I am thrilled to announce that TODAY! my young adult, coming-of-age novel CHIN MUSIC RHUBARB is published! Please don’t hesitate to get a copy at the opening week pricing before it goes up.
I’ve been in the book business for a long time, but I’ve never written a book as easily as I wrote CHIN MUSIC RHUBARB. I think that’s because it is based on my actual experiences as a baseball player for Dunedin High School in the mid-to-late 1980s.
It seems like another lifetime ago. Before I had a pen name, I was just Alex Lynch, a troubled kid who moved to Florida from New York when his parents got divorced. There was a part of me that was happy-go-lucky. And another part that was angry. As anyone who remembers me in high school can attest, I got into a lot of fistfights, caused a lot of trouble and even got arrested (for stealing a keg out of the back of a beer truck with a teammate, lol).
So how do you turn a troubled teenage life into a young adult novel? Well, trouble is dramatic, which is great for a book, and there’s nothing like a reversal of fortune story to make people feel good.
With the pre-order results being as good as they are, I’m really excited about the book’s potential. I’ve received lots of requests from Major League Baseball teams (not the Rays, tho) who want to set up giveaways to attract fans back to their parks. Even some pretty famous ESPN commentators requested copies and some are even saying it’s the next best thing for baseball since Moneyball, The Natural and even Field of Dreams. That’d be great, and let’s face it, our national pastime needs a boost. But I tend to think those are just my publisher’s marketing department and publicists trying to gain create excitement though. We’ll see what happens.
But maybe my favorite part of this is Scott Hemond (Coach Glennon in the book), who was, and still is! a legend in Dunedin High School lore for making it to the major leagues. He has a copy and I can’t wait to hear what he thinks since all of us in the mid-to-late 80s looked up to him.
Yes, the book is about my time as a high school baseball player and about the other kids on the team, but it is a fictionalized version of the events. Dunedin’s name is changed to Ellington, names of characters are different too (though some nicknames survived) and the storyline does not follow directly with actual events.
Coach Nichols, or simply Coach Nick, who was a legend himself, is the antagonist. He is as cold as ice in the book, which is somewhat true to form as he was not exactly understanding of me and the difficulties in my home life back then.
In fact years later in 2005 when I was writing for the Tampa Bay Times, I saw him at a game and approached him. I apologized to him for my behavior as a player and that I was trying to become a better person. Well, he sneered and ignored me. Literally turned away from me. For a kid who never had a father, I have to say, that really hurt. So for those of you who may think the portrayal of him is unfair, well, it’s not.
Interestingly, earlier this year I was notified on a Facebook group called “I Grew Up in Dunedin” that someone had found my class ring (I’ve lived in New York City for many years). I had lost it sometime in the early 1990s. Yet it showed up a couple months before the publication of this book. I call that perfect timing. Must be some sort of sign or something.
Please consider getting a copy now. It’s only $2.99 for Kindle and the paperback is $12.99, but those prices are going to go up soon.