Happy Thursday Today on the blog we have a blog tour stop for Delayed Penalty with an awesome guest post by the book’s author, Sophia Henry, about the inspiration behind Pilots Hockey series. We also have an book excerpt, a book review and rating, and details about how to enter a giveaway as well as information on where to find the author and the book online.
Release Date: 09/01/2015
She closed her heart long ago. He just wants to open her mind. For fans of Toni Aleo and Sawyer Bennett, the debut of Sophia Henry’s red-hot Detroit Pilots series introduces a hockey team full of complicated men who fight for love.
Auden Berezin is used to losing people: her father, her mother, her first love. Now, just when she believes those childhood wounds are finally healing, she loses something else: the soccer scholarship that was her ticket to college. Scrambling to earn tuition money, she’s relieved to find a gig translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player—until she realizes that he’s the same dangerously sexy jerk who propositioned her at the bar the night before.
Equal parts muscle and scar tissue, Aleksandr Varenkov knows about trauma. Maybe that’s what draws him to Auden. He also lost his family too young, and he channeled the pain into his passions: first hockey, then vodka and women. But all that seems to just melt away the instant he kisses Auden and feels a jolt of desire as sudden and surprising as a hard check on the ice.
After everything she’s been through, Auden can’t bring herself to trust any man, let alone a hot-headed puck jockey with a bad reputation. Aleksandr just hopes she’ll give him a chance—long enough to prove he’s finally met the one who makes him want to change.
*Keep reading for an amazing guest post, a book excerpt, a review, information about the author, details on how to enter the giveaway, and buy links.*
The Inspiration, Research and Process behind The Pilots Hockey Series
by Sophia Henry
Delayed Penalty was inspired by my real-life goal as a teenager. Become an interpreter for a Russian in the NHL. Seriously, it’s written in my high school senior year memory book. I grew up watching the first all-Russian unit to play together in the NHL; the Russian Five— Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov, Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov and Vladimir Konstantinov. Watching interviews with those players made me want to be a Russian interpreter so badly. But the university I attended only offered two years of Russian, so I couldn’t master the language unless I transferred. The spark from that dream lit the flame for this story.
Character inspirations comes from all over; real life, hockey, music. All of my characters are based on people I know in some way. Auden has hints of me—all of my heroine’s do. Aleksandr was inspired by retired hockey player, Sergei Fedorov, with the hair style of Matty Healy, lead singer of The 1975 (because I’m obsessed). One of the secondary characters, Drew, was inspired by a guy I had a crush on in elementary school. None of my characters are completely autobiographical or biographical, but they are inspired by real people and real life.
Because my goal is to write character-driven stories, I spend a huge amount of time on research into cultures of the characters. If I write a Russian character, I’ve done research into what it is to be a Russian. It’s not an American who speaks a different language. I read books about the culture, including travel books that give tourists insight to what the “locals” are like. Because that’s what I am—a tourist trying to get into someone else’s head, their mindset, which is based on a totally different set of ideals than my own. I search for blogs written by Russians (in English) or by people married to Russians. Is my interpretation exact? Probably not. Someone could call me out in a minute, but I hope the amount of research I’ve done shows enough that he could appreciate the effort, even if I didn’t interpret parts of my research correctly.
I’m passionate about my hockey research as well. As a lifelong fan, I want the information/references I use to be correct. I have friends in sports media, friends who played hockey, and friends who worked in NHL organizations, so I *think* I’m pretty accurate. That being said, I take some creative liberties because it’s a work of fiction. If I’m 99% accurate in any significant hockey references, I hope a reader forgives me for slanting something insignificant to fit my story.
Do you really want to know my crazy process?? hahaha
All of my stories start with a scene I can’t get out of my head. The scene that makes me want to write the book. That’s where I start. If it’s Chapter One, awesome, but usually it’s not. I don’t write in order. I write that exciting scene, then I outline/plot the rest of the story. After I have a rough idea of where the book will go, I write my favorite scenes first, then I go back and fill in. Writing the scenes I love first makes the words flow and generates my excitement for the characters and their story.
The rest is like a puzzle. How do my characters get to the scenes I’ve already written? How can I connect this scene to that scene to the Big Black Moment to the beginning? Does something previously written need to be scrapped or morphed because it doesn’t fit? I write a short summary of each scene on index cards, so I can easily shuffle if something needs to be moved in the timeline. I carry the index cards with me wherever I go because an idea might strike and I have to write it down and put it in order (Yeah, OCD). I started my writing career flying by the seat of my pants, typing the story as it came to me, but over the years, I’ve found I’m much more productive as an index-card plotter.
The best part of the process is typing “The End” and sending it to my beta readers. The feedback I receive is invaluable!! Stories in my head make sense when I type it up, but it’s not in someone else’s head, so they point out where I need more (or less) description and explanation. All of my beta readers, critique friends get a huge shout out in my acknowledgements, so I hope that’s a win-win. 🙂
Thanks so much, Okie Dreams Book Reviews, for having me on your blog. I truly appreciate the opportunity and can’t wait to hear from readers!
Thank YOU Sophia for writing such a fantastic guest post for us today! We truly appreciate you taking the time to do that for us.
Readers, be sure to leave Sophia a comment either here or on Facebook or Twitter and thank her for such a great post for us to read. And then, if you get the chance, add Delayed Penalty to your Goodreads shelf. You can also pre-order the book through one of the links below.
From Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry:
I’m pretty sure there were only two ways Crazy Hair could have looked better than he had at O’Callaghan’s. The first was as he did right now: sitting on a bench in the locker room wearing nothing but the lower half of his uniform, including his skates, sweat rolling over his sinewy pecs and creating a happy trail all the way into his hockey pants.
The second way—I can only assume—would be if he were completely naked.
“Aleksandr, this is Auden Berezin. She will be your translator.”
“I don’t need a translator.”
I almost laughed, because he’d said he didn’t need a translator in Russian.
“You must talk with the media at some point, Sasha. They’re riding my ass to get better answers from you than ‘was good game.’ ”
Aleksandr Varenkov, hot Russian hockey god, laughed, showing the perfect set of white teeth I’d noticed at the bar.
“You have your teeth in, but you haven’t even showered yet?” Orlenko asked.
Was Orlenko a mind reader? I sure hope not, because I would be fired for thinking about my client naked.
“I wanted to look good for pictures.” Aleksandr winked at me. Then he stood, and drops of sweat raced down the hard planes of his chest.
I’d never been so envious of perspiration in my life.
“Sometimes I talk in the shower. Will she translate for me in there?”
My cheeks began to burn, so I averted my eyes, lowering them to the black Cyrillic script tattooed down his sides, then thought better of that line of sight and studied the soiled beige carpet below my feet.
“Aleks—” Orlenko sighed, rubbing his forehead.
“Zhenya,” Aleksandr began. “You know I’m kidding, yes?” He shoved a towel onto the shelf above his nameplate and walked away without waiting for an answer.
“Yes,” Orlenko hissed. He’d said it under his breath, but I heard him and wondered what my grandpa had gotten me into. “Well, that was Aleksandr Varenkov, your client. He’s a talented player and a good man. But he can be a little—”
“Douchey?” I offered in English. I shouldn’t have said it, considering Grandpa’s professional reputation was in my hands. Then again, Evgeny Orlenko was Grandpa’s friend first, so maybe he wouldn’t be too hard on me. Besides, Grandpa knew what kind of mouth I had, and he’d sent me for the job anyway.
Orlenko laughed, and continued in Russian. “Wild was the word I was looking for, but your adjective may not be that far off.”
“I’ve got it, Mr. Orlenko.”
“Are you sure?” He inspected me through thick black-rimmed glasses that were too small for his puffy face.
“As a college student with an active social life, I’ve learned how to handle arrogant douche bags.” This time I was being paid to handle one.
“I shouldn’t be having this conversation about one of my clients,” Mr. Orlenko said, his lips quirking up, then back into a tight line. At least he was trying to keep a straight face. “You’re like a breath of fresh air, Audushka. I hope you stay that way even with his off-ice antics.”
Off-ice antics? What the hell did that mean and why would I have to deal with them? “Will I have to hang out with him outside of the arena? I thought I was here to translate for media interviews after games and some practices.”
“Aleksandr speaks very little English. He’ll need your assistance in all aspects of his career; interviews, community service. At least, until he gets acclimated. Vitya said you were here for the month, is that correct?”
“Yep. All of winter break.”
“You’ll be putting in a lot of hours.”
“I’m a hard worker. And I need the cash. Got cut from the soccer team, and I have to replace the scholarship money I lost.” I was running my mouth again. Maybe I did need to tone it down.
“Well, I’m sorry to hear that. The being-cut part.” He cleared his throat. “Here’s my card. I wrote my cell number on the back. If you have any trouble or if Aleksandr makes you uncomfortable in any way, please give me a call.”
“Thanks.” I scanned the card wondering if I should try to memorize his number now, since I wasn’t sure how stable this client sounded.
After Orlenko left the locker room, I realized I hadn’t asked him what I should do next, and he hadn’t given me instructions as to where I should wait while Aleksandr showered. Since I wasn’t part of the media, I was extremely aware of being the intruder standing in a room of half-naked men. A shower shouldn’t take very long, so I dug my e-reader out of my messenger bag and sat down on the stool that Aleksandr had just vacated.
“Ewww.” I jumped up and skimmed my palm against my damp backside. Hadn’t even thought about any runaway sweat that might’ve dripped from Aleksandr’s lean, hard body onto the stool.
Stop. Just stop thinking about the shiny, wet flesh covering his impeccably carved frame.
*ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review *
First Impression: Well-written with great characters and a natural feeling flow that carries you along with the story.
New author Sophia Henry makes a great debut with Delayed Penalty, book one in her Pilot Hockey Series for Random House Flirt. In the book, Auden Berezin has arrived home from college on winter break and because her grandfather wants to keep her busy, he gets her a job as a translator for minor league hockey star, Aleksander Varenkov. Things might have even gone okay if he wasn’t the same douche she’d met and dismissed at the bar the night before, but because she’s already labeled him as a douche, Auden was quick to keep him under the label. Except there’s more to Aleksander than Auden expected and she quickly learns that first impressions can sometimes be deceiving and some men will prove they’re more than worth the risk.
I really liked this book. I’m not Russian and I’ve never been to Russia so I can’t speak for that part of the book so much, but I can say that enjoyed the characterization of Auden, Aleksander, and her grandparents a lot. They were all well drawn and each of them were layered with enough depth to make them real, easy to relate to, and their actions and reactions understandable. I loved that they had that shared culture, despite not having grown up in the same place, because it was a part of them that intrigued me and really set the tone for the overall story.
Delayed Penalty was a quick, fast-paced read for me, and even though I was sick with an allergy cold while reading and taking notes for this review, I enjoyed the book a lot. The characters stuck out as unique and the story was fun and entertaining. Definitely a good debut book from a great new author. I’m already looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
This is a tour-wide giveaway for:
Ebook bundle of:
MAKE YOU BURN by Megan Crane
THE DEVIL’S THIEF by Samantha Kane
ALEX by Sawyer Bennett
BREAKING NOAH by Ashley Suzanne and Missy Johnson
BAD ROMANCE by Jen McLaughlin
BOUND BY BLISS by Lavinia Kent
BRING ON THE HEAT by Katie Rose
THE REAL THING by Cassie Mae
BREAKING A LEGEND by Sarah Robinson
DELAYED PENALTY by Sophia Henry
SHREDDED by Tracy Wolff
Sophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing, and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to North Carolina, where she spends her time writing books featuring hockey-playing heroes, chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.
This tour was put together by the fabulous:
Want to follow the tour? You can do so here
Special thank you to Tasty Book Tours for putting together another amazing blog tour!