October 1, 2014

RIVALS by Doug Solter Blog Tour {Giveaway/Excerpt/Guest Post}

Last season seventeen-year-old Samantha Sutton shined as the hottest new racing star of Formula One, but her rise to the top takes a hit when her boss steals her arch-rival Emilio Ronaldo away from Ferrari and makes the sexist jerk her team's number-one driver. This sends Samantha's perfect life into a tail spin that threatens to destroy everything she's worked so hard for.

Besides her six wins last season, the best thing Samantha won was Manny, the cute German boy who saved her from herself. But Manny chafes against the self-absorbed racing star rising above the ashes of the simple girl he fell in love with. Can he save that simple girl from destroying herself again?

While Samantha's performance on the track suffers and her status on the team plummets, Emilio rises within striking distance of another championship. Is this the final wake-up call the girl needs to beat Emilio and win the world championship? Or will the pressure break her.

Praise for the first book in the series Skid...

"Doug Solter is a wonderful writer and I really recommend this book to parents looking for appealing stories for their children that don't involve vampires.”--Nancy Bilyeau, bestselling author of The Crown and The Chalice

"This is a great, character driven, fast paced read with a unique plot/premise that you can not put down." --Angela J. Townsend, author of Amarok, River of Bones, and Moonflower

Skid Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Young Adult Indie Book Semi-Finalist

Hi, Everyone! Mandy was nice enough to let me write a post on her blog today about the subject of writing book blurbs. I can see why some writers shutter at the thought of boiling down that collection of over 60,000 words that we call a book into two to three small paragraphs. Some authors would rather tackle another book than writing a blurb for it.

I come from the world of screenwriting where a writer must be able to boil down their 120 page script into a one sentence pitch called a logline. The theory being that if you're at a dinner party and someone asks about your script (hopefully director Martin Scorsese) then you can belt out the logline to create interest. If they ask questions, then you can go into more detail on the plot. Over the years I've trained myself to boil down any story I write into a basic one sentence pitch. For example, my logline for the book Skid would be like this: A teen girl racer from Oklahoma competes for the Formula One world championship, but she can only win it if she overcomes her fear of racing in the rain.  

Notice the major parts. Who is the hero? What do they want? What is the setting? (where does the book take place) How does the hero go about achieving their goal? Notice I slipped in the character's flaw also. Many story pieces to compact into one sentence, right? Well, writing a book blurb is actually a little easier than the logline approach because instead of a sentence, you get two or three paragraphs.  But I would suggest trying your best to break down your book into one or two sentences so you can focus on the core story hook of your book. What is unique about it? Find that white pearl in the middle of your story that makes the idea of your book stand out.

Once you break it down and find that central idea, you can then start expanding on that idea to write your two to three paragraphs. Sometimes you can introduce the second most important character in the book, but I would only do so in terms of how that character affects the main character's central story. In general, keep the blurb focused on the hero and the scary tasks she or he must go through in order to achieve their goal. You must resist the urge to stuff the book blurb with back story or sub-plot information that clutters the main pitch of the book.

The goal of a book blurb is to SELL the material. Yup, the s-word can be a dirty word to some authors but it's true. Your blurb needs to grab a reader's interest enough to read a sample of the book. Or if you do your job right, they'll jump in with both feet and buy the book.

Remember that the goal of a blurb is to give that potential reader a strong, active, and to-the-point description of the main elements of your story. Don't tell them everything. If you leave the reader with nagging questions that they want answered, then you've done your job right. And how are those readers going to get their answers?

By purchasing and reading your book of course.    

Excerpt from Rivals by Doug Solter. Copyright 2014
All rights reserved.

Melbourne, Australia
Six days later

It’s Sunday. First race day of the season. The one day of the racing week where everything I’ve done before means absolutely nothing if I don’t perform. The one day I’m alone. No more appearances. No more team press conferences. No more race events that I have to pretend to enjoy. No more fans wanting this perfect version of Samantha Sutton that I could never be but inside their heads. It’s now my day to be selfish. To do what I want to do.
In my hotel room, I munch on some cheese curls and a banana for breakfast. Nothing heavy, only enough to get me to lunch. But I drink a ton of water because staying hydrated is so important for the race, and it’s smart to start early.
Next I take out the framed picture of me and my dad, the one I always carry when I’m on the road. It was taken years ago when I first started racing karts. I was so shy then. Seriously. Look at that twelve-year-old girl. The way her smile and shoulders droop. The way she sticks her skinny arms close to her body. Even in a tough-looking racing suit she was so unsure of herself and needed a great dad to boost her confidence. Dad has his arm around me, and the pride on his face is priceless. I miss those bushy eyebrows and that large chin.
I like looking at this picture before every race. I want to remind myself who I owe this incredible gift to. And it is a gift. I’m not talking about racing cars. I’m talking about Dad’s gift of confidence in myself. I would never, ever be doing this if Dad didn’t believe in his shy daughter.
The next thing I do as part of my race-day ritual is paint my nails. I grab the silver nail polish and start on my toes first. I know. I’m weird. But ever since I started racing, I would always paint my nails the same color as my race car. So far it’s been a good luck charm.
An hour later, I drive to the Albert Park racing circuit with Paige. I step into the garage and talk with Scott and Maurice about the car.
Manny joins us. He smiles and I melt.
He assures me that his new transmission checks out fine. But all I can think about is that garden in Jerez. I just realized I haven’t talked to Manny at all this week. It’s not like I avoided him. But I needed one of those I’m-pissed-off-now-so-leave-me-alone moments after he told me about Hanna.
I’m still not cool with him talking to his ex-girlfriend, but am I too paranoid? Manny would never do anything to hurt me. Not knowingly, anyway. When Hanna came to see him that night, Manny was kind to her because he’s a kind and gentle person who’s more compassionate than me.
I couldn’t see that at first. Hanna was his first girlfriend, so of course I felt threatened. Manny probably sees Hanna as someone he can help. That’s what so different about the boy. Being around Manny will make me a better person. And I want to be better. I want to be kinder and more compassionate. I would love those great things about Manny to rub off.
I hope he’s not mad at me for basically ignoring him this week.
Manny knows you’re a driver, Samantha. He knows what kind of schedule you have.
I know. I should stop worrying about it. Manny will always be there for me.
“Do you want to be left alone now?” he asks.
Scott and Maurice talk about something else. Our little pre race conference is done. A part of me doesn’t want Manny to leave. But I still need to do my warm-up exercises. And all the drivers will be gathering soon to take a lap around the circuit to see the fans. Then I have to eat lunch and begin to focus on the race.

Reluctantly, I nod.

 Doug began writing screenplays in 1998 and became a 2001 semi-finalist in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. His script Father Figure was one of 129 scripts left from 5,489 entries. Doug made the switch to writing young adult novels in 2008. Skid, a young adult novel set in the world of Formula One, is his first. Doug is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Doug respects cats, loves the mountains, and one time walked the streets of Barcelona with a smile on his face.

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Skid (eBook Free to Download)

Rivals: Skid 2 

*Doug can't put the book on Pre-order on Nook or Apple BUT these links should make the book pop up with his other two books.

1 comment:

  1. It's an eye catching cover. Love the colors.