Rock 'n Fire

Mark Stallard

Book Cover

GENRE

HISTORICAL FICTION DRAMA DETECTIVE MYSTERY EPIC

    Core Theme

    LOVE AGAINST ADVERSITY

    TIME PERIOD

    1920s & '30s,1940s & '50s,1960s & '70s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    42 (FILM), TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE, THIS IS US

    CHARACTER LIST

    RAY CAVANAUGH. CHILD TO 50'S. LEAD. TALENTED, UNAPOLOGETIC, TOUGH, STRONG SENSE OF JUSTICE, LONER.

    AULETTE LAWSON. 20'S. RAY'S LOVE INTEREST. CHARMING, GENEROUS, FAITHFUL, GRACIOUS.

    LONNIE LAWSON. 20'S. AULETTE'S BROTHER. TALENTED, HONEST, GENEROUS.

    LITA LAWSON. 20'S. RAY AND AULETTE'S DAUGHTER. BEAUTIFUL, HOPEFUL, EDUCATED.

    FRANK ALDRIDGE. 30'S. RESEARCH DIRECTOR AND HISTORIAN AT BASEBALL HALL OF FAME. CURIOUS, DEDICATED, WARM-HEARTED.

    PEGGY ALDRIDGE. 30'S. FRANK'S WIFE. DEDICATED, BUSY, DESPERATE.

    Logline

    An unforgettable story hides in the shadows of America’s national pastime...defying society’s racist taboos, Rock 'n Fire Ray and Aulette embark on a passionate affair, knowing it could have disastrous consequences for them both.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal,Male Leaning,Female Leaning

    Setting

    St. Louis, Kansas, Cooperstown, NY, Washington, DC, Chicago

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Kaw Valley Books

    Year Published: 2020

    Starting Description

    Baseball Hall of Fame Historian Frank Aldridge receives a letter from a woman, Lita Lawson, claiming that Ray Cavanagh, a talented but forgotten left-handed pitcher, may be her father. Fascinated by her story, Frank sets out to discover the truth.

    Ending Description

    Ray and Lita come to Cooperstown to meet each other. Frank, who is dying from lung cancer, is unable to meet them. Ray makes his way across the small downtown and sees Lita, who is sitting on a bench. He runs to her and they embrace.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-1-7358675-0-2 (paperback will be available after Nov. 15, 2020) 978-1-7358675-1-9 (eBook)

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Philosophical Questions,Other,Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth,Quest

    Main Character Details

    Name: Ray Cavanaugh

    Age: teenager to 50s

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Masculine,Confident,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf,Romantic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Frank Aldridge

    Age: mid to late 30s

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Underdog,Empathetic,Faithful,Flexible,Honorable

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Aulette Lawson

    Age: late 20s

    Gender: Female

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Sexy,Adventurous,Charming,Modest,Faithful,Selfless,Gracious,Educated,Secretive

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Lita Lawson

    Age: early 20s

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Underdog,Faithful,Insecure,Educated,Desperate,Aspiring

    Development Pitch

    In the shadows of America’s national pastime hides an unforgettable story… It’s 1963, and civil unrest simmers in America’s streets. Baseball Hall of Fame Historian Frank Aldridge receives a letter from a woman, Lita Lawson, claiming that Ray Cavanagh, a talented but forgotten left-handed pitcher, may be her father. Fascinated by the story, Frank sets out to discover the truth. What he finds and uncovers is a lost legacy of forbidden love, fragile dreams, and despicable racism... In the 1930s and ‘40s, Ray Cavanagh was known as “Rock ’n Fire,” an ace lefty pitcher with a stubborn streak a mile wide. After suffering an injury in a game against Negro League All Stars, Ray meets Aulette... a Black woman. Their mutual attraction is undeniable, and they begin a passionate love affair, defying society’s racist taboos, knowing it could have disastrous consequences for them both. Inspired by his need to know the secret side of baseball, Frank searches to find the elusive Cavanaugh, who has not been heard from in more than a decade. And as the years go by, Frank fights his own problems as he presses on to uncover the love story buried beneath years of hatred and oppression. Told against the sprawling canvas of our country’s turbulent past, Rock ’n Fire is a mesmerizing look at the hope of love in the dark side of America’s favorite sport.

    Genre

    ACTION, SUSPENSE, ROMANCE, MATURE AUDIENCE, DRAMA, RELIGION, POLITICS, WAR

    Brief

    Lita Lawson reaches out to Frank Aldridge, a baseball historian, in order to find a forgotten baseball player who may also be her father. As their search unfolds, the lives of black and white american families are revealed to tell the interracial love story of her parents.

    Overall Rating

    EXCELLENT

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: EXCELLENT

    Characterization: EXCELLENT

    Commerciality: EXCELLENT

    Franchise Potential: EXCELLENT

    Pace: EXCELLENT

    Premise: EXCELLENT

    Structure: EXCELLENT

    Theme: EXCELLENT

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The book profile describes the book perfectly fine.

    Draw of Story

    This story is highly compelling because the characters are not obvious and are charismatic, with consistent storylines; the story is amazingly sewn even told in a non-linear manner; the subject is poignant and it reviews racial segregation while telling the story of black and white families during decades, united by the love for baseball.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The story is amazingly written but the only thing I would review is the way sometimes womanizers are celebrated as winners, as the children they had and left unattended were not treated as seriously as the subject deserves to be treated (p. 68).

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    This movie is highly compelling as it reveals a tragical interracial love story unfolding in the world of baseball during the first half of the last century, which was historically filled with important passages and changes in American society. Interesting black and white characters retell American history which involves tragedies, violence, segregation and all stories are tied together around the passion for baseball.

    Fanbase Potential

    This story could have a large fanbase as it involves both baseball matches and the larger picture of American black and white families' through history.

    Awards Potential

    This story has Awards potential as it is told in an unusual and non-linear manner and the author manages to make brilliant sense of it. The characters are charming, not obvious, and the protagonist seems to be rough in the beginning but reveals himself to be tender and having a high sense of justice. It allows for acting and great direction.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    THIS IS US, 42 (FILM)

    What’s New About the Story

    This is a highly original story because it may seem like a story about baseball but it is actually a story about love, American history, families and racial segregation. The critical side to it is done retelling life trajectories, and audience may draw their own conclusions from historical consistent happenings. The author also manages to find the right balance between affectionate and painful passages, which keeps the reader hooked. Classy writing.

    Lead Characters

    Ray 'Rock and Fire' Cavanaugh is an outstanding protagonist because he is presented, at first, as a violent and rough white man. But as the story unfolds, his love for jazz is revealed and, even having been raised to be a racist, is unable to see people differently because of their color. His career is severely damaged as he manages to assume his love for Aulette.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This is a rare gem.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Studio, Film - Streaming, TV Series - Network, TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    RECOMMEND

    Brief

    Historian Frank Aldridge receives a letter from a girl, Lita Lawson, asking for help: she needs to find out more about a forgotten baseball player, Ray Cavanaugh, who may also be her father. While Frank gets involved in the search, the stories of those families are connected by a past profoundly marked by racial segregation in America.

    What We Liked

    This story has baseball as a motif, but is a compelling and beautifully written tale about family, love, history and racial segregation in America. The shakespearean tragedy surrounding the interracial love between the talented Ray Cavanaugh and the charming Aulette Lawson is recalled along with the journey of black and white generations living through American history. This beautiful, heartfelt and compelling portrait finds redemption through the hands of Frank Aldridge, a baseball historian responsible for uniting Ray and Lita, father and daughter who never had the chance to meet.

    Film: This story would be great as a film because the characters are charismatic and their journeys are consistent, their stories are compelling and also in a very coherent manner regarding their moment in history. The storyline of this book is perfectly tied.

    TV: People would love to watch this adaptation for TV because it brings along the story of several generations living in the last century in America and shows, through the eyes of regular people, how deep changes needed - and still need - to happen in the country. The story is also told in a non-linear manner, which keeps it interesting and shows individuals acting in their contexts, connected to their moment in history, and is a much necessary portrait of how close racial segregation is to contemporaneity.

    Key points: Compelling interracial love story; Exhilarating storyline; Consistent characters; Emotional passages; Critical view of American history

    Synopsis

    Frank is a research director and historian at Baseball Hall of Fame in the 60's. A father of three and a pregnant wife, his somehow dull worklife is shaken by a letter he receives from Lita Lawson, looking for a baseball player named Ray 'Rock and Fire' Cavanaugh who might also be her father.

    Frank and his assistant Ron get involved in the search for this mysterious man who doesn't seem to be much liked in the baseball universe. Rough, Ray is seen by many as a violent man, but as the character's story unfolds, we are able to discover he was one of the few white baseball players who were not drowned in racial prejudice.

    Frank and his assistant Ron McMasters get involved in the search for this mysterious man, and little by little, they discover more things about the life and career of this forgotten player who was also very talented.

    As the search unfolds, the lives of black and white families drained in the love story of Ray, a white man, and Aulette, a black woman - and Lita's mother - are revealed. The audience finds out that story was deemed impossible due to social segregation.

    As Aulette dies due to complications after giving birth to Lita, Aulette's mom, Loretta, who was never happy with the love story between Ray and her daughter, takes advantage of the absence of Ray and decides to raise their daughter, her granddaughter, in secrecy. She lets Ray know Aulette is dead, and also states that the child has died along with her mom.

    To Lita, Loretta manages also to never tell the truth about her father. She decides to go after Frank after Loretta dies and she finds clues about who her father might be.

    Lonnie Lawson, brother of Aulette, is also an interesting character when it comes to comparing white and black lives in the 20th century in America. Also a talented baseball player, he enlists to go to war - and Ray did the same - but Lonnie, black, is the one who ends up dying and whose life seems to be worth less in the army.

    An American history of racial segregation is narrated in passages involving love, pain, violence and prejudice.

    As Frank struggles with his own health - as he is diagnosed with lung cancer - a message of hope is regained when he finds out Ray is not only alive but eager to meet his daughter.

    About The Author

    Mark Stallard is the author of 13 books. With degrees in English and Journalism from the University of Kansas and Wichita State University, plus a Master’s degree from Baker University, Stallard has also written for numerous newspapers and publications, including The Wichita Eagle and Baseball America. He is a full-time writer living in Kansas City.