Writing about playing baseball in “the show”—while still pitching professionally—was a daily drama and, ultimately, a danger for Dirk Hayhurst.
“I understood it now, clear and plain. This is why everyone worried about when I was around,” wrote the baseball player-turned-author. “That I would take some important piece of personal information and throw it into the hurricane of public opinion. That I would, whether intentional or not, wreck someone’s life. This is why I was a toxic teammate.”
Hayhurst, who grew up south of Canton and still lives in Northeast Ohio, recently published “Bigger Than the Game: Restitching A Major League Life,” the last in his trilogy of books tracing his rise from the minor leagues and fall from the major leagues.
Injury dictated his departure, but he kept writing through rehabilitation, finishing the story he started with two previous books, “Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran” and “Out of My League: A Rookie’s Survival in the Bigs.”
In the end, the book the author calls “my most important work” was a tale of excessive use of prescription pain-killing drugs, and eventually a decision to turn his attention to baseball broadcasting and to reflect in his writing on the state of his sport as he saw it from the inside.
“There is a market for pain relief in baseball,” writes Hayhurst, who played in the organizations for the San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays.
“Discomfort-free play is something we want our athletes to have. The bottom line is, as long as there is money at stake, production to be lost and championships to be won, players will find ways to get an edge within the parameters of what is ‘allowed.’ ”
WHITE HOUSE COUPLES
Volume by volume, Richard McElroy of Canton is building his reputation as a presidential scholar and historian. McElroy recently published his 12th book, “American Presidents and First Ladies.”
Historians generally don’t have their subjects around to discuss the details, and McElroy’s problem was typical. The writing of “American Presidents and First Ladies” took time—more than a decade.
Much of McElroy’s work was in researching presidential papers and newspaper articles, uncovering anecdotes and facts that weren’t available for his previous books about the presidents. He also interviewed descendants of the presidents and first ladies.
Over the years, writing about presidents has been a passion for McElroy, who has worked as both a high school teacher and college professor. He wrote such books as “Battlefield Presidents: Zachary Taylor and Benjamin Harrison and Their America,” “William McKinley and Our America” and “James A. Garfield: His Life & Times.”
McElroy’s interest in the first ladies showed itself to be an intense interest more recently. About a year ago, he addressed letters to legislators and congressmen, civic and historical organizations and the media, promoting the creation of “a new national holiday, honoring the women who, since 1789, have served in the role as the official hostess of the Executive Mansion.”
“Such a celebration would help all Americans in pausing to reflect and exalt the memory of these unique and dedicated ladies,” he wrote. So, also, does McElroy’s new book.
ROMANCE AND MYSTERY
Canton-area author Julie Anne Lindsey was the mother of three children and looking for a little “me time” in 2011 when a book she read soothed her weary soul and suggested a writing career.
“I’ve always been good with words. I like creating things. I thought I probably could do that,’” Lindsey recalled. “Once I got started, I found out I really liked it. I got caught up with writing for people I’d never meet, writing something that would make them smile and give them a break.”
The self-proclaimed “word nerd” quickly became prolific. In 2013, she published five books in three different genres—young adult, mystery and romance.
Among Lindsey’s books include two e-books published by Carina Press, a digital imprint for Harlequin. The first in this series of Patience Price Mysteries, “Murder By the Seaside,” was published late last year, and the second, “Murder Comes Ashore,” was released earlier this year. The third book, “Murder in Real Time,” is scheduled to be out in August or September.
“I just learned that the series has been picked for print by Harlequin Books. The first book in the series will be out in print in November,” the author said. “Then I finally can say I’m a Harlequin author.”
Another recent title, “Deceived,” is a young adult suspense novel published by Merit Press.
“I like writing for young adults,” she said. “I like the freedom of teens. They don’t have ex-husbands or mortgages.”
In adult writing, Lindsey is drawn to mixing mystery with romance, she said.
“I like writing mystery, but in every book there is a romance,” she explained. “I like suspense and action, something more than just the romance. I’ve tried to be a storyteller.”