. Another aside. Can I mention how much those pushed mall-debuted tunes caused my innards to cringe? I really had no appreciation for girls in denim jackets basically doing karaoke in the center of the mall. Just saying.

So anyway, put two and two and two together, and it was only logical that I write a sports romance. It was a case of peanut butter and preserves. (Yes, jam because in the woods the old folks jar preserves not jelly and that’s what gets served with peanut butter. City folk might not know about that, but that’s how it is.) They just belonged together. Ice Gladiators was part of that natural course, too. I already had created characters that I considered fun to write, and I wanted to write more. I also felt there was another story to be told and wanted to push myself to be more creative. This leads to another question that I’ve been asked multiple times. How is Ice Gladiators different from my other sports romances?

Again, the answer to this is simple. I listened to my readers. Feedback indicated readers wanted more sports scenes, and Ice Gladiators have that. They asked for an intense romance. Check. Bring more drama, they said. Done. Give the giggles. I got that covered, too. Several readers stated they wanted a longer story, and Ice Gladiators is a slightly longer read that DTN. There are quite a few surprises, but, of course, I can’t say what they are.

If you liked this post and would like to see more of these types of posts, please like, comment, and follow me by clicking in the boxes and buttons at the end of this post. Also, please share the link to this post on any social media for any of your family or friends who may like this type of content as well. If I’ve omitted any questions or didn’t answer something fully, please comment below, and I will address it.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored or affiliated in any way with any of the people, brands, or franchise mentioned herein.

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