hit tracker Dave Shields Author Blog: June 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.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

For My Next Trick...

When I wrote The Race, about a Utah cyclist winning the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, there weren't even any hot prospects from Utah capable of accomplishing that, but last year Dave Zabriskie came out of nowhere and became the third American in history to wear yellow.

So then I wrote The Tour. It's about a drug scandal with major impacts on the cycling world. Have you read the headlines lately? The coincidences with my fictional story are almost too bizarre to believe. Are the stories I dreaming up somehow impacting the future?

Anyway, I've got this new idea for a book. It's about an ambitious novelist living in Salt Lake City whose career hits the big time when he stuns the literary world by winning the Pulitzer Prize. I'd better be very accurate about where this guy lives, because it would be really wierd if my neighbor (who works for the utility company) suddenly found himself the recipient of a Pulitzer.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Key Endorsements

It's amazing how many people have been contacting me with reaction to my novels in the last few days. There are two I must share. Today I heard from Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong's personal coach. He wrote my publisher: "I read The Race and found it interesting. He has a good knowledge of cycling and the book reads easily as excitement builds. I was impressed."

I also heard directly from Aron Ralston. You might recall that he amputated his own arm to save his life when trapped in a Utah slot canyon. He's a very impressive guy. I'd like to share an insightful e-mail he sent me regarding The Tour:

"It's true that athletes are role models, and the effect of cheating on spectators is a disenchantment. Athletes show us what we are capable of doing, providing motivation and inspiration. We want to believe we too would be as capable as those we watch. For this to work, we need to see humans accomplishing superhuman results, and then be able to place ourselves in those other human's minds and bodies and see the potential in ourselves. Exposed cheating breaks the charm and effectiveness of that process. While particular individual cheaters may not get caught, cheating will always be exposed at some time or another, and then the sport loses its ability to captivate the imagination.

The Tour presents a uniquely open discussion of the complex pressures and circumstances of cheating. It gave me an inside-the-race understanding of what athletes cope with, saying in fiction what real sportsmen would love to say, and I admire those who race clean all the more for it. The Tour is the most compelling and open discussion of cheating I've ever read."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Words as Wildfire

It's an exciting time! I'm hearing from media sources daily about positive reactions to The Tour. As the buildup for the 2006 race continues, momentum keeps building. At first we met with hesitation on the part of some media outlets to review a novel dealing with doping. Maybe this was because people don't tend to see drugs as an entertaining subject. The whole topic feels dirty. People demand entertainment above all else from their novels, and feared that this story would be depressing. But as word that The Tour is unlike anything previously written about the world of performance enhancers has gotten out, the rave reviews have begun to roll in. We know of two major ones that will be released soon. In the mean-time, check out this recently published opinion. I think the reviewer hit the nail on the head. Educating fans about why the problem exists is the first step to creating a solution. I'm proud that my book is now being seen in this light.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Drafting on a Legend

Last week I got the the opportunity to ride with Greg Lemond. Back in the '80's, he was the man who caused me to fall in love with pro cycling. That doesn't make me unique, because I know thousands of others who became passionate about the sport for the same reason. Lemond's comeback from near death after a hunting accident remains one of the most inspiring sports stories I know of.

I'm pleased to report that Greg is an extremely nice guy, and he still has a huge engine. Granted, I spend way more time writing than riding, but I'm still fairly fit. When the roads bent up he left me in the dust.

If you ever get the chance to meet Greg I highly recommend that you take full advantage. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Chaos in Cycle Land

The last few weeks have been crazy for the world of pro cycling. First, Ivan Basso stunned everyone with his strength in Italy. I thought he would win, but WOW! He has a very legitimate shot for the double with form like that.

Then the Spanish doping scandal broke. It bears some strong similarities to events in my newest novel, The Tour. Unlike most other recent drug accusations, the evidence here is indisputable. I'm happy to see that some of the facilitators have been nabbed this time around. It's discouraging how often only the athletes have to pay.

Finally, the Lance Armstrong acquittal was much more than just that. It was a scathing indictment of several organizations involved in the fiasco, especially the World Anti-Doping Association. I've long believed that the WADA was out of control under the direction of Dick Pound, and man did this report ever prove it. It appears that Pound felt certain that Armstrong was a drug cheat and believed that the end justified the means to "catch" him. Not only did WADA trample on its own rule book in pursuit of Armstrong, they broke international law. As I said in and interview on CNN International World Sport when the story broke, WADA's stated goal is to eliminate a form of cheating in sport. No way can they justify cheating in order to reach that end. Dick Pound must go!