Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fate whispers to the warrior...- Wheeler by Sara Butler Zalesky

"Multi-dimensional, inspiring, and sometimes heartbreaking, Loren will have readers rooting for her successes and looking forward to a second installment. Hopefully Zalesky’s second novel will come soon, as Wheeler’s abrupt end may catch readers off-guard, feeling almost as if they’ve fallen off their bikes unexpectedly."- Literary Titan, Goodreads


Published: July 4th, 2016

Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’
The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’

Loren Mackenzie has spent much of her life honing her body to meet the physical challenges of being a professional cyclist in the women’s European peloton. She has also refined the control of her mind, using the power of her emotions in competition to become one of the elite cyclists in the world. After an accident at the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, Loren must rise to the challenge of leading her team as the Women’s World Tour races across Europe, culminating with the opportunity to compete at the World Championships in Richmond, Virgina.

When a chance meeting develops into a whirlwind romance, what appears to be the perfect relationship threatens to unravel Loren’s tightly wound life. The microscope of tabloid media attention dredges up fears that her past will be unearthed; tragic secrets she has kept buried, even from those closest to her.

Can Loren face the trauma of her past and vanquish the demons within, or will betrayal and obsession ultimately defeat her?


As was pointed out in Literary Titan’s review of Wheeler recently, there’s a lot of Shakespeare in the story. Graham Atherton was inspired by a mix of personages that are all classically trained actors of a particular ‘type.’ When I close my eyes, I can hear his voice disturbingly clear, and that voice speaks fluent Shakespeare. Thing is, it fits his personality. 

Can you imagine Aaron Eckhart spouting Shakespeare? Nope. But you sure can Colin Firth. Definitely James McAvoy. And so, it is how my Muse speaks. 

As you read Wheeler, your mind might conjure up a tall, svelte, aristocratic Englishman, with dark, purposely tousled hair and painfully blue eyes. But Graham is also nowhere near perfect. He has ugly feet. His eyebrows are lopsided. He can be selfish and insensitive. When wounded, he lets his anger fester until it blows up in everyone’s face. He is the ultimate White Knight. He will avoid his own problems in order to save those around him. 

In his world, relationships are intense, and short lived. Film shoots, especially dramas, the actors are steeped in heavy emotions and become close quickly. It’s why a lot of relationships develop between co-stars, but it’s also why these relationships break up in just a few months. Real Life is not exciting and it takes both people to be all in to make a relationship work. 

Graham is isolated even though he’s often surrounded by people. While he might not admit it to himself, he’s lonely and when he feels a connection with Loren and sees it reflected back, he’s like a Golden Retriever: he’s all over the place excited. Like his past relationships, his desire to love and be loved sometimes blinds him to the real person with whom he’s infatuated. Without something else to focus on, his world becomes Loren – or his perception of her. 

Loren also has an intense personality, as well as being isolated, but for completely different reasons. She is focused on rising to the challenge of leading her team and her relationships with her teammates are close. They have to trust either completely out on the road and each member of the team has to put aside their personal desires to work together to win. If they don’t, the team falls apart. 

When Loren meets Graham, she is blinded by her infatuation and gobbles up his attention like her favorite French Macarons. A part of her recognizes the pattern though, and she tries to hold back. 

“I don’t know. Maybe this is good for us.” 
“I don’t think it’s good,” Graham whined as he sat up more. 
“I’m trying to be pragmatic here.” Loren exhaled, then faced him again. “I mean, we both feel like this all came on a little fast, right?” 
“Perhaps,” he replied, his frown deepening. 
She took his hand. “I’m afraid that if we keep going the way we are, it’s going to burn out. Nobody can keep up that kind of intenseness for long, and the last thing I want to be is a punchline.” 
He flinched. “You would not be a punchline.” 
“Yes, I would, you know that,” she countered, then turned back to the windows. “I’m not perfect, Graham. I can be moody and slightly condescending, and maybe a little controlling.” She winced. “They call me the Ice Queen for a reason. You just bring out the warm and fuzzy in me.” 
His soft smile reflected hers. “I try very hard to be the perfect gentleman, host, actor, friend, but I fail, often. I can be insensitive and selfish and perhaps a wee bit of a wanker.” Graham’s smile dissolved. “I can’t give you a relationship without arguments or hurt feelings. We’re two souls with our own baggage. But what I will promise,” he raised his brow, “is to give you my absolute best in every moment. If you can give me the same promise, then I don’t see how we can go wrong, even when we’re more than five thousand miles from each other.” 

See that, not one line of Shakespeare. They both recognize things went a little fast and as their long-distance relationship continues, their love letters reveal more than either could say in person. 

As I said before in a previous post on my blog, I have read every word that Shakespeare wrote, more than I ever did back in high school. There are three pages of citations in the back of Wheeler. Damn you, Google for helping my Muse out like that. It could be a wee over the top sometimes but by the end of the novel, I toned it down. 

The reason: I ran out of lines.

About the author::
was born in the wee hours of a November night in New York City. When her family moved to a small borough in northwestern New Jersey, she had little choice but to move as well. Self-sufficiency is a tough thing for a toddler.

The dichotomy of being the middle child of three, but the only girl, was difficult, as typically no one really pays attention to a middle child. Mostly, Sara spent her time creating fanciful stories in her head when she should have been focused on other things, an issue that continues to this day.

Most of these stories have never been shared, let alone completed. This all changed in the spring of 2015, when Sara was encouraged by a friend to expand upon a short story she had accidentally emailed to him. The result is 'Wheeler’, a romantic, women's fiction/sport novel, which combines the author's romantic inclinations and her passion for cycling.

Sara currently resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with her loving husband and their son. She is a paralegal for a boutique law firm in Chester County, Pa, an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor at a national chain.

Follow the author’s blog at or on Twitter @sarazalesky. She does a little dance every time someone ‘follows’ her on Twitter. Really.

1 comment:

Linda Romer said...

Wheeler sounds like a good read. Thank you