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  • There's a new novel with LOADS of Senators references!

    A big hello to everyone who remembers the good old "Nats!"

    The thing is, I've written a novel that has more Washington Senators references than you can shake a stick at, and I thought the people frequenting this site might be interested in it. It's of the Cold War spy variety (circa 1955) and has just been released from Five Star/Thomson Gale. The main character, John Apparite, is a HUGE "Nats" fan, and I've woven much of the names, trades, and history of the franchise throughout the book.

    The title of the book is Under Cloak of Darkness: The Story of John Apparite. It's gotten good reviews (Publisher's Weekly called it a "gripping 1950's Cold War spy thriller," Booklist said "Recommend this one to spy fiction fans," and James Bond continuation novelist Raymond Benson called it a "remarkable spy story," adding, "I hope it's the first of several," plus three other reviewers have given it high ratings as well).

    But enough bragging. For one thing, you're probably wondering, why on earth did I choose the Senators?

    That's easy to answer. I wanted my character to have a true emotional connection to his team, and after reading Tom Deveaux's book on the "Nats," plus Jack Kavanagh's fine history of Walter Johnson, I knew the Senators were perfect for the part (plus, my character--like my own parents--is from Maryland).

    I also did not want my character's favorite team to be a terribly good one, either--hell, anybody who's a Yankees fan outside of the New York City area is a skunk in my book. I hate guys who pick a winner to follow. Lastly, I liked the sense of doom hanging over my character's obsession, because we all know the original "Nats" left for the Twin Cities in 1961. I thought that was intriguing and poignant.

    Who do I mention in the book? The Biggies, of course--Walter Johnson, Goose Goslin, Sam Rice, Joe Judge, Clark Griffith, Mickey Vernon and Harmon Killebrew. But I also touch on guys like Roy Sievers, Camilo Pascual ("Little Potato"), Jim Busby, Bob Porterfield, Pete Runnels, Eddie Yost, Joe Haynes, Ed Klieman, Eddie Robinson--you get the idea.

    Basically, I'd like to get the word out since there aren't a lot of novels floating around filled with Senators trivia and lore (plus it's a darned good period spy thriller, if I must say so myself), and I think fans of the old team might really enjoy it. It can be ordered off the Amazon, Borders, or the Barnes & Noble web sites.

    Anyway, let me know what you think--if you can give me the name of some sites I can post on, or perhaps start a discussion about my book on this site, I'd really appreciate it. Even if no one here buys the book, it's still fun for me to discuss the Senators since I learned so much about the team doing my research (I also bought a circa 1910 Walter Johnson t206 baseball card--but that's another story).

    If you want to learn more, please see my website, www.imkoontz.com. (I've got about 100 pages of additional material on my protagonist, John Apparite, plus Cold War espionage, plus some other things besides). If anything, that might convince you I'm not some kind of crack-pot!

    Anyhow, thanks for reading this far. I'll stop back in a bit and see if anyone posts a reply.

    I. Michael Koontz
    Under Cloak of Darkness: The Story of John Apparite
    For more, go to www.imkoontz.com

  • #2
    Welcome to BBF I. Michael Your book sounds very interesting and got a good review on amazon. com. 1950's mystery and international intrigue mixed with Senators baseball references should make a fan of many at sites like this one. I just finished reading a 1956 mystery called "The Dark Window" by Thomas Walsh so I'm in that mood. I ordered my copy at amazon and got free shipping. A good deal all around. I look forward to reading your book!
    You might join and post a message at the Yahoo Washington Senators discussion group
    http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group...ngtonsenators/

    Good Luck with the first of your John Apparite novels!
    Last edited by JohnGelnarFan; 07-13-2006, 04:08 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for your encouraging words and support

      I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it! After you do, and if you can spare the time, stop by my web site and post a comment, or ask a quesion, and take the opportunity to read some of the supplementary articles, too (there's a book glossary, expanded character bios, hidden "Easter Egg," location pics, etc.)

      BTW, in case you're wondering, I grew up an Orioles' fan (my father was from Baltimore) but since they had just relocated to Baltimore from St. Louis a few years before the book takes place, I didn't think it was nearly as good a fit for my character to be an O's fan as a Nats fan.

      Besides, I truly began to love the Senators' history and lore which, to my mind, is possibly only exceeded by the hated Yankees and maybe the Red Sox. The Nats were in two of the really tremendous World Series of all time ('24 and '25), had arguably the greatest pitcher of all time in The Big Train, had one of the best original owners of all time (Clark Griffith), plus that oddly-shaped wonder that was Griffith Stadium.

      At one point, I got a little crazy and spent a bunch of money on e-bay buying all the baseball cards for the players mentioned in the book (Johnson and Griffith do NOT come cheap, by the way), plus a 50-year old pennant and some other junk besides. And the baseball cap I wear the most is the red and white Nationals cap. I guess I'm hooked.

      Anyway, thanks again.

      Comment


      • #4
        I put your website on my favorites list and will let you know how I liked your book. We have Senators fans pre and Post expansion here so many will know the players you refer too. Keep those cards,pennant and the other great stuff in a safe place! Thanks for keeping the memory of our team alive. :gt

        Al

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by IMichaelKoontz
          At one point, I got a little crazy and spent a bunch of money on e-bay buying all the baseball cards for the players mentioned in the book (Johnson and Griffith do NOT come cheap, by the way), plus a 50-year old pennant and some other junk besides.
          So YOU'RE the guy who was bidding against me! My wife thanks you!
          "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

          "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah, it might have been!

            For a while I was slightly obsessed with it. I had figured out that it took about 2-3 seconds for the bid to reach E-bay, so I put my atomic clock next to the computer and would enter my final bid for a card with, like, 4 seconds left in the auction.

            My t206 Johnson card I got off of the Naxcom site, and for a damned good price (a much better deal than one now gets on e-bay). I got two 1933 Goudey cards off e-bay stores (nice Joe Judge and Sam Rice cards) which were also reasonably priced. But the good auction cards (the t205 and t206 cards) seem to be going for much more than I think they're worth.

            My Johnson card is rated 3.5/VG+ by Piedmont, and is in terrific shape (personally, I think it's under-graded, but then again I think the Clark Griffith card I got is a bit over-graded, so maybe it evens out).

            Anyway, my card buying days are over--for now.

            Comment


            • #7
              I received your book in the mail today and am looking forward to reading it.I'll let you know what I think!





              Originally posted by IMichaelKoontz
              A big hello to everyone who remembers the good old "Nats!"

              The thing is, I've written a novel that has more Washington Senators references than you can shake a stick at, and I thought the people frequenting this site might be interested in it. It's of the Cold War spy variety (circa 1955) and has just been released from Five Star/Thomson Gale. The main character, John Apparite, is a HUGE "Nats" fan, and I've woven much of the names, trades, and history of the franchise throughout the book.

              The title of the book is Under Cloak of Darkness: The Story of John Apparite. It's gotten good reviews (Publisher's Weekly called it a "gripping 1950's Cold War spy thriller," Booklist said "Recommend this one to spy fiction fans," and James Bond continuation novelist Raymond Benson called it a "remarkable spy story," adding, "I hope it's the first of several," plus three other reviewers have given it high ratings as well).

              But enough bragging. For one thing, you're probably wondering, why on earth did I choose the Senators?

              That's easy to answer. I wanted my character to have a true emotional connection to his team, and after reading Tom Deveaux's book on the "Nats," plus Jack Kavanagh's fine history of Walter Johnson, I knew the Senators were perfect for the part (plus, my character--like my own parents--is from Maryland).

              I also did not want my character's favorite team to be a terribly good one, either--hell, anybody who's a Yankees fan outside of the New York City area is a skunk in my book. I hate guys who pick a winner to follow. Lastly, I liked the sense of doom hanging over my character's obsession, because we all know the original "Nats" left for the Twin Cities in 1961. I thought that was intriguing and poignant.

              Who do I mention in the book? The Biggies, of course--Walter Johnson, Goose Goslin, Sam Rice, Joe Judge, Clark Griffith, Mickey Vernon and Harmon Killebrew. But I also touch on guys like Roy Sievers, Camilo Pascual ("Little Potato"), Jim Busby, Bob Porterfield, Pete Runnels, Eddie Yost, Joe Haynes, Ed Klieman, Eddie Robinson--you get the idea.

              Basically, I'd like to get the word out since there aren't a lot of novels floating around filled with Senators trivia and lore (plus it's a darned good period spy thriller, if I must say so myself), and I think fans of the old team might really enjoy it. It can be ordered off the Amazon, Borders, or the Barnes & Noble web sites.

              Anyway, let me know what you think--if you can give me the name of some sites I can post on, or perhaps start a discussion about my book on this site, I'd really appreciate it. Even if no one here buys the book, it's still fun for me to discuss the Senators since I learned so much about the team doing my research (I also bought a circa 1910 Walter Johnson t206 baseball card--but that's another story).

              If you want to learn more, please see my website, www.imkoontz.com. (I've got about 100 pages of additional material on my protagonist, John Apparite, plus Cold War espionage, plus some other things besides). If anything, that might convince you I'm not some kind of crack-pot!

              Anyhow, thanks for reading this far. I'll stop back in a bit and see if anyone posts a reply.

              I. Michael Koontz
              Under Cloak of Darkness: The Story of John Apparite
              For more, go to www.imkoontz.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Terrific! I hope my "Nats" references don't disappoint--

                I used as my primary source the history written by Tom Deveaux, which was quite detailed in regard to players, trades, records, births, deaths, lore, etc. If you don't have it, I recommend it.

                I'm guessing that, other than the famous Damn Yankees, this novel has more Senators stuff in it than almost any other. A rather exclusive club, wouldn't you say?

                Also--there's two small errors about the "Nats" in it the that I caught at the last minute and tried to correct but, alas, it turned out to be too late and the book had already gone into production. Can you find them?

                I. Michael Koontz
                Under Cloak of Darkness
                www.imkoontz.com
                Last edited by IMichaelKoontz; 07-20-2006, 04:50 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'll look for Tom Deveaux's book.Thanks! It is an exclusive but loyal club. I'll try to find the errors but I doubt that I'll find them. I am more of an expansion Senators fan with some knowledge of the pre-expansion team. I'll bet Aa3rt would find them. He's quite a Nats history buff. I'm sure I'll love the book!
                  Take care,
                  Al





                  Originally posted by IMichaelKoontz
                  I used as my primary source the history written by Tom Deveaux, which was quite detailed in regard to players, trades, records, births, deaths, lore, etc. If you don't have it, I recommend it.

                  I'm guessing that, other than the famous Damn Yankees, this novel has more Senators stuff in it than almost any other. A rather exclusive club, wouldn't you say?

                  Also--there's two small errors about the "Nats" in it the that I caught at the last minute and tried to correct but, alas, it turned out to be too late and the book had already gone into production. Can you find them?

                  I. Michael Koontz
                  Under Cloak of Darkness
                  www.imkoontz.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My book is 35% off on Amazon.com right now

                    Thought I'd let you all know that the book can now be had for only $16.35 on Amazon.com.

                    "JohnGelnarFan" bought it and read it--and, he tells me, really liked it--so there's one endorsement I can trumpet from this board that might get others to buy it.

                    I've put a link for it that you can use below:

                    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159...Fencoding=UTF8

                    Or access it through my web site, www.imkoontz.com

                    And thanks! I don't think you'll be disappointed.

                    I. Michael Koontz

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I did finish I. Michael's book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was well worth the full price and a bargain at 35% off. Anyone that remembers or is interested in the 1950's Nats or just likes a good old fashioned spy story should buy it. I think you'll become a fan of this new super-spy as I have. Mr. Koontz really did his research and has two sequels already written. I look forward to reading them. Check out his great website and you can get a feel for the characters and the story of this unusual secret agent. The Nats will be apart of future stories and that should be enough to peak your interest!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A native of Arlington, VA, I grew up in the 50's a diehard fan of the Nats. My mother was the oldest of 9 children in a family that had a long tradition of rooting for the Senators. A cherished gift from my Dad was the program he had purchased for 25 cents when he attended the 1924 Nationals Giants World Series.

                        The two oldest of mom's 5 brothers went directly from military sevice in World War II into what we were told was service with the State Department. Only in 1990, ten years after the retirment of the second son, were we told that in fact they had both been CIA for over 25 years. The oldest of these two uncles died in 1995 and at his wake a number of his old friends from the "company" spoke highly of his service in Europe, in southeast Asia and in central America. Of course no details were revealed, but what was obvious was he wasn't tied to a desk during his long career. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetary.

                        I had my own 8-year military career in the 1960's including one year spent in England. The security clearance I acquired during my service eventually was again activated during a civilian career selling special process "black-box" computers to the DOD. I was a member of the "Old Crows" for 4 years.

                        To say the least, I have every intention of reading your book. But what has to be the most compelling attraction is the chance to relive those wonderful days living and dieing with the efforts of our treasured Washington Senators.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey guys.

                          I know this is off-topic, but I didn't want to start a whole new thread. Just wanted to share that Joe McClain, as I found out recently, lives just around the corner from me. I got to meet him briefly the other day, and he's a really nice guy.

                          That's all. Carry on.
                          Your luck has expired. Please purchase new luck.

                          Comment

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