Wednesday, May 28, 2014


It's been too long since I've been here. Winter, as long and hard as it was, has definitely turned to spring, deadlines have come, more deadlines are coming, and I had to deal with some technical glitches with this blog, not being especially proficient at such things, so was actually unable to post for many weeks. I know, lame, right? "The dog ate my homework" lame! But true. I'm glad to be back in business, so to speak. So some things have been happening here in writing land, even though I haven't been by to tell you about them. Chocolate is well on its way to being a book next spring. Houghton Mifflin's amazing design team is creating what I think (from the few advance peeks I've had) will be a thing of beauty, and copy is being composed even now for the catalog and the ARCs. I'm excited, and can't wait to see how it all shapes up.

At the same time, writing two big books like this in close succession has been keeping me very, very busy. I'm writing, writing, writing my first draft of The Dog in the Cave, and I wish I could say it's going quickly. What I can say is that the stuff I'm writing about is amazing, especially for all the dog people out there (and we know who we are). But really, for almost anyone interested in people, animals, science, and history, which probably covers most of the rest of us.

I love writing books, but one thing I don't love about it is the many hours of sitting it tends to require. Technology has made it so much easier to research and interview without physical travel, at least some of the time. But the sitting, that whole requirement to apply butt to chair in order to research and write, gets to me more and more. That's one reason among many why I'm so grateful that I have dogs, and my awesome horse, because all of them require me to get up and move on a regular basis. But last year I also added another strategy to combat chair-butt: I installed a treadmill desk in my office! Do I totally love it? Yeah, pretty much. I walk most every morning, while I work, and it's great. However, as you can see from the photo above, there are occasional glitches there, too.

That's Saada, my muse (especially for this book), and the larger half of my office management team. The smaller half is here:
  Working hard, as always. Obviously a deep thinker, and so sweet.

Saada is a real love, too, and she loves to be close. Very close. It's great inspiration when I'm writing about how the long, long bond between humans and dogs began, and how it's changed us all, dogs and humans. But having an 85-pound hound turn your very cool treadmill into yet another dog bed is slightly inconvenient, even when she gives you the googly eye of guilt to remind you that you've been inside far too long. Walking comes to a screeching halt, and sometimes work does too. Then it's time for a reboot, or maybe a walk in the fields or a splash in the stream, which has become Saada's favorite summer activity. Then it's time for yet another hosing off, before work can resume in the office. It's a slower way to write a book, but I guess it's my way. Hoping to pick up the pace, though. My editor might not take "my dog commandeered my desk and prevented me from writing" as an excuse for missing my next deadline.

I'm hoping to check in a little more frequently now, so I'll let you know how it goes.