Wednesday, September 25, 2013

So You Think You Can Write part II

As I promised, I want you to meet Heidi Blankenship. She's a local mom of 3 boys, a blogger and an inspiring published author. Raised in Alaska and recently transplanted in the South, Heidi blogs about her family life and the journey of publishing her book.  You can learn more about Heidi at Heidi's currently writing a romance novel for Harlequin's "So You Think You Can Write "contest. I invite you to read her submission "Love Finds You in Tokyo" and make a comment. Writers need readers and their feedback.

I'm still piecing together my story "Love on the Run," but I'm going to need your help. My heroine has a best friend, but she doesn't have a name. Can you help me name her? Just leave a comment below with your idea for a name. I'll pick the winning name on Friday. Thanks for your help.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Romance about Running?

"So You Think You Can Write" is the name of Harlequin's writing contest. As the name implies, any work you submit will be critiqued, criticized and most likely rejected by trained editors and the general public. Tough audience? You bet. Writing a fiction book has always been a dream of mine, but to have it published by Harlequin the brand everyone associates with romance would be beyond my wildest dreams.

I have written for newspapers, newsletters, and blogs, but a book is a little different. It's an entire world that you create in your head and these characters well, they become real. Until you get the characters and conversations written, you find yourself standing in the refrigerator looking for milk, but instead wondering how your heroine is going to respond to the invitation the dark, mysterious man flirtatiously initiated. Fiction writing can be challenging especially when you begin writing a detailed scene, and your 2-year-old spills graham crackers all the over floor and begins jumping on them.

So, I've decided to throw my hat in the ring and enter the contest. I'll be placing my regular scheduled fitness post on hold this week while I bang out close to 5000 words, or chapter 1. Of course, it will be about love, a steamy romance, a hot guy, and running. A romance about running? It could work. Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your input.

Plus, I'll be highlighting local moms who are entering as well. Check back tomorrow for the link to read a submission.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Remember, Have Fun!

I don't know when it happens, but it does. You start running more than one race a year, you are all about your time and distance and personal records that you forget about why you started running in the first place. Don't get me wrong all those things are great and important, but if it overcomes you then you need a fun run. Running is a challenge for me, and participating in races motivates me in the day-in and day-out of exercise. I love competition almost too much. When I signed up for the Electric Run with a group of friends, I was all about breaking my personal record.

I ran the Electric Run last Friday. It was held at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh at 8 o'clock at night.  I ran with a friend. A good friend who might I add is 6 months pregnant. We ended up walking a lot with a little bit of jogging. I didn't break any personal records or win any medals, but I did have a lot of fun! The race was crazy. Runners were dressed up in brightly colored clothes, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, necklaces, hair pieces, socks. I even saw a guy with a stuffed bear on his head. Some groups were tailgating in the parking lot. A multiple array of age groups, women with light-up butterfly wings and of course the die-hard runners stretching and turning their Garmin's on. This time, I was swaying with the loud dance music and adjusting my pink glow-in-the-dark hair extension.

They sent us out in waves. We were in the 3rd wave and began with a light jog. We ran through light-up tunnels, through a building and literally in circles. There were photo-op stations along the course plus a forest of hanging umbrellas and colorful bubbles. It was like being in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. The forest opened into a large field, and we were running on gravel then up a hill, then back around the colorful hoops. I have to admit I was glad we walked; it was dark and the course was uneven. While my friend and I journeyed through the elaborate 5k maze, we talked, laughed and people watched. Some people went all out with their costumes.

It took us a little less than an hour to finish the race, but it didn't matter. We had fun. We got some exercise and that's what mattered. So, if you feel like running or any exercise for that matter is becoming more of a chore than fun. Switch it up and make it fun!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Hope You Dance!

"Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow." Our dance instructor had us tap out the first part of the Tango. I was thinking positive. I really wanted to try something new and ballroom dancing was just the thing. It was one of those LivingSocial deals only $25 for 5 lessons. My husband and I bought a voucher, and now we were standing in a large room with mirrors on the walls with hardwood floors throughout. I wore a black dress and black strappy heels. I was envisioning swirling around the room like they do on Dancing with the Stars, but in reality I have accepted that I have two left feet, and the latter will just take time and practice.

Tapping the steps in place quickly progressed to sliding back on our right heels then placing our arms around our partner (luckily my husband was there) and performing the moves together. My toes got stepped on a little bit while the steps got tangled in my head, but I kept pressing forward. I was determined to learn to Tango. We learned to promenade (turn) and corte ( a fancy leaning back move). My determination paid off; I went knowing I wasn't a pro, but persevered when it seemed hard. I'll practice this week, and learn more steps next week.

My dancing session reminded me of when I started running. I never ran before, but then I started the Couch to 5k program. I was 34-years-old when I began running. I ran my first 5k in 43 minutes, and today I ran it in 30 minutes.

After Labor Day weekend, I was having a mentally down day. You know "feeling fat", "lack of motivation" and especially bikini season was coming to an end. Wearing a bikini to the pool had been my goal for such a long time, but soon it will get cooler, and we'll be wearing jeans and sweaters. I needed a new goal and literally a kick in the butt. The dance lesson was just the push I needed, and then this morning when I ran a 5k in 30 minutes, my motivation sky rocketed.


I'm running the Electric Run tomorrow night with some girlfriends. I love races. They keep me motivated and give me such a feeling of accomplishment. This race is a little different. It's at night, you get to dress-up in glow-in-the-dark apparel and run. There's even an after-party at the finish line. I'm so excited to literally rock this race and set a new personal record.

Yes, there are times when you get down or feel nervous about trying something new, but don't quit. You'll feel wonderful when you finish, and you just might find something you love.