Tag Archives: novels

Running and Writing

28 Feb

In truth I’m pretty impressed with myself for finishing the second novel in my 12 of 12 literary quest  this year.

As you all know I’m the slowest reader, who’s a writer, on Earth, and I put this challenge forward as a way to expand my reading beyond my kid’s reading list and discover some new and exciting stories.  I enjoy the a-ha moments, or just the little tid-bits of advice that come to me throughout the chapters, something that helps me shift something inside me and keep me on the yellow-brick road, no matter how rocky the path.


Now I hadn’t heard much about Murakami so I don’t know what that says about my literary chops, but I’m trying. I mean the cover alone made me think I was about to go on an epic journey.  I was really looking forward to reading this as it came highly recommended by a writer I’ve recently discovered through the awesome world of Podcasts. When he mentioned it the book centering on writing and running, I was like … yes. Someone else gets it! Someone can see how these two are intertwined and I embarked on this can’t-wait-to-see-what-happens enlightenment session.

However, it wasn’t a life-altering experience, which was disappointing. I was thinking it would hit me like a bolt of lightning, but it was more nuanced than that. It did have its moments though.

The narrative seemed to pick up around chapter six for me, when I felt he got a little deeper with meaning behind his running and writing, and what happens when we get older and the facts of life we have to accept. I enjoyed the parallels he made between both passions, and the goals and life lessons he learned along the way.  I especially enjoyed the last paragraph of the book, as it captured the essence of the journey. He championed himself as a runner, someone who was always determined to finish, and never give up, someone who never walked during a marathon, and I found that quality admirable. That metaphor applied not only to running, but to his his life.

I feel the only reason I was able to make this connection was because I was a writer and runner myself. If you are not a runner or a writer, this book may not be for you, you might not enjoy the details of his marathon training, long runs, or writing process. I had never heard of Haruki Murakami before this recommendation, but considering he had some bright spots in this novel I might give another book a chance. It’s always interesting to read something, even if it’s not mind-blowing, that adjusts something inside of you, no matter how small. You’re just a little bit different from the day you started the story.

Buen Camino my friends!



She’s back!

2 Dec

I barely have time to take a shower or comb my hair so the fact that my buddy has written multiple novels since I met her amazes me.

When I first met T.B. her travel stories and 50 Year Project intrigued me. I thought … man this chick’s journey is so cool. What’s on deck? What’s she gonna do next?

That’s when the novels came and I thought holy crap! She’s doing this, she’s really doing this.

And I was just happy to have known her and come along for the ride, because it’s been an inspirational one. As a writer,  you’re always pulling for your fellow buddies to make it, and T.B. has definitely done that.

She’s got this one character … you know the one that just keeps coming back, the one that makes  you wonder at the end of a book … Well what happened? How’d she get there? How’d they meet? What’s gonna happen tomorrow?

She’s got one that’s interesting enough to inspire prequel.


T.B. Markinson, my bud, has brought Lizzie back. With A Clueless Woman making its debut this week, I knew I wanted to be part of her promotion team. So here’s a sneak peak for those of you ready to find out more …

ACluelessWoman (3)



Graduate student Lizzie Petrie feels more comfortable around books than people. Although an expert in the Hitler Youth, she’s a novice in love. Her former lesbian lover is blackmailing her, and not even those closest to Lizzie know the full story of their abusive relationship.

When visiting high school English teacher Sarah crosses Lizzie’s path at the campus, their attraction is instant, but not without complications. As they start to spend more time together, suspicions arise from both women in this sexy piece of LGBT fiction.

Plenty of good-natured teasing takes place between lovers as well as between PhD students in this lesbian contemporary romance. No relationship path ever runs smoothly, and oftentimes, those who can’t keep their mouth shut hasten necessary confrontation.

Lizzie finds herself buried in a mess of lies in this romantic comedy. The harder she tries to keep Sarah and the rest of her friends from finding out the truth about her first girlfriend, the more endearingly clueless she becomes.

You can pick up her novel on Amazon.com or visit her author’s page here in order to check out her other books.

What’s in store for A Clueless Woman

“I feel like a lady of the night.” Meg crammed the wad of twenties I’d just furtively handed over into the pocket of her jeans. “Of course, if things don’t turn around for me soon, that might be my future calling. Do ya think William would pay to sleep with me? He was never shy about his desires.”

I assumed she’d added that juicy detail about my colleague to bait me. No, to remind me of what she was capable of and to keep me in line. Years of falling for her self-pity and emotional blackmail had taught me to steel myself and ignore Meg to the best of my ability, but I still found myself saying, “I can’t keep handing over wads of money.”

“Why? We both know you aren’t even close to draining your trust fund, not even a quarter of it.” Meg leveled her deep-green gaze on my face.

“I’m not responsible for you.”

“Responsible for me?” She laughed, bitterly. “Have you been attending Al-Anon meetings or something?”

I sighed. “I need to go.” I hoisted my book bag over my shoulder. Meg feigned lunging at me, and I jumped back. We were in an alley behind a coffee shop, and Meg was blocking the street exit. The door to the coffee shop didn’t have a handle, and I assumed it could only be opened from the inside. I moved back, against the wall, inching closer to safety.

“Must be nice to have the luxury of being a student.” Her abrasive smile alerted me to tread carefully. My mind flooded with memories of invoking Meg’s wrath. She crossed her arms, revealing she had no intention of budging. “How are William and Janice? It’s been a long time since I was welcome to join the weekly study sessions.” Her eyes lit up. “Hey, I know. I bet William would pay big bucks for me to tell him all about us.” She ran a finger down my face, and I willed myself not to cringe. “The things you used to do to me and what you begged me to do to you.” She reached for my belt buckle, but I backpedaled, much to her delight. “I bet that’d get him off.” She squared her shoulders. “Or you could just meet me next week.” Meg patted the wad in her pocket.


A car horn blared, and Meg spun to view the commotion, allowing me to sidle past. Once out of harm’s way, on the sidewalk, I turned. “Keep going to your meetings, okay?” I said.

Meg’s eyes softened but then quickly coalesced into anger. “Get off your high horse, Lizzie. You aren’t perfect. And don’t forget”—she stabbed a finger in the air—“next week.”

If you’re interested in finding out what happens next make sure to visit Amazon.com and get your copy.




The Ones That Shook Me, Pushed Me, Slapped Me, Passionately Embrased Me, Scared the Crap Out of Me and Changed Me

12 Sep

A blogging buddy of mine, Jackie Cangro, recently posted a list of books that influenced her the most, and just as she did with her what-makes-me-happy list she manged to totally inspire me to create one of my own. In my 39 years of eating chocolate these are the books that made the most impact in my life.

It wasn’t just because of the story, it was the characters. They were both flawed and heroic. I wanted to meet them. They inspired me in some way, they changed my perspective. I think any book that changes you in some way is a great book. Some of these are complex, intense sagas, some are simple stories, a few are fiction, while others are based on people’s lives. Fact or fiction they share their truths, sufferings, A-ha moments, life lessons, and successful outcomes.

They’re written with such magic that they’ve left an imprint in my life. These stories left a profound impact and changed the course of my direction, whether I was a teenager in high school, a 20-something learning about myself, or a 30-something badass still learning about myself. There are a lot of books out there I haven’t read yet so many fall on my to-do list. But for now, this is my Shook Me-Pushed Me-Slapped Me-Thelma and Louise Awakened Me- Passionately Embraced Me-Scared The Crap Out of Me-and Changed Me List.

What are some of yours?









The Alchemist–Paulo Coelho



Daughter of Fortune–Isabel Allende



The Catcher in The Rye–J.D. Salinger



Pudd’nhead Wilson–Mark Twain



Life of Pi–Yann Martel



Invisible Man–Ralph Ellison



Native Son–Richard Wright



The Notebook–Nicholas Sparks



The Count of Monte Cristo–Alexandre Dumas


One Hundred Years of Solitude–Gabriel Garcia Marrquez



Eat, Pray, Love–Elizabeth Gilbert



Tuesdays With Morrie–Mitch Albom



The Last Lecture–Randy Pausch



In Cuba I was a German Shephard (The Short Story)–Ana Menendez


Success Comes in Threes

10 Sep

Normally it’s “Photo Challenge Wednesday,” but this week I’m happy to be part of the awesome blog tour supporting the launch of my buddy’s third book.

Yeah … that’s right.

I said third.

Pretty badass isn’t?



Confessions Cover(1)

Her third book



T.B. Markinson is coming out with her third novel and I’m happy to contribute anything I can to her success as an author. Recently she wrote a post about success and how she defined it, and I found it to be pretty inspiring. It helped redefine my perspective a little, as I tend to be hard on myself when defining success. As writers our path is a little different when it comes to declaring “I made it!” It’s not like a teacher, doctor, accountant, or lawyer. It happens in layers, and in moments. Sometimes they are spectacular fireworks, other times in quiet whispers.

But it happens for each of us in our own way.

And it’s happening for her with the release of her third novel.

To celebrate its release, the book is on sale for $0.99 until September 16th.


That’s less than the price of an actual coffee.

And it’s definitely worth your while.

Here’s a little sneak peek.



Kat rose and sat next to me, so Harold’s date could sit next to him. D-Day was just a few minutes away. I sucked in a long breath. God I hoped Amber would show.

Five minutes ticked by. Kat did her best to keep the conversation going, but after ten minutes, I glanced over my shoulder at the worried look on Samantha’s face. Was it possible Amber wouldn’t show?

Beads of perspiration appeared on Harold’s brow. Poor guy. I tried to think of something to say to ease his suffering, but drew blanks. Even Kat looked concerned and wasn’t her chatty self. Harold fiddled with the wrapped book, accidently tearing the corner off.

“Um, are you Harold?” a timid voice came from directly behind me.

Harold glanced up, but didn’t speak.

Kat bounced out of her chair, “Are you Amber?”

“Yeah. I’m so sorry I’m late. Got held up at work.” She continued to stand behind me.

Harold was gaping at her, his eyes bugged. I didn’t want to turn and make the girl feel even more awkward. If I were her, I would be running for the exit.

“Oh, no apologies needed. You’re here, and that’s all that matters.” Kat led Amber to the seat next to the bug-eyed Gaiman fan.

I nudged Harold’s foot under the table, pleading for him to stop gawking. He either ignored me completely or didn’t understand my meaning.

“Let me get the ball rolling. Amber, this is Harold.” Kat motioned to Harold, who finally smiled bashfully and took his eyes off Amber. At least he wasn’t ogling her like she was a science project gone awry. “And this is my girlfriend, Cori.”

I shook Amber’s hand across the table. “Very nice to meet you.”

Harold still said nothing.

“Where do you work, Amber?” asked Kat.

“I’m a paralegal at a law firm.” Amber fidgeted with the purse on her lap and looked miserable.

One minute in, and already I wanted pull the ripcord.

“Harold and Cori work at Beantown Café together. That’s how we all know each other.” Kat was grasping at straws.

“Oh, that’s nice.” Amber didn’t sound impressed.

“I also teach at Adams University. British lit,” I added, and then kicked myself. She wasn’t my date to impress and I made Harold look even more like a loser. Dammit, Cori, you and your ego.

“Really?” Finally, her face had some expression: excitement. “I love to read.”

Her statement kindled an ounce of life in Harold’s body language. He nodded and peeked at her from the corner of his eyes. Then he stared at the water again. Baby steps, Harold, baby steps.

“Who’s your favorite author?” I held my breath after my query. Please say Neil Gaiman. Please, please.

I felt Kat squeeze my leg in anticipation, digging all five nails deep into my thigh.

“J.K. Rowling.”



Cori Tisdale was on top of the world. A basketball star at Harvard and a promising author with a lucrative book deal.

A few years later, Cori’s life is falling apart. Her beautiful girlfriend, Kat Finn, has a shopping addiction. To make ends meet, Cori takes a part-time job at a coffee shop.

Just when Cori thinks her life can’t get any worse, an old crush appears out of the blue. Cori’s friendship with Samantha Clarke pushes Cori further into a dangerous abyss when Sam reveals two secrets to Cori and asks her not to tell a soul, including Kat.

Will this be the end of Cori’s and Kat’s relationship?


About the Author:

B. Markinson is a 40-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. T. B. has published A Woman Lost, Marionette, and Confessions From A Coffee Shop.


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Sign up to TB’s New Release Mailing List here. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.


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Bad Writing and 80s Photos

2 Aug

That’s it! I did it.

I was stressing over it for weeks, I even had to press the pause button on my slow novel-writing and sacrifice reading some of your blogs and books in order to get this done, but I did it.

I finally turned in this writing project and was so happy when I typed the words The End. I went all out on it. I Clear-Eyes-And-Full-Hearted this one, and gave it all, so I was glad when I hit that submit button.

Now all I have to do is wait … wait for that Congratulations you’re an awesome writer and we love it letter.

But while I’m waiting for that to happen wanted to let you in on a little writer revelation I had during this process.

I realized that sometimes the things I write … they suck. They really do.

I came to this discovery while going through some old college boxes, looking for my awesome notes from this one writing class, you know to get my ass in gear. And as I was getting inspired by my blue Mead Notebook, I saw an old play I had written and I remembered thinking how awesome I thought it was at the time. So I flipped it open.


It was like finding an old 80s picture of yourself rocking the aquamarine L.A. Gears, jeans tightly rolled up and tucked into your white and blue socks, followed up with awesome gravity-defying hairstyle courtesy of Aquanet. You thought you looked good, you swore you did. You had no idea why Rafa would not notice you walking past the lockers. Now … in retrospect … when you look at this picture you realize why he didn’t see you.

Yeah it wasn’t him … it was you.

Yeah you.

You thought you rocked it, but in retrospect you were a casualty of fashion mistakes cruisin’ the hallways, the hairstyle being one of the biggest ones.

Yeah. This play was my 80s photograph.

I read through it and couldn’t believe some of the characters. I was amazed that I thought I could turn in something like this and classify it as good. It wasn’t Sharknado terrible, but still. I realized I had a lot of growing up to do in terms of writing. Don’t get me wrong the premise, plot and theme were pretty good, just my execution needed work. Out of the whole play I just liked one character, the others … well they could’ve all gone down on the Titanic and it would have been all good with me.

In any case this piece of writing did help me focus on my current project and I was thankful for that. I was able to create better dialogue and character arcs because of my flash from the past. So here’s hoping that my early failure catapults me to a better future.


If You Believe You Can, Then Guess What Happens …

8 Dec

When someone can focus and harness that Tony Robbins energy and passion every week until their dream is fulfilled … dude … that is definitely chocolate worthy. But not just any kind of chocolate … Hawaiian-chocolate.

It’s a big thing.

It’s inspiring.

So what do you say to a friend who’s done it twice?

Bad Ass. You’re a Bad Ass. Totally.

And as a friend, and fellow blogger, I feel it’s my duty to help her out in any way I can. So today I’m here to introduce you to T.B. Markinson author of A Woman Lost and writer at Making My Mark and The 50 Year Project.  She’s such a superwoman that her second novel, Marionette, debuted in early November. So in honoring her writing awesomeness I’m giving her rule of The Wish Factor for a day to talk about Marionette and her journey to make it happen. I know that after reading it, you’ll be sure to visit one of her sites and Amazon.com to get your copy.

Everybody … this is T.B. Markinson.


Many of you know that The Guat (TG) is not afraid of opening up. She pours her heart out and tells it how it is. I often find myself laughing out loud when I read her posts. Sometimes she brings tears to my eyes. Her observations about life, love, family, kids, and weird dudes on trains help me keep things in perspective. And she may not know this, but I’ve always found her to be quite an inspiration. You see, she’s not afraid to push herself when it comes to exercise.

Last April I read her post about The Fight for Air Climb. At the time I was training for my own adventure: climbing Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia. I’m not in the best of shape, but not in the worst of shape either. I’ve climbed a volcano in Guatemala, I’ve hiked in the Grand Tetons and the Rocky Mountains. But with each year (I’m almost 40) it keeps getting tougher.

To be honest, I was terrified of Mount Kinabalu. I knew it would push me like no other adventure had. Then I read TG’s post. If you missed it, check it out here. You’ll be amazed …

Now that you’re back, she climbed 1,400 steps—that’s 63 stories. I used to climb nine stories at my old job and got winded by the fifth floor. 63! I found it inspirational. Each morning when I got up to do my training I said, “The Guat did it. So can I!”

Then I arrived at the base of Mount Kinabalu. We planned to reach the summit in two days. I had two days to reach Low’s Peak, which is 13,435ft (4,095 meters) above sea level. I won’t lie. This climb kicked my ass. If you would like to learn more about it, visit these posts: The facts, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.


Photo courtesy of TB Markinson

Photo courtesy of TB Markinson


When the going got tough, which was about two hours in, I kept reminding myself that TG climbed 63 flights of stairs. If she could do it, I could do it. I don’t actually know the comparison of Mount Kinabalu and 1,400 steps. But the comparison isn’t important. You see, when embarking on a challenge like TG’s or mine, it’s not the actual challenge that’s important. I know that seems silly to say. But hear me out. It’s your state of mind. If you think you can do, more than likely you will.

My state of mind got me to the top of Mount Kinabalu. The title of The Guat’s post that I found so inspirational is: Keeping  a Badass Frame of Mind.

Now why am I writing this as a way of promoting my newest novel, Marionette? In order to finish any project, such as climbing 63 flights of stairs, a mountain, or writing a book it all comes down to one thing. Belief. If you believe you can do, nothing will stop you from reaching your dreams.

The Guat frequently writes about her challenges and conquering them. She’s truly an inspiration and I’m so glad that I met her. She probably doesn’t realize the impact she has on her readers. I would like to say, “Thank you, dude. We all need friends like you.”


Image via TB Markinson

Image via TB Markinson



Paige Alexander is seventeen and has her whole life in front of her. One day her girlfriend comes home to discover that Paige has slit her wrists. Paige isn’t insane, but she acts like she is. Why?

After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn’t believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn’t want to find herself and she doesn’t want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn’t had since her birth.

During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn’t come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family.

To add to Paige’s woes while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn’t out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?

T B Markinson

Image via TB Markinson

About The Author:

T. B. Markinson is a 39-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. Marionette is her second novel.  A Woman Lost was her debut novel.

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Purchase Links:

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Amazon (UK)


November Failure

25 Nov

I failed miserably. And I don’t like failing. It sucks. If effects my I’m-A-Badass state of mind.

But being a parent … wait … no … that can’t be used as a reason. I’m sure there are parents out there that are writers. Parents out there with two or even three kids that are cranking out over a thousand words a day. Life does not get in the way. NaNoWriMo Warriors.

I, however, have been defeated by my Nickelodeon Pack, exhausted by nine o’clock, and cranking out only five hundred words a night this week. I have barely scratched the surface. But, upon further review, these NaNoWriMo Warriors might get a night off from parenting duties every now and then. Me? I’m still full time on this parenting gig. I remain the CEO and janitor of this establishment, so apparently there seems to be very little down time that’s not being used up by executive decisions regarding diapers or LEGOs

Nevertheless … I continue my quest into the late hours typing away and doing my best to meet personal deadlines and avoid epic failure that creates the need for chocolate.  But the funny thing is, I didn’t really sign-up for NaNoWriMo, but I figured I’d participate in my own Guat way … you know, as a strong incentive to finish my book this year. But as you all know NaNoWriMo ends in November and I’m not even close to 50,000 words.

Luckily November doesn’t mark the end of the year. Just the end of the writing frenzy — a sort of Scared Straight moment for writers with personal end-of-year deadlines.

A Cowboy-Up moment, if you will.

So when all the crazed people attack those Black Friday specials at midnight, I’ll be on my third helping of something involving chocolate or pumpkin and typing away, in hopes for my own writing frenzy to spill over into the Jingle All The Way environment.

November will probably bring failure upon The Guat, but it also brings on so many December possibilities. Hopefully accompanied by humor, chocolate, and the words The End.


A Friend’s Dream

23 Oct

Every writer dreams of seeing their book in print, of walking into a Barnes & Noble, of logging onto Amazon.com and seeing the cover of their novel.

You rub your fingers across your name and smile. It’s a cool moment where you close your eyes and realize … I did it.


Something that every writer anticipates happening one day.

Me? I’m still working on that … I’m driving through the winding road trying to get through all the detours.

But I’m happy to say that my friend T.B. Markinson over at the 50 Year Project is already at her destination. Her first novel A Woman Lost, published earlier this year is doing well and her second novel is already in the works, ready to debut in December of this year.

She’s one of those high achievers whose probably a piano prodigy, rock climber, and future Pulitzer Winner.  But she’s also a friend and I’m happy to help her out on her writer journey, because even after your book gets published you still need a little help getting the word out. So for the second time this month I’m putting my not-so-exciting unpredictable life events, which I try to spin into comedic moments, on hold.

Today, I’m here to introduce you to Marionette … and to help unveil the cover.



T.B. Markinson's Second Novel

Design by Derek Murphy


Here’s a quick sneak peek.

Paige Alexander is seventeen and has her whole life in front of her. One day her girlfriend comes home to discover that Paige has slit her wrists. Paige isn’t insane, but she acts like she is. Why?

After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn’t believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn’t want to find herself and she doesn’t want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn’t had since her birth.

During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn’t come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family.

To add to Paige’s woes while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn’t out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?


You’ll have to buy the book in December to find out.

You Want Some Funny and Adventure in Your Life?

10 Oct

I feel like it’s my duty.

As my fellow bloggers are out there … in the open … putting their guts out for everyone to read, enjoy, and judge I as a fellow writer think I should not only support their dream but give it a little push. I’m totally in favor of pushing. So I thought it best to take the time out of my semi-humorous blog to help out those writers that also have the Dreamer’s Disease. The published author.

My pal over at Lame Adventures chronicles humorous life moments in a series of short stories in her debut novel Lame Adventures: Unglamorous Tales From Manhattan.


Image via Amazon

Image via Amazon

Subway Stories and Martini Max & Me happen to be a few of my favorites. They have a little New York in them and a whole lot of funny. Her wit and mastery with words can only make this Amazon purchase worthy of glowing reviews. So if you’re definitely in the mood to travel to New York and get plenty of ha-ha moments without getting on a plane Lame Adventures is definitely something for you.

“Unglamorous Tales from Manhattan is the user’s manual for living life at its fullest, on a wallet at its emptiest, in the metropolis that is the glitziest.”

I mean how can you not pick it up after that description, right?

Image via Amazon.com

Image via Amazon.com

Then there’s my buddy over at The 50 Year Project whose book A Woman Lost, is what I’ve been waiting for … it’s my wait list item. But if you’re advanced and have Kindle you can totally get it and fall in love with Lizzie, her partner Sarah, and the rest of the characters and hate those who try to bring her down. Dysfunctional families … they’re tough.

I can’t wait to get my hands on it and discover Lizzie’s journey through it all. Knowing my buddy, T.B., I can tell you that it probably has humorous moments, real moments, love story moments, and life moments swirled together in an engaging can’t put down novel.

Those are it people … those are my peeps fulfilling their dreams, putting it out there for the whole world to see. So hopefully you will too. You want some extra funny and adventure in your life? Then stop by Amazon and pick up a novel or two.





Choosing Your Own Story and The Real Richard Parker

7 Oct

Embarrassing. It was embarrassing.

I’d probably get expelled from a book club.

As a writer I should be able to read great novels in a short amount of time. Boring long-winded-going-no-where stories, I’d understand. They take a little time. But not great novels. The pages should have a kung-fu grip on me at dawn and wrap around me late at night. If the story is great, they should consume me. And the thing is the story was great! But life and lack of sleep won the battle and literacy lost. It lost and it took me about five months to finish reading the book.

Embarrassing. I know.

I should have been able to finish it sooner, especially since I made a pact with a friend to read it together and chat about it. But I fell short of the deadline and then short again on the extension.

Don’t you feel terrible when you say you’re going to do something, and then it doesn’t happen?

And not because you’re lazy, but because of life. If you had an adventurous world-wind-crazy-wonderful-kind of life I’d understand. But there’s nothing too adventurous about diapers, paying bills, rejection letters, Legos, and Nickelodeon. At least not when you’re trying to be an awesome reading buddy.

But regardless of life, I finally did it.

I did it and I’d like to thank my reading pal over at The 50 Year Project for being patient with my below basic speed-reading skills.

The spark for our International Book Club Party began with Life of Pi. Granted when I first saw the cover I was like what the hell the kind of story is this? Then I got an extra nudge from my pal Cayman Thorn who loved the book. So I chatted up the possibility with the only reading sleuth I knew … My pal T.B. Markinson and so the adventure across the Indian and Pacific Oceans began.

Life of Pi

Life of Pi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Through this adventure I learned to love orangutans, and Bengal tigers. I also learned to hate French chefs and hyenas. They’re a bastard species. But most of all I learned to really like Piscine Molitor — A.K.A. Pi, a Hindu, Christian, Muslim who survived 227 days out at sea, on a lifeboat, with Bengal tiger.

It was an amazing adventure story, sometimes a little too amazing with a brief stint on a man-eating botanical island populated by thousands of meerkats. But wanting to find out what happened between Pi and this ginormous Bengal tiger, known as Richard Parker, kept me going. Belief that for some reason Pi had formed a friendship with Richard Parker and that this friendship was going to help them survive. I actually believed they had a deep connection, deeper than Sigfried & Roy.

But then the twist came. The Holy Crap moment that made me sit down.

I never saw it coming.

I sat there for minute in disbelief of the truth. If you can’t handle the truth you better stop reading now.

There was no Bengal tiger on the boat.


No orangutan or zebra. No bastard hyena who violently killed and ate them. There was just a ruthless French Chef who went a little too far with his killing spree and got all Hannibal Cannibal on the survivors. He was the hyena, and Pi — Pi was the real Richard Parker. He created a version of events that made more sense to him using the zoo animals he’d grown up with and cared for his entire life.

After telling his Richard Parker saga to ship authorities, they didn’t seem to believe him. So he confessed to a different version of events, one with no animals, but with a French chef. One where his family still dies.

After hearing both versions I, like my reading budding T.B. Markinson, agreed that the Richard Parker version was much better. Sometimes stories, whether they’re books or movies, have something extraordinary — out of your realm of possibilities — happen and you believe it. You take it on faith because the spirit of the character or the journey has gotten to you. You’ve become invested. You believe it because the struggle seems so real. You believe because you champion for their survival.

This is what happened. I championed for Pi and Richard Parker. I championed for “choosing your own story”. I championed for the underdogs.