Run Into The Ground

This was a running weekend.

Saturday morning, we ran in the 2nd Annual Jim Boughton 5K Road Race down in Dubuque.  This is a fun event with alumni coming back from all over the country and I got to see some friends I don’t see too often.  Steph asked me to pace her in an effort to get a good time.

We finished in 23:45, besting her previous best (24:49) by a full 64 seconds and earning her 2nd place in her age group.   She was excited, to say the least.

We were also told we should have gotten an award for cutest couple.  Honest, we didn’t plan the matching outfits.  We packed separately.

Toward the Finish Line

And after the race, I went out an ran 19 miles on Heritage Trail.  Because I am awesome.  Or incredibly stupid. It’s easy to get those confused when it comes to marathon training.

Sunday was Steph’s long day but we were only able to get in 15 miles before thunder and lightning chased us home.  We got back in the house minutes before a pretty vicious downpour started.  Unfortunately, the storm cell was huge and we weren’t able to get back out before having to head home to Decorah.

But hey, we had a good weekend with my folks and tomorrow looks to be a good day.  Happy Memorial Day all (and make sure you remember what the day is really about – it’s not all BBQs and parades).

The Book Stack

So how’s things?

Over here, busy is the word.  The school year just ended and there’s only four weeks of training before Grandmas Marathon.  What little writing I’ve done has been world building for the next novel and fine tuning a query letter.

So, lacking any actual content, here’s the stack of books waiting for me:

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty as Charlie’s Angels.  I picked this up a few weeks ago because I’ve read Hines before and I know he’s a good author.  This book hasn’t disappointed me yet.  It’s fun, charming, and turns some of the old fairy tales on end.  Even Steph, who is a very picky reader when it comes to fantasy, loved it.

The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin & Eytan Kollin

I saw this one in the store sometime back but didn’t have the money to pick it up.  After reading the recent Locus interview (PDF) with the authors, I had our local bookstore order it for me.  This will probably be the next one after the Stepsister Scheme.

WWW: Watch by Robert J. Sawyer

The first book, WWW: Wake was fantastic.  A blind girl is given an implant to allow her to see and while it works, it also lets her see the World Wide Web.  And there’s something growing out there.  Reading Wake just sent my brain into a fantastic fit.  I’m hoping that Wake will do the same.

Germline by T.C. McCarthy

McCarthy’s debut novel.  I received an ARC of this and hope to write a review for Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing.  The book itself doesn’t hit shelves until late July.  Kind of fun having a copy in my hands ahead of time.  This will probably come after the Unincorporated Man.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Sanderson is one of the big stars in the fantasy world right now.  He’s the guy who was chosen to finish Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series and he’s one of the voices behind Writing Excuses, probably my favorite writing related podcast.  I’ll give this one a shot sometime this summer.

Still On Earth (Despite Efforts Otherwise)

This morning on my 13 mile run blackbird tried to take off with my scalp.

This is not the first time such a thing has happened.  Back in June 2009 something almost identical happened.

I have a sense that today was more sinister.  The bird had its claws tangled up in my hair and I could feel them scrapping against my skull. Sure, maybe I got too close to its nest or maybe I startled it but I think those are just avoiding the real reason.

I think the danged thing was trying to lift me up for the Rapture.

Sqwak! "Repent and be Saved!" Sqwak!

One Way To Run 20 Miles

This is where I spent my Saturday morning.

A creation so vile and evil ...

We had some pretty ugly weather up here today – rain, wind, and temps in the low 40s.  Saturday is usually my long run day and rather than subject my support crew (aka, Steph on a bike) to that miserable experience, I opted to run indoors.

On a treadmill.

For 20 miles.

I now have an overwhelming urge to destroy all treadmills.*

On the bright side, this is where I spent my Saturday afternoon.

Zzzzz ...

* All things considered, it was a good run.  I had Netflix playing on the iPad hooked up to the stereo and Steph made sure I had plenty of fluids and GU.  Strangely, I finished in 2:38:34 which is exactly one hour short of my personal best in a marathon.  If I kept up that pace, I’d have to cover just 6.2 miles in less than an hour to get a new record.  Good sign.

Sand in My Shoes

Back home from California and into the sweltering heat of Iowa.

The wedding went off without a hitch and Steph’s cousin (Andy) is marrying into quite a unique family.  To give you a sense – Michelle’s (the bride) mother is Mexican, born in LA and her father is Indian born in Goa, India which is the Portuguese part of the country. I half expected them to break out into a rousing rendition of Jai Ho (and judging by the reception, I wasn’t too far off the mark).  The day after, we went to the bride’s house for a delicious brunch which included Orange Juice squeezed from oranges picked that morning off their own orange tree.

Yes, this is a big deal for us Iowans.

And, as an added bonus to my dear readers, proof that it is possible for me to get dressed up:


Sunday was also a chance to hang out with VP bud Chia, her husband Dan, and their friend Thessaly (quite a character).  They took us out to a great lunch and then back to their place for Much Ado About Margaritas.  Folks from VP will know what that’s all about.   Steph also got a chance to ransack Chia’s lemon and orange trees.  All in all – a great way to spend an afternoon.

So in parting, I leave you with pictures of California.

Manhattan Beach Pier
Manhattan Beach: Birthplace of Beach Volleyball (this place is packed on weekends)
Sadly, this was not me.
Steph and I in slightly more natural dress

Off to the Angels

Little to report on the writing front.  I’ve been hammering away at a query letter for Genie Memories. Steph has proven most helpful in sorting through the mess.  She spent maybe 45 minutes reading through sample query letters and advice over at Absolute Write, then sat down to help me out.  I threw the first draft up on the Share Your Work forums and got some great feedback.

In between, I’ve been working on the plot for Favors.  Parts of it are coming together quite nicely and it’s doing wonders for keeping my sanity intact while fighting with the query letter.

But that’ll be on hold as tomorrow we head west to the City of Angels.  Steph’s cousin is getting married in Los Angeles (Manhattan Beach, to be precise) and we’re heading out to attend and do a little bit of soaking in the sun.

On top of that, I get the added bonus of seeing Viable Paradise bud Chia Evers.  I’m kind of excited about this.  Outside of the wonderful Catherine Schaff-Stump, I haven’t seen anyone from VP XIII since leaving Martha’s Vineyard.  So yeah, I’m looking forward to it and it should be a good time.

But first, off to bed so we can make the drive up to Minneapolis and catch a flight.