The sub-title for the book is “A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” and like the sub-title, this book goes on and on and on. Not that I didn't love it; it was an intriguing and meandering way to talk all about running. Not only did the book cover the modern American running craze and elite ultra-runners of the world, but also crammed in a lot of running science and facts as well as a the whole book being a build up to the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.
I honestly have to admit I learned so much about my own body, the human body and how we are made to run and I am excited to start putting many of the things I learned into practice. As I read it I wanted to loosen my shoes and take off for as long as I could. And I knew why I've always preferred to run in wide, lose-fitting shoes, and maybe now I won't question the barefoot runners quite so much. I appreciated how the story-like style of the book helped the medical and scientific and evolutionary facts not seem so daunting. I also appreciated how McDougall neither preached evolution or a spiritual viewpoint but kept the information presented respectful to people from either camp.
There were a few places in the book where I lost focus on what the point was. It was easy to forget it was a book on running because of the way he weaved the story of the race through it but then it would phase back into science and facts and throw me off. I am primarily an audio reader and I'm glad for that with this book. I'm not sure, had I sat down to read it, that I could have finished it because of the way flow was broken up between the story and the science. And I did feel slightly preached at about running barefoot and the evil running shoe empire.
All in all, I feel like I learned more in this book than I could have in a hundred articles and I also learned about some pretty amazing and eccentric world-class ultra-runners. And I want to run! So off I go for a light and easy run with my son! Just in case you're interested the Harvard University has some interesting Barefoot science FAQs: http://www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/6FAQ.html
Q: Tell us about your book:
This is a story of two people that have locked away their feelings and never thought about love again. It's about two souls reaching past the lies, and heartache to find the passion again.
Q: What inspired you to write the story?
Tabitha was the assistant in The One Night Series and decided to tell me her story as I wrote the others. Once I was done with the last book I knew she wouldn't let me do anything else until she got some glory.
Q: Is this your first work of fiction? If not, please tell us a little about your first book/series.
No, my first work was The One Night Series which is now in a box-set of three books. Unexpected Chances is the first novel in The Chances Series, which will include a total of 4 books.
Q: Who is your primary audience for series?
ChickLit , and Contemporary Romance lovers who are over 18
Q: Please tell us about yourself.
Recently I just celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary with my best friend and the one that supports me no matter what. We have a son who suffers from Autism and Aspergers, but he doesn't let that keep him down or stop him in anyway. Also I just decided to go full-time as an author, which is scary but you have to take risk.
Q: Have you been writing for a long time?
I started writing when I was a child, but it wasn't until my mid 30's that I really started focusing on it. Last April I released my first book and haven't looked back since.
Q: How much time per week do you spend writing/editing your work?
Oh my a ton of hours, if I am not writing I am connecting with my readers and working on edits as I move along.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I just finished up the first round of edits for Fading Memories which is a stand alone that will be out in late August/ September. Oh and I am working on book 3 in The Chances Series Unexpected Choices.
A.M. Willard is a true believer of soul mates, and happy ever after’s. She enjoys reading, sailing, and of course writing contemporary romance with some saucy scenes. Releasing her first novella of the One Night Series on April 12, 2014 has sent her on a new journey in life. A.M.’s passion for writing started at a young age, but with the love and support from her husband of eighteen years pushed her to follow her dreams. Once she hit that first publish button, she hasn’t looked back.
Publications available from A.M. Willard include the Chances Series, Love on the Screen, and everyone’s favorite the One Night Series. She’s also had an article published in the Writer’s Monthly Review Magazine.
A.M. Willard was born and raised in the Panhandle of Florida, but resides in Savannah Ga with her husband, son, two cats, one rotten dog, and her six chickens. Yes, we said chickens…
You can connect with A.M. Willard on her website www.amwillard.com or subscribe to her newsletter for the latest releases, teasers and sale alerts; http://eepurl.com/bb-Cd1
“The pen writes what the heart desires.”
Desiree Schmidt was one of the first gym friends I made at CrosSport. Her bright smile and shameless singing to the music streaming in her ears endeared her to me instantly. She made the gym feel safe and over time she would become a friend to share life and prayers and stories with outside of the gym as well. What I didn't know when I started was how far she had come on her lifestyle transformation journey.
A few months ago I saw a picture of Des standing by CrosSport co-owner, Mike, and probably a #3 tire, and I was stunned at how much bigger she was. I don't mean she wasn't beautiful, she had a big ole smile on her face that brightened the picture, but she wasn't the shape I knew her to be. The storyteller in me had to know her story. So, last Friday, we were able to sit down after a WOD and chat. It may have looked like we were planning to take over the world but I assure you it was just an interview about taking charge of one's own life.
Des' journey to wellness began in the late spring of 2012. She was tired of changing in the closet, of making love in the dark, of jumping into pjs by six, of feeling fat and gross. She planned to have a weight loss surgery while her husband, Bill, was deployed and be physically transformed by the time he returned, but it wasn't to be. At just under two hundred pounds she wasn't big enough for surgery. That's when she joined the gym.
That's where the story should end, right? Someone goes to the gym, does the work and the pounds melt away and viola, you have the body you always dreamed of. But like a lot of others, that wasn't Des' story. She didn't magically drop weight or get the super thin body she wanted. In fact, in seven months she only lost seven pounds, her clothes fit the same and she felt completely defeated.
Then… everything changed. A friend of hers made some dramatic lifestyle changes that caught her attention. AdvoCare was the answer when she asked what was up. Her friend joined AdvoCare after his wife did and his whole life changed. Inspired by their story, Des started a 24 day challenge which included a 10 day herbal cleanse, eating mostly protein, fruit, veggies, nuts and berries with fiber and pro biotic supplements. The cleanse was followed by a 14 day max phase with meal replacement shakes and vitamins added in. By the end Des saw enough of a difference to never look back.
After four months she was down 50 pounds, fitting into a size 6-8 and had inspired her husband and children to embrace a new way of living and eating. She and Bill became AdvoCare distributors and have joined in on the lifestyle and weight-loss journeys of others. As a fitness instructor in the late 90s Des helped others get fit and lose weight but it paled in comparison to the changes she helps others make now. The smile on her face when she shared about the 1,000+ pounds she has helped others lose was evidence of how much she truly loves leading others to a healthier way of life. As a fellow Christian, Desiree shared that helping others is not only a privilege but part of her ministry in service of the LORD. She is grateful for the way her choices to live better have helped her family, friends, and clients live more fulfilled lives.
1,000 combined pounds lost is a huge feat but that's not what she's most proud of. Her greatest accomplishment is the change she has seen in her family. Her husband, Bill, initially joined AdvoCare to be able to stay in the Navy. He was just shy of his retirement and was in danger of not meeting the weight and fitness requirements. Her step-son, Andy, was so inspired by the changes he saw in his parents that he too changed his life and went from a reclusive chubby kid to a much more social and involved young man. As a family, they're more active and have even run a Family Warrior dash together.
Des admits that she still struggles with her body image and feeling good in her skin but she is more confident than ever. When she said one of the biggest things she's noticed is that she has fewer chins, I laughed the way only another woman who knows what she means could. But despite the improvements, for her it's more about how she feels. She no longer dresses in hiding or asks for the lights to be turned off. She is content at 150 pounds and has let go of the idea that beauty and skinny are synonymous. Instead of tying her fitness goals to a number on the scale or size of pants, she sets activity goals like the #sweataday challenges she posts on Instagram and Facebook, running races faster, attempting physical obstacles or helping others extend their lives through her AdvoCare business.
As the weights were hefted into place for the night and our time came to an end I asked her advice for anyone just beginning their weight loss journey. It's no surprise she remembered and shared the comments of one of the AdvoCare doctors; find balance with your nutrition, your supplements, your fitness regime, (and, most recently, your sleep schedule) and stick to it and you'll find success. Des says to seek a healthy lifestyle more than a “fix-it-quick” diet, and, my personal favorite tidbits were to get an accountability partner and be willing to admit that others might possibly know more than you.
Way to go Des and thanks so much for your time and words of wisdom!
My eldest son graduated this weekend. The week leading up to it was a flurry of crazy activity and final plans and motions. The realization that, once again, things will never be what they once were. I remember him getting on the bus for preschool, throwing temper tantrums on the way to second grade, playing the clarinet in fifth grade, hopping from one school to the next, and doing school-at-home for a bit. Now it's done, I miss it but I'm so proud and excited for what lies ahead. It is one more chapter ended. One more milestone met. The third significant family moment I spent without my partner by my side.
I spent an anniversary alone on a mountain mourning what was lost. Then just last week I celebrated our eldest's announcement that she is pregnant by myself. I will be a grandma. He will be a grandpa. I didn't believe it at first but then when the reality sunk in the next thought was… I want to share this with him. I want muse about being grandparents so young with him. No one else. I don't want another man to be called Grandpa, but I don't want to be a lonely Gramma either.
And now our son graduates and we are still apart.
He came to the graduation barbecue. It was awkward but I'm glad he was there. That day wasn't about us. It was about the boy, his accomplishments, his achievements, his 12 plus years of hard work to make it to that night. I'm happy for the sake of our son that he was there despite the separation. I'm sad it was the first time in almost two months either of the boys had seen him. I was wondering why this has to be so hard on them? Why couldn't he have just left me and not them? I kept reminding myself to be glad he was there then, for our son's moment to shine.
I almost touched him once. It was an accident. He was in the door frame of the house that once was his and I was walking past. Before all of this leaving business, I would have reached out and grazed his torso or touched his hand or stopped briefly to kiss him and smile as I passed. I almost reached out, 14 years of habit is hard to break, but I stopped my hand from reaching for him. It didn't stop my soul from feeling. We were one once, we are no more. Why God why? What did I do?
It was the first time in nearly two months I'd seen him. I barely said a dozen words to him because I didn't know what to say and only made eye contact twice. Once, the first time, I was reminded of how his eyes mesmerize me, beautiful blue oceans of depth, fathomless, and now lost to me. The other just before he left for the night, a fist-bump and “Good job, Mama” and a second, or maybe two, of soul connection. I willed him him to fix this with my gaze. If he saw, he ignored it. He hugged our daughter, squeezed our other son's shoulder and told him he loved him, like that made up for 55 days of absence, said good-bye to the rest and left, like he did all those days before.
It was an afternoon and evening of cool, careful cordiality. The whole time I was asking myself: how does 14 years come down to this? What did I do? What is so bad about me he wanted to leave? And now that we're here do I even want to go back? How do we move forward? Do we be friends? Do we follow a plan? I know I don't want to be enemies, there's too much we've shared, too much of my soul wrapped up in his to fight or hate him. But where do we go from here?
I know don't want to be in the waiting room in seven months as our daughter gives birth unable to look him in the eye or have a conversation as we pass the time waiting to hear the news of our first grandchild's delivery. I want to share the moment in some way even if it's not as husband and wife. I want to be able to talk to him and look at him and not feel like my soul is bleeding all over the place.
Where do we go from here? How do we move on? What do I do?
The funny thing is all of the little things that annoyed or pissed me off. I noticed his shirt and shoes were new, maybe his jeans too. I thought... how nice to be able to buy new stuff for yourself when I'm trying to use my money to help our kids deal with the heartbreak of a parent leaving. It was mean, but it was my thought, what can I say? Then the next moment I thought… Was I such a Nazi with the budget that he didn't feel like he could buy clothes or shoes for himself? Why didn't he just say something instead of depriving himself? And the next thought… those jeans do nothing for his butt. Then … how many days has it been since I've had sex. A season at least. And... how can I think about sex at my son's graduation party? But… will I ever have sex again? I want to have sex again. And why is sex such a big deal anyway? I know how to take care of myself… And… It's my son's graduation I need to get my mind out of the gutter and focus on him, his night, his moment, his achievement. And... all of this really started because I noticed he had on a brand new shirt and shoes? Really?!
Then there were the strawberries. He said he would take the boy to the field to get ready for the ceremony. I packed up the strawberry shortcake leftovers he brought but he told me to keep them and give the bowl back to our mutual friend when we were finished with them. My immediate reaction was anger. I felt horrible for being angry but I was. Our friend had been checking in with me and he said to give the bowl back to her when we were done. What did he say to her about me? What does she think of me? Why is he making it my job to clean his stupid bowl of strawberry goo and give it to someone. Typical… leave the mess for me to take care of. And then I thought … that's mean, don't think that way, he's a good man. He's just tired of this life we had. And why? What was so wrong with our life? I liked it… it had issues but it was a good life. And again, what did I do?
Then for the first time in 14 years we were together but sitting three people apart, watching the child we'd raised graduate but not sharing the moment. I was glad he didn't have another woman with him but part of me wished he did. At least then there would be a reason for the leaving. But no, just me, too much and not enough to keep him. Another dismal notch in my failure column.
And our son graduated and we didn't squeeze hands in pride or kiss conspiratorially as he waked across the podium. We watched separately.
I wanted that moment for us, to celebrate his achievement, our achievement, to worry about what the future holds for him, to wonder what the next weeks would entail together. I wanted my fingers all wrapped up in his, we probably would have had sweaty hands because of the heat, but we would have been together. Instead we were three people apart and his ring was around my neck and his new shoes were scuff free, but his arms had scratches on them. Were they from work, from fishing, from helping an elderly friend or something else all together? I had no idea where the scratches came from or how new his shoes were to still be scuff free, because I do not know his life anymore. I wondered, as the students walked across the stage, one after the other, as we sat in the bleachers breathing the same hot, stagnant air, how could it have come to this?
I looked at his hand, ringless as it was and again touched the ring hanging around my neck. I remembered a promise I hissed in a moment of anger, “I'll wear it until it's back on your finger or until another ring takes its place.” But now I'm not so sure about that. I want closure. I need resolution. I tried to tell myself, I'm still trying to tell myself I don't care if it's divorce or restoration. I just need resolution. Two months is too long to live in limbo. But if this is the game of life and he moved out, isn't the next move mine? And if it is, what do I do? What's my move?
OK here it is... taaaaa daaa! Scandalous Affair is set to come out 7/7! I am beyond excited for this book BUT I want to be clear up front this is NOT part of the series I've been writing. Please do not buy this book if smut isn't your thing. There are several gratuitous sensual/sexual scenes in the story. This book is not for my sweet, conservative Christian friends. I love an appreciate your support more than words can say but I must be honest and say that this book will be far beyond your comfort zones.
What can I say? I have a reason for writing it and... let's face it, SEX sells, and I need sales! Though I didn't think I'd be here at this time in my life, I'm in a place where I need the sales to support myself and my family. For all intents and purposes, I'm a single mama and I need the money and I hope this book helps. This story is gritty and sexy and I am unapologetic. If any of my conservative Christian friends want to message me or talk to me about it, please do! I'll be happy to share my reasoning behind the book. It's a story worth telling and if there's a little sex, OK a lot of sex in it, so be it.
Truth be told, it's not that sex riddled. Compared to the erotica market, it's barely a blip. Scandalous Affair definitely has more sex scenes in it than you will find in my other novels but it is far from erotica. I wrote the scenes where the story called for them. I'm not the kind of person that thinks S&M and all that blah is necessary. I don't like it, I don't write it and I don't think anything will ever change my mind on that BUT I do like sex! I believe it's one of the greatest gifts the Good LORD gave us and I enjoy it immensely (errr I did until my current situation popped up). I am personally frustrated with the sexual repression within the church and, though this book isn't the platform to address that, it does showcase my appreciation of the sexual side of humans and again I'm unapologetic.
I was inspired to write this story by the movie "Shall We Dance" with Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon in 2011 for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month). Though it has the billionaire themes of a certain story (that shall remain nameless) published that year, I PROMISE it had nothing to do with inspiring my story. I wanted a story where the guy went with the other woman, but the other woman was by far the right choice. I also wanted to play in a world I knew nothing about. I'm a rough-around-the-edges, outdoorsy, redneck and I like it that way but I sometimes wonder (especially in 2011 when I was making minimum wage) how the other half live. I guess this was my foray into a world of wealth and riches. It's a fantasy world of unbelievable fortune, sensuality and temptation and choices, consequences and dancing.
For those it offends... when you read it, don't say I didn't warn you. For everyone else, I hope you feel the feelings I was trying to express. May my words give you a momentary reprieve from the world around you, and may you dance!