Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings

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Told in his own words during the seventh game of the World Series, Backstop chronicles his
rookie year, finds romance, and reveals the heartbreak he endured in the aftermath of his adulterous affair. You’ll cheer for Backstop as he plays the most important game of his career, haunted by the ghost of his father, and fights to win back the heart of the woman he loves more than the game.

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About J. Conrad Guest

I write novels about everyday people dealing with the universal ideals of love, loss, regret, and death—and the emotions associated with those ideals. A reader once told me that my work was, “Gritty, entertaining… real. Romance for the non-romantic.”

My first novel, January’s Paradigm, was published by Minerva Press, London, England. Current Entertainment Monthly in Ann Arbor, Michigan, wrote of January’s Paradigm, “(readers) will not be able to put it down.” I have two other novels based on the Joe January character, One Hot January and January’s Thaw. Both are available from Second Wind Publishing.

In 2008 I completed Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings, which is available from Second Wind Publishing as well as from Amazon in both book and Kindle formats, and from Barnes and Noble (Nook). Backstop was nominated as a 2010 Michigan Notable Book, while the Lewis Department of Humanities at the Illinois Institute of Technology adopted it as required reading for their spring 2011 course, Baseball: America’s Literary Pastime.

Chaotic Theory, a novella that explores the conjecture of how the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil might result in a tornado in Texas, is now available from Amazon in book and Kindle formats.

In April 2010, I completed my fifth novel, The Cobb Legacy, a murder mystery that spans two centuries written around baseball legend, Ty Cobb, and the shooting death of his father by his mother. The Cobb Legacy is now available for download for your Kindle, Nook, EPUB, MOBI or in PDF.

Death is considered a universal ideal in fiction writing, so you’ll want to check out A Retrospect in Death, which is now available from Second Wind.

500 Miles to Go is set during the golden era of motor racing (the 1960s). The story follows young Alex Król as he seeks love while making his dream to win the Indianapolis 500 come true. 500 Miles to Go is now available from Second Wind.

I’ve completed, A World Without Music, speculative fiction set against a backdrop of romance, has been accepted for publication and will launch in late 2014.

I’ve commenced my next novel, Forever a Philanderer.

My fiction and essays appear in various online and print publications, including Cezanne’s Carrot, Saucy Vox, River WalkJournal, 63 Channels, The Writers Post Journal, Redbridge Review, and Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine. My sports writing can be found at Bleacher Report.

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Reviews

Review by: Sheila Deeth on Sep. 29, 2013 : star star star star
I’m not really into sports, but the cover of J. Conrad Guest’s novel, Backstop, has a woman’s hand holding the ball and promises A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings. So I learn there are nine innings in a baseball game.
I grew up English so I started this novel knowing very little about baseball—it includes a bat, a ball, and the need to run, but it’s not cricket. Still, the narrator, Backstop, describes his sport and his life in this book in a way that makes me care about him and the game. Sometimes it’s like listening to the guys in my family discuss football (soccer to the uninitiated). I can almost join in. I’m having fun.
J. Conrad Guest’s novel feels very personable, and really is fun. I want Backstop’s team to win. I want the right sort of ball. I watch to see the arm before its release—how fast will it fly?—and I listen for the crack to resound in the air. Meanwhile I learn of a young man first succumbing to then overcoming the advances of female sports fans. He wants more of life—I want more for him. He meets a girl…
The reader follows the love story, as promised, while following the game. It’s an important game, an important love too, and either could be lost; commitment, trust, faithfulness… and coping with betrayal. On the field there’s the player who always annoys, but perhaps still has true advice to give. Off the field there’s hope.
So now I know a little more about baseball, and a little more of love. I have a sympathy for sportsmen I might not have had before, after seeing the hard sides of temptation. And I feel like I’ve spent time with someone honest and interesting, who loves a sport and a woman and is well worth knowing for both. Backstop’s a read where slow development contrasts with fast balls, slow plans with hurried mistakes, and slow reading with quickened excitement and delight. The dialog has a sweet old-fashioned feel, pleasant humor, and serious depth, and the whole is a seriously enjoyable tale.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of Backstop by the author, no strings attached, and chose to write a review.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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