I’m an AUTHOR sorta…

Well it appears it’s been over 3 weeks since I posted and the last thing I posted wasn’t a true “entry”, so I do owe updates. Where have I been in November? I actually have a legitimate excuse! One I’m proud of instead of grasping at straws. I wrote a book. No, really I did! Readers who have been around a few years know I have participated in a round or two of National Blog Posting Month NaBloPoMo and highly enjoyed it each time. Over the years I’ve also heard of the other version which is a National Novel Writing Month NaNoWriMo and always assumed it was a sister site to the first one. This year I learned it was the first and NaBloPoMo spawned from its success.

Late October I was talking with one of my new coworkers and the topic of book writing came up. He said how important it is to write as often as possible. I mentioned how I blogged, but was thinking about quitting. He has never read my blog and even after I briefly told him what it was and the direction I saw myself going he insisted I not give up. At the bloggers dinner about a week before the same theme came up with a few attendees. It didn’t matter how infrequently I wrote or how many things I didn’t DO outside of writing, if I still loved it (and I DO) then I shouldn’t quit. At work my friend mentioned how we should start a writer’s club and get together every so often to cut time out specifically for writing. In the back of my mind the old NaBloPoMo info popped up and I seemed to recall it being either October or November when the event happened. I mentioned this to him and checked over the weekend. Ta-Da! It was starting that Sunday!


He ended up not getting his computer fixed in time, but was a great motivator in the process. Dave was also a sweetheart letting me read him passages, bouncing story lines off him in the car, or not missing me too much when I stayed late to work on it or disappeared into my own world when at home. As each new collection of 1,000 words settled into the saved document my feelings grew and grew.

It started off as an easy exercise in getting my feeling out about a lot of changes and stressors in my life lately. The book was aimed to be first person with one main character. As I wrote I started to create other people and their back stories. I decided if I were to ever go all the way with it, people would prefer a fun “chick lit” book, and I didn’t take myself seriously enough as a writer to aim for any other genre. When I had about half the book finished I couldn’t imagine going any further with the story lines. Oh and when I say “half the book” I mean about 20,000 words. For the monthly challenge you try to write at least 50,000 words. You upload to a reader on the page any time after the 20th and if it’s all there you “win”. Winning means you get to claim fame to writing 50K words and can buy some fun merchandise. The main site is a non-profit trying to help with reading and writing all over the country.

Our Nonprofit

National Novel Writing Month is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (formerly known as the Office of Letters and Light) that believes your story matters.

Through all our programs, we work to empower and encourage writing and vibrant creativity around the world:

  • The Young Writers Program promotes writing fluency, creative education, and the sheer joy of novel-writing in K-12 classrooms. We provide free classroom kits, writing workbooks, Common Core-aligned curricula, and virtual class management tools to more than 2,000 educators from Dubai to Boston.
  • The Come Write In program provides free resources to libraries, community centers, and local bookstores to build writing havens in your neighborhood.
  • Camp NaNoWriMo is a virtual writing retreat, designed to provide the community, resources, and tools needed to complete any writing project, novel or not.

Side bar. The site also has message boards and local message sites to reach out to others doing the challenge. I made it to one write in (local coffee shop gathering) and it was a completely surreal experience. I’ve never sat in a coffee shop before with a laptop and sipped coffee while writing with others around me doing the same thing. I felt so official, but I was always afraid I’d also feel too old. Although I did see a little older than some of the crowd, this particular gathering happened at a coffee shop near my job so I was comfortable being there already.

OK back to the book story. At this point in my writing I was starting to feel a little more confident and one again made a switch in tone. I re-wrote some sections and turned it into a 3rd person book with three main characters.  Here is the summary I put on the main site:


With this Ring follows three women and their year of self discovery through chance and choice.

Laura is a woman with an opinion and she’s never too shy to share. On the same night she takes her new boyfriend Shane to a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, that same friend announces her engagement and asks Laura to be in the wedding. Will all the exposure to “Happily Ever After” help or harm the new relationship?

Grace is Laura’s best friend. The youngest of four girls, instead of following tradition and marring young, Grace followed Laura to college and a career. Happy as a follower her whole life, it comes as a shock when Grace embarks on a new journey. Will she find herself far away from her comfort zone, or finally inside it?

Courtney decided early in life  happiness is a choice. She chooses every day to be happy with warm colors, kind words and a constant smile. Of course nothing makes that easier than being engaged to her best friend. When the big day arrives will Courtney get everything she’s dreamed of, or will life hand her another choice?


When MY happy day came of hitting over 50K I felt an enormous sense of relief. I knew the book was a complete rough draft, but I have never accomplished anything like it in my life. I’ve always wanted to write a book and have had so many idea, the weird thing is this book was none of those previous ideas. Somehow starting something new was safer. If I failed with something new I could always recall it as a valiant first effort. If I failed with one of my previous novel ideas, it might have devastated me to the point of never trying again. Hey I never claimed to NOT being dramatic.

I started to read up on how to shop for an editor if there was agents who would accept proposals from the author directly instead of an editor or whatever. If self-publishing would be better than all the hoops of traditional press. The most important thing I learned so far is this….I have a lot more writing to do. For women’s literature I should have a book around 80-90K words. Yikes. One complaint I have about some of my women’s literature books (Love you Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty) is the size of the novels. I’m a total “get the point” reader and hate anything that feels like filler. When I wrote my book I took out the filler. Now if I self-publish I know I have an audience for that style of writing. However, what I learned looking back on all the book clubs I’ve attended this year is that audience isn’t as large as the one who wants the filler. If I desire traditional publishing I need to play by popularity rules.

My next step is to figure out how to expand. I’m leaning toward making one of the characters the “main” character and adding more scenes with her, maybe changing her to the first person and leaving the other two as third person and ways to show subplots. The story takes place over a year, but I touch on maybe six months of that for all three ladies. I could expand the main character for the other six months. Plus each chapter could be expanded as well. I’d rather have extra material to send an editor and have room for cutting than to send bare minimum and have to scramble for more words a third or fourth time. Although I am prepared to do that if needed. My greatest fear is the book will be edited to the point it’s no longer my original story, but some pass produced shell of a dream. If that happens I more than likely will back out and do self publish.

Oh and yes I understand I have BIG dreams here of even catching the attention of anything official to begin with and need to calm down, but hey I’m excited and proud at the moment.

At any rate. That’s where I have been the last month. Writing a book and figuring out what to do next. Dave and I have a fitness game plan and I will share it soon. Yes, sooner than the end of next month.

Happy November all. Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate. I’m thankful for everything I have and everything I want. Friends, family, health, a great job, a beautiful home, love, and all of you. Have a safe weekend.


Do You Get What You Pay for with Running Shoes?

About a month ago Jens Jakob Andersen and the founder of RunRepeat.com (TripAdvisor for running shoes) reached out to me about a very interesting shoe study. Apparently expensive shoes aren’t better than less costly versions? Hmm. After years of running and loving one brand and then the next (not because I’m one of those unloyal chicks…but more because shoe companies can’t stop changing things), I’ve realized I am of no authority to tell anyone what shoes to buy. However, I don’t mind passing along studies or discussions to others. Plus, as we enter November and the pending “Black Friday” specials, followed by Christmas or other holiday gift giving, this could be useful to consider.

All results are available here: http://runrepeat.com/expensive-running-shoes-are-not-better-than-more-affordable-running-shoes-study

Conclusions from 134,867 reviews of 391 running shoes from 24 brands include:

  1. The higher the list price of a running shoe, the lower the rating.
  2. Best rated brands are: #1 Skechers, #2 Saucony and #3 Vibram FiveFingers and the worst were #22 Hoka One One, #23 Reebok and #24 Adidas.
  3. The 10 most expensive running shoes (avg. list price: $181) is rated 8.1% worse rated than the 10 most affordable running shoes (avg. list price: $61). Same for top/bottom 30.
  4. Running shoes from running specialist brands are rated 2.8% higher than running shoes from broad sports brands (Nike, Adidas etc.).
  5. The three most affordable brands are #1 Skechers, #2 Vivobarefoot and #3 Puma, while the three most expensive brands are #22 On, #23 Newton and #24 Hoka One One.


All information is based on reviews from the site itself, which may create a bias. Also human nature 101, people do tend to go out of their way to share experiences outside of the norm. No I don’t have a link for this so just follow the possibility. If someone were to get an expensive pair of shoes and they don’t work…we all hear about, right? How upset they were to spend the money. If someone were to get a “cheap” pair of shoes and they’re wonderful it’s all they talk about, again right? How amazing the shoes are and how lucky the person is to score such a great deal?

Still, the study itself has a lot of interesting information…more than I could ever summarize here or copy and paste graphics. If anything I hope it gives people the confidence to try that less expensive shoe. Perhaps if the market gets filled with more reasonably prices products it will force the top brands to lower their asking price. At any rate, a runner can dream.


Race Report : The Great Pumpkin Run

How many race reports do I start with “last weekend” or “last Saturday” I don’t know why, but that phrase seemed way too familiar.

A while back I had this crazy vision. I was running through a corn maze, I was out of breath and could hear voices all around, but I couldn’t see anyone. With each step I became more certain the end was in sight and I wasn’t about to let go of my precious cargo.

At least I imagined the though pumpkin option would be almost this level of fun and crazy when I agreed to sign up for the Great Pumpkin Run in Akron. It’s a 5K and I figured I was up for it, and hoped I’d lose weight before it happened. We all know how well that’s going. (Rolls eyes). So this is a rather picture free post, because I refuse to be in more pictures than absolutely needed.


Although I knew a TON of people going, only 4 ended up on our “team”. Myself, my sister, my friend Liz and her friend. We met at Liz’s house around 800 AM and drove the 30-ish minutes to Maize Valley Winery. The course was held at a local farm. We ran through a much picked over pumpkin patch (kinda flat, but muddy/grassy/bumpy. Then up and down the hills of a Christmas tree farm. Back down through the pumpkin patch again and into a corn maze. Well it wasn’t a “maze” when we ran since it was nicely blocked off. This part was just as creepy in the day as they are at night (because we were running I think). Those suckers are not easy to navigate. I have a new level of respect for those doing it in a horror movie.

I tried to jog a majority of the course, but I was wearing very much the wrong shoes and to this day I am limping because I majorly bruised my foot. Figures. Haha. I did a lot better than I thought I would, but still not good enough to keep up with my friends. It’s so weird to go from middle of the pack to way back of the pack in one running season.


After the race we were given small cups of cider and small pumpkins to take home. This is in addition to the pumpkin we ran with, and the two medals we all received as well. One medal for the race itself, one for doing the tough pumpkin option.  When I walked over to the table I wanted to pick a pumpkin for Dave, since I already had one. I didn’t think I was in the way or anything, just looking at the pumpkins and thinking of which one he would like.Trust me it wasn’t a mission to find the best one ever. One of the volunteers looked at me and said “None of them are perfect, just pick one!” I was about to hit her with my pumpkin…but that would be assault with a weapon I’m sure and no one has any time for felonies. I grabbed one and walked away giving her stink eye because TAKE THAT.

Now the tough pumpkin option….was not as “tough” as we feared. They advertised it as carrying a pumpkin with you the whole time you’re running. The pumpkin could be “up to 10 pounds” but no other details were given. My sister picked up everyone’s packets and pumpkins the night before in hopes of good picks. She said all the pumpkins were “small”. I BELIEVE our range include a 4.2 lb, 4.4 lb, 5.5 lb and 6.2 lb? Something very close. I ended up with the 4.2 lb, although I did want something heavier. Hey if I can’t run at least let me be proud of something I did out there!


We all crossed with our pumpkins in tact, and I can say it wasn’t heavy to carry it while walking/jogging/running, but it was awkward after a while. Especially when running since I’m so used to hands at my side and pumping motions. I didn’t even realize this until I couldn’t do it due to the lovely orange squash in my possession.

Overall it was a really fun event and I’d love to do it next year. I’d also love to be about 50 pounds lighter and not wear shoes that bruise my feet, but hey I’m honestly just glad to be out there and trying. Next up…a turkey trot in a few weeks! Gobble gobble.