Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday's Film Adaptions: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

Billy Beane, general manager of MLB's Oakland A's and protagonist of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that's smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive castoff veterans.

Lewis was in the room with the A's top management as they spent the summer of 2002 adding and subtracting players and he provides outstanding play-by-play. In the June player draft, Beane acquired nearly every prospect he coveted (few of whom were coveted by other teams) and at the July trading deadline he engaged in a tense battle of nerves to acquire a lefty reliever. Besides being one of the most insider accounts ever written about baseball, Moneyball is populated with fascinating characters. We meet Jeremy Brown, an overweight college catcher who most teams project to be a 15th round draft pick (Beane takes him in the first). Sidearm pitcher Chad Bradford is plucked from the White Sox triple-A club to be a key set-up man and catcher Scott Hatteberg is rebuilt as a first baseman. But the most interesting character is Beane himself. A speedy athletic can't-miss prospect who somehow missed, Beane reinvents himself as a front-office guru, relying on players completely unlike, say, Billy Beane. Lewis, one of the top nonfiction writers of his era (Liar's Poker, The New New Thing), offers highly accessible explanations of baseball stats and his roadmap of Beane's economic approach makes Moneyball an appealing reading experience for business people and sports fans alike. --John Moe

Chapter One
Whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising. -- Cyril Connolly, Enemies of Promise

THE FIRST THING they always did was run you. When big league scouts ¬road-¬tested a group of elite amateur prospects, foot speed was the first item they checked off their lists. The scouts actually carried around checklists. "Tools" is what they called the talents they were checking for in a kid. There were five tools: the abilities to run, throw, field, hit, and hit with power. A guy who could run had "wheels"; a guy with a strong arm had "a hose." Scouts spoke the language of auto mechanics. You could be forgiven, if you listened to them, for thinking they were discussing sports cars and not young men.

On this late spring day in San Diego several big league teams were putting a group of prospects through their paces. If the feeling in the air was a bit more tense than it used to be, that was because it was 1980. The risks in drafting baseball players had just risen. A few years earlier, professional baseball players had been granted free agency by a court of law, and, after about two seconds of ¬foot-¬shuffling, baseball owners put prices on players that defied the old commonsensical notions of what a baseball player should be paid. Inside of four years, the average big league salary had nearly tripled, from about $52,000 to almost $150,000 a year. The new owner of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner, had paid $10 million for the entire team in 1973; in 1975, he paid $3.75 million for baseball's first modern free agent, Catfish Hunter. A few years ago no one thought twice about bad calls on prospects. But what used to be a ¬thousand-¬dollar mistake was rapidly becoming a ¬million-¬dollar one.

Anyway, the first thing they always did was run you. Five young men stretch and canter on the outfield crabgrass: Darnell Coles. Cecil Espy. Erik Erickson. Garry Harris. Billy Beane. They're still boys, really; all of them have had to produce letters from their mothers saying that it is okay for them to be here. No one outside their hometowns would ever have heard of them, but to the scouts they already feel like household names. All five are legitimate ¬first-¬round picks, among the thirty or so most promising prospects in the country. They've been culled from the nation's richest trove of baseball talent, Southern California, and invited to the baseball field at San Diego's Herbert Hoover High to answer a question: who is the best of the best?

As the boys get loose, a few scouts chitchat on the infield grass. In the outfield Pat Gillick, the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, stands with a stopwatch in the palm of his hand. Clustered around Gillick are five or six more scouts, each with his own stopwatch. One of them paces off sixty yards and marks the finish line with his foot. The boys line up along the left field foul line. To their left is the outfield wall off which Ted Williams, as a high school player, smacked opposite field doubles. Herbert Hoover High is Ted Williams's alma mater. The fact means nothing to the boys. They are indifferent to their surroundings. Numb. During the past few months they have been so thoroughly examined by so many older men that they don't even think about where they are performing, or for whom. They feel more like sports cars being taken out for a spin than they do like young men being tested. Paul Weaver, the Padres scout, is here. He's struck by the kids' cool. Weaver has seen new kids panic when they work out for scouts. Mark McLemore, the same Mark McLemore who will one day be a $3-¬million-¬a-¬year outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, will vomit on the field before one of Weaver's workouts. These kids aren't like that. They've all been too good for too long.

Darnell Coles. Cecil Espy. Erik Erickson. Garry Harris. Billy Beane. One of the scouts turns to another and says: I'll take the three black kids [Coles, Harris, Espy]. They'll dust the white kids. And Espy will dust everyone, even Coles. Coles is a sprinter who has already signed a football scholarship to play wide receiver at UCLA. That's how fast Espy is: the scouts are certain that even Coles can't keep up with him.

Gillick drops his hand. Five born athletes lift up and push off. They're at full tilt after just a few steps. It's all over inside of seven seconds. Billy Beane has made all the others look slow. Espy finished second, three full strides behind him.

And as straightforward as it seems?what ambiguity could there possibly be in a ¬sixty-¬yard dash??Gillick is troubled. He hollers at one of the scouts to walk off the track again, and make certain that the distance is exactly sixty yards. Then he tells the five boys to return to the starting line. The boys don't understand; they run you first but they usually only run you once. They think maybe Gillick wants to test their endurance, but that's not what's on Gillick's mind. Gillick's job is to believe what he sees and disbelieve what he doesn't and yet he cannot bring himself to believe what he's just seen. Just for starters, he doesn't believe that Billy Beane outran Cecil Espy and Darnell Coles, fair and square. Nor does he believe the time on his stopwatch. It reads 6.4 seconds?you'd expect that from a sprinter, not a big kid like this one.

Not quite understanding why they are being asked to do it, the boys walk back to the starting line, and run their race all over again. Nothing important changes. "Billy just ¬flat-¬out smoked 'em all," says Paul Weaver.

WHEN HE WAS a young man Billy Beane could beat anyone at anything. He was so naturally superior to whomever he happened to be playing against, in whatever sport they happened to be playing, that he appeared to be in a different, easier game. By the time he was a sophomore in high school, Billy was the quarterback on the football team and the high scorer on the basketball team. He found talents in himself almost before his body was ready to exploit them: he could dunk a basketball before his hands were big enough to palm it.

Billy's father, no athlete himself, had taught his son baseball from manuals. A career naval officer, he'd spend nine months on end at sea. When he was home, in the family's naval housing, he was intent on teaching his son something. He taught him how to pitch: pitching was something you could study and learn. Whatever the season he'd take his son and his ¬dog-¬eared baseball books to empty Little League diamonds. These sessions weren't simple fun. Billy's father was a perfectionist. He ran their pitching drills with military efficiency and boot camp intensity.

Billy still felt lucky. He knew that he wanted to play catch every day, and that every day, his father would play catch with him.

By the time Billy was fourteen, he was six inches taller than his father and doing things that his father's books failed to describe. As a freshman in high school he was brought up by his coach, over the angry objections of the older players, to pitch the last varsity game of the season. He threw a shutout with ten strikeouts, and went two for four at the plate. As a ¬fifteen-¬year-¬old sophomore, he hit over .500 in one of the toughest high school baseball leagues in the country. By his junior year he was six foot four, 180 pounds and still growing, and his high school diamond was infested with major league scouts, who watched him hit over .500 again. In the first big game after Billy had come to the scouts' attention, Billy pitched a ¬two-¬hitter, stole four bases, and hit three triples. ¬Twenty-¬two years later the triples would remain a California schoolboy record, but it was the way he'd hit them that stuck in the mind. The ballpark that day had no fences; it was just an endless hot tundra in the San Diego suburbs. After Billy hit the first triple over the heads of the opposing outfielders, the outfielders played him deeper. When he hit it over their heads the second time, the outfielders moved back again, and played him roughly where the parking lot would have been outside a big league stadium. Whereupon Billy hit it over their heads a third time. The crowd had actually laughed the last time he'd done it. That's how it was with Billy when he played anything, but especially when he played baseball: blink and you might miss something you'd never see again.

He encouraged strong feelings in the older men who were paid to imagine what kind of pro ballplayer a young man might become. The boy had a body you could dream on. ¬Ramrod-¬straight and lean but not so lean you couldn't imagine him filling out. And that face! Beneath an unruly mop of dark brown hair the boy had the sharp features the scouts loved. Some of the scouts still believed they could tell by the structure of a young man's face not only his character but his future in pro ball. They had a phrase they used: "the Good Face." Billy had the Good Face.

Billy's coach, Sam Blalock, didn't know what to make of the scouts. "I've got this ¬first-¬round draft pick," he says, "and fifteen and twenty scouts showing up every time we scrimmage. And I didn't know what to do. I'd never played pro ball." Twenty years later Sam Blalock would be selected by his peers as the best high school baseball coach in the country. His teams at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego would produce so many big league prospects that the school would come to be known, in baseball circles, as "The Factory." But in 1979 Blalock was only a few years into his job, and he was still in awe of Major League Baseball, and its many representatives who turned up at his practices. Each and every one of them, it seemed, wanted to get to know Billy Beane personally. It got so that Billy would run from practice straight to some friend's house to avoid their incessant phone calls to his home. With the scouts, Billy was cool. With his coaches, Billy was cool. The only one who ever got to Billy where he lived was an English teacher who yanked him out of class one day and told him he was too bright to get by on his athletic gifts and his charm. For her, Billy wanted to be better than he was. For the scouts?well, the scouts he could take or leave.

What Sam Blalock now thinks he should have done is to herd the scouts into a corner and tell them to just sit there until such time as they were called upon. What he did, instead, was whatever they wanted him to do; and what they wanted him to do was trot his star out for inspection. They'd ask to see Billy run. Sam would have Billy run sprints for them. They'd ask to see Billy throw and Billy would proceed to the outfield and fire rockets to Sam at the plate. They'd want to see Billy hit and Sam would throw batting practice with no one there but Billy and the scouts. ("Me throwing, Billy hitting, and twenty big league scouts in the outfield shagging flies," recalls Blalock.) Each time the scouts saw Billy they saw only what they wanted to see: a future big league star.

As for Billy?Sam just let him be. Baseball, to Blalock's way of thinking, at least at the beginning of his career, was more of an individual than a team sport, and more of an instinctive athletic event than a learned skill. Handed an athlete of Billy's gifts, Blalock assumed, a coach should just let him loose. "I was young and a little bit scared," Blalock says, "and I didn't want to screw him up." He'd later change his mind about what baseball was, but he'd never change his mind about Billy's talent. ¬Twenty-¬two years later, after more than sixty of his players, and two of his nephews, had been drafted to play pro baseball, Blalock would say that he had yet to see another athlete of Billy's caliber.

They all missed the clues. They didn't notice, for instance, that Billy's batting average collapsed from over .500 in his junior year to just over .300 in his senior year. It was hard to say why. Maybe it was the pressure of the scouts. Maybe it was that the other teams found different ways to pitch to him, and Billy failed to adapt. Or maybe it was plain bad luck. The point is: no one even noticed the ¬drop-¬off. "I never looked at a single statistic of Billy's," admits one of the scouts. "It wouldn't have crossed my mind. Billy was a ¬five-¬tool guy. He had it all." Roger Jongewaard, the Mets' head scout, says, "You have to understand: we don't just look at performance. We were looking at talent." But in Billy's case, talent was a mask. Things went so well for him so often that no one ever needed to worry about how he behaved when they didn't go well. Blalock worried, though. Blalock lived with it. The moment Billy failed, he went looking for something to break. One time after Billy struck out, he whacked his aluminum bat against a wall with such violence that he bent it at a right angle. The next time he came to the plate he was still so furious with himself that he insisted on hitting with the crooked bat. Another time he threw such a tantrum that Blalock tossed him off the team. "You have some guys that when they strike out and come back to the bench all the other guys move down to the other end of the bench," says Blalock. "That was Billy."

When things did not go well for Billy on the playing field, a wall came down between him and his talent, and he didn't know any other way to get through the wall than to try to smash a hole in it. It wasn't merely that he didn't like to fail; it was as if he didn't know how to fail.

The scouts never considered this. By the end of Billy's senior year the only question they had about Billy was: Can I get him? And as the 1980 major league draft approached, they were given reason to think not. The first bad sign was that the head scout from the New York Mets, Roger Jongewaard, took a more than usual interest in Billy. The Mets held the first overall pick in the 1980 draft, and so Billy was theirs for the taking. Word was that the Mets had winnowed their short list to two players, Billy and a Los Angeles high school player named Darryl Strawberry. Word also was that Jongewaard preferred Billy to Strawberry. (He wasn't alone.) "There are good guys and there are premium guys," says Jongewaard. "And Billy was a premium premium guy. He had the size, the speed, the arm, the whole package. He could play other sports. He was a true athlete. And then, on top of all that, he had good grades in school and he was going with all the prettiest girls. He had charm. He could have been anything."

The other bad sign was that Billy kept saying he didn't want to play pro baseball. He wanted to go to college. Specifically, he wanted to attend Stanford University on a joint baseball and football scholarship. He was at least as interested in the school as the sports. The baseball recruiter from the University of Southern California had tried to talk Billy out of Stanford. "They'll make you take a whole week off for final exams," he'd said. To which Billy had replied, "That's the idea, isn't it?" A few of the scouts had tried to point out that Billy didn't actually play football?he'd quit after his sophomore year in high school, to avoid an injury that might end his baseball career. Stanford didn't care. The university was in the market for a quarterback to succeed its current star, a sophomore named John Elway. The baseball team didn't have the pull that the football team had with the Stanford admissions office, and so the baseball coach asked the football coach to have a look at Billy. A few hours on the practice field and the football coach endorsed Billy Beane as the man to take over after John Elway left. All Billy had to do was get his B in math. The Stanford athletic department would take care of the rest. And it had.

By the day of the draft every big league scout had pretty much written off Billy as unobtainable. "Billy just scared a lot of people away," recalls scout Paul Weaver. "No one thought he was going to sign." It was insane for a team to waste its only ¬first-¬round draft choice on a kid who didn't want to play.

The only one who refused to be scared off was Roger Jongewaard. The Mets had three ¬first-¬round picks in the 1980 draft and so, Jongewaard figured, the front office might be willing to risk one of them on a player who might not sign. Plus there was this other thing. In the months leading up to the draft the Mets front office had allowed themselves to become part of a strange experiment. Sports Illustrated had asked the Mets' general manager, Frank Cashen, if one of the magazine's reporters could follow the team as it decided who would become the first overall draft pick in the country. The Mets had shown the magazine their short list of prospects, and the magazine had said it would be convenient, journalistically, if the team selected Darryl Strawberry.

Strawberry was just a great story: a poor kid from the ¬inner-¬city of Los Angeles who didn't know he was about to become rich and famous. Jongewaard, who preferred Billy to Strawberry, argued against letting the magazine become involved at all because, as he put it later, "we'd be creating a monster. It'd cost us a lot of money." The club overruled him. The Mets front office felt that the benefits of the national publicity outweighed the costs of raising Darryl Strawberry's expectations, or even of picking the wrong guy. The Mets took Strawberry with the first pick and paid him a then fantastic signing bonus of $210,000. The Blue Jays took Garry Harris with the second pick of the draft. Darnell Coles went to the Mariners with the sixth pick, and Cecil Espy to the White Sox with the eighth pick. With their second first-round draft pick, the ¬twenty-¬third overall, the Mets let Roger Jongewaard do what he wanted, and Jongewaard selected Billy Beane.

Jongewaard had seen kids say they were going to college only to change their minds the minute the money hit the table. But in the weeks following the draft he had laid a hundred grand in front of Billy's parents and it had done nothing to improve the tone of the discussion. He began to worry that Billy was serious. To the chagrin of Billy's mother, who was intent on her son going to Stanford, Jongewaard planted himself in the Beane household. That didn't work either. "I wasn't getting the vibes I would like," Jongewaard now says. "And so I took Billy to see the big club."

It was 1980. The Beane family was military middle class. Billy had hardly been outside of San Diego, much less to New York City. To him the New York Mets were not so much a baseball team as a remote idea. But that summer, when the Mets came to San Diego to play the Padres, Jongewaard escorted Billy into the visitors' clubhouse. There Billy found waiting for him a Mets uniform with his name on the back, and a receiving party of players: Lee Mazzilli, Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman. The players knew who he was; they came up to him and joked about how they needed him to hurry up and get his ass to the big leagues. Even the Mets' manager, Joe Torre, took an interest. "I think that's what turned Billy," says Jongewaard. "He met the big league team and he thought: I can play with these guys." "It was such a sacred place," says Billy, "and it was closed off to so many people. And I was inside. It became real."

The decision was Billy's to make. A year or so earlier, Billy's father had sat him down at a table and challenged him to ¬arm-¬wrestle. The gesture struck Billy as strange, unlike his father. His father was intense but never physically aggressive. Father and son wrestled: Billy won. Afterward, his father told Billy that if he was man enough to beat his father in ¬arm-¬wrestling, he was man enough to make his own decisions in life. The offer from the Mets was Billy's first big life decision. Billy told Roger Jongewaard he'd sign.

What happened next was odd. Years later Billy couldn't be sure if he dreamed it, or it actually happened. After he told the Mets he planned to sign their contract, but before he'd actually done it, he changed his mind. When he told his father that he was having second thoughts, that he wasn't sure he wanted to play pro ball, his father said, "You made your decision, you're signing."

In any case, Billy took the $125,000 offered by the Mets. He appeased his mother (and his conscience) by telling her (and himself) he would attend classes at Stanford during the ¬off-¬season. Stanford disagreed. When the admissions office learned that Billy wouldn't be playing sports for Stanford, they told him that he was no longer welcome in Stanford's classrooms. "Dear Mrs. Beane," read the letter from the Stanford dean of admissions, Fred A. Hargadon, "we are withdrawing Billy's admission ... I do wish him every success, both with his professional career in baseball and with his alternate plans for continuing his education."

Just like that, a life changed. One day Billy Beane could have been anything; the next he was just another minor league baseball player, and not even a rich one. On the advice of a family friend, Billy's parents invested on their son's behalf his entire $125,000 bonus in a real estate partnership that promptly went bust. It was many years before Billy's mother would speak to Roger Jongewaard.

Based on the true story of Billy Beane - once a would-be baseball superstar who, stung by the failure to live up to expectations on the field, turned his fiercely competitive nature to management. Heading into the 2002 season, Billy faces a dismal situation: his small-market Oakland A''s have lost their star players (again) to big market clubs (and their enormous salaries) and is left to rebuild his team and compete with a third of their payroll.

Release Date: September 23, 2011
Release Time: 133 minutes

Brad Pitt as Billy Beane
Jonah Hill as Peter Brand
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe
Chris Pratt as Scott Hatteberg
Casey Bond as Chad Bradford
Stephen Bishop as David Justice
Royce Clayton as Miguel Tejada
David Hutchison as John Mabry
Nick Porrazzo as Jeremy Giambi
Robin Wright as Sharon Beane
Kerris Dorsey as Casey Beane
Ken Medlock as Grady Fuson
Nick Searcy as Matt Keough
Jack McGee as John Poloni
Brent Jennings as Ron Washington

2011 Academy Awards
Best Picture - Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, and Brad Pitt - Nominated
Best Actor - Brad Pitt - Nominated
Best Supporting Actor - Jonah Hill - Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay - Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (Screenplay), Stan Chervin (Story) - Nominated
Best Film Editing - Christopher Tellefsen - Nominated
Best Sound Mixing - Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco, and Ed Novick - Nominated

2011 BAFTA Awards
Best Actor - Brad Pitt - Nominated
Best Supporting Actor - Jonah Hill - Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay - Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin - Nominated

2011 Golden Globes
Best Motion Picture – Drama - Nominated
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama - Brad Pitt - Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture - Jonah Hill - Nominated
Best Screenplay - Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin - Nominated

2011 Screen Actors Guild
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role - Brad Pitt - Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role - Jonah Hill - Nominated

Author Bio:
Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game, The Big Short, and Boomerang, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.




Loving Sweetness by Jude Ouvrard

Title: Loving Sweetness
Author: Jude Ouvrard
Series: Sweet #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 1, 2017
The beginning of a new journey for Iris is both exciting and stressful but she’s not ready to face what’s to come. Neither is Calvin.

Iris is ready to embrace her dream job with the faithful support of her boyfriend. Their love strengthens as they enjoy their life together. Between traveling and meeting new people, she views Calvin’s life and everything that comes with it with a new perspective.

Their life seems perfect, at least until Iris becomes the target of a manipulative soul who proves to be a nasty adversary. Stubborn and Fierce, Iris fights for her man, but will it be enough?

“Stay,” he ordered me.

I left without looking at him or saying goodbye. I had enough. Hurrying out of the building, I had no idea where to go. In such a short time, my life had completely included Calvin in everything I liked to do, whether it regarded going to the gym or the Lounge; they had become my daily hang outs. My friends were his friends, except for Krys.

My feet hurt, I missed my old sneakers. Who was I trying to impress now? Dressed in expensive clothes, none of which I could afford. All that for nothing. This personality wasn’t me. The only things I liked about it were Calvin’s eyes when he looked at me, and how sexy he made me feel. A first tear ran down my cheek. I had to stop. Be stronger than that, Iris. You’re in the middle of the city. You can’t cry.

Where do I go now? A coffee shop? Or maybe I could get a nice haircut. I hadn’t gotten one in quite a while and my hair could use a new do. I kept walking until I found one. Some people say getting their haircut is like therapy, well bring it on.


After ignoring my phone for a couple of hours, the time to get home had arrived. Spending two hours getting my hair done was exactly what I needed. A new start definitely made me happier, but it faded slowly as I approached the penthouse.

It was late. He’d mentioned he had to leave tonight. What if he had left already? I checked my phone. Nineteen missed calls and my voicemail bursting to capacity.

“Shit!” I muttered to myself.

As I was about to unlock the screen, a call from Calvin came in.


“Where the fuck are you?” he asked.

“Where the fuck are you?” I could be just as mad as him if I wanted to.

“Iris, don’t play stupid games with me. Where are you? Where have you been?” His voice started to smooth down, I could hear relief.

“I got my hair trimmed.” Maybe a bit more than trimmed, but I didn’t have to be specific, right? Only few inches shorter.

“Where are you now?” he asked, his voice soft, almost like the normal Calvin. Not the stressed-out man he had been today.

“On my way. Are you still home?”

“I just got in my car, I’m driving to the airport.”

Oh! “Okay.” I couldn’t forget how mad he had made me earlier, but a big part of my heart wanted to see him before he left. “I’m two corners south. I’m sorry I missed you. Have a safe trip.” I heard him say my name, but I hung up before he could hear the pain in my voice.

The tears finally became uncontrollable. Today sucked. I wished my brain could delete the last ten hours. I probably had mascara streaming down below my cheeks, but I didn’t care. I tried walking faster. Maybe tomorrow I could stay home again and stay away from Candice. Dealing with her drained all my energy.

“Iris? What the fuck have you done?” Calvin’s voice startled me.

I turned, searching for him. I had chopped off at least five inches of hair, making it just below my shoulders.

Sweetness #1
Fleeing this very heartache, Iris leaves her Florida home to attend Columbia University. While she makes friends, works, and enjoys her classes, Iris is not in a rush to fall in love; that is, until a certain sexy someone finds her. Suddenly, Iris' boring holiday takes a sizzling turn. But will the heat of passion lead to a holiday fling, or finally melt her frozen heart?

In the process of following her own heart, can she help a man find his way of letting go of his past guilt and show him how to love unconditionally?

***This is currently only available in the Christmas is for Lovers Box Set for only 99cents.***

Author Bio:
"Drama, true love, tattoos...and everything in between!"

Jude Ouvrard is an author who writes from the heart, and reads with passion and devotion. Jude enjoys stories of drama, true love, tattoos, and everything in between. While writing is her therapy, reading is her solace. Life doesn't get better than books and chocolate, and maybe a little bit of shopping.

A romance lover, Jude writes about love, pain, heartbreak and matters that will challenge your heart. A book can tell an unexpected story, no matter which directions it takes. Jude embraces words that have haunted her for years.

Jude is a working mom who dedicates her time to a law firm and writing books. She has an energetic five-year old superhero son, and a supportive boyfriend of thirteen years. Her family is her rock; she could not survive without them. Born a country girl, she transformed into a city woman who now lives in Montreal, Canada. Although French is her first language, Jude decided to write in English because she liked the challenge.


Loving Sweetness #2

Christmas is for Lovers Box Set

Brought to you by:

Don’t Speak by Katy Regnery

Title: Don't Speak
Author: Katy Regnery
Series: A Modern Fairytale #5
Genre: New Adult Romance, Fairy Tales
Release Date: February 27, 2017
From New York Times bestseller Katy Regnery comes a new twist on a beloved fairytale.

A fisherman’s daughter.

The governor’s son.

Two very different worlds.

In this modern retelling of The Little Mermaid, a fisherman’s daughter from an Outer Banks island untouched by time, meets the son of North Carolina’s governor at a fancy party where she’s working.

Laire, who wants so much more from life than her little island can offer, is swept away by wealthy, sophisticated Erik, who is, in turn, entranced by her naiveté and charm. The two spend a whirlwind summer together that ends on the knife-point of heartbreak and forces them to go their separate ways.

Years later, when fate leads them back to one another, they will discover the terrifying depth of the secrets they kept from each other, and learn that shattered hearts can only be healed by a love that willfully refuses to die.

All novels Katy Regnery’s ~a modern fairytale~ collection are written as fundraisers. 10% of the e-book sales for in March and April 2017 will be donated to P.E.O. International, a non-profit organization that celebrates the advancement of women, awards scholarships and grants, and provides motivation for women to make their dreams come true.

**Contemporary Romance. Due to profanity, adult themes and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.**

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Don’t Speak is part of the ~a modern fairytale~ collection, which includes six standalone, completely unrelated novels inspired by beloved fairy tales:

The Vixen and the Vet (Beauty & the Beast) – available now
Never Let You Go (Hansel & Gretel) – available now
Ginger’s Heart (Little Red Riding Hood) – available now
Dark Sexy Knight (Camelot) – available now
Don’t Speak (The Little Mermaid) – available soon
Swan Song (The Ugly Duckling) – available late-2017

Love my fairytales? I’m always open to suggestions! E-mail me your favorite and maybe I’ll reimagine it for you!

She heard his voice before she saw him.
Had she known the ultimate cost of that simple glance heavenward, maybe she wouldn’t have stopped. Maybe she would have just kept on walking with her head down. But fate held no warnings for Laire Maiden Cornish.
Shielding her eyes, she looked up at a deck wrapped around the second floor of the mansion, waiting a moment for her eyes to adjust as he came into view.
There, in the glittering sunlight . . . a boy.

No, a man.

A young man, a little older than she, tall and muscular, with jet-black hair and a square jaw, dark brown eyes, and a deep tan. He wore a robin’s-egg blue bathing suit with Kelly green palm fronds in a small repeat and a pair of sunglasses buried in his thick hair. In one hand, he held a phone up to his ear, and in the other, he slowly swirled a glass filled with ice and clear liquid. He stared out at the sound, concentrating on his call.

“Hey!” he yelled. “Can you hear me now?” He huffed with annoyance, pulling the phone away from his ear and squinting at it before trying again. “Pete? It’s Erik. Can you hear me?” He set the glass down on the balcony’s wooden railing and gave his phone his full attention. Staring down at it, he muttered, “Shit. No reception.”

It’s Erik.


His name is Erik.

Feeling a sharp burn in her lungs, Laire realized she’d been holding her breath and sucked in a huge gulp of air as she stared up at him, frozen in the moment, utterly mesmerized.

She had never seen a more perfect, more handsome person in her entire life.

The sun glinted off his dark hair and wrapped his body in gold, making him appear godlike so very far above her. Were she the type to swoon, Laire imagined she would have been a puddle of goopy longing on the ground below him, content to sacrifice her pride for a glimpse at his beauty.

Author Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013.

Twenty-five books later, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled, New York Times and USA Today Blueberry Lane Series, which follows the English, Winslow, Rousseau, Story, and Ambler families of Philadelphia; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern fairytale~ series; and several other standalone novels and novellas.

Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a RITA® in 2015 and won the 2015 Kindle Book Award for romance. Katy’s boxed set, The English Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, hit the USA Today bestseller list in 2015, and her Christmas story, Marrying Mr. English, appeared on the list a week later. In May 2016, Katy’s Blueberry Lane collection, The Winslow Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1-4, became a New York Times E-book bestseller.

In 2016, Katy signed a print-only agreement with Spencerhill Press. As a result, her Blueberry Lane paperback books will now be distributed to brick and mortar bookstores all over the United States.

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.


Don't Speak #5

Series #1-4

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