Friday, June 5, 2015

A Life of Inches by Douglas Esper Blog Tour

Ryan Kelly and Woodie Wodyzewski always fight for every inch.

Whether on the baseball diamond, the basketball court, or even the dance floor, these two friends are true competitors.

When Ryan beats Woodie in a bike race because Woodie has the misfortune to be hit by a car, he seems to have won. But the beautiful girl who crashes into their lives is worth far more than any trophy.

Molly De Leon knows all about winning, and nothing will keep her from her goals.

Ryan and Woodie have been vying for Molly since the day they met. How can she possibly choose between them?

Woodie has a complicated family situation and she desperately wants to help him through his misery and confusion. A little on edge with a temper, he’s the bad boy in her life who reminds Molly a lot of her mother, a powerful politician she’s grown up watching bend men and women to her will with a simple smile.

Ryan, on the other hand, is very close to his parents, grounded, and has a good sense of humor. He’s not your typical jock; he’s a safe, reliable pick, and a constant in Molly's life—that is, until his injuries lead him down a destructive path.

Molly realizes it’s time to make a decision…

But how can she risk losing either one of them when they both own a piece of her heart?

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Pushing with all of my strength, I extend my arms another an inch as I think of Molly, of Woodie, and about pitching a baseball. Another surge of effort, another inch, but the thoughts fueling my workout remain the same. I think of her. I think of him. I think about baseball.

Ho Ban, my team’s trainer, says, “A little faster, now.”

Separating myself from the stench of the padded floor, I push as I kiss Molly. Another push and I strike out Woodie.

I push.

I grunt, attempting to ignore the dull ache in my arm growing sharper with each rep, but I don’t allow any sign of self-doubt to show on my face. I’m not going to let anything stand between myself and the Triple-A Championship tonight.

“Ryan, keep your back straight. I don’t want to see you favoring your right side anymore.”

Ho, a former baseball star from South Korea, is one of only three people in the organization aware of my shoulder issue from college.

“Embrace the pain, Ryan,” he says. “Embrace the pain and rise above it.”

I push.

I push.

I think about Molly, and I push faster.

The sweat feels good, the warmth of motion feels good, and, to be honest, even the pain feels good. Woodie, here I come.

Ho says, “Good. Good. That’s better.”

It’s still early in the day, yet I’ve been training for over an hour to prepare for tonight’s big game. Quickening my pace, my arms grow weak and a little shaky.

Ho says, “Ok, that’s enough.”

I ignore him and keep pushing.

“Ryan, enough.”

Ho claps his hands, the sound echoing around the empty gym. “We get it. You’re capable of a massive amount of very fast push-ups, but you’re not going to win us the game at 7 in the morning.”

Making baseball a career requires a knack for swinging a stick of wood and hitting the ball screaming toward you at high speed, but keeping a routine can prove just as important a skill. The ability to grind it out day after day, night after night, small-town city after small-town city is what separates the successful players from the ones you’ve never heard about.

Tonight, I’ll be facing off against my best friend and oldest rival, Hank “Woodie” Wodyzewski.

I push.

I push.

I push, and I ache.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I read a lot of sports romances, but usually they are written by women. This was a really interesting departure, as the voice is definitely of a man. I found it a really good story, and was hooked from the outset into wanting to know how it would turn out. The title is really appropriate, as the story unfolded with the trio being about 16 to early thirties.

Told by Ryan, about his life, immersed in baseball, and being in love with Molly; yet always with his childhood friend Woodie in the picture; this is a wonderful mixture of sport, friendship and frustration. It is in many ways a gentle, and very real story, with minor family dramas and life changing incidents described in an understated way. On one level it is a thoughtful read, a study of friendship and chance. And although I have described it as a romance; it is not a steamy romp at all.

I will be looking out for more by Mr. Esper, because his voice rang true for me. Thank you.

A Life of Inches is about a love triangle between Ryan, Woodie and Molly. Ryan falls fast for Molly, but Molly falls for Woodie. The story is based over a ten year period and what happens between the friends in the process. It's written from Ryan's POV. Ryan and Woodie have battled between themselves on and off the field to be the best. Why wouldn't they battle over the same woman?

The baseball aspect had me saying yes please to the read. Adding baseball to a romance is always a go to for me. It's been a long time since I have read a book without any sex. I think the most intimacy is a kiss or two. I dare say, it was refreshing. Most of the titles I read are filled with sex, this was a nice change. It wasn't a bad read but at times I did skim out of boredom. Being Mr. Esper's debut novel and I look forward to more from him.

It was at a very early age when I, Douglas Esper, (your friendly neighborhood author) realized I had a passion for the written word. As a youngster, I couldn't get enough books to satisfy my desire to read and to this day, I still own many books my parents got for me. In school I gravitated toward reading and writing to the point teachers grew impatient with me for writing stories in class.

The passion and drive to read and write continues to this day and my goal of feeling comfortable in my own writing skin seems within reach. I've self-published 2 picture books for kids, Sammy's Birthday Surprise and The Mystery of the Flying Tomatoes, a few short stories, and my debut novel, A Life of Inches, will be released by Limitless Publishing spring of 2015.

I live in North Ridgeville, Ohio, just west of Cleveland, with my wife, our kids, and that meddlesome dog.

I'm currently falling in love with David Fulmer books, and also enjoying the latest Les Roberts mystery novel. If I'm not reading or writing you can find me watching the Cleveland Browns losing on Sunday, writing music with my band, or observing my kids doing cute, and usually messy, stuff.

Hope this helps you learn a bit about me, but now it's your turn...introduce yourself!

Connect with Douglas

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of A Life of Inches by Douglas Esper to read and review for this tour.

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