hit tracker Dave Shields Author Blog: January 2006

A journal detailing my efforts to launch my career as a novelist. The goals are to share info about succeeding in this field with other aspiring authors, to provide updates to the many supporters who have asked me for them, and ultimately to build the momentum necessary to assure success in this venture.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


I've had a very cool experience this week. A year and a half ago a guy named Rob Barfus wrote me a note about The Race and introduced me to a Web site called BikeJournal.com. I ended up participating in some of their message board discussions about my book, and got a taste of what a unique community it is. The guy who runs it, a cyclist who goes by Slatz, has built everything around setting cycling goals and building relationships. He's constantly making improvements of one sort or another.

I returned to the site a week ago to let them know about the progress of my new book and they welcomed me with open arms. I mentioned that my cycling training had suffered considerably because of my efforts to write and market cycling books. What a paradox. The next thing I know, one of the members has anonymously purchased a membership for me. Among other things, that means I get a little bar graph next to my name showing what my riding mileage goal is for the year. So suddenly I have monster motivation to get into the sort of shape I ought to be in. I want to thank that anonymous person for the kick in the butt, and I look forward to participating on BikeJournal.com.
Dave Shields

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Never Put Three Year Olds In Charge

This isn't publishing related, but it might be entertaining. My three year old daughter loves skiing so much that ever since the weather has turned cold she asks about it constantly. As a result we headed to Alta's Ski Free After Three program on Friday. I've always avoided taking my daughters skiing on snowy days. On the way up the canyon the weather turned bad. I told my wife and two daughters that we ought to cancel skiing for the day. My wife and my eight year old agreed with the reasoning, but the three year old was crushed. She wanted to hit the slopes so badly, and I didn't have the heart to cancel on her, so we pressed on.

The three year old was all smiles, until we got onto the lift. Then she started crying. She didn't like all the snow blowing in her face, her boots hurt, her hat itched, and she just wanted to go home. I got more and more frustrated as I tried to explain that we wouldn't be in this blizzard if not for her insistance, but of course, that made no sense to her.

When we finally reached the top of the hill I was frazzled. I tried to get her to ski but she'd just keep collapsing onto the ground and saying, "Carry me." Finally I picked her up and lugged her to the bottom of the hill. We went straight to the car, very frustrated. I loaded all the equipment back up, drove 20 yards, and found myself at the tail end of a traffic jamb. I got out of the car and went to speak with one of the parking lot employees. He said that conditions in the canyon below were treacherous, that lots of cars had slid off the road, and that it would take me at least half an hour to get out of the parking lot, a distance of five car lengths. I've been up this canyon enough to know that he was probably right, so we decided to go eat dinner and wait. My mom was tending our one year old and told me not to hurry home. We parked the car, got everyone back in snow gear, then we went in search of food. Unfortunately, when thousands of people get stuck in a town the size of Alta they quickly overwhelm the evening food service capacity of the place. We scrounged a couple pieces of fruit, a bottle of Gatorade, and a few cookies.

In the loby of the Rustler, a beautiful resort hotel, we found the board game, "Life," and we met a nine year old Miamian named Andrew who was an expert at the rules (they were missing from the box and we didn't remember them too well). We had a lot of fun playing the game. From time to time I walked out front and checked traffic. Even at 8 pm, it hadn't moved at all. That was more than four hours after we got into the traffic jamb. Finally, at 8:30, things started to move. We drove down the canyon laughing about our disasterous ski day and the irony that it had turned into an adventure we'd never forget. I've never been so exhausted by a day that included so little activity.