Thanks, Lisa, for letting me stop by today! I’m thrilled to be here to talk about the Hat Trick series, including the just released Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound. I’ll check in periodically through the day, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. Plus, I’m offering up a free e-book of Hat Trick 2 to one lucky commenter.
One of the questions I often get about the Hat Trick series is “Why hockey?”
The hockey back drop ties directly to where the inspiration for Simon and Alex came from. For more than a decade I played hockey with the New York City Gay Hockey Association and during that time, I often went to an early Saturday morning practice. Among the people I met, there was a trio of recent high school graduates. These guys were the tightest of friends and as I got to know them, my mind wandered. The guys were straight, but what if they really weren’t? What if there was a secret crush, or two? What if two of the three ended up dating each other?
Sure, I could put the friends into any setting for the story. I kept hockey, however, because I’d never seen a young adult, gay romance where the leads were hockey players. I’d seen other sports (football, tennis, track, to name a few) represented in the YA genre, but not the sport I loved most. (To note, there are quite a few M/M adult romances set with hockey players, some of which are quite good… but that’s another topic completely.) As such, Hat Trick is set with Simon and Alex as seniors in high school, and it plays out over the hockey season. For Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound, the guys cross from the young adult to the new adult genre, but still play hockey as they navigate their way through their sophomore year at the University of Michigan.
The hockey setting helps beat back stereotypes. Despite programs like You Can Play and the fact there are out gay athletes in pro sports–thanks to Michael Sam and Jason Collins–not everyone gets that gay guys can play, and excel, in team sports. With hockey being one of the hardest hitting sports, to have Simon and Alex playing at a high level is an important message, especially for the high school and college crowd. The books also show how powerful it can be to be part of a team, with the strength of a common goal and some tight friendships.
To see Simon and Alex go from a hard hitting game to romance lets the reader see the tough and tender sides of these guys, and I like that. As an author I enjoy writing that range and as a reader, I like reading it when I pick up a book with athletes as the principal characters.
Here’s a quick exceprt from Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound, showing Simon, Alex and some of their teammates.
Blurb: The events from two years ago are still fresh in Simon Robert’s mind as he and Alex Miller begin their sophomore year at the University of Michigan. Nightmares are a routine occurrence as Simon relives the crimes his father and brother committed. Now, with his father ill and asking to see him, Simon must decide if he should see the man who tried to send him away to be fixed. And then there’s Zach. Simon’s conflicted about making peace with his older brother who tormented him as they grew up and caused him to be outed to his parents, friends and teammates.
Alex wants Simon to find closure, but Alex is furious at the thought of forgiving Zack. With no clear direction, Simon finds guidance from an unexpected, but very welcome, source.
At the same time, the University’s student body is faced with an anti-gay attacker among them. When he witnesses an attack first hand, memories threaten to overwhelm Simon. At the same time, he’s also emboldened to take action, which might turn him into a target.
Despite the distractions, Simon works towards his future as he begins working with teens at the local LGBT community center. He has the opportunity to use his story as a teaching tool to help others come out. While he’s never enjoyed telling his story, he looks for the courage to speak his truth to an audience.
Luckily, not everything is chaos. Simon and Alex mark their anniversary in epic fashion, continue to play hockey and hang out with good friends. But with many demands on them, can Simon and Alex set up the rebound necessary to create the scoring opportunity for their future?
Excerpt: “Hey, Roberts, great pass through the traffic,” said Captain Greg. “I wasn’t sure you saw me up there.”
“Always gotta keep an eye open for options,” I said, heading for the locker room. It was another long practice, designed to get us ready for an away game at the end of the week. We were 5-3 and Coach worked us extra hard after the loss we’d suffered yesterday. I thought I’d seen all of Coach Rapp’s drills; but he added some new ones. It was great, and exhausting.
“That was good today,” Trent said. “I love it when we work that hard.”
“Yeah. Like Coach said, we need to play that hard even when our opponent doesn’t. Tackle every game like it’s all on the line right there. I think he drilled that into us loud and clear today. While I enjoyed it, I think I’ll feel it for a couple days.”
A hand landed on my helmet and gave my head a good shake as I grabbed my sticks off the bench.
“You trying to rattle my brains out? Wasn’t the puck hitting me in the head enough, you big goon.”
I knew it was Alex. It’d become a thing for him to shake my head after a good play. I liked it. Today, however, I had to give him grief since one of his slap shots slammed into my helmet.
“Sorry. I’ll make it up to you later.”
Skating next to me and Trent, he gave me the grin that he knows gets him out of trouble, even fake trouble. Trent shook his head.
“You two are way too cutesy,” he said with a smirk on his face as we entered the tunnel that led back to the locker room.
“I wouldn’t call it that,” Alex said, “It’s about staying out of trouble.”
“I’m not sure you’re out of trouble, not until you actually make it up.” I playfully shoved into him as we rounded the corner into the locker room. I took off my helmet, dropped it to the floor and started stripping out of my sweat soaked gear. “I think you might owe me dinner for that shot to the head, and I’m not talking dining hall either.”
“I’m always up for taking you out,” he said.
“Yeah, you’re always up for doing something to him,” said Trent.
“At least I’ve got someone to be up for.”
The room gave a collective “Ooooh” while Alex, me, and even Trent, laughed.
I liked that Alex and I got the same joking the straight players got about their girlfriends. It showed the solid camaraderie we had. Not everyone participated, but there was no outright hatefulness either, which was exactly the way we wanted it.
“Roberts, I gotta know, have you ever gotten it up for a girl?” asked Tyler. “Do you even know what you’re missing?”
“I dated a girl in high school, but it never went beyond kissing.”
The vibe in the room shifted, like people were waiting to see the reaction to Tyler’s question. It wasn’t the first time I’d been asked this, though never in such a public setting.
“What about you, Miller?”
“Nope. It’s always been guys for me.”
“You have no idea how good it is then,” Tyler said, coming closer to us and slinging his arm around my shoulder. “Smooth skin, supple body, perfect curves. Maybe you just didn’t have the right girl.” He looked right at me as he said that.
“Really, Tyler?” asked Greg, our captain. Greg was the model of manners. He sometimes got gently ragged on for how much he was the Miss Manners of our group, but we all respected him. The mix of good manners, balanced with his self confidence and leadership abilities made him a great captain.
“What? It’s just a question.” He went back to his locker and continued to change.
“Okay, just a question then,” Alex said, “have you ever had a guy? The strong muscles, scratch of the beard, and I would also say perfect curves.”
“No way, man,” Tyler said as he stored his gear. “I’m all about women.”
“Safe to say I’m all about guys,” I said and pointed at Alex “Specifically this one.”
“Still, you just don’t know…”
“Tyler, geez,” said Erik, his line mate. “Let it go.”
They continued to bicker at their lockers, like an old married couple having a disagreement. I smiled at the irony as I wrapped a towel around my waist.
About Jeff: Jeff Adams started writing fiction in middle school and hasn’t stopped since. “Hat Trick,” his debut novel, was published in September 2013. He’s currently working on the next two novels of the “Hat Trick” series. Prior to this, he wrote several m/m romance shorts. Jeff lives in New York City with his husband, Will. He plays hockey with the New York City Gay Hockey Association and writes about the Detroit Red Wings, and reviews books that feature gay hockey players, for PuckBuddys.com.
You can learn more about Jeff’s writing at the following places:
Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound Buy Link | Website | Hat Trick website | Hat Trick on Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED
35 thoughts on “Hockey? Why Do I Write Books About Hockey Players? – Guest Post and Giveaway by Jeff Adams”
please count me in
Great locker room atmosphere in the excerpt, Jeff — well done. And why not hockey? The sport broke the ice (so to speak) on official position of inclusion for men like us. Still, I wish that kind of conversation had been possible a million years ago when I played.
Lloyd, great to see you here! Thanks for the compliment on the locker room scene. Good to know that it rings true for someone who has been there. Hope all is well with you. Cheers, Jeff
Ever since I became an insane hockey lover in college, I’ve followed the game and the hot guys who play. I’d love to read this. Please include me. Thanks in advance.
Hi Bill, So I have to ask…who are your favorite of the hot guys that play?
Sounds good. i’d like to participate. Thanks for the giveaway!
I spent a lot of time at Islander games as a kid and although I don’t really follow it anymore, I do enjoy reading it and I now have Hat Trick waiting on my Kindle. Thanks for the post and giveaway.
Hi Debra, Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for picking up Hat Trick. Hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for the giveaway this book sound interesting.
Way to go, Jeff. Love the playful dialogue as well. This is sure to be every bit as wonderful as Hat Trick 1. All the best, Paul. :)
Thanks, Paul! Dialogue like in the excerpt is some of my favorite to write. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by!
I’ve just started to read book one, which I’m enjoying, and would to win book two.
Hi diannakay, Glad to hear you’ve started book one. Hope you enjoy it! Good luck in the drawing for book two. Cheers, Jeff
I never used to be a fan of much of any sport, but my husband is from Pittsburgh (well, ISH — he’s from a teeny town about an hour & half or so east of Pgh) and he’s always been a huge Steelers/Penguins fan. I did marching band in HS, and I’ve never ever been able to figure out football, so when I realized I was going to have to resign myself to sports taking over the tv, I decided I was going to have to figure one of them out.
I still think football was created by three drunk guys who, rather than try to figure out one set of rules, just took all three and smooshed them together, but hockey…well, eventually I was captivated, and now I know more about the sport itself and what’s going on internally with it than my husband does.
GO PENGUINS! Going to be interesting to see what the 2014-15 season will be like as they start working with the new coach.
New coaching staff, half the team gone… Tumblr and Twitter was resonating with “NNNOOOOOOOOO!” so loudly it was almost actually *audible*! I’m hopeful, though; some of the choices over the last couple of years seemed…iffy, at best.
I’m hopeful too, Tracy. I’d like both my fave teams–the Pens and Red Wings–to actually have good seasons and post seasons this year.
So how do you deal when two of your favorite teams are facing off against each other? It’s an issue I had with the Olympics, too, when players I’ve been following as line/teammates were opponents across national lines!
Red Wings are always my primary because I was born in Michigan.
Though I don’t know much about the sport of hockey, I do enjoy all sport res. Football has always been my favorite sport to watch. Thanks for the inclusion in the giveaway.
Hi flutterfli. Thanks for dropping by! Come on over to the hockey side of things…lots of good fast paced action! Cheers, Jeff
I’m a big fan of m/m books with characters who play sports. I loved Hat Trick and Hat Trick Overtime. Can’t wait to read HT2 – loved the excerpt and how accepting their teammates are. My question for you: Do you still play hockey? I read somewhere that you recently moved to California – was it a good move for your and your husband? I’m in San Diego and can’t think of anywhere I’d rather live :)
Hi Lisa. Glad to hear you loved the first two stories. Hope that will hold true for HT2 also.
Sadly my hockey days are pretty much over. I played last at the end of June. The move to Northern California (we’ve settled up in McKinleyville, pretty much exactly opposite end of the state from where you are) has left me with no hockey rink nearby. I do plan to do some travel tournaments in 2015, but the weekly game is history for now. That said, the move has been excellent so far. We were in this area before we moved to NYC (and my husband actually grew up here), so in many ways it’s like being home again. Cheers, Jeff
Hi Jeff – thanks for the reply. I’m glad you will still get to play even if its not as much as you are used to. It’s obvious from your books you love the game and I am happy to say my nephew was quite impressed with my hockey lingo after reading HT :) McKinleyville is a beautiful part of No Cal. Glad it feels like home!
I love sports in m/m books. This one looks good.
The book sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway!
Thank you for the post and the chance!!!
Sounds really good. Please count me in!
Please count me in. Thanks!
I haven’t read Hat Trick yet, but I have it on my list! Excited to see there’s a sequel to look forward to.
Hi Ashley, Glad to be on your TBR list. Hope you enjoy the books when you read them.
Hockey provides such rich material, especially for MM stuff. As I said on FB, I loved loved Hat Trick. Will have to pick this one up!
Thanks, Cassandra! Hope you enjoy book two as well.
Good morning, everyone! Thanks to all of you for stopping by to chat with Jeff and enter his Hat Trick 2 giveaway. The contest is now closed and the winner’s been drawn. An e-copy of the book goes to
Congratulations, Rod! I’ve already emailed Jeff with your contact info, so expect to hear from him soon.