Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dick Francis

One of my author heroes has gone to the great writers conference of eternity. Part of me is devastated that I won't have a new Dick Francis book every December, the other part is grateful he left the racetrack to become a writer in the first place. I have a copy of every single one of his books, and I'm going to start re-reading them. Living a long and honorable life is eulogy enough, and Dick Francis deserves every accolade he ever achieved.

Sharon Sala gave a talk years ago about writing the perfect hero, and used romance (her genre) heros as examples. Immediately, Dick Francis' men of good heart, decent manners, and honorable actions came to my mind. So when I got home, I picked up a few Francis books randomly, and listed the characteristic that made me want to marry one of his heroes. (My husband is very like many of the Francis men, so I'm one lucky woman.) Each and every Francis hero strives to do the right thing no matter what the personal cost, including losing a hand. (Sid, you're one tough dude.) Though Francis wrote mysteries, anyone can learn from his body of work. Pacing, dialogue, tension, plotting - he did it all very well indeed. Rumor has it that his wife, Mary, was a silent co-author, and if so, good for them. Whatever it takes to write a great book, is my motto.

Dick Francis wrote great books that hold up well. Years from now, I bet writing conferences and degree programs will be holding seminars on his body of work.

I'll still miss him.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And Daytona is in the books...

Jamie McMurray deserves every bit of joy he earned with the title of Daytona champion last Sunday. Brutal is the only way to describe that race. Seven hours and counting. . . if I'd been in the stands, I would have gone home long before the final green/white checkered flag. Still, everyone did the best they could with an unrepentant pot hole, and tempers were unusually checked. All in all, a good race. Now we can get down to the long season and see if JJ can keep it together. I'm all for the underdog - the Bobby Labontes in underfunded cars, Tommy Baldwin Racing, etc., but that flash of brilliance from someone coming out of Chip Ganassi's stable is cool.

Despite snow clinging to the ground, I'm thinking Spring! It's my only hope of sanity, LOL. If I can finish the first draft of SIGNS before the gardening gets going in earnest, it'll be a fitting reward for a long, hard winter of cold and icky weather.

Hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day. My honey and I were headed for a Daytona party, and on the way, encountered a gentleman who'd fallen on hard times. Buying him a burger was our privilege. As a country we can do more for those who need help, and it starts with us. We can't wait for the government to do the job, and shouldn't. "The Blind Side" taught some relevant lessons about caring for others, and I recommend it to everyone. Yes, we are our brothers' keepers.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Will it ever stop snowing?

Enough is enough. It's time to shut down the winter weather and do some serious drying out. Saw dump trucks tipping loads of snow over the bridge railing, into the river this afternoon, a sight I have NEVER SEEN in this city. I'm worried about my azaleas and gardenia bushes - they've never had this much snow piled on them before. The back yard is a total loss - it's a given that we have to start over when it finally warms up.

Enough of the complaining, right? Time to do some work. Back to the book, SIGNS, now that the Super Bowl is over. Great game! The Bud Shootout was fun, the ARCA race fascinating because of the number of women running it (7), including the peripatetic Danica. Alli Owens gets my attention. You go, girl!

With Daytona less than a week away, I'm feeling like there's light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Racing will happen, the snow will melt, and someday we'll see grass again, leaves on the trees, and get to complain about the heat.