Category Archives: Books

Celebrating World Book Day

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Why do I love to read?

When I was young I was a history nerd. Reading about the past allowed me to experience it in a vivid way that captivated my young mind. The different people. The different cultures. The different ideas that shaped their world and ours. I loved how these mere history books could take me to past civilizations which could only be experienced through the pages of a book. It was my time traveling device in a way. Open a book. Turn the page. Explore a new ancient world. And when dinner was ready, I could close the book and come back to my own time.

Although doing all this with a DeLorean would have been much cooler, but I digress.

When I was an adult, reading young adult fiction allowed me to understand a perspective I still couldn’t get my head around, even at the age of 40. That baffling question? Women.

By reading about the young female heroines in those books, I began to understand a different viewpoint. One which gave me a new insight on concerns and worries that women had which I had no clue about until I read about them. I can also understand the anxieties and fears we both share and see the similarities between us. The similarities that make both men and woman human beings.

To me, reading is a meaningful leap forward towards empathy, something I never want to lose and I hope most human beings on this earth will try to strive for.

This is why I love to read.

The Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop

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I’m proud to be a part of the Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop today. Even though I’m a male young adult author, I see the incredible value of these novels for not only girls but for boys as well. I can speak from experience.

When I started reading and studying YA novels, I found myself understanding the opposite sex a little bit more and being able to understand how women and young girls see the world. It’s been an amazing education. But I’m not here to say that I now understand everything about women because that would be a total lie. However, I wish I had the knowledge I have now when I was a younger man because it would have helped me understand that girls were not this strange creatures with alien-type brains…but they were more like me than I could ever imagine.

My post for this wonderful event is a fictitious media article written about one of my kick-ass girls of YA Samantha Sutton, a girl race car driver with big dreams and the talent to make them happen. I hope you enjoy it.


 Excerpt from the magazine article A Girl and Her Race Car by Emma Hobbs, Berlin
fashion editor, Smashing Magazine.

The Berlin traffic snakes along the Strattenstrasse, past a small café named the Tiny Goose. The early afternoon sun casts a shadow across my wood table, courtesy of the large awning in front of the café itself. A gentle breeze plays with the leafs of the flowers that add color to my table as a place setting.

I’m here to meet Samantha Sutton, a young woman of only eighteen years who races cars in that macho-infused sport known as Formula One, a glamorous world of men and their expensive toys traveling the world to race cars in between the party-like atmosphere of the international jet-set. The sport draws royalty, the ultra-rich, and Hollywood celebrities like moths to bright light. But inside this testosterone-laced world Samantha Sutton is quite unique. No, it’s not the obvious fact that she’s the only girl racing in Formula One. It’s the surprising fact that she’s beating all the boys in Formula One. With six race wins on her record, all within her rookie year, Samantha Sutton proved that not only can woman compete equally in the sport. They can win.

Samantha arrives late to our appointment wearing a short white skirt and matching shirt which lists her racing team’s sponsors. Her short dark hair appears slightly damp, as if still drying from a quick trip to the shower.

“Jeez. I’m so sorry. My other thing ran late and I was rushing to get ready for this. Huge apologies, Emma, seriously.” Samantha glances over to her assistant, a girl who appears just as young as her. “Do you want anything?”

Samantha orders two coffees and a piece of cake in German, flavoring it with a slight Bavarian accent. We talk as we wait for their coffee. Samantha remarks about how busy her life has become since her first season in Formula One.

“Last season everyone ignored me until half-way through when I began winning races. Now it’s like, non-stop. It’s completely crazy with all the parties, fan events, sponsor events, racing the car, my love life —” The girl stops herself abruptly. What about her love life? It causes me to wonder if a teen girl who is forced to grow up so fast can find time for boys. Maybe not.

When Samantha gets her coffee, we begin the official interview.

“Why auto racing?” I ask. “What excites you about the sport, Samantha?

“It’s the rush of adrenaline I get from being on the circuit. Making the car dance around the turns and do what I want. It’s like standing on a mountain cliff and holding your foot over the drop, knowing that you could die if you took that last step. But for some reason, you know that you can hold it there on that edge and somehow not fall.”

“Is it safe to say you love taking risks?”

“Not on purpose,” she says. “Not if it means someone else might get hurt. But I can be impulsive sometimes and that’s where I get into trouble.”

“The pressure to win and be successful must be enormous,” I say. “How do you cope?”

“I eat tons of chocolate ice cream,” she grins. “Just kidding. Um—I try to push all the negative thoughts away and focus on what I can do in the race car. Everything else I don’t have control over and I have to keep telling myself that. But I’d be lying if I said there were days the pressure didn’t get to me.” Samantha hesitates and takes a sip of her coffee. Her thoughts lingering on the last portion of her answer.

“Does your family travel with you during the season?” I ask.

“Well, my sister Paige is here this season.” Samantha references her assistant. “But the rest of my family are still in Oklahoma. They have their own lives.”

I swirl what’s left of my cup of tea and drink, the strong, tangy flavor reminds of the girl sitting across the table. Even in this relaxed atmosphere there’s a burning determination in her eyes. A fire or this relentless energy percolating behind them.

“Samantha, when did you first know that this is what you wanted to do with your life?”

“My dad got me started racing karts when I was ten. He already loved racing and I think he was disappointed that he had three daughters. Not to say that my dad didn’t absolutely love us, because he always did. But growing up, none of us were particularity interested in racing.” Samantha’s face brightened, as if reliving that moment in her life again. “Then one day my dad was watching one of his favorite racing movies called, Grand Prix. That day I was so bored I jumped on the couch and watched it with him. Something about that movie attracted me to racing and from then on, I would spend more and more time with dad in his make-shift garage he had in the barn.”

Samantha hesitated again, her eyes danced a bit in her head, as if the memories of her father were flashing vividly through the girl’s head. “Dad built me a racing kart and encouraged me to try it. I was extremely shy back then and I didn’t have any confidence in myself at all. But when I drove that kart, I felt alive and free. And I picked up on racing fast. Dad taught me how to drive and eventually he entered me in races. And I started to win a lot of them. Seriously, the boys would hate it when I showed up at the track. They didn’t want to race against me. I loved it. I knew that I wanted to do this forever because I loved how racing made me feel. I didn’t feel like that shy girl no one would pay attention to. Behind the wheel of a race car, I was someone special. People couldn’t ignore me. Plus I could feel good about myself.” She glances up. “Am I rambling too much? I have a tendency to do that when I’m nervous.”

I asked Samantha a few more questions about her father. Samantha fidgeted in her chair and acted uncomfortable around the subject which I found odd since she talked about her father so fondly before. There was something about him she was hiding and I didn’t quite know what it was.

A young man walked off the street and into the Tiny Goose café. Samantha’s sister Paige greeted the boy warmly and sat with him at the table adjacent to us. He wore his blond hair long and had a handsomely meek way about him. The young man smiled at Samantha. The girl I was interviewing brightened like a fire doused with petrol. Her body language changed immediately. She gave the boy a wave and couldn’t take her eyes off of him. When I asked Samantha a question about dealing with her fans, she gave me a less than satisfactory answer. So I decided to confront the disturbance to our interview.

I held out my hand to the young man. “Emma Hobbs. Smashing Magazine. What is your name?”

The boy shakes my hand. “Manfred. Pleasure to meet you.”

A hunch entered my mind and I decided to follow it. “Please excuse my forwardness, but are you Samantha’s boyfriend by chance?”

Manny blushed like a rose and became unable to answer me with words. Samantha emulated her bashful friend. The girl flashed a smile reserved for close friends sharing an inside joke or thought. “Well? Are you my boyfriend?”

Manfred smiled. “I don’t know. Are you my girlfriend?”

The girl and the boy stared at each other. Obviously having a conversation in their own silent language that no one else was invited to join.

Paige, the third wheel in this relationship, rolled her eyes. “Oh my God. Stop being such dorks. This reporter isn’t stupid. Yes, of course they’re together. Can’t you see my sister panting like a dog when he’s around?”

Samantha leaned over and whacked her sister across the arm. No doubt a leftover response from when they were children. “I don’t pant like a dog.” Samantha sat up in her chair and went back into professional mode. “I’m sorry, Emma. Let’s get back to the interview. Manfred—let’s say that he’s an important part of my racing life.” She flicks her eyes toward the young man. “I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for him.” I tried digging deeper into that statement. But Samantha refused to reveal anything more.

As I concluded our interview with a few questions about how she saw her future, Samantha relaxed as she sensed the end of our interview was soon at hand. She’s a pleasant young lady, but giving interviews to reporters wasn’t on her list of favorite activities to do on a warm Saturday afternoon in Berlin. I couldn’t blame her. I was eighteen once. Even though the race car driver facing me treated our interview like a professional, the girl underneath the helmet and racing suit still wanted to be with her boy. Still wanted a taste of being young and in love on the warm streets of Berlin. She still longed to be a normal teenager.

But the one question I didn’t get answered was…after all she’s been through, could the racing star Samantha Sutton ever be a normal girl again?


If you’re interested in reading about Samantha’s exciting life, the first novel in the racing romance series Skid is free on most ebook platforms or you can order the paperback if you prefer.

YA Author Libby Heily is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway of three kick ass YA ebook titles of your choosing! But hurry, the giveaway expires on Thursday.

Once Upon a Time at Starbucks…

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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.

Spies Like Me Book Release!

Hi Everyone!

I know this blog had been quiet for a long time. It’s hard to write posts when you’re focusing all your creative energy and free time writing more books. In future, I hope to post more about various things that I find interesting and I hope you will too. At least, I’m going to try and that’s all I can promise you.

In the meantime…I’m releasing a new book! This young adult novel starts a brand new spy series called The Gems. Book number 1 is called Spies Like Me and features four teen girls who kick butt and make the world a safer place. Bellow is a quick trailer to give you more of an idea about the book.

If you’d like to find out more, here’s the universal link with all the retailers.

And, to celebrate the release I’m running a giveaway where you can win a Grand Prize of a free Kindle Paperwhite. First Prize is a signed paperback copy of Spies Like Me. Second Prize is an eBook pack of all five of my books.

Important: This giveaway closes in 72 hours – so if you plan to buy the book anyway, doing so right now will give you five additional giveaway entries. But there is no purchase required for entry.

All the best,

Doug

 

Legends Book Cover Reveal!

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Here’s the final cover for Legends (Skid #3) and I couldn’t be more happy with it. I think my cover artist Travis Miles did a fantastic job. I wanted something a little different from the other two books, but still have the same feel as the rest of the series. Some friends have told me it looks feminine and fierce.

What do you think?

The eBook release date for Legends is set for Tuesday, September 1st. But you can pre-order the book right now for the special price of $2.99.

The paperback should be available in October.

My Girlfriend Bites Release Day!!!!

So happy to announce the release of the eBook version of MY GIRLFRIEND BITES! This book comes at the end of a long and rocky road. The manuscript was almost deleted a few times out of frustration, but it always had a way of coming back. Since Aiden and Bree wanted to be published so bad, I had to relent and make their wish come true.

To celebrate the release, I’m doing a two and a half week blog tour AND having an awesome giveaway! All the details for both are further down on this post. You can enter the giveaway on this blog or on the other blogs on the tour. Some entries you can do every day!

To my local readers and those who still love the feel of paper, the paperback version of MY GIRLFRIEND BITES will be out in August. I will post that information later so be sure to check back next month for updates, or better yet — join my newsletter and never miss out on anything!

Want to buy the book?

Amazon
Nook
Smashwords
Kobo
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

My Girlfriend Bites Blog Tour Schedule

 

July 16 – Froze 8 Blog 
    Guest Post by MGB character Bree Mayflower!
July 17 – I Read Indie
    Guest Post by MGB character Aiden Jay!
July 18 – Girl in the Woods
    10 Things You Didn’t Know About My Girlfriend Bites.
    
    Guest post: High School and the concept of The Future.
July 22 – Lady’s Book Stuff
    Guest post: Sneak Peek of first two chapters of My Girlfriend Bites.
    
July 23 – Oops I Read a Book Again   
    Interview with MGB character Bree Mayflower. Plus MGB dream movie cast!
      
July 24 – Morgan Dragonwillow
    Guest Post: Protecting Manhood in YA. My opinion.
      
July 25 – Dana Square
    Author interview.
   
     Interview with MGB character Aiden Jay.
July 29 – Alli’s World 
     Guest Post: What Inspired Me to Write My Girlfriend Bites
August 1 – Reading Teen
     Indie Spotlight

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