Thursday, December 10, 2015

End of NaNoWriMo 2015

The chaos has ended and we're now into December (okay, over a week now, pesky cold and work distracted me). How did writing go for you?

 This year was different for me. The result was similar to last year, in that I didn't make it to 50,000 words and I was okay with that because the overall writing was still a success for me. I also did something I hadn't done before during NaNoWriMo: I took a vacation. Actually, it was my longest vacation in years and the most time I had ever taken off from work. Between travel with long hours of driving, work and gym, that made for a busy November with less priority put on writing compared to other years.

Result = Just over 33,000 words on North West.

So, almost 17k below goal, but around the halfway point in the novel based on a general estimate of how many words the story might take. Not bad for one month, really. I tend to be slower with YA when it's not fantasy and this one is just a contemporary story with a bit of a boy/boy romance. It also hits on slightly tougher subjects than my usual so I'm okay with it taking more than a month to get the first draft done.

And that's also why I like NaNo. Even if you don't make 50,000 words and "win" that is okay. I am 33,000 words further in the story than I was at the end of October.

2015 is almost over, the year goes by so quick, so I will do an overview soon of the goals I made for the year before looking into 2016. Have lots of fitness and writing goals, along with plans for blogging more. Plus, maybe a little vlog action. Some decisions are being considered. We will have to see what happens. ;-)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Travel, Snacks and NaNoWriMo

We are in the middle of National Novel Writing Month. Just over 15 days have passed, many people should be at 25,000 words or more (I'm not) and there is still a couple of weeks left to get that writing done. However, coming up in the US is the Thanksgiving holiday, which can mean some challenges for certain writers. Me, I had those challenges but at the beginning of the month instead of the end and those are: travel, food and family. So, I'm going to talk about two of them.

This year I had to do something I had never done before during NaNoWriMo and it was at the beginning of the month, when I usually push and try to get to 50k then slow down to meander the rest of the novel however many words I end up writing. I had to travel as I took a vacation to see family and attend my stepsister's wedding. This meant, I was driving (most of it by myself) for over 20 hours each way. Then there were family get togethers and other stuff, which made writing not happen very much.

If you struggle to get 50k with a whole month of writing, I don't recommend a driving vacation unless you change the writing goal to something lower because it is going to affect your word count. I had travel then 6 days of work, some of which were longer than normal hours, so right now I'm almost to 10,000 words when I should have over 25,000. However, if I push on my days off, I can get caught up in just a few days because I have enough NaNoWriMo practice that I can produce a decent result even in that short time. No word count tricks or cheats here, just whatever the first draft of the story needs.

Aside from word count woes, travel can be a challenge when focusing on losing weight. In fact, it can be a challenge for maintaining as well, since there is fast food, sodium, and less control over certain options depending on the situation. Here are a few things that can help.

1. Prepare ahead of time and find healthier snack options
Since I was driving, I didn't want to stop too often on the long days and I was alone anyways, so I found having some food from grocery stores made it easier so I only had to stop for bathroom, gas or some more water/drinks. This was easier at the start of vacation, in particular. Convenient snacks turned out to be sugar snap peas and pre-sliced apples. I also found a bag of pre-sliced apples that included some grapes. Those were great in the morning and easy to consume while driving so I could remain safe and not distracted. I did have a little candy but kept it minimal and on the first days, I only ate out once because we don't have Taco Johns in Oregon so once I made it to Wyoming, I was having Taco Johns (mmm).

2. Decide on goals for travel
If you want to keep with a calorie deficit, you can do that while travel. Just make sure you track and remember that a little increase in weight can be from a number of things so don't panic too much over the numbers. For this trip, I needed a break after being on a deficit for around a year, so it was the perfect time to rest both from gym and lower calories. I ate mostly at maintenance, tracked some but not everything, and didn't stress at all during the wedding stuff because there were more important things besides how many calories I ate those two days. However, if I ever had to do a work travel or something during this time of year, I'd probably keep the deficit and just do what I could to be flexible, which is why I like the flexible dieting (or if it fits your macros) type more than being restrictive or "clean."

3. Relax and have fun
It's vacation, don't get too focused on the little issues like a day of eating over your calorie goal or how much sodium is in fast food tacos. If you don't travel all of the time, then it's okay to have a little time on occasion that is higher calorie or relaxed in fitness. Don't forget to enjoy life and have some fun.

As for NaNoWriMo writing: What to do when you get behind? Keep writing. You can make up for a lot of lost time if you have some days where you can focus on writing most of the day. However, even if you don't have that and you can't make it to 50k, that doesn't mean you should just give up and stop writing. Keep going and work on that novel. Whatever count you get by the end of the month will still be more than you had on October 31st. And you can write more in December or whenever you put the time in to work on the novel. While the challenge of getting 50k done in a month is fun, it isn't the end all be all. What matters is just that you write if you want to finish a novel first draft.

Keep writing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hero Up to Run Distance and Phoebe

Hi there. It has been a while and September is almost gone but I really wanted to get this post up before the month ended. I'm going to talk about jogging again because I've done a total of three 5k events so far and it's almost time for my 10k one (October 25th).

As a non-runner, the idea of paying money to run a course even when I can do it for free seemed odd at first. One of the runs in fact is in the area I do my long runs at every week. However, what makes the races great and the money worth spending is what those funds go to support. Every 5k this summer that I attended raised money for a cause or organization. The one this month, however, was my favorite and I already have plans for next year.

September 5th, I took part in Hero Up. It was a timed 5k and half marathon where participants got to dress up as super heroes in order to raise money to help fight against children's cancer. There was also a kid's run too. Even though I knew no one there, the whole atmosphere and event was awesome. From Hulk leading the event, many people dressed up like batman (most common outfit this year), all the way to the little baby superman, it was just a great few hours.

My costume for the one this year was based off a character that my sister recommended: Huntress from Bird's of Prey. I based my costume on a couple images I found on pinterest and google, much like this one:

I hope to take part in the Half Marathon next year. Never thought I would run that far but for a cause like this one, it's worth the effort. While running doesn't seem like it would do much, the funds they can raise and the awareness are what make it a good reason to run. Which, brings me to the next set of links and similar topic that could use some promotion.

A wonderful couple that I associate with on a regular basis online had the recent misfortune of their child being diagnosed with Leukemia. Phoebe is only 5 and has a tough road ahead of her but the writing community of have been showing their support for the family. Her story is public on Facebook.

Some links:

Hopefully next year, things will be looking better and the money raised by the different organizations help make a big difference in the fight against children's cancer, on personal and global levels. Expect a post next year and a different hero. Maybe even a picture of me as I will Hero Up for September and the fight against children's cancer.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Weight Goal Achieved

Yep, I made it to one of my goals and am dedicating a post to a little scale victory.

I don't know how many of the followers will remember, but back in May of 2013, I took part in a health blog hop and talked about weight goals. Link to Blog Post

That was over 2 years ago. My goal at the end of that post was to make it to 160, which was still obese for my height. However, it wasn't a final, that is the lowest I could ever attempt, type of goal, which I had to clarify in the comments. It was an interim goal since the lowest I had been as an adult was 179 and it was hard to picture lower.

I now weigh even less than that goal.

I reached 160 on April 18th. As I got closer to that weight, my goal changed to then make it to 150 because that marked the line at my height for overweight instead of obese.

On July 20th, I reached that goal too. In fact, I now am at 143 and still slowly losing weight. Have a ways to go in order to reach what is deemed a healthy weight for my height, but I can see it more now. When I weighed over 200 it was hard to imagine even weighing 150 let alone much less. As I make my way down this path, I see things a bit more now. I don't have a final goal range just yet, and I may even one day do a bulk (purposefully gain weight at a very very slow pace in order to gain muscle), but for now, things are going well. I will reach the year mark from when I decided to be more active in a couple of weeks and have lost over 65 lbs. Even better than that is the things I can do and the activities I want to try doing in the future.

I can jog 4 miles and hope to soon increase that number. I also can squat 160, deadlift over 180 and bench 100 (all in lbs for either 3 to 5 reps).

I still have many goals, which still includes novel writing, as it's not about the end but the journey it takes to get there.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dawn Does... a 5k

Yep, I jogged a 5k in June. In fact, I took part in Neon Glow for Pride up in Portland. Neon clothes, glow sticks and all kinds of rainbows were prominent for the evening jog, plus fun music playing to keep everyone energized.

Sorry, just my shoes. hehe I'm still on a no online posts rule for pictures of me but I am taking progress photos.

I had the neon shoes as those happen to be the running shoes I got from the store. Worked out well. I also had a neon yellow shirt I got on clearance and blue/yellow neon shorts. It ended up colder than I had quite expected, so I was glad that I had knee-hi socks on that evening.

Prior to the event, I spent months training using Couch to 5k. It is a great program for anyone who wants to start running. Before that I just did walking with short bits of running (for about a 3 minute song and worked up to a one interval middle of my walk on treadmill at 8 minutes). I did all of the C25k ones outside and still prefer to do my jogs out at the park or even around the neighborhood. I did find the program helped me to be able to jog a whole 30 minutes without stopping but that wasn't 5k for my short stride and slow speed. I had weeks before the event when I made it to the end, so I just kept the same schedule and increased my time each week. I ended up able to jog 40 minutes without stopping not long before my scheduled 5k, which worked out to be enough time for me.

In June, I jogged the whole 5k at the event, which was my goal. It wasn't timed so I don't know how long it took me but I wasn't near last and had fun cheering the others as they made it to the finish line.

I have 2 more 5k events coming up. One is a bubble/color run and the other is a hero run, so I'm needing to work on my costume for that. I'm also training for a 10k to help me get some distance and used to running as I'm still a beginner in order to get better at the 5k distance. I am signed up for a 10k at the end of October, which will be costume related and fun as well.

While I still prefer lifting compared to running, I'm enjoying the process and look forward to reaching more milestones in fitness.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Quick Update

Wow, I really haven't posted since the A to Z challenge back in April. Craziness.

April was quite the hectic month and I have to admit this year, the A to Z Challenge was more than I could handle. I did succeed in posting in both blogs every day, though a few of the posts were rather late in the day. However, I missed the mark on commenting and it was a struggle to keep up with those posts. I appreciated the people who did stop by on my blogs and the few who left me comments.

Since then things did get quite busy. One major change is that at the very beginning of June, I moved apartments. Moving in general is a hassle. There is all of the packing, handling everything for both and new places then the actual move, which me and my mom did alone. Fun times moving from a second floor apartment and driving a moving truck. Settling into new place has taken time too and I still have kitchen stuff in boxes cause not sure where to put it at this point s the new place comes with a roommate.

I'm going to try to get back into the swing of things with writing and the blogs now that I'm more settled down. I have still been going to the gym, jogging and eating somewhat healthy.

Upcoming posts:
my first 5k
weight update
summer novels

And hopefully more beyond that. I continue to write, working towards submitting TT, lift heavy weights and just keep pushing. Write on.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zeal

We made it. The end of the month and the alphabet. Woot!


Z is a tough one and I'm going to use similar words for both of my blogs. They do work well though and I think will be a good last post  for the challenge. For this one, we are going to talk about fiction and fitness in relation to...


Definition: great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.


In fiction we pick the story we work on and hopefully it is one that we have enthusiasm or zeal towards in order to have the drive to get the work down. Each draft takes pushing and effort. A little zeal towards the project helps, though one can't rely on just enthusiasm the whole time, but it certainly can help the process.

Characters can have zeal too, whether it's for the good or the bad. Conflict can be incorporated when two different great energies/passions go against each other. There is plenty of room for zeal in fiction.


I think it's also pretty common for people to have zeal when it comes to fitness. When posting on forums asking about how to force oneself to do a type of activity they hate because it's healthy, the most common answer is: don't. Find something that you will enjoy and try out different things because you never know. Something you didn't expect to enjoy might be a type of fitness that you have zeal towards in the future. And our goals can be something we need zeal towards in order to reach. So, get zealous and enjoy your fitness.

Do you have zeal?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Yet

Almost to the end but we aren't there quite yet. Will I be able to find a Z topic for both fiction and fitness? You will have to come back tomorrow to find out but also check out the other blogs to see who has survived the month over at the A to Z Challenge.

Y is for Yet

I picked this word after a few hours of trying to come up with a good topic that could work for both fiction and fitness for a reason. Often times we hear not to let the word "can't" get in our way. It even has become a slogan or saying to take the word "can't" out of our personal vocabulary. And while I get the sentiment, I actually do not agree. In fact, I get a little teen angsty and want to tell people to stop trying to limit my vocabulary. lol

To some degree, there are going to be things that we may not be able to do for varying reasons. That, however, is not my focus either because well, that doesn't start with a Y. Instead, I want to offer that sometimes instead of not using the word at all, instead that we add one to it.

I can't... yet.

It is usually something we may not be capable of at this time but that doesn't mean we can't work towards accomplishing it in the future. There are lots of things I can't do now but if I want to work towards them then can't will be come can.


I can't submit a novel... yet.

I can't write finish a world building project... yet.

I can't decide which novel to write for NaNoWriMo... yet.


I can't kayak... yet.

I can't coordinate a fist fight... yet.

I can't jog a 10k... yet.

What is something you can't do... yet?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xena

Yep, that's right. Time to find something to talk about that uses the letter X and somehow relates to both writing and fitness. Woot. Check out the other blogs in the A to Z challenge in order to see other X topics. Bet I'm not the only one who picked Xena this year.

Xena, Warrior Princess

Yep, that's the one. I did watch some of the show growing but though I have to admit that I didn't see very many and only had a passing interest overall. I know a few people who really liked the show though and the character in particular. Let's get into the two topics for today...


One of  the main elements I liked of the show was the story involved. There were some interesting episodes and the character dynamics were entertaining. It's a good example of fiction that included fantasy elements along with lots of action. I liked the friend characters a little more at times, Gabrielle, which oddly the same goes for Buffy as I saw a couple but thought the friend (Willow) was cute. hmm  Anyways, as for fiction writing we can learn a lot from this show and it has inspired some of my stories (along with the strong female YA books I read growing up).

While I write mostly m/m fiction, including YA. I have two fantasy novels that have a female main character. One of them is a raven warrior, or wants to be but girls don't get trained. That story is probably my nod to characters like Xena and Alanna.

Though I should try watching an episode some time to look at the action. That's something I want to work on in my own writing.


Xena had to be fit in order to do the many things she did in the show, and to wear the outfit. Fantasy does have strange fashion for female warriors as they seem to do battle well with minimal clothes at times.  Not the point. One can have inspirations for fitness that are fictional and for some, the thought of being a physically strong woman like Xena, is a good source of inspiration.

I want to learn some form of combat, preferably hand to hand though it would be interesting to get into some weapon handling. I don't know when I will do it, but maybe in the next year or two. Right now I'm working on getting strong in the gym and lifting those weights. Though, I probably won't be trying to follow the same fashion sense when I do. hehe

Have you ever seen Xena Warrior Princess? What fictional character gives you fitness inspiration?

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Week

Getting there. W is an interesting letter as it has more options than say Z but at times it's hard to get ones that fit certain themes. And no, I don't know what to do for X yet, lol. Check out all of the other blogs still posting as we near the end of the challenge here.


I chose week in part because how we view time is actually important in fiction writing. It's common to just think of the days, weeks and months the way we do in our own lives. However, if you write fantasy and science fiction, those concepts might not be the same. And even in the real world, not everyone has the same week. A lot of people work mon-fri and have the weekend off but there are those like me who work all weekend and have their days off at different times. So, how one labels their week varies and characters might have different views as well.

Sometimes, when writing a story, I do struggle with how to convey time going by without making it too obvious or overdone. There are some aspects of the reader will be able to catch on without putting up glaring signs, but other times, it's just part of the process. I have to go back and figure out how long certain parts take and how long the whole story takes overall because a story can span a day, a week or many years, it's all in how you tell it.


The fitness week is important because many programs recommend following a certain type of schedule. Lifting programs are often 3-6 days depending on the type of program though the more common ones I've seen are 3-4 days and the rest are light rest days where activity is okay. Even with running, the couch to 5k training and other distance programs have set days and weeks to follow.

My weeks have varied over the few months for a few reasons. My work week, how our schedule is set up is Thursday-Wednesday (yeah, it's weird). Most I know follow Monday-Sunday schedules so the do certain exercise splits and often have one or two days off on the weekend. I'm trying to be more consistent on my schedule. Right now, my fitness week is: Mon-Wed-Fri is C25k Training and Tues-Thurs-Sat is lifting. Sunday is rest. This was pretty good when my days off were Thursday and Friday as that gave me gym on one day and cardio on the other. But my days off during the week vary, so that isn't always the case.  But that is how my week looks at the moment for fitness. Who knows how that will change.

How was your week? Do you plan your fitness week the same as your work week, and what about your fiction week?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Victory

But not so much for doing blog posts beforehand like I had planned back in March. Nope, I have some other victory aspects in mind for the V day in the A to Z challenge.


There are different victories in writing fiction. Some are for the writer and others are found within the stories themselves as sometimes we let characters succeed/win. Just writing the story is a victory. I remember my first time making it to 50k for NaNoWriMo. That was quite the victory though now it can't even compete with the 155k and 165k years. Doing a rewrite or edit is also a victory. In fact, sometimes just working on the story for like 200 words can count as victory for the writer. It's all in how you look at success and progress.

Characters can have victories too and it doesn't just have to be at the end either. Much like how it is useful to increase the conflict and have it develop throughout the whole story instead of dropping just one major problem on the characters all at once near the very end, it's also useful to let there be varying amounts of success along the way. Giving the characters set backs and victories (no matter how big or small) help to move the story along and also give the reader hope of what may come in the end.


There are many different victories on the road to health and fitness. Some of them are measurable by scales or other devices. These are ones like weight, body fat percentage, and other measurements that people use to track success. I'm working on all of them as I've lost just over 50 lbs, inches have gone down and I hope to some day get a dexa scan for a more accurate body fat measurement. However, the number victories aren't the only ones to focus on in fitness.

Some of the victories I enjoy even more than seeing that device in the bathroom change numbers are types known as NSV (non-scale victories). In particular, I would call them: I can't believe I did it. These are things like: "wow, I jogged 22 whole minutes" and "I deadlifted 200 lbs for 4 reps, that is more than my own weight." There are many things we do that once might have been less possible when working on fitness. Each one is awesome and I can't wait to find more victories along the way.

Victory if mine! I mean, what was your most recent victory?

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Unique

I'm a bit late on this one and I had a hard time coming up with a U topic dealing with both writing and fitness for my contribution to the A to Z blog challenge.


What makes your story unique? What aspect about it will make the reader want to read more? There are many different factors and even a familiar story can take a different spin. How many Snow White or Cinderella stories are there? I've lost count and I'm sure there are even more. I'm working on a Snow White story even with a male main character. It's fun to play with the familiar and put some unique spins to it. Boy snow white character, boy servant love interest and both male and female dwarves are keeping me well entertained as I slowly write the novel.


Sometimes it's okay to not go the unique route in trying to make something spectacular. Like being a newbie weight lifter and starting out first with already known programs instead of picking random lifts to do. However, you can make your experience and time doing fitness activities unique. Each walk doesn't have to be the same and you will come across different events over time. You could look at it as just another walk or hour on said cardio machine, or just more lifting but how you conduct yourself and the secret thoughts you have can make it more of a unique experience. Probably why something like Run Zombie has become a popular app, getting the experience of a zombie threat/story while walk/jogging is more entertaining than the hum drum of just more time spent on pavement.

How do you make your story unique? What is unique about your fitness?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Technology

Another, slightly delayed, blog post with this time the letter emphasis is on T. Had a few potentials with that, talking, tall, time, and such. However, I went with technology for my A to Z Challenge blog post.


Many uses for technology in fiction no matter the genre. We use technology as writers such as internet, computers, blogs, cell phones (I can blog from my cell phone now) and many other options to both do the task of writing and to inspire more tales of fiction. Laptop wise I am both Mac and PC, as I have a macbook and a regular netbook. However, with technology comes problems. Macbook has a keyboard attached to it now cause some of the letters won't work and the mousepad stopped working over a year ago. May some day be able to get it fixed, but for now, do what it takes to get by while still being able to write.

Technology can be many different things in our stories as well. The world might be the old style epic fantasy with horses for transportation and no guns, but they still have their own versions of technology. Magic can also use tools, which is technology. Then there is science fiction, which is a whole playland for tech creation. Have fun with your technology while still keeping the reader interested in the overall story.


Some technology can come in hand for fitness too. My favorite one is the Ipod, which I use for couch to 5k training and while lifting weights. I've had my Ipod for around 10 years and it still works great. I've got through a few different sets of headphones and my armband is already coming apart from overuse, but the music player? That is working just fine.

We also use technology to help get in shape. I don't use exercise bikes, but I have done my fair share of walking on a treadmill. I like it as a form of cardio, though outside is better. In fact, some day I wouldn't mind a home gym with lots of weights and a purple treadmill (yeah, I've seen them, hehe). There are other gadgets as well and phone apps can help, but I am old school in keeping track of my workouts as I use a pen and paper.

What is your favorite fictional technology? What tech equipment do you use for fitness?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Sleep

One of my hobbies: sleep. For when I sleep, I dream and on the off chance I remember some of them the next morning, I get ideas for things like a new novel or a scene in one I already have started. Make sure, when not sleeping, to check out some other blogs and comment on their S topics over at A to Z Challenge.


As a writer, sleep can both inspire and hinder progress. I am one who can remember a fair number of my dreams over time, with the occasional morning where I remember more than one even. A number of my novels had scenes and more inspired by dreams, including the one I'm editing. After I wake up, if I can remember the dream and it catches my interest enough, then I spend part of the day thinking about it and developing the story idea. On the other hand, if I'd not needed to sleep so much then maybe I would get more writing (like I could have finished a novel chapter last night) and be further along in my edits.

Characters sleep too. And one thing the writer has to do is decide if and when to mention it because except for the occasional dream (which  can be overdone in stories) often times, when the character is sleeping not much is going on to hold the readers attention.  We like to know that they do need rest like us and such but at the same time, don't need to see it a lot. One of my romance novel edits, I needed to cut back on how many chapters ended with them going to sleep cause that is too many obvious times to put the book down  and we don't want that.


Sleep is good for fitness. There is a reason many programs emphasize taking a rest day. While I am doing 3 days of cardio and 3 days of lifting, I also have 1 day dedicated to rest where all I do is go to work and such. I don't do anything extra fitness wise on that day and I do cardio in between lifting days so that muscle groups get time to rest since that is when the body repairs itself. I'd not walk and such but that would be hard since I work on my feet all shift anyways, so legs are used to far less rest overall. Every now and then, it's good to take more than one day off, to give the body a break, when you're doing a lot of lifting and cardio. A rest set of days or week does the body good too and it may come whether planned or not.

Sleep is also known to help when working on getting healthier. Many studies have been done to show how much we do really need sleep. Even the ones who joke about how the will "sleep when I'm dead" and such, they do need sleep.

So make sure to rest on your journey as well. It all is part of how we get there.

How well did you sleep/rest last night/today? Did you have any good dreams?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Red Nose Day

A slight break from my theme on fiction and fitness but it's for a good cause, I promise. Make sure to see what the other bloggers come up with for day R over in the A to Z Challenge.

Red Nose Day

What is Red Nose Day?

Red Nose Day, the U.K.'s #1 television fundraising event, is coming to America on Thursday, May 21 (8-11 p.m. ET) on NBC.

Inspired and supported by Comic Relief U.K. - the British charity behind Red Nose Day - NBC will televise the three-hour benefit featuring hilarious stand-up comedy, clever parodies, sketch comedy, incredible music performances from A-list artists and short, compelling films about the cause.

The money raised during Red Nose Day will be used to fund programs that address the immediate needs of children and young people living in poverty in the U.S. and internationally in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Charity organizations include: Boys & Girls Clubs of America, charity: water, Children's Health Fund, Feeding America, Gavi The Vaccine Alliance, The Global Fund, LIFT, National Council of La Raza, National Urban League, Oxfam America, Save the Children and United Way.

Where to get a Red Nose:
The red nose that is so kindly modeled by my stuffed penguin, Peppermint, was purchased at my local Walgreens. They can be purchased all the way up until May 20th and the money goes to the charities. A nose costs one dollar.  They also are encouraging selfie pictures of people wearing the nose with the tag #RedNose to be used on social media.

Links to check out:

I have my red nose. Do you? Do you have a favorite charity you like to support?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Quest

The Impossible Dream, also known as the Quest, is a feat worth typing and traveling. Whether fighting a dragon windmill or finding the basin/helmet, there are many quests out there we can take or in some cases, consume.  Check out the other Q topics over at the A to Z Challenge.

mmm Quest. hehe


This time we will go with fitness first cause it's fun. Quest was an easy pick for Q day because often times when one is focusing on improving their health and fitness, they are on a quest in some ways. Making goals is another way to put it too but I almost think I need to call my goals quests from now on. It sounds more fun to say my quest is to kayak, instead of my goal. hmmm

A single trek through the mountains can also qualify both as fitness and a quest, even if there is no destination or promise of finding gold coins. Sometimes the experience of the journey is worth taking the steps.

As you can see from above, there is also Quest nutrition, as it's the name of a company that makes protein bars and other similar supplements. I do actually like the protein bars and a couple times a week, they help me reach my protein goals for the day since I'm trying to get around 90 grams of protein per day. I don't have them more often, nor have I tried some of the other products because I technically have a mild dairy allergy. I limit all dairy products to just a couple of days a week in order to cut back the risk of itching all over for a couple of weeks at a time. But the other products do seem appealing and they even have the protein powder in single servings. It's nice to have ways to try protein powders instead of needing to by huge gallons at a time.


Fiction and quest go hand in hand as well. Fantasy is well known for its use of the quest as a main plot that has created many different stories. The reasons all differ depending on the characters, world and conflicts, but often times there will be a quest involved. I can think of a few quests in my own writing, for example.

In sci-fi story, one character goes on a quest to save his boyfriend knowing no agency will be able to help him as the villain wants to use him for his genetic mutation.

In fantasy young adult story, I have a character who is on a quest to discover his real identity, find out why he can't pass the mage test and to just survive as others seek him out for their own uses.

In a romance novel, I have a character who is on a quest to not just get laid but have the courage to build a relationship with the guy he first falls for from near the beginning.

It works for many different genres and it's up to us, the writer, in order to give those challenges to our characters.

Do you give your characters a quest? What is your quest?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Practice

Another day with many options. I almost went with Play because it's fun to play outside and do activities that also are fitness, but in the ended decided on something else. Make sure to check out other blogs here.

Both fiction writing and fitness require some levels of practice. While there are some activities when can jump into feet first with no base, there are many  others where practice will give much better results. And even on some of the easy stuff to get started, there can still be improvement from practicing or doing the activity often with different measures to show improvement.


Each draft in a way is practice. However, some are more practice than others. Many writers will say that their very first novel (or several) were more of practice novels and ones that are best left in the dark trunk hidden from daylight. While the first novel I ever finished a draft of, during nanowrimo nonetheless, is still one I may consider publishing, it definitely was practice. I have learned a lot from each attempt at finishing a first draft. The same goes with each rewrite and edit. Every stage of the writing process has involved learning and practicing the skills on short stories and novels helps improve my skills each step of the way.

Practice writing. Do flash fiction, short stories and genres that may not be your strongest or even one you plan to publish. They all have elements that can help you improve the skills for the one you want to get to the readers. Give things a try and you might be surprised were they take you.


Many things can be practiced in fitness. Playing sports is an obvious ones because they even call the times taken in preparation as practice. I used to go to practice for many different sports when I was younger, like volleyball and basketball. While playing the games were a part of them, there were other elements involved that were geared towards helping improve our abilities for the game. Even in the gym now, at times, doing a practice can help. I first worked on learning form, which is in essence practicing a move at a really light weight in order to get the motion down before working on lifting heavier. Between stages of New Rules of Lifting for Women, I did also do a couple practice sessions in order to practice the new set of lifts to see what they were like and where I'd need to go in my gym to find the required equipment. Even the couch to 5k training I'm doing is practice, helping me learn to jog so one day I can jog just over 3 miles. Practice is good for our fitness and along the way, we get better because we took the time to work on our skills.

How do you practice?

Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Outside

Today is an easy one. I like to do my cardio outside when possible and a lot of stories have things that happen outside. Makes for a great O topic. If you wonder what other O words work great for the challenge, check out some of the blogs taking part in the A to Z blog challenge.

(Tulip Field in Skagit Valley, Washington)


This time, we do fitness first. I started my little journey back in September with the task of walking and posted about it last month in a post on walking as a good starting form of cardio. While I don't mind the treadmill in the gym (it's not dreadful for me), I can also easily admit that I would much rather walk/jog outside.

There are many outside activities that help with fitness. Some sports are played outside, like soccer, softball, and such. There are fun outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, swimming and kayaking that are all done outdoors.

Granted, weather will affect abilities to do things outside along with safety, location and physical health. It's okay to do fitness activities inside too, but if you have a chance to get away from the computer for the outdoors, go ahead. And who knows, maybe that little walk or game will inspire some writing later.


A fair amount of fiction involves scenes and conflict that happens outside. There are the many instances where characters walk for longer distances than may be realistically feasible. Then there are the survival situations that require living and traveling in the outdoors, often running from something or trying to get somewhere to achieve an important part of the plot. It can even be as innocent as building friendship by spending time in a park. The outside scene can be full of action or represent a slight pause for the characters, it all depends on the world and the story.

Outdoors also can help the writer. Whether it's bringing laptop/notebook outside to write in the comforting rays of the sun, or taking a break to enjoy some fresh air, it can help invigorate ones writing.

What happens outside in your story? What is your favorite outside fitness activity?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Needs and Nap

Welcome back. We're getting through the alphabet and made it all the way to letter N. Make sure to go here to see how the other bloggers are managing with the challenge. Needs and naps are things that both can be found in fiction and fitness that start with N.


Characters have needs and so do writers. Like everyone else, you have to figure out what the characters actually need versus what they may want, as they are not the same all of the time. Maybe the character needs a nap in order to heal from an injury. Or maybe the character just wants a nap to get away from a stressful situation caused by another character.

Writers have needs too, though some are probably wants. I need coffee or feel like napping right after getting up in the morning. lol  Or more so, I like and want coffee and can use it as incentive to keep myself from napping. The story has needs too and it's our job to tell when the story needs something or when we just like it.


There are wants and needs in fitness too. Sometimes we need a nap, a rest break from whatever activity we've been doing for weeks on end. Sometimes we can want to do something so bad that we push ourselves too far and later learn a lesson about ignoring things our body needs the hard way. It's good to take breaks every now and then. Plus, certain activities like with weight lifting, part of the awesome improvement comes during the rest time when the body heals from what the activity worked to accomplish. We need to get out and moving but what we do can be based on want instead of need. Have fun or else that nap may be too tempting.

Don't forget to rest on occasion though. I thought about resting around the 12 week mark when I was doing the stronglifts lifting program. I ended up needing to because of a cold, which meant a whole week away from the gym when I had planned to just take 3-4 days off. Sometimes we need that rest whether we want to take it or not.

What are your (or characters needs)? Did you nap today?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for Music

Music is great for almost everything. It can inspire and motivate to continue. For me it also sparks the interest to write and by having a playlist, I can associate songs to particular novels. I also have found certain songs work for certain lifts at the gym as well. I wonder how many other people picked Music for M over in the A to Z blog challenge..


I make playlists for my fiction writing. I have too many to list in fact and I've posted probably 3 or more blog posts over the years about the playlists, so I will just post a couple novels and songs that are specific to them (or artists and such).

Snow - Evanescence and Within Temptation, in particular The Howling

Aeon Fading - Help, I'm Alive by Metric and No Light, No Light by Florence & the Machine

Standing Ground - Second Chance by Shinedown

Every novel has at least 5 songs if not more than 10 on the playlist, which I listen to whenever writing that novel.


I make playlists for fitness activities. I have a variety too with a couple that are for walking, one is more rock/alternative and the other is a much shorter pop one. I have a musical playlist along with a disney one, which needs more music. I also am now building running ones which will probably be a rock focused on and an alternative.

Good running songs include: Help, I'm Alive by Metric, The Howling by Withing Temptation and Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n Roses.

Good lifting songs so far are things like: Scream by Avenge Sevenfold, Rock You Like a Hurricane by Scorpion and from Jekyll & Hyde the musical both This is the Moment and Alive.

Do you use music for fiction or fitness?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Lessons

There are many lessons that come along. Some we ask for and others happen whether we want them to or not. This post and other letters of the alphabet are brought to you in part by: A to Z challenge.

I've learned my fair share of lessons over the years for both fiction and fitness. Some of them were ones I wanted to learn, like how to write a first draft of a novel or how to play a sport, while others just kind of happened along the way. So, let's look at some intentional and unintentional lessons learned.


Intentional - How to write. Okay, that was an easy one. But really, I have taken classes on writing even if the novel class wasn't as helpful as I had hoped in college. I've taken formal classes and random classes taught by others trying to write on the writing web site. I have focused on different aspects of writing and taken on different challenges in order to improve my skill by the process of doing.

Unintentional - I've also learned that it takes time and sometimes I'm going to take years on drafts in order to make progress. I learned it's easy to get distracted and there are far more ideas than there are finished products. I'm sure there are other lessons I've learned without trying but they can be harder to focus on since they weren't intended to be learned in particular.


Intentional - I have had many lessons over the years in fitness. I had to learn how to do different things like sports, lifting weights, zumba... I have done most of them intentional because they are things I want to do or at least want to try out. I have some I want to learn in the future: kayak, hand to hand combat, etc. Taking lessons helps get a basic understanding of the activity then doing it further helps with the continued learning process.

Unintentional - I've learned the hard way that some clothes are not well suited for different fitness activities. It can be as simple as the wrong shorts that get too tight around the thighs during squats. I've learned some people won't notice you, others will be nice and on the occasion some will be rude. And that no matter what, it's up to you to make the moves in order to achieve your goals. (Okay, I probably knew the last one a little but it's a general life lesson we learn as we go along.)

What lessons have you learned?

Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Killjoy

This topic is thanks to a writing buddy of mine who also knows the struggles that come along with trying to lose weight. He gets to hear about all the health stuff from me along with some flailed attempts at writing and when I needed a topic for K, this is what he suggested. Check out other K posts in A to Z challenge.

Killjoy in Fiction

There are characters who serve this role but for today, we are just going to focus on the people that affect the writer on the topic of their writing. This is the person who takes the wind out of your sails by just the slightest off hand comment. You finish a first draft of a dystopian and they have the comment about how you must be trying to catch the trend before it dies and no one wants to read those anymore. Or you mention thinking of doing another edit and they wonder why you are being a perfectionist instead of just sending the first draft out. The killjoy person comes in many forms and whether intentional or not, has the right comment to cause the moment of joy to suffer when approached. They give advice on writing and publishing but have never done anything in the industry. They have comments based on their preference though may caveat with, well it's your book do what you want. They are there and like ninjas you never know quite when one will appear. Don't let them harm the ego too much but also don't let the ego block the  way of honest opinion that you may need to hear.

Killjoy in Fitness

Tell someone you're working on a fitness goal or trying to lose weight and there is a high chance you'll find a killjoy or at least someone who has to comment on what they think is best for losing weight. The comments can be subtle as eggshell paint or as subtle as being hit by a semi truck, you're mileage and experiences may vary. Say you lost a couple of pounds and they might need to tell you what they think is the best quick fix to lose weight. Order a dessert or have a higher calorie day and get asked if you fell off the wagon on the diet. Mention a protein shake that tasted really good and they might ask if that is sustainable way of eating that will be continued after weightloss. The comments and people come in many shapes and tones but there is that result that will occur, killjoy.

Either way: keep doing you. Write that book. Run that race. Do whatever it is you are working hard on and keep up the great work.

Have you experienced a killjoy recently?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Journey

Both fitness and writing can be viewed as a journey, plus we make our characters take journeys all of the time to the point it's one of the basic known plots (or two). Don't forget to journey on over to A to Z Challenge and check out the other blogs.


Journeys are common in fiction. Just the act of creating the first draft and other drafts in order to get  finish product is a journey the writer takes. Makes for a fitting topic because it's something people can relate too even if their journeys aren't as crazy or threatening as what we put our characters through. This can be a physical one for the characters, as travel is common, or it can be metaphorical or emotional. There are quite a few options. While the writer doesn't often travel, one might for research though, the journey one takes from the first words on the page to the end is quite an experience nonetheless.

Fiction can also influence a fitness journey.


Some fitness journey's use fiction as their influence, like walking. If you want, you can walk the distances traveled in certain books like Lord of the Rings. There are sites that list the exact distance from certain locations or you can do the whole long journey, one step at a time. One can use other books too. I would find it fun if I could remember to keep track of distances traveled to do one related to Wheel of Time.

The act of getting fit is also a journey one takes. There is a lot of effort, struggles, physical and emotional conflict and change that comes with the focus on health and fitness. There are also many rewards along the way.

Are you on a journey? Do you like to write about journeys?

Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for Inspire

You never know when you're actions or words will inspire someone else. (blogs in A to Z challenge)

We are inspired by many different things, whether it's motivation quotes and images on pinterest, workouts we see other people pushing hard through, or the words on the page of a book, doesn't matter. Inspiration is around us often. There is inspiration to be fit and inspiration to write. And doing either could inspire someone else.

No division of topic today. Just a question or two.

What inspires you?
Who have you inspired?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for Hobbies and Hobbits

Hehehe. Okay, most of the blog isn't about hobbits but I'll give you a picture just for the fun of it, plus it did start with an H. The rest of the topic is going to be hobbies for the A to Z Blog Challenge.


Writing itself is a hobby for many. However there are other hobbies that le d a helping hand to both creative and technical writing.

Creative - There are other creative pursuits that can be done along with writing, such as art or music. I often find working on one hobby can help to inspire another. Sometimes writing makes me want to paint and listening to music often makes me want to write.

Physical - doing something physical, having a fitness hobby can also help one with writing. Inspiration can come from long walks.  Sometimes you sit too long when working on a novel, so taking a little time away to work  the body can actually make the writing better afterwards. Plus there are many activities that might aid in writing certain scenes. Actually handling a bow or riding a horse gives a different view than just imagining what the character might feel.

Characters can have hobbies too. They may not get to devote lots of times and chapters to a hobby depending on how it can move the story or not, but it's okay to give the character a hobby they enjoy. It helps to build them to more of a 3d individual than just the words on the page. Plus,  people can  relate to someone who has a hobby or two. Just don't get the facts of the hobby wrong for those with the same will be more than happy to point out the errors.


Different physical activities can both help with fitness and be hobbies. All kinds in fact. It doesn't matter if you dance, lift weights, cycle or swim. Some may not like the idea of it as a hobby while others find it better to have that focus because they want to do something fun. If it's better for you to view fitness as work, then go for it.  If you like it as a fun hobby, that is fine too. Doesn't matter which type, as the label isn't dependent on doing a certain activity. They all can be viewed as a hobby plus they have the added benefits that fitness activities provide. I lift weights and attempt to jog for now and it's sort of a hobby, even if I don't name it as such most of the time. I have others that I hope to do in the future. One of my goals is to kayak, which takes upper body strength and who knows, maybe that could become a hobby if I like it.

An interesting response in forums discussing the high costs of some gyms and crossfit locations in particular have suggested viewing the fitness activity from the pov of it as a hobby. There are lots of hobbies that people pay many for because they enjoy them, whether it's music  lessons, supplies for building toy cars  or even plane tickets to travel to distant lands for an activity. So, makes sense that one can view a fitness activity in the realm of a hobby as well. Some may be too expensive for me,  but I don't spend a lot of money on my other hobbies either, one does what they can with their given budget but they still make what they enjoy work. Speaking of... I should be writing as later on I'm going to the gym to lift weights.

What are your hobbies?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Goals

Had a few options today but we'll go with something I post about on occasion and try to do at least once a month, along with other different time frames: goals. I am a big fan of making goals to work towards and it works for both topics. Check out the other G posts in the A to Z challenge.


They come in handy for many people and work  for different areas in life. Whether it's a general until it gets accomplished goal, monthly or even year long, there are lots of options available. I tend to do many different types over the year in part because it helps give me focus and a deadline, which gives a better chance of something actually getting done.


My goals for fiction tend to be based on what I would like to focus my attention on at the moment, which story/draft to try and get done sooner. Since I have so many projects started at any given time, it can be a challenge to make progress. Right now I have blog goals, editing goals and writing goals for April along with a couple longer writing goals and some general projects picked as the focus for 2015. The big goals are to edit the YA novel to submit by summer and writing in a couple different first draft projects.


I also do goals for fitness and some of the groups I'm involved with on myfitnesspal involves posting goals for each month or a 12 week period. The goals don't all have to be lifting or fitness but that tends to be the main focus there. Goals can have many different time frames for fitness and can be task specific, weight number focused, or even more general. Right now I'm working on daily protein macros, couch to 5k training, following lifting program and eventually will be hoping to increase certain lifts.

For me, setting goals and often achieving them are a big part of making progress. It also helps to give me focus. While losing weight is important, what has really helped me is to have other goals more geared towards fitness to put effort towards achieving. The numbers are the scale are nice when they go down but it's even better that it's not my only focus. And that has really helped me so far on this journey. It's working so far, now I need to get my writing back in gear and these goals will be accomplished.

Do you have any goals? What types of goals do you make?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Fun

So much fun to be had in the world, whether it's through activities, sleep (dreams can be fun) or writing other worlds, we have plenty of ways to incorporate fun into our lives. Also, have fun checking out some other blogs in the A to Z challenge.


Fitness can be fun. While there are times where you just need to get something done and you'll feel better later even if you don't quite feel in the mood for the exercise at the start. There are also plenty of times and plenty of ways to have fun while working out. Often the best workout is the one you can see yourself doing on a regular basis, and having fun helps a lot of people be more consistent.

Types - There are many different options for fitness, which helps since not everyone finds the same thing fun. Don't like running? Try dance or taking long hikes on trails. Some people really like to swim while others cycle. Some like to lift lots of heavy weights while others use bodyweight programs or follow videos (some can be found online now too). There are many different ways to be fit and so many of them are going to be fun if you let them.

Music - For me, it's fun to listen to music while I workout. If walking/jogging outside near cars or needing to pay attention for bicycles, I only put in one earbud so that I can still be well aware of my surroundings. I make different playlists so that it's not the same music each time as well. Each week on couch to 5k has a new playlist, the runs will have a playlist, and there are gym ones, walking and for fun musicals and a Disney playlist just to keep things interesting. There are a couple good songs from musicals that work perfect when lifting weights, for example. Having that and getting stuff done helps keeps things fun for me.


Writing is fun. It can also be work and torture at times, oh the multiple drafts, editing, waiting, submission, writing all the times and such. Anyways, for the most part it's fun and we also need to remember that it's okay for our characters to have fun once in a while. Putting in a couple of fun moments for the characters gives a better contrast for all of the conflict they have to endure in order to reach the end of the book.

I like to give my characters some happy moments, a little bit of fun, even when I'm working on building up the conflict. It can be something simple, like a snow day where he almost seems to fit in for just a day or spending time with a close friend to forget the stress of the day. Something a little fun even if there is some bits of conflict and other aspects involved to keep the story moving. While things need to happen, it does help to have a little balance. And I think the harder times will have a little more impact and depth if there are also some good aspects experienced by the characters as well.

What do you do for fitness that you find fun? How do your characters have fun?

Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Ego

Bet you didn't expect that one. Don't worry, I'll do something obvious first. Here is the link for the blog challenge, A to Z blogs so make sure to check out some other blogs trying to make their way through the alphabet. Now, to my topic...


Yep, this works both for fiction and fitness plus is kind of fun. It also starts with E, though it's not one of the hard letters to find topics for in general. Don't ask me about X yet, lol.  Anyways, there is a lot of ego involved in both fiction and fitness, for the good and the bad. Let's explore a little of it here.


Writer - In order to be a writer you both need an ego and to not let the ego get in the way. It's a balance and the amount of ego varies but is still important. It does take a little ego to think one can write a story that others will enjoy reading, at least a smidgen. Ego helps with the courage needed in order to submit something to a magazine, editor, or agent and to keep sending out an item even when it gets rejected. On the other hand, one can't let their ego get in the way. A bruised ego along with a public reaction has led a few astray over the years.

Character - The amount of ego a character has and/or displays is part of what gives them a sense of self and the reader something to either like or dislike. The main character has varying degrees of ego that are displayed because well, the story is about them after all. First person it's all "I" and such so one does think of ego a little. Plus there are many options. The character who thinks they are super awesome, or the character who wallows in their awkwardness yet gets what they want in the end. Everything in between is available too so mix things up. Ego and character are part of their development.


Have to admit, there is definitely some ego involved in fitness. Between the focus on the self as the whole reason (among other aspects to why one does fitness), the need to get self to do things and the draw some have to taking selfie pictures during or after activities, there is definitely some ego involved.

Keep ego in check. When doing certain activities, whether starting or having done them for a long time, there are situations where one has to keep their ego in check. Don't lift a really heavy weight just to look like you can handle it. If you have to just lift the bar, or even something that is less if it's an olympic one, then lift the lighter weight. Everyone has to start somewhere. And it goes for other activities. Just starting out jogging? It's okay if you are slower than a walk, or even as slow as turtles going through peanut butter. Don't let worrying about what others might think keep you from any activity. Most aren't paying attention and if they do judge/hate on you, that's all in their head and not something to put any amount of energy into on your end. Let them hate and you keep doing awesome.

Be aware of others. Selfies are fine and can be useful for showing progress at times as one can't always just find a photographer buddy to take pictures, especially not in the moment. But make note of others around you, in certain places in particular. Try to be careful in locker rooms at the very least, since people go there to change and such, not to end up hanging out in someone's self picture. Pick a good spot and have fun, let that ego fly.

It's okay to have ego, part of the human existence, but sometimes we need to draw some lines in the sand.

How is your ego? ;-)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Dance

And another one in the bank,  I mean Hi. Only on day four of the blog challenge but things are going strong. Check out A to Z blog challenge to see what the other fun bloggers are coming up with on this adventure through the alphabet.

Today my topic is: Dance  And to start things off, I will admit that I'm not much of a dancer. I had a tiny stint in ballet as a little kid but hated it. We had square dancing in high school once a year but I avoided it whenever possible, even picking homework above skipping class to go learn to square dance. I did win a dance-off at a coffee shop Halloween party but that was one weird night (top guys in their dance off chose to dance with a broom and a vacuum). Other than that, I've done zumba for a couple months but that was over 4 years ago. Still, let's talk about dance anyways.


Dance can be a fun way to get fit. Whether it's barre, zumba or any other type of dance, it does burn calories to shake it (move) to music. There are many classes and different studios available that focus on dance as a craft and dance as a method for fitness. And it's certainly not a new concept for fitness. The music can change a little though some remain even after the many years have gone by. I still remember having vhs tapes of Richard Simmons grooving in the 80's, for example. Ah fun times.

There are so many options available. Some include: belly dancing, zumba, ballet, jazzercise, hip hop abs/dance, dance dance revolution, so you think you can dance, other dance games for gaming systems and others. This is one of the great parts about dance because like music in general, not everyone has the same taste or abilities.

For fun, check out this video of a 1980's style aerobic dance competition with Shake It Off by Taylor Swift added:


While not everyone or character can be a dancer, there are times when dance itself can be useful for  either character or world development. Dance has many reasons, whether it's fun, fitness, religion, culture, spiritual, and more. What dances people do, whether there is a religious connection or if they come upon a different culture, quite a bit can be shown by involving a little dance into a story.

Consider a couple of questions:
Would it be weird or frowned upon for two boys to dance together, or is it strange, unacceptable for a boy and girl to share a dance?
Does one show worship through movement?
What happens at a festival or holiday?
Can a character earn a living through dance?

Just some options that are out there. I'm sure you can come up with better ways to use dance in stories on your own. I don't have many dancers at this time but I have plenty of fantasy worlds to develop. It may be something I explore in the future. While I don't yet have a dancer main character, I do have a cloud walker and she likens the walk to dance. We'll have to see what I create in the future.

Plus, I may be making dance goals for myself in the future. I like zumba but also have some personal songs that I'd like to learn the dances from, including one or two musical ones. Will post more on that in the future and might even share one of them some day.

Do you dance? Do any of your characters dance or is it an aspect of the world's culture?

Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for Clothing

Day 3 and still going strong. Check out A to Z challenge participants for more blogs.

Today, I'm going to talk about clothes for both fiction and fitness but I'm going to start with the fiction side this time. A little while ago, I wrote a newsletter for a writing web site where I talked about fantasy and clothing. While it may not always be needed in detail, there are times for story, world and character where a mention of clothes can make a big difference.

What do your characters wear? Is it really that important? It can, at times, be an overwritten details. Too much about the clothes will come off as unnecessary and probably bore the reader who doesn’t care about such information. But when building worlds or even doing some of the writing it helps to have a general idea of the fashion in your fantasy story. I don’t do the minor details well, let along think to put much about what the characters are actually wearing at times, but it’s something I’m going to work on as I have a few novels where for a couple scenes that information is important. Instead, let’s look at how a published story used fashion.

In book 2 of the Wheel of Time series, The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, there is a part near the beginning where it talks about the clothes Rand has been given to wear. It’s a long fantasy series, so at times certain aspects are explained, but this part in particular stands out not just because it manages to show aspects of the world, internal conflict in the point of view character and creates conflict with others as well. It's just clothes but that little change in how Rand had to dress made a change and the discomfort is something that was able to show through its use.

Clothing can be quite important in the right scene. There are many things that fashion can show in a story, whether it’s for an individual character or to show the entire culture of a community. Granted, we don’t want every detail described, nor do we need to know the clothing every single place and character involved. It’s one factor where you have to decide what is best for the story each time.

Clothing is also important for fitness. I've also found that the type of athletic gear will vary on personal taste along with the different types of activities. I have found that the same shorts/capris do not work well for both jogging and lifting. If the shorts material is the less flexible material, they can be okay for jogging but I have found they are not the best for squatting because they get too tight around the thighs.

Many wear leggings, at least females though there are guys who wear them too or tight like items but some wear shorts over them. I am not at the level of comfort in body shape yet to wear tight pants and tight shirt that shows all the curves. Plus, it seems kind of like it would get hot. I am looking forward to lifting more in shorts now that it's getting warmer. 

On the other hand, if something is too loose, I have found that is not good for jogging. It's a pain to have to pull up your pants or shorts every couple of minutes. Not easy finding the right middle ground and on a low budget at that. And that's just the bottom half. One has to also consider shirts, what covers the stomach and keeps it covered, what doesn't show cleavage, and the list goes on and on.

Also, I need more pockets! There are far too many shorts, capris and pants that lack pockets, from my experience. Sure, my little ipod holders have a spot for a key (even though they are both getting worn out from all the use already) but my car key is way too big. I end up linking my locker key or put my car key in my sports bra when out at the park because not enough of my fitness clothing has pockets. I don't have one of those weird flip fanny belt things either, though I will look at them maybe in the future as an option but overall, I like pockets (work pants need pockets too by the way).

So, summary. Clothing is important in fitness. :-)

When do you mention clothes in fiction? What type of clothes do you like to wear for fitness activities?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for Bacon

Mmm mm bacon. Need I say more?...  Okay, maybe I should,1st first, this delicious post is part of the A to Z blog challenge. Check out the other fun blogs listed over at
Fitness (nutrition)
Bacon has many facets of deliciousness. Whether it is in crazy decadence or even the pleasant morning protein boost, there is often room for bacon. Cupcakes, chocolate sundaes, vegetables, steak... there are so many things that have been made even more delicious by the addition of bacon. Even bacon wrapped bacon sounds wonderful, lol. As a food item, it is very well used in many areas and finds its place on the plate for good reason. It can even be useful at times for those focused on health.
I have only purchased and cooked bacon in my apartment once, and by that I m r an that I got to have bacon for about a week and a half as I cook for just me. It was wonderful and delicious. Aside from those with cultural or religious reasons to avoid bacon, there are few who need to avoid it. Many can't eat it every day either, but it makes for a nice bit of food some days.
On average, with slice let and thickness varying, three slices of bacon can add up to around 9 grams of protein for just over 125 calories. Not a bad little addition to some meals or dishes. I am not a big food in the morning type of person since I stay up late and don't get up early, but having bacon was a nice little treat on those mornings. Plus, the apartment smells really good after bacon has been cooked. Reminds me a little of my great-grandma, who would save the grease/drippings and cook other things in it later. Mmmmmm
While there isn't always a need for food specifications in fiction, there are times when having a "bacon" can be beneficial for world, cultural development and/or character. Maybe they have been traveling and come across a farmer who shares a morning meal with them in exchange for something. Or a local festival could include a type of food that is both overly appreciated or deemed sacrilegious to consume depending on which segment of the population the character is part of in a town scene. Or the character could just be hungry and the smell of it cooking Dr was them in or bring two slightly opposing characters together. There are many possible options out there to be discovered and savored.
It doesn't have to be actual bacon either. Is there a type of food that some populations worship while others dont? Dragon meat could both be a dietary supplement and a restriction depending on the point of view. It is all a matter of how you write it.
Do you like bacon? Is there bacon in your fiction world or do they have something else that is equivalent?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for Abs

First off... Welcome!

It is here, the April A to Z blog challenge. Quick run down: Don't forget to check out the many awesome bloggers taking part in the challenge (challenge sign-up list) where each will be posting almost every day in April with topics that follow the letter of the day. This blog will be posting on topics that are found both in fitness and in fiction, so there will be two sections per post to make sure both areas are covered.

For day A with fiction and fitness, I went for a slightly obvious one: Abs

Ah, the ever prominent goal of visible ab muscles. Well, okay I've never had that goal but at least every other day there are posts on myfitnesspal where people  ask how to get abs (in which case they mean how to get something like a  6-pack because we all have abs even if many are covered by fluff). That and they ask about thighs, glutes, etc. The popular answer for the ab question is one that tries at a little humor.

How to get abs? Fork put downs and plate push aways. Translation - eat less, also known as lose body fat. There is a little more to it as one can work the muscles in order to gain strength and make their appearance better if reaching that low body fat percentage required for their display. However, it is partly also on genetics and some may never reach the point of visible abs.

The days of the crunches are over though, or well, they try to be over. Some still hold onto them dearly, though even less do sit-ups from what I've noticed, though there are quite a few variances on the crunch that people do so it's still around. However, it's not seen as the way to the abs. The answer to the  previous question is rarely do hundreds of crunches. Okay, many still do crunches. In stage 2 of New Rules of Lifting for Women (which I'll be doing the first couple of weeks this month) includes 3 different forms of crunches, but it's not promising 6-pack from them in particular.

I'm not really gearing towards the visible ab goal myself yet. But I also said I didn't see the appeal of doing pull-ups or chin-ups as many have that as a fitness goal and now one of my accessories is the assisted chin-up (though I just pull till the top  of my head reaches the handles on it cause that's as far as the weights go and I can't pull my own weight yet, not even close). So, you never know.

Abs can be found in fiction too (and sometimes they feel like a fantasy on their own, lol). Whether it's in picture form, description or added in to  spice up a moment, there is a chance abs may be mentioned because in many stories, the idea of a better character has an appeal. Okay, sometimes seeing the fluffy guy as the hero works too, there are many stories and body types will vary. Still, at times the physique of the character is important and that can include abs.

Covers are a place one might find visible abs in certain genres, like romance or urban fantasy, though their popularity varies. See the guy without a shirt showing muscle definition often though it may be a little less for the women. Visible stomach is common and in fantasy art, clothing is minimal at times but I haven't seen a lot of that 6-pack definition, though I don't go looking for it either.

Erotica, I can imagine, has its fair share of abs on cover and within the descriptions, but I haven't read much published to know the amounts. Either way, there are abs to be found and desired in fiction.

Fitness question: Do you have a goal focused on abs or do any work specific to training them?
Fiction question: Do your characters have visible abs?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cardio: the walking edition

That is right. First cardio topic is a simple but effective starting point towards fitness of epic proportions.

I started with walking. Well, it went exactly like this: ooo look a 5k charity walk that company is taking part in. I don't work that day. *signs up* Oh, I wonder if I can walk 5k without taking forever.
First walk proved I could in an hour. Then thought I should try walking a couple days a week. Before I knew it, I was walking almost every single day with just the rare day where I didn't walk a couple of miles (not counting work). Later when the weather turned colder, I moved into the gym and after lifting weights would walk on the treadmill for about 30 minutes as my cool down.

For weight loss, the main approach is usually going to be looking at food, also known as calories in versus calories out. However, for fitness in general, walking is a great starting point and a form of cardio many people can do. A fair number of people have seen successful results by just incorporating walks into their routine in order to move from sedentary to a move active lifestyle.

I don't know all the statistics and there are some who will find walking a challenge or it can be boring for others, but here are some links that discuss walking and some benefits.

Some useful links about walking:

The Fiction Side:
Now for the fiction part of this topic. Walking is also something characters often do in stories, maybe even a little too much in certain genres. The characters go from comfort in their homes to running away or to somewhere with limited means of transportation, which leads to them walking for many many days. It's something I'm guilty of in one of my fantasy series, that I will admit. It's a challenge if building a world where they don't have technology that provides other sources of transportation and don't want to deal with the details of other options like horses.

In my series I started during nanowrimo 2012 when I got 165k, the characters do a fair amount of walking. They start off with needing to run away and in the throws of danger, it's more of a need to move and move quick without many options. Later as they travel it becomes monotonous and I try to include ways to give the characters breaks because weeks of walking every day does seem a bit unrealistic. Still, they probably do more walking than one should and I have to include problems that would induce or else it will be completely unrealistic.

I feel for my characters, that is for sure. Since walking, lifting, now C25K and working where I'm on my feet all shift, my feet aren't very happy with me. The characters endure a lot even if it's small nuisances like achy feet in order for their story to be told.

Do you walk?
How much walking do your characters endure?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

5 Years and A to Z

Holy Metal, Batman!  I have had this blog (though in different name for over half of the time) for 5 whole years. I started It's in the Book DE back on March 17th, 2010. Wow did the years go by fast.

Here was the first post, back when the only focus for the blog was my writing:

That first year was quite ambitious between random posts and blogfest entries (which I used to do all the time now I never know when any are being held) I managed to post over 100 times within the year. That number diminished a fair amount over the years as things have developed and changed. Progress wise, I haven't submitted any novels yet but I have one that I am going to submit to agents this year, so think things are going pretty well. Plus, now that the fitness side is added, there are plenty of options available for future posts.

Don't worry though. I'm going to post more than 18 times this year, that I can promise because other announcement time. I'm being crazy enough that I am doing the A to Z challenge with this blog and my first blog (DawnEmbers). So, next month there will be a surplus of posts.

Check out my blogs and all the others who have signed up, or you know at least a few cause there are over 1000 blogs that will be signed up to take part, here:

I will be doing a post each required day with both something on fiction and on fitness. Yep, I'm using both topics every single post, somehow. Letters like Q and Z will be fun. I'm up for the challenge and hope you all enjoy the posts next month.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weight Lifting: Stronglifts

I plan to write about cardio but first, I am going to do a post dedicated to weight lifting. This one gets dedicated to Stronglifts because it's the routine I went to first and there will be others discussed later. I'm not an expert, this is more about the general aspects of lifting in particular while working on fitness and weight loss, but do research and consult a doctor when necessary.

My Background: I first did weight lifting back in high school. While we didn't do any for most of the sports back when I played (none for volleyball or basketball), during the few years I did track, I was in shot put and discus, so that meant lifting as part of the practice. I remember doing bench press with my best friend. I also remember avoiding squats. Because we weren't the top, the coach focused not on us so we didn't learn things like cleans and snatches. But we did do some lifting with the bar along with a few machines. Then I took a class in college (the one I first attended required one) where I did more circuit type with machines and became acquainted with the leg press. Not much over the years except the occasional gym with machines as the options are limited in small town Utah and Wyoming.

I decided to try Stronglifts based on a couple of reasons. Compound moves are good for beginners and that concept made sense. I didn't have Starting Strength or New Rules of Lifting (both are books). Ice Cream Fitness is similar but has few different lifts as it also incorporates accessory lifts with each workout. Pull-ups never interested me, which some programs try to help people accomplish, but they just remind me that I'm short. In the end, I went with the simpler approach that had a couple of lifts I was familiar with and a little less that I'd have to learn compared to some other beginner programs.

Web site:

However, I will admit that after learning the routine, I didn't use the site much. I watched the videos a couple of times to see the form and such, but that is all. I don't get any emails and I don't have the app. I just recently got a phone that can even do apps but I don't keep my phone with me while I workout. I use a small notebook from the dollar store to record each session. The creator is entertaining if you watch the videos that show the workouts, but beyond that, I don't follow him or anything else.

Workout A:
Squat 5 reps for 5 sets
Bench Press 5 reps for 5 sets
Row (pendlay) 5 reps for 5 sets

Workout B:
Squat 5 reps for 5 sets
Overhead Press 5 reps for 5 sets
Deadlift 5 reps for 1 set

5x5 is a the general rep scheme with the noticeable difference with deadlift. It's a progressive overload focused workout, so each time the idea is to increase the weights each when possible and de-load after 3 fails (missed reps and unable to get proper form are fails). I didn't always move up, in particular when the weights got heavy on squats and deadlifts, and like many my overhead press is still on the weaker side. I also was in a calorie deficit. On a side note: I do have bad knees, arthritis in my back, problems with my hip, elbow and wrist but I am always cautious and have seen a doctor but have found the lifting doesn't aggravate any of them with good form.

It was fun. I started with just the bar for many of the lifts and had never done rows, deadlifts or rows before. I did have a trainer at the gym help at first in order to learn the proper form on each lift and that was very helpful. There are also many videos on youtube that are helpful as well. I made it through 12 weeks using the program before I took a week off from the gym (due to getting sick) and I did enjoy lifting.

Starting Numbers * End of Week 12 in lbs

Body weight: 188 * 175
Squat: 45(bar) * 150
Bench: 45(bar) * 85 (90 but not 5x5)
Overhead Press: 30 * 65 (70 but not 5x5)
Row: 30 * 105
Deadlift: 65 * 200 (4 reps, 197.5 for 5 reps)

Overall, not bad for 12 weeks of lifting. I enjoyed it even though some of the lifts had me curse under my breath *cough* overhead press/row *cough*.  I do recommend lifting as part of fitness goals because it definitely has many benefits but there are some who won't like it. Just like I don't like spinning, at all.

That's my overview of Stronglifts. Next up in the distant future will be New Rules of Lifting for Women. I'm in the middle of Stage 1 now.


I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle

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I write like
Mark Twain

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