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Extra Innings Press Release

I thought for this blog I would share my press release.  This will be sent to three different northeast Ohio newspapers:  The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, The Akron Beacon Journal and the Canton Repository.  The goal is for them to print an article in a Sunday edition to help advertise the release of my first novel Extra Innings: The Diamond Thieves.  Shown below is what I wrote for the press release.  Anyone who has field experience in writing these I would love to hear some feedback.

Local Author Releases His Debut Novel

Every teenager will face a life-altering crossroads when they struggle to do what’s right in the face of steep pressure to do wrong.  For Author Brian Gibson of Akron, Ohio, this becomes a personal message in his debut novel Extra Innings, The Diamond Thieves.

Diamond Thieves is the first of three fictional books in his Extra Innings trilogy that chronicles the teenage lives of identical twin brothers Jimmy and Billy McGee. The twins who, along with an entertaining cast of friends, are being challenged by their arch enemies for exclusive domain over their neighborhood baseball diamond.

Set in the late 1940’s Deep South, the boys must deal with a very adult ethical dilemma that intensifies the conflict: in the face of opposition from the town and their rivals, should they allow their best friend and team spark plug, who is black, to play in the deciding game?

‘My goal with this story was to connect with all individuals and inspire them in a way that improves their life and way of thinking’, said Gibson who goes by the pen name B.W. Gibson. ‘I feel like I have accomplished that.’

The Diamond Thieves conveys a strong unfiltered message about life during a period in history when racism was still a way of life in small-town southern communities.

Gibson displays a writing style that will transport you back to the sights, sounds and even smells of this Cold War period in U.S. history.

Please find enclosed a review copy for your consideration. For more information visit Brian Gibson’s website





Opening Day of Extra Innings

What a relief to finally have this book Extra Innings:  The Diamond Thieves finally available.  Not only for myself but all those who have been inquiring about it.  It’s been quite a journey.  The fictional story of identical twin brothers Jimmy and Billy McGee has been some recent revisions – primarily in Chapter 1.

When I first received an actual printed copy and turned to the first page of Chapter 1 – I was not happy with what I read.  The first line use to read:  Jimmy and Billy stood in each other’s way of the bathroom mirror, upstairs in their parent’s Mississippi home, each desperate to find his own evidence of puberty.  

I felt “stood in each other’s way” was too negative of an opening.  This was not the image I was going for in this book.  Nor did I want the reader to think that puberty was the primary theme.   The tricky part of removing this line was that I really liked how it read.  So after some careful thought, I found a more impactful and appropriate place for it in Book 2:  Race of the Gemini.  It actually fits better here considering the overall theme of this particular book compared to the theme in Book 1: The Diamond Thieves.

From there the chapter went on with negative comments about how the boys were too hot, their attic bedroom was too hot, they were bored and just one negative comment after another.    I’m not sure why I never had this general impression before.  I guess looking at a computer screen or an 8.5 x 11 printed page doesn’t deliver the same impact as when your actually holding your complete book in your hand … who knows?

So I did a major overhaul to the first 3 pages.  I also did some work to a baseball card trading dialogue between Fist and Boston in Chapter 2 simply because some of the facts were inaccurate.

Probably one of the biggest changes was one of the twins’ friends Ryan Blair.  By some random course of events, I learned through Google that “Ryan” was NEVER a first name of a boy prior to the late 1950’s.  This book takes place in 1947 and the character Ryan Blair was 13 – so he would have been born in 1934.  At this time, Ryan was only a last name.  How me or my editor never caught this before is beyond me.  So I used Google to search for popular Southern boys names, 1930’s and found

The name Charles popped out as one that I liked the most.  Charles was the 6th most popular boy’s name at that time.  PLUS, Charles is my grandfather’s name (on my dad’s side).  Charles Gibson.  So I thought this would be perfect.  Being that this is the South, Charles became Charlie and therefore Ryan become Charlie Blair.

There were a few other minor character’s who’s names needed changed to more accurately reflect the time period.

Additionally, my mom pointed out that the street the McGee twins lived on (which was also the name of the street my mom grew up on in Ohio) was inaccurate.  I had the street name as Greenvalley Drive.  My mom corrected me and said that Greenvalley should be two words, so to better pay homage to my mom’s childhood I changed it to Green Valley Drive.

Lastly, I beefed up one of the character’s roles during the baseball game.  As stated in the book’s summary T.J. was the team’s spark plug, so I enhanced some of his actions throughout the book to more dramatically reflect this claim.

Overall, I am MUCH HAPPIER with this revised product.  I hope that all my readers enjoy it and most importantly, I hope that the last chapter (Chapter 12) leaves them craving the release of Book 2 (of 3): Race of the Gemini.


Chapter 7 Summary (The Diamond Thieves)

It’s too “daggone” hot outside for baseball. So the boys head over to the Drug Store Soda Fountain for some ice cream. There they learn from High School hot-shot Tommy Lee Mason that “the mob” has been secretly sending a spy to the diamond to report back news on the weak spots in the boys playing.


Digging Deeper into the Conflict

Chapter 9 of Extra Innings: The Diamond Thieves starts off with the following:

It was curious how no obstacles arose when Skip proposed what he called the “T.J. contract” to Jonas and the mob.  They all agreed.  It was equally strange that kidnapping the mob’s “ball-retriever” was so easy.  Slave, as he was called, immediately took off running to fetch Jimmy’s fly ball.  As he stepped into the street and reached down to pick up the baseball, a whispered voice called out to him.  Panicked, the boy froze still. 

What is this?  Cliff Notes?  The original version of Extra Innings devoted pages to exactly how this scene unfolds and then I went and revised it to this extremely abridged version.  Obviously, you can probably tell by my tone that I’m not happy with this.  There is so much underlying potential to build suspense and wrestle with conflict.  So this week I am digging deeper into this particular incident and bringing it more to life for the reader.  Although I’m a little constrained on time, my goal is to get it done by Sunday.  We shall see.  I will keep you all posted and maybe provide a brief snippet of the finished copy.  Stay tuned and wish Jimmy, Billy & Skip luck as they try and escape the confrontation they receive from Jonas and his boys.

Oh yeah … and for those of you who were following … I will continue with the Chapter Summaries as well.