Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Curveball at the Crossroads at Motorworks Brewery with the Bradenton Noles

On November 5th, I had the awesome opportunity to have a book signing with the Bradenton Seminole Club at Motorworks Brewery. The Bradenton Noles were kind enough to let me visit for the game watching party as the Seminoles took on the Miami Hurricanes.

Meeting the Bradenton Noles was a lot of fun. They are some great people and they bought a good amount of books. And Motorworks Brewery is a fun place for local beer.

Thanks again to the Bradenton Seminole Club for having me.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Connecting Jackie Robinson to Curveball at the Crossroads

Creating art puts you in elite company. Not everyone exercises their creative genius in their lifetime. Meeting other creators is an awesome feeling. Especially when your creation is connected to their creation through other associations.

As I've mentioned many times, my debut novel is entitled Curveball at the Crossroads. It is a baseball novel set in rural Mississippi about a young African-American baseball player who makes a deal with the Devil. The audio version of Curveball at the Crossroads is narrated by Torian Brackett. Torian did an amazing job.

A few months later, Torian posted on social media that he another baseball book project in the works. He was narrating "Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter" written by Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long. I cannot confirm or deny that doing Curveball at the Crossroads opened Torian to additional baseball opportunities, but I like to think so.

A few months after Torian's announcement, New York-based rapper Skyzoo announced that he was part of a Jackie Robinson documentary entitled "Get to the Bag". Skyzoo dropped the trailer for his project in October 2022.

Now here is where I tie it all together. In mid-2021, Skyzoo performed in Tampa. He has been one of my favorite rappers for years and I could not miss the opportunity to see him perform. After the show, I realized I had a box of books in my car. I acquired a signed CD from him and gave him a signed copy of Curveball at the Crossroads. I remember writing in it that his music has gotten me through some tough times, so it was personal. It was very cool moment for me as a creator to present my creation to a creator that I admire.

I am not sure if Skyzoo has read Curveball at the Crossroads yet. But now there is a chain through creators, associates, and subject matter from my novel in Tampa, Florida through Mississippi to New York City and laying its home in Brooklyn. We are taking JaMark Reliford and the Blues to Ebbets Field and hip-hop.

Be sure to check out Curveball at the Crossroads as well as Torian's Jackie Robinson project and Skyzoo's Jackie Robinson documentary.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Curveball at the Crossroads at Bookstore1 Sarasota Book Fair October 22nd 2022


I love book fairs. As much as I love solo book signings, book fairs are better than solo book signings because I have a chance to meet fellow authors and writers. They also attract more people than solo book signings. They are a chance for me to see how other authors peddle their wears. I have learned a lot from fellow authors.

For example, the last few book fairs I have gone to I forgot to bring a mailing list. Mailing lists are important. Especially if I want to build a fanbase. 

This coming weekend, on October 22nd, 2022, I will be headed to Sarasota, Florida for the Bookstore1 Sarasota annual book fair. Bookstore1 is a very cute bookstore tucked in downtown Sarasota. They are around the corner and through the breezeway from a weekend market. I think there will be plenty of foot traffic for the book fair, which of course is a great thing.

Book fairs are also a chance to be outgoing and use my best sales pitch. I am basically carnival barking my book, trying to convince people to buy it instead of any of the other books for sale. But it is not a competition. It is a celebration of local authors and their creations.

But for real, Curveball at the Crossroads was runner-up, Best Book by a Local Author in 2021 for a reason.

The Bookstore1 Sarasota book fair should be a great time. Here is the link for more information:


Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Curveball at the Crossroads in the FSView


Tallahassee Talent Promoted to the Big Leagues - Kani Schram, FSView, 10/2/2022

Since publishing Curveball at the Crossroads, I have had the honor of some great reviews and write-ups. People have compared me to WP Kinsella, Christopher Moore, and other fantastic authors. It is all very humbling and very special.

But no review has been more special than my most recent in the FSView and Florida Flambeau. The FSView and Florida Flambeau is the campus paper of my alma mater, Florida State University. It is also the newspaper where I got my start twenty years ago. It was the first place I saw my name in print.

For those curious, I have reprinted some of my old FSView articles here under the tag "The FSView Collection". Since the FSView's website doesn't have a good archive, I figure I am not breaking any copyright laws reposting my own stuff.

The FSView has always had a soft spot in my heart. Once the Florida Flambeau, the paper merged with the FSView in the 1990s and became the FSView and Florida Flambeau. The paper has a history of speaking truth to power, taking on the campus powers-that-be on several occasions. Even though I wrote for the Lifestyles section, I always kept the history of the paper in mind, especially if I had the chance to write about less popular groups, clubs, or people.

But to now be written about in the paper? That's awesome.

I want to thank writer Kani Schram. She is a freshman writer for the FSView and even though she is in the beginning of her writing career, she did a great job with the article on me. I was very impressed and I hope to read her work again as she continues to bigger things.

I don't know how many FSView alumni have continued writing. I don't know how many have been written about in the same paper that they got their start. It is an awesome feeling. Among all my reviews, this might be one of my favorite.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Talking to Drinking With Authors


In an attempt to promote Curveball at the Crossroads, I have made appearances on several podcasts. On the recommendation of fellow local author Mark Muncy, I contacted the fine folks at Drinking With Authors and we scheduled an online conversation.

About Drinking With Authors:

We always imagine a day when we’re having a drink at our favorite bar, dive, or even eatery and our favorite author comes through the doors. Much to your luck, they sit next to you and conversation ensues! That’s what Drinking With Authors is all about! Join us over drinks to discover the backstory and journey of authors like Tamara Lush, Connie Y Harris, Kenya Wright, Jonathan Maberry, Dan Wells, Jeffe Kennedy, Heather Graham, Melinda M. Snodgrass, and so many more. We interview authors all over the spectrum including those who just started their journey with their debut book and those who have scripted some of our favorite television and Netflix shows! Pour yourself a drink, pull up a seat, and join us as we get to know our favorite authors and gain some inspiration for fellow writers and sheer entertainment for fans!

Listen to my talk with Drinking With Authors here:

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Curveball at the Crossroads Audiobook Review


I never realized how difficult it is marketing an audiobook. While the audiobook market is in the billions, how do you promote an audiobook? With a physical book, I can show it to people anywhere and they can touch it, feel it, and hopefully buy it. But with an audiobook, there is another level of engagement. They have to play it and find the time to listen to it.

One of the ways I learned to promote the Curveball at the Crossroads audiobook is to submit it to audiobook review websites. A few months ago, I submitted the Curveball at the Crossroads audiobook to AudioFileMagazine.com. They publish dozens of audiobook reviews. I wasn't sure if they were going to review it or not. Lo and behold, last week they sent me an email stating their review was published.

Narrator Torian Brackett gives star treatment to each character in this story of a faustian bargain. Seventeen-year-old JaMark Reliford is poised for big league baseball--until he blows out his arm. After leaving home, depressed, drinking, and smoking, he meets a tall man in a zoot suit. The tempting voice that Brackett gives the devil entices JaMark with promises of baseball glory in return for his soul. Soon he meets Betsy, the love of his life--and another standout performance by Brackett--and moves to the Major League. But these successes are marred by his heartbreaking worry about the future of his soul, coupled with terrifying visits from the devil. Audio is a must for the subtle humor that shines through JaMark's anxiety. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine [Published: SEPTEMBER 2022]

I agree. Torian did an amazing job, although the review failed to mention my favorite part - Torian's spectacular job as the play-by-play radio announcer.

Hopefully this is the start of the audiobook taking off in sales. Or at least the start of other reviews. I hope other enjoy the Curveball at the Crossroads audiobook as much as I do.

For those who haven't heard, he is a preview of Torian Brackett's narration of Curveball at the Crossroads.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Curveball at the Crossroads Review by Guy Who Reviews Sports Books


Book reviewers are busy. There are a lot of books published and a lot of books to be read. On this site, I think I have reviewed maybe a dozen or two. I can't imagine hosting a website dedicated to regularly reviewing books. But thankfully, some people have better dedication to reading and writing than I do.

Lance Smith is one of those people. Lance is a sports book reader who writes for his aptly named website The Guy Who Reviews Sports Books. Very early on in my marketing process, I sent Lance a copy of Curveball at the Crossroads. As you can see in the image, it is the first edition, which was no available as of November 2021. But that is the version Lance had and that Lance eventually read.

I emailed Lance several times, typically once every few months, to see where Curveball at the Crossroads was in his to-be-read pile. Every avid reader has a to-be-read pile. Finally in August, Lance emailed me to say he was starting the book. A few weeks later, he emailed me to say he enjoyed the read and that the review was published on his site.

A very good rating is worth the wait.

Lance had a lot of great things to say about Curveball at the Crossroads. For example,

This story was an enjoyable read for a few reasons. One is that Lortz developed his characters well, especially JaMark, his love Betsy, JaMark’s Uncle Rufus and Inga, the old woman who Uncle Rufus said was the only one who could help JaMark.  All of them are people with whom the reader can relate, even if the reader was never a major league pitcher, an awesome Southern cook or someone who had trouble staying out of jail.

Click here to check out Lance's write-up about Curveball at the Crossroads.

And if you haven't picked up at copy yet, here is the Bookshop.org link: CURVEBALL AT THE CROSSROADS

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Google called me a genius


I am not going to argue with Google. If Google says I am a genius, then I must be. The internet doesn't lie.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Curveball at the Crossroads at Tiger Dust in Tampa, Florida


A few weeks ago, I met with the owners of a fun, quirky, little store in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa called Tiger Dust. Tiger Dust is an oddities and antiques store that specializes in the unusual. Included in their cornucopia of curious collectibles is an amazing library of hard to find and rare reads.

Including copies of Curveball at the Crossroads. It always great when local businesses want to partner with local creatives to put out good products. Especially when my book fits their library's description to a tee.

"You'll find vintage horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and occult books in our library. We also have a case with cool old books about Satan and his hilarious antics!"

My book isn't the only local book that Tiger Dust sells. Local author and entrepreneur Josh Ginsberg also sells his books Secret Tampa Bay: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure and Tampa Bay Scavenger at Tiger Dust.

On the last Thursday of every month, Tiger Dust invites all their local vendors to hang out in the store and talk about their products. The last Thursday in July was my first event. Besides Josh and I, there was also a local jewelry maker visiting. It was an awesome vibe.

So visit Tiger Dust at 4222 N. FLORIDA AVE. TAMPA, pick up a copy of Curveball at the Crossroads, and tell them I sent you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Another great review for Curveball at the Crossroads


As a self-published author with only one novel to my credit (for now), I always appreciate kind words from readers. Every reader is valuable. But kind words from those who have published, or those with a background in writing, warms my heart even more. Not that I need acceptance, but their reviews let me know that I did the right thing by putting my book out to the public. It lends assurance that what I felt when I wrote Curveball at the Crossroads is felt by others who have served the common reader.

So I was particularly happy to read a new lengthy review of my debut novel by longtime Tampa area sports writer and editor Bob D'Angelo. After I saw that Bob wrote reviews and posted them on the Facebook Baseball Books group, I connected with him and sent him a copy of Curveball at the Crossroads for his perusal. I am very glad to read he enjoyed it.

The devil is in the details ... - Bob D'Angelo's Books and Blogs

One of the things I really liked about Bob's review was that he compared Curveball at the Crossroads to the book turned play, "Damn Yankees". I need to watch "Damn Yankees" and read the book it is based on, The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. I had heard of it prior to writing Curveball at the Crossroads, but didn't know the plot or it's similarity to Curveball at the Crossroads. But as Bob writes, although they have similar backstories, how the tale is executed is vastly different.

I really enjoyed Bob's review. If you are interested in Curveball at the Crossroads, please do check it out.