Jack Cannon's American Destiny

Rachel Thompson

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shanna Hatfield's #WriteTip on Where Writers Find Inspiration @ShannaHatfield #AmWriting #Book

One question I’m often asked is where I get my story ideas.
Here’s the answer: Everywhere!
I’ve yet to go on a trip with my husband, Captain Cavedweller, and not come home with a list of story ideas. They’ve sprung to life while sitting in traffic, working in the yard, and grocery shopping. I also find inspiration in experiences. If I hear a hilarious story from a friend, I will probably jot down some notes. You never know when it might end up in a story. Likewise, don’t behave badly around me because you could end up as some despicable jerk in a future story.
The idea for my latest contemporary romance, The Christmas Cowboy, invaded my thoughts last year while CC and I sat in the Las Vegas airport after the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, waiting for our flight home. Indulging in some serious people watching, I couldn’t help but notice the sea of cowboy hats and friendly smiles. “What if,” started playing loudly in my head. What if there was a cowboy, a rodeo cowboy? What if he met a girl at an airport? What if they fell in love? What if she was a driven career woman? What if she despised cowboys? What if…
Fortunately, I had my laptop with me and began madly typing my ideas for the two main characters. By the time we landed, I had a basic storyline and most of the characters in the story planned out.
Here’s a little blurb about The Christmas Cowboy:
Tate Morgan is a good-looking, dimple-cheeked saddle bronc rider chasing his dream of earning a World Champion title. Frequenting the small airport near his ranch in southeast Washington on his way to rodeos, he keeps seeing the same beautiful brunette. He finally works up the courage to sit down next to her one morning and strikes up a conversation as they wait for a flight to Denver. Kenzie Beckett is a trainer for a direct sales company, traveling coast-to-coast as she works with consultants and the corporate team. Gone more than she’s home, she doesn’t have time to invest in relationships, particularly with a cowboy. Burned twice by sweet- talking men wearing Wranglers and boots, the last thing Kenzie plans to do is give a third one the chance to break her heart.
Keep something handy to jot down notes at all times. You never know when or where inspiration might strike. I’ve keep notebooks in my purse, in the car and, if all else fails, I can also capture a few notes on my phone. Don’t go looking for inspiration because the very best moments are the ones that catch you by surprise.
For more details about The Christmas Cowboy, visit The Christmas Cowboy page on Shanna’s website. From December 1-24, Shanna will donate 10% of her net proceeds from all her book sales to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.
Author Bio: Shanna Hatfield is a hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure. In addition to blogging, eating too much chocolate, and being smitten with Captain Cavedweller, she writes clean romantic fiction with a healthy dose of humor. She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.
The Christmas Cowboy
Flying from city to city in her job as a busy corporate trainer for a successful direct sales company, Kenzie Beckett doesn't have time for a man. And most certainly not for the handsome cowboy she keeps running into at the airport. Burned twice, she doesn't trust anyone wearing boots and Wranglers, especially someone as charming and handsome as Tate Morgan.
Among the top saddle bronc riders in the rodeo circuit, easy-going Tate Morgan can handle the toughest horse out there, but trying to deal with the beautiful Kenzie Beckett is a completely different story.
As the holiday season approaches, this Christmas Cowboy is going to need to pull out all the stops if he wants a chance at winning her heart.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Romance (contemporary western)
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Shanna Hatfield on Facebook and Twitter

Saturday, March 22, 2014

@NRNadarajah's #WriteTip for Meeting Deadlines & Staying Sane #Fantasy #GoodReads

Allow me to tell you about a little something I learned when I was just a wee little lad. Several times a week, my dad would sit me down and ask me: “so, what’ve you got planned for the day?” It was a simple question, and one I should’ve had an answer for each time he asked. But that was usually never the case. I hardly ever had an answer for him, and when I did, it was a fleeting thought about something that I might’ve wanted to do a day or two down the road.
“You need to make a schedule,” he’d then tell me. “Make a schedule and organize your thoughts. Create a checklist or something like that. You’ll be more productive that way.”
Did I listen to him? I’d like to tell you that I did.
So, how have I managed to write two YA fantasy novels, as well as two other picture eBooks for adults, while sticking to my deadlines without driving myself barking mad?
You’ve guessed it. I finally started listening to what my old man had to say. Here’s how I’ve incorporated his advice into furthering my productivity and finding success along the way.
Every Sunday, I’d take about five to ten minutes out of my time and sit down to make a checklist. Trust me on this. Make a list and write down everything you’d like to accomplish that week. And then when you feel like you’ve listed out and scheduled your entire week, add a few more items you’d like to accomplish.
There are seven days in a week, which equates to 168 hours. That’s a whole lot of hours just waiting to be used up (or wasted. That decisions up to you). 168 hours. There’s so much we can do in that time. There’s so much we can accomplish, and yet, the majority of us find that we’re only ever able to complete a fraction of what we intended to finish. The reason, I find, is because for the most part, we end up wasting our time trying to figure out what to do next, or how to kill that time which is given to us.
This is where the checklist we created comes into play. Take it as a challenge to accomplish each and every item on that list. Because you’ve already written down the things you’d like to get done by week’s end, there is little or no time wasted trying to get yourself organized. What’s more is that you’ve written down more than you can accomplish. Try your hardest to get all of it done. Chances are you won’t. But by reaching for the stars, you know how the rest of this cliché goes.
So how does making this checklist and trying to complete the items on that list help you meet your deadlines and remain sane while doing it?
Creating that list and hoping to check off the items as you finish them isn’t enough to get the job done. Sometimes, it is. However, along the way, we tend to bite our nails, repeatedly bang our heads on the table, grit and bare our teeth at our laptops hoping for some miracle to happen, take naps to calm our mounting frustration, etcetera, etcetera, and another etcetera, why? Because we tend to look at the project as a whole.
Don’t do that. It can be rather overwhelming considering the amount of work that needs to be done to complete whatever it is that you’re trying to complete.
Instead, take a deep breath. Relax. And while you’re making that checklist to start the new week, remind yourself to take this one day at a time, one step at a time. And while you’re at it, remind yourself why you’re doing this.
No one’s forcing you to be a writer.
This is your passion. Your choice.
You’re pushing yourself beyond your mental endurance because you want to see your book, your creation, come to life.
So why stress over that deadline and hurt yourself while trying to meet it.
You’ve got the tools. You’ve got the want and the will. And now, you’ve that magical little checklist to guide your way. So start cracking and start checking off those items as you breeze right through them.
If you’re a writer, you’re reading this, and you’re trying to meet a deadline, always keep one thing in mind. We’ve already embarked upon a quest that makes us partly insane. So tell me, fellow writer, what’ve you got to lose?

Haunted by memories of his massacred settlement, sixteen-year-old Weaver seeks cover in a hidden refuge among the remains of a ruined city. In the midst of building a new life, Weaver discovers that he has the amazing power to cast his dreams into reality. Convinced it’s just an anomaly, Weaver ignores it. That is until he learns of a mysterious man who shares the ability, and uses his power to bring nightmares into existence and wage war on the world. The peaceful life Weaver hoped for begins to unravel as waves of chaos begin to break loose about him. In a race against time, Weaver must learn to accept his role as a dream caster and master his new power, before his new home is destroyed and humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction.
Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Najeev Raj Nadarajah on Facebook Twitter

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Jonas Trust Deception by A.F.N. Clarke @AFNClarke #Thriller #MustRead #Excerpt

The Jonas Trust Deception
by AFN Clarke

AFN CLARKE is the author of 8 books, including the best selling memoir CONTACT, that was serialized in a British newspaper and made into an award winning BBCTV film.  His latest novel, The Jonas Trust Deception, is a Thomas Gunn thriller and follows the success of The Orange Moon Affair.  Readers have called it “classy, complex and cunningly compelling” and a “powerful force in the thriller genre”.  In solving the mystery of an ongoing conspiracy involving his old friend Morgan, Thomas Gunn, ex-Special Forces, takes an action so shocking and bold, that even his team fear he’s lost his mind.  The question is, has he?  To get a taste of things to come, here’s an excerpt from the book.  And for more information visit www.afnclarke.com or the Amazon Kindle store.


There is something so totally desolate about sitting in a prison cell staring at the blank grey walls that, unless you’ve experienced it, you’ll never understand. There is a finality and hopelessness that is almost beyond comprehension. A despair that sucks at your soul. My salvation was that I knew that my stay here was going to be short-lived, but what the future held was one big question mark. I had the distinct feeling somebody had put a ring in my nose and was leading on a mystery tour with more questions than answers.

Left alone with just the usual sounds of dissatisfied inmates, clinking keys and slamming doors for company, I thought back to the frantic last few days.

Confusion would be an apt description of my state of mind.

What facts could I scramble together?

Several dead bodies at Morgan’s ranch.

A small but ruthless Mexican Mafia gangbanger, with the unlikely nickname of ‘El Cobra Poco’, who seemed as if he could be a strange ally.

And the mysterious Robert Sutherland.

What other questions remained?

There were many, starting with who would have wanted to kill Morgan? Everything went back to my request for her to investigate the financial dealings of the Griffin Trust and its Chairman Ted Lieberman.

How was the Mexican Mafia involved if what Sutherland said about Morgan working for him was true?

I could just lie here all night long and create imaginary scenarios, but that wouldn’t supply any answers, so I closed my eyes and concentrated on emptying my mind.

Sleep was what I needed.

It must have been two hours after the jail cell lights went out, that the goons came for me. Dragged me off the bed and frog marched me down the corridor to the back of the jail and down narrow stairs to a basement garage without saying a word. There was a nondescript cream coloured painter’s van waiting with the rear doors open, and I was unceremoniously bundled inside.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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@AlinkaRutkowska's Thoughts on Writing a #Book You Don’t Care About #WriteTip #AmWriting

The key to traditional publishing success? Write a book you don’t care about! How? HOW is that possible, you ask? To do that you need to take the pressure off. The best way to do that is to self-publish first. I have my Maya & Filippo children’s books series and these titles are my darlings. I love and cherish them. I organize book tours for them, I get them into libraries, visitors’ centers and cruise ships. I market them daily. Why do I all that? Because I self-published them. I have full control and full responsibility. I believe in them greatly and I know that they deserve the best of treatments. So that’s what I give them.
On a totally different note, I just subscribed to a writers’ group and just started doing something I never have in my writing life - exchanging manuscript critiques. Of course the first manuscript I submitted was another of my Maya & Filippo episodes and the reactions were something like: this looks great BUT a picture book should only be 500 words long and it should be either fiction or non-fiction and not the two blended together and other similar remarks. These were followed by BUT I guess you can throw my comments away, they’re just one woman’s opinion. Obviously your books are successful and you are an accomplished author. Hell yeah!
But I wanted to play. And these writers can’t seem to play with my current beloved work. So I did something fresh. Actually I don’t think I did it, I just seemed to be the outlet of this story wanting to get to the world. One early morning I got up with the need to put on paper this idea I had. It’s a story about tomatoes. This is another thing. Many of the stories people write are about vegetables, animals or the weather. And I’m like “what the ***?” But since this is what’s trending, I can do it too.
So I wrote this story about tomatoes - these vegetables (or are they considered fruits?) have a very rich internal life. The story is solid, the idea is fresh, other writers’ comments are very promising. I am submitting it to an agent who I know likes stories about fruits and vegetables. And I don’t care. I really don’t. I’m doing this just for fun. Like a game. I see these authors on Facebook, crying over their rejections. Oh, come on! Move on and make your dreams come true. If they won’t open the door, knock it down with your foot, or get in through the window.
Self-publish that book you are so in love with. This will so take the pressure off. And in the meantime submit your new manuscripts to agents as a published author. This way you will broaden your horizons, gain self-confidence, grow as a writer and business person and make your dreams come true :)
Alinka Rutkowska has created a tale that will appeal to children, which teaches about choices, and encourages communication and sharing. Rating: 5.0 stars from Readers’ Favorite Reviews.
Embark on a one-of-a-kind, unprecedented, breathtaking adventure with Maya and Filippo as they travel around the globe on board the “Fun Princess” — a cruise ship full of surprises. Discover their fascinating ports of call, find out what the local customs and traditions are, join the kids in activities at sea, and explore the remarkable world they create through the power of their positive outlook.
This time the kids spend a day on board the Fun Princess. They become junior chefs at sea and learn how to bake a cake. Maya and Filippo discover how trying out different recipes gets them closer to creating the perfect dessert. They also discover the power of sharing.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Children's Picture Book
Rating – G
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Connect with Alinka Rutkowska on Facebook & Twitter

Monday, March 17, 2014

Author Interview - Ava Zavora @avazavora

Last book you purchased? Tell us about it.

I bought Inferno by Dan Brown as a gift for my mother because she asked for it. And once she’s finished, I have dibs on borrowing it :)

Who do you admire?

I recently read an article on CNN about Dr. Georges Bwelle who grew up in Cameroon so poverty-stricken that his father died from lack of adequate medical care. Once he became a doctor, he started a nonprofit organization, ASCOVIME, which provides much needed free medical care to those who can’t afford it during weekends. What an astonishing and truly heroic man! For more on his story and on ASCOVIME, go here: http://www.ascovime.org.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation” from Walden by Walt Whitman struck a chord in me the first time I ever read it as a freshman in college. I had this scary image of mindless drones in office cubicles, drained of all vitality. I vowed that I would always live my life with passion and meaning.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world?

J’adore Paris – the cafes, the museums, the food, the bridges. It has showed up twice in my novels now; not a surprise since Paris is synonymous with romance.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

The middle has always been problematic for me. I’m an enthusiastic starter and finisher, but getting from one point to the other can be a harrowing journey. So with Dear Adam, once I got to the halfway point and felt my spirits flagging, I decided to do something different to stimulate myself. I was excited about the ending so I wrote it next. After that, I proceeded to go backwards until I reached the middle and the book was done.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Ava Zavora on Facebook & Twitter

Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Emerge: A Galatia Novel (The Galatia #Series) by C. D. Verhoff #Fantasy #SciFi

Josie and Lars had known each other forever, but had never been more than acquaintances. Luke, however, was in her grade. Lars’s impression was that the girl wasn’t very popular at school. She was really cute though, so he didn’t understand why. 
“Hey, Luke, what do you think of Josie Albright?”
“She’s super smart—wants to be a chemist—probably just so she can blow up stuff.”
“What I mean is she nice, is she stuck-up, or what?”
“She’s a whackadoodle.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Josie’s not like the other girls.” Luke shrugged. “I mean, she’s into weird things.”
“You mean like her questionable taste in literature?”
“No, well, that might be part of it. She actually tries to be geeky. She thinks it’s cool to be the outcast, I went to a party where she sat in the corner reading a book and smoking a cigarette, like a nerdy girly James Dean or something.”
“I’m not following.”
“She acts like the popular kids are shallow and stuck up, so they’re beneath her. But she’s being just as stuck up. Josie’s not as good-looking as Feenie or Jo, but she’s definitely an Albright—as in not ugly, so the geeks find her too intimidating to hang out with. It’s her own darn fault that she only has a couple of friends. Had. I think they both died in the bunker.”
“I think she looks a little bit like Vivian Leigh.”
“That lady in Gone with the Wind?” Luke’s eyebrows arched. “Oh, man, Lars—don’t tell me you’re crushing on weird Josie Albright?”
“It’s not a crush exactly—let’s call it mild interest.”
“Mild interest.” Luke rolled onto his back, holding his belly, as he laughed. “Is that what they’re calling lust these days?”
“You heard about how she saved that little girl from the river crocs?”
“Yeah, that was pretty cool.” Luke thoughtfully stroked his pretend mustache. “Superhero Vivian Leigh?” he teased. “Maybe I ought to reconsider my stance on dating whackadoodles.”
“Don’t even think about it.” Lars scowled at his brother. “If you try to steal her out from under me, I’ll be really pissed.”
“If this is how you react when mildly interested in a girl,” Luke scanned Lars sardonically. “I’ll hate to see what you’re like when it’s true love.”
“Shut up and help me figure out if I should ask her out.”
“How are you going to take her out somewhere? It’s not like there’s a theater or a café around the next corner.”
“I thought maybe I could ask her on a picnic—what do you think?”
“Rumor has it that Josie Albright only likes girls. Short hair? Hoodies? What are we supposed to think?”
“You mean she’s a lesbian?” Lars felt his stomach sink in disappointment. “Are you sure?”
“There’s only one way to know—ask her out, bro.”
SF covinggton cond- Emerge-for kindle (1)
The last survivors of the human race are riding out nuclear winter in an underground bunker when disaster strikes. Forced to the surface centuries ahead of schedule, what they find blows their minds. Who can explain it? Two social misfits work together to unravel the mystery.
After living in a posh underground shelter his entire life, Lars Steelsun is plunged headfirst into a mind-blowing adventure on the surface of the Earth. As Lars and his displaced bunker mates are led across the grasslands by Mayor Wakeland, a man of questionable sanity who claims to talk with God, they discover a primitive world where human beings are no longer welcome. Even more mystifying is the emergence of new senses and abilities from within. Learning to use them has become a priority, but his biggest challenge comes from the vivacious Josie Albright. Her lust for glory is going to get them both into trouble. Sparks fly when her gung ho ways clash with his cautious personality. Can they overcome their differences to find love and a homeland for their people?
May not be suitable for younger readers. Contains mild profanity, sexual situations (infrequent), and violence. 
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Epic Fantasy
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with C. D. Verhoff on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cerece Rennie Murphy's Lessons from #SelfPub @CereceRMurphy #SciFi #WriteTip

One year and two months later.  What I have learned so far from publishing my first book by Cerece Rennie Murphy, Author of the Order of the Seers Trilogy.
A year ago, I published my first full-length story EVER – a sci-fi novel called Order of the Seers.  It took me about a year to write and almost as long to get up the courage to publish it.  But on September 4th, 2012, I took the plunge, hit the send button, uploaded my file to Amazon and waited for the masses to collectively shudder in awe at the little piece of my heart that I sent out into the world.  It has been quite a journey since then, and ever since I got my head out of my ass and started using it, its been kind of fun too.  How hard this journey has been hasn’t exactly been a surprise to me, but watching myself slowly evolve into a publisher has. This is a short list of some of the things I have learned so far.
1)     Welcome to the REAL world AKA You are NOT an overnight sensation.  The day my first book was published, I spent the entire day sick in bed with worry and fear.  After a week, I think I had only sold about 20 ebook copies.  I was devastated.  I told myself my book was horrible and I shouldn’t have even tried to publish it.  It took me a week to start THINKING about what I might have done better or differently.  That’s when I really started to move into the new career that I have chosen.
The Lesson: If you don’t become a bestseller your first week out, it’s not the worst thing in the world.  It’s just where you started.  Where you end up is up to you.
2)     One blog tour and one eblast does not a marketing plan make. Seriously - that was pretty much my marketing plan for the release of my 1st book.  Yes, I was very naïve about what it would take for people to find out about my book.  Most of my reluctance to developing a marketing plan had to do with a) my fear of putting myself out there and b) my general ignorance about what methods and resources were available to me.  I did a little bit of this and a little bit of that for a while.  Some things worked (I built my mailing list by going to comic/sci-fi conventions, did a cover reveal blog tour for the 2nd book along with a $.99 week long sale promotion for the 1st book) and some things didn’t (spent a ton of money on a Christmas ad campaign that cost way more than I sold in books).
The Lesson: If you have the guts to publish a book, have the guts to market it.  One barely makes sense without the other.  One of the best marketing pieces of advice that I have gotten so far is, “pick a monthly budget, no matter how big or small and do something every month to promote your book.  Keep writing and keep marketing.  Consistency will pay off.”  It has taken me over a year, but I am finally seeing the maturity and wisdom of these words.  For most writers, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
3)     Guard Your Headspace AKA Read Reviews Sparingly.  I have read this time and time again from accomplished veterans of the writing profession, but this advice is so hard to heed. In the beginning, I used to check my reviews every day.  It would stress me out so much that, at one point, I was literally afraid to go on Goodreads.  A glowing review would be met with relief, quickly followed by skepticism.  A strong, but not effusive review would be picked over to death for the rest of the day.  Neither one helped me write any better, but one could shut me down for a good 24-48 hours.
The Lesson: Everyone isn’t going to like your book.  That’s a fact and it’s ok.  Find some people you trust and respect.  Get them to read and critique your work.  Modify as needed, then let it be.  Periodically, I will check the number of reviews I have when I am in the middle of a promotion.  Sometimes, if it appears that I’ve gotten a few good ones, I’ll chance a glance and feel happy, but I don’t let myself linger.  It’s just not that helpful to my state-of-mind.
4)     Building Buzz Takes Time AKA Give yourself more than 4 month before you publish your 1st novel.  I decided to publish my book at the end of May 2012 and I published my 1st book in September.  This was stupid.  The process of trying to learn what I was doing while I was doing it was so stressful and crazy.  At the time, I didn’t want to give myself the chance to chicken-out, so I think I just tried to plow through it, but in the process, I missed opportunities for reviews and using other promotional resources that might have made my first release more successful.
The Lesson: Don’t do what I did.  Give yourself time to learn the business before you dive in. (But don’t use your research as an excuse to procrastinate!)
5)     The doubt doesn’t go away, but it gets more manageable as you go.  I wish I could say that, a year later, I feel like a bad-ass self-published author, but I don’t.  Most days, I feel the weight of all the things I still need to learn and do, but I can also acknowledge how far I have come.  The release of my second book in the Order of the Seers trilogy this summer was a bit less personally traumatic and much more thoroughly planned out and executed than my first release.  This was made possible only with the help of an author’s assistant, street promotion team, 3 book blog/promotion services running simultaneously, a small, but positive, collection of pre-release reviews, a week-long free sale of the 1st book and an uber-coordinated mailing list, Facebook and twitter campaign.  The result - my second book stayed on Amazon Kindle’s best-seller list for over a month in the sci-fi/genetic engineering category and made it into Amazon’s Hot New Sci-fi releases list.
The Lesson: Believe in your story enough to work on writing it, honing it and sharing it, every day that you can.
Order of the Seers
What would you do if you held infinite power in the palm of your hand? Part One of the thrilling Order of the Seers trilogy poses this question within a story that fuses action, mystery, romance, and adventure in a science fiction novel that keeps you at the edge of your seat. Captured and enslaved for their extraordinary gift, a group of individuals, known as Seers, are forced to serve a ruthless world organization that uses the power of the Seers to exploit the ultimate advantage: knowing the future. While a brother and his Seer sister fight to evade the group that hunts them, an unlikely captured Seer, plots his escape from within the organization and sets off a chain of events that will change the world.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – NC-17
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jack Canon’s American Destiny by Greg Sandora @gregsandora

Change is seldom easy, but moving into our new offices the final year of the  campaign was anything but hard. Sandy decorated our campaign offices with style,  comfortable furnishings, light- colored woods, and plenty of glass. She said her  taste was as big as my pocketbook, and lucky for us, friends of the campaign had  donated plenty of cash to do the job right.Sandy popped her head around the door. Dressed in a black skirt and form-fitting zebra print blouse, she carefully positioned the toe end of her  black stilettos toward the floor to keep the door from closing. I could just see  the faint line between her toes as her foot was flexed.

We had a tight spring closer installed right after one of my senior staff  accidentally left the door ajar. There are a lot of sensitive issues discussed  in here we would never want the rest of the office to know.

“Jack, you’ve got senior staff in 20 minutes.” Sandy’s voice had an almost  musical quality. She rarely spoke to me in anything but the most dulcet tones, a  trait which matched her pleasing personality.

“Hey, Sandy,” I jumped up from my seat and moved quickly towards her.

“Come with me; I want to show you something.”

“What’s going on, Jack? You seem excited.”

I didn’t answer – instead I led her gently by the arm toward the seventh  floor elevator. We passed several staff members busy working at their desks,  each calling out like dominoes, one after the other, “Hey Jack.” I smiled and  gave thumbs up as Sandy and I hurried past.

“Damn, the elevator’s busy; let’s take the stairs.”

“Do we have enough time, Jack?” Sounding concerned as we turned the corner.

Ignoring the question, I pushed open the door and started down the steps.  Sandy had one hand gripping the cold metal railing and her other digging into my  arm for support, luckily she had short nails. A couple of years ago, I mentioned  I didn’t like the plastic ones she was wearing. The next day she came into the  office, plopped both hands down on my desk, and said, “I cut my nails, Jack!”

It was hard for her to move fast in high heels with her skirt fitted snug  just above the knee. She managed by holding tight to my arm, scuffing along,  taking quick small steps.

“I’m parked on the third floor of the parking garage. Keep going; it’s only  one more floor.”

“Jack, I’m out of breath,” Sandy said as I pushed open the door to P3.

We entered a large open area to see a shiny sports car parked alone.

“It’s my new car; you like it?”

“What is it?”

“It’s a car,” Teasing, knowing what she meant.

“I know it’s a car, what kind is it? I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Don’t feel bad. I didn’t know either; I had to look it up. It’s French made,  a Bugatti. The guy that delivered it said it’s one of a kind.”

Sitting before us was a machine that pushed the envelope to unreal. Lines so  amazing it seemed to be in motion just standing still. The Bugatti Veyron is  basically a street legal racecar. Exciting as all hell to drive. I never dreamed  I’d own an automobile that could hit a top speed over 250 miles per hour. Truth  is, before last night I didn’t even know I wanted one.

My version was custom painted black metallic with shiny chrome over dazzling  wheel rims in a wave pattern over the single door. The porcelain moldings formed  a body impossible to duplicate with steel alone. The styling was accentuated by  a triple round grill that gave the car personality and elevated the handcrafted  masterpiece to a work of art. To say this car was rare was an understatement;  I’d seen only one similar car and that was in a magazine.

The Bugatti was hot, a  real head turner, all eyes were on it as I drove to the office this morning.

Sandy said, “It’s beautiful, Jack When did you get it?”

“They just dropped it off last night.” I ran around the car and opened the  passenger side door for her.

“Sandy, get in. Let’s go for a spin around the block; we’ve got time.” She  tried to enter, first sideways then lowering herself gracefully as far as she  could. Instead, she ended up plopping down, practically falling into the very  low seat. She crossed her legs, trying to get situated and buckled in. The seats  were so steeply angled, they looked like twin toboggans racing downhill.  Watching Sandy try to get comfortable, I thought cars like these are not made  for long drives or tight skirts.

Sandy warned, “I hope you’re gonna take it easy, Jack?”

“Engine on,” I spoke. The car was outfitted with prototype voice activated  control. The engine obeyed, immediately humming to a start. The understated  throatiness of the exhaust stood in quiet contrast to all the glass packs out  there trying to Sound Street tough. All the gauges lit blue and the dials went  to the hilt before settling down. The windows looked like mirrors from the  outside and the interior cabin was nearly sound proof.

“Hear that purr?” I revved up the 16 cylinder 1000 horsepower engine, flooring the accelerator several times, burying the tach.

“Look at this thing Sandy – it doesn’t red line until 12,000 rpm!”

Sandy was admiring the leather wrapped interior, running her hands over the  dash settling on the round vent of the chrome airstream.

“We won’t need the air conditioner today,” I joked.

“You think? – It’s like 40 degrees outside; I should’ve brought a sweater.  You hurried me out so fast I didn’t have time to think. ”

I told her, “You won’t need it in here; the cabin heats up in seconds.” The  car must have been equipped with some type of radiant heat system.

I flipped the dial and we were warm almost immediately.

Sandy said, “I wonder how they do that; I freeze waiting for my car to heat  up. You know, Jack, I never thought I’d say this about a car, but this one is  sexy… I guess some guys need this sort of thing.”

I sank back into the driver’s seat richly upholstered in a diamond patchwork  of raised blond leather. The headrests had the Bugatti Logo richly embroidered  to adorn the center. Everything in the cockpit was chrome or leather trimmed  with a fragrant new car smell.

It’s always amused me that people are willing to pay many times the intrinsic  value of an item just to obtain the status of a brand. This was not one of those  times. We were seated in an example of excellence, worth every penny of the $1.6  million price tag. It wouldn’t have mattered what they called it.

“Reverse,” I eased off the brake. My left hand barely guiding the wheel, I  backed the car from its lone parking spot.

When I arrived this morning, the first and second floors of the garage were  nearly filled with cars so I took the third level to have it all to myself. I  knew I was gonna take at least one person for a ride today!

“Drive,” I said, and with both hands on the wheel at ten and two, I asked  Sandy, “Are you ready?” Before she could answer, I pressed my foot down on the  pedal. The tires spun, smoking for a second on the slick cement floor. I smelled  the hint of burning rubber as we laid our first 10-foot strip.

We were off!

“Hold on, Sandy,” I warned as we slowed quickly to negotiate the first turn.

“Please be careful,” Sandy pleaded as we tore through it. The thick rear of  the car fishtailing, tires screeching, turn by turn we made it to the ground  level. We tested the acceleration, racing full throttle the entire length of the  floor. I hit the brakes hard, skidding right through the exit booth. The attendant raised the traffic arm just in  time.

Ceramic Brake Pads, built to withstand enormous heat, allowed the car to stop  faster than it accelerated. Sixty to zero in a mere 2.3 seconds…on this stop, I  could’ve used another tenth of a second for Sandy’s sake.

“Oh my God, Jack, you almost hit the bar. You’re the last guy on earth that  should own a car that goes this fast.”

“Oh Honey, I knew we weren’t gonna hit the bar. This car was made for this  type of handling.”

I really did know it as fact. In practice this morning, me and the kid worked  it out. I slipped him a twenty.

“You think that was fast, you haven’t seen nothing yet!”

“No, I really have,” Sandy grabbed tight to the armrests.

Looking only to my left I hit the gas and we flew out into the street.

“Jack, are you sure…?”

I answered by putting the pedal to the floor, “We’ll just take her around the  block.”

We could feel only mild vibration as we tested the claim of zero to sixty in  2.5 seconds. We were momentarily pinned back in our seats.

“Wow!” I said. Driving as fast as I could, barely stopping at one corner before speeding up to the next, each time announcing to Sandy how fast we’d  gotten up to.

“She just kept saying “You’re gonna get us killed.”

“The last run was our best, Sandy, sixty-eight!” I told her, proud of myself.  When we got back to our starting point, we turned into the garage. I stopped  briefly, thanked the attendant and grabbed a ticket.

Sandy said, “Pleeease, Jack, can we just take it easy now?”

The cockpit was relatively quiet, even with all the commotion we created.  Tires screeching, rear end fishtailing, burning rubber all the way to the third  level.

On the way up, I told Sandy, “It sounds worse than it is!”

“Off!” One final command and the powerful machine instantly fell into motionless repose.

“Jack! Driving with you feels like sitting in a rocket sled perched on a banana peel. I feel like I just lifted off in the space shuttle. You’re  impossible! Really, Jack, you try sitting in the death seat with someone driving  like that! I nearly put my foot through the floor trying to stop the car  myself.” Sandy threatened with a look like she’d never get in my car again. This  time I think she meant it.

“We have to take the elevator. This skirt is too tight for me to climb stairs.” I was laughing, exhilarated as we hurried towards the exit. Sandy was  trying her best to keep up, one hand on my shoulder the other on my arm for  balance. I pushed the button and showed her my watch, “See we made it.”

“Jack, we’ve only made it to the elevator,” she said slightly exaggerated,  out of breath. She was shaking a bit. I grabbed her by the shoulders and looked  down deep into her eyes.

“Don’t worry, I sent everyone a text before we left to hold off for 20 minutes. I just wanted to take you for a ride and have some fun. Wasn’t that an  awesome adrenaline rush?”

“I just didn’t want them to blame me for making you late.” Sandy’s eyes were  a little watery. She grabbed a tissue out of her purse and dabbed them dry.

“It wouldn’t have been your fault. Don’t cry Honey; I’m sorry you’re upset.”

“I’m not crying. Sometimes you’re a little wild Jack, really! When did you  even decide to buy that car? Usually you have me check around…”

I cut her off, “It was a gift. Somebody Bud’s been working with, they just  dropped it off.”

She cocked her head to the side and, wide-eyed, looked at my face, “Who would  just give you that?”

I explained, “One of our key supporters in the East. I’m anxious to meet him.  He’s throwing us a big fundraiser the night of the New Hampshire Primary in  Upstate New York. Bud’s working out the details. I want you to come with us;  it’ll be fun. Maybe you’ll meet some rich guy that drives his Benz like a little  old lady.”

“Very funny, Jack. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with driving the speed  limit. The way you drive, you’re gonna get somebody killed. Why did he give you  the car though?”

“He wants to be sure that when I’m president, I’ll take his call. The car is  his way of introducing himself. I’m not about to keep it. I’m gonna auction it  off for charity after the election.”

“That’s some introduction, Jack. They sure know your weakness. I wish someone  would give me a car.”

“Sandy, the super rich are drawn to power like moths to a flame.”

“Do you know what this means?” Sandy looked into my eyes, “You’re going all  the way!”

I reached to her shoulders, “Sandy, we’re goin’ all the way!”

“Jack, I can’t wait until you expose these people.”

I started daydreaming about my speech… The wealthy want the status quo to  continue, hoarding trillions… they move in a world that few people get a  chance to see. We’ll get a big taste of that up in New York; that’s one of the  reasons I wanted Sandy to come. She’s never seen this before. I wanted her to  see this unbelievable wealth first hand.

Most Americans have no idea that the richest 1% control 50% of the income.  The system is so broken. We have thirty-eight million kids who go to bed hungry  every night while the wealthy in this country can’t figure out where to park  their extra Mercedes.

“Jack… have you heard anything I said?” She knew I was deep in thought and  hadn’t heard a word.

“Sandy, my parents have friends who would be embarrassed to stay too long in  their winter homes for fear the neighbors would think they’d lost their minds or  gone senile. All while millions of Americans are homeless. It’s messed up.”

“It’s awful, Jack The rich are so selfish they only care about themselves!”

“Well I’ll tell ya one thing, nobody has ever done anything about it.”

“The only thing I worry about, Jack: if you speak out against them, how are  you going to get big donations for the campaign?”

“It’ll be like taking candy from a baby. It’s human nature. Every billionaire  thinks he’s the exception and we’re not talking about him. You won’t believe how  fast the donations roll in.”

“Jack, you know what I’ve never understood?”

“What, Honey?”

“What don’t they have with all that money?”

“Peace of mind…they worry about what they might lose. You’ll see. They get  jittery when administrations change and they’ll pay huge money to the  frontrunners. For insurance, they have access to whoever wins the Presidency.  You watch.”



“Next time I drive.”


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Genre – Political Thriller

Rating – PG

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