About author, Jami Deise: A lifelong resident of Maryland, Jami Deise recently moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, along with her husband Tom, son Alex, and dog Lady. A baseball mom for over 10 years, “Keeping Score” is her first novel. Jami is an associate reviewer at www.chicklitcentral.com and a generalist reader for an NYC-based literary agency. Along with women’s fiction, she loves all things horror and watches too much TV.
Describe your writing style in five words: Lots of time, few words.
Who or what inspires you? My son. He has an amazing work ethic and never gives up.
Congratulations on your debut novel, “Keeping Score!” How does it feel to be an author? Bittersweet. I was really hoping to be traditionally published.
What was the writing/editing/publishing process like for you? On the other hand, publishing was definitely the easiest part of the process. Once I had committed to indie publishing, it was fairly easy to find a great formatter/cover designer and then just upload the files. While getting the word out is challenging, I’m still amazed the entire publishing process, from the time I decided to go indie, took less than a month.
How did you celebrate after your book was published? I bought several copies of my book!
Salty or sweet? Sweet!
Hard/paperback or eBooks? Definitely eBook. I love being able to take my Kindle everywhere.
Describe what a typical day is like for you: Get up, walk the dog, go to the gym, write 1000 words, read whatever review project I’ve got going on.
What are you reading right now? Yesterday I just finished Priscille Sibley’s “The Promise of Stardust,” which was amazing. Tomorrow I need to start reading a manuscript for the agency I work for. I hope it’s a good one!
Five years from now, where do you want to be in your writing career? I’d love to have a deal with a traditional publisher. Knowing how your next book is going to be published before you’ve even written it sounds like an amazing luxury.
Every writer must have a…: brilliant, honest beta reader! Or five.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects? Actually, I have two: a vampire story I am adapting from a screenplay I wrote 10 years ago, and another women’s fiction novel. The vampire is in its 3rd draft; I just finished the 1st draft of the women’s fiction novel.
“Keeping Score” by Jami Deise
Blurb: When her son Sam asks to try out for a travel baseball team, divorced mom Shannon Stevens thinks it’ll be a fun and active way to spend the summer. Boy, is she wrong! From the very first practice, Shannon and Sam get sucked into a mad world of rigged try-outs, professional coaches, and personal hitting instructors. But it’s the crazy, competitive parents who really make Shannon’s life miserable. Their sons are all the second coming of Babe Ruth, and Sam isn’t fit to fetch their foul balls. Even worse, Shannon’s best friend Jennifer catches the baseball fever. She schemes behind the scenes to get her son Matthew on the town’s best baseball team, the Saints. As for Sam? Sorry, there’s no room for him! Sam winds up on the worst team in town, and every week they find new and humiliating ways to lose to the Saints.
And the action off the field is just as hot. Shannon finds herself falling for the Saints’ coach, Kevin. But how can she date a man who didn’t think her son was good enough for his team … especially when the whole baseball world is gossiping about them? Even Shannon’s ex-husband David gets pulled into the mess when a randy baseball mom goes after him. As Sam works to make friends, win games and become a better baseball player, Shannon struggles not to become one of those crazy baseball parents herself. In this world, it’s not about whether you win, lose, or how you play the game… it’s all about KEEPING SCORE.
Chapter One Teaser
It was Saturday, May 11th, and Sam was where he usually spent his Saturdays – in the goalkeeper’s box on the soccer field in Capital Crescent Park. I was on the sidelines with my best friends Jennifer, Mary Beth, and Laura. They were the mothers of Sam’s best friends Matthew, Nick, and Josh. The action was getting heated, and so were we.
“Let’s go, Matthew!”
“Stay with him, Nick! Stay with him!”
“Just run past him, Josh!”
We frequently had laryngitis on Mondays.
Their husbands were all clumped together further down the sidelines. They were also yelling. But in between the action they whispered and stared daggers at the boys’ coach, Franco. I knew from previous games that they were probably complaining that Franco knew nothing about soccer, despite having grown up in Brazil and having played on a team that trained for the Olympics. Which was why we hired him. Perhaps it was overboard to hire a professional coach for a 4th grade boys rec soccer team, but this was Persimmon. Competition underscored even the closest friendships, and the biggest source of competition was our children. Who tested as gifted and talented in the second grade? Whose fourth grade rec soccer team was the best? Who was the most outstanding athlete, musician, singer? It was worse than Lake Wobegone. In Persimmon, above average wasn’t nearly good enough.
With less than a minute to play, we were winning by one goal when a boy from the other team got the ball on a breakaway. I could barely watch as he headed right toward my baby. Alright, at five-foot-two and a hundred and ten pounds, Sam was the biggest kid on the field, but still. And this boy was half his size.
The kid – let’s call him Lucifer – charged toward the goal. Sam crouched down. Lucifer went for the final big kick. Sam leapt into the air. Took the ball square in the stomach. It bounced off of him, back onto the field. The teenage ref whistled: Game over.
Ten screaming Rockets jumped onto my son in celebration. The dads high-fived. Some of the moms hugged. Lucifer and his teammates slumped off the field. They sparked back to life when they saw the elaborate “snack” their parents had provided. Our juice boxes and pretzel sticks looked paltry by comparison.
The next two teams were taking over, so the boys scarfed down their food and we headed out. I folded my chair into its carrying sack and fell into step with Sam, Laura and Josh as we headed to the parking lot. Lucifer and his mother were right in front of us. I thought about catching up to them to congratulate the boy on his footwork. But his mother’s voice carried loudly down to us.
“That would’ve been a goal if that keeper weren’t so fat.”
I gasped. Sam turned beet red and tears filled his eyes. Something inside of me snapped. I jogged up to the woman and touched her arm.
“That goalkeeper is nine years old and is standing right behind you.”
At least she had the decency to look embarrassed. She grabbed her son’s hand and pulled him to the other side of the parking lot.