FAST-PITCH LOVE by Clay Cormany
For most people, softball is a way to have fun, get exercise, make friends, and develop teamwork. But for 17-year-old Jace Waldron, softball is something more – a pathway to maturity. It is through that game that Jace learns what is important in romance and why physical beauty alone is not enough to make it work. Join Jace and his team, the Valkyries, as they come to the plate to take on all challengers, while gaining valuable lessons about life along the way.
"A sweet tale of looking past appearances and finding what really matters." -- Kelly Martin, author of BIG is Beautiful
“The book has some unexpected twists and turns as the likeable but somewhat hapless Jace grows into a young man who takes responsibility for his life and his choices.” – Gretchen Hirsch, award-winning writer and editor
from Chapter One: Jace, the protagonist, discovers his out-of-reach love interest may not be out-of-reach after all.
Stick pulled out of the parking lot and headed toward the center of town where most of the restaurants and fast food places were.
"I saw you scoping out Stephanie during the history final," he said while they waited on a traffic light. "Man, you’re way out of bounds with her."
"I know," Jace answered. "But who says I can’t dream?"
"I wouldn’t even risk doing that, Slo-Mo. If that gorilla boyfriend of hers ever gets wind of what’s on your mind, your dream could become a nightmare real quick."
"Who’s going to tell him — you?"
"Are you kidding? He’s no friend of mine, although he might make a good pet if you could find a big enough cage."
The light turned green, and Stick shot through the intersection.
Jace shook his head and frowned. "I just want a chance with her. Just one chance. Maybe something could happen between us. If she’s not interested, okay. That wouldn’t kill me. What’s killing me is that I don’t know and never will as long as –"
"Carson's in the way?"
Stick took a hand off the steering wheel and rubbed his chin as if he were a wise old man with a long beard. "King Kong is a problem," he admitted. "No doubt about that." Then a mischievous grin took shape. "But maybe not as much as you think."
"What do you mean?" Jace's voice betrayed both hope and anxiety.
At that moment, Stick pulled into Burger World and stopped in front of the menu board. A large globe with a painted-on face and a chef’s hat asked for their order. Stick glanced at Jace. "Want anything?"
"No thanks. I’m not that hungry. Now what did you mean –"
"Well, I am. Give me a Global Burger with everything, medium fries, and large vanilla shake."
"That will be four twenty-five," the talking globe said in its buzz saw-like voice. "Please pull up to the window."
While they waited for Stick’s food, Jace again asked, "What did you mean when you said Carson may not be that much of a problem?"
Stick leaned back and put his hands behind his head. "I found out Carson might not be spending much time around Ridgeview this summer," he said.
"He’s got himself a job at a lumber yard up in Michigan. Plus, he’s going to be visiting some colleges that want him to play football for them."
"How long will he be gone?"
"I don’t know. But Michigan is pretty far from central Ohio, so if he’s going way up there, he’ll probably stay awhile. A few weeks anyway, wouldn’t you think?"
"Yeah, makes sense."
"Long enough for a clever rival to make his move."
Before writing Fast-Pitch Love, Clay Cormany spent over 20 years as a writer and editor for the Ohio Department of Education. His creative work has appeared in the Columbus Dispatch and Spring Street, Columbus State Community College's literary magazine. He has also edited numerous books, including a three-volume biography of Christopher Columbus and A Death Prolonged by Dr. Jeff Gordon, which received coverage in the New York Timesand on PBS. Fast-Pitch Love is his first novel.
- I started the story while recovering from prostate cancer surgery. I couldn't drive or go any farther than around the block for two weeks. So it seemed a good time to begin work on that story idea that had been bouncing around in my head for months.
- Almost all the softball sequences in Fast-Pitch Love are based on actual events that I either witnessed or read about.
- I intend to give 1/2 of my first few royalty checks to support girls softball programs in central Ohio and perhaps elsewhere.
- One of the "mistakes" I made in early drafts of Fast-Pitch Love was having multiple POVs, sometimes in the same chapter. In the end, I had only one POV (the protagonist's) throughout the whole story.
- I discovered Astraea Press after a presenter at a writers conference discussed the advantages of “small presses.”