Here's what happened while I was away from my online life...
This past Saturday the Orange County Chapter of RWA asked me to speak with their published authors about my job. Basically, what I do, how I do it, how books get into the library system - all that fun stuff. I brought my Mom along for the visit and she was really impressed! The Orange County Chapter has been around since 1981, and is pretty kickass. Jacqueline Diamond gave her a copy of one of her older Harlequin American titles, Diagnosis: Expecting Boss's Baby (classic Harlequinized title if ever there was one!), which Mom proceeded to devour in a couple of sittings. She really liked it, and figures it's the first romance novel she's ever read. I have plans to read it now and see what I think of it - since Mom saying "I really liked it!" is about the only "review" I'm likely to get out of her. Heh.
I've been asked to do some contest judging for the Georgia Romance Writers, and the books arrived yesterday. When I do published author contest judging, I tend to put category romance down as my first choice, mostly because they're quicker reads I can squeeze in around my life. I also usually put down historical romance as Choice #2. Well, my package was all Harlequins, but it's a really good mix! The lines represented include Harlequin American, Silhouette Special Edition, Harlequin Intrigue, Harlequin Presents, and Harlequin SuperRomance. And, wait for it, all written by new-to-me authors! I'm hoping I'll discover at least one great new autobuy author to add to my category romance shopping list.
While I was largely off-line, longtime Detroit Tigers radio broadcaster Ernie Harwell passed away after a surprisingly lengthy battle with terminal cancer. This is how much I blather about the Tigers - some of you popped up on Twitter and in blog comments to offer your condolences. Ernie was 92, and ill, so it wasn't exactly a shock that he passed, but sad all the same. To tie this into romance novels (stay with me non-baseball peeps!), Ernie and his wife, Lulu, were married for 68 years. Which is mind-boggling anyway, but factor in how much traveling he had to do for his job, and it's doubly impressive!
So to close out this blog post I'm going to post a piece that Ernie wrote in 1955 and read during his 1981 induction into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. God speed Ernie.
Baseball is the President tossing out the first ball of the season and a scrubby schoolboy playing catch with his dad on a Mississippi farm. A tall, thin old man waving a scorecard from the corner of his dugout. That's baseball. And so is the big, fat guy with a bulbous nose running home one of his (Babe Ruth's) 714 home runs.
There's a man in Mobile who remembers that Honus Wagner hit a triple in Pittsburgh forty-six years ago. That's baseball. So is the scout reporting that a sixteen year old pitcher in Cheyenne is a coming Walter Johnson. Baseball is a spirited race of man against man, reflex against reflex. A game of inches. Every skill is measured. Every heroic, every failing is seen and cheered, or booed. And then becomes a statistic.
In baseball democracy shines its clearest. The only race that matters is the race to the bag. The creed is the rulebook. Color merely something to distinguish one team's uniform from another.
Baseball is a rookie. His experience no bigger than the lump in his throat as he begins fulfillment of his dream. It's a veteran too, a tired old man of thirty-five hoping that those aching muscles can pull him through another sweltering August and September. Nicknames are baseball, names like Zeke and Pie and Kiki and Home Run and Cracker and Dizzy and Dazzy.
Baseball is the cool, clear eyes of Rogers Hornsby. The flashing spikes of Ty Cobb, an over aged pixie named Rabbit Maranville.
Baseball just a game as simple as a ball and bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. A sport, a business and sometimes almost even a religion.
Why the fairy tale of Willie Mays making a brilliant World's Series catch. And then dashing off to play stick ball in the street with his teenage pals. That's baseball. So is the husky voice of a doomed Lou Gehrig saying, "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”
Baseball is cigar smoke, hot roasted peanuts, The Sporting News, ladies day, "Down in Front", Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and the Star Spangled Banner.
Baseball is a tongue tied kid from Georgia growing up to be an announcer and praising the Lord for showing him the way to Cooperstown. This is a game for America. Still a game for America, this baseball! Thank you.