Book sightings...

It's official. Fresh-Start Family has hit the book stores. Thank you to my readers who've already picked up the book and let me know where they spotted it. It's also available for order in both paperback and ebook at eHarlequin. If you see Fresh-Start Family on the shelves, let me know.


Hardball Surprise...

I admit I had seen the TV listing for Hardball on my movie guide and past it over several times because I thought it was going to be just another baseball movie. I'm not a huge sports fan...unless it's hockey. (I think it goes back to my college days.) But anything else sports related and I tend to channel surf until I find something more interesting to me to watch. Had I taken a closer look at what the movie was really about I probably would have given it more scrutiny. I'm a sucker for kid movies. I love seeing kids triumph over adversity. This movie was more than that.

This afternoon I'd walked into the living room to turn off the TV one of the kids had left on before she'd left for work and the movie Hardball was just beginning. Before I knew it was was sitting down and watching it. My husband came in a few minutes later and started talking to me. Annoyed, I quickly shushed him. Within minutes he was sitting next to me watching too, both of us having forgotten the plans we had for the day.

If you haven't seen this movie, you should. I soon learned the story at its core is not about baseball per se but is instead about the human spirit, how one person can change the lives of many and how lessons learned from the most unlikely places can change the course of our lives for the better.
This movie was a surprise for me. I should have known better. I'm frequently surprised when I give into that knee jerk reaction and end up being totally wrong. I was equally surprised when I watched Rudy and Iron Will, two movies that never fail to bring me to tears at the end. Hardball did the same thing but for a slightly different reason.
I'm not going to give away too many details of the movie because I'd hate to spoil everything for you. But let me put my writer hat on for a minute and talk about character arc. Conor O'Neill is basically a mess when the story begins. And what a great place for a character to start at because there is so much room to grow from there. What he has is attitude. He's gambling his life away, waiting for the next big win. He's put himself in a position where he has to coach a kid's baseball team from the projects. It's the last thing he wants to do and he figures he'll only do it until he can score a win big enough to keep him from getting his butt kicked or killed. Pretty simple stuff. Nothing earth shattering there. The guy's a punk.
We see the first glimpse of Conor O'Neill's heart when he has his first meeting with the head of the baseball league. One of the kids on the team G-Baby (And I dare you not to fall in love with the kid. He was absolutely adorable.) is too young to play. Conor is clearly having trouble breaking the kid's heart when telling him he's too young, but smoothes it over by telling G-Baby he's still on the team, making G-Baby very happy to be a part of it all.
The second time we see the effect the kids have on Conor is the night he finally scores a win. He's made back his money to pay off his debt and he's a free man. But we see that the kids have rubbed off on him. He's singing Big Poppa after as he walks into a pub celebrating and then fiercely defends the kids when the pub owner, Duffy, disses O'Neill for coaching the kids. I actually rewound that part and watched the scene again because I wasn't sure if Duffy was really dissing him or purposely trying to make Conor think about what he was going to do with the rest of his life. I like to think it was the latter. But who knows. Regardless, it was a pivital moment for Conor whether he realized it or not.
The next day he's about to walk away and just can't. This story by far is not just Conor O'Neill's story. Each of the kids has a story and we get a glimpse of that, making us cheer for them and worry about them. I loved, loved, loved the Sammy Sosa scene. I love a hero who can bring a child joy and that scene delivered big time! And I love that the story took a different direction than what I'd expected, i.e. the team would end up playing in the champtionship and we'd all have a nice feeling about it at the end because the hero inspired them, etc. There was much more to it than that.
If I'd been reading the black moment of this story in a book, I know I would have had to put it down, get up and take a walk around the house. Of course, I would have come back and HAD to read the rest of it. It was one of those stomach dropping moments when you know you see the trainwreck coming and you're powerless to stop it and all you can do is watch. In real life it would be horrible. In fiction it's perfection! We've just been held by the hand and become fully invested in these characters and there is no way we want to see them hurt. It also lends itself for us to see the most character growth for Conor O'Neill.
In the scenes that follow (and I won't give them away because I think it's more powerful if you don't know it's coming) you see just how much being with these kids has touched Conor's life. Even though you've had the rug pulled out from under you during the black moment, you still have that feel-good moment at the end.
Like I said, Hardball was a surprise for me and I can't believe I past over it at least 20 times before I finally watched it. Definitely a good movie.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

For those of you who have Labor Day weekend off, I hope you have a blast! This is a working weekend for me all around. Sent off one child to college today. I'm excited for this new chapter in her life and sad that she won't be home to give me hugs as I walk through the kitchen on the way to the coffee pot. I'm also excited that there was a whole crew of people to help us move in. It made things a lot easier.

I'll spend the rest of the weekend carting kids around and working on a new proposal for Steeple Hill. This one is a follow up to my March 2011 book, In a Doctor's Arms. I'll let you know how that goes.

In the meantime, I'm counting down the days until Fresh-Start Family is released. If you're on the Steeple Hill bookclub then you've probably already received your stash of books, although as I understand it, not all bookclub members are going to receive Fresh-Start Family. Never fear though. You can always order it online at or get it in the stores when it hits the shelves on October 1st.

I'll have more info on my proposal later next week. In the meantime, enjoy your LD parties. Many blessings, Lisa

New Book!

Okay, I know I'm pitiful. It's been forever since I've posted. If you want to hear from me, please sign up for my FACEBOOK page. I won't promise to be better about posting here because I know life gets in the way and it'll probably be another month or two before I remember that I haven't blogged. But you can always find me over on these blogs.

Fresh-Start Family will hit the stores in October, so be on the lookout for that. You can always order online at or
I'd love to hear what's happening with all of you. What are you reading? What great movies have you seen? What music are you listening to?
Lately I've been really into listening to Lifehouse. Have tha playing right now and am about to change over to Sheryl Crowe. I love having music on when I write. It's a great way for me to decompress, drown out the noise around me (Yes, I'm going deaf because I listen to music WAY too loud.) and get into my stories.
I'm learning all about social medias. I'm not a dinosaur and I'm not afraid of technology at all. But it's pretty sad when I have to keep asking my 16 year old how to do something. The parent as teacher has gone by the wayside. I'll admit, I'm a bit afraid of Twitter, only because I think it will become way too easy to become addicted to it. I do have a Facebook page though, and I do like to connect with friends and family that way.
What about you? What social media is your preference?

New Sales!

I've sadly neglected my blog, but I promise all that is going to change. I want to start by announcing two new Steeple Hill Love Inspired Romance sales!

Fresh-Start Family will be released 10/10 and In a Doctor's Arms will follow 3/11. I'm really excited to be joining the Steeple Hill Love Inspired Romance family. Writing straight contemporary inspirational romances will be a lot of fun. But never fear. I won't be abandoning suspense. I have too much fun writing those.

Thank you all for all of the wonderful reader emails I've received for Yuletide Protector and the rest of my backlist. I still have new readers contacting me about Cradle of Secrets and Her Only Protector and it's wonderful to know that my books are still being circulated around reader groups even though they were published a few years ago.

As a note for those of you who have been asking about Cash and Serena, no they will not have their own story. They're already married. But I may try to bring them back as secondary characters so readers can enjoy their happy ending!
As soon as I have bookcovers for my upcoming books, I'll be sure to post them here along with a blurb about each story.
Many blessings,
Lisa Mondello

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