Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Fat Lady Never Sings

The Fat Lady Never Sings: How a Football Team Found Redemption on the Baseball Diamond by Steven Reilly (iUniverse / 0-595-39467-1 / October 2006 / 228 pages / $18.95)

All the sports channels are programmed out of my cable connections to make it easier for me to channel surf through movies, Boston Legal, and CNN. Watching a baseball game bores me silly, and I get enough college football to watch without resorting to the sports-only channels. I am a certified nerd: knowledge and new experience to me are like winning the big game is to most people. I had a feeling about this book before I selected it for review, and my gut instinct was right on the money. The Fat Lady never sings a boring tune. This is a true story about passion, desire for success, and the ethics and overall goodness inherent in the teaching of life's lessons to a group of high school pitchers and bat-swingers.

The Derby Red Raiders were a winning football team in the smallest (by area) town in Connecticut, at least up until the 1992 season that yielded the first losing high school football team that Derby fans had seen in decades. At the end of that psychological disaster, three of the leading players faced an upcoming baseball season with two of them as pitchers and the third, the son of the town's mayor, as a hitter. The head coach of the baseball team and his assistant coach, Steven Reilly, faced an uphill battle to instill confidence into the team who had lost so much self-respect on the gridiron. The book covers the trials and tribulations of the baseball team as they work their way toward the championship.

Fans of Bull Durham, A League of Their Own, and the head coach's own favorite, Hoosiers, will love this book. You get to ride the yellow school bus to the out-of-town games, enjoy an inside look at the coaching strategies that sometime seem to come from out of left field, and of course, you have a dugout view of the detailed action on the diamond. The author's combination of closeup viewpoint and straightforward language sell the book. The point of my opening statement is that you do not have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the smooth storyline and depth of character The Fat Lady so adeptly presents. No, the grammatical editing is not absolutely perfect, and I would have chosen a cover photo with a lot less chiaroscuro for more online appeal, but that's about all I can complain about. Riles, as his friends call him, is a lawyer, a baseball coach, and a genuine writer. Even nerds will enjoy this book.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A New Ring of POD Reviewers

We seem to be informally creating a cadre of reviewer blog sites to accomodate the many genres of Print On Demand books. I don't know exactly who started it, but it seems to be happening. You can see for yourself by clicking on the links listed on this page. As one of these guys said to me recently, even I have a niche of sorts. Mine may be difficult to define, but so are my own books. I'm looking for mature iUniverse authors who are serious about their work. I ask that you question your own motives and abilities before you contact me. This is probably the reason I have not waded through the incompetent muck submitted by hordes of I-want-to-quit-my-day-job tomorrow daydreamers. I don't even wear my hip boots at my computer because I know that I don't have to do so. I know there are many authors out there who did not compose a novel for the instant-sales at Amazon marketing model. Some of us write because we are on a mission from God, and we care deeply about our readers and how they spend their dollars.

I asked in the beginning for werewolves and vampires, but I have just added a new link to a new reviewer of Fantasy POD. Here is a little clarification.
2001 and Dracula (1992) are my two favorite movies of all time, but I don't give a gnome's butt about most fantasy and/or science fiction. Yes, I wanted to see the movies, Underworld and Van Helsing, at least once, but once was quite enough. Although these two are crammed to the gunwales with computer-generated werewolves, give me The Howling anyday! I want to see actors in ugly suits. I want to go to Transylvania in an old-style gothic mode, not a pseudo-gothic mode. I shall gladly consider reviewing any iU book, and if you send a copy to me, you will get four original reviews, as always, but I do want to support other reviewers who are also trying to lift deserving POD authors up out of the muck. By the way, I've read all of The Howling books. Gary Brandner just plain got lucky that John Sayles wanted to rewrite his slightly interesting book into the best werewolf screenplay in history.

Each of the new bloggers presenting free reviews of POD books is offering something a little special and different from all the rest. You can easily discover precisely what I do by reading through the posts here and reading my reviews. You will find them here and at Authors Den, Amazon, and B&N. Let's all retire our hip boots, shall we?