When the kitchen ceiling caved in, and the contents of his mother’s attic splayed across the floor, Ron, better known as “Punky,” knew he had to help clean up. With the assistance of his son and nephew, he would try to preserve as many of the dirty, mold-covered memories as he could, including a mysterious, old metal box, possibly belonging to his Grandpa Hash. What’s inside it takes him back thirty-two years earlier as he recalls the magical weekend in 1984 spent with his grandfather attending two baseball games. The first, at Tiger Stadium in Detroit to see their first-place heroes in action. Then to the local diamond to see their beloved Toledo Mud Hens the next day. The Beatles and Elvis on the radio, “crunchy” hot dogs, and plenty of baseball talk was on the agenda for this fun-filled road trip with many surprises along the way. The weekend takes an unexpected turn when the whereabouts of a long-lost family heirloom, a baseball signed by Abraham Lincoln, comes to light, setting off an impromptu detour, a bizarre return to a game at old Swayne Field—demolished twenty-nine years earlier, and uncovering the real holy grail of baseball collectibles.
Author Rick Taylor is taking his latest book, Ballad of the Blacksmith’s Son on tour – a Virtual Book Tour, that is, with Outskirts Press! Technology has created a wide variety of ways to reach audiences all over the world. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box, and nowadays you can market a self-published book in a variety of affordable and impactful ways. Virtual book tours, for example, are a great way to connect with readers from all corners of the globe, all from the comfort of your own home. Join Rick Taylor and Ballad of the Blacksmith’s Son as they appear in features and interviews (such as the one below) in the weeks and months ahead!
Luckily for us, Rick Taylor was kind enough to answer a few questions as the tour was getting started so that we can give you a sneak peek into the mind of the creator of Ballad of the Blacksmith’s Son.
OP: Tell us a little bit about Ballad of the Blacksmith’s Son. What is it about?
Rick Taylor: It is about Viking/Slav/Finn teens coming of age as fledging Russia faces Turk invasion. They crash head long into girls, Christianity, Russian winter, and unnatural wolf pack trying to prevent them from reaching their king.
OP: Why did you decide to write this story?
Rick Taylor: It is based on an idea I had while training soldiers and teaching high school. It matured from a short story to a book.
OP: How did you get your book published?
Rick Taylor: I got impatient with the agent/publisher-hunting rituals, especially after Covid-19 hit. I self-published through Outskirts Press.
OP: What types of readers would be interested in this story?
Rick Taylor: It has a touch of historical fiction and a dose of Christianity, but primarily it is an adventure. I am finding both teens and adults enjoy it and want to see the sequel.
OP: What is special about your book?
Rick Taylor: Everyone knows that the Vikings went West, but few are writing about what they did in the East. It has Viking heritage expressing itself in Russia. It reflects ideas from several Christian and secular authors. It draws off what I learned about teens during my 14 years as a teacher.
OP: What differentiates it from other books in the same category?
Rick Taylor: This is a coming-of-age adventure first, with faith as part of the challenge. Though some will classify this as a “Christian” book, there are no pat “faith” answers. Heroes fail, people die, questions remain unanswered. God’s plan may not save the day the way they want. I am trying to fill a gap between secular adventure books like the Cornwall Saxon Series and the ethereal imagery of a Ted Dekker story.
OP: Have you published any other books?
Rick Taylor: I have not.
OP: Do you plan to publish more?
Rick Taylor: Yes, the sequel is halfway done. (Lament of the Blacksmith’s Son) There is also a short story anthology in the works.
OP: Thanks for your time, Rick Taylor! We look forward to learning more about you as you visit other bloggers!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rick Taylor is a retired soldier and high school teacher. He has written for regional and national magazines and penned a column for the local newspaper. He and his wife, Patricia, live near the Puget Sound, where they cruise and race their sailboat.
This author purchased the Virtual Book Tour marketing option, which allows self-publishing authors to connect with bloggers and harness the power of the blogosphere by taking their book on the “virtual road.” Learn more about this service by visiting your Publishing Center and reviewing the available marketing options.
Are you an author looking for help to market your self-published book?
Bob Siqveland’s “The Vicissitudes of Fortune.” Five teenagers from diverse backgrounds are brought together by a war. A Japanese, a Jew, a Native American, an African American, and a white kid from middle-class America form an interdependent relationship in the jungles of Vietnam. They become the most highly decorated squad in a war they don’t understand, but their relationships transcend the social structures of racism formed through historical injustices, and they remain best friends for decades. as they grow from boys to men, they develop great character. At the same time, there are “takers” who infect the American system. They need to be brought to justice. This is an epic tale of how the dream of a world community can become a reality.
Robert Roach’s “A Most Daunting Time” is an epic tale of two families in the 1930s in the shadow of the Great Depression. One family, Melvyn and Sally Bridges farmed until the middle-’30s when the Dust Bowl rendered them penniless. They had two sons and a daughter. One became a remarkable baseball player, the other an aristocratic oil tycoon and the daughter became a “Belle of the South. The children lived quite well through the hardening times. But fate has a way of evening out the odds, and little did both families know they would be brought together in unforeseen circumstances.
Diane Dettmann’s “Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel.” Fifteen-year-old Yasu Sakamoto loves living in California, but Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 turns her young life into a devastating nightmare. Anti-Japanese threats appear everywhere-even in her school. Her hopes and dreams unravel quickly when President Roosevelt orders the internment of all people of Japanese descent living along the West Coast. Surrounded by barbwire fences and the constant watch of armed guards, Yasu and her older brother, Haro, struggle to accept the overcrowded living conditions and hardships of camp life. The strict regulations and humiliation force them to make courageous choices that will change their lives forever. Medalist Winner-New Apple E-Book Awards, Winner-Pacific Rim Book Festival-Young Adult Category
Doris Kenney Marcotte’s “Finding Ariadne.” How can violence be stopped without using violence? If Ariadne can’t find a way, her lover Theseus, and thirteen innocent children will die. Love, sacrifice, incest, rape, and the invasion of blood-thirsty Gods, all threaten to destroy Ariadne’s people, a civilization so advanced, its like would not be seen again for thousands of years. “Finding Ariadne” recreates the mysterious lost civilization found in 1922AD on the Greek island of Crete; and retells the love story between Theseus and Ariadne . . . the world’s oldest story of true love.
Diane Dettmann’s “Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph” is a coming-of-age sequel where Yasu Sakamoto continues her journey and the unexpected friendship that develops with Martha, a university professor. Yasu lies about her identity and her past to protect herself and her family. With anti-Japanese attitudes rising, hardships are created for Martha but she remains committed to the friendship with Yasu.