Here's the kicker: I researched my opponent, as you do, aiming to rake through the dirt and uncover hidden secrets to use against her. Instead I became sidetracked - nay, fascinated - by her idea of icepunk, or "steampunk on ice" as she defines it (the subgenre of her DABWAHA book Cold Magic). So much so that I spent much of the day researching ice sculpting, glaciers and the Icelandic horse, and had no time left for dirt-raking and secret-uncovering.
And the far-future story that I was intending to set in a hot barren desert? It now seems sooo much more romantic and interesting set on a frozen plateau in a glacial age.
So thank you Kate for stirring my imagination with Cold Magic - and I haven't even read the book yet! (Just ordered it.)