Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thank you, Marine Corps Marathon

Not only did the Marine Corps Marathon give me the opportunity to train, run, and finish the race of a lifetime and accomplish a major goal, but it gave me the opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to as many of the Marines as possible that I met the day of the race. This event allowed me to feel a part of something much bigger, something so emotional that I won’t soon forget and can never appropriately put into words. I got to see and experience why the Marine Corps Marathon is known as the People’s Marathon.

The day was perfect. The weather was beautiful and the 26.2 mile route was laden with history, monuments, gorgeous scenery, and a challenge to “beat the bridge”. It isn't the race route that I recall. As a matter of fact, I only remember noticing two monuments; the Capitol and the Washington Monument that was under construction. What I do recall are the people.

Bundled up in hats, jackets, and scarves against the chilly morning air, men, women and even children in strollers came out in droves; and never left. Spectators were not at just every mile marker, but at every step of the race. They held handmade signs of encouragement or humor, rang cowbells, cheered, shouted and clapped their support to one and all runners to the finish line. Heck, there were even spectators handing out Halloween candy to the runners for that added sugar boost.
The volunteers were numerous and amazing. These are the people who were up before the sun on race day in the chilly fall morning, setting everything up to make the Marine Corps Marathon enjoyable and memorable. They manned the port-a-potties (a thankless job), manned aid stations, helped hand out water and Gatorade, and were our general cheerleaders for 26.2 miles. They were the police blocking roads, keeping the streets safe, and who clapped along with the rest of the spectators as we passed their security point.

For me, the incredible and emotional part of the biggest challenge and race of my life were the Marines. These men and women not only made us feel secure, but they cheered, applauded, high-fived, shouted boot camp orders, and handed us Gatorade and water as we made our way to the finish line. They were the reason we pushed ourselves and continued to run when our bodies screamed in pain and wanted to give up.
The best part was the opportunity to shake hands with these Marines and thank them for their service. And at the end of the race, when I crossed the finish line a Marine placed the Marine Corps Marathon medal over my head, and then she saluted me. That little act was my undoing. I thanked the Marine and the others standing near her, shook their hands, and walked away with tears streaming down my cheeks and a grin on my face.

I may have accomplished something great that day, something I perceived to be a tough challenge, but it is nothing compared to what these Marines face and live every day and all to keep us safe.

I have never felt more humbled or proud.
Thank you to the US Marines not only for your service, but for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime.

I salute the Marines; thank the Marine Corps Marathon coordinators, volunteers, and all the spectators. You made this race for me and made this the People’s Marathon.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Virtual cheers for the Marine Corps Marathon

It’s almost that time! Thirty thousand runners will line up to run the streets of Washington, DC for the 38th Marine Corps Marathon. And where are you? Are you along the streets cheering your favorite runners to victory, encouraging them to block the pain? Or are you snuggled in your bed nice and toasty warm?

If you can’t be at the race you can still cheer on the runners and the Marines, you can do a virtual cheer. Send a tweet or post something on Facebook. Send up a virtual cheer!
Here are some typical cheer signs we will see along the way. Make one of your own and send it to the social media sites and give a shout out to all the Marine Corps Marathon runners, the Marines, and the volunteers that are making this event happen.

Here’s a few ideas:
Toenails are for sissies
Pain is temporary, glory is forever
Keep going, dig deeper
Beer awaits you
If it was easy, I’d be doing it
Stop reading, keep running
There’s only sweat between you and the finish line
Hot, sexy Marines ahead
I’m proud of you
Get your mind off the pain, rock this like a hurricane
Chafe now, wine later
No one made you do this
Smile if you’re not wearing underwear
Runners have balls, other sports just play with them
Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment
You’ve endured the training, now celebrate the pain

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Twenty-four hours to the 38th Marine Corps Marathon!

Twenty-four hours to the race of a lifetime! Or should I say an accomplishment of a lifetime. Twenty-four hours to the 38th Marine Corps Marathon!

Who would have thought a year ago I would run a marathon, let alone the Marine Corps Marathon also known as the people’s marathon. A race built around 38 years of tradition and support for runners and our military. I alongside 30,000 other runners will be running the streets of Washington, DC, passing monuments while United States Marines hand us water and Gatorade and cheer us on.
The race hasn’t even started and I’m already in awe of the coordination and overwhelming enthusiasm that the race volunteers and Marines have displayed. Everywhere I turn there is someone in a Marine Corps Marathon shirt or jacket offering to help.

Yesterday at the packet pickup, two Marines gave me my bib, pins, Marine Corps Marathon patch, and the program for the event.
When I walked into the Health and Fitness Expo a Marine saw me standing in the middle of the aisle gazing around (I was struck by so much) and offered to help get me started. She handed me my race bag and walked me over to get my race shirt. Then she told me to enjoy the expo and the race and sent me on my way. I walked around the event for two and a half hours.
Last night was the first timers Pep Rally, and event for folks running their first marathon or their first Marine Corps Marathon. Remember your high school pep rallies? Picture that on a much grander scale. Cheerleaders and mascot greeted you as you entered, cheered at various times, and posed for pictures.

A slide show displayed on two large screens, the Marine Corps Marathon race arch sat on stage along with a bunch of race sponsors and an amazing speaker named Robbie who pumped enthusiasm into you with his words. With this man behind you, you could not possibly lose.

We ate appetizers and drank and listened to various speakers tell us how to prepare for Sunday’s race. Great advice like bring a garbage bag to wear to keep warm while waiting for the race to begin, bring tissue in case you have to go to the bathroom without the benefit of a port-a-potty, run your race and your pace, and probably more importantly to smile and enjoy the run. We mingled with other runners where I met a Navy submariner and an older Army gentleman.
Tonight is the carbo-dinner where I have no doubt the meal will be packed with carbohydrates, more words of wisdom will be shared, excitement and enthusiasm will ripple through the hall, and new friends will be met.

At 5 AM Sunday morning all of us will be up and finding our way to Runner’s Village near the Pentagon and the race start. Start time is 7:55 AM, October 27, 2013.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Journey to the Marine Corps Marathon

It’s almost here! I am one week away from reaching my BIG running goal for the season! My stomach is flip-flopping, my nerves are jangling, and my heart trips over itself every time I think about it, but I’m ecstatic that the main event is only seven days away.

How did I get here?
It all started six months ago when a friend of mine suggested my next running goal not be just a marathon, but the Marine Corps Marathon. So when registration opened up for the Marine Corps Marathon, I was one of the thousands of people who sat at her desk and entered her information and waited then did it again, and again, and again until it finally went through. Yes, the registration site couldn’t handle all us crazy people coming at it all at once.

Once I received the email saying I was registered, that’s when the fun began!
The first thing I had to do was come up with a training plan. Yeah, well, just do a search on the Internet and you will find any number of them. I looked at them and basically took my race schedule for the year and incorporated several with that. I’m not an all-out runner, I do the intervals of run then walk so I trained according to that. The hardest part for me was working in the longer runs. Ugh! Running more than 10 miles by yourself or without a carrot dangled in front of you is challenging to say the least and sometimes very boring.

The boring is where I learned about getting the right music playlist. It gave me something else to focus on beyond the strides, the staying upright, and the timing of when to drink and when to toss a Gatorade Chew in my mouth. Once I got enough Eminem on my playlist I was set! Not kidding. Those of you who know me know I am a country music girl. Yeah, not when it comes to running. When Eminem hits my ears it’s just the right motivation to keep you moving even if you have blisters on the bottom of your feet or you can barely lift a leg for the next stride.
My training plan definitely included many races, way more than I am sure some professionals or elite athletes would recommend. But, for me I needed the added motivation of the people and the exuberance of crossing a finish line. More for me was the goal of getting faster. The races allowed me to challenge and push myself to improvement. Add to that I kept a spreadsheet of every race and the finish times so I could track progress or not. Oh, yeah, I got better, stronger, and faster!

Running alone is not enough to train for the Marine Corps Marathon or any long distance race. You need to work your core, strengthen your upper and lower body and learn to eat right to achieve a fitness level that will allow you to endure.
Thank goodness I already had the best trainer. Jon Tobey of The Fitness Factory is a fantastic group and one-on-one trainer. He listens and designs plans to help achieve your goal. And the training is never static, which is a personal pet peeve of mine. Every Friday was different! I never knew what to expect. Some days we’d kill my core, others we would do supersets of arms and core or legs and core. My favorites were the days he added in some boxing. Who doesn’t love to punch something! If that wasn’t enough, I did a double workout on Tuesdays where I incorporated Jon’s thirty minute metabolic meltdown class and his forty-five minute bootcamp. On Thursdays, I did just the metabolic meltdown. Great fitness classes that will challenge every part of your body.

So I had the running plan. I had an amazing trainer. Now all I had to do was figure out how to achieve the weight loss and eat for the fitness level I was trying to achieve. This was harder for me. Until I found my naturopath, Dr. Kristen O’Dell of Bedford Natural Medicine. This woman saved me! Almost two years ago I was diagnosed with kidney issues without knowing the cause. Kristen not only identified the issue, she treated it naturally! On top of that, she identified a root cause as to my health problems that I wasn’t even aware of. I have something called leaky gut syndrome. We identified the foods my body wasn’t absorbing, which just so happened to be almost all the foods I ate on a daily basis. Then we changed my diet and added a nice amino acid called glutamine to my daily routine. All I can tell you is that her supplements and the change in my diet have gotten me to be much more physically fit from the inside.
People ask me every day how I can eat like I am. For those of you who do not know, I am not eating gluten, egg, or dairy and many fruits and vegetables. I eat nothing processed when I can help it. The only vice I have not given up is my Mountain Dew. I have it every morning with my glutamine and magnesium powder poured into it. Yeah, both Jon Tobey and Kristen O'Dell cringe when I say that, but you know, a girl has to have one vice. [GRIN] When you want something bad enough you will do whatever you have to do!
In every pursuit of a physical goal there are bound to be injuries. Luckily my big one came early on in the training. I woke up one morning with excruciating back pain. I tried to blow it off, but that didn’t work. I ended up at a doctor office. Much like my kidneys, I was not satisfied with not being able to identify the issue and fix it. I’m a smart cookie though, and I found a magnificent chiropractor. The issue is my SI joint. Apparently, it doesn’t always like to stay where it belongs. Dr. Mark Stagnone of Stagnone Chiropractic has kept it in line and kept me running. I am grateful because I believe seeing him once a week has truly helped improve my running. Plus, he recommended I take glucosamine for my joints. Bonus! I no longer have to run with a knee brace.

Thanks to these three people I have a fitness level that I am ecstatic about and that I know will allow me to reach that finish line.
Speaking of people, I have to mention several people who have supported, harassed, harangued, and goaded me during this training. There are more than a few, but there are three that have done so on a regular basis and it is much appreciated. First, my friend Tony, a fellow runner who talked me into this life-changing goal. Thanks to Tony pushing me, I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon and more than likely, I will be running even further next year. My friend, Brendan, who whenever I started to doubt myself and my ability, would post words of encouragement or plain old tell me to get over myself. Can you ask for a better friend that one who tells you the truth?! Then we get to Heather. Heather is a runner I met this past year and we would meet up at several races. When I wasn’t scheduled for a race on a weekend, Heather would send me links to races and egg me on to join her. Who needed rest! Heather has always been faster than me so she became my carrot in those races.

Thank you all, and thank you to all my other friends and family who supported me. I will keep all of you in my heart when I run the Marine Corps Marathon next Sunday, October 27.
For those of you thinking about chasing a major goal in your life, here's a quick word of advice.
No one else can do it for you. There are no shortcuts. Will it be difficult and challenging? Yes! Will you wonder if you can do it? Yes!
All it takes is discipline, determination, and heart. If your heart wants it, your mind and body will follow.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Snacks for 24-hour Dewey Readathon

Closing in on the halfway mark of the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-thon. Next up on my reading list is Capsized by Sharon Sala.

How goes it on your end? Oh, my tail end is numb from all this sitting! Just remember to get up and move around. Stretch those legs. Do a little dance and get that circulation pumping.

I'm on my first bottle of Mountain Dew. Bring on the Dew! I've also got some Fritos, some gluten-free almond clusters, some homemade energy bites (love these things!), Gatorade, and for a change of pace, I've got Coke.

If I get really desperate, there's coconut milk ice cream in the freezer.

What are you eating to keep up your energy up for the next twelve hours of reading? Got any favorite snacks?

Eight hours into Dewey Readathon

My morning started out with a 3 mile run from Badgers Island, Maine to Portsmouth, NH. It was chilly and damp, but lovely.

Immediately after the event, I drove home...listening some more to Thankless in Death by JD Robb. Great book!

As soon as I walked in the front door of my home, I cleaned up quick and got into some comfy clothes, grabbed a Coke, and curled up in my favorite chair with a book.

Then these fuzzy little guys I named Mischief and Mayhem decided they had to curl up with me to help me read. Isn't that sweet of them? Yeah, well try sitting for three hours with adde
d weight on your legs. My hiney is, shall we say, numb.

I just finished reading The Pirate by Jayne Ann Krentz. Who doesn't love a great hero and a strong, sometimes stubborn heroine?

I'm stretching now and then jumping into my next book, Bouganvillea by Heather Graham.

I went from old paperback that has been on my shelf for months to now using the Kindle? What's your favorite reading material? Hard cover, paperback, ebook?

Well, I'm back to reading. Keep up the good work!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What's on your Dewey Read-a-thon reading list?

Yesterday, I introduced you to the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-thon and encouraged you to sign up. Now that you've done that. . .and I know you have. It's time to think reading list.

Do you have a To Be Read pile? Go ahead, pick them up an move them next to your favorite chair.

This is a perfect opportunity to read a backlist of your favorite author so stop by the used bookstore and grab a handful of books.

If you're not sure what to read, click the link as Dewey Read-a-thon has recommendations. Anything goes. You can read comic books, children's books, fiction, non-fiction, even listen to audio books. It all counts. Just read!


I am doing a mixed bag of books this time. I've got a couple of backlist books tat have been on a shelf for months. They should be short and sweet and romantic. Then I'll move into a few romantic suspense books by some of my favorite authors.

On my list is:

Legacy by Jayne Ann Krentz
The Pirate by Jayne Ann Krentz
Faces of a Clown by Stella Cameron
Going Once by Sharon Sala
Bougaivillea by Heather Graham
Shelter Island by Carla Neggers
Capsized by Sharon Sala

If I finish those then I've got two historical romances in the wings waiting for me:

Brave the Wild Wind by Johanna Lindsey
Savage Thunder by Johanna Lindsey

In case my eyes need a break, I have JD Robb's latest novel, Thankful in Death in audio book.

What's on your list?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Are you ready for the Dewey 24 hour Read-a-thon?

Have you signed up for the Dewey Read-a-thon? It's this Saturday, October 12. Hurry up!

Twice a year the Dewey Read-a-thon is put on and twice a year I sign up. You should too!

Got a large TO BE READ pile of books? Been wanting to read a really good book, but just haven't had the opportunity? Have a New Years' resolution to read a certain number of books or to read more?

Now is the time! Sign up for the Read-a-thon and make the time to read.

What is the Dewey Read-a-thon?

The Dewey Read-a-thon is a reading challenge. For 24 hours! For 24 hours you read books, post in blogs about your reading, and visit other readers’ blogs. You also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day and win prizes.

It is 24 hours of self-indulgence. Sit in your favorite chair, under a nice cozy blanket and read. Or find a booth in your favorite café, with a cup of java and read. Since the read-a-thon is for 24 hours don't forget to pack up on the snacks and caffeine to keep you going.

Speaking of keeping you going...If you can't spare the time to read then why not participate in the read-a-thon as a cheerleader and egg those of us that are crazy enough to do it on? Sign up as a Cheerleader.

Help promote reading! Sign up, tell your friends and your relatives and have them sign up. Make an event out of the event.

But most of all...READ!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What are you reading this week?

Good morning and happy Wednesday. What are you reading this week?

Here's my new read. It's been on my shelf for a while and I don't know why. Marcus Luttrell is a hero and I hope everyone reads his story in LONE SURVIVOR then reads his latest, SERVICE: A NAVY SEAL AT WAR.

From the mountains of Afghanistan to urban sniper hides in Iraq, Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell has seen the worst of war at the sharp end of battle. In 2006, the "lone survivor" of Operation Redwing returned to combat as a member of SEAL Team 5 to help take on the most dangerous city in the world: Ramadi, the capital of war-torn Anbar Province. It was there that he took part in what has been called the greatest victory in the history of the U.S. Special Operations forces.

Luttrell's eye-opening narrative also offers powerful new details about his time in Afghanistan and his miraculous rescue. After returning from that star-crossed mission with shattered bones and a broken heart, he thought of the men who had given their lives to save him-and how he would have readily done the same for them. He wondered why he and others, from America's founding to today, had been willing to sacrifice everything-including themselves-for the sake of family, nation, and freedom.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thanks to a running friend

As I was driving in to work today and making my mother laugh on the phone, a thought struck me. I owe my running obsession; I prefer the word passion, to my friend Tony.

Tony is a runner and has been for many years and an inspiration. If not for Tony encouraging me to sign up for a half marathon in Ireland last year (my favorite spot in the world), I would never have run my first half marathon. I ran my first half marathon last February just to get an idea of what it would be like before I traveled across the ocean to Dingle. I cursed Tony every day for six weeks after the race in February. That’s how long it took me to recuperate and before I could walk without wincing.

By the time I did the run in Ireland six months later, I wasn’t cursing Tony out, but was smiling the entire way and recuperated very quickly (three days). This time I had to thank Tony for getting me to sign up for the Dingle half marathon and proving to myself that I could do it.

Tony has encouraged me every step of the way. He offers advice from his own experience and listens when I tell him something new I’ve learned or when I share my latest running feat. I think he secretly laughs at me because I am like a kid in a candy store, eating up every race I can find and getting so excited when I set a new PR (personal record).

Tony still gets me to sign up for more. He helped push me into signing up for my first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Don’t you love friends like this?

Honestly, he’s the best and I want to thank Tony for his words of encouragement and his support as my passion for running keeps growing. Thanks for helping me achieve that runner’s high.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

It isn’t the speed of a runner that counts, it’s the heart

When it comes to running in a race most runners are there to compete against themselves, not against the other runners. Sure, some are there to win, but the majority are there to beat their best time.

But when it comes to another runner being injured, other runners forget themselves and put their heart into caring. I witnessed this firsthand yesterday morning.
We were about three miles into the race when I noticed three runners on the side. Two of them were helping another runner who wasn’t feeling great. When I saw her tilt and step back as if in a faint, I ran over. The two other runners grabbed her arms and got her to sit down and I handed her my Gatorade. Between us, we got her hydrated and breathing slower. Another runner ran ahead to get medical personnel. Thank goodness that every race has emergency folks on hand for just such occurrences.

The heart of a runner isn’t just about keeping the body going when the legs want to give out. It’s about foregoing your best time because a fellow runner is in trouble and needs you.
This is one reason why I love running!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Happy and healthy

Did you know the healthier you are, the happier you are? I swear it is true.

Every time I do a killer workout with my trainer or finish a long, hard run like a half marathon, I always feel fantastic. But it's not even that. It's that I feel terrific from the inside out. I feel younger and have more energy. Sometimes I think I am going to bounce off the walls.

It is amazing to see the progress I've made in my health and running this year. I am so close to achieving my goals that I am bursting with pure excitement. Yesterday was my best half marathon to date, only missing my goal time by two minutes, which is a twenty-five minute improvement over my very first half marathon just a year ago in February. Woohoo!

If you catch me smiling, chances are it's because I am jumping up and down on the inside because of how far I've come. Honestly, I'm already thinking about my new goals.

While the effort and hard work is on me, the support that I've received from family, friends and my fantastic trainer, Jon Tobey of The Fitness Factory must be mentioned. Without Jon helping me build the strength and build my cardio with his boot camps, metabolic meltdowns, and the one-on-one training that focuses on my core activity needs, I would not be as fit as I am today.

Thank you, Jon!

Thank you to all my friends who have cheered me on through your words of encouragement and kudos, through your nagging me to join in yet another run. It’s nice to know that while these races and these goals are mine, because of you all, I feel like I can achieve them.

I can’t thank you enough for your kind words and support!

So, if you’re looking for a little encouragement to get yourself out there and achieve your goals, take it from me, a woman who a year ago was diagnosed with kidney issues…NOT NO MORE, who couldn’t lose a pound to save her life…I’ve lost 15 and counting, who didn’t think she would ever run a half marathon again after the first one (last February) took six weeks to recuperate…I’ve done a dozen more since then and am doing about one a month now, sometimes more. You can do it!

You can achieve your health and fitness goal and along with it will come an extreme happiness that you did not know existed. All it takes is guts, determination, and dedication.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tell us what you're reading

This week I am reading an historical romance and a mystery. I'm continuing to read historical romances by Johanna Lindsey on my Kindle. This week, I'm reading The Pursuit.

Blurb: What was to be a grand adventure for Melissa MacGregor an escape from the wilds of her Scottish home into the whirl of the London social scene--seems to pale before the promise in the passionate gaze of Lincoln Ross Burnett. Though they exchange but a few words before parting after a chance encounter on her grandfather's lands, Melissa instantly knows this bold stranger is her destiny, while Lincoln realizes his heart has been claimed forever and he will never be complete until Melissa MacGregor is his bride.

But there are serious obstacles impeding the well-smitten Viscount Cambury's pursuit of glorious romance: sixteen of them--all big and brawny, six named Ian and all named MacFearson. The bane of Lincoln's Youth, Melissa's stifling, disapproving uncles are now determined to rob him of his newfound happiness. Yet he is equally resolved to confront the peril--and to pursue his exquisite obsession all the way to London... and to the ends of the earth, if necessary.

For the mysterious side of my nature, I am listening on audiobook in my morning commute to The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell. Who doesn't love a medical examiner?

Blurb: A woman has vanished while digging a dinosaur bone bed in the remote wilderness of Canada. Somehow, the only evidence has made its way to the inbox of Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, over two thousand miles away in Boston. She has no idea why.

But as events unfold with alarming speed, Scarpetta begins to suspect that the paleontologist’s disappearance is connected to a series of crimes much closer to home: a gruesome murder, inexplicable tortures, and trace evidence from the last living creatures of the dinosaur age.

When she turns to those around her, Scarpetta finds that the danger and suspicion have penetrated even her closest circles. Her niece Lucy speaks in riddles. Her lead investigator, Pete Marino, and FBI forensic psychologist and husband, Benton Wesley, have secrets of their own. Feeling alone and betrayed, Scarpetta is tempted by someone from her past as she tracks a killer both cunning and cruel.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

An author without a publisher

What’s a girl to do?

Due to the recent death of our publisher, Linda, her partner in the publishing company has decided to shut the doors on L&L Dreamspell. Amidst all the grieving that all of us are experiencing we have to decide what to do with our manuscripts. All rights have been reverted to me, including my sixth novel (At Face Value) that had yet to be printed.
I’m extremely saddened over the death of a friend and now have to grieve over the loss of publishing company that cared for its authors. Where else could you offer the publisher a bunch of chocolate if she printed your book a month earlier than planned? Who else would call you out of the blue just because you fell off the face of the earth for a month? Lisa and Linda took such amazing care of us and our books from the words to the covers, to the moral support and guidance. Even now, Lisa is focusing on her dream team of authors and making sure they get what they need to make their decisions and move forward.

So here I am, without a publisher and I have no clue what to do. I, for one, never thought I would be here. Here I am, asking, “What do I do?”
Should I submit to other publishers? Do I look for an agent? Or do I take a gigantic leap and self-publish?

If I submit to other publishers or an agent, do I submit only the book that hasn’t been put in print yet? Do I mention the other five books that now need an avenue to get to readers? Are there any publishers or agents that you think might best fit me and my romantic-suspense genre?
If I go self-pubbed is that riskier than traditional publishing? What is all the work I would have to do myself? And do you as a reader like to read self-published?

My biggest issue is making sure that the books are available in both print and ebook format.
In the back of my mind, as difficult as this situation is, and when I get past all the tears, I think this is an impetus to push me.  It’s a sign. Here is an opportunity to take the bull by its horns and turn my writing career into what I want. The question is, “How?”

Whether you are a reader, a writer, blogger, etc., what are your thoughts?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Life is precious and too damn short

Every week people ask me why I do some of the things I do. Why do I run? Why do I travel abroad by myself and without knowing anyone? Why learn to sing?
Today seems like a good day to explain why.
It’s only in the last three years that I realized life is meant to be lived. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t as if I wasn’t living, but I was only existing. Going to work, coming home and shutting myself in. I did that for almost five years. If not for my writing, I probably would have gone insane.
You see, five years ago I was traumatized as that’s the only way to describe it, by a man who stalked me. No, he never physically hurt me, but did touch me, hacked my home network, would just appear places where I was, would send me gifts and cards. It became so bad that friends parked cars in my yard as a deterrent to him showing up where I lived. I filed complaints with the police and that didn’t stop him. When he tried to buy the house across the street from me TWICE (sight unseen), I finally went to court and got a restraining order.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to face someone like that in a courtroom? Everyone assumed he wouldn’t show, but here’s the thing about stalkers, it’s all about being near the person of their obsession. And it’s downright frightening to the person being stalked. When I pulled into the courthouse I saw him walking into the building. With my heart beating faster than a jackhammer, I turned tail to run. If not for the stubborn set of my ex-husband’s mind and words I wouldn’t have gone back. But I did.
For three years I was afraid to leave my house, afraid of any man who sat next to me, of any man who had a moustache, deathly afraid of going to a movie,  afraid of my own shadow. I was just existing. I finally woke up one day and realized, this was my life and that no one had the right to make me a prisoner in my own mind.
The first thing I did was learn how to shoot a weapon, to protect myself. I refused to get alarms on my home. Why? Because quite honestly, alarms are too late. By the time the alarm goes off the person is in your home. What do you do then?
After that, I started living again. Oh, it’s taken me a long time and I’ve changed my phone number several times since it all started, but in the last two and a half years I realized life was precious and too damn short. I’ve now conquered my fear (mostly) and I have started living. For five years I never went to the movies. This year I have gone twice. Yea me!
I’ve traveled to Ireland twice by myself and without knowing a soul. I’ve taken up running and traveling to places for various races. I’ve taken voice lessons. I go out to eat and don’t go into a panic attack if a stranger with a moustache sits next to me. Okay, I might slide a little to the other side, but I don’t bolt and I don’t breakout in hives. Yup, that was me.
This year, I am chasing a dream of running the Marine Corps marathon.
Why am I telling you all this? Why am I telling you today?
Today I lost a friend, a woman who made dreams come true for a lot of writers and for me in particular. She wasn’t old, hadn’t lived to a ripe old age. She fought a good fight against a killer disease. A disease that takes too many people, a disease that isn’t discriminating in its attack, but chooses at random to inflict pain and death.
Today I reflect on what life has to offer and how my friend not only chased her own dreams and lived her life, but she gave others their dream and in truth probably helped me get my life back.

If you get nothing more from this post, remember that life is precious and that it is too brief, so make the most of it and live it. If there is something on your bucket list, don’t wait. Go out and check off that bucket list while you still can. You were put on this earth not to just exist and work, but to live. Live your life to the fullest. I intend to!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Running is like Writing

You ever want something so bad that you become a Nervous Nellie about it? Or you become a Doubting Thomas, or in my case a Doubting Denise?

That’s me right now!
Does your stomach flip and flop? Do your palms sweat like a girl going out on her first date? Are you constantly asking yourself if you really want it or want to do it? Or maybe you question the sanity of it?

Yes to all of the above.
I had this same experience when I finished my first novel and was trying to find a publisher. You question and doubt yourself. And every time you send off a query you wring your hands as if they were part of the washing machine. But in the end it all worked out. Why? Because I refused to give up. Because I wanted it that bad.

Today and for the next four months, I worry about the Marine Corps Marathon. Not kidding! I want it that bad.
The farthest I have run to date is a half marathon. That’s 13.1 miles. And here I am thinking or wanting to run 26.2 miles. I must be nuts!

As a matter of fact, I think most distance runners have to be a little whacked. I mean seriously, who does that?
This year my one and only goal, well, okay, I have more than one. I have two important goals: Run the Marine Corps Marathon and finish, and finish writing my current novel-in-progress. Both are extremely important to me. I dread that without completing one I won’t complete the other.

Both goals have wormed their way into my heart and mean something very important and special to me. The book because it took a turn almost at the beginning and went in a direction I never expected and I don’t believe it’s coming back. Not that that is a bad thing. It’s just different and exciting and nerve-racking. But, I am determined to sit back and enjoy the ride as my characters drive me to the end.
The Marine Corps marathon is almost more plaguing. Not because I don’t think I can run or even walk 26.2 miles, but because there is a time limit on hitting two points in the race. I have to be at mile 17.5 within four hours and 20 mile marker in 5 hours. On a good day I can run a half marathon in three hours, a bad day in three hours and fifteen minutes. That leaves only 45 minutes to go another 4.5 miles to hit mile 17.5. Ugh!

See! Tell me that did not just scare the bejeezes out of you.
Oh, I have my good days. Those are the days where I finish a race in under an expected time and am ecstatic and I think, “Hey! I’m improving.” The other days the time is not as good as I hoped. It’s still consistent, but not what I want.

I guess it’s the same way in writing. Some days I can sit down and the story just flows and I end up with several thousand words or a couple of chapters. Other days I’m lucky if I can even correct a sentence or remember what color eyes my heroine has. (That’s actually true. I swear they change with my mood.)
Last weekend I ran a 5-mile race in one hour. That’s a minute per mile improvement from last year. Woohoo! Yea me!

Then I question why I can’t keep up that pace. Yeah, I know, practice and train. Practice and train.
I am!

But do you know how unexciting it is to go out and run on the streets for ten miles? Just me, my MP3 player, and hydration belt. It’s kind of like when you read or write a book but have no clue who your characters are so you write about stick figures.
Somehow though, the writer in me is able to picture those characters and bring them to life, make them real with personalities that make you want to learn more about them.

How do I make my running come to life?
So far, the only way I have found is the races. Ahh! All that energy, the music, the announcer, the runners and spectators. It’s like instant rush! How do I bring that to my training runs so it doesn’t feel like such a chore? Oh, to go run three miles is no biggie. I actually enjoy that. It’s short and sweet and kind of like a nice stretch at the end of the day.

Somehow I need to put character into my long runs and fall in love with them just like I do my heroes and heroines. Somehow I need to breathe life into a ten or seventeen mile run.
Writing and running really do have much in common. They both take hard work, dedication, and heart. They both require me to fall in love with something that is challenging, that may be out of my comfort zone and to not fret about the small setbacks or the character deciding to go left when you meant to go right.

With both running and writing I will have Nervous Nellie moments and Doubting Denise skepticism, but it’s the writer in me, the person who knows not to give up that will make me hit that 17.5-mile marker in 4 hours, I say with great hope and a roller coaster in my belly.
Or to quote Buddha: "The mind is everything. What you think, you become."
If that's true then this year I become a marathoner and an author of seven books!

Friday, June 7, 2013

What you reading Wednesday

Wow! Time flies when you're having fun or working too much. I completely flaked on this week's What you reading Wednesday post so here it is...on Friday.

What are you reading this week? Anything you love? Something you can't put down?

Me, I'm reading via audiobook on my morning and evening commute Total Control by David Baldcci. I absolutely love David's mysteries.

Book blurb:
Sidney Archer thought she had the perfect life: a loving husband, an adorable baby daughter, and a great career as a senior partner in a major Washington law firm. But when her husband is killed in a plane crash, her whole world begins to disintegrate. The FBI believes her husband is responsible for the bombing -- and that he may still be alive!

Since I like variety, on my Kindle I am enjoying Silver Angel by Johanna Lindsey.

Book blurb:
Abducted and sold into slavery, Chantelle Burke has been brought to the palace of the mighty Pasha. Vowing never to bow to this ruthless master's will, the young Englishwoman weakens within the silken splendor of his chambers, and after on glance into his piercing emerald eyes.

The stunningly handsome Pasha is a powerful, muscular figure yet he caresses the lovely addition to his harem with a fond tenderness that only succeeds in driving her wild. But beneath his exotic eastern garb, the cryptic Pasha shrouds his true identity -- one that he finds difficult to conceal when he wants so much to surrender his hearty and soul to the irresistible Chantelle.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Why I run

The other day I was out when someone asked me, "Why do you run?"

You know, I had to think about it. I had to think about it because it's just something I enjoy. Something that puts a smile on my face. Of course it also makes me sweat and cringe but it's the smile at the end that make me go back for more.

I am by no means a fantastic runner. I don't have the svelt and sleek body of a runner. What I do have is heart.

Running is in my heart and it makes me happy. There's something about going outside and putting one foot in front of the other and challenging myself. When I return home I have a smile on my face because I accomplished something. It doesn't matter that it was a training run or a race, or even my worst race on the hottest day. I went out and did something and finished.

It's the time I get to spend with myself that allows me to clear my head. I listen to music and forget about the work day or the day's frustrations.

If I'm in a race, I'm not in a race against the other runners, I'm in the race against myself. Can I take the monster hill that I know is ahead of me? Can I beat my best time and set a personal record?

Running is time for me. Even if there are five thousand other runners around me, I'm still there by myself.

It's a sport that is physically challenging and even more so mentally challenging. When the legs and lungs give out, it's the heart that keeps me going. The heart to trudge through the pain and exhaustion and push myself to that next burst of energy. The heart to say, "I'm going to do this," and make it to the finish line.

I've only been running for about 2 years and each year I challenge myself more. Last year I wanted to run a half marathon. I had barely trained when I did my first one in February and I admit I was not ready as my body will atest since it took me six weeks to recuperate. But you know what? I did it. By the time I got to that last mile I was smiling and gritting my teeth, but it's the grin that won out. When I got to the last quarter mile with my butt hanging and my feet crying, another runner came up beside me and said, "Come on, you've got this. Let's run the rest of the way." Inside, I thought the woman was nuts and I cringed, but for some unknown reason my heart took over and got my feet moving. I did it! I finished and under the time I wanted. Good for me. Good for anyone who finished!

Oh, it wasn't a pretty run, but you know what I can say, "I did it." And when I did the next half marathon, after having trained a little more, I did better. With each race I improve. It may be by only a second or it may be by ten minutes, but either way it's great. Because I got on that road, that dirt trail, or that monster hill and I finished.

This year, I am still running and still improving. Last weekend was the first time I actually ran the entire 5K. That was a ginormous feat for me. Since I started this new adventure of running I have only been able to run/walk so to be able to run the entire time was not only a huge day for me, it was that fact that I did it on a trail run, which I have never done before. It was the fact that I did it for a race that benefitted the Wounded Warrior Project that made it sweet success.

It's my heart that makes me a runner. Not my legs. It's the determination that my heart gives me to find a challenge and go after it. And to finish it.

This year, my big challenge is to complete the Marine Corps Marathon. I can honsetly say that I am scared witless. Not because I don't think I can finish 26.2 miles (Yikes!), because all I have to do is tell myself I'm going to finish and I will. Nope, I'm scared because I have to be at mile 20 by a certain time or the Marines pick you up, put you in a van and move you ahead in the race and then drop you back off to finish. That is NOT what I want to happen. I want to hit mile 20 on my own and on time.

Mile 20 is my challenge. Twenty miles in four hours and thirty minutes. I've got to maintain about a 13 minute per mile pace. Right now in my half marathons, I am at about a 14 minute pace. I have to improve by a minute a mile. Can I do it?

I guess time will tell, but if heart and determination have any influence in it then I say the answer is YES.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What you reading Wednesday

It's that time again. Time to share what you are reading.


This week in my work commute I am listening to David Baldacci's novel, Total Control. While I love David's books, I am not thrilled with the reader on this audiobook. The story is, however good. I would expect nothing less of David Baldacci.

Book blurb:
Sidney Archer thought she had the perfect life: a loving husband, an adorable baby daughter, and a great career as a senior partner in a major Washington law firm. But when her husband is killed in a plane crash, her whole world begins to disintegrate. The FBI believes her husband is responsible for the bombing -- and that he may still be alive!
At home I am reading  a book by Johanna Lindsey. The first in a series titled Fires of Winter. I appear to be in the mood for historical romances lately.
Book blurb:
Lovely and dauntless, abducted by invaders from across an icy sea, Lady Breena vowed vengeance swearing no Viking brute would be her master no barbarian would enslave her noble Celtic heart, but then came Garrick Haardrad, the proud and powerful son of a ruthless Viking chieftain. 
What are you all readung?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Characters who refuse to leave you alone

On Monday I was trying to do a little writing in my latest novel when this darn character kept popping into my head, waving his hands in the air, and saying, "Me! Me! Talk about me!"

You think I'm kidding? You think that the imaginary characters are stick figures with no personality?

I got news for you. Characters are real! They may not be flesh and blood, but they do come to life. Many times on their very own.

In this case, a character by the name of Caleb Jones kept nagging me. He has this wry smile, twinkling sapphire eyes, and a body that just won't quit. He knows he's sexy, he loves to keep secrets, and he loves a woman by the name of Alexandria (Alex for short). Caleb wears faded blue jeans and a black T-shirt and wears them well.

Check out what I ended up writing instead of working on my WIP. I'm thinking I really like Caleb! But he needs to wait his turn.

Alex nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of a loud, persistent rap on her door.
“Hold on, Garth. Someone is at the door.”

With the phone pressed to her ear, Alex moved toward the insistent and now irritating sound. She twisted the knob and jerked the door open. The hand that held the phone dropped to her side. Her heart jumped into her throat and she blinked rapidly in utter amazement.
“What the hell are you doing here?”

The grin the spread across Caleb Jones’ too handsome face heated the old fury that she thought she had buried. Her jaw tightened and her gaze narrowed. She imagined daggers shooting out of her amethyst-colored eyes and landing in his heart. Oh, wait, Caleb didn’t have a heart.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?”

She instinctively took a step forward, blocking his way into her home. Invite him in? Her brows furrowed and she rubbed her hand across her forehead to smooth away the lines of frustration and irritation.
The sound of a yelling voice penetrated her mind. Without taking her eyes off Caleb’s blue gaze, she pressed the phone to her ear and spoke. “I got to go, Garth. I’ll talk with you later.” Alex shut the flip phone and cut off Garth’s response. She made a mental note to call him back later and apologize. After she got rid of the nuisance that stood on her front porch fouling her crisp, clean, country air.

Planting her fists on her hips, Alex took in the man who had once been her lover. He looked as rakish as ever, standing there in his faded and well-worn blue jeans and black T-shirt pulled tight across a broad and muscular chest. Quit staring at his chest!
She pulled her gaze upwards. His sapphire eyes glittered with heat. The slight upturn at the corner of his lips indicated his sardonic grin. It was as if he had a secret and wouldn’t share until he was ready.  Well, he could keep his secrets. She no longer cared what they were. He could take his secrets and shove them…

“Are you going to let me in? Your neighbors will start to wonder.”
She lived in a rural area where the nearest neighbor was a half mile away. “No.” She crossed her arms over her breasts. “What do you want?”

Caleb took a step forward entering her personal space and bent so his eyes were level with hers. His blue gaze narrowed and she would have sworn she felt heat burn her. Alex sucked in a breath and thought to take a step in retreat when her spine stiffened with stubbornness. This was her house. I’ll be damned if I let him intimidate me. Holding her breath, she held her ground and asked her question again, enunciating each word. “What—do—you—want?”
He smiled and his eyes lit with something devious yet sensual. Alex swallowed. Her heart hammered inside her chest. She wanted to close her eyes, but she found she couldn’t. She was caught in his spell.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Honoring Memorial Day

Yesterday I ran the Wounded Warrior 5K in support of the Wounded Warrior project. It was not only a great run for an extremely good cause, but it was a day to smile at the amount of support that was displayed for our service men and women.

While at the race I saw a couple of people who wore T-shirts that had the saying "All gave some, Some gave all."

Today, Memorial Day, we honor those who gave all. Those men and women who lost their lives while protecting our freedoms. Some people will honor fallen soldiers by placing flowers or flags on graves. Some will join family and friends for a BBQ and raise a toast for a loved one lost in a battle.

However you choose to remember those men and women who gave their all, it doesn't matter, as long as your remember them. Remember an uncle, a father, a lover, a friend who chose to stand that wall and fight that fight for you, for us. They put their lives on the line so that today you could spend with family and friends however you choose. That freedom of choice is what our service men and women fight and sometimes die for.

Even if you don't visit a gravesite or raise a glass in a toast, please take a minute to remember someone, anyone who may have touched your life and lost theirs, because whether you knew it or not, he or she thought you and our way of life was worth fighting for and protecting.

While today is about our fallen, but not forgotten soldiers, please, if you see a Veteran or a soldier take a moment to just say, "Thank you for your service." Because of them you are here, safe and sound to enjoy that BBQ, that sunshine, and your family and friends.

I want to give a shout of thanks to men who I know who were/are soldiers. Thank you, Thomas Robbins, Dave Cacciotti, Brendan Daley, Duane Augustson, my grandpa Cohoon (who passed away when I was young) and I'm too far away to stop by and say hello. I know there are many more that I should say thank you to, but these are just a few who are near and dear and thankfully still a part of my life.

To the men and women who lost their lives while fighting for us, I want to say, "Thank you and know that I and many more honor you today and the sacrifice you made."

Hugs and love to all those that have lost a soldier to war. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What you reading Wednesday

It's a dreary, rainy Wednesday here in New Hampshire. The perfect day for curling up with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of wine and reading a book. Let the story take you away from the dreary to the delirious.

What are you reading?

I finished reading The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick last week so I decided that I should read the first book in the series called Crystal Gardens. Looking forward to reading the next book.

Book blurb: Evangeline Ames has rented a country cottage far from the London streets where she was recently attacked. Fascinated by the paranormal energy of nearby Crystal Gardens, she finds pleasure in sneaking past the wall to explore the grounds. And when her life is threatened again, she instinctively goes to the gardens for safety.

Lucas Sebastian has never been one to ignore a lady in danger, even if she is trespassing on his property. Quickly disposing of her would-be assassin, he insists they keep the matter private. There are rumors enough already, about treasure buried under his garden and occult botanical experiments performed by his uncle—who died of mysterious causes. With Evangeline’s skill for detection, and Lucas’s sense of the criminal mind, they soon discover that they have a common enemy. And as the energy emanating from Crystal Gardens intensifies, they realize that to survive they must unearth what has been buried for too long.

On my daily commute, I finished listening to Silken Prey by John Sandford and have switched gears from mystery to a romance.
This week, I am listening to Let Love Find You by Johanna Lindsey. I'm a sucker for a good historical romance.

Book blurb:
London society has its very own Cupid. Renowned horse breeder and occasional matchmaker Devin Baldwin pairs eligible young ladies with suitable gentlemen based on his theory of animal magnetism. Unafraid of ruffling the ton’s feathers, this darkly handsome Cupid doles out tips for bettering one’s chances of meeting a mate that are as pointed as the love legend’s sharpest arrows!

Lovely Amanda Locke, the daughter of a duke, is everything a nobleman could desire, yet she enters her third Season still searching for a match. Gossipmongers’ tongues are wagging, and her mystified family is considering drastic measures to find her a husband. But the insufferable advice of this Cupid fellow is the last thing Amanda wants.

When an earl passionate about horses becomes the target of her husband hunt, Amanda knows it’s time to overcome her fear of riding. With her sister-in-law Ophelia hastening the romance along by arranging riding lessons, Amanda is soon taking instruction from infuriating Devin Baldwin. Astonishingly, in her daily encounters with Devin—who treats her as an ordinary young woman, not a prize to be won at the marriage mart—Amanda experiences passion for the first time. Now, her search for a match takes her in an unexpected direction as she finds herself falling in love with Cupid himself.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wondering what you're reading Wednesday?

It's Wednesday and I'm wondering what you are reading? Share with us the title, the author, and what you like about the book. Are you reading the book via paperback, hardback, Kindle, Nook, or maybe an audiobook.

I'm reading The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick on my Kindle.

Here's the book blurb:
Under the plain gray skirts of Miss Beatrice Lockwood’s gown, a pistol waits at the ready. For Beatrice is a paid companion on a secret mission—and with a secret past—and she must be prepared to fight for her life at any moment.
Yet she is thrown oddly off guard by the fierce-looking man who joins her in foiling a crime outside a fancy ball—and then disappears into the shadows, leaving only his card. His name is Joshua Gage, and he claims to know Beatrice’s employers. Beyond that, he is an enigma with a hypnotically calm voice and an ebony-and-steel cane. . .
Joshua, who carries out clandestine investigations for the Crown, is equally intrigued. He has a personal interest in Miss Lockwood, a suspected thief and murderer, not to mention a fraudster who claims to have psychical powers. The quest to discover her whereabouts has pulled him away from his mournful impulses to hurl himself into the sea—and engaged his curiosity about the real Beatrice Lockwood, whose spirit, he suspects, is not as delicate as her face and figure.
He does know one thing, though: This flame-haired beauty was present the night Roland Fleming died at the Academy of the Occult. Guilty or not, she is his guide to a trail of blood and blackmail, mesmerism and madness—a path that will lead both of them into the clutches of a killer who calls himself the Bone Man. . . .
I'm also listening to John Sandford's latest novel, Silken Prey. I love the Minnesota based stories! I've read every one of them.

Here's the book blurb:

Murder, scandal, political espionage, and an extremely dangerous woman. Lucas Davenport’s going to be lucky to get out of this one alive.
Very early one morning, a Minnesota political fixer answers his doorbell. The next thing he knows, he’s waking up on the floor of a moving car, lying on a plastic sheet, his body wet with blood. When the car stops, a voice says, “Hey, I think he’s breathing,” and another voice says, “Yeah? Give me the bat.” And that’s the last thing he knows.

Davenport is investigating another case when the trail leads to the man’s disappearance, then—very troublingly—to the Minneapolis police department, then—most troublingly of all—to a woman who could give Machiavelli lessons. She has very definite ideas about the way the world should work, and the money, ruthlessness, and sheer will to make it happen.

No matter who gets in the way.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Phishing for a Book Review Giveaway

Every spring I try to do a book giveaway and it's that time again. I've been trying to think of a way to combine my love of writing, running, and hats into one blog and this is it!

Want a free book? Want a free hat? Want to support the Boston Be Strong One Fund for the people affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon tragedy. Want to support an author? How about all of the above?

And it's so easy!

All you have to do is write a book review. Well, okay, maybe you actually have to read one of my books and then write the review. But it's that simple.

Read my latest novel, PHISH NET STALKINGS and write a book review. Then post that book review at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. Increase your chances of winning by writing more than one review. Write a review for several of my books. Read other novels written by me (IT HAPPENS IN THREES, KILLER BUNNY HILL, CONNECT THE DOTS, NEVER TEMPT DANGER)  and write a review.

Place a comment below and include the link to the review(s) and your email address so I may contact the winner.

A winner will be chosen at random and will receive a copy of one of my books and the B STRONG hat you see above. The proceeds from the hat, which I've already purchased goes to the ONE FUND in support of those hit by the Boston Marathon tragedy.

The winner will be announced Memorial Day, May 27!

There may be even more than one winner [WINK].

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy May Day!

Whatever happened to May baskets on May Day?

When I was a kid, we would make little baskets and fill them with candy and flowers. Then we would run around the neighborhood, place a basket on someone's doorstep, ring the bell and run.

The idea was to not let the person you left the basket for catch you, otherwise they got to kiss you.

Hmm...back then that seemed icky. Now? I guess that depends on whose door I was a knocking.

I miss little things like this. It's the simpler things in life that make us and people around us happy, so why do traditions like this disappear?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dewey Read-a-thon Wrap up

I made it thru another 24-hour Dewey Read-a-thon. Yea!! It's always fun to pick out books to read and share with other folks and even more fun to meet new readers, book bloggers, and hosts of the event.

This is an event that I do every year. I highly recommend it!

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

The most daunting hour was at about hour 14. I had to get up, get some caffeine, eat some peanut butter, and walk outside to keep me going. But it worked!

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

For me, what works the best is to read books under 300 pages. They are long enough to suck you in to the story, but short enough to keep you awake and move on to the next one.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Honestly, I cannot think of a thing that would improve the read-a-thon.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

The Twitter hashtag #readathon was tremendous! A terrific way to meet other participants and to keep up with the mini-challenges, etc. Love the cheerleaders!

5. How many books did you read?

This time I read 6 books. After the first two long reads I had to switch it up and grab a couple of short reads.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

'Til Death by Sharon Sala
Let the Dead Sleep by Heather Graham
Dark Fire by Elizabeth Lowell
Fever by Elizabeth Lowell
Sweet Wind, Wild Wind by Elizabeth Lowell
Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

I liked them all, but I am always partial to Sharon Sala so I loved 'Til Death.

8. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

Are you kidding? I look forward to this event twice a year. I will be there in October...as long as it's not the same weekend as the Marine Corps Marathon. Please don't let it be the last weekend in October. :-)

The end is near

The end of the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-thon is near. Way to go!!

How'd you do? Did you stay awake? What snacks or exercises helped you do it?

My last book for this read-a-thon is Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell.

Here is a little about the book:

On the surface Shaye Townsend has little in common with Tanner. He's a hard-edged big city cop come home to the historic Davis family ranch to settle his uncle's estate. She's working for an environmental conservancy that acquires and protects old ranches—and she wants to preserve the Davis homestead.

When the suspicious death of Tanner's uncle at his ranch throws the two opposites together, tempers flare and sparks fly. While they have trouble seeing eye to eye, Shaye and Tanner agree on one thing: They need to uncover the truth.

Combining their unique skills—Shaye's low-key approach and local connections and Tanner's experience as a homicide detective—the unlikely pair share long nights in the pursuit of justice. Before they know it, the friction they generate turns to heat, igniting a love neither ever expected to find.

They believe passion this intense cannot last. But when Shaye becomes a killer's target, Tanner realizes he'd give up anything to protect her—including his life.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Halfway point of Dewey Read-a-thon

I've made it twelve hours into the Dewey 24-hour read-a-thon and I'm still kicking. However, I have to change up the pace. I need a couple of quicker reads. I'm going to read a couple of shorter books, something around 200 pages.

How goes it with all you other readers? Have you caught some cat naps? Got those healthy or unhealthy snacks and loads of caffeine to keep you motivated?

Say hi and thanks to the cheerleaders!

My next books will be a couple of older books written by Elizabeth Lowell.

Here's a little about the Fever:

Lisa Johansen had been raised around the world in the most primitive cultures her anthropologist-parents could reach. Finally they sent her back to the United States to find a husband. But Lisa wanted something more…

Ryan McCall had been raised with the best his wealthy father could provide. Now his father impatiently awaited the arrival of grandchildren. But Rye wasn’t interested in any of the well-trained beauties his father kept sending. Rye wanted something more…

In McCall’s meadow, both of them find the fever that burns through flesh all the way to the soul. But can that fever survive the civilization beyond the meadow’s timeless beauty?

Next up is Dark Fire. Here's a liitle about the book:

Cindy McCall wanted only one thing—to be loved for herself rather than for Big Eddy McCall’s fortune.

Trace Rawlings never knew his father or his mother, but he had made a home for himself in the beautiful, treacherous cloud forests of Ecuador.

When Trace accepts a job guiding Cindy McCall safely through the wild forests, he believes he is being paid only for his local knowledge. Cindy believes she has hired Trace for his skill. Both are wrong.

When Big Eddy’s deception is revealed, Trace and Cindy have to fight to hold on to what they found deep in the cloud forest--the dark fire of love.

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