There's a nice review of Big Ray in Publishers Weekly. It says, in part: "The book reads like a memoir, the entirely believable product of a son grappling with the death and life of his father. The narrator talks frankly of his estrangement and efforts to connect, the abuse he suffered and his mixed feelings; the obituary, he notes, listed those who preceded Ray in death and those who survived him. 'I’m one of the people who survived.'”
There's a super-thoughtful profile in the Urbanite's fiction issue. The wonderful Bret McCabe covers all of my books and then some. He says, in part: Big Ray is "part eulogy, part psychological retaliation, and an entirely devastating whole."
Shannon Sullivan was born in 1976 in California, then handed off to the parents who adopted her and raised her in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California. Shannon’s first sport was ice skating. At 4, she won a gold medal and then she skated in Disney On Ice with the graceful Dorothy Hamill. After that, she was a tomboy—hiking in Yosemite, racing BMX bikes, riding motocross.
Growing up, Shannon was confused by why she felt so different from her parents. When Shannon was 9, her parents told her she was adopted, which infuriated her. She couldn’t understand why her biological parents would get rid of her. For a while, she wondered if she had been kidnapped and her adoptive parents were making up this cover story. When she was 12, Shannon’s parents showed her the adoption papers and she decided to find her biological parents. She wanted so badly to know what her biological mother looked like. In high school, Shannon earned 14 varsity letters and was inducted in to the Los Gatos High School Hall of Fame. Her adoptive parents were a great support system through school and all her sporting events. There was also an older woman who came to all her games, but Shannon didn’t know it was her biological grandmother until years later.
Shannon went to Oklahoma State University on a full softball scholarship. She played shortstop and hit cleanup and played in the College World Series in 1998. Unfortunately, her playing career ended early when she became paralyzed diving for a fly ball. She remembers a flood of thoughts from I can’t bat next inning to Who will live with a paralyzed lesbian? Luckily, she was only paralyzed 4 hours, but it was heartbreaking to end her playing career like that. Shannon misses playing very much, but she returned to the team as a student assistant coach, which began her coaching days and fulfills some of her competitive needs. She graduated from OSU with a degree in physical education and now coaches high school softball.
In 2000, Shannon found her biological parents with the help of the Internet. Her biological father turned out to be the tour manager of the English band, Uriah Heep, and her biological mother was a Playboy Bunny. They had conceived Shannon in a limo and then lost touch. Shannon didn’t have a way to contact either of them. Eventually, an intermediary passed Shannon’s email onto her biological father and he emailed her back. The first line read, "Hello Princess" and Shannon started crying—it still makes her cry to think of it. A few months later, Shannon found her biological mother on Classmates.com and Shannon was thrilled to find out she looked just like her biological mother. Now Shannon has two moms and two dads and two families and she loves them all dearly. And now she knows that her love for sports is genetic, which makes sense. After college, Shannon played women’s professional football for a few years.
In 2006, she played softball for Great Britain’s national softball team in the World Cup. Later that year, Shannon met Maggs through her ex-girlfriend. Shannon and Maggs became great friends and then they started dating. One day, they asked each other, "What are we doing?" Since then, they have been inseparable. Shannon and Maggs decided to get married while out to eat at their favorite restaurant. It was the happiest day of Shannon’s life. Surprisingly, Shannon hates working out. She can coach and train kids all day, but she always worked out to get better on the field. Now working out makes her angry that she can’t play anymore. Of course, she is damn sexy with muscles, but it’s still tough.