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Say what??

Author’s Note: After I posted this audio recording, I checked the post on my iPhone to see how the post appeared using a mobile browser. And the post was blank! So, readers beware, if you are trying out the new wordpress audio capabilities, it may not appear to your users if they are accessing it via smartphone.

Author Websites

I have perused many an author’s website both for this blog and for my own general interest in the realms of literature, as I’m sure many of you have. There are some that are very well done – and, by the looks of it, professionally done – and others, well…not so well done. It’s really fun for me to browse the sites of my favorite authors, blogs, and interests as many have creative and inspirational themes, set ups, designs, etc.

Most recently I was on a website for The Prophecy of the Sisters for Michelle Zink as I always like to create a link in my book reviews to a site for my readers to find out more about the authors I review if they so desire. It was created by the Hachette Book Group and seems to be part of a marketing campaign for her book. It had flash graphics as the intro followed by a creepy room (replete with eerie music). You can click on any item in the room and you are brought to a page that gives an author bio, info about the book, youtube video, icons you can copy, etc. I really enjoyed it and it was different from a lot of websites, so it resonated with me. Zink also has a personal website, which I find more and more authors have, where the author has a regular blog, pics, info about books/tours/etc.

I think that because of the vast popularity of social networking these days, authors are eager to use forums aside from the standard book talks to showcase their writings as well as engage their audience. Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are just a few networking sites that authors are using to share information both about themselves and help to support fellow authors. The YA fan base is an ever-growing one that has long since outgrown the perimeters of actually being a “young adult” and authors, publishers, and agents are catering to this vast market  more and more through online means of communication.

I like blogs and sites that are:

1. Maintained on a regular basis or, if not, have a reasonable explanation for the hiatus.

2. Interactive links and graphics

3. Information on upcoming books and tours

4. Images and videos that aren’t just the cover of their books

5. Authors giving props to other authors – it’s all about community after all!

Bonus: Authors giving back to help the world at large (ie. Supporting a cause outside of writing that they believe in)

Here are some other of my favorite author websites:

1. Michelle Zink

2. Craig Thompson

3. Neil Gaiman

4. Lauren Oliver

5. Stephen King

What are some of your favorite sites?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books – thanks, Sheila!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since last Monday! Last week is a blur of work and editing and reading. Loved it, but time slipped by fast! I was able to drive to NYC with some friends to see the Tim Burton exhibit at the MoMA.  Every Friday is FREE – if you’re looking for something fun to do on a Friday night but don’t want to shell out the $20 ticket fee – but be careful if you want to see one of the special exhibits because although those are including in the free ticket, they are often “sold out” quickly. Fortunately, my girlfriend is a genius and joined the MoMA as a member right before we went. This entitled all four of our group to not only get free tickets but gain entry to the already sold out Tim Burton exhibit! It was fantastic!!! It was an art timeline of Burton’s works from the most obscure earlier films to films like Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands. His art was wonderful – dark and whimsical at the same time.

I’ve been busy reading too. Here’s what I’m reading now:

Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan – Brennan is able to capture the in-betweens of good v evil creating characters that are very flawed and very relatable. I found myself rooting for the virtually emotionless “protagonist” because of his love for his brother and his willingness to sacrifice anything for him.

The Nation by Terry Pratchett – I am listening to this as a book on cd and am finding myself making excuses to drive anywhere because of it. Pratchett has unique way of weaving together satire with a bold story of human strengths and weaknesses. His tongue in cheek quips make me laugh out loud (probably making me look crazy to other drivers) while still maintaining the somberness of a scene. Other librarians have recommended Pratchett to me before, as the only other book of his I read was a brilliant collaboration between him and Neil Gaiman called Good Omens, and I’m glad I chose this book to keep me company on my travels.

Advice Not Taken

This is Day 3 of my Marathon Training program and I’ve encountered a conundrum.

I recently checked out a bunch of books from the library pertaining to running. My First 100 Marathons by Jeff Horowitz offers sage advice from someone who’s been there, done that in regards to the trials and joys of running. The Runner’s World Guide to Road Racing by Katie McDonald Neitz helps anyone from beginning to advance prepare for their first or fifty-first road race. Neitz’s experience as a runner and as an editor for Runner’s World establishes her credibility in competing in races from a 5k to a marathon. She also offers pointers on how to train, training terminology, diet, stretching, injuries, and strength training. In Run Your First Marathon, Grete Waitz, nine-time winner of the New York City Marathon (the marathon that I hope to run this November if I get selected from the lottery), also lends her wisdom on proper training, diet, and what to expect before, during and after the marathon experience.

Early in his book, written in small type above his personal training program, Horowitz makes this caveat to his readers – “It’s been said that there as many running programs as there are coaches.” Having had previously researched a variety of training programs for a variety of races including a half-marathon, I completed my first last May in the Delaware Half Marathon on the Riverfront, and a marathon, I completely agreed with his statement.

The problem that I faced before I began my training, and even now when I read someone else’s “perfect marathon training program,” is which training program should I choose? What one was the right one for me? And with that question I began to understand why there were so many programs out there being touted as the “best” or “ideal” training regime – it’s ultimately not about the training program, it’s about me.

In your quest to find the best of something, you’re most likely not going to find it. There’s just no such thing. The best for YOU, however, is a completely different story. My running shoes are amazing. Their comfortable, they protect my feet, and they get the job done. To me they are the best running shoes. But if you were to put my shoes on your feet there’s a good chance you would get blisters or a foot injury or black toenails or worse. There are a million different kinds of running shoes for a reason – there are millions of types of feet that will be wearing them. It’s the same for training programs. You need to find one that fits you. The questions remains – how do I choose the best one for me? How do I know?

Answering these questions should help you narrow your search:

1. What’s your running level?

2. Does the program include a gradual increase in mileage (10-15%/week), so I don’t get burned out?

3. Who created the program and is it someone who has my running level in mind?

4. Does the program include Rest days/cross training (XT) days to help me become a stronger runner?

After doing some research in books, on the web, and talking to others who have run marathons, I decided to stick to the Runner’s World marathon training program for beginners. It had everything I was looking for: a running regime for a beginning marathoner, Rest days, a challenging but feasible weekly schedule, and it was recommended by someone, Neitz, who had experience and knowledge about running.

Hope this help those floundering for direction! Here are two more websites for you to check out to help you in your decision: Runner’s World and The Marathon website.


This blog is not a New Year’s Resolution.

Although it does happen to coincide with the New Year and it does happen to pertain to goals.

Truthfully, the main reason I decided to begin this blog, after, I am willing to admit, a few failed attempts at beginning other blogs that I was rather unfortunately lackadaisical about, is that I have realized that many lessons that life has to teach me have occurred while running and it is my desire to share these experiences/lessons with you. Even if you are not a runner yourself, you will benefit from this blog as the lessons I have learned – and continue to learn – cross the boundaries of running.

So grab that second cup of coffee you’ve been wanting, sit back, and enjoy.

Living one step at a time,

Runner Sami