Today we’re so please to welcome author Jeff Adams back to The Novel Approach for a visit on his HT3: Penalty Shot Blog Tour. Enjoy Jeff’s guest post, the excerpt he brought along to share with you, and then be sure to leave a comment right here for the chance to win an e-book in the Hat Trick series.
Read on for all the details, and good luck!
It’s great to be back at The Novel Approach today! Many thanks to Lisa for hosting me so I can talk about my latest novel, Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot.
Hat Trick 3 is the final novel in the Hat Trick trilogy. Simon and Alex are in the senior year at the University of Michigan, playing hockey and planning their future. They also pay it forward in this installment as they take on coaching a youth hockey team so that a talented goalie, along with some other players, can play on an LGBT friendly team.
What surprises them as they start working with the youth team is the level of harassment that’s still out there four years after they came out, even in the era of You Can Play and more athletes coming out all the time. In fact, the way they end up working with the team is because the goalie, a young man who is on the flamboyant side, isn’t picked up for a team. Scottie, therefore, decides to form his own team and recruits Simon and Alex to coach it. As Simon and Alex see how good Scottie is, they can’t believe a coach would pass up his talent.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing they come up against. Once they’re a team, the other teams that are already in their division aren’t very welcoming. Even having two Michigan players as coaches doesn’t shield them from a couple incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct.
This theme of homophobia and harassment has cropped up in each of the three Hat Trick novels in different ways. I’m hopeful that this theme one day makes the trilogy a bit dated and people will read in disbelief that such a thing could happen. Sadly, it doesn’t look like that will be the case any day soon. You Can Play came about as I was putting the finishing touches on the first novel back in 2012-13. Yet, even now you hear too many stories about student athletes getting harassed for their sexual orientation. In Hat Trick 3, Simon and Alex have to approach it differently because they aren’t the ones being harassed, instead they’ve got to help their team deal with it.
It’s not all confrontation for the youth team though, there’s a lot of fun times there too as the team goes from a bunch of teens brought together at the last minute to a team that finds its groove. There’s even a bit of deja vu for Simon and Alex as a romance starts to blossom on the team, too.
If you’ve read other books in the Hat Trick series, I hope you’ll pick this one up to see how things go for the team as well as checking out everything else going on with Simon and Alex as they work towards their happily ever after.
I do have a giveaway to celebrate this release. One lucky commenter will receive their choice of one ebook from the Hat Trick series. So leave a comment or a question by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Monday, September 21, 2015. I’ll definitely come by to see what you’re saying and one of you will walk away with a free ebook.
For this excerpt I’m offering up a little taste of what the youth team faces as they begin their season. I love how Scottie stands up to it, and how help comes in from an ally, too.
Excerpt: The first Rainbow High game arrived way too fast. The team seemed ready, at least in spirit. There wasn’t nearly enough practice, but everyone said they were excited following yesterday’s session. Scottie looked great, and I looked forward to seeing him in a real game. We had some good shooters, especially Walt and Bryan. Based on the competition Walt told us to expect, we still needed work. The best practice in the world though was playing a real game.
Considering everything, Alex and I couldn’t have been happier with how the team had gelled in the past two weeks. They had a good time on ice and seemed to be bonding off ice, too, as much as their individual schedules would allow.
The parking lot of the rink was jammed as Alex, Hillary, Danny, Trent and I arrived, nearly an hour early. We wanted to recon some of the other teams in our division, and be here as our guys arrived. At least for this first game, all the coaches were present.
Two of our division’s games were already in progress, so Trent and Danny went to check those out as Hillary, Alex, and I took over a table to watch for our team to start trickling in.
“Excuse me,” said a guy in a Chargers jersey, as he came up to our group. I recognized the team name as one in our division. “I was wondering if I could get you guys’ autograph. It’s not every day you see the Wolverines’ captains just hanging out here.”
“Sure,” I said. Behind the autograph seeker I saw Scottie come in, rolling his huge gear bag behind him. “We’d be happy to.” The guy gave me a piece of paper, which looked torn from a spiral notebook, and a pen. “What’s your name?”
“Griffin,” he said. “What’s got you guys out here?”
“Hey, Simon, Alex, Hillary,” Scottie said, bumping fists with everyone. He sorta bounced between the three of us. “Great to see you.”
“Scottie, you’re here early,” Alex said.
“Yeah, I wanted to be here when the rest of the team showed. Be a good captain and all.”
“You guys know this sissy boy?” Griffin asked, his mouth hanging open.
I stood, and had a couple inches on the guy, even though he was in skates. Alex and Hillary circled around.
“We coach Scottie’s team,” I said. “That kind of talk isn’t very sportsmanlike. Not only have you insulted him, you’re not exactly making friends with us either.” I took Alex’s hand for extra emphasis. “Since you asked for our autograph, I assume you know that we’re a couple, right?”
“Well, yeah,” Griffin stumbled over his words, “but you guys don’t prance around. How’s he supposed to stop a puck? He’ll probably hide in the net when he sees what’s coming towards him.”
Scottie spoke up while remaining all smiles. “Do we get to play you today?”
“No. Unfortunately we don’t get the honor of wiping the rink with your…” Griffin stopped, considering his words further. Danny and Trent joined us as well. “…team. We see you in two weeks.”
“I can assure you I won’t be hiding in the net. I’ll be out front, waiting to knock down anything you send my way.”
“And I suggest your team take a good look at league rules,” I said, “which covers in detail that there’s no unsportsmanlike conduct tolerated.”
The guy looked dumbfounded. He searched the rink, maybe looking for some of his teammates to back him up, or for a way to get himself out of this situation. “You can’t tell me,” he said, finding a defiant streak, “that if you two acted like fairies that the Wolverines would’ve given you a look.”
“Given how good they play, I wouldn’t hesitate to recruit them.”
Whoa. Coach Rapp, decked out in his Wolverines jacket that clearly said who he was, managed to come in from nowhere. Griffin turned, seemingly ready to say something, but stopped when he saw who it was.
“And I’ve seen Scottie between the pipes,” Coach continued. “He’s good. Someone I’ll be keeping tabs on. Now, young man, who’s your coach?”
The guy turned white as a ghost. I thought he might pass out.
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.
Author Bio: 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.
Learn more at jeffadamswrites.com
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