Prologue: A Doctor’s Note – EXCERPT

The following is the prologue of A Diamond for Her, my new novel releasing March 23. This is written from the perspective of the story’s narrator, Dr. Charles “Shoeshine” Henry. The novel is available for preorder in Kindle format from Amazon and in paperback through any local or online bookstore including Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, Walmart, Amazon, Books-a-Million and many more. Or ask for it at your local independent bookstore! Enjoy and thanks.


Prologue: A Doctor’s Note

How’s a sane person to understand this game of baseball? The fantastical underpinnings of which are haphazardly stitched together with a dash of lore and a pinch of childish chutzpah. The game is ruled by mechanics, not time, and when the mechanism of the cosmic baseball world clicks into place, the preposterous becomes the stuff of legends, the improbable becomes the mundane, and the ridiculous becomes the inevitable. Oh, what a smidgen of faith will accomplish!

I hope to illustrate the phantasmal nature of the national pastime by recounting the stories of my all-time favorite baseball team—the Winasook Iron Horses, the stalwart franchise of the Allegheny Independent League from 1921 to 1954, when Jasper Eltrane fired the final Iron Horse pitch in Rochelle Stadium.

These stories are not meant to be clever or manipulative, only simple illustrations of the wonder of baseball and the awe of life. If, perhaps, they are more feeling than science—and I pray this will be the case—accept them as they are, for I have not encountered anything in this life that can stir the passions of unsubstantiated, illegitimate logic more than baseball.

I myself am not a baseball player. I’m a semi-retired medical doctor, a lover of stories, and a fan of the greatest game ever invented. I’ve heard it said (or maybe I said it) that if the Greek gods played a modern sport, it most definitely would have been baseball. A team sport that emphasizes individual achievement. A round ball and a round bat played on a diamond with a starting point and ending point of home. Bases used to demonstrate increments of achievement for both players and wannabe young boys exploring the virtues of the opposite sex. A pace of play that encourages conversation, poetry, grand schemes, miracles, and mythology. A history interwoven around a people and their triumphs and failures.

There is much that could be said about the grand scale of baseball, from the towering steel stadiums which changed the landscapes of a hundred American cities, to the scandals that rocked people’s faith in the franchise, to a young determined man named Jackie Robinson, who defied the wrong side of history with the courage to force others to acknowledge his humanity; to the beloved Puerto Rican Roberto Clemente, who gave his life to the humanitarian cause. There’s much that could be spoken about baseball from the macro view of the major leagues, but my purpose is different.
I want to simply tell the stories, remarkable in their own right, of one independent franchise that epitomized what it means to be American — and human. Some of the stories I witnessed myself, from my many appearances at Rochelle Stadium over the years. Others were told to me. The most intimate details of the Iron Horses’ entire historical record came from an extraordinary interview with owner Raymond Blythe as he was on his death bed in October of 1971.

I had told Raymond Blythe many times over the years that I had wanted to document the history of the Iron Horses. I had always put it off for a variety of reasons, chiefly my medical practice. But that all changed one day when I was summoned to the hospital during his waning hours. He wanted to tell me his stories, most of which I did not know. While I can attest to the veracity of everything in this book, he told me some things I hesitated to believe. But his insistence and his mortality forced me to include them here as well—the mythology—the insane ramblings of a man who could sell his mother her own apple pie recipe. And yet, in the years that have passed since the bedside encounter, I have given more credence to his stories, and even in some regards consider them part of the historical record. And why not? Baseball didn’t merely form from a boyish imagination or, God forbid, that ghastly rounders game hailed by the British. The poetic lore of Mighty Casey, the prodigious swing of the Sultan of Swat, or the stocky soft hands of the Flying Dutchman cannot be explained by the acknowledged arrangement between two teams to follow a set of rules regarding a ball and bat. Such mundane explanations could never adequately describe what I witnessed that day in 1949 when Archibald Showalter fouled off ninety-five pitches. Nor does it explain what Raymond Blythe found in Iowa on a trip in 1954.

There is a beauty and a poetry and, yes, a mythology which goes much deeper into the universe which necessitates this game. While today’s millionaire players may alienate a generation of fans by their grandiose egos and self-promotion, they cannot degrade a game which has defined our nation. We have become a better people for what we have learned between the lines of the diamond: reward for hard work, compassionate cooperation, fierce independence, and faith in the mystical realms of the unseen.

Finally, a brief note about the storytelling itself. I sometimes recount these stories from my own point of view, but do indulge me from time to time as I try to develop my own literary skills by distancing myself from my foreknowledge of an event in order to tell a proper story in third-person narration. I feel rather sneaky attempting this, but baseball is rife with such messiness—the ghastly DH experiment its greatest example—so perhaps it will work.

All the best,

Charles “Shoeshine” Henry, M.D.
Winasook, Pennsylvania
June 1985

Giveaway: 100 Copies of My Historical Fiction Baseball Novel

I’ve teamed up with GOODREADS to give away 100 Kindle versions of my soon to be released 10th novel: A Diamond for Her: Myths & Tales of the Winasook Iron Horses

You’ll be one of the chosen FEW to receive it before its release date. Giveaway ends March 16 – one week before it releases on March 23 – just in time for the new baseball season!

If you like history or baseball, I think you’ll enjoy it. You’ll notice I said OR. You don’t need to like both in order to like this novel. My editor confirmed this! So click on the link below and get into the running. Good luck! It’s 100 copies so the odds are in your favor!

A DIAMOND FOR HER: Pre-order Now for a Special Price

My new novel, set to release in 60 days on March 23, 2021, is now available for pre-order for a special price only from the Kindle store.

This is the baseball novel I’ve always wanted to write, and when hunkered down in March and April of 2020 with no baseball to enjoy, I wrote it.

Don’t like baseball? No worries. My editor assures me you won’t need to be a baseball fan to enjoy this unique story. If you like historical fiction, sports fiction, historical romance, magical realism, or the film “Field of Dreams,” this novel is for you!

I had so much fun writing it. Order it now for a special pre-order price of only $2.99. It will go up in price upon release. Available in Kindle & Paperback on March 23, 2021.

Thanks for your support. Here’s the short blurb:


In 1920, railroad man Raymond Blythe had a series of disturbing dreams—giant creatures with Greek names playing baseball. Determined to discover their meaning, he sets off on a bizarre quest to find a connection between Iowa, Theodore Roosevelt, baseball, and his deceased father. While searching for answers at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, he meets a young librarian named Rochelle Christy. This meeting sets him on another quest—to win her hand in marriage even if it means he has to establish his own baseball league in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains.

March 23: The Gods of Baseball Arise

Free Christmas Short Story: If Love is a Crime

On Christmas Eve 1852, a runaway slave slips unnoticed through a meadow and happens upon a small, rustic cabin in the woods, occupied by a boisterous old woman named Beatrice. As a winter storm blows in and the sheriff comes inquiring, all that stands between the frightened girl and the arm of the law is a stack of biscuits and a whole lot of love.

Free on Kindle for a Limited Time. Get your copy HERE!

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99 CENT SALE – The Reach of the Banyan Tree

99 cents on AMAZON.COM

For a limited time only, The Reach of the Banyan Tree is well within reach. You might say it’s a steal at only 99 cents on Kindle from August 17-23.

Historical Fiction + Contemporary Romance + VIETNAM!!!! = A Terrific Read!

I had an amazing time piecing together this 300 page novel. I loved adding the center section which extends back to Vietnam in 1945 at the tale-end of World War II. It not only helps the reader understand the complexities 20th century Vietnam and that country’s amazing story, but it also helps to explain the modern romance which makes up the rest of the story. Don’t worry, the romance is ALSO based in Vietnam and bathed in its amazing culture.

How did I do my research? By living in Vietnam for 10 years. By learning Vietnamese fluently. By studying Vietnamese culture and history IN Vietnamese. I do hope my experiences help to bring this book to life. But don’t worry, this isn’t some high-brow treatise on geo-politics. At its heart its a story of fathers and sons and the loves of their lives.

Please do pick yourself up a copy. And now, it’s so cheap, there’s no reason to pass it up.

And don’t forget to leave a review. Your support is much appreciated.

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Buy on AMAZON.com

Buy on Amazon UK

Buy on Amazon Australia

Buy on Amazon Canada

Buy on Amazon India

Free Christmas Story on Kindle: If Love is a Crime

THE STORY

On Christmas Eve 1852, a runaway slave slips unnoticed through a meadow and happens upon a small, rustic cabin in the woods, occupied by a boisterous old woman named Beatrice. As a winter storm blows in and the sheriff comes inquiring, all that stands between the frightened girl and the arm of the law is a stack of biscuits and a whole lot of love.

THE PRICE

Free! (Limited Time!) Only on Amazon.

THE LINK HERE!

Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy this poignant, heart-warming tale.

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New Lower E-Book Price on “A Love Story for a Nation”

As I look forward to the release of my new novel “Which Half David,” I’m happy to permanently lower the price of “A Love Story for a Nation” to $2.99 in the Kindle store.

This is a great time to pick up this awesome read. Click on the links below to see what book reviewers have to say about it. If you are interested in any of the following, I think you’ll like the book:

history, literary fiction, romance, courage, inspirational stories, politics, fantasy (yes, it has elements of fantasy written into the stories that the protagonist writes), revolution, good reads!

Enjoy! A Love Story for a Nation HERE!

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FREE CHRISTMAS STORY: “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story”

My short story about a slave girl who runs into the boisterous and loving Beatrice on Christmas Eve is free on Amazon through December 24 – perfect timing for the holidays.

Get your copy HERE! Read reviews! Enjoy. After all, it’s free!

Reviewers have called it:

“A warm and poignant seasonal tale”

“New Christmas classic full of heart.”

“Wonderful story of love and protection.”

“Lovely. Warm. Full of hope.”

What do you have to lose except an hour of reading bliss?

Pick up your copy now. Please leave a review and share with a friend.

Thanks!

 

 

Last Two Days – “Banyan Tree” Novel @ 99 cents

Here’s your last chance to pick up “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” at the super-cheap price of only 99 cents. Lots of 5-star reviews, so if you like history, historical fiction, Vietnam, romance, adventure or just plain-old good story-telling, then you should absolutely check it out. Not much to lose in this deal.

BUY IT HERE!

Like paperback? No worries. It’s also available at the link above for only $10.68 including free second-day air shipping with Amazon Prime.

Grab the Kindle for 99 cents by March 2 or it will be going up to its regular price.

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