Avid readers of TST may recall over the past few months I've mentioned the novel I've been working on, titled "Off The Fairway."
I completed it a few months back & since then I've been editing, re-writing & fussing over it. I also joined some writer's groups here in Orlando to learn the business of publishing. Well, consider this one of those efforts.
I will be self-publishing it within the next couple of months. The reason for self-publishing is it's limited potential market - due to the subject matter it does not have broad appeal - it's a niche book. It is a story of a talented but troubled professional golfer by the name of Billy Edwards. Billy is a tour winner but has a strong penchant for self-destruction (no, it's not the John Daly Story).
I will be entering it in a couple of contests this month. Hopefully it generates enough buzz to be picked up by a publishing firm. Even if it's not, I am proud of it, and I think many here at TST would enjoy the content & the story.
Here is the teaser -
And here is the opening scene -
“Man, it’s hot,” said Shakes.
It was a typical Midwest summer afternoon. Uncomfortably muggy. Air you wear.
Billy Edwards toweled down his face for what seemed like the umpteenth time as he strode down the eighteenth fairway at the Bear Creek Country Club in Joplin, Missouri. On this Saturday afternoon, Billy played himself into earshot of the lead in the Show Me State Open with a bogey-free six under par. He knew that one more birdie would post a very satisfying 65, placing him one shot behind the leader and playing alongside him the next day with the title on the line.
Right where I want to be, thought Billy. I can stare down Phillips, and then take him down.
Phillips was Freddie Phillips, already a three-time winner on the PGA tour this year and gunning for his fourth win and first-place on the Tour’s money list. The $800,000 first prize would all but assure that. Phillips was already in the clubhouse with an up-and-down round of two under par 70. His four-shot lead at the beginning of the day could shrink to one if Billy could coax one more putt to fall.
As Billy approached the green the gallery reactively began to applaud, but it was not the typical enthusiastic swelling applause reserved for the, well, Freddie Phillipses of the tour. It was more of a courtesy applause given to a player who was not a fan favorite. It was a begrudging way to acknowledge a talented person doing their talented thing.
Billy recognized it.
“F**k them. I’ll get them back on my side,” he snarled under his breath as he doffed his cap to the crowd with a tight smile that more resembled a grimace.
He then turned his attention to his 18-foot birdie putt. With the assist of Shakes, his weathered, much-younger-than-his-face-showed caddy, they both crouched behind the ball. Billy was in a deep knee-bend with his face about two feet above the ground. Shakes hovered directly over him; the flagstick perched on right shoulder. Both peered intently at the grass path they envisioned the ball traveling on.
“What you got, Shakes?”
“I got two balls outside right lip, B.E., cup speed. Don’t get frisky with it, die it into the hole.”
Billy then went though his pre-shot routine permanently hard-wired into his psyche via rote repetition. Two practice swings. Place the Ping B-60 putter behind the ball; look at the hole, back to the putter, back to the hole, back to putter. Keep the head still. A deep cleansing breath. Swing.
The putt came off exactly as Shakes instructed; two balls outside the right lip of the hole. For the longest time it looked like it would stay like that, not taking the break but sliding by on the right. Then in the last three feet the ball, almost on command, broke hard to the left and tracked into the dead center of the hole.
“Like it had eyes,” said Shakes.
The gallery reaction was sudden, powerful. Billy gave his trademark fist-slam move, where he started his hand at his temple and brought it down hard and fast, as if he was hammering a nail. He let out a “F**k yeah!” that was, fortunately for him, drowned out by the crowd. Retrieving the ball from the cup, he turned to the crowd, took off his cap, and mouthed a ‘Thank You’ as his playing partner finished out. Shakes came over and gave him a well-deserved hard handshake that Billy responded to equally. It was as if Shakes’ handshake was saying Great stroke, and Billy’s was saying No…great read, Shakes. Such was their relationship – one of mutual admiration and trust.
Walking to the scorer’s tent through a line of fans, most were supportive. “Great round Billy! Take down Freddie tomorrow! Billy Edwards is back!” But there were also a couple of wiseasses interspersed. “We’ve seen this before Billy…How you gonna eff this one up, Cuz?”
Billy was used to it all – the good and the bad. And besides, he was just trying to get to the scorer’s tent so he could post his 65, answer a few questions in the press tent then just relax. He signed his card and then took a look at the scoreboard that indeed confirmed he stood one stroke behind Phillips. He talked to a few reporters outside, and then decided to hit the range for about an hour, take the courtesy car back to the hotel, order room service and get plenty of rest. Tomorrow was going to be a big day.
When he got to the range he pulled the cell phone out of his golf bag that had been shut off since before teeing off that morning. A few voice messages, a couple of texts. But there was one text message that caught his eye, and it totally entranced him –
Nice round. Gonna need anything tonight?
That was when Billy knew he had no chance to win the Show Me State Open.
I will keep all posted when it gets published. I will be using Amazon.com & it will be available thru that site.
(Note to Mods - apologies if I am placing this in the wrong forum or am 'self-promoting' - feel free to edit or delete. Thanks)