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Friday, 4 September 2015

☀☄ Saving Babe Ruth - Tom Swyers

Thank you for joining us for the Virtual Book Tour and 1 Year Anniversary Celebration for Saving Babe Ruth, a sports literary fiction thriller by (, Hillcrest House Publishing, 348 pages).  


PREVIEW: Read the first two chapters with Amazon Look Inside.

Check out the book's synopsis below.

Please do take part by commenting on our post and follow the tour where you will be able to read other excerpts (☀), interviews (ℚ), reviews (✍) and guest blog posts (✉).

Synopsis | Trailer | Teaser | Author Q&A | About the Author | Tour Stops

Synopsis

Based on a true story, Saving Babe Ruth is an award-winning novel about a family headed by David Thompson, a burned-out lawyer and Civil War buff. When he learns that the town's youth baseball league is going to fold, David’s love for the sport and for his son, Christy, inspire him to try to save it for the boys in town. David puts his fading career on hold as he struggles to resurrect this dream while at the same time trying to salvage his marriage to his wife, Annie.

Though Christy and Annie want to see him save the league, David finds himself in way over his head; the more he passionately tries to save it, the more he ends up hurting Christy and Annie. It’s a catch-22 that leaves his family wounded and David lost, wedged between his desire to revive the league so he can live with himself, and the desire to heal his family so they can live with him.

When David starts to keep secrets from Annie to satisfy these desires, he weaves a web of deceit that further fractures the family. At the same time, the town wrestles to keep its own secrets under wraps while it almost bursts with people leading double lives. They want David and the league to fail, and they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want, even if they have to go through Christy and Annie to get it.

With the help of Johnny McFadden--a newfound friend who's addicted to baseball--David concocts a plan to defend the league and his family. The pair will have to navigate through a maze of backroom politics, corruption, scandal and crime that extends to the professional sports world. David will have to call upon all of his legal and survival skills to try and turn things around.

Saving Babe Ruth is also the inspiring story about a baseball team full of teenage outcasts struggling to believe in themselves. When the time is right, they'll face the prospect of having to fight crazy with crazy to save baseball for themselves, their town and beyond.

The novel reveals the underbelly of youth sports that’s hurting communities nationwide today, but readers and reviewers say you don’t have to be a fan of baseball or sports to enjoy the story. Its themes, including one of community responsibility, are beginning to resonate. The story is so powerful that one of the nation’s leading professional sports agents has threatened a lawsuit over the book. The novel has even caused one town to come to a standstill to hold an emergency board meeting over it. Watch the trailer video below to learn more about how Saving Babe Ruth came to life.


New York Times bestselling author Margot Livesey says Swyers “has created a man for all seasons” in David Thompson and calls Saving Babe Ruth “an absorbing and compulsively readable novel.”

Saving Babe Ruth is the winner of a number of accolades including the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Book Award for “Best First Book: Fiction.”

If you like fast-paced and humor-laced stories, don’t miss this family’s fight to stay together as it confronts a youth sports underworld loaded with captivating characters.

Teaser: Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

David’s Hill

ARMED WITH AN 1859 Sharps carbine, David Thompson gazed beyond the baseball field, across the asphalt and slate-shingled suburban homes of Indigo Valley, wondering how these twenty-one thousand residents would feel if they knew that baseball was dying. It was April 18, 2009, opening day, and as the town league’s Babe Ruth commissioner, David had been preparing for this date since the end of last summer. It was, for him, a time of rebirth, the beginning of baseball season, and the end of the other season called winter.

But baseball wasn’t the only reason David celebrated spring’s arrival. The winter of 2008 had devastated his elder law practice because most of his clients had died. Two stroked out, another checked out with a massive heart attack, and yet another was laid out in a crosswalk by a teen intent on making it to Starbucks before closing time. When David closed up his last estate before opening day, he half jokingly told Annie, his wife, about his decision to pursue a new career in positive law, a specialization that he created through declaration. David revealed to Annie that his first case was to save the town’s Babe Ruth baseball program for the benefit of his eighth grade son and only child, Christy.

David was on the lookout for the man who had briefly visited the field for the past four mornings. He was determined to discover his identity. David’s silvery-brown hair waved in every direction. He stroked the grizzle on his chin, wondering if he might be acting a little crazy. He felt certain Annie would think he had lost it if she knew he was at the kids’ baseball field armed with a gun.

David loved his gun. The reproduction Sharps carbines turned him off; they were historically inaccurate. So David had bought an authentic one. His had been used by a Union cavalryman in defense of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, the first day of battle. The carbine’s owner had recorded the serial number in his diary and David had cross-referenced his name against the war casualty records.

David’s infatuation with the Civil War was sealed when he purchased the Sharps some twenty years earlier for his thirtieth birthday. He was thrilled to find out that General John Buford had commanded the original owner of the gun. David already knew that his great-great-grandfather, Joseph Thompson, had fought on the Union side with the Fifth Pennsylvania Reserves at Gettysburg before being captured in a later campaign and shipped to Andersonville prison. When Joseph Thompson was released at war’s end, he later conceived David’s great-grandfather. David knew full well that if Joseph had not survived the war, he wouldn’t be standing on the hill that day.

In studying the movements of Joseph Thompson’s unit at Gettysburg, David became an expert on the battle and came to admire Buford for his choice of ground. On the first day of the battle, Buford ordered his men to dismount their horses and offer resistance on the outskirts of town. This decision delayed the Confederate advance and allowed the Union reinforcements to take up a superior defensive position on the high ground of Cemetery Hill and Cemetery Ridge. It was “good ground,” as they say in military circles, and if Buford had not developed a strategy to defend it, there might not have been a Union victory at Gettysburg.

David checked his wristwatch. It was 6: 10 a.m. For the past week, David hadn’t been able to sleep past 4: 30 a.m. He’d roll out of bed to work the field for an hour and then climb the hill to stew about the season ahead. But since he first spotted the man coming to the field each morning at the same time, he had retreated to the hill earlier.

David had left his Bardou & Son Civil War– era field glasses at home this time, as they had not given him a clear view of the man’s face. He opted, instead, to bring his modern-day binoculars. With his back to the ball field, he peered straight down into the Mohawk River, over one hundred feet below, and then across the treetops of Saratoga County on the opposite bank. He imagined this hill might be the highest point in the town of Indigo Valley. David appreciated the protection from the rear that both the high ground and the river afforded. Gazing farther north, he hoped to catch a glimpse of one of the church spires reflecting the early-morning sunlight in Ballston Spa, the birthplace of General Abner Doubleday, the mythical inventor of baseball.

David’s thoughts had turned to Doubleday not because of baseball, but because of his role at Gettysburg. On the first day of battle, General Buford’s morning success in delaying the Confederate advance was bolstered by infantry reinforcements under the command of General John Reynolds, whose death on the battlefield enabled General Doubleday to assume command. Doubleday’s efforts solidified the Union’s position on Cemetery Hill and Cemetery Ridge. David imagined that while Doubleday probably didn’t invent baseball, he sure knew how to defend it.

David considered his hill, his “high ground,” and found it superior to Cemetery Hill. While Cemetery Hill was twice as high, its slope was much more gradual. David’s hill shot up fifty feet above the ball field and achieved its stature within one hundred feet of its base. It also boasted a six-foot-high chain-link fence around the outfield that would mark a kill zone for any enemy assault.

Even so, David’s satisfaction with his hill’s defensive superiority over Cemetery Hill came up short. Cemetery Hill was a natural hill made up of underlying igneous rock. David’s hill was anything but natural. The more recent generation of townspeople referred to the hill as an Indian burial mound for the indigenous Mohawk Indian tribe. Maybe that explanation would take root in history over the coming centuries. But David, a longtime resident of the town, knew that the hill had been shaped and molded from the former town dump that had been buried, capped, and closed years earlier. Had it not been for the dumping of years’ worth of refuse on the site, there would be no steepness to the hill; in fact, there would be no hill at all. David tried to convince himself that he was perched atop the town’s history, an archeological site for future generations to explore. But as thehill’s foul stench lingered in the air, the archaeological site once again became a landfill, a dump, an undeniable pile of crap.

David could not locate the Ballston Spa spires. His failure to locate Doubleday’s birthplace reminded him that there were no reinforcements coming to his aid that day or that baseball season. He stood alone with ten live rounds of .52 caliber ammunition stored in his authentic black leather Union cartridge box which hung from his black leather belt.

He picked up his son’s new Derek Jeter Rawlings baseball glove and slipped it on his left hand while he began working the pocket with the fist of his right, pounding it like he was in the ready-set position during a game. Christy had always been a passionate but average player, but now, at age thirteen, puberty had bolstered his strength and speed. David was optimistic about Christy’s upcoming season and was breaking the glove in for him.

David’s watch read 6: 20 a.m. It was about time for the man to arrive. David trampled on the grass so it did not impede his vision of the field, then he slid his athletic frame face-first into position on the ground. He felt safe hidden in the high grass. David laid the glove down on his left and the carbine on his right. A shiver ran up his spine as the heat generated from the decomposing dump gently warmed his body. Through his binoculars, he scanned the parking lot entrance for the red SUV.

Seeing no vehicles, he took in the baseball field. The dormant grass had turned to hunter green. No weeds. Not even clover. Freshly cut with a crisscross pattern, the outfield sported a morning layer of dew. The chalk baselines were perfectly straight and solid, like white icing on gingerbread. The tines of the grooming tractor had brushed the dirt of the infield in perfect uniform strokes. The bases and pitcher’s rubber and home plate had been freshly spray painted white to match the brilliant chalk lines. There were no footprints to be found anywhere, not even within the batting boxes where David had hand raked. It was true artwork on a canvas of dirt and grass, and the field’s beauty would even cause the most diehard baseball fan, player, or coach to stop and wonder, at least for a brief moment, if that field looked too good to play on.

The popping gravel of the driveway announced the arrival of the man. The sun peaked over the hill. The SUV, a mass of red and chrome with all the subtlety of a parade float, parked facing the field along the first baseline. The driver’s door opened and the man got out. A puff of smoke came from behind the man’s head. David adjusted the focus on his binoculars. Barkus, he thought, the face of baseball’s death.

Rob Barkus was the Elite Travel Baseball League promoter when he wasn’t working at his dead-end midlevel management job at a regional car dealership. In his early forties, he was well over six feet tall, triple chinned with a goatee and a gut the size of a small beer keg. His flattop crew cut made his jet-black hair bristle like a scrub brush. Fat folds ran up his neck to the back of his head as if someone had surgically implanted a pack of hot dogs.

David now understood how desperately Barkus wanted the Babe Ruth field. David was a sitting board member in charge of Indigo Valley Baseball League’s Babe Ruth program and Barkus had already started an e-mail assault directed at David personally. Barkus’s Elite Travel teams were made up of high school players that had enjoyed access to the Babe Ruth field for over a decade. David wanted it to stop.

Saving Babe Ruth - available NOW!

UK: purchase from Amazon.co.uk purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK find on Goodreads
US: purchase from Amazon.com purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from iTunes US

About the Author

Award-winning author Tom Swyers first had an audience on the edge of their seat (and the girls giggling) when his play, The Great Train Robbery, made its début in the seventh grade.

After high school, he worked his way through some of the best colleges in the country. Employed in a variety of jobs ranging from a late-night convenience store clerk to a fine jewelry salesperson, Tom eventually graduated from college and then worked his way through law school in the caverns of Wall Street.

Since then, he’s studied at the New York State Summer Writer’s Institute at Skidmore College. He’s also a member of both the Authors Guild and the Hudson Valley Writers Guild.

Along the way, he married his high school sweetheart and raised a family. With that came baseball, but that's another story (Saving Babe Ruth). Tom is also an award-winning youth sports advocate. When he isn’t writing or reading, Tom is usually running (literally) away from trouble on the back roads of Upstate, New York where he lives with his family and two cats (really two dogs working undercover).

Saving Babe Ruth is his first novel and these are some of the awards it has received:
  • Gold Winner, “Best First Book: Fiction," 2015 Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Book Awards.
  • Silver Winner, “Best Popular Fiction," 2015 Independent Book Publisher Association’s Benjamin Franklin Book Awards.
  • Reader Views, “Best Regional Fiction 2014/2015: Northeast.”
  • Finalist, "Best New Fiction," 2014 USA Best Book Awards.
Follow Tom Swyers:

Visit the author's website Visit the author on Facebook Visit the author on Twitter Visit the author on Google+ Visit the author on their Amazon page Visit the author on GoodReads

Follow Saving Babe Ruth's tour at:

July 21st: I Heart Reading
July 23rd: Please Pass The Books ✉
July 25th: The Single Librarian ℚ
July 27th: 365 Days of Reading ℚ
July 30th: Undercover Book Reviews ✉
August 3rd: The Book Daily ℚ
August 7th: Indie Impressions ✉
August 9th: Cassidy Crimson’s Blog ℚ
August 13th: Hollow Readers ✉
August 15th: Book About ℚ
August 17th: Alicia’s World of Pages ℚ✍
August 20th: Solafide Publishing ℚ
August 23rd:Bookaholic Ramblings ℚ
August 25th: Bedazzled Reading ✉
August 27th: Indy Book Fairy ℚ
August 29th: I’m an Eclectic Reader ✉
August 31st: I Heart Reading ✍
September 4th: BooksChatter ℚ
September 7th: Books are Forever ✉
September 9th: Reviews by Cat ✍
September 11th: Bookish Madness ✉
September 13th: A Fold in the Spine ✍✉
September 15th: Editor Charlene’s Blog ✉
September 17th : Puddletown Reviews ✍
September 19th: Majanka’s Blog ℚ
September 20th: A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus ✍
September 21st: Nat’s Book Nook ✉

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