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 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?

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