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So happy to announce on the blog that Champions, the final book in the Skid young adult racing romance series, will be coming out soon! Below is a quick synopsis of the new book and a sneak peak of the first chapter!
Is her spirit finally broken?
Nineteen-year-old Samantha Sutton has risen to become one of the top drivers in Formula One, but that was before a horrible accident burned her face and broke her spirit. Now she questions herself, questions her future, and wonders if what she did to her father has cursed her for life.
Manny’s love for Samantha is unbreakable. He promises to support her, but his attention is diverted when a new threat promises to destroy the Wolert racing team forever.
Can Samantha gain her confidence back and win the world championship?
Will she even have a team to race for next season?
Now a sneak peek of chapter one…
Drawn metal shades extinguish most of the afternoon sun reaching Samantha’s lifeless body, half her face covered with bandages, a tube down her throat, her hair singed by fire. The ventilator uses the tube to blow air into her lungs, giving the girl life as her body struggles to survive. The heart machine beeps at a rhythm that I’m already quite familiar with. Some may think it’s an annoying sound. But to me, it means Samantha is still alive. I pretend that she’s talking to me. That her beating heart is a constant plea for me to stay.
To keep her company.
To not give up on her.
Samantha appears so delicate, her small body swallowed up by the French hospital bed. I guess she’s shorter than I imagine because the girl’s personality is so much bigger than the body she inhabits. She’s like a tiger inside a lamb’s body. The type of girl that makes things happen. The type of girl who doesn’t know how to give up on what she wants. The type of girl that lifts up others around her. I’m lucky she picked me.
Now I’ll be lucky if she survives.
I can’t keep having thoughts like that. She’s tough. Tougher than I am. Yet I’m scared. I don’t know what I would do if I lost her. Would I go insane like my friend Hanna? There’s a chance I may. When you love someone with this intensity, the fire in your heart is so hard to extinguish.
“She’ll pull through. Samantha is young. Vibrant. Lovely.” My uncle Ralf pauses. His familiar salt-and-pepper beard hugs his face. Even through the man’s glasses I can tell he’s holding back tears. “She’s a lovely young woman. She’ll be fine.”
My uncle has more hope than all the world put together. I know he’s in as much pain as I am. And he’s in his seventies. I worry about him a lot. My uncle doesn’t need this strain on his conscious.
“Yes, she’ll be fine.” I’m lying of course. The doctors had to put Samantha into a medically induced coma to prevent her brain from swelling. They don’t know how this will play out. They act optimistic. But when you push them for true specifics, they give her fifty-fifty. They say the shock to her body cannot be overestimated.
The door opens and Graham, Samantha’s sports agent, slips in with some flowers. He’s always so well dressed, not even a thread out of place. But his eyes are red. He’s been crying too.
“Still the same?” he asks.
My uncle nods.
“Poor girl. Our poor, brave little girl.” Graham approaches Samantha, leans down and kisses her on the forehead. He whispers something to her before placing the flowers on a table. He wipes his eyes. It’s hard not to become emotional in this place. Hospitals seem to breed sadness.
“I have to be getting back to London,” Graham says. “You’ll contact me when she awakes?”
“Of course. Let me walk you out.” My uncle pats my shoulder. “Can I bring you anything, Manfred? A sandwich, something to drink?”
“No, thank you. I don’t feel like having anything.”
Uncle Ralf squeezes my shoulder. His kind eyes acknowledge my feelings as he escorts Graham out of the room.
We’re now alone.
I move my chair up to her bed, where I can be close to Samantha. I lean over and brush a few strands of hair out of her eyes. My fingers linger on her forehead. Her skin is soft and warm to the touch. A sign she’s alive and simmering with life. Her fantastic personality just waiting to burst out again and flood my life with her awesomeness.
I wonder if she heard Graham. I wonder if she can hear me now.
“Samantha?” I whisper. “I’m going to pretend that you can hear me so you know I’m still here. I don’t want you to wake up from this and be alone.”
Her eyelids are frozen shut. No sign of any reaction from her.
“You will wake up, alright? Do you know why? It’s because having you ripped out of my life would destroy me. You can’t do that to me, Samantha. Please don’t do that to me.”
Her chest rises as air inflates her lungs and then relaxes.
I rest my cheek on her shoulder and fight back the darkness threatening to strangle all my hope.
Champions will be available on September 9th.
So I have a story for you.
Yesterday I was doing some writing at Starbucks. Then my dad came by for coffee and we enjoyed it outside because it was a nice day. Afterwards, we went to McNellies for dinner. It was only after that I realized I had left my backpack outside at Starbucks.
Yeah…holy…you know what.
We went back and hoped it was somehow still there and tucked away in the corner. But it was of course gone and no one had turned the bag into Starbucks. My bag had my laptop and my backup drive in it. (I know I’m stupid)
Well, I was screwed. My outline and my first draft progress on the new Skid novel was gone. Lots of hard work now all of a sudden vanished. I went home and was convinced I would never see my stuff again.
Today I spent four hours rewriting my missing outline the best I could do from memory before taking a break and looking on Facebook. There, I had a new friend request. When I looked at the lady’s Facebook page, right there on the front was a post asking if anyone knows Doug Solter because she found some items he might want back.
Talk about being blown away!
I posted my number and she called. My luck continued as I found out my laptop was still there. (Cue hopeful-sounding movie soundtrack now) We then met at a public location to exchange the backpack. She was kind and didn’t take any money when I offered. She told me it was in a ditch by the side of the road. She had passed it three times before thinking that some student might have a computer in the bag so she picked it up. Lucky for me she did and my name was on the startup menu on the computer.
The weirdest thing was that nothing was missing! Laptop, power supply, backup drive…I even had my kindle and some nice headphones in there as well. Very strange.
So one huge thank you to Nina from Bixby, OK for being a kind and decent human being.
And all the SKID series fans can thank her for saving the book…literally.
Out of the ashes and into the fire. This blog has been as quiet as a slug dancing across a leaf for several months now so I think it’s time to shake off the cobwebs, kick the tires, and dust off this poor thing to see if it can still run. Stay tuned for a lot more posts about young adult books, television, movies, music, travel, and other (I hope) interesting things. This will be a more personal blog where I’ll post about subjects that interest me rather than a blog devoted to posts about the craft of writing because a writer is more than just that. The world shows us big, shiny beads that can distract writers from doing more important things, like writing more chapters in that work-in-progress that readers are impatiently waiting to read. So this blog will be devoted to all those big, shiny beads and why they distract me so.