"Sometimes you just have to follow your heart and not always your head."

 

An exciting and inspiring new work of fiction by Don Keith...NOW AVAILABLE in e-book and paperback

THE SPIN, a new novel by author Don Keith

 

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"I still can't stop thinking about some of the ideas and the characters. A book that is this much fun to read and makes you think like this- it's a winner."  --Reader review on Amazon.com

 

 

Jerry Gray is an average man--a straight-arrow --but with a non-average amount of troubles. His marriage is failing, his daughter may be dying of a rare blood disorder, he is still paying his late father's hospital and funeral bills, and his closely-held dreams of a music career have been shoved aside. And then, at the worst possible time, he loses his job. That is when Gray decides to abandon his level-headed approach to life--the down-the-middle existence his father preached--and take a chance. A very big chance. He decides to cash in what little he has left and risk it all on one spin of the roulette wheel in Las Vegas.


The news of his quest quickly spreads, becoming a media circus, and captures the imaginations of millions. Soon, Gray is joined by thousands of other people who show up at his home or wait for them to arrive in Vegas, all of them ready to take their own symbolic risk in life, to step out of formation and reach for a dream.

Along the way, we meet some of the most fascinating characters you could imagine, people who see their own lives changed dramatically when they join Jerry's ride to Vegas for The Spin. Chauncey McKissack, a long-time family friend who harbors a deep, dark secret not even Jerry could have guessed. A beautiful singer/songwriter who places such uncommon pressure on herself that it ultimately prevents her music from being heard. A leftover from the "Summer of Love" whose insight and incantations spur the group along on their quest. A would-be writer who allows fear of failure to stymie his stories before they even get started. A narcissistic TV news anchor who can only manage to love his own image. The owners of a hole-in-the-wall casino off the strip in Las Vegas and the publisher of a girly magazine, all whose luck is changed amazingly when The Spin lands in their laps. A drug-crazed pro-basketball player who literally lands in the middle of Jerry's fateful ride to the desert to risk everything.

This amazing heart-over-head parable will have readers re-thinking their own lives and dreams as they go along with Jerry Gray and his odd parade, all the way to Las Vegas and the ultimate impartial spin of the roulette wheel. Red or black? Win or lose? Just as it did for those closest to The Spin, its outcome and what it really means will leave you both amazed and inspired.

 


 
Excerpt from THE SPIN by Don Keith
 
Copyright 2012.  All rights reserved.
 
I got caught up in the whole thing totally by accident, you know.  Like most of the others did, I guess.  But you know what?  It was absolutely the best thing that ever happened to me.  I very well may owe Jerry Gray and Loni Flowers my life.
The voice on the other end of the telephone is almost washed away by hum and static.  At first I think Greg Whetstone must be calling from some Central American country above which no communications satellites hover.  But he tells me he now lives in Idaho, in a small town near the Canadian border.  So small, apparently, that the better telephone cables haven’t quite found their way there yet, either.
I’ve had a devil of a time tracking Whetstone down.  Everybody else I’m trying to reach, too.  It has been over a month since I’ve talked with anyone associated with The Spin and I’m strongly considering dropping the mission entirely.  Whetstone’s sudden and unexpected response to the messages I left for him at his former employer rekindles my interest.  He is the first of those who were involved to report to me how Jerry Gray and what he did so dramatically affected his own situation.
Only the first.
Whetstone abruptly left The Los Angeles Times immediately after filing his final story, the one that told about the outcome of Jerry Gray’s big spin and the odd twist that came immediately afterward.  He did not even come back to the paper to clean out his desk and his editor confided to me that his last paycheck was still thumb-tacked to the city room bulletin board.  Just in case. 
No one at the paper admitted to knowing where he had gone.  He got word somehow, though, that I was looking for him and called me, out of the blue, on a typical hot, smoggy L.A. Saturday afternoon. 
Surprisingly, despite the time that had passed and his previous lack of response, he was willing to talk to me with no prompting.  I had assumed someone who had made himself so mysteriously scarce would be reticent.  When I offered to call him back so we might be able to get a better connection, he refused.  Greg Whetstone had apparently been waiting for the opportunity to tell his story to someone and he did not want to delay it a minute longer.  And he clearly didn’t want to give me his telephone number.  I had already checked the caller-ID on my phone and the number was blocked.
I worked for The Times for twelve years.  I interned there when I was at U.C.L.A. and went directly to the city room out of school.  Started like most guys do, pulling police reports at the end of the graveyard shift every day, writing up three-sentence wrap-ups of the muggings and rapes and the poor, practically anonymous, unimportant people who fooled around and got themselves murdered.
But it was only my day job, a way to buy groceries while I wrote the next great American novel.  I desperately wanted to be God’s gift to literature.  I’d go home to my little apartment every night, put on some Leo Kottke or something from Windham Hill, sit down in front of the computer I had picked up on sale at Best Buy, and crank out some of the sloppiest, dullest, most uninspired prose ever committed to hard disk. 
I followed that little routine for the better part of ten years, certain that the next sentence I typed would finally be inspired and the muses would finally begin yakking away, filling my ear with National Book Award exposition.
One day I looked in my desk drawer and I had fifty diskettes, all bound together with rubber bands, each one with ten- or twelve-thousand words worth of book on it.  Never more than that.  Some with less.  See, I had this awful habit of getting an idea for a novel I wanted to write, getting turned on by the story and the people I was going to put into it, and then diving in and writing like mad for a few weeks. 
Then, about the time I would get fifty pages or so into the story, I would hit a brick wall.  Whap!  Stopped cold.  I would suddenly lose track of where the story was headed or who the characters were.  And what’s worse, I didn’t care any more about either one, not the plot or my made-up people.  My “paper dolls,” I called them.  Not one bit.  I would completely lose interest.  Even get to the point where I hated all those people I had dreamed up in my own head.  I would get totally disgusted with the pack of lies I had typed up.  By then, I couldn’t even bring myself to load up the computer file and look at it any more.
So I would set that book aside, delete it completely from the computer but put the backup diskette in the pile with all the others in the desk drawer, and wait for inspiration to knock.
Eventually I’d have another wonderful self-induced literary orgasm and I’d get all tingly again and start staying up all night, stroking the keyboard.  But it would always be something totally different that had me so turned on.  New story, different characters.  If I accidentally brought in someone similar to a character in one of the previous attempts, accidentally or on purpose, I would toss the whole thing as if it was now tainted and foul.  I didn’t even save diskettes of those.  They were evil and cursed.
There was no danger of running out of ideas.  God knows, in my profession there was never a shortage of stories or of interesting people to populate them with.  The news every day would hand them to me on a silver platter.  I just simply couldn’t seem to get them past that first five or six chapters.
Jerry Gray was the one who told me what my problem was.
Well, actually, to be totally honest, Loretta Spaghetti may have.  Or at least she got close when she told me my star was being eclipsed by Orion, and that that caused “unwarranted trepidation and discordance.”  She gave me a little crystal to carry in each trouser pocket and a third one to wear around my neck on a strip of rawhide she had.  She said something about the “powers of triangulation.”  I don’t know if the crystals worked or not, but I still have them, just in case I ever lose the touch again.  One in each pocket, one on the end of that oily old piece of rawhide around my neck right this very minute.
 

 

Click HERE to see more, "Look Inside" the book, and purchase your Kindle e-book copy of THE SPIN

 

Click HERE to see more and order the PAPERBACK edition of THE SPIN