Wednesday, March 30, 2011

April Madness

April is going to be a busy month for me. To put it very mildly.

Miss Fraser turns seven next week, and we're having her birthday party Saturday at Chuck E Cheese. After two hours of the noise and crowds there, I'm going to want to come home and sit alone in a quiet room for the rest of the day. But it's what she wanted and she only gets one birthday a year, after all. I ordered her cake today–chocolate, with Littlest Pet Shop decorations.

As regular readers of this blog know, my next book, A Marriage of Inconvenience, releases April 11. So I'm busy with all the things an e-book author does to promote a new release–preparing guest blog posts, making sure my online ads are ready, obsessively monitoring review sites, etc. And on the days those guest blog posts are live, I'll be busy commenting and interacting with readers.

And then there's Easter. I sing in a choir, and this is the busiest time of our year. We have two Palm Sunday services, Maundy Thursday, plus 3 services on Easter starting at 7 AM. Somehow Mr. Fraser and I have to squeeze in the family aspects of Easter, too–getting Miss Fraser's Easter basket ready, planning a festive meal, and so on.

To add to the fun, Mr. Fraser is teaching a college class this quarter on top of his full-time job. Some weeks at least one of us has an evening commitment four workdays out of five. He did this for the first time last year, only then it was even crazier because I'd just sold The Sergeant's Lady and was in the middle of edits, AND we found the house we wanted and were scrambling to buy it before the first-time buyer tax credit went away. But even without that added layer of insanity, we are going to be seeing less of each other, and I'll need to do more of the day-to-day housework and childcare than normal, until mid-June.

Some people might use my April schedule as an excuse to take a break from writing. And if I hadn't spent the last five months battling carpal tunnel syndrome, I might do just that. But I'm just now starting to write regularly again, now that my hands are feeling better and I've got a copy of DragonDictate for when they start to feel sore. (I'm using DragonDictate right now, so if there are any really insane typos or my sentence structure seems a bit less polished, that's why. I'm still learning to speak like I type.)

I've missed writing. I'm behind schedule on my manuscripts compared to where I wanted to be at this point in the year. So I'm going to write in April. I've made a resolution to write every day. I'm not setting myself a word count or page count quota. That's my one concession to how busy my schedule is. But I have to write every day. Even my daughter's birthday. Even Easter. Even on the days Mr. Fraser has class. Some of those days it will probably only be a paragraph or two. But I will write every day.

I won't make this blog boring by posting daily progress updates. But I think I will include a weekly report, maybe on Saturday, maybe it's part of my Six Sentence Sunday posts, just to keep myself honest.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - more from A Marriage of Inconvenience

For this week's Six Sentence Sunday, I'm returning to A Marriage of Inconvenience, my upcoming Regency historical romance from Carina. It releases April 11 and is available for preorder now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from Carina.

Here my hero, James, has recently been caught in a compromising situation with the heroine, Lucy, and has done the proper gentlemanly thing by agreeing to marry her even though she has no money whatsoever and is several rungs below his rich, viscountly self on the social ladder. His bride-to-be has two younger brothers, aged 13 and 17, and rather than being daunted he can hardly wait to meet his new brothers-in-law so he can start dictating their educations and planning their lives, all for their own good, of course. His sister, on learning this, sums up his character as follows:

“Come, James, surely you admit that nothing brings you greater delight than managing people’s lives for them. That’s why you’re so active in Parliament, and half the reason you love this estate—so much scope for giving orders and telling everyone how the world should be. You do your best to manage ME. It’s wonderful for you that Lucy has younger brothers and no parents living. You won’t have to wait till your own children are of a rational age to have someone to bring up according to your dictates. Though I’m sure you’ll have opinions on the proper dimensions of a cradle and when a child should have its first taste of pap by the time your firstborn enters the world.”

Comments are always welcome, and please stop by the Six Sentence Sunday blog to view other authors' contributions.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Voice recognition software waxes poetic!

My copy of DragonDictate should arrive today. In the meantime I'm continuing to play with the iPhone app (including dictating this very post). I used it last night to take some notes for the next scene I'm planning for my historical fantasy manuscript. Either it's getting better at understanding me or I'm getting better at speaking to it.

The one mildly annoying thing is that I have characters named Cass and Ben. I might just have to call them Cassandra and Benjamin and then use find and replace to get their nicknames into the final version. You see, the app keeps hearing them as "cats" and "been."

Earlier I had some fun with the app by reading it some famous poems just to see how what it heard compared with what I was actually reading. So for your amusement I present "If" by Rudyard Kipling, as heard by Dragon for the iPhone. (Click on the link for the real words.)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting
Or being lied about don't deal them a place
Or being hated don't give way to hating
And yet don't look too good nor talk too wise

If you can dream and not make dreams your master
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just same
If you can bear to hear the Trease you've spoken
Twisted by Navis to make a trap for Falls
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken
And stoop and build up with one L tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pigeon toss
And blues and start again your beginning
And never breathe a word about your loss
If you can force your heart and nerve and send you
To serve your turn on after they are gone
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them hold on

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue
Or walk with kings nor lose the common touch
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you
If all men count with you but none too much
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With 60 seconds worth of distance run
Yours is the earth and everything that's in it
And which is more you'll be a man my son

That's the best result I've gotten so far with anything non-21st century. Though I'm not sure about this "pigeon toss" business. I might be willing to risk everything on pitch-and-toss, but I ain't touching no pigeon. Just feathered rats, those things are.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Experimenting with voice recognition software

This is an experiment in composing a blog post using Dragon dictation software for the iPhone. I am still having problems with carpal tunnel syndrome and decided it would be better to experiment with dictation software rather than waiting eternally for my hands to heal.

I've ordered DragonDictate for my Mac but in the meantime I'm going to read three opening paragraphs from three books on my shelves just to show what the software can and can't do in the free iPhone form.

I have edited the intro for correctness (e.g. I had change "myself" to "my shelves" in the paragraph above) but will not be editing the paragraphs beyond adding punctuation and capitalization for clarification.

Here is the first, from Have His Carcase, by Dorothy Sayers:

The best remedy for a bruised heart is not as so many people seem to think because upon a manly bosom. Much more efficacious are honest work, physical activity, and the sudden acquisition of wealth. After being acquitted of murdering her lover, and indeed in consequence of that acquittal, Harriet saying found all three specifics abundantly at her disposal, and although board Peter Lindsay with a touching faith and tradition persistent day in and day out in presenting the bosom for her approval, she showed no inclination to recline upon it.

Not half bad, really. It botched the characters' names (Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey) and missed a few words here and there--e.g. in the first sentence "because" should be "repose," and later on "persistent" should be "persisted"--but it's recognizable.

The second, from Kushiel's Dart, by Jacqueline Carey:

Lest anyone should suppose that I am a Kacoos child got on the wrong side of the plaintiff by lusting peasant stock and sold into condenser in the short following season, I may say that I am house born and reared in the night court proper for all the good it get me.

Now, that one is a mess. It's supposed to be "cuckoo's child." I don't even know what "Kacoos" IS. Also, plaintiff=blanket, lusting=lusty, condenser=indenture, and short following=shortfallen, just for starters.

The third is from Memory, by Lois McMaster Bujold:

Miles returned to consciousness with his eyes still closed. His brain seem to smolder with the confused embers of some fiery dream foremost saving. He was shaken by a fearful conviction that he had been killed again till memory and reason began to place the shredded experience.

Much better. The first and last sentences are perfect, and the only things wrong with the middle one are that it didn't hear that "seem" should be "seemed," and also "foremost" should be "formless" and "saving" should also be an adjective for the dream, only I can't remember which one and don't have the book in front of me anymore.

I'm finding that this software seems to work best if I use my public speaking voice--in other words I try to speak slowly and clearly but without changing my accent or over-pronouncing words. I'm assured that the real version of the software that I get for my computer will learn my accent and can also be taught to use the proper names and specialized vocabulary that tend to show up in my novels. I hope that's the case, because when I tried reading it some of my work, the results were similar to the Jacqueline Carey excerpt. This software does 21st century American English pretty dang well. Throw it a historical voice and a moderately unusual vocabulary and it gets confused in a hurry.

I delayed trying voice recognition software for the longest time because I had it in my head that thinking at a keyboard and thinking while talking are two different things. I realized, however, that I was doing something I warn other writers not to do--being a diva and saying I could only write when all the conditions were just so. Until my hands heal I simply must train myself to write with my voice in the same way I write with my fingers on the keyboard. I don't want to delay writing any longer.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Jane's Second Soldier opener

This week I'm posting yet another opening six sentences. As I mentioned last week, I noticed I've developed something of a pattern, in otherwise widely divergent manuscripts, of opening with the heroine poised to marry the wrong man. In A Marriage of Inconvenience and Wolf & Huntress, Lucy and Cass have both mistaken Mr. Wrongs for Mr. Rights. In this week's entry, the heroine knows dang well she doesn't want the first suitor who comes her way.

This is from a novella, working title Jane's Second Soldier. Jane is a common soldier's widow with the British army fighting the French in Spain in 1812. Her husband only just died, and she wishes she could properly mourn him. But that's not how the rules work in her world:

“You will marry me.”

Jane winced and wrenched her face away as Sergeant Hindle shoved her against a baggage wagon. “No.”

He seized her jaw in a painful grip and forced her to look him in his bloodshot eyes. “You have no choice,” he said. “You must marry again or go home—and you haven’t the money for that.”

I'm starting to run out of openers, so next week I'll have to delve deeper into one of my manuscripts.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Awaiting my fate

I am awaiting my fate. In one more week, I shall Know.

My fate in the 2011 RITAs, that is.

The RITA is the Romance Writers of America's big annual award for published authors, equivalent to a Nebula in science fiction/fantasy or an Edgar for mystery writers. I entered The Sergeant's Lady in the Historical Romance category, and it's also eligible for Best First Book. The scores have already been turned in to the RWA office (first-round judges are fellow authors), and the finalists will be announced on the 25th. A week from today. Board members call the finalists, and throughout the morning the blogosphere and the twitterverse are humming as people squee over having gotten The Call. Then, at 2 PM RWA time, high noon my time, the whole list is posted on the RWA site.

This is my first year in the RITAs, since The Sergeant's Lady is my first published book. But I entered the Golden Heart, the equivalent contest for unpublished romance writers, three or four times on my journey to publication. So I know what I will be doing next Friday morning. Because of the time zone factor, calls can go out pretty early for us West Coast women. So the phone will be on the bathroom counter while I take a super-quick shower, its ringer turned to its highest volume. If I take the bus to work, the phone will be in my hand the whole time. If I drive, it will be on the seat beside me--and should it ring, I can't promise to obey the local law against talking while driving.

At the office, the phone will sit on my desk. I will warn my husband not to call me on my cell phone--if he needs to reach me, Gmail text or my work number are better, since I won't be, like, disappointed it's just him. I will have vowed the night before not to look at romance blogs or my twitter feed until after noon. Oh, no indeed. I will be a busy little worker bee.

I will break that vow. I will not be able to resist checking at least every 20-30 minutes to see if anyone from my categories has been called yet.

And if I do get that call? It'll be a first, since I never finaled in the Golden Heart, but I figure I'll do my best imitation of Felix Hernandez striking out the side against the Yankees. If I had a cheering section, I might be tempted to do a Cam Newton, but that'd look a little odd in the office, methinks. I'll then call my husband, email my critique group, tweet the news, congratulate all the other finalists I know, and break my diet with a celebratory lunch at that awesome Indian place around the corner.

And if, as is statistically far more likely, I don't final? Well, I'll feel disappointed. I'm terribly competitive, and I wouldn't have entered if I didn't think I had at least a tiny chance. So I'll probably take a few minutes to feel sorry for myself, then congratulate all my friends who made it through (and whom I'll be cheering for at the awards ceremony in NYC this summer!)...and go drown my sorrows in a diet-breaking consolatory lunch at that awesome Indian place around the corner. Mmm, gulab jamun...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Welcome, Olivia Waite!

Today's guest blogger is Olivia Waite, here to talk about one of the lesser-known aspects of Victorian medicine. Take it away, Olivia!
Hysteria is virtually impossible to approach head-on. It has an enormously long history -- nearly as long as the history of medicine itself -- and an impossibly broad and vague list of symptoms. You can still find Google results that show it has not faded from public awareness -- but mostly we associate it with the corset-wearing, sexually repressed upper-class woman of the Victorian era.

In her book The Technology of Orgasm, author Rachel Maines explains more particularly why hysteria was so enduring as a diagnosis: "This purported disease and its sister ailments displayed a symptomatology consistent with the normal functioning of female sexuality, for which relief, not surprisingly, was obtained through orgasm, either through intercourse in the marriage bed or by means of massage on the physician's table."

That's right -- for much of human history, female sexual arousal was treated as a disease. The very fact of being a woman was made into a sickness.

And the cure? Sex, or masturbation.

Imagine you are a woman and a wife of means in the mid-nineteenth century. You have been feeling vaguely unwell for a while -- headaches, malaise, perhaps some minor aches and pains. You bring this issue to your doctor, who then diagnoses you with hysteria and does one of the following things:
-- informs you to have more sex with your husband
-- rolls up his sleeves and stimulates your ladybits with his hands
-- recommends a midwife, who will roll up her sleeves and stimulate your ladybits with her hands.

What your doctor would not do: tell you to stimulate your own ladybits. Because despite all the orgasms apparently going around in the medical industry, it was considered either sinful or unhealthy or both to take matters into your own hands, so to speak.

Hysteria patients were good business for doctors -- women diagnosed with hysteria tended to be wealthy, and could receive treatments and consultations over a span of some years -- but bringing a woman to orgasm by manual means was considered physically laborious and time-consuming. Certain health spas used water pressure to help women achieve climax -- which goes some way to explaining why the baths remained so popular!

So when George Taylor patented his Manipulator in 1869, the machine was heralded as a time-saver more than as a cure. The Manipulator used a steam engine -- no, really! -- to create a vibrating sensation on a rod or a padded surface. Other similar machines followed, soon powered by electricity, and growing ever more sophisticated. The use of them spread beyond the medical profession to the consumer, and vibrators were advertised as health aids in the back of magazines like the Ladies' Home Journal up until the 1920s. Which is where Rachel Maines discovered them, while researching textile history.

When I first started looking at the history of hysteria and the vibrator, I had no idea how shocking I would find it. As an erotic romance author -- and longtime reader -- I considered myself pretty unshockable on the subject of sex. Menage, m/m pairings, kinky stories, erotic horror -- I'd read a little bit of everything. But to look at these treatments for hysteria, at the way women's bodies were considered automatically dysfunctional, at the way the prescribed cures are so blatantly sexual to a modern eye -- that shocked me down to my toes. Knowing that lengthy debates were held in medical literature about whether or not women could orgasm at all? Dumbfounding.

My debut book, "Generous Fire," is an alternate take on the invention of George Taylor's Manipulator. I wanted to correct what I saw as an imbalance in history, to make women's pleasure something healthy and, well, pleasurable, rather than a condition for which she required impersonal medical treatment. In an erotic romance, as in most romances except the very sweetest, the woman always gets to come -- and frequently more than once. Women's sexual pleasure is central to the romance genre -- and while I can't and wouldn't want to alter the historical record, I can imagine something better for the present, and for the future.
Olivia Waite is the author of "Generous Fire," coming soon from Ellora's Cave. She loves books and tea and just about anything with tentacles, has a brand-new Facebook page, and blogs at

Monday, March 14, 2011

Available for preorder!

My second novel, A Marriage of Inconvenience, is now available for preorder in the Kindle Store at Amazon! So if that's your preferred e-reading format, follow the clicky link, place your order, and the book will be waiting for you bright and early on the morning of April 11.

The book will of course also be available directly from Carina Press, not to mention Barnes & Noble, the Sony ReaderStore, the Google eBookstore, etc.--pretty much wherever ebooks are sold. But for some reason Amazon is consistently quickest off the mark getting books up for preorder. And since the moment the book is actually available for sale somewhere is the moment it feels real, crossing that Amazon threshold is a Big Deal to me.

In order to further motivate you to Buy My Book (if I can't shamelessly self-promote on my own blog once in awhile, where can I?), here's my lovely cover along with an excerpt from the novel:

James knew quite well that he had merely had the wind knocked out of him, and that the young woman leaning over him was therefore no celestial being. Also, angels were generally represented as fair creatures, golden of hair and garbed in heavenly blue. Nothing angelic about deep brown eyes that fairly crackled with intelligence behind their momentary anxiety, nor about those dark curls peeping from beneath a scarlet cloak.

Yet for all that, the girl was an angel. He smiled lazily at her.

Her brows drew together slightly, which only served to further highlight her deep-set, expressive eyes.

“Sir, are you injured?”

Her voice was clear and melodious. Angelic, even.

“Nothing worse than bruises, I trust, miss,” he assured her.

“Do you think you can rise?”

The angel could not possibly realize she had committed a double entendre. Sweet-faced and innocent, she was no older than Anna and likely a little younger. She spoke in the soft, cultured tones of a gentlewoman.

But he allowed himself an inward smile nonetheless. “I trust I can,” he said, pushing himself up to a sitting position with a slight wince. He had landed on his left shoulder, and it pained him when he moved.

She rocked back on her heels to maintain a correct distance between them, and the hood of her cloak fell back to reveal all her thick brown hair, which James knew must have begun the morning neatly coiled but was now wind-tossed.

“But you are injured, sir! I’m so very sorry.”

He blinked at her. “Whatever for?”

“I startled your horse.”

“Not deliberately, I trust, unless you have the power to summon the wind.”

Her lips twitched as though she wanted to smile but was uncertain of the propriety of such a course. “No, sir.”

“Well, then. You’ve no need to apologize. I’ve but a trifling pain in my shoulder, nothing more.” He glanced over the offending shoulder and spotted Ghost galloping down the valley, with Anna on Shade in close pursuit. “Ghost is uninjured as well, and giving my sister a chance to exhibit what a master equestrienne she is.”

“It must be a fine thing, to ride so well.”

The angel’s voice was wistful, and James turned to look at her again. “Are you a horsewoman, miss?”

“I never had the opportunity to learn.”

He studied her more closely. Her simple dress and cloak were well made, but without the fashionable line and elegance that marked the work of an expensive London modiste. She must come of family genteel enough to see its daughters educated, but not wealthy enough to keep a stable. She couldn’t be Lord Almont’s intended, as he had first suspected, and he rejoiced that this pretty innocent wasn’t to be the bride of a foolish lord almost old enough to be her grandfather.

Copyright 2011 by Susanna Fraser
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Wolf & Huntress opener

After posting the opening lines from my April release, A Marriage of Inconvenience, last week, I started looking at some of my other manuscripts and noticed I've got something of a pattern of opening stories with a heroine either planning to marry or being forced to marry someone who in fact is all wrong for her. Sometimes she has misgivings. Other times, as in this week's entry, she thinks it's exactly what she wants.

These are the current, rough and unedited, opening lines of my historical fantasy WIP, working title Wolf & Huntress. The setting is Scotland, the year 1809.

“You cannot be seriously intending to wed Angus.”

Cass looked up from the rowan wood stake she was sharpening to glare across the fire at her sister Mary, who was stirring the potatoes with an entirely too complacent expression. Cass could hardly wait for Angus’s mourning for poor little Elspeth to end. Then she would not only wed the man she had wanted for these seven years and more, she would also be free of having this same fight with her sister, night after night.

“And why can I not?” Cass gave her stake a fierce swipe with her knife and watched the shaving fly into the fire and curl into flame.

Feedback appreciated, and drop by the Six Sentence Sunday home blog to check out other writers' excerpts.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A top ten list

Today I'm at Romancing the Past, talking about my top ten favorite historical romances. Stop by and comment on my choices or share yours!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ta-Nehisi Coates reads Jane Awesome

I often lurk on the blog of Atlantic senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates. He writes about politics, culture, and social issues, and of late he's had a lot to say about the Civil War, which I like any self-respecting American history geek find endlessly fascinating.

Now he's reading Jane Austen. Or, as he calls her, Jane Awesome. Even if you normally wouldn't go near a political blog, if you love Austen you should give his posts a read. It's just such a treat to see someone, a male someone, come to Austen as an adult and take so much delight in the discovery.

Here he compares Austen's language to hip-hop. (No, really!)

More thoughts on Sense & Sensibility

On having an Austen moment in a posh L.A. hotel

On Mr Collins' and Mr Darcy's proposals

On Sir William Lucas

On Austen and language

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday!

Today is my first week participating in Six Sentence Sunday, in which writers post six consecutive sentences from their work.

In honor of my new Regency historical, A Marriage of Inconvenience, which comes out April 11 from Carina Press, I'm posting the first six sentences:

“Marry you?” Lucy stared open-mouthed at her cousin Sebastian for a long moment before she remembered that she must always be ladylike and self-controlled. She closed her mouth and looked down at her clasped hands. She could not stop her heart from trying to gallop its way out of her chest, but she could and did force herself to breathe slowly and steadily.

This was the very thing she had always wanted most, the thing she would have dreamed of had she permitted herself dreams. It could not possibly be real.

Comments always appreciated, and please click on the link above to see other participants' work.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March Buy & Read Challenge

Here we are less than a full week into the month, and I've already fulfilled my Buy & Read Challenge twice over. (For the challenge I have to buy at least one book per month in 2011, and then read at least one book I bought during 2011 each month, though I don't have to buy the books the same months I read them.)

First up was Captive Bride, by Bonnie Dee.

I'm always up for an unusual historical romance, and this one definitely qualifies. It's set in San Francisco in the 1870's, with a Union vet for a hero and for the heroine a Chinese merchant's daughter who comes to America thinking she's going to wed a wealthy businessman only to learn she's actually intended to be a high-end prostitute. She runs away and finds a refuge with the hero, who owns a general store. Dee doesn't rush past the language and cultural barriers that separate them, but makes you believe in the budding friendship and love that develop despite them.

While Captive Bride let me visit a world I'll never see in reality, my second book, God and Football, by Chad Gibbs, was a trip home.

You see, I live in Seattle now, but I was born and raised in central Alabama, just south of Birmingham, where I was raised to be a Baptist and an Auburn fan. In that order. I think. I'm no longer a Baptist, but I'm still an Auburn fan. (I'm not an alum, but my oldest brother is, and since I went to Penn, which is not exactly what you'd call a football powerhouse, my education didn't change my rooting interests.)

Gibbs, an Auburn alum who is still a Baptist, realized that for someone who says he worships God, he spends a lot of time acting like his religion is Auburn football. Feeling like his priorities are out of order, he decides to spend the 2009 season attending one game at each Southeastern Conference stadium and talking to Christian students and fans about how they balance their sports fanaticism with their faith.

I'm not sure how well this book would work for someone who didn't grow up steeped in Southern religion and football culture, though I suppose it might be anthropologically interesting. But if you're from the South, and you're part of the 99% or so of Southerners who love football? You must get this book. It's hilarious, and you'll recognize yourself on every page.

I mean, look at me. I've lost my Southern accent. I self-identify as a Pacific Northwesterner. Mr. Fraser and I recently bought a house in Seattle, so we've got no plans of leaving anytime soon. I love my cool, soggy, green, mountain-girded adopted home city.

The two most Alabamian things about me now? Barbecue and football. When we threw a party to show our friends our new home and celebrate The Sergeant's Lady's release, I had barbecue flown in from Dreamland, because I'm sure not serving guests in my home the stuff that passes for 'cue out here. Seattle in general is foodie paradise, but for barbecue NSM.

And on the football side? Let's just say I thought I wasn't paying much attention to the SEC in 2009. It's tough to follow the SEC out here--the time zone difference works against you, and you don't get all the games televised, though between CBS and ESPN you get the important ones. Auburn had a meh season, finishing 8-5, 3-5 conference, and Alabama was on its way to a national championship, which didn't exactly bring joy to my Tiger heart. But just about every time Gibbs describes the games he attends, I think, "Oh yeah! I remember that play." Even when neither Auburn nor Alabama was involved. Because it's the SEC. REAL football.

Since I read the book in 2011, I had the privilege of knowing something Gibbs couldn't have known writing it--that 2010 was FINALLY going to be Auburn's year. I'm sure Gibbs had even more fun watching it up close and personal than I did from thousands of miles away, but he can't have yelled any louder than I did when Wes Byrum kicked the winning field goal in the BCS Championship Game.

So, Chad, if this post happens to pop up on your Google Alerts? WDE. And it's great to be an Auburn Tiger.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Life is pretty good

My writing life, and really my life in general, looks pretty good right now. My carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis still aren't 100% healed, but they're getting there. I've got a new desk in my home office that's much better for me ergonomically--sort of a bittersweet thing, since my old desk was BEAUTIFUL, while the new one is a plain, cheap pine table from IKEA. But this summer once it's warm and sunny I'm going to take it out on the deck and paint or stain it, and really, when it's your health and ability to work that's on the line, function has to trump form.

Now that I can write again, I'm putting in two writing sessions a day. Normally the first is 30 minutes during my lunch hour at work and the second is an hour late at night. I'm not worrying too much about word count, but just trying to put in regular time at the keyboard and get some forward momentum going. I'll never be the fastest writer in the world, but at least I feel like I'm finally making progress.