Today I am so pleased to welcome Jeff Adams back to Joyfully Jay. Jeff has come as part of the GRL blog tour to talk to us about his latest release, Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot. He has also brought along a great excerpt and a copy of a book from the series to give away. Please join me in giving Jeff a big welcome!
It’s always great to be on Joyfully Jay! Many thanks to Jay for hosting my stop on the official GRL blog tour.
This year marks my fourth trip to GRL, and the third time I’ve released a novel in the Hat Trick series just in time for the retreat.
In 2012, in Albuquerque, Hat Trick was near completion and I talked to just a few people about it since I was attending as a reader. For 2013 in Atlanta, the first novel was out, but it wasn’t out in time for me to qualify as a supporting author, so I talked about it when appropriate and did lots of networking with readers and authors.
Last year in Chicago, Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound, arrived and I attended as a supporting author. That was awesome. It was also scary. Suddenly authors I admired were asking me to sign a copy of my book for them instead of the other way around. There were readers too who’d devoured the first two books and were eager to talk about it. I loved meeting everyone and talking about the books, as well as finding out from readers the other books in the m/m hockey genre they liked.
Tomorrow Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot comes out. I’m excited for this book. I’ve written the story of Simon and Alex for nearly nine years (granted that first book took a crazy long time to get right from it’s initial draft in 2006 until it was published in 2013). While I love the stories I’ve told in each book, this one’s special because they’re grown ups as they get ready to graduate college and fully embark on their version of happily ever after.
It’s never been completely easy for them—from the homophobia they faced when they initially came out in book one to the on-campus attacks in book two. In book three, their happily ever after is threatened by something that’s the most difficult thing they’ve faced in their still young relationship. And, yes, I consider four years still pretty new, especially given they’re in their early twenties. Hat Trick 3 has plenty of happy too as the guys strengthen their bonds with each other, and pay forward some of their own good fortune as they start coaching a youth hockey team.
My biggest hope, of course, is that the readers like where the story ends up. Simon and Alex belong as much to the fans as they do to me. With Hat Trick 3 out six weeks ahead of GRL, I’m looking forward to hearing what GRL attendees who’ve read the book think of it. I’m also excited to introduce the series to people who’ve never seen it. One of the things I’m working on in the weeks leading up to GRL is what to do for a reading.
There is one more peek at Simon and Alex’s story to come. On October 4, Hat Trick Overtime: Reunion releases as a short ebook freebie that will jump forward some fifteen years from the end of Hat Trick 3 to offer a quick look into their future. This will complete the Overtime trilogy of short stories that has kept the story going between novels.
While Hat Trick 3 wraps up Simon and Alex’s story, I’m not done writing them yet. I’m planning two Hat Trick spin offs in 2016. Leo and Matt, who get together in book one and appear in subsequent stories, will get a book of their own in the early part of the year. There’s also a character who was cut from Hat Trick 3 because I couldn’t devote enough time to his story. I plan for readers to mean Sean in late 2016.
To celebrate the release of Hat Trick 3, I’m offering up a free ebook from the Hat Trick series (winner’s choice) to one lucky commenter on this post. So please say hi in the comments and ask a question if you’d like and I’ll come back and answer. Also, I’ve got a question for people who’ve already read some or all of the series: What do you think I should read at GRL to showcase the Simon and Alex?
Here’s a look at Simon and Alex first thing in the morning. I like this scene because it’s a glimpse of how solid and comfortable they are as a couple.
I’m used to starting the day with the alarm piercing my consciousness. It didn’t matter what sound we used or whose side of the bed it was on, its sound would cut through me, waking me instantly. It’d been that way since middle school when I once slept through the alarm and missed the bus. Now it was like part of my mind was on alert, ensuring I didn’t oversleep.
But not this morning. Before the alarm could go off there were kisses. Repeated kisses on my nose. It seemed like a dream, but they kept coming. Opening my eyes I found Alex over me, supporting himself on arms that were on either side of my head. He kept leaning in to kiss the tip of my nose.
“Morning,” he said between kisses.
I smiled up at him. The room was lit by his desk lamp and he was only in sweatpants. It was odd he was up early, especially on a practice morning. I guided his head so the kisses would land on my mouth. He quickly took the hint and we shared a deep, good morning kiss.
He pulled back after a minute or so. “Time to get up.” He was a touch too excited for this early. “I decided to wake you instead of the alarm.”
“You’re a zillion times better than it is, that’s for sure. And you can make this a routine if you want. It’s the best way ever to wake up.” I pushed myself off the pillow so I could flick one of his exposed nipples with my tongue.
“Hey now, none of that. We’ve got to get to practice. If I’d known you were gonna be like that, I’d have woken you earlier.”
He yanked on the sheet, revealing my chest and swirled his tongue around one of my nipples.
“What was that?” I yanked the sheet back up to cover myself, feigning shock at what he’d done. “What did you just say?”
He winked at me. “I didn’t want your nipple to be left out.”
Alex could be so off-the-wall sometimes, and I loved it. “I appreciate that. You never said, how long have you been up?”
“Couple hours. My legs were super restless. I couldn’t sleep, so I got some work done. Turned out to be a good jump on the day.” He pushed himself up and off the bed and threw the covers off me.
“Your legs woke you up? That’s no good.” I got up, stretched, and padded over to the mini-fridge to get water. “It seems like there’s something going on at least once a week that’s not quite right.” I drank from the bottle before pouring some into a measuring cup so I could make our oatmeal.
He sighed as he grabbed our bowls and measured out the oats, which was part of our carefully crafted routine for mornings we had practice. “It’s probably nothing. We push our bodies hard. Maybe I’m not recovering enough.”
“It’s gone on for months though. The trainers and Doc are always around so there’s no reason not to get checked.” I popped the glass measuring cup into the microwave and got it going. “You’re right, it’s probably nothing, but if it is, you need to know.”
He looked at me for a long moment. His expression threw me, almost like a little kid that was scared. The beep of the microwave snapped him out of it.
“It’s just, you know, I’m hardly ever sick, maybe just a cold now and then. The last time I was seriously laid up was…well, you know what that was.”
Yeah, I did. Zack and his friends.
Alex brought the bowls, along with spoons, over to his desk and I carried the bubbling water. I split it up and we stirred in a half scoop of protein powder to create our breakfasts.
“Where’d all that come from? It’s may just be something that needs a specific exercise to fix. You know, like my rotator cuff last year. Did those band exercises and I was good as new in a few weeks. Didn’t even miss a game.”
“You’re right.” He ate his oatmeal, and changed the subject. “I like this chocolate protein. It reminds me of a cookie my mom makes.”
“Yeah. This is a lot better than that attempt at cookie dough powder. Blech. I thought we’d never get through that tub.”
I gobbled down the rest of my food, but swung the conversation back. “Think about seeing Doc Kirk, okay? I’ll even go with you after practice if you want.”
“You’d think I’m ten the way I’m dealing with this.”
After Alex finished, he took the dishes and I grabbed our morning bathroom kit. We shuffled out into the hallway, him in the sweats and me in boxers.
“I was gonna say you sound like every other guy on the planet. Remember how hard it was to get me to a doc last winter when I had the cough that wouldn’t stop?”
Life has a sneaky way of checking you into the boards.
The relationship that began when Simon Roberts and Alex Miller were in high school is about to cross another milestone as they begin their final year at the University of Michigan. It’s been four amazing years of love, friends and hockey.
Now it’s time to help pay it forward.
When a talented sixteen-year-old goalie is denied placement on a youth league roster, he asks Simon and Alex to coach a team of LGBT youth and allies. With the determination, hard work, and help of an amazing group of friends, they rally the team towards a winning season.
In the final installment of the best selling Hat Trick trilogy, Simon and Alex find everything they’ve worked so hard for is in jeopardy. When they’re thrown a devastating curve ball, the far-reaching implications put their entire future together on the line.
Jeff’s written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published. Since then he’s written several more shorts and novels, including some in the young adult genre, and he plans to keep writing as long as wonderful readers keeping picking up his books.
Jeff lives in rural Northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.
Jeff has brought a winner’s choice of any book from the Hat Trick series to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, September 9th at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
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- Void where prohibited by law.