Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Time after time....

We're a week and a half into the summer here.

I'm not sure about anyone else, but part of the reason I freelance is so that when we get to the holidays, I can take some downtime with my kids - so that there's no holiday problems with care for them, and so that I'm not spending every minute in work wondering whether I'll need to leave early and find they've caused riots.

It does mean, however, that all of the work I'd planned on doing is being is being sandwiched in between episodes of Hannah Montana and Tom and Jerry. It's a nice life, but it's hard to measure the value of the work I'm snatching in. It also means that I've been pushing back and pushing pack things like theme designs and my fiction writing. I got up on Sunday morning though and decided that I needed to stop procrastinating and actually take control!

So, I've written a post over at Publishhacks about the best, and worst freelance tools, in my opinion, for monitoring and supporting any freelance career.

I'm always expanding and testing them though, so I thought I'd find out what your favs and time sinks are.

(so far, I've got Xobini, RescueTime, WordPress, the Internet (wikipedia), The Internet (RSS), Zoundry Raven - some good, some bad ;)) What do you have, and come on over to PublishHacks, to find out about the tools I've mentioned.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Anbar Massacre Journalist Censored

In a recent post, I linked to a photographer's blog. The embedded photographer had taken pictures of the results of a suicide bombing in Anbar province, Iraq. He had posted graphic pictures of the wounded and dead, including dead but not identifiable US Marines.

Since posting those images, which were within the embed rules as far as timing and content. The photographer has, on the flimsy pretext that he showed the results of the "effectiveness" the bombing, has had his embed terminated. In addition, he has been banned from all Marine installations in the world. In this shocking article from the New York Times, the Times reveals that four out of five photographers who have published photos of the war dead have been disembedded.

Why is this so shocking?

Photographer Miller puts it like this, “The fact that the images I took of the suicide bombing — which are
just photographs of something that happens every day all across the
country — the fact that these photos have been so incredibly shocking
to people, says that whatever they are doing to limit this type of
photo getting out, it is working."

Is it shocking that a military might want to control horrifying images of violence and death? Of course not. It's no shock that it's happening. We would easily expect this kind of censorship from the old Soviets, Communist China or the Axis of Evil's Iran or North Korea. No, the shocking part is that this is the US military, protectors of our most sacredly held freedoms.

And of those freedoms, the VERY FIRST freedom is freedom of the press. Our very first freedom is for the government not to suppress news of what is actually happening. Yet this is exactly what the military is doing: suppressing real news, punishing those who dare to report it anyway. This is not supposed to happen in America! Damn-it! This is America!

No, wait, maybe it's not anymore.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Last Lecture

Even though the years pass, we always have ties to our alma mater. Randy Pausch arrived at Carnegie Mellon University just after I graduated. I never knew him, but many of my friends and mentors did.

My best friend and the fellow who gave me away at my wedding was sitting in one of the front rows. Indira Nair--the women who introduced Randy in the Last Lecture--was the head of my double-major department and a good friend and guide. Before he became ill, Randy worked with Jim Roberts, my beloved mentor who taught me to teach and so many other things besides. And when Randy left CMU, he moved his family to a town not a half hour from me where I go from time to time.

Randy Pausch, like many professors at Carnegie Mellon, was a brilliant man. From all accounts and from all I can see, he was the kind of professor the students most loved: smart, knowledgable, but also interesting and animated, a fun man to learn from because he loved to teach. Unlike many other professors who guided and molded us, Randy left behind a video, a book, and his fame.

Randy Pausch died today. He was 47.

If only we could all live our dreams like he lived his.

On Argument

This summer I have been teaching argument to college students. We aren't really arguing about anything, but we are figuring out the structure of arguments. We discuss questions like:

Which is more important -- to be right or to win?
Is it OK to win if you aren't right?
Is argument always about convincing people to change their stance/position/thinking?
When an issue is 99 percent decided, who should your audience be?
Which is more important - content or form?

And the big one that many seem to always fall back on when discussing writing and what makes "good" writing: Can good writing exist without good grammar?

With all of this in mind, I want to share a few interesting links:

This cartoon initially illustrated the idea that you have to get in the last word -- if someone writes something on the internet and you disagree, you feel compelled to correct them. But there is also a wonderful discussion about word order in addition to the cartoon:

This article suggests text-messaging does not mean the next generation will not be able to communicate using the English language. It even suggests texting is normal (as in, we've been doing this forever) and can help language skills.,,2289211,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=10

Plus, there is a great discussion about what writing instruction should look like (both are talking about writing instruction at the college-level, but I don't think the ideas are exclusive to college-level writing instruction). It is a reaction to an op-ed published in the New York Times, which is linked too. My question to you is what did your writing instruction consist of? Was it read and discuss content or did you look at form too? I know on many of my writing lists, including the Writing Mother, the advice is always to "read like a writer" or to "read back issues to figure out what editors want." To me, this advice means paying attention to the form and the content. It tells you to ask: What kind of topics will this magazine publish and how should that finished article be put together?

And I wanted to point you to information about a big concern for Internet users: Net Neutrality. You can find more information at Now, it seems to me that this model being proposed by Internet providers (charging for premium access, etc.) is not new. (And it isn't for other services like cable/satellite TV. I am suggesting this isn't new for Internet access.) Isn't this what AOL used to do? I'm referring back to the early 90s when AOL was sending out their CDs to everyone and his brother while developing its own premium content for AOL-only users. This is why I referred to AOL as the "internet on training wheels" (although I did not come up with that description on my own, I no longer remember where I first heard/read it). If I am remembering right back when I first searched for an internet provider, I rejected AOL because it would limit where I could go on the internet. Now it seems more providers want to go back to that model. (Keep in mind I never was an AOL subscriber, and I am using my very old memory to recall this information).

And with full disclosure in mind, most of the links I am sharing here are ones I found at this blog:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


That's what I say whenever I cut off someone's head - in a photograph, silly - or overexpose, underexpose, blur or otherwise ruin what I hoped would be a great shot.

And then there are those times when, completely by accident, I take a breathtaking photograph. Either it is beautiful beyond compare, inherently funny, or provides a striking commentary on the world in which we live.

Okay, so I've never taken a photograph that provides striking commentary on the world in which we live, but it could happen.

What I would really like, though, is if I get those photographs intentionally at least 80% of the time. That's why I am taking Jodie Coston's Free Online Photography Course at Morguefile.

Heather is taking it too! She took the photos for her first book, Rookie Reiner, by the way. If you're looking for a book contract, you might want to brush up on your photography skills as well, so why not join us?

Heather has the results of the first assignment posted on her blog. I've got assignments 1 & 2 posted over at my blog.

And if you'd like to join us, I make a blogroll over at my blog, so we can see and comment on each others photographs. (I don't think I'll learn as much without constructive criticism and positive reinforcement, which is why I'm pushing promoting this course. ;)

You can also post your results at the Morguefile forum. (Don't post pics directly to the forum unless you mean to release them for use by others.)

What you need to know about the course:

It is open start/end. i.e. You can start when you want, take as much or as little time as you would like, and finish whenever you're done.

You don't have to sign up to read the lessons. You will need to login to post to the forums though, if you want to do that.

It costs nothing. It's free. It's just there on the Internet for whomever wants it. (Thanks Jodie.)

You can use any camera, although some of the assignments will be more difficult if you don't have manual controls. But don't run out and buy a new camera just to take the course (unless you wanted to anyway). Read this great article by Ken Rockwell about how cameras don't take pictures, photographers do.

Did I forget anything? What else do you need to know?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Charting Your Progress

There is a white board that sits next to my desk, on it I catalogue my book progress. I'm a very visual person, so I know that I need this kind of motivation. Note the goal of "75K", "Sleep!", and of course "Beer!"
Every time I shut down for the night, I'd write down my word count. Sometimes I'd hide the word count by placing something in front of the lower left hand corner of my screen so that I wouldn't be tempted to look. Because you can bet that every time I paused to think of the right word or phrasing... my eyes would shoot down the left to see how I was doing.
Do you use any incentives or visual signs of progress during a big project?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Book Review: Bird by Bird

Right after I finished and submitted my manuscript last week I surfed by Joshilyn's web site where she mentioned Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I'd been a little flustered, not sure what to do now that I was done writing that book... and I immediately glommed on to the fact that I Had To Read That Book Now.

I had it around somewhere... but I couldn't find it. I went to two bookstores (including a used one) and couldn't find it. Everyone was looking for "mommy's bird book". It was finally located in the kitchen bookshelf (every room has a bookshelf!) and I dove in.

I loved it like the first time I read it.

Laptop Living

In January 2006, I purchased my first laptop; I was finally liberated from my desk. I could take my computer wherever I went (and I do), and I could sit in the living room with my family while still working rather than being closed off in my office. I loved it.

And then summer came, and I was wearing shorts, and I have to say the bottom of this little laptop gets HOT. Plus it made unsightly little laptop feet marks on my lap. Laptops it seems are not really lap-top friendly. Plus I don’t tend to sit very well when I use my laptop. I sit crooked, so the laptop sits crookedly on my lap. This is probably not good for the laptop.

Plus, when you work in the living room, sometimes you tend to leave your laptop perched on the side of the couch with a cord stretched across an area that is hardly ever used for a walking path BUT is a magnet as soon as you leave your laptop perched. This is what caused the first initial crack in my old laptop that eventually led to its temporary and finally permanent replacement.

So, I have been looking at ways to fix this summer-time problem and hopefully extend the life of my current laptop. I finally purchased a laptop table with a split-top. Part of the top tilts to make it easy to type while the other side remains flat for a mouse and/or books. The picture on the box shows a drink there, but I don’t think so. It basically looks like a shorter-version of a hospital table.

It seemed perfect. Except most of my living room furniture is not meant to work with a laptop table. The living room furniture doesn’t have the space underneath it to allow the table to slide under it. And the table has to be able to slide under it in order to get it the right distance away to work. I’ve found a couple of options, and I really like it when I decide to work in my bedroom while perched on my bed. My lap doesn’t overheat, and I don’t get those little feet marks in my legs anymore.

Now I just need to get something that will make it easier to see my screen when I want to work outside in the sun. Maybe next summer.

The laptop table I bought sort of looks like this one, but there are others you can find too. The Lap Dawg looks interesting. And I like this one from Ikea too.

If you are interested in buying a laptop table, I recommend paying attention to how it will fit with your furniture (will the legs slide under the furniture easily?) and how the height adjusts. On the table I bought, the table tilts very easily, but to adjust the height, I have to unscrew two handles almost completely. It would have been nice if the set up was similar to the way the table tilts (I just need to pull, adjust, and put back in place).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Remembering to breathe (occassionally)

Sometimes, just sometimes, you spend three weeks doing nothing. You can spend hours researching posts, days, writing and painting wonderful sketches for sites.
And my article on 'feast and famine' (though, what I was referring to was building a buffer for the leaner times), things get madcap.
In the last four weeks, things got madcap for me.
I'm STILL designing the new theme for this place, which is a giggle and a half. I love doing themes, but I'm not overly fond of writing the documentation for them, and whilst I'm doing this theme, I'm also doing the docs for someone that decided that they needed them, after I designed thier theme :)
Most of all though, I'm working through documenting stories too. Following the 30 day manuscript book, I've finished adapting the worksheets to what I need (and they aren't - really - that different from the book) and I'm about to dive headlong into my third and fourth outline. And THEN I get to go back and clean up the first two, do five and six, redo three and four, etc. :) I've got 54 books to get through, so I'm thinking that this is going to be refined in about 10 books, and go so much faster after that.
And yes, I said 54. I'm always getting more ideas than I can use, so once I've sifted them, I might file some of them - though I totally love all of my ideas, I get the feeling some of my outlines - and some of my novel ideas are complete busts. And to find that out, I'll need to outline first ;)
And I've got the whole summer to work it out.
I just have to remember to breathe occassionally. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Writing Your Book Proposal - Part 3 (of 3)

Ok, if you've followed along with part 1 and part 2 then you're ready for part 3.

1. Title Page
a. Name, sub-head
b. Your name, any representation (like your agent)
c. “A Non-Fiction Book Proposal”

2. Proposal Table of Contents
a. Note: not the book’s table of contents, but the proposal’s

3. Overview
a. This is a one page summary of the book and may include: Statistics; Possible or confirmed interview subjects; Some structure (i.e., Each chapter will include sidebars that highlight the most important take-away points for readers to remember…)

4. About the Author
a. Written in third person
b. Reads like the back flap of a book cover
c. About the Author (used in Rookie Reiner):

Heather Cook spent several years working in the reining industry as an assistant trainer, traveling as far as Austria to one of the country’s premiere facilities to teach reining and horsemanship lessons. She has worked for several notable trainers, including World Champions Bob and Jason Grimshaw. Currently Cook is an editorial team member with Canada’s number one western horse magazine, The Western Horse Review, a monthly columnist for The Quarter Horse News, has been published several times in The Reiner, the official publication of the National Reining Horse Association, and is an international reining correspondent for Using a humorous and conversational writing style, Cook has written about every aspect of the reining horse industry. She has covered recent rule changes and their effect on the industry, profiled top professionals, written training articles and spoken with hundreds of reining horse enthusiasts from the first time rider to the highest money earning rider of all time.
5. Target Audience
a. Write as much as you know about your audience
b. Stats from StatsCan
c. Research studies
d. Angus Reid Polls

6. Comparable titles
a. Include: title, author, publisher, format, page count, price
b. Two sentence summary about the book
c. Two sentence summary about how your book is different (and presumably better)

7. Marketing and Promotion
a. “The author is committed to promoting and has investigated the following:
i. Web site (including regular newsletter/promotion)
ii. Events you can attend
iii. Advertising in specific publications or sponsorship for events

8. Format and schedule for delivery
a. How many words?
b. How many photos, graphics and charts?
c. Full-colour or black and white?
d. When can you complete the manuscript?

9. Companion books
a. Pitch more books in the same line, propose a series or smaller supplementary books

10. Chapter Outline
a. All chapters should include number, title and a short description
b. You can use bullet points (no more than five) or a five sentence paragraph.

11. Sample Chapters!
a. Up to three
b. Normally it would be the first three chapters but can be any three if you already have some portions written, but be ready to answer the question “why didn’t you give us the first chapter?”
c. You will calculate the book length (from #8) by multiplying the number of chapters by the word count in one chapter. For example, a 50,000 word book with ten chapters should be 5,000 words per chapter.
d. If the math doesn’t work out, make a note that this chapter is slightly longer because…
e. You can include some formatting such as text boxes or “call outs”. No graphics, however note where a graphic might be include with

So that's about it! Now get to work!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blog Stop Book Review: The Bunko Babes

Blog Stop Book Tours helps authors promote their books by giving bloggers books to review. (If you have a blog and you like free books, you might want to check this out.)

I have the privilege of reviewing The Bunko Babes, by Leah Starr Baker. (See an interview with the author at BlogStop’s main site.)

The Bunko Babes is a departure from my usual reading diet of suspense and humor (but it has a bit of both). It reads like a journal, written entirely in present tense (which would have been annoying if the author hadn’t been completely consistent). The main character, Becca Thornton, is an upbeat (if somewhat shallow and sheltered) woman with twin children, a rock-steady husband, and a fun group of girlfriends – the Bunko Babes - who gather weekly to play Bunko in each other’s homes. Several of the friendships go back years - the characters’ problems and proclivities are paraded out at that night’s Bunko game.

During the game, Becca gets a call from her widowed mother who tells her she is getting remarried. Becca’s reaction to the news sets up one of the major conflicts that both reveal her character and give her plenty of room for growth.

Later in the story, Becca discovers an even more serious crisis she must endure. After months of odd aches and pains and a general fatigue, she's diagnosed with systemic lupus. In some passages, Becca’s symptoms were shown so vividly I felt uncomfortable reading them. Which is great. What wasn’t so great is that when Becca talks to friends and family about the disease, her dialogue reads like a brochure.

I had other problems with the book that sometimes kept me from engaging fully. For one, it wasn’t clear to me whether the author intentionally gave Becca the unlikeable characteristics of an unthankful, judgmental and self-centered child. And my two favorite characters – the mother’s new fiancĂ© and Becca’s friend Mercedes – weren’t given nearly enough attention in my opinion. Alternatively, there was a park ranger and his wife who were described in detail but never seemed to play any real part in the novel.

Despite these things, I found myself wondering what would happen next. In a way, it was like reading letters from an acquaintance. Many of the situations seemed to be drawn from the author’s own life and her personal struggle with lupus.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Bunko Babes, and after reading it, I’m still not sure what I got. It was refreshing to read a book with Christian characters triumphing in very realistic circumstances. And throughout the novel, Becca has moments when she not only realizes that she was wrong, but understands how to begin to make the changes in her thinking. The Bunko Babes shows her subtle but relentless growth as a person and as a Christian, moving from being self-centered to truly interested in the happiness and well-being of others. Her friends and her family gather around her for support throughout the book, but only towards the end of the story does she seem to really realize what they bring to her life – despite her repeated assurances to the contrary. It isn’t until the end of the book that she really cares about their happiness and well-being.

The Bunko Babes was an interesting look into the growth of a woman’s character from leading a sheltered existence to being a woman with the strength to stand up under hardship and get outside of herself to care about others. It didn’t grip me from the first few pages, but it grew on me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'll be post-feminist in a post-patriarchy, part 2

I was reading Broadsheet this morning, Salon's women's issues blog and came upon this gem of an editorial called Gender stereotypes hurt men too. I am pondering whether to send it to my husband or not. DH ("dear husband" for those not familiar with the term) is a wonderful mix of contradictions as far as women are concerned.

DH is a Chief in the Navy--that's a high ranking enlisted person, but not an officer--and when he went through the induction, he had to choose a sponsor. He chose his woman supervisor. He admires her terribly. For her part, she is both girly and a very, very tough, no nonsense Chief who is the Navy's literal #1 at what she does. His closest cronies are other women chiefs. His wife (me) is one of those tough, competent women, too. It's like magnetism, he's both drawn to and repelled by strong women in ways that neither he nor I understand.

Yet right now, he is waiting for his mentor to retire and he chafes under her running of the department. He describes it as being "under her thumb" and the expression on his face when he says that is of a little boy whose mother has told him not to do something he wants to do. He's a very stubborn man, but it irks me that he reacts so instinctively as if the woman in character is the mother/bitch. He's be chafing if he was in the same situation with a male leader, but the psychologial dynamic is really, REALLY different as I have observed in the past.

This is just one example of this kind of unconscious bias I find in my own, admittedly, quite evolved husband. There are others examples as well, some of them closer to home. It irks me. It's kind of like prefacing anti-semetic remarks with, "I have Jewish friends..."

The recent primary season has really affected me. I've seen the way Hillary was treated and I don't like it. A lot of the grassroots nastiness would not have happened to a man, even a man that is hated as much as some people hate Hillary. There were people who hated George W Bush that much in the last election and you didn't see nutcrackers in the airport. No one has asked Obama to pick some cotton--that would be offensive and racist. But it's okay to talk about Hillary as a ball-buster, an all too powerful image of the woman in charge, or to imply that she ought to be home ironing and housekeeping--that's humor.

Somewhere along the line, I realized that we are NOT living in a post-patriarchy like I thought we were. As many opportunities as women have now, we are living in a society where sexism is knitted into the fabric, and it's A-OK with a whole lot of the people! And I am just not A-OK with that. It jabs me on a very fundamental level. I am not sure that as a society, we have moved as far past sex as we have past race--and we haven't moved very damned far past race! It's hard to hope with Obama when you're watching even the main stream media grind Hillary for having--gasp--boobs and showing them under a relatively conservative neckline. And so, much as it chafes, and much as I can't figure out where I belong, I find that I have become a feminist.

I'm hoping, someday, my husband becomes one, too.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In the News: Copyright Office Goes Online

About twenty years after the rest of us...

You can now submit copyright applications online. Previous to this, you had to submit applications on paper. The new system is called eCO. It's also $10 cheaper. Looks like I might finally gather together my corpus of work and file an application...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Journalism Raw

(this was originally posted to The Writing Mother mailing list)

There's a lot of contention over these pictures: whether they should have been taken, whether they should have been published. They are NOT for the faint of heart. The worst of the pictures are on the second page.

Zoriah's Pictures of a Suicide Bombing in Anbar Province, Iraq

I'm on the fence about this. Is a picture of a dead marine with his brains hanging out (yes, the pics are graphic) disrespectful? Or it is an unsanitized view of exactly what we're asking of our young volunteer military (I'm a milspouse of some 14 years)? Are we demanding the sanitizing of war to the detriment of accepting responsibility for actions perpetrated in our name?

And key in this consideration is the fact that this particular event is not something the US did. This is the indiscriminate violence and hatred we're fighting against. These suicide bombers didn't just kill our Marines, they killed bunches of innocents, old men and children. yet the idea of using images like this to stir up support for what the US is doing in Iraq is unthinkable and awful.

What do you think? Whether you are for or against the war aside, do you think these pictures should have been published? Including or excluding the ones of the mangled Marines? Is this something the American people should be made to see? What are our responsibilities as journalists?

Hard questions.

Are there any good answers?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Writing Your Book Proposal - Part 2 (of 3)

Tips Before you Begin

  1. Know your topic inside and out. Know what you know and know what you don’t know. For example, with my environmental book there was a lot I didn’t know, but the reader didn’t know either and I knew which questions to ask and where I needed to do my research. Have three different versions, the 2 sentence version, the one paragraph version and the one page synopsis. And, structure your book. Write point by point every item you can think about that will go into your book. Write what you don’t know, write what you do. These are the bones for your proposal.

  2. Know who is going to read your book. Try to narrow it down. If it’s parenting then what type of parent are you targeting? Saying “anyone with children” isn’t enough. You are the only one responsible for convincing the agent or acquisitions editor that there ARE readers out there for this book.

  3. Get connected. If you are writing for any type of niche industry (which is one of the best ways to get published: writing in a niche) then how are you involved in that industry?

  4. Platform – the catch all word for “I know there are readers out there”. If there are readers out there for your book, what are you doing right now to talk to those readers before the book is written? If this book is for them then you need to know what they want by “living amongst the gorillas”. And know without a shadow of a doubt that YOU are the writer for THIS book. If you have doubts that you are the writer, examine what credentials you think you should have and either compensate or go out and get them.

  5. Read books you’ll compete against. Get as much data on them as you can, read Amazon reviews for other points of view or weak areas that the competition might be showing.


Write your book proposal idea down into two sentences.

Writing Your Book Proposal - Part 1 (of 3)

Recently I gave a talk on writing book proposals and I thought I'd share some of the info here for all you future authors wondering where to start.

From Book Proposals That Sell by Terry Whalin: “According to a survey from the Jenkins Group Inc … 81% of Americans feel they should write a book …” and yet, only 2% of the population has ever actually written a manuscript, let alone gotten it published.

Writing fiction and non fiction is very different. At least it is for me. In fiction I feel like I can experiment, start from the middle, work my way through the story. But with non-fiction there is a lot more structure. It needs to be logical, it needs to have a straight forward plot.

Writing from word 1 through to word 50,001 may not work. You need to build a framework and then fill it in so you can be sure not to miss portions of the book or run into structuring issues.
Some things to think about AFTER the lightening strike IDEA and before you start the proposal.

To flesh out the idea before you put it on paper:

Readers very selfish, “what’s in this for me”. Publishers are also selfish, “what’s in it for me and will my customers (readers) like it.” The big question your proposal needs to answer, “will it sell”?

Why publishers like book proposals:

  • You are looking for a publisher to make an investment so this is almost like asking a bank to finance a project, except you are assuming no financial risk. $50,000 per book. Sales projections are calculated so that the publisher can factor costs right down to the amount of ink needed to create the book.
  • A proposal is a snapshot of the project as a whole and are used to take the book through the approval process from editorial, planning, concept, marketing meetings. All decisions are done by committee.
  • Proposals show how well the author knows her subject and that she has recognized that the publisher needs to examine many different aspects of the project

Stay tuned tomorrow for some more...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Summer Fun

I'm bearing down on a deadline and guess what... I LOVE IT.

I love this book, I love it's structure, I love it's message.

Researching and writing it has been hard work. There have been many nights that I didn't get to bed until after midnight when I had to get up by 6 am to go to work. There were lunch hours I had to race home to do a phone interview or sit at my desk reading a research book.

I've learned so much with this book. Every time I'd sit down to do some research I'd uncover something really cool to add.

But you know what? In ten days when this book goes to the editor... I'm going to take a LONG NAP.