Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Suzanne Hartmann: Peril Giveaway

Cardinal Fan, Born And Bred
by Suzanne Hartmann

After a short drive to downtown St. Louis, Dad and I walked to Busch Stadium from a nearby parking garage. Dad stopped to buy a scorecard, then we surrendered our tickets and walked back and forth up, up, and up the walkways to our seats. As the game started, Dad pointed to the bright banner between tiers of seats that gave the score and taught me how to read the batter’s progress and what inning it was. He meticulously recorded each player’s actions on the scorecard and showed me how to write each type of play.

At age twelve, I was more interested in simply watching the players, but I soaked up the information throughout the game. We sang Take Me Out to the Ball Park with the words “Root, root, root for the Cardinals” inserted instead of “for the home team,” and pounded our feet and clapped our hands to the music to spur on my team.

We repeated this scene over and over throughout my Jr.  and Sr. high school years as we used the two sets of free “Straight A Tickets” I received each year for keeping an A average in school. Not only did I enjoy the games, but it made for great Daddy/Daughter time.

So it’s no wonder I was a die-hard Cardinals fan by the time I graduated from high school, in spite of the fact that the Cardinals kept the Cubs company in the doghouse throughout the 1970’s. My faith in the Cardinals was rewarded my sophomore year in college with a World Series win in 1982, followed by two more appearances in the Series in 1985 and 1987. I even attended one of the National League Playoff games.

So how did such a big Cardinals fan end up writing a novel with a twist of NASCAR? Why didn’t I add a twist of baseball with a focus on the Cardinals? Maybe I received a “drive-fast gene” from my fraternal grandfather, who drove an ambulance for a living for a while.

Although my husband watched the races occasionally, I generally used the time to take my Sunday afternoon nap. Maybe my ancestry through my grandfather made me susceptible to becoming a NASCAR fan, but it was a descendant—my daughter—who sparked my interest in stock car racing when she announced that she had chosen a favorite driver. Since I knew next to nothing about NASCAR, I had no idea if this driver was someone we should encourage her to root for. So I decided I’d better educate myself.

After a few months of watching the races and pestering my husband with questions. I realized that stock car racing was more interesting than I thought. I couldn't resist using a few racetracks as settings for the stories which eventually became Peril: Fast Track Thriller #1. And that naturally led to the addition of a NASCAR champion as a main character.

I haven’t turned away from my beloved Cardinals, especially not this year, when they won their eleventh World Series (gotta love the Comeback Cardinals). I’m still a die-hard fan, and I at least mentioned the team in my novel, but it’s the twist of NASCAR that makes Peril unique.

What is your favourite sport to play or watch?

Leave a comment with a valid email address by Friday midnight, Jan 27 for a chance to win Suzanne's giveaway of a copy of Peril: Fast Track Thriller #1.


PERIL: A Fast Track Thriller

Lady Anne, a top operative of the OJL, the American government’s most clandestine intelligence organization, is paid to be paranoid, and she’s good at her job. So good, in fact, that she singlehandedly stops an assassination attempt at the White House. When newspapers splash her photo over the front page for saving King Ahmad—a Muslim recently converted to the Christian faith—not only is her cover in jeopardy, but the secrets of her enhanced strength and the entire agency. Then she’s given another assignment—to escort King Ahmad to a NASCAR track….

Stuart Jackson, age 33 and at the peak of his career as the reigning Cup Champion of NASCAR, has everything anyone could want—fame, fortune, success. But after he’s nearly blown up by a bomb at the White House, his achievements lose their allure. Nor can he forget the mysterious Lady Anne.

Give Suzanne Hartmann the ‘Checkered Flag’ for Peril. It’s like being on the race track, packed with fast-paced excitement and intrigue. A great read for any racing fan.” Rev. Greg Doussard, Director of Midwest Raceway Ministries, Pastor of The Sanctuary Church

“Plenty of action and unexpected twists.” Foreword by Jimmy Makar, GM of Joe Gibbs Racing

Suzanne Hartmann is a homeschool mom and lives in the St. Louis area with her husband and three children. When not homeschooling or writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and Bible study. PERIL: Fast Track Thriller Bk. #1 is her debut novel. On the editorial side, Suzanne is a contributing editor with Port Yonder Press and operates the Write This Way Critique Service. She has also written an e-book on the craft of writing, entitled Write This Way: Take Your Writing to a New Level.
For more articles about PERIL and its sequels, visit my website:


  1. A baseball post. Yay! Baseball is my hands-down-favorite sport, and I hope to visit every baseball stadium in the country. But, Suzanne, you have the words wrong. It's supposed to be, "root, root, root for the Mariners." Maybe if enough people sang it that way, they'd be able to pull themselves up out of the basement. ;-)

    Welcome to the Inkwell, Suzanne. I haven't ever been to a Nascar race, but I have been to the Indianapolis Speedway and watched drag races. That was kind of fun and made me want to join the races, but I didn't think it would be a good idea with a rental car.

  2. Hi Suzanne, welcome to the inkwell and you'll notice we tend to like your name!

    I think it's wonderful you had such an amazing bond with your dad over baseball. I don't see anything about siblings, and I wonder if you are an 'only'.

    Thanks for hosting, Anita Mae!

  3. oh, and I meant to say your trailer is great. As a compulsive plotter, I'd love to see how you pull it all together.

    Have you visited experienced any Nascar races in person?

  4. Welcome to the Inkwell, Suzanne. I've had your delightful baseball pics in my file for weeks now and still smile when I see them.

    I love that you kept the ticket stubs. Since you showed us what you looked like back then, I have an image of you tucking them into a special wooden or tin momento box. Shoe box size or smaller. Am I close? Where did you keep them for over 30 years?

    Or... did you take a photo and ditch the actual momentos? LOL

  5. Thank you so much for hosting me. It's a pleasure to be here today.

  6. Suzie... you mean we could take in a game at Angel Stadium instead of going to Disneyland when we go to RWA Anaheim this July?

  7. Susie, I had a feeling someone would comment on the wording for Take Me Out to the Ballpark. LOL

    I've volunteered at both NASCAR races and drag races. Talk about LOUD! The professional drag race cars are hands down louder than the NASCAR cars. IWe even had to help a fan whose pacemaker was affected when he moved down to a seat very close to the track.

  8. Debra, I was interested to see what you'd say for favourite sport... and you skipped the question. LOL

  9. I have one sister, Debra. I didn't mention her going to the games because we only got 2 sets of Straight A tickets. So in the years when we both had A averages, Dad got to go to 4 games a yet...for free!

  10. Suzanne, volunteering is an excellent way to gain valuable research.

    You've reminded me of when I volunteered to work as a matron in the local jail because I wanted to know about overnight lockups.

    Boy, did I find out! They don't call it a 'drunk tank' for nothing. And I was quite surprised when I got paid for doing it. Only a few times were enough to gain experience and realize I never wanted to end up in one.

  11. Never could get into baseball. Congrats to the Cardinals, though I was hoping the Rangers would finally win a World Series. ;)

    I'm a hockey fan. Yes, very strange for someone who has always lived in Texas and isn't much of a sports fan otherwise. What can I say?


    Thanks for

  12. Thank you for your kind words about my trailer, Debra. I used Pinnacle to make it since that was the software we happened to have. I about drove myself and my family crazy working on it because I was not only learning how to make a trailer, but how to use software I'd never used before. I was in a time crunch when I made it (long story) so I basically just worked on it until I was done. Once I found most of the pictures I wanted to use ( they're all freebies and the ones of the track and the White House are my own pictures) I spent virtually 5 solid days working on it. I loved the music (also free--are you noticing a theme here and with my article? LOL) so much that I worked aand work to get it to come out just right with the music swell. I was pretty pleased with the outcome of my efforts. It's not the best book trailer I've seen, but it's far from the worst.

  13. Good guess, Anita, but I taped them into an old-fashioned scrapbook--the kind that was made of thick construction paper-type pages. You could say I was a scrapbookers before scrapbooking was cool. LOLOL I transitioned into the newer version of scrapbooking about 14 years ago and LOVE it. So the picture in the article is a close-up of the tickets on a scrapbook page (I just finished a scrapbook of my high school years a few months ago).

  14. Thank you, DeAnna. I loved that the Cardinals won the World Series this year for two reasons. Obviously because they're my favorite team, but also for a reason related to my book, PERIL. In the book, the character Neil wears a Cardinals World Series hat. Since I wrote the book in 2007, I was referring to their 2006 win. Once I got the contract for PERIL in 2011, I wondered if people would think such a hat odd because it had been 5 years since they'd won. then they were so kind as to win again, so that tiny bit of the story is new and fresh again.LOL

  15. Oh, that's funny! How great that it worked that way for you! :D

  16. Suzanne, I'm impressed! I can well imagine fussing over the trailer for days. It's cool that you used some of your own photos. Barbara does trailers and now I can ask both of you for ideas WHEN the time comes for me.

    We must think positively about the 'when' not the 'if'!

  17. Oh, meant to add that I do have those old heavy paper scrapbooks where you just glued everything in. Nothing like 'scrapbooking' these days, right?

  18. Okay Anita Mae.

    My favorite sport to watch: Soccer (that may have come by necessity) and most anything in the Olympics. And I like non-professional basketball.

    I used to enjoy playing soccer, and tennis, and skiing.

    My favorite sport to play? Can't think of any. Unless walking or pulling weeds becomes competitive.

    Suzanne, I asked about siblings because I wondered if you were an only, or at least didn't have any brothers. Just like I used to watch football with my dad, just to keep him company. :)

  19. Okay Anita Mae.

    My favorite sport to watch: Soccer (that may have come by necessity) and most anything in the Olympics. And I like non-professional basketball.

    I used to enjoy playing soccer, and tennis, and skiing.

    My favorite sport to play? Can't think of any. Unless walking or pulling weeds becomes competitive.

    Suzanne, I asked about siblings because I wondered if you were an only, or at least didn't have any brothers. Just like I used to watch football with my dad, just to keep him company. :)

  20. Suzanne, you did a really good job with that trailer. I hadn't realized it was your own.

    And yes, I can relate to sitting at a computer for 5 days to work on a graphic project. I created and update our church's website which is in html and sometimes it takes days - and much prayer - to figure things out and place the images in the perfect spot. Those divs get me everytime. Misplace one of those and suddenly everthing is down a single column. Or your sidelines end in the middle of the page. Ugh!

    Never got into scrapbooking, though. Probably because I have over 5,000 printed photos and the task is too momentous. I realize folks do it as a stress-reliever and it lets their creative spirit shine, but I have photoshop for that. Ha!

    Instead, we bought a photo scanner and it only takes a couple seconds to scan a pic into digital form. Of course, I have to buy memory cards... and a memory card holder... and find a place to store them... sigh.

  21. Ask any time, Debra. I'm hardly an expert, but I know where to go for free pictures and music, and can offer a few tips. Here's one that will save you from pulling hair out: put the pictures where you want them first, THEN add in the transitions. Oh, and have a teenager nearby to ask questions. :O)

    I have learned to enjoy watching soccer too since my younger 2 children have played it since they were in kindergarten. And I LOVE the Olympics. We have been to both the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta and the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Now that was worth scrapbooking!

    No brothers, Debra. And I used to sit and watch ABC's Wide World of Sports with my dad. I learned to enjoy watching many sports that way.

  22. You're a brave woman to work with HTML, Anita. That really would drive me crazy. The most I've done is add HTML to my blog and even that was nerve-wracking.

    Trade you a scrapbook for scanning pictures! I have oodles of pictures that still need to be scanned in. Plus pictures on CD that need to be downloaded onto my computer. UGH!

  23. Volunteering for the Nationwide races at Gateway International Speedway (which is only 20 min. down the interstate from me) really helped me with the NASCAR backdrop. I've got an article on my blog about it...and how I almost missed out on the opportunity. Thankfully, God had it all worked out. If you'd like to check it out, it's at I've got another article I'll post soon about some of the specific things I saw that I included in PERIL.

  24. Anita, YES! I was definigely planning to go to an Angel's game if they're home. I went the last time I was there and their stadium is lots of fun. They toss giant beach balls through the crowd.

    I'm so happy you want to do that. I was afraid I'd have to go by myself. You'll see the stadium when we get to Anaheim because that's where the train drops us off.

    However ... Still going to Disneyland. No ifs ands or buts about it.

    And guess what? I saw ticket stubs, too. :-)

  25. Deb, I wondered about you and sports because you mention watching tv, but it's always movies or the BBC.

    My favourite sport is golf. I love watching it. And playing it on a real course where I stink at the game. And I play the Tiger Woods free version on my iPhone where I'm beating Nelson's spikes off. :D

  26. Suzanne, I'd take you up on the scrapbook for scanning deal except I don't have time to do it myself... hubby does most of it for me. I only do the ones I need for my posts - if I'm in a hurry. LOL

    And Suzie - Although I really do want to go to an Angels' game, I'm not sure if I have time. We're cutting it close at the start of the conference... I guess it depends when the evening games start. But it's definitely a possibility.

    As long as you don't jump to cheer and spill mustard on my head or something.

  27. Welcome, Suzanne. Glad to have you here. I try to get to a baseball game every season season. Never could get into it too much, but it makes for a pleasant evening. Then again, we only have minor league baseball, so that might make a difference. But how wonderful to have all those memories with your father.

    I'd have to join DeAnna and say my favorite sport is hockey. Only I'm not watching right now because my Sabres are slumping terribly. My odd sport addition is Olympic curling. When it's on, I have to watch it, and since it's still not a popular sport in the US, that can clear a room pretty quickly.

    And I'll agree with you on the trailers. They're time-consuming, but the time goes quickly, since they take your full attention trying to get the pictures to line up with the music. Nice job on that!

  28. Yay, Barb!!! :::hockey high five:::

    And what IS it about curling?? I can't say I'm actually a fan, but if I happen to see it in the Olympics, it's really hard for me to look away. There's something mesmerizing about it. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND! But it is. :D

    Anyway, sorry you're a Sabres fan.

    Er, um, I mean, sorry your Sabres are slumping. ;)

    (Just a little teasing from a die-hard Stars fan. Yes, my home office is green and gold and full of hockey things.)

  29. Anita, I'm all about mustard and cheering at a baseball game, so maybe you should bring a bib and some earplugs.

    One thing I do guarantee - my personality changes at a baseball game. Everyone thinks I'm so quiet and sweet, but they don't know what happens to me when my team plays DeAnna's team.

  30. Heh heh . . . you're giving me too much credit as a Rangers fan. My interest is purely "they're the local team." Baseball's too slow for me, and it's too hot and icky to go to games here. (I'm not outdoorsy at all!)

    I don't pay attention to the Mavericks much except I'd like them to do well because, again, they're local.

    I do have a mild interest in the Cowboys because I grew up with them and football. But the Stars are my passion. I luhs me my Stars! :D

  31. Great to see you here, Suzanne! It's so cool that you had that bonding time with your dad.

    I'm not much of a sports person, but I enjoy almost any sport more when I'm right there in the stands, watching it live. Something about the energy of the crowd, I guess. Although during the last summer Olympics I became obsessed with watching beach volleyball... who knew it was so exciting???

  32. Welcome to the Inkwell, Suzanne!

    I went to a handful of pro baseball games growing up. Lots of fun. Sounds like you had a great bonding experience with your dad.

    I tend to agree with can be a bit slow for me sometimes. Now, football--that's another story.

    Thanks Suzanne! And thanks Anita for hosting.

  33. Thank you, Jennifer and Susanne. I appreciate the opportunity to be here.

    Ah, beach volleyball. Yes, that can get exciting, but we limited our watching to the men's events. When you're watching with husband and teenage sons, it's not good to watch the women play with those skimpy "uniforms" they wear any more.

  34. LOL, good point, Suzanne. My sister doesn't even allow the Sears catalogue in her house because of all the models in their underwear.

    I forgot about curling. Yeah, I love watching it too. I used to curl, but my arthritis would bother me after hours on the ice. So now I just watch it. :(

    And yeah, I'm an Olympic fanatic, too. In fact, Nelson and I spent most of our first dates getting to know each other while watching the '76 Montreal Olympics in his barrack room. We would've sat in my barrack room, but I only had a wooden chair and bed - eep. His room had 2 easy chairs, a fridge, and a tv. :)

  35. I'm not the baseball fan I was as a kid. Prefer football now. My youngest son and I are both Packer fans -- 4th and 5th generation.

    My other interest is figure skating. We got to see Michelle Kwan win the ladies world championship in 2003 when it was in DC. There was an adorable skater who fell at the very end of her routine when she was doing the pose. Not jumping or spinning or skating -- just slipped while standing there and ended up sitting on her backside. She laughed and laughed -- and we in the audience gave her a standing O for being such a good sport.

  36. I'm not all that much of a sports person. Grew up when girls didn't really play baseball and had a dad who wasn't interested in it at all.

    I have always enjoyed figure skating and roller skating. I was good at roller skating and enjoyed watching others do the figure skating.


  37. love this post!

    i'm a huge sports fan, native of Denver, so all things Colorado and i'm so there... (well, except for basketball, it doesn't seem to be the same game i played in high-school). i was a Cardinal fan when i was young because Colorado didn't have a team. when the Rockies arrived, i transferred my alligance. i'm more a pro football person (yay Broncos) and i love watching hockey.

    as for baseball, i can't watch a game without keeping a scorecard. i don't really like watching on TV - i prefer being at the ballpark. a guy friend taught me the basics of scorecard stuff and i took off from there. the Detroit Tigers are my favorite American League team because that is where my birth mom is from and that's her team. when i first met her, we went to a ballgame in old Tiger Stadium and she told me she almost broke down completely as she watched me keep my scorecard and make comments on the game as it went because i reminded her of her father (who passed away before i found my birth mom). Apparently i said the same things and kept the scorecard almost the exact same way he did. (he was a ball boy way back when Ty Cobb played - how cool was that?)

    my half sister once accused me of sucking all the sports genes from my birth mom because i'm the only one of her kids who loves sports like she does. *heh*

    oh, i like Curling too. i had a friend who lived in Winnipeg and i visited her during American Thanksgiving. she was in a curling league and her team needed a sub for their match, so they quickly tutored me on the fine art of curling and i played in the match. we lost (my friend said it was the Captain's fault, not mine, but i think she was just being nice). anyway, it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO fun. i can see why it's fascinating to watch - there's actual strategy that isn't obvious to a casual observer.

    i could go on, but i'd better not. this was so cool to read the post and everyone's comments too! would love to win a copy of Peril, sounds exciting.

    nm8r67 at hotmail dot com

  38. Thank you, Deb. I loved the way your enthusiasm for sports spilled off the page. We're not quite that sports-minded at our house, but we do love to cheer our teams...and the teams my kids play on.

  39. Hey Jo, I never could get the hang of skating although we always owned skates and shared them amongst the 4 of us kids.

    Actually, it's still a requirement for Gr K-4 kids to go skating twice a week for 2 months during the winter as part of their physical education program. My kids were all involved in figure skating classes, too so the school program was plain fun for them.

    In fact, JJ had his card as being a member of the Cdn Figure Skating Federation when he was 2 yrs old. LOL

    Buying skates for my kids showed me how stiff good skates were, whereas the ones we used as youngsters were so old and worn, it's a wonder I could even stand upright in them, nevermind support my ankles.

  40. Deb, I love the story about you, your mom, and the scorecard. :)

    You've been to Winnipeg? I used to live there. Spent my Jr and Sr high school years there. It's my old stompin' ground. :)

    And it's the setting for the beginning of my Mountie novel. Write what you know and all that. LOL

    Thanks so much for sharing.


  41. I'm a bit late with this announcement, but I'm visiting in Edmonton, Alberta and actually forgot all about this. Sorry. *blush

    JJ helped me pick the winner this time around and a copy of Suzanne's novel goes to...


    Congrats, Deb. Suzanne will be in touch with you regarding your postal info.

    Thank you for posting with us, Suzanne. I really enjoyed all the sports talk. :)


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How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.