A Christmas Gift Suggestion
Updated Nov 22, 1998

The following was received from Hayes & Hyde Press promoting the new novel, Kickland.

A great Christmas gift idea...

The North American novel "Kickland," which is believed to be the first nordic skiing racing fiction written in the English language.

An inspiring story laced with irony, humor, and a blizzard of cross-country race action, "Kickland" opens with tragedy. As twenty-four year old Olympic hopeful Tim Keagan sends notice to the nordic racing world that his time has arrived with a lopsided victory in the North American Vasa marathon, he crosses the finish line only to find everything encompassing him suddenly turns ice-cold. His wife Nikola, mother of his two young sons, Jerry and Phil, is killed enroute to watch the conclusion of the race.

After years of total surrender, his dream is rekindled, only to find far different obstacles blocking an attempt to earn a place on the men's 4x10K relay team. With sons Phillip, age twenty-three, and Jerry, twenty, he must find a way to tolerate the fourth team member--nihilistic, underachieving twenty-seven year old Cane Paulson, Jr. That becomes next to impossible when a clandestine corporate scam is hatched in the soul of Cane's wealthy father, CEO of ForesTek, Inc. Cane's father, whose company seeks to introduce an entirely new line of super hi-tech skis and ski products at the upcoming Games, personally underwrites a legal challenge to Tim Keagan's selection, and demands that Keagan be replaced by his long-time nemesis, four time Olympian 'Hawk' Plank. The suit falsely alleges that the Keagan family members engaged in unfair competition by conspiring with one another to throw the Olympic qualifying race held at Anchorage's Kincaid Park. Because of his father's scheme, Cane, Jr., who lacks the heart of a champion, is caught in the middle of a nordic Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding Olympic fiasco, and his father's lawyers have the upper hand on him.

The stage is set for a courtroom battle and the introduction of characters Lisa Nelson and Stu Weinberg of Sports Unincorporated, Inc., Tim's law partner--the affable Gavin Smith, and wise Nordic Team coach Leonard Franz, all of whom assist in the fight for karmic justice. And later when skier Carol Fabiano of the USA Women's Team meets wax technician Jules Dinkel at the Games in Thunder Bay, Ontario, everyone's prayers seem to be answered. But, an enemy from within lurks in the shadows.

As fate stares them down from atop Big Thunder, an entire nation becomes part of cross-country skiing like it never has before. And it all comes down to who has the better wax--or does it?

REVIEW SUMMARIES

"Kickland is Michigan author Kevin Hayes' first novel, and it's quite a debut. I was spellbound by this book from start to finish. Skiers and non-skiers alike will enjoy and appreciate the message this book delivers. Does Tim Keagan achieve his dream of becoming only the second American to win a medal in cross-country skiing at the Winter Olympics? Read the book to find out. I guarantee you'll be enthralled along the way."
(Mike Terrell, Traverse City Record-Eagle, April 8, 1997)

"A winning novel. The skiing scenes are so realistic you can almost touch the snow, inhale the frosty air, and glimpse the markers as you go by. An entertaining tale--definitely worth taking along to the lodge."
(Ray Walsh, Lansing State Journal, February 2, 1997)

"The highs and lows of International Olympic competition, sinister corporate figures, a touch of romance, and even some good old fashioned courtroom battles are woven into the tale that focuses primarily on personal redemption and discovery. It is a luxury to sit back and delve into 285 pages of a story seeped in the greatest sport on earth."
(John "J.D." Downing, Editor, Cross Country Ski World; www.xcski.com)

"Karmic wrongs from Traverse City to Seattle to Anchorage to Thunder Bay are righted by the truth of nordic sport. Readers will enjoy seeing Michigan and the North Shore of Lake Superior so well captured in print."
(Dr. Claude Liman, Professor of English, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario; Silent Sports, February, 1997)

"The race sequences will delight...the story kept me turning pages...the behind the scenes politics and intrigue will appeal to all readers...there is also a very pleasant romance sub-plot. You'll find yourself rooting for the main characters."
(Jim Neff, Editor, Great Lakes Skier, Mid-Winter 1997)

THE STORY BEHIND KICKLAND

If Kickland becomes the long-overdue tribute to nordic ski racing which author-attorney, and citizen skier Kevin Hayes hopes for, he will tell you that its success is due, in part, to a chance encounter with one of the sport's best ever. "I had driven nearly 750 miles to watch the great Vegard Ulvang race in the much anticipated rematch between Italy and Norway in the men's 4x10K relay at the 1995 Nordic World Championships at Thunder Bay, Ontario," Hayes begins. "I guess I have always felt a kind of kinship with him, because like Vegard, I also had a brother die in tragic circumstances. Anyhow, as I was leaving the stadium, disappointed that he had scratched himself from the line-up, and certain that I would never meet or ever see the Nordic legend race, I was totally surprised to see him walking all alone, boarding the athlete's shuttle bus. Knowing I would probably never again have the chance, I approached the driver and asked if Vegard Ulvang was on the bus. She threw her head back and shouted in a gruff voice, 'Is there a Vegard Ulvang in here!? Someone's looking for you!' Here I was in Canada, and a bus driver is screaming--and not too respectfully--at the legendary Olympian and world famous explorer from Norway to come out to speak to a total stranger. A few seconds later, he stepped from the bus and politely chatted with me. We had a picture taken, too.

Anyhow, he confirmed for me why cross-country skiing is such a great sport. It is the people. That episode solidified my decision to write this book. It is also why it is written in memory of my brother Garret, and of Ketil Ulvang."

As the reader's journey into Kickland progresses, it evolves into a kind of spiritual pilgrimage, especially for characters Tim Keagan, who seeks redemption, and for Cane Paulson, Jr., whose directionless lifestyle takes him to the brink of suicidal ruin. The book also explores the commercial direction the Olympic Games have taken.

"Undoubtedly, my Irish-Catholic background contributed to some of the conclusions reached in Kickland, just as being a lawyer assisted in presenting legal material in the book. But I think it would be a mistake to solely interpret the book as advancing a particular dogma. It is meant to be spiritually entertaining, if there is such a thing. At the same time, there is definitely a lot of humor and irony in the story," Hayes explains. "Like the sport itself, everyone is welcome in Kickland except liars and cheaters, and of course, those afraid of a little cold."

Hayes concludes: "My one desire is to take you--whether or not you happen to ski--to a Winter Olympic Games, lock you into the racer's bindings and to put you through a race, so realistically that you feel that you are skiing in it yourself. So that one may feel the pain--and the exhilaration--of this great and underappreciated sport. If I succeed, I hope Kickland may one day be credited with inspiring North Americans to take up nordic skiing, just as I will always credit Bill Koch who inspired me to take up cross-country with his medal winning performance in 1976."

HOW TO ORDER:

Cross-country ski addicts suffering from months of withdrawal can purchase Kickland [highly recommended for friends who you are trying to convince to take up xc skiing!] in a variety of ways:

1. For personalized copies and guaranteed fast service, please send $17.95 US currency per order (checks or money orders only) to Hayes and Hyde Press, 1210 W. Hyde Rd., St. Johns, MI 48879 USA. (shipped priority mail and includes handling).***

2. Amazon.com (usually ships within 24 hours)

3. Your local book store. Use ISBN # 0-9654903-0-0. (Be sure to tell them Kickland is distributed by Partners, Inc.)

4. Kickland can also be purchased at St. Patrick's Guild Stores in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area (call first to insure availability), L.L. Bean's Chasco St. store located in Freeport, Maine, or by calling Reliable Racing, and Nordic Equipment, Inc.

5. For bulk order discounts, or for further information, please call 517.224.6105.

***Upon request, personalized and autographed copies will be honored when ordered directly from Hayes and Hyde Press. All Hayes and Hyde orders will be shipped by priority mail. Allow sufficient time for Christmas/holiday gifts when ordered directly from Hayes and Hyde Press. All orders are shipped within the same week as received by Hayes and Hyde Press.

HAYES & HYDE PRESS, 1210 W. HYDE RD., ST. JOHNS, MI 48879 USA
telephone: 517.224.6105 e-mail: bhayes@voyager.net

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO FORWARD THIS INFO AS YOU WISH. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!