Thursday, April 7, 2011

Great Book!!!

     So, I was totally unable to post yesterday because I got sucked into a really great book and didn't want to put it down until I was finished.  I will be getting to a review of it later in this post.

     On Tuesday I ran 5 wonderful miles on the treadmill, yesterday was 3 miles on the treadmill and 7 on the bike, and today was 10 miles for my long run.  I am definitely back to normal after the unfortunate funk of last week. 

     As far as writing goes, I am a little stuck.  I have been a lot more into reading than writing for the past few weeks.  I was really excited about my new story, but I am now thinking it's not as great as I thought.  I am probably going to try to write it anyway, just to finish something.  Even if it's not as good as I had originally thought it was going to be, at least it will be good practice.

     Now for my review...

Baby Huey: A Cautionary Tale of Addiction
James Henderson
Price on Amazon:
99 cents
Number of Stars: 5 out of 5 stars

     This is the story of an average black man and his spiral into the world of crack addiction.  This is one of those stories that you know from the first few chapters isn't going to end well, but like a train wreck you can't look away.  A scarily accurate depiction of how drug addiction can happen to anybody.  A lot of people don't understand how easy it is to get sucked into drugs, and this story is a great example of how sometimes it really only takes one time.  I have known more than a few drug addicts, and I also know that sometimes people you could never imagine even thinking about using drugs can fall so far under it's spell that there is no chance for return.  It really is an amazing phenomenon, can you think of anything else in the world that has that kind of power.  There are a few situations in the book that would make it iinappropriate for school aged students, but otherwise I would say that this book should be required reading for all graduating high school students. 

     On top of the fact that this book has an amazing lesson it is also extremely well written.  The characters were all extremely believable.  It wasn't just a story about some guy addicted to crack, it was about John Dough and his struggle to live.  Every time he would start heading in the right direction, he would ruin it all by doing crack.  That's how drug addiction is, once you are an addict you will be one forever, it doesn't matter if you have been sober for 10 years, use one time and you will be right back where you were.  I could really relate to John's wife Doreen and her feelings toward him and his new addiction.  What do you do if you find out your husband has been using crack?

     The story doesn't end in a completely terrible way, but it does show you that drug addiction only leads to a few different endings, most of which are not good.  I think that this book would be great for any recovering addict or anybody struggling to understand how someone close to them became an addict.  Drug addiction is so taboo in our society and most people don't really understand how much control drugs can have over a person.  While this story isn't technically true because it's fiction, I know there are people going through this right now as I type this.  This is a story that you will think about long after you have finished it.  I highly recommend this book to anyone (over the age of 16, because of a few scenes that are absolutely not appropriate for young children).  Great Book!

     I won't be posting tomorrow since I did today, but I will see you all on Monday.  I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.

Until Then,
SJ Hanson

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another Book Review

     I am feeling much better today.  I spent most of the weekend in bed getting better and I am finally starting to feel normal again.  I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head right now for my new story.  I am hoping to get a lot of it down on paper this week.  I am much more excited about this idea than I ever was about my original idea, so I am going to focus on developing this short story first, then get back to the novel. 
     I managed to get to the gym on Saturday for 4 miles on the treadmill and around 5 on the spin bike.  I was also able to read A Land Of Ash and so I thought I would give you all my review.

A Land Of Ash
Author: David Dalglish, David McAfee, Daniel Arenson, John Fitch V, Michael Crane, Robert Duperre
Price on Amazon:
.99 cents
Number of Stars: 5 out of 5 stars

     This is a collection of short stories about the aftermath of the Yellowstone Caldera erupting.  The first few stories are about different people trying to get somewhere safe or preparing for their inevitable death.  "Shelter" by David Dalglish was a bit of a tear jerker.  Another one from this collection that I really enjoyed was "Secret Mission"  Also by David Dalglish.  This one was totally heartbreaking and really makes you think about things.  One that wasn't quite so sad was "The One That Matters" by Robert Duperre, it's about a hero of sorts and a little lighter than some of the other stories in the collection.

     I was able to connect with many of the characters in these stories and enjoyed most of them.  I found this little collection to be really thought provoking.  I found myself asking questions that had never occured to me before, like what would I do in that situation?  I really enjoyed the style of the different authors.  I felt like they did a good job of working together to make a cohesive story.  This collection could almost read like a novel instead of several seperate short stories.

     I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars because I really enjoyed it, I would recommend it to anybody who is a fan of the horror genre, but it is also great for someone who is looking for a really thought provoking read.  This is definately a dark book without so much of a happy ending, but it was a great book anyway.

     That's all I've got for today, I'm off to work on my story.  I will see you all on Wednesday.

Until Then,
SJ Hanson

Friday, April 1, 2011

Still Not 100%

     I'm sorry to say that I am still not feeling great.  It's been a really long week for me.  I am hoping that I will be able to rest a lot over the weekend and get to feeling better.  Unfortunately, I have nothing for the blog again today, I just haven't had the motivation to do anything this week. 

     I would like to tell you all that the new story idea I have is developing nicely.  I decided to try this one in more of an outline and then write kind of style.  I have a good bit of it outlined already and also have many ideas for the characters, so I am hoping to get some work done on it this weekend while I'm getting better.

     I did workout a few times this week.  I went to the gym on Wednesday and ran 3 miles, which were 3 of the most exhausting miles I have ever run.  Yesterday was 4 miles, and they felt better, but still not as easy as they should have been, then about 5 miles on the stationary bike.  And this morning I ran 8 miles and then dragged myself to work.  Right now, all I want to do is sleep.

     So, hopefully on Monday I will have something to write about.  I would like to read something over the weekend, so maybe I'll have a book review.  I am supposed to run 4 miles tomorrow to finish up my week, but that's going to depend on if I still feel icky when I wake up in the morning.  Well, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I will be back on Monday and hopefully back to 100%.

Until Then,
SJ Hanson

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm Sick

     Hello all, sorry I wasn't around on Monday.  I came down with a nasty cold over the weekend and I'm still not totally over it.  I spent the last two days in bed sick as I can ever remember being.  Unfortunately, I have nothing to write about today.  I didn't get any writing done over the weekend or last two days.  I did run this morning, but it was only a ridiculously slow 3 miles and now I feel exhausted. 

     While I was in bed with a fever, I came up with what I think will be a great short story, so I am going to pause on my book for a while and see if I can get this short story written.  I am thinking when it's done, it will be about 20K-30K words.  It's going to be kind of a mystery/suspense story.  I am excited about it.

     So, that's all I'm going to say for now, hopefully I will have a longer post on Friday when I am feeling a little bit better.

Until Then,
SJ Hanson

Friday, March 25, 2011

Great Week So Far

     It has been a pretty great week so far.  On Tuesday I ran 4 really slow miles on the treadmill because I was still pretty sore from my race on Saturday.  Wednesday was 3 miles on the treadmill and 6 on the stationary bike.  Yesterday was 7 miles on the treadmill, which is my long run for the week.  I decided that I really seem to lack motivation on the weekends, so my long run needs to be during the week.  I am getting really excited because it is finally above freezing outside, so I should be able to start running outside again soon.  This morning I had a water aerobics class which was fun, but not as challenging as I would have liked.
     On the writing front, I got to my 15,000 word goal, and got one character back story written and one other started.  I've spent a lot of time this week reading about making more in depth characters.  I'm having a hard time with my character's emotions.  I know what I want my story to be about, but I am having a difficult time making it emotional enough.  So, I will continue to work on character back story and development over the weekend, and attempt to have 17,500 words written by Monday.

     So, now I would like to review one of the books I just finished reading.

Gods Tomorrow
Aaron Pogue
Price on Amazon:
.99 cents
Number of Stars: 5 out of 5 Stars

     This book was really fun.  It is set in a near future world where an all knowing system called Hathor is able to provide surveillance and is supposed to be able to see crime happening and bring those responsible to justice.  But, there are people called ghosts, that have somehow managed to hide from Hathor, and they are criminals.  Katie Pratt, the main character, has gotten a job as one of the special agents that tries to find these ghosts.  She is soon given the case a young women who was murdered in downtown Little Rock.  When she checks with Hathor she discovers that the record of the crime is blacked out.  This is new, because no ghost has been able to "blackout" Hathor before.  The killer must be found before he can blind Hathor and possibly destroy the entire system.

     One reason that I really liked this one was because it was set in a place that really could be our future.  The characters were very well thought out, I found myself rooting for many of the characters, but especially Katie.  I can easily identify with her struggle to prove herself to her male coworkers.  This story was very fast paced, everytime I went to put the book down, I couldn't because I just needed to know what happened next.  I will definately be reading the next one.  I would recommend this title to anyone who likes Sci-fi, thrillers, mysteries or anything in between.  A great read for only .99 cents.

That's all I have for today, I will be back again on Monday.  I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.

Until Then,
SJ Hanson

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My First Guest Post

     So, I am very pleased to tell you all that I have a guest author on my blog today. 

     Nicholas J. Ambrose is the author of Progenitor which can be found here for only .99 cents. 

About The Book:

     Dev is a refugee. At the age of seven, alien spacecraft appeared above her homeworld and covered it with napalm, burning it to the ground. Thrust into the family’s ship and ferried off the dying planet, she is the survivor of a superior race called the Progenitor’s destructive warning: to leave their artefacts alone.

     Twenty years later, Dev becomes understudy to one of the scientists on the Faculty ship Sanctity Architect. She has grown up, moved on and buried her frightful past.

     But unbeknownst to Dev, her life is about to collide with the Progenitors once again. They destroyed her planet, boiled its atmosphere away, burnt her parents alive – and now they need Dev’s help.

     This is the first part in a 4 novella series that is called What Happened On The Sanctity Architect, parts 2, 3, and 4 will be coming out in April and May of 2001 for .99 cents each.  You can follow Nicholas on 

And without further ado, here is Mr. Ambrose:

     My favourite aspect of writing by Nicholas J. Ambrose
When discussing this guest post with the wonderful Miss Hanson, she requested that I write about my favourite aspect of the writing process. On first reading it, I thought, great! Simple! It’s easy to talk about your favourite part of something, right?

     Not so much. Because, as it turns out, I don’t have a favourite part of writing, and so I can’t highlight anything as stand-out above the rest. For me, there is no ‘favourite’ part, because I love the entire thing. And here’s why.

     The outlining part of a story comes first, and that’s the part of the book that really excites me. It’s the part of the development process where you first start crafting an idea and then falling in love with it. I love feeling like I’m striding into some unknown. The feeling is as though I’m above some great stew pot, and as I go I’m throwing things in, removing bits and pieces I don’t feel quite fit. It’s alternately very fast and quite slow paced, and is one of the most organic parts of the process for me. I’m a world-builder, first and foremost, and this is where I feel I’m in my element.

     Characters are also part of that, and that’s another process I’ve come to love. Answering questions about each one of them is great – it’s a fantastic way of figuring out just what makes each one of them act the way they do. More often than not, it’s an excuse to figure out things that you yourself didn’t even think of beforehand!

     After that’s finished, I can nail down the parts of the story that I want, and figure out where they go, and also make sure that the entire thing gels reasonably well. I love that, as well, because now I’ve set myself something to work toward. I’ve now got a more rigid set of goals, places to go, people to see. I know what I’m pushing to.

     Then comes the writing, and I love that as well! It can be a struggle at times, and there is that pesky middle section to deal with where the excitement from the beginning has worn off and the ending is still far away. There are the times when you’re finding it hard, or wanting to get distracted, or the action is on a necessary slow-down. They’re all times when you feel yourself struggling – but even throughout all those, I love the writing process, because this is the part where you go from having a series of missions for your characters to tackle, to creating a fluid story.

     What next? Well, there’s the ending – and that’s a joyous occasion. When I finished the longest book I ever wrote, with its eighteen months of development and writing, I felt like crying. It’s a huge accomplishment firstly, but secondly, you did it. The story you set out to tell has been told. And that’s an amazing feeling.

     Some folks hate editing and redrafting, but I actually don’t mind it. It’s a necessary part of the process, and it gives me a chance to see the areas I need to improve and fix them up so they’re at the standard they really need to be, so that the book is consistently strong. Instead of hating it, enjoy it! It’s a chance to get to relive the story and make it the greatest story you can. It’s your second, third, forth chance to make this story or book great!

     The process doesn’t always have to end there. For some of you, the writing is just the beginning. That includes me. Because after that comes publishing. Whether it’s free on your website, just given out to friends, distributed on an eReader platform like the Kindle or Nook, or placed on a print of demand service like CafePress or Createspace, this is where your book gets to go out into the world. It’s not just yours anymore – now it’s being shared. Sure, not everyone will like it. But that’s okay, because the thrill comes from knowing that people are reading the words you wrote, the story you toiled over for hundreds of hours, over weeks, months, maybe even years. And for all the people that don’t like it, you can guarantee that there are even more that do.

     The writing process, from start to finish, is lengthy, and doesn’t just include the writing part, but even more than that. It includes the non-writing parts like brainstorming in the confines of your own head, and it includes the later parts like publishing it and promoting it for the world to see. And yeah, there will be low points – but the entire thing is an adventure. And for this writer, I enjoy every minute of it.
     There you have it, a great post written by Mr. Ambrose, be sure to check out the first novella of his series, Progenitor, for only .99 cents.  That's all I have for you today, I will be back on Friday, hopefully with lots of backstory finished and lots of words written.

Until Then,
SJ Hanson

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shamrock Scramble 5K And The Rest Of My Weekend

     So, my race this weekend was a lot of fun.  I didn't do as well as I thought I would, but I also didn't realize how hard it would be to run on a ski trail with about 1 inch of fresh powder.  The race ended up not actually being a 5K.  It came out to around 2.2 miles, a 5K should be 3.1.  My time was 24:40, which is somewhere around 11:30 minute miles.  I am totally happy with this because running in the snow was really hard and I had a blast.  I am still pretty sore this morning, so I did a really easy 3 miles on the treadmill and about 5 on the stationary bike. 

     As far as writting goes, I didn't get anything written over the weekend.  I did work on my book though.  On Friday, before I went home for the night, I downloaded my story so far onto my Kindle, so I could read it over the weekend.  There is some good news and some bad news with this.  The good news is that I am really liking where the story is going and I have several ideas about where I want to go from here, but the bad news is that I realized my characters are really flat.  I decided to try to make them more interesting.  I am now working on writting a backstory for my main characters, and I really think it will help to make the story feel more deep and emotional.  So I am not going to give myself to hard of a word goal for this week because I really want to get the main characters' backstory fleshed out.  I am going to make my goal for Friday instead of Wednesday, and I want to have the backstories of at least 3 of the main characters written and if I finish that, then I want to have a total of 15,000 words written by the time I post on Friday.

     That's going to be it for me today, I have lots of ideas for backstory and the book.  I need to get them all down as soon as possible so I don't forget anything.

Until Wednesday,
SJ Hanson

Friday, March 18, 2011

Are You A Runner

     I will start of by letting you know that I did manage to reach my goal of 13,000 words.  I am really pleased.  I am going to say that I want to have 15,000 by Monday, but seeing as I haven't ever been able to get any writing done over the weekend, it will probably end up being my goal for Wednesday.  I also wanted to mention that, if you have a blog about anything running or writing related, or a book you would like to talk about, I would love to have you do a guest post, so if you are interested, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail at

     So, moving on to running stuff.  I am getting really excited about my race tomorrow, the Shamrock Scramble 5K.  I'm shooting for a PR (personal record) I would be really happy if I could finish in 27:56 or less, that would be at least a 9 minute per mile pace, which is actually really fast for me.  All of my anticipation and excitement about the race has had me thinking about all of the wonderful things running has done for me and I wanted to share some of my knowledge with you. 

     The biggest benefit to running is all of the ways it improves your health.  Running is a great way to strengthen your heart and improve the efficiency of blood and oxygen flow throughout your body, which can greatly reduce your risk of a heart attack.  One of the best ways to naturally reduce your blood pressure is to maintain a healthy weight with the help of exercise (like running).  It can also help keep your cholesterol manageable.  Running also helps to improve your immune system making your body more effective at fighting off germs. One other thing that I though was pretty neat is that running and other weight-bearing exercises can increase bone density, which can help to fend off osteoporosis.  That last one is especially good for women.  A lot of people run to lose weight because it is one of the most intense exercises out there which means it burns the most calories for time spent exercising.  Those are some of the obvious reasons to run.  Let's look at a few that might not be so obvious.

     Running races can help you contribute to charities and your community.  Most races are for a cause.  It might be the Leukemia and Lymphoma society which are the sponsors of the race I'm doing tomorrow or it can be for local stuff like fundraising for school sports.  It can be very fulfilling to know that you are running for someone or something other than yourself. 

     Some people like to run for the alone time, but a lot of people also love the social aspect of running.  At races you are surrounded by hundreds or even thousands of people that share your passion for the sport.  Another amazing thing, is that you could be running in the same race as someone who has run in the Olympics, cross over the very same start and finish line.  Most towns have a local running club that run together every week, so you can meet new people that live in your area that enjoy some of the same things you do.  Running combined with a healthy diet can greatly improve your energy levels.  It is also one of the most inexpensive sports to participate in since all you really need is a good pair of running shoes.

    Running can help your self esteem, and decrease issues related to depression and stress.  Research has proven over and over again that people who exercise regularly are generally happier than those who don't.  If you set a goal, like being able to run a 5K and then do it, you feel really good about accomplishing your goals.  There are so many running related goals you can make too, you can try to run faster or farther or get a better time in a race than you did the year before, each time you accomplish one of these goals it will make you feel good about yourself and give you the confidence to set more goals and try harder.  Running can also be a great coping mechanism for any unhealthy habit like alcoholism, or drug addiction, I used to sit in front of my computer playing video games for at least 8 hours a day, since I starting running I haven't even played video games for 8 hours out of the last month.

     I really, truly believe, that running has made me a better, more well rounded person.  I get some of my best creative ideas when I'm out on a run.  I got the idea for my novel while I was running.  My reason for posting this is that I hope it will give at least one person the motivation to get out there and give it a try.  I started running using the Couch to 5K program which can be found here .  If you have ever thought you might like to try running I want to encourage you to give it a shot, you might be surprised by how much you enjoy it.  I want to remind you all that when I started running I was 60 pounds heavier and considered obese, so if I can do it anybody can.  That's all I have for you today, I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Until Monday,
SJ Hanson

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Funny Thing Happend At The Gym This Morning

     Hello all!  I am pleased to be able to tell you all that I successfully completed my goal of 10,000 words and at the moment the story is really flowing for me.  So, my new goal for Friday is 13,000 words.  I am confident that I can reach it by Friday, so even though I don't think I'll need it, please wish me luck. 

     My novel is shaping out to be somewhere between a young adult fantasy and a paranormal romance.  There are some romantic elements right now, but I'm not sure if I will expand on it enough to actually consider the book a romance, only time will tell, at this point I'm not really sure where I'm going. 

     I was looking through some articles on writing yesterday, because I really want to learn as much as I can about the craft of writing so I can put out the best novel possible.  While I was going through them I came across a really good one titled "Common Writing Mistakes" by Michael Larocca, the entire article can be found here .  There is a great list in the article of the most common mistakes the author found in his career as an editor.  I thought you all might like to check it out.

     So, I suppose now you would like to know the funny thing that happened in the gym this morning.  I was on the treadmill as per usual.  I was at 2.75 miles out of 3 and was really pushing the pace because I always try to end my runs pretty much as fast as I can.  Without any warning all of the lights in the gym went out.  Now, that's not the funny part.  The funny part is that for some reason it didn't occur to me that my treadmill was about to stop, and it did, fast.  One second I was going at 7.5 (which is really fast for me, like fear of flying off the back of the treadmill fast) the next second the treadmill had stopped completely, not just rolled to a stop, but the belt literally stopped.  I ran right into the front of the treadmill, hard.  There is a little device that is on all of the exercise equipment that allows you to plug into the TV's at the front of the gym.  That little device went right into my stomach and I fell backward onto my butt with the wind knocked out of me.  I am pretty sure nobody saw me, becuase this all happened in the space of about 5 seconds and the emergency lights hadn't come on yet, so it was pitch black in there.  But as soon as I could breath again I just started laughing.  The lights came on and I was sitting on my treadmill laughing kind of hard and everyone was looking at me.  I felt the need to explain myself, so I said that I had run into the front of the treadmill and then everyone went back to what they were doing. 

     So, it was an exciting morning for me.  Today I need to spend at least the next few hours writing so I can meet my goal, so I will talk to you all on Friday.

Until Then,
SJ Hanson


Monday, March 14, 2011

Writing Didn't Happen This Weekend

     Well, I didn't get any writing at all done this weekend.  So, I will start by saying that my next goal is going to be 10,000 words by the next time I post on Wednesday.  The reason I didn't get any writing done was because I had family in town this weekend, and my family doesn't know anything about my writing life.  I really enjoyed spending the weekend with my family, I don't have a lot of family close by, so it's always a treat when they come to visit.  I did get a chance to do a little bit of reading though. 

     On the workout side of things, I failed to do anything this weekend.  I would like to blame it on the fact that I had family here, but I would be lying.  I just didn't feel like it.  So, this morning I made up for the long run I was supposed to do over the weekend.  It was 7 miles on the treadmill at the gym.  Now I am going to have to reschedule the run I was supposed to do today.  I think what I might end up doing is moving my longer run to Monday, and taking the run that would have been Monday and do it over the weekend.  So essentially I would be switching my Saturday workout with my Monday workout.  I think this will work best because I seem to be seriously lacking in the motivation department on the weekends lately. 

     Now, I would like to give you all my first book review, and I would like to start by letting everybody know that if I didn't like a book and would give it 3 stars or less, I won't be posting a review about it.  I am only interested in helping other authors get their work out there, and posting bad reviews isn't going to help anyone.  Some people may not agree with this, but I don't have the heart to write that I didn't like someone's book.  So, for the record, that is the reason there will only be 4 and 5 star reviews on my blog.  Since I have nothing else to say for today, here is my very first review.

Out of Time: A Paranormal Romance
Monique Martin
Price on Amazon:
.99 cents
Number of Stars: 5 out of 5 Stars

     I really enjoyed this book.  I read it cover to cover over the weekend.  Even though this book is subtitled as a Paranormal Romance, it isn't the type of paranormal romance most people would think of when looking at books in this genre.  Early in the book, the two main characters, Professor Simon Cross and his assistant Elizabeth West, end up in New York in the summer of 1929, because of an accident.  While trying to find their way home, they start to realize their feelings for each other.  The build-up of their relationship was very exciting and a great emotional experience.  I felt the characters emotions with them as they found their love for each other.  The first love scene was done well, it wasn't too detailed, and it focused a lot on the emotion and not too much on the physical act. 

     The main premise of the book was to stay in the past until they could get back, and change things as little as possible so as to not effect the way the future turns out.  They end up getting jobs in 1929, and experiencing how life was in the 1920's.  Unfortunately for Simon and Elizabeth, they do come across a few problems before they are able to conclude their journey, one being the local mob boss King Kashian.

     It really seemed like the author researched the era well, it felt like you were right there with them.  The characters were very well rounded.  I especially enjoyed King Kashian.  I really enjoyed the ending also, and how it seemed to complete the story perfectly.  I will be recommending this title to a lot of my friends.  It's not just for romance fans either, it definitely has aspects that lovers of all genres should find entertaining.

     So that's it I guess, I hope you all enjoyed my first review.  Hopefully, it will be the first of many.  I'm off to get started on my goal of 10,000 words by Wednesday.

Until Then,
SJ Hanson


Friday, March 11, 2011

WooHoo!!! I made my goal!

     So, I am very pleased to be able to say that I finished my goal of 7500 words.  I actually ended up throwing away the entire prologue I had written because it really didn't work anymore.  So even with throwing away the entire prologue and writing a new one I still managed to get 7700 words.  I am so happy.  My new goal is to have 10,000 by Monday.  I think that should be totally reasonable.  The story is picking up speed and I am really liking the direction it is heading. 

     I have been buying a lot of books for my kindle this week since it's read an e-book week.  I am hoping to have one read by Monday so I can do a review.  All of this writing is cutting into my reading time.  Not to mention the fact that I realized how entertaining Twitter can be.  I spent the entire day there on Wednesday and a lot of yesterday too.  It was really amazing to be around so many people with goals and interests similar to mine.  I can tell I will be spending a lot of time on twitter. 

     On the fitness front I had a great few days.  Thursday was 3 miles on the treadmill that went wonderful.  I felt like I was flying.  Then I did about 7 miles on the stationary bike, which is always kind of boring for me, but I need to do the cross training to stay strong for running.  I also did some upper body work.  Today is a rest day from running so I hit the tanning bed, because we have no sun here in the winter.  Then, I swam laps at the gym for about a half an hour.  After that was a water aerobics class.  I really enjoy this class because it's always the same group of retired women every week.  They always go out to eat together after the class and they always invite me to go with them.  I just think that's the nicest thing because I am a lot younger than them, but they still try to include me.  Unfortunately, I can never go with them because I have to work.

     There is one other thing I wanted to talk about today.  It is just amazing the amount of caring and support that can be found on the internet.  I have never been a very social person in real life because I always worry what people will think, and I am constantly afraid of making a fool out of myself.  Starting this blog was kind of a hard decision for me, because it is very unlike me.  I am a member of several internet forums, but have a hard time participating for fear of looking stupid.  In the last few days, I have realized that there are so many amazing people out there in the cyber world.  Which I guess is also the real world.  I wanted to thank RosieC over at .  She mentioned me on her blog and several people came over here to read my story and show their encouragement.  So, yeah, thanks again :)

     I guess that's all for me today.  I will be back on Monday with more.  Thanks to everyone who has stopped by to show me their support, and I look forward to following you as well.  Anybody else who stops by feel free to leave a comment, I love book recommendations, so if you have one feel free to tell me about it.  Even if it's your own book, if you love it, tell me about it.  Anyway, thanks for reading and I will talk to you all next week.  Have a great weekend!

Until Monday,
SJ Hanson

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Almost, But Not Quite

     So, I tried to get 2000 words written, but didn't quite make it.  I actually only got about 1000 words written.  That's alright though.  The book is definitely heading in a good direction.  I have so many ideas I just need to figure out how to get them in there.  This writing business isn't as easy as some people might think.  My new goal is to be at a total of at least 7500 words by the time I post again of Friday.  We'll see how that goes.

     I ran 4 miles on the treadmill yesterday morning before work.  The whole time I was running I was looking at a peice of equipment I had never actually used before, so I decided to give it a try.  The torso sprint kind of looks like a backwards chair with bicycle pedals sticking out of the middle, but you use your arms instead of your legs.  I decided I would check it out when I was done with my 4 miles.  It was kind of fun.  It was harder than I though it would be, and my arms are ridiculously sore today, but I got a good cardio workout, without needing to use my legs.  So, awesome.  This morning was 3 miles, again on the treadmill.  It was a really good run, one of the best ones I have had lately.  It was a great way to start the morning. 

     The rest of today will be spent getting to know twitter and facebook.  I am hoping to build profiles and start getting to know people out there that may have similar interests.  I want to be a very social author and get people as interested in my work as I am.  Or, maybe just make a few new friends.  Anybody out there working on your first book?  Already published one?  Love running or reading as much as I do?  I'd love to hear from you :)

Until Friday,
SJ Hanson

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekend Is Over

     So the weekend is over and it is time for another week at my day job.  I work as a receptionist at a local business.  Being a receptionist is obviously not my dream job, but it works really well in allowing me to do the things I enjoy while still making enough money to pay the bills. 

     My weekend was pretty good in the writing department, but not so good in the running department.  According to my training plan, I was supposed to run 7 miles on either Saturday or Sunday.  I had plans with my family all day on Saturday so I decided to do my run on Sunday.  Unfortunately, when I woke up on Sunday morning I was feeling sniffly and I had a little bit of a sore throat, so I cancelled my run.  I usually try not to cancel any of my runs if it can be avoided, but I have been pretty good lately so I decided to let it slide.  I have been having a little bit of unusual soreness in my hips for a couple of days, so taking the weekend off will probably help in clearing that up. 

     This morning I ran 3 miles on the treadmill at the gym because it is still way to cold outside to be running out there.  (Disclaimer: I am a total wuss when it comes to the cold.  It is actually not that cold outside, but I really don't want to run outside until there is no more snow on the ground.)  I also spent about 30 minutes on the stationary bike and did a little bit of upper body weight training.  So, a great start to Monday and the week as far as running goes.

     In writing news, I made a decision on which book I want to start first.  I am still working on a title, but it is going to be a young adult fantasy involving werewolves.  I managed to write about 5000 words this weekend and I couldn't be happier.  I told myself to just sit down and write, and to not worry about editing or if everything is perfect or not.  That plan actually worked pretty well for about 2 hours.  I got an introduction written as well as about 2 chapters.  After getting 2 chapters in, the story started heading in a direction I hadn't anticipated when I started.  So, I am probably going to end up scrapping the Introduction entirely and starting over.  I am okay with that though, the way the book is headed is probably better than my original idea anyway.

     I am hoping to write about 2000 words by the time I do another blog post on Wednesday.  Over the weekend, I also picked up a few new titles for my Kindle, and hope to find some time to read one.  I really love being able to pick up books for under $5 whenever I want.  If you have any recommendations for books under $5, please feel free to leave a comment.  I always enjoy finding new authors to read.  Well that's what is new with me.  Thanks for hanging out :)

Until Wednesday,
SJ Hanson

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Inagural Post and About Me

     So, this is my first attempt at a blog.  I never really thought there was anything exciting enough about my life to write a blog.  I don't know that I am any more exciting now, but I do have a lot to talk about.  Since nobody in my home life is terribly interested in things related to running, writing, and reading, I thought someone out there in cyberspace might be interested in what I have to say, so here I am.  I would like to start off with a little bit of background on me.  Feel free to skip the next few paragraphs if that doesn't sound very interesting to you.

     First, my running life.  I started running in May 2010.  At first it was all about losing weight.  I was considered obese, by a lot.  So in March of 2010 I joined a gym for the first time in my life.  I started going everyday, and I mean everyday.  After a few weeks I still hadn't lost any weight.  It was very frustrating, but one benefit to joining the gym when I did was getting a free consultation with a personal trainer, so I decided to get my free consultation.  I ended up signing up to do 3 sessions with the trainer and my boyfriend.  My boyfriend and I both started seeing results.  The reason I wasn't losing weight was because I was eating too much, obviously.  But for some reason that wasn't obvious to me. 

     After the first 3 sessions with the trainer went so well, we decided to get 6 more sessions.  A learned so much valuable information from her starting with how to eat healthier, how to take advantage of all the equipment at the gym, and most importantly that running is one of the best forms of cardio.  Once I realized that I would get the most calorie bang for my buck by running I immediately tried to do that.  Let me tell you something, Running is Hard!!!  Who knew?  So I wasn't going to be able to hop on a treadmill and run 3 miles yet.  I started looking around to see how other people got to the point where they could run more than 30 seconds without keeling over.  That's when I found the Couch to 5K program.  It takes about 9 weeks to complete and at the end you are supposed to be able to run a 5K, which is 3.1 miles for anyone keeping track.  I followed the program dilligently and at the end I could run for 30 minutes without stopping to walk.  But when I ran for 30 minutes it was more like 2.5 miles and not so much 3.1.  That was fine by me though because I was hooked on running and I have been doing it ever since. 

     In October of 2010 I ran a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, and it was amazing.  I was really slow, and in the last third of people to finish, my time was around 2 hours and 25 minutes, but I finished and I didn't walk at all.  I am pretty sure my life changed forever the moment I crossed that finish line.  I was so proud of myself for probably the first time ever.  So here I am 60 pounds lighter, not considered skinny by any means, but I am healthy by most standards, very fit, and I have a newfound confidence that has led me to succeeding in many other aspects of my life.  Now I run 5 days a week all in training for the many races I plan to do this year starting with the "Shamrock Scramble 5K" on 3/19/11.  I have gotten a little bit faster since the half marathon, but not much, and I'm okay with that.

     So, let's move on to writing.  I have always loved reading, and I have always wanted to be a writer.  As a kid when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would always answer that I want to write books.  As I got older that dream started to fade to the background as I realized that it's not as simple as just writing a book and calling yourself a writer.  It is exponentially more complicated than that.  Or at least I thought.  With the release of one of the best devices I have ever owned, the Kindle, came the beginning of self publishing.  Self publishing has actually always been around, but limited to those who could afford all of the many costs.  Now it really is simple.  Just write a book and publish it. That's almost all there is to it and there is very little cost associated with publishing ebooks.  So I decided that I am going to make an attempt at the thing I always dreamed of doing.  I am writing my first novel, hopefully the first of many.  I am so excited about the possibility of my dream actually coming true.

     I am still mostly in the planning stages for my book.  I have a few differenct ideas and am not sure which one I want to start with first.  I have a few paragraphs written about each idea, and hope to make a decision soon about which one I will write first.  The idea of writing a novel is slightly terrifying for me because I am a tiny bit of a perfectionist and I worry that my writing isn't exactly perfect.  I will write a paragraph and then go over it several times, but then I am never satisfied and I end up tossing it and starting over.  It will definitely take some time for me to get comfortable with the idea of writing first and editing later, but that is what I will need to do. 

     So there you have it, a little bit of history on me.  I hope to post about 3 times as week to talk about my running journey, my writing journey, and my life journey.  For a little bit of fun I also hope to include other information about all things running and writing like Book Reviews and Spotlights, Author Spotlights, and information related to running.  If any of this sounds interesting to you please come back again soon.

P.S. Sorry for the ridiculously long first post.  I didn't want to leave anything out.  Future posts will not be quite this long, and not quite so "look at me, look at me".