Timing is Everything

I hope I can keep this post fairly short, since I am desperately behind on the second Play Action novel (and yes, it’s Rachel and Warren’s story, for those who’ve been asking).

But here’s the thing: there’s been a lot of talk in writer world about sexism and misogyny in writer world. The latest “blow-up” is the result of some articles in The Bulletin, which is the SFWA’s1 monthly magazine for members. This led to lengthy conversations on Twitter about everything from the “quiet dignity” (or lack thereof) of Barbie to the stunning fact that one of the candidates for SFWA’s presidency has openly advocated disenfranchising women. (You can read up on the whole debacle at E Catherine Tobler’s blog.)

Anyroad, the whole discussion made me think a lot about the plot of Skin in the Game. The heroine, Angie Peterson, is a high school math teacher and the assistant coach for the football team. Right before the story opens, the head coach has suffered a heart attack. During his convalescence, the role of head coach falls to Angie, and she’s thrilled about this, because it’s her ambition to ultimately take over that job on a permanent basis. The team’s other assistant coach, however, doesn’t feel the same way and he actively harasses her and tries to undermine her. Donnelly’s a guy in his mid-forties who apparently missed the news about feminism when he was growing up, and he resents Angie’s authority over him in a field he thinks should be reserved for men.

Now, I give that background because I have to admit, when I wrote the story, I wondered whether or not I was importing too much of my personal experience from the late 80s/early 90s into a story set in the 21st century. I never went through anything quite as overt as Angie does, in part because I never worked in such a heavily male-dominated field as she does, but I certainly saw plenty of examples of men who were threatened by and reacted against women who had “too much” power in the workplace. That’s lessened considerably as I’ve gotten older, though; or at least, I thought it had. And that fact made me question whether readers would believe in a character who’s as blindly sexist and misogynistic as Donnelly.

And all I can say after the week’s news–which also included angst over the fact that women have become the primary breadwinner in about 40% of households with children– is…guess not!


1SFWA is the science fiction and fantasy writers’ organization. They sponsor the Nebula and (I think) Hugo awards. They are a big deal in writing communities and are often held up as a model for writers’ organizations. Um, not so much, I’m thinking now.

Release Day Excerpt from SKIN IN THE GAME

SKIN IN THE GAME is OUT! Here’s your third and final teaser.

“Penny for your thoughts.”

Angie’s stomach collided with her heart at the sound of Cade’s husky voice near her ear. She opened her eyes and turned her head to find him leaning against the yellow school bus beside her, his right arm mere inches from her left.

How had he managed to sneak up on her like that? Her body seemed to have radar when it came to him—she could normally sense his presence when he was within a football field’s distance, let alone a matter of inches. Why had that sixth sense chosen this particular moment to desert her?

Her pulse beat thick and heavy in her throat and between her thighs, but she somehow managed to keep her wits—and her resentments—about her. “I’m sure you can afford to pay more than that. And shouldn’t you still be up there on the field, attending to your adoring public?”

He grinned and shook his head. “Not when I have a shot at being adored in private.”

Angie’s midsection went molten and dangerous with temptation. Maybe she should stop resisting the attraction between them. Maybe if she had sex with him a few more times, she could work him out of her system.

Except she knew the only thing that came from feeding an addiction was an even deeper addiction.

Want more? Go buy!

An Excerpt from SKIN IN THE GAME

SitG 500pxIn anticipation of SKIN IN THE GAME’s release on Monday, I’ll be posting an excerpt today,tomorrow, and Monday. Here’s today’s snippet:

“Just tell me, before I go. Was it worth it?”

Now he was really at a loss. “Was what worth what?”

“Getting me into bed the other night so you could have a good laugh at my expense today?”

He recoiled as if she’d slapped him. “What?”

“Oh, come on. You can’t expect me to believe you didn’t know exactly who I was when we ran into each other in that coffee shop. It must have been very amusing, pretending you didn’t know me, pretending to find me attractive…” Her voice hitched, and she trailed off. “Oh, just forget it.” She started away from him again.

Cade felt as if he’d been standing in a pitch-black room and someone had just switched on the light. Blinded. Or maybe more accurately, blindsided. That was the last accusation he’d expected.

He grabbed her wrist to prevent her from getting away. She glared over her shoulder at him and yanked, but he made up the space between them in three easy strides. There were times when being six foot five was a definite advantage. Especially now, when she was wearing a sensible pair of flats and he had a good six inches on her.

“I had no idea who you were until I talked to Coach this morning and put it together. And if you think I was pretending last night, you must also think I’m one hell of an actor.”