Before I answer that question, I’d like to explain what the Fight Card series is all about.
A dear friend of mine, mentor and author, Paul Bishop, who wrote Felony Fists, one of the first Fight Card stories, along with his pal, Mel Odom, started writing a series of books dedicated to the Noir period of sports, dealing with the pulse-pounding world of the fight game. After the 20’s, boxing started coming into its own attracting the minorities, the Irish, the Italians, the Jews. Later the blacks and Latin boxers – all to prove their metal in the toughest arena of all – in the boxing ring, man-to-man.
If Mel and Paul approach a writer with the opportunity to write a Fight Card story, they are given certain guidelines to follow. These stories take place in the 1950’s, though some have occurred in earlier times, and feature settings from anywhere in the world. They must not rate higher than PG-13 for language, violence and sex. The main character does not have to be a fighter – they could be a reporter, a sailor, a manager, a soldier, or in the case of my novel, Ladies Night, the lady-love of the boxer. But the story must feature boxing at its heart and resolution – which is usually the BIG fight scene at the conclusion. These characters don’t have to be contenders, a lot aren’t, but most of them are facing extremely high stakes, if not certain destruction if they don’t man-up.
The boxer in each story has to have a connection to St. Vincent’s Asylum for Boys, an orphanage in Chicago. Under the bighearted, tough-love dished out generously by the much beloved Fighting Priest, Father Tim, also know as, “Tornado” Tim Brophy, a Golden Gloves champion himself as a youth, each boy under his care grows up believing he’s something special. Although cursed by some nuns and loved by others, the good sisters of the orphanage pray for Father Tim who manages to keep his ruffians in check by teaching them the “Sweet Science” of boxing. Boys who come to him with no food in their bellies, no love in their hearts, and no hope for a future, find Father Tim filling up those holes. Each story is written for Kindle under the pseudonym of Jack Tunney for cohesiveness. I wrote Ladies Night under the name of Jill Tunney.
When Paul asked my husband, Tim – an end-of-the-world scifi writer – to create one of the Fight Card stories, Tim declined. He’s not into sports – but I am. Raised with four older brothers, sports was an obsession. When I was in high school, I started reading and writing romance, and have since then writing numerous manuscripts. So I decided to take the dare without Paul’s knowledge. I didn’t start to write a romance, but the main characters dictated their story, I simply jotted it down. A year later, voilà – Ladies Night.
In Ladies Night, Jimmy Doherty is dropped at Father’s Tim’s doorstep, all alone in the world after tragedy takes his pa in WWII, his ma to her grief, and his only other living relative, Aunt Alice to heart failure. Angry with God, furious with his own grief and fear of abandonment, what Jimmy craves most is a family of his own. Through an uncanny ability to recognize boxing talent, Father Tim knows Jimmy’s heart beats boxing, and gives him a shot at being a contender. Since all orphans must leave the orphanage at the age of eighteen, Father Tim wisely puts Jimmy on a train to L.A. to box for an old friend.
Jimmy meets Pops Dominic, his new manager and trainer – and Pops’ beautiful daughter, Lindy, who’s sweeter than apple pie. Jimmy can’t resist Lindy’s charms. She offers him acceptance, fierce loyalty, and love. Sneaking off to marrying Lindy raises Pops’ blood pressure, but having Lindy in his corner gives Jimmy what he hasn’t had in his life for nine years – a family.
When Lindy is arrested for murdering a boxer with ties to a gangster, Jimmy is forced to join forces with the arresting detective – who would like to do much more with Lindy than put her in handcuffs – in a desperate search for the real killer. Ladies Night – boxing, suspense and romance. Love can be murder – in and out of the ring.