Category Archives: Book Review

Chapter 1 of Chasing the Dream

Hello everyone,

I know this must be a long anticipated post since I have not posted here in a while. But here it is! The prologue of my upcoming novel, Chasing the Dream. Chasing the Dream, is set to launch on 9/13. You can pre-order your copy now, or wait until it’s release. Chasing the Dream, is quite different then my first two novels. I would classify it as a sports thriller. Here is a little teaser for you:

One is driven from failure to success. The other is willing to let his friends die to chase his dream. Ooooh……Sexy, huh.

But without further ado, check it out below. Thank you for taking the time to read, and have a brilliant day.

Prologue

 

Cade Charleston Flint’s compulsion to cheat was insatiable. Not only did he have all the talent in the world, but he needed to win—no, he lusted for it at any cost. His blackened heart couldn’t be punctured, couldn’t be tamed. Some tried but all failed. The eighteen-year-old ballplayer remained reckless beyond repair.

But Cade Flint wasn’t always this way. It seemed as though his rise to stardom drove him into this darkened madness. And some—including his father—pleaded for him to stop. To quit the cheating and the lying and deceiving, but what did he know, Cade figured; his dad had never made it like he was going to, at least not all the way. Plus his dad had left the family at a critical time in his life, and Cade—well, Cade never forgave him for it.

When Cade was only fourteen—right about the time his father left—his brother Drake became a professional baseball player. You could say it was in their genes. Gilbert Flint, their grandfather, Jonas Flint, their uncle, and Rufus Flint, their father, all played professional baseball. Only their grandfather made it to the bigs, but as good as he was, Drake seemed destined.

It didn’t take a seasoned scout to see that Drake had talent. Few stood a chance against the six-foot-six right-hander out of Silversmith, Minnesota. His first year in pro ball he shot through the system with ease. When he got to the advanced levels, people really started talking. Drake struck fear in his opponents—fear that one day would cause him to consider quitting the game.

But Cade Flint surpassed even his brother’s greatness, especially in his own mind.

“Can this kid do no wrong?” the announcer said. “Cade Flint is a wrecking ball, a madman on a mission. He just snatched the victory for the Silversmith Bandits, their first ever state championship. He’s the best in the business, folks. No doubt, he will be going high in the professional draft next summer.”

Cade stood at home plate with his chest puffed out. Turning his body in circles, soaking up the loud cries of excitement from the adoring fans. His teammates danced around him in victory. With his ego bursting, Cade ripped his jersey from his chest and let out a battle cry of exceeding joy: “Ahhh!” There was no doubt in his mind he would make it, make it further than his father or even his brother ever could.

 

 

Top 9 Sports Books Of All-Time

It’s time to highlight my favorite sports books of all-time. There will be a mix of fiction and non-fiction thrown in. Please feel free to comment on your favorites below.

  • Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game By: Michael Lewis
  • What can I say about Moneyball? Well before it was a movie, it was a book. Not only did it follow one of my favorite general managers, but also one of my favorite Major League teams. I loved Michael Lewis’ writing style. He really captured the essence of who Billy Beane is, and what he stands for.
  • The Natural By: Bernard Malamud
  • This one was a fun one for me, because I saw the movie way before I ever read the book. Boy was I surprised by the outcome. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you’ve never read this great classic, I highly recommend you do. You won’t soon forget it.
  • Clearing the Bases By: Mike Schmidt & Glen Waggoner
  • Michael Jack Schmidt is one of my favorite ball players. Even though I was born toward the end of his career, I grew up hearing about his baseball prowess. In this autobiography, Schmidt takes a hard look at himself and a look at the game as it stood at the time of publication. I appreciated his candor, and found myself even more in love with him after I finished.
  • Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia By: David L. Cook
  • Again… another book turned into a movie. I had the privilege of reading this before it became a movie. Even though the movie was shall we say, dry, the book was not. It holds your attention like any well written tale should and draws you in, making you care for the protagonists throughout.
  • The Habit of Rivers By: Ted Leeson
  • I know… some may not consider fishing a sport, but I do. Especially the great sport of fly fishing. Ted Leeson takes you on a journey through the Northwest. This book is riddled with humor, sensitivity, and of course fishing.
  • A River Runs Through It By: Norman Maclean
  • Again, I saw the movie before I ever read the book. I mean, how could you not, it’s one of the best stories ever told. The movie was great, but the book: even better. This novella takes you on a ride. You feel like you’re actually there with the author experiencing everything along the way. I loved this book! There’s probably a pretty good reason why it’s won so many awards.
  • Quiet Strength By: Tony Dungy
  • Who doesn’t love Tony Dungy? He’s a man of God, a wonderful person, and an excellent coach. I wished I would’ve had the honor to play for a man of his integrity at the highest level. Nowadays sports are inundated with coaches who can’t say five words without dropping the f bomb. The man’s a genius. I’m so happy for him that he was able to lead his Colts to victory in the Super Bowl.
  • Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf By: Ben Hogan
  • Whether you are just starting in the sport, or have been playing for years. This book will teach you something. It is absolutely timeless. The lessons I learned from this book lowered my handicap by four strokes, no joke. Anyone can go out and hack it up on the course, but if you want to get serious about the game, check this out, you will not regret it.
  • Beyond belief: Finding strength to Come Back By: Josh Hamilton
  • Who doesn’t love Josh Hamilton’s redemption story? The thing you may not know about Mr. Hamilton is what he has had to go through to get to where he is today. This book paint’s the picture for you. I could not believe everything he has had to battle, and I’m sure still continues to battle for that matter. I want to applaud him for fighting to overcome his demons. Keep battling Josh, and God Bless.

 

 

There you have it folks! I’d love to hear your thoughts on your favorite sports books. I’m sure your selections are a bit different, but hey, they should be.

If you look close enough you can get a taste of my writing style by looking at the picture above. 🙂

Author Spotlight Interview

I was honored to be interviewed by a fellow author named Ben Mariner. Please check out the interview below, and click on the link to visit his website..

Indie Author Spotlight: J.D. Dudycha

Paint the Black is the story of Jack Burke, a young man drafted into Major League Baseball straight from high school. Although his talent on the pitching mound is rivaled by very few even at his young age, it’s Jack’s personal life that causes a constant stream of grief, injury, and crumbling personal relationships. For Jack, professional baseball is his lifelong dream, but he quickly finds out that being on your own and navigating the treacherous waters of life isn’t as easy as he thinks, despite getting exactly what he wants. When Jack’s life goes into a downward spiral, help comes from an unexpected source and he’ll never be the same.

This is not your typical sports novel. Yes, the back drop for everything is baseball, but the story has so much more depth. It’s much more of a character piece than a focus on a team and their struggle to become number one. J.D. Dudycha manages to tell the struggle of one kid trying to keep his head above water in a world he really isn’t truly ready for without making that entire struggle focused solely on the game of baseball. Jack’s life revolves around baseball (for the most part) but the story revolves around Jack and the myriad bad decisions that he can’t seem to help himself from making. The whole thing is kind of like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You can see Jack barreling toward something that will screw him over, but you can’t do anything to stop it.

What I really like about this book is that it’s accessible to everyone. J.D. spent a lot of time in baseball himself, and that knowledge really shines through in the story, but even someone who knows nothing about sports – like myself – can easily follow along and not feel like they’re missing something. I think that’s where so many other sports related novels go wrong.

Baseball fan or not, it’s hard not to sympathize with Jack’s plight and cheer him on as he finds his way to redemption.

Now let’s meet the author!

J.D. Dudycha is a former college baseball player and coach. He has over ten years of experience in baseball at the collegiate level. After the birth of his son in 2012, J.D. retired from coaching to be a stay-at-home dad. Since his retirement, he developed a love for writing, an outlet he so desperately needed in the absence of baseball. Though his stories are fictional, he has drawn from his personal life as well as his expertise and knowledge of the game to craft his novel. J.D. lives with his wife and son in Denver, Colorado, where he also enjoys golf and fly fishing.

First things first, give us a Tweet synopsis of the book (140 characters or less):

A gritty, in your face story of redemption. Jack Burke, whose talent on the baseball diamond is hard to replicate, it’s off where he finds trouble around every corner.

I personally feel like you made this book comprehensible for all readers despite their level of baseball knowledge. Was it difficult to translate your own extensive knowledge into something anyone could grasp?

Most of the baseball scenes inside Paint the Black, came from personal experience. I wrote them in a way that the average reader could still understand the overall concept, and in depth enough that an avid baseball fan could admire the expertise.

My editor, who was brilliant by the way, was unfamiliar with inner workings of the sport. So I felt if she could understand the overall flow of the storyline, than anyone could.

My hope is anyone can pick this book up. It reads as a character driven piece that just happens to revolve around the game of baseball.

You’ve spent a lot of time in the world of baseball. Do Jack Burke’s trials and tribulations mirror your own, or was your time in baseball a little less eventful?

Jack, along with every character inside Paint the Black, has a little bit of me in them. I tried to take the best of me and worst of me, and put it to page. I loved developing Jack, and Dallas, my two favorite characters in the book. They are both similar in a way, but also different. Dallas brings Jack down, but it’s Jack who makes the choices. Nobody made him do the things he did. He made his own decisions, and had to live with the consequences.

I never got to Jack’s level, but let’s just say I was close.

It seems that some of the things that Jack goes through in Paint the Black are becoming more and more typical in professional sports. What advice would you give a young athlete looking to go pro?

You know, I think a lot of what Jack went through could be related to anyone’s story. He didn’t have to be a ballplayer to get sucked into the lifestyle he chose. He could’ve just as easily been a construction worker, or businessman. I would tell any young man whose thrust into the world without a life preserver: rely on God, and he will never steer you wrong.

Also, do not let your sport/job define you! I personally lived for so long with that mind set, and it nearly cost me everything.

Christianity plays a big role in Paint the Black, as I know it does your own life. What made you decide to veer away from the typical sports novel and focus on the aspect of faith in the face of adversity?

When I retired from the game in 2012, I was left with a hole in my heart. Baseball has been a part of me since I could hold a glove and bat. I had so many memoires, no stories from the game. God put it on my heart to share this particular story with the world, and my hope is many can relate.

I wrote Paint the Black, with the end reader in mind. This novel is not your prototypical Christian fiction book. It’s not filled with rainbows and butterflies, its real life. Jack struggles with some harsh things (alcohol, drug abuse, ect) and I felt baseball was the perfect backdrop for it.

Let’s talk baseball movies: Bull Durham or Major League?

Ooh, you struck a nerve there. I hold a special place in my heart for Major League. I kid you not, I can recite the first five minutes of dialog word for word, even to this day. Although, Bull Durham, is a classic, Major League will always be my number one choice.

If your book was adapted to the big screen and they asked you to fill the role of your choice, which character would you choose?

That’s tough, because the actor would need to be a baseball player first, and then an actor. And since Kevin Costner is too old to play Jack, I would say: Tyler Hoechlin of Teen Wolf, Road to Perdition, and 7th Heaven Fame. I actually coached against him in a collegiate summer league. Kid can play ball and act. He would play Jack Burke.

What baseball team from any era do you wish you could play for?

I am a huge fan of baseball history, and even though I am not a Yankees fan I would’ve loved to have played for them between 1940 and 1960. 

After over 100 years of failure, do you think the Cubs will ever win the World Series again?

I hope so, because it would be tremendous for the sport of baseball. The Cubs have such a following throughout the nation, and their fans have been waiting forever, for that elusive championship. I hope 2016 is the year for the Cubbies.

What can we expect next from J.D. Dudycha? 

Another baseball story. Are you surprised? In all seriousness, my next novel is set to come out in February 2016. It is entitled Sitting Dead Red. The story follows a collegiate ballplayer who has to overcome a cheating scandal, an abusive father, and PTSD from a death of teammate. Much like Paint the Black, it is hard hitting, and in your face. I can’t wait for people to see it!

Book Signing/Radio Show Recap

After a busy weekend I wanted to share some highlights with you. Friday, I had the privilege, and honor of being interviewed on kuhsdenver.com. I was Laura Padgett’s special guest for the broadcast, a half-hour segment with local authors. She had inquisitive and engaging questions for me, but the question she really wanted to know was: when is the next book coming out?

Sitting Dead Red, will hopefully make an appearance on February 13th, 2016. My goal is to put it out in conjunction with the start of the college baseball season. I plan to make it available in paperback, as well as an e-book. If you enjoyed Paint the Black, I recommend you pick up a copy.

20151205_085943On Saturday, along with a number of other authors, I had a book signing at a new indie book store in Evergreen, CO, called Where the Books Go. It is a quaint little bookshop with a ton of charm. I always love talking to fans of my book, and couldn’t wait to share it with people who were unfamiliar. I was able to sell a few books, as well as sign my name a few times. 😉

The signing gave me a chance to rub elbows with fellow authors. It is a time that I covet, because I am able to pick the brains of people who have been around the business a lot longer than I have. Authors have different stories. Each experience is unique, and anything I can take away from their experiences are gold.

20151205_132450I just so happened to be sitting next to gentleman, who was also there for the signing with me for his new book, Broken! He happened to be wearing a, “Bayside the Musical,” sweatshirt. I thought to myself, why a fifty-year-old man would be wearing a “Bayside” sweatshirt, so I asked him, “Are you a big Saved by the Bell fan?” I asked because I grew up watching the show. “I was a writer for it,” he replied.

My mouth hung open. What? Are you kidding me? I thought. “Seriously?” was all I could think to say. We went on to relive my entire childhood. We talked in-depth about episodes, and the characters. Suffice it to say, that made my day. He was even gracious enough to run to his office, and grab a copy of an old script, and sign it for me. What a great man, and I couldn’t have been happier.

If you were not able to join me at the signing. My book is available at Where the Books Go, BookBar, and Amazon. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, thanks and God bless!