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Love Versus Baseball: A Game of Balls and Strikes; Stellar Scholars Ask 'True Love: Romance or Baseball?'

The answer, of course, is "yes," laughs Stellar Scholars Roundtable Editor Francis Dattilo who daily compiles the group's analytics (including site visits) at three o'clock California time. "On a given night our Saints and Scholars satellite site can easily best our love story site Stellar Romance in total page visits." It's not surprising really when you compare the passion of fans like those of the Red Sox, Yankees, Indians and the Tigers in the AL and the Cubs, Cards, Mets, Giants, Reds and Pirates or Phillies in the NL. But he admits to guilty pleasure when seeing a love story pop up on the Stellar Romance "odometer," then momentarily one more site-visit tick up as the original reader free-gift-links it to a loved one in cozy cyberspace.

Dattilo is convinced that both have everything to do with people's most fondly remembered days: baseball from the halcyon days of one's youth; romance from the zenith of their growing-up days, including first steady love and, for most, ardent courtship and married life.

"Stellar Scholars feel twice-fold blessed. First, that we have such a loyal and appreciative readership; two, that our Roundtable of writers has such range of specialized genre skills from seasoned craftsmen like Robert Conover who wrote what is considered by many our finest work, 'Southpaws,' to humorists like Ethan Hamill ('Stewart Survives the Seventh') to the biggest fan favorite of our entire stable, versatile poet Kathy Moffet of the edgy ('Along Came A Spider') and the heart-stirring ('Perfect'). Her e-magazine on Stellar Romance is titled 'Prose Poem Park' and, like New York's Central Park or San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, has a constant flow of readers roaming its 'storied' grounds," said Dattilo.

On the love story side, the first compilation of Kathy's work ("Afternoon in Prose Poem Park") publishes this month. What is more, music has been added to the site by accomplished performers Paul Lubanski, Johnny Johnson, David Reinstein and pop-classical artist Catherine Grimshaw. There are even original themes written for specified love stories among the site's many titles, including Reinstein's theme for popular "Klick Klock" and Grimshaw's theme for the recently published novella about rival pursuit and courtship, "On Briarwood Roof."

On the baseball side, John Baker's book of colorful baseball paintings accompany original diamond tales by the Roundtable and is moving neatly from the Stellar Novellas ordering page. Baker's credentials are impeccable, having painted the Jack Norris and 1984 World Series Champions tribute posters for the Detroit Tigers' legendary franchise. The book is dedicated to the late Detroit Free Press baseball writer and sports-radio host Drew Sharp. Baker, annually, also paints the official poster for the Indianapolis 500.

It all begins, contends Creative Director Ashley Sword, with the core of growing legions of readers from all fifty States, plus Washington, D. C., Ontario, Quebec and across the planet from Dublin, Sydney, Tokyo, Moscow, Mumbai (Bombay), Stockholm and even the "City of Love" itself, Paris. "In accommodating regular and new readers, we are ignoring the normally sage advice of playwright, actor, song composer George M. Cohan who cautioned to 'always leave them wanting more.' We do not have that luxury. Our romance readers are insatiable to the happy extreme," said Sword.

Toward that need, Stellar Scholars now offers an "I Don't Know If I Ever Come Back" baseball t-shirt that proudly touts the numeral "1" on the back for all Stellar Scholars. There are even Stellar Scholars Love Story Coffee Mugs with entire short-short romance tales and their accompanying pictures from their site page on a regular-sized mug. And having seen a collector's edition of "Star High Chronicles 1" bid for as high as $45 on eBay, the "Scholars" are offering sizable discounts on Stellar Novellas First Editions, both in soft- and hard-cover.

"We're glad to help," smiles Editorial Director Jennifer Watters. "When you are in love, it colors everything in a positive and warming light."

Indeed, it is all there at Stellar Romance and at Saints and Scholars: Tales Amore and Baseball Lore.

Ashley can be reached at

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