Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.
Hi everyone! I'm Becky Moore, and I'm a contemporary romance author who's also a voracious reader. My latest release Is called "The Penalty Box." It's a sexy story about two people who are hesitant to trust their hearts ... But intrigued enough to take a leap of faith. I love strong personalities, in both men and women, along with thepresence of possibility in a good romance, so I was excited that the two main characters in The Penalty Box had both heart, and hope.
Olivia Casey's an architect, and Justin Mangum's a retired hockey player, and their story also fits another of my favorite romance scenarios: an unusual, unlikely pairing.
Have you ever had an idea for a story that scared you after you began writing it?
Yes, I have had a story idea turn around and scare me. When I was
younger, I loved reading Stephen King short stories. But as I got
older, and after a college fall break scary story marathon, I just
can't read them anymore. I'm working on a romantic thriller called
"Mine By Design" that includes one of my own personal nightmares: a
stranger in the house. I had to stop writing the scene a couple weeks
ago, and am stuck because I don't want to finish it. But, the story
has to have that scene. I'm bolstering my courage.
How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?
I'm an eternal student, really, and love to learn new things.
Professionally, I've always worked in marketing and PR, and in the
non-profit world. I find things in the world that interest me and
figure out a way to make it part of my life. For example, my husband
and I needed to find something fun to do after we got married outside
of the bedroom, so we took up gardening. I hated it when I was a kid,
but love it now. I've even worked as a gardening journalist for a
number of years in the "real world." For The Penalty Box, my husband
and son and I are big hockey fans, so I paid attention at the games. A
couple years ago, I was able to interview a hunky player for the
Carolina Hurricanes (in the locker room, believe it or not) for the
news station I worked for, which was totally interesting. Those guys
are bigger and better looking in person ... And that just sparked my
imagination. I knew I needed to write that experience into a story.
And, for Justin Mangum, I needed to have an equally interesting,
strong part net. Olivia Casey's an architect, another profession
that's always intrigued me. I love to run into female architects,
especially since it's such a traditionally male field.
Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?
I also try to incorporate elements of my husband and I, and our lives,
into my stories. they're all set in the south, regardless of how far
and wide my characters travel. They are pretty successful, confident
individuals who all have greatly varied interests. how boring is it
for anyone to just be one thing? And there's usually a pretty good
dose of optimism in my tales. I'm a glass half full kind of gal. And,
since I read for escapism and leisure, like for my stories to be a
great foray into a fun, hopeful world.
Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?
Hope. Really, the world is so full of trauma and tragedy, sad news
and sensationalistic journalism. I think people need a window into a
world of words, where anything can happen. I like to read everything,
but always have a romance novel going. No matter how dire the
situation, how deeply entrenched in the jungle at the hands of a
nuclear bomb-toting terrorist our characters are ... By the end of the
story the world is saved and the girl gets the guy. Come on ... It
just doesn't get any better than that!
Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?
I try to start out as a plotter ... But inevitably wind up as a
panther. I'm not ashamed. I go with the flow in life, and on the
How long did it take for you to be published?
In the real world, I've found great success as a freelance and
corporate writer in a handful of industries and media ... But I
started writing romance about three years ago. I never really had the
time to put into finding a publishing house or literary agent because
of full-time work, but in December I submitted my first book to a new,
small Canadian e-publisher, XOXO Publishing. They picked it up three
days later, and on May 1, 2010 The Right Words was published. It has
gone on to become an XOXO Bestseller. My second book, The Penalty Box, released on September 11, 2010, and got a 5-star review! I'd like to think this is the first of many!
If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?
I would tell myself to take that leap of faith and cut back my
full-time hours and stress ... Become an agent of change and create
the time to follow your dream!
Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?
Laptop. Then pencil. I like to do my first draft on the computer,
then print it off and make line and content edits on paper with
pencil. I'm one of the only people I know who religiously uses pencil.
My must-haves are music and a big glass of water.
Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?
My favorite authors are Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, Rachel
Gibson, Shannon McKenna, Peter Mayle, Michael Chabon, Kate DiCamillo,
Rick Riordan, Shell Silverstein, and Amy J. Fetzer. My influences are
probably Linda Howard and Rachel Gibson, Peter Mayle and Shannon
I love Shel Silverstein!
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
You might be surprised to know that I love to bake, and that I've
entered my Almond Brandy Pound Cake to the North Carolina State Fair
for the last two years. I haven't won YET, but I'm persistent. I'll
wear down those little old ladies who only want to pass around the
blue ribbon to each other one day.
Favorite Halloween memory?
My favorite Halloween memory is 10 years ago, when my son was 2. I
like to sew costumes (spent many years working as the Marketing and
Development Director of a performing arts theatre), and had made a
terrific Charlie Brown costume for "the baby." Another friend with a
daughter the same age sent her daughter as Dorothy from the Wizard of
Oz. Our neighborhood has a big Halloween party and costume parade ...
So that year the kids rode in a red wagon and the dad's dressed in
black suits with dark glasses and wires in their ears, Nd ran
alongside the wagon like the Secret Service. The kids were so cute,
but the dad's were hysterical. They got the applause.
That is sooo cool!
Favorite Scary Movie?
Favorite scary movie is Signs ... I gave up scary movies with the
Stephen King short stories.
Frankenstein, Dracula, or Werewolf?
Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.
You can find my books for sale through the XOXO Publishing store:
- THE PENALTY BOX: www.xoxopublishing.com
- THE RIGHT WORDS: www.xoxopublishing.com
And you can read more from me at www.beckymoore.net. Thanks!
Justin Mangum, otherwise known as “The Monk,” has just turned the
National Hockey League on its ear with his announcement of retirement.
Just five games into the new season following a Stanley Cup win, the
sports world can’t fathom why the number one enforcer would willingly
step aside. He further throws the world into a tailspin with part of
his reasoning behind retirement: he wants to get out of the spotlight,
start a private practice as a physical therapist, find a wife, buy a
house, get a dog, and just settle down.
A year later, he runs into Olivia Casey—quite literally—and one hospital trip, a concussion and a shifting of the moon and the stars later, finally lets out the collective breath he's been holding his whole life. For Olivia, a hotshot young architect taking the world by storm with her revolutionary yet simple designs, fate could not have been more obvious. She awakens to find the goliath man who knocked her down, and out, checking her body for damage; her good friends standing close by are no soothing balm to the primitive struggle of fight or flight she's experiencing. But fate can be brutally honest, whether it's expected or not, and Justin and Olivia both wonder if they can relax their guard enough to let fate take its course and wind up lucky in love... or in the penalty box.
One year ago.
"Ah, come on!"‖ groaned four or five of the reporters in the crowd after the initial
shock silenced the crowd. The jackals were quick to recover however, and wildness
erupted within the buzzing arena of sports journalists scrambling to be the ace reporter
to get the first shocking statements out of The Monk.
"Justin—Mr. Mangum. Why would you retire now, when you‘re at the height of your
strength and your game? The Oak Leaves could really use you on the wing after last
year‘s championship season."‖
"Mr. Mangum, how can you walk away from a lucrative career? You‘re an athlete.
What will you do now?‖"
"You‘re the first player in the history of the NHL to win the Frank J. Selke Trophy at
the end of one season only to retire five games into the new one. Why?‖"
Why, why, WHY?
Justin Mangum waited out the staccato, rapid fire of questions aimed his way as a
result of the unexpected news. The Carolina Oak Leaves had just won their fifth game
of the new season. To the world at large, Justin‘s decision to retire seemed ludicrous.
The Oak Leaves had drawn extremely well from the draft rounds; they‘d built another
stellar team with a remarkable chance at duplicating their victory. Justin was a bit
stunned himself, but had to work hard to keep the smirk off of his face. He had just
knocked the National Hockey League on its ass. And the sooner he could finish up the
goddamned press conference, the sooner he could tell the reporters who‘d hounded
him relentlessly for years to fuck off.
Visions of the accusatory glares from his mother and sister following his father‘s
funeral last week haunted him. In Justin‘s mind, walking away from hockey was an easy
choice. But facing the malaise of a disappointed press pool was devastating. He didn‘t
owe anybody anything. He‘d played his heart out and given up nearly a decade to the
sport—missing countless holidays and family celebrations for training and games—and
for what? To be on the road when his family needed him most? To have seen his dad
midsummer before the season began because he was too busy playing in golf
tournaments and working the press angle for the team? Well, he was done with that
Coach Dan ―Rocket‖ Thornton sat to Justin‘s left. He covered the microphone in
front of him with one hand and leaned over to whisper in the sweaty ear of his star
player. "Son, you‘ve got to say something." He popped a couple of Rolaids into the
other hand and tossed them into his mouth, downing them with a big swig of water from
the glass that sat in front of him.
Justin took a deep breath and looked at his teammates—giants standing heads
and shoulders over the normal sized members of the national sports media. Like him,
they were still suited up, sweaty, stinky and waiting with bated breath to hear what their
friend had to say.
"Hey Monk—does this decision have anything to do with your father‘s death last
Shit! That was it! That was the final straw. Justin blew out an angry breath and
rolled his shoulders. He pointed at the offending reporter. "Swift, you‘re out of line with
that question. You know, for the last nine years I have answered every question you
have ever asked me. I let you shadow me during my first year in the NHL and you have
the balls to ask me that?"
A murmur went through the crowd. The sound bombarded Justin‘s ears when it
mingled with the swift intake of breath; at least the bastard had the decency to blush.
Rocket reached over and tried to put his hand on Justin‘s shoulder again, but the kid
shook it off.
"It‘s no secret that most of the guys in the league call me The Monk, is it? Well, I‘m
going to be thirty over Christmas and I have never had the good fortune of kissing my
wife or playing with my children. I‘ve never spent the summer playing at the beach or
going skiing in the winter time. Hell, I‘ve never worked with a single physical therapy
patient and my university degrees tell me I could open a practice tomorrow. And do you
know why that is?"
He reached a shaky hand out and picked up a dewy water bottle sitting in front of
him. He eyed the crowd warily over the bottle as he drank a long pull of the lukewarm
water. His stomach threatened to rebel, but he forced his way through the nervousness.
Puking in front of the whole world was not high on his list of goals for the evening.
"How can I get married and have kids when I‘m never in one city long enough to
have a ceremony or procreate? Hell, how can I get to know a woman well enough to
ask her to be my wife? I couldn‘t even take enough time off to get to my dad after he
was hit by a drunk driver two weeks ago. When he came out of his coma for a few
hours, my mom couldn‘t reach me on the ice in time for me to fly home and see him. But
don‘t worry—she was sure to tell him I loved him before his final breath. So, yeah, Ed
Swift, my father‘s death has quite a bit to do with why I‘m retiring. I‘m tired. I‘m lonely.
I‘m ready to go out to dinner and eat without you people reporting to the whole world
what I ate. I‘m ready for some new hot shot to take my spot in the limelight." He took a
deep, fortifying breath. His hands shook as they dragged tiredly through his hair. "It‘s
The team, which had been watching quietly from the back of the room, started
pushing their way through the throng of reporters to make their way to Justin. Most
looked shocked, some angry, and some sad. Justin braced himself to have the living
shit beat out of him on national television.
Rocket spoke next. "Justin and the management have been in discussions for his
retirement since the season began. The news saddens us and it comes as quite a
shock, but we support his decision. He‘s given nine good years to the team, both in
Hartford and in Raleigh, and we‘re going to miss him…on the ice."
He appeared fairly calm to the reporters, but Justin could feel the hand on his
shoulder clenching and unclenching. "And though he won‘t be an official physician on
the team‘s books, we expect a number of our players will be seeing him off the ice at
the physical therapy practice he‘s planning to open here in Raleigh."
Justin smiled. "I‘ve had a great career and I love this town. But my heart is really
not in it anymore. Your Carolina Oak Leaves have a tremendous team this season, and
Erik Neilson will soar to greatness in my old position. I appreciate your interest in my
career and the coverage you have given to me and the Oak Leaves over the years.
Thank you."‖ He reached out and shut off the microphone, cutting off the possibility of
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