Tag Archives: formula 1

The Last Book

Blog Header Champions Now Available

I’m so excited to announce that Champions is finally out! This is the final book of the Skid series and I’m so happy its long journey has finally come to an end. I’ve enjoyed writing this series and have learned many things along the way that have made me a better writer. But I’m now going to focus on other book projects that I’ll hope you’ll like.

By the way…the eBook is now 40% off list price during launch week. After that it goes back up to its normal price so now is the perfect time to buy yours.

For all eBook versions click here.

Paperback versions… Barnes & Noble   Amazon

Have a wonderful weekend,

Doug

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Coming September 9th

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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…
 

Manny
Paris, France

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.

 

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.

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.

The First US Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin (Day 2)

Thanks to my father, I was indeed fortunate to be given the opportunity to go to my first Formula 1 race in person. I’ve been a huge F1 racing fan for many years. I love it so much I even wrote a young adult novel about the sport. What made this event special was that the Grand Prix race was held at a brand new racing circuit called, The Circuit of the Americas. It was built specifically for Formula 1 cars, a first for North America. The circuit was raised from the ground up during most of 2012, then polished up just in time for the Formula 1 race weekend on November 16th-18th of this year. The following is part two of my first-person account of the race weekend. Hope you enjoy it.

(Click here to read Part One)

5:45am Sunday morning. Race morning.

We get up and our brains are still on snooze, but we get dressed and hit the road anyway. Our hotel is in Temple, Texas which is about an hour north of Austin, only place we could find under $150 a night. And we booked months early too. It’s all water under the bridge as we chow down on a quick McDonald’s breakfast and make it to the downtown shuttle bus location in Austin. It’s a forty-five minute bus ride out to the track, then a few miles walking after you get off. And then another mile or two walk to our seats. No one can say that we aren’t getting our exercise during this trip.

We make it to our seats at 9:30am just in time to see the first race of the day, a 10-lap all GT-3 Porsche race. It’s fun watching these Porsches thundering down the racetrack. But one thing I notice is these cars look slow going through the S-curves compared to the lightning fast speed of the Formula 1 cars, which is strange because these GT-3 Porsches are quite fast in their own right.

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Next race is an all Ferrari super-car lineup. These showroom Ferrari’s are slightly modified to handle this circuit. The honor of driving them falls on a bunch of Ferrari dealers who get to pitch these cars around in this amateur race. It’s fun to watch one of them crash a brand-new Ferrari. The crowd also pity-applauds the Ferrari in last place. 

Hunger tickles our bellies so I convince Dad to go grab our lunch now so he doesn’t miss the start of the Grand Prix. The food choices here are interesting. The jumbo corn dogs that you can get at the state fair for about $6 are $10 here. That’s nuts. What’s that a 95 percent markup? It’s a hotdog with batter.  The big sausage sandwich is $15. Someone also sells Krispy Kreme donuts at a very high price too. Dad found a hot dog place yesterday that was only $5 a dog, a bargain here. Unfortunately today, everyone found out about the hot dog place and now it’s too busy. So dad gets us nachos which comes with a cup of cheese, a cup of peppers, and a bag of Tostitos Tortilla chips. Oh well. We’re not here to enjoy lunch. We’re here to see some racing action!

The pomp and circumstance for the Formula 1 race begins. The University of Texas marching band plays at the Start/Finish line. We see them on the jumbo-trons, pounding on their drums, smashing on their cymbals, and blowing their trumpets. But we’re too far out and can’t hear them at all. Guess the show is not really for us.

Now a line of vintage American cars forms on the grid. All convertibles. Each Formula 1 driver sits on the back to wave at the crowd as the cars make their way around the circuit. Except driver Kimi Raikkonen‘s Mustang, it’s having some issues so he hops on-board with another driver.

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After the tour on the track ends, we wait.

The race cars form on the Start/Finish grid. The crews make last-minute checks. The national anthem plays as a man with an American flag parachutes down.

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A flight of three World War Two aircraft and an F-16 do a diamond-shape formation over the circuit. The parachute guy realizes he’s taking too long and dives down quicker to get out of the way of the low-flying aircraft.

Finally the safety car (or pace car as we like to say in America) leads the group of cars for a parade lap around the circuit. Cars weave back and forth to try to warm up their tires so they’ll stick to the pavement better.

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I’m way past excited. The cars are right in front of me. I’m not seeing all this on television. It’s in-person and it’s wonderful. In the stands, I can feel the anticipation in the air. Over 120,000 fans collectively hold their breath, like 120,000 antsy children waiting for the teacher to call recess.

The cars do their parade lap and line up to their places on the grid. We have to watch the jumbo-tron for this part. But that’s okay. Five red lights come on one by one and I know what’s coming next.

Wait for it…

The lights go out and the cars are moving. Many fans are ooing and awwing at the screen, but my gaze falls to my left. I’m not missing my first glimpse of all those cars screaming down the S curves in front of us for the very first time.

Here they come. Fast. Very fast. The leaders at the front. My favorite Ferrari driver Fernando Alonzo had a great start on the grid, managing to jump from 8th place to 4th going before going uphill to the first turn. The screaming engines fill the air, piercing my eardrums, and it feels soooo damn good.

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The race is fast and furious. My head swivels, trying to check out everything that’s happening. The cars on the S-curves in front of us. The faraway straightaway on the other side that funnels cars to the action-packed Turn 12. The series of turns out of turn 12. Lots to keep up with and it’s awesome.

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 Kimi Raikkonen makes an amazing pass on the tricky S-Curves in front of us. How cool is that? It was so gutsy that no one else tries to duplicate it during the race.

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Sebastian Vettel, who is leading the World Championship, keeps the number one spot. But second-place Lewis Hamilton reels Vettel in lap-by-lap while Alonzo and Kimi make their own charges up the black pole. Soon Hamilton catches up to Vettel and zooms around him going down the long straightaway towards Turn 12 opposite us. And we see it right from our seats!

Hamilton keeps his lead. Alonzo climbs to third-place but can’t make any more ground on Vettel and Hamilton.

Hamilton goes on to win, joining Vettel and Alonzo on the winner’s podium. Normally, each driver wears a cap from the Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli  with #1 #2 and #3 on them. But Texas always has to be different. The Pirelli caps have been turned into black cowboy hats. It looks funny on all three of them. I’m sorry that Alonzo wasn’t able to win. But it’s nice to see Hamilton win because lately it’s been all Vettel and it’s kind of boring. Still, what a fantastic race! Now all of us have to leave…

All 120,000 of us.

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The human traffic jam is enormous. Waiting to go through the two pedestrian bridges takes awhile, in some places you only move four feet every five minutes. Yet, we still make it to the other side and walk down the long, gravel pathways to the long bus shuttle lines. Saturday’s lines were long, but it doesn’t compare with these. Almost a half a mile I would say, maybe longer.

So we wait.

But the cool thing that we all get to witness is world democracy in action. Our line is filled with every nationality and ethnicity one can think of, forming a true melting-pot of the world. And in this world the one thing that can bind people together…is their outrage of seeing a-holes trying to cut in line. Especially THIS line.

One by one, people in line rat out people who try to cut in. And we always know when these little line-dodgers are getting near us because the crowd takes turns booing and verbally mocking them all the way down to the end as they do their walk of shame. It’s hilarious.

Finally we climb aboard our bus and get to our car in Downtown Austin. We are tired but in extremely high spirits. The weekend is the best I’ve had in a long time and I think my dad would agree.

As an American fan of F1, I’m glad to have our race back again. 

A huge thanks to the people of Austin, the people who run the Circuit of the Americas, and all the people involved in Formula 1 for making it a special weekend! I hope to be back for more next year.