Staying Fit While Traveling

Hello, again.  Today’s guest blogger is Mike Manning, fitness enthusiast. Take it away, Mike!

 

Staying Fit While Traveling- A Little Research Goes A Long Way
The importance of staying active and sticking to an exercise plan is on the minds of most people these days. Added stress from daily life can make exercising all the more necessary to rid the body of harmful energy and maintain optimum fitness. When people travel, they may find it hard to keep up with their exercise plan that they adhere to back home. What’s more, the tendency to “let loose” may affect daily routine and increase calories. It’s possible to stick to a workout routine even while on the road.

 

Hotel Fitness Center

 

Many hotels are ramping up efforts to accommodate health conscious guests by providing modern workout facilities. These facilities may be anything from a room to a full size gym. It is wise to investigate hotel fitness provisions before booking to make sure that it’s possible to continue a fitness regimen. On a recent trip to San Francisco I was able to book a great hotel with a 24-hour gym because of a little research. I searched through a travel reviews site and was given a list of the best hotels in San Francisco. From there I could click through each hotel and investigate reviews from people who previously stayed there. This made my trip so much better because I was able to workout very early every morning, keeping to my usual schedule.

 

Exercise At The Airport

 

It may not always be possible to dedicate time to exercise while traveling due to the nature of the trip. For this reason, a few airports around the U.S. are now offering fitness services. One example is San Francisco International Airport now offering a yoga room for guests. This free, post- security room allows for relaxation and exercise before, after, or between flights. Minneapolis International Airport is now also offering walking paths in a few of it’s concourses, allowing for a quick walk or jog. This 1.4 mile “loop” is free of charge as well.

 

Staying Dedicated

 

It is very possible to continue a workout plan while traveling. Hotels and airports are providing more and more services to accommodate guests who are away from home, yet still aware of their health. It also pays to be diligent in seeking ways to improvise exercise and staying dedicated to working out, wherever it may be.

 

Thanks, Mike. I think that anyone who struggles with a fitness routine while traveling will appreciate your input!

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A Tale of Two Daves

I was listening to the new Van Halen album yesterday when I just happened to click on the MSNBC site for a quick glance at college basketball scores and saw that Davy Jones had died earlier in the day. I was a child of the 70s and early 80s, graduating from high school in the glorious year of 1985, and I had been one of the millions of kids who used to run home from the bus stop in order to catch “The Monkees” on TV. We all knew that they were repeats but the episodes were new to us and we took them very seriously, even identifying our “favorite Monkee” and defending that choice with fisticuffs at said bus stop. I can honestly say that I got my ass kicked for Peter Tork. (I was taking bass guitar lessons at the time and he was the bass player)

Strange, nobody ever chose Michael Nesmith.

There were always many Mickey Dolenz fans ’cause he was the “funny” one and sang lead on several of the songs, but it was Davy Jones who had the most followers. And this was before Twitter. Not only did Davy have the best voice in the group he actually appeared to be a star. He had “it.” Think about the other three; you could sit next to them on a subway and not know who they were, but everybody recognized Davy and the powerful charisma that filled his tiny frame. They used to call it star power.

When I learned that Davy was dead, I came close to tears. I spent the evening wondering why I was so sad. Then it hit me: the death of Davy Jones was the death of that magical time in my life just before high school when everything made sense and friends were friends, rules were simple and I was still allowed to just be a kid. Now, I know that this perception is nothing new. Three words, “The Wonder Years.” But it was  new to me, like those old TV episodes.

I spent most of last night sipping on a decent bottle of wine and contemplating life, the universe and everything while the new Van Halen blared through my stereo and I found the resurrection of David Lee Roth to be uplifting. He’s the singer for Van Halen if you’re not a fan. Diamond Dave, they used to call him, and he was as much a part of my high school years as Davy Jones was of the preceding times. 1984 was the year that I faced the prospect of adulthood and the entry into the so-called “real” world and “1984″ was the Van Halen album that became the soundtrack for my senior year. It was also the last album that featured Diamond Dave on vocals.

Now he’s back with the group and it seems fitting to mourn the passing of Davy Jones by enjoying the rebirth of Davy Roth. Both Davys are a powerful symbol of my youth and if I have to let go of the innocence produced by Mr. Jones, at least I can find solace in the new, mature nature of Mr. Roth.

How did the death of Davy Jones affect you?

jlandoncocks, cancer, food, history, adventure, golf, music, humor, health, karma

 

 

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Fitness, the Disease Killer!

I’m pretty vocal about living life to the fullest and taking your health seriously, largely due to my experience battling and beating prostate cancer. However, before I was diagnosed I was the poster child for unhealthy living. There’s no evidence that I could have prevented my own cancer by making better health choices, but the treatment for that cancer would have been much easier and physically more comfortable if I had known the value of fitness during treatment. Cancer patients receive A LOT of information when they’re diagnosed, but, hello? They’ve got a few things on their minds, thank you.

Let me introduce Mr. David Haas, a cancer patient advocate and fitness enthusiast with The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Not only does David have a few worthwhile observations to make that will help any cancer patient, HE’S MY FIRST GUEST BLOGGER!

(Join me next week for more food and history at The Hungry Mind)

 

Using Fitness to Ease the Symptoms Associated With Cancer Treatment

North County Cancer Fitness, a wellness center for cancer patients, states that participating in exercise is beneficial to cancer patients going through treatment for mesothelioma or any other type of cancer. Physical activity has been proven to be an effective tool in reducing symptoms and increasing other factors beneficial to the cancer patients recovery and overall quality of life. As a patient goes through cancer treatment, one can find relief from some of the following symptoms through the use of exercise and other forms of physical activity.

Nausea

Nausea is a common side effect one may experience following cancer treatment. It can leave a patient feeling drained of energy and unable to get through one’s daily routine. However, gentle forms of exercise such as Yoga or Tai Chi can help relieve symptoms of nausea and put one in a better frame of mind.

Fatigue

Exercising to counteract fatigue appears to be a major contradiction; however, physical activity is one of the best ways to decrease fatigue. Even short, 10-minute spurts of fast walking, bike riding or jogging help increase energy levels, clear the mind and make one feel better and more lively.

Decreased Range of Movement

Stiffness, soreness and general tiredness can affect the body by decreasing one’s range of movement. If you’re sore when you move it’s not likely exercise will be the first thing that enters your mind as a solution; however, keeping the body in motion is an effective way to increase range of movement. Adding stretching exercises, swimming or Pilates into one’s daily routine to loosen joints and relieve soreness will also benefit in increasing mobility.

Stress/Depression

When you participate in aerobic exercise and include activities that get the heart pumping, your brain releases a hormone known as endorphins. This hormone is known as the “feel good hormone” because it lifts one’s mood while relieving stress. Next time you’re feeling down, get on your exercise bike or lace up your sneakers and move at an accelerated pace for 10 to 30 minutes.

Feelings of Isolation

If you’re able to be around others, exercise is a great way to socialize and take care of your body. Attend an exercise class or walk or bike ride with family members and friends.

The benefits of exercise as part of your treatment plan against cancer can help both physically, mentally and emotionally. As you gain empowerment through physical activity you’ll begin to feel that you have a plan to work toward wellness, rather than having the entire focus be on illness. Work with your doctor and his or her medical staff to determine the types of exercise that would be best for you. Exercise when you can, knowing that short spurts of exercise throughout the day are just as effective and beneficial as one longer session. Similar to many other treatments, physical activity will produce results slowly and consistently as you exercise on a regular basis.

 

Thank you, David! As a cancer survivor, I can vouch for David’s entire article. As difficult as it may have been at the time, a simple 10 minute walk would have made some very bad days a little better. I’m convinced of it. Learn more about David and all he does for cancer patients over at http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/david/

 

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The Hungry Mind; When In Rome

Welcome to The Hungry Mind, where I will not only give a brief and interesting history lesson centering around the food and cooking customs of ancient peoples, I will actually prepare and consume the stuff! Could get very weird…

There will also be a cookbook put together after 15 or 20 meals, so join me for the whole series and get the cookbook for free!

The recipes for each week will appear at the bottom of the article.

This post will be the last “normal” article for The Hungry Mind. Tune in next Monday, February 27th, for the first episode of the The Hungry Mind, the Video Blog!

This week: When In Rome…

 

Ah, Rome. Cradle of Western Civilization, foundation of the American system of government, location of men in skirts and women with bad makeup.

Luckily the men wear pants now and the ladies have toned down their makeup. Well, mostly.

In last week’s Hungry Mind I prepared a dish that would have been eaten by Mayan kings and another dish that would have more likely graced the table, or floor, of a Mayan peasant. I was trying to be fair. When talking about ancient Rome and the culinary habits of those fascinating people, however, there isn’t as much of a class-based division. Sure, the upper classes had access to and consumed a wide variety of very strange things that the poor would never even be aware of, let alone eat, but the stuffed dormice, steamed larks’ tongues (yep), aardvark ovaries and minced ostrich testicles would have been reserved for only the ultra rich. (I will be preparing some very weird things for the cookbook at the end of the series. Stick around!) Even the lowest of Roman peasants would have been able to provide a balanced and nourishing diet for himself and his family.

And, no, I was not making up any of those dishes. Little side note, here: do yourself a favor and rent/netflix/whatever the HBO series “Rome.” Highly accurate depiction of life during that period and plenty of footage of weird food and such.

La Dolce Vita

 

Our main course today is a simple tuna steak with a traditional vinaigrette. You can still find this dish in some form or another at almost any quality restaurant. Like I always say, the ancients had some things “figured out” long before we ever “modernized” anything.

Brush your tuna steak with olive oil and sprinkle some kosher salt and black pepper on it. It’ll look like this:

Pink is my favorite color.

Grill one side for three minutes. Flip and brush with the vinaigrette. Repeat. Done. The tuna should be pink in the middle. If you’re one of those folks who can’t do delicious, tender and perfectly cooked meat and prefer things well-done…sigh. Go ahead, I guess.

Top with the rest of the vinaigrette. So simple, so wonderful and healthy. For side dishes, the ancient Romans loved their bell peppers, onions, leeks, garlic, mushrooms and eggs. Not all mixed up together, though. Be creative with any Mediterranean fruits and vegetables and you can’t go wrong.

Only one rule: NO TOMATOES!!!! The tomato was not introduced to Europe until the 1500s when it was imported from the New World. Fact. Maximus would not be entertained by a marinara sauce.

Include your kids in the historical fun, too. Give ‘em a falafel pita with feta cheese or a bowl of chopped apples with yogurt and honey. Most youngsters, rich and poor, would have eaten these staples regularly. The good ‘ol fashioned hamburger was common, as well. Just no ketchup…

What the heck is a quince?

The quince, called “golden apples” by the ancient Greeks, is a cross between a pear and an apple. Imagine a pear that smells like baked apples when cooked. That’s a quince. A little difficult to prepare, but ridiculously delicious. Just remember, they can’t be eaten raw, so don’t. They have to be cooked. Probably why you don’t see them around much these days. Here’s a very basic recipe:

Peel 4 quinces, putting them into cold water immediately or they’ll turn brown and gross. Core them, chop them into bite-sized chunks and simmer them in equal parts water, wine and honey. When almost all of the liquid is gone they’re done. Chill the good quince chunks.

Now, use the quince to make your favorite version of a Jello fruit salad. Easy as pie. Or Jello fruit salad.

Ready to get weird? Before you put the quince/jello combo in the fridge to set, mix in a half a cup of garum.

Garum? Whaaa?

Garum is the ancient Roman version of Asian fish sauce. Yes, I said “fish sauce” and I want you to put a half a cup of it into your jello mix before chilling. Now you’ve truly created a traditional ancient Roman dessert. Don’t be scared. Just think “sweet and salty.” That’s what we’re going for here.

If you do what I say and Tweet about it, you get a free cookbook! I’ll know if you’ve actually tasted it, very unique flavor. In your Tweet, describe your reaction. My handle is @jlandoncocks.

Now, go out there and defeat Joaquin Phoenix! Salut!

 

Tuna Vinaigrette

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp garum (Asian fish sauce)

9 tbsp olive oil

4 finely chopped shallots

1 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp fresh chopped mint

Mix your vinegar, oil and garum well, then add the rest and stir. Let all the ingredients hang out together for at least 15 minutes before using.

 

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The Hungry Mind; Mayan Last Supper

Welcome to The Hungry Mind, where I will not only give a brief and interesting history lesson centering around the food and cooking customs of ancient peoples, I will actually prepare and consume the stuff! Could get very weird…

There will also be a cookbook put together after 15 or 20 meals, so join me for the whole series and get the cookbook for free!

The recipes for each week will appear at the bottom of the article.

 

This week: Mayan peasant gruel, traditional Mayan hot chocolate and spiced pineapple chunks.

More than just beans...

 

It’s tempting to go off on some tangent about the whole Mayan apocalypse thing and the 12/21/12 doomsday crap, but I’d like to focus on factual information in this particular blog. “Mayan” is a word that refers to a vast collection of different societies and civilizations that inhabited the central American region from Guatamala up into central and northern Mexico. “Mayan” is more of a language base than a specific group of people. These folks flourished from about 2000 BCE until about 1400 CE, with all sorts of ups and downs in between. The basic social model was something like this:

Royalty on top

Smart, educated merchants and priests under the royalty

Everybody else

Our first dish is what “everybody else” would eat fairly regularly. As is shown in the above pic, the food choices were wide and varied, but, remember, the upper classes consumed most of the good stuff. Two items, however, were plentiful enough to be consumed by everybody. Beans and squash.

There are lots of different kinds of beans and many versions of squash, but I’ve chosen regular black beans and yellow squash for my gruel. They’re just easier to find in the grocery store.

Step 1. Prepare your beans (see below or use your favorite recipe)

Step 2. Add 2 cups of diced yellow squash and 2 cups of chicken stock to the cooked beans. The Mayans would probably have used turkey stock, wild turkey being the main meat source for landlocked peasant communities without access to seafood. If you have turkey stock, use it.

Step 3. Bring to a medium boil, then simmer for ten minutes. Thicken with about a cup of finely mealed corn meal and bring to another medium boil, then simmer as long as you like. It gets better over time. Peasants would have had access to basic flavor enhancers like salt, honey, and chili peppers, but not much else. Go ahead, add some salt and honey. Do yourself a favor, too, and don’t use black pepper. The Mayans didn’t have that either and it won’t allow you to taste the true flavor in the chili peppers.

I cook basic things like this all the time, so I was already prepared for the gruel. I was not prepared, though, for the intense flavor that was produced by such simple ingredients. We tend to go overboard in our modern kitchens with spices, herbs, additives and such. I think the ancients had it down pretty well already.

This dish was delicious. For a first meal in the series, I chose wisely.

 

No such thing as marshmallows...

 

Not your father's Hershey bar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mmmm, hot chocolate, right? Look at it, so rich and creamy, loaded with milk and cinnamon and sugar and marshmallows…

Nope.

The Mayans didn’t have sugar. No sugar, no marshmallows. And milk? No refrigeration back then and the natural climate for the Mayans wouldn’t keep it cool enough to be safe. The only Mayans drinking milk were breastfeeding children.

So, hot chocolate how?

The beans of the cacao plant (shown above) were dried, crushed and ground into a powdered form similar to our modern version of cocoa. Then it got fun.

Step 1. Simmer two split habanero peppers with seeds in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. Strain the peppers and the seeds, but leave the water in the pan.

Step 2. Add 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder and bring to a boil.

Step 3. Now add another 2 cups of water (unspiced), 3 tbsp of honey and one split vanilla stalk. Vanilla extract can be substituted.

Step 4. Thicken with the fine corn meal! Yep. Just a half a cup, more if you prefer. Then bring it all to another boil and whip the whole thing furiously with a small whisk until it looks smooth, rich and awesome. Pour it in a cup and sprinkle with cayenne pepper. You could use a blender for the whipping, yes. We’re trying to be ancient here.

This drink was only for the top portion of society. The drink of kings. The processing of cacao beans was intensive and time consuming and could only be afforded by the wealthy.

My verdict? Frikkin’ nice! I loved the heat from the peppers and the honey/vanilla combo was much better than any sugared marshmallow mixture could ever be. The corn meal thickener seemed strange at first, but many of those pre-mixed hot chocolate packs we use now have corn starch in them. I’d rather do it the natural way.

Our dessert today is super simple and was probably eaten by all classes.

Step 1. Toss a bunch of pineapple cubes in chili powder.

Eat ‘em. There you go.

I am open to any and all ideas or suggestions. What ancient food would you like me to prepare? Just name the culture and I’ll do the culinary research!

Thanks for hanging. Keep your mind hungry!

 

Black beans

1 c dried black beans, 2 c water, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 minced habanero peppers (no seeds), 1 minced green bell pepper (no seeds), 1 tbsp oil (your choice)

Prepare according to the directions on the bean package. Everybody has a different style. Follow yours.

Hot Chocolate

4 c water, 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 3 tbsp honey, 2 habanero peppers, split, with seeds, 1 stalk vanilla or vanilla extract to taste.

 

 

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Happy New Year to Me!

Nope, this is not a blog about New Year’s resolutions.

And, once again, this is not a rebel song.

Today’s blubble is about my three-year plan. So, it’s actually about three sets of New Year’s resolutions. I fibbed.

After beating cancer I decided to embrace my life and the universe it dwells in. This involves a tri-horned attack across all fronts:

2011–the transition

Thank God it’s over. What a frikkin’ year! I went into business for myself, finished the last, most difficult, portion of cancer treatment and embarked on the journey to become a self-published indie author. Business is good, body feels great, self-published indie books…

Uh, stick around? (I’m trying.)

2012–the execution

Now it gets fun! I’m moving back to my home state of Virginia, where my business should boom. I’ll be doing a regular blog series about food and history, my two great loves.

And I will publish at least two books. Depend upon it.

2013–the realization

I will be working only two days a week and writing full time. By the end of the year, I plan to have a backlist of six books.

Don’t worry, foodies, the historical cooking blog will be there. Always.

 

The really cool part? While I’m executing the realization I will also be playing golf, skiing, sailing, hiking, camping, swimming, reading, eating and drinking at a level once cherished only by kings.

Life could be worse. Happy New Year.

What are your 2013 goals? Yes, I said 2013.

An adventure lies ahead!

 

 

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My Name Is Funny; Yeah, I Know

Cocks. A proud name that stretches back through history as far as names like Miller, Smith, Cooper or Baker. The miller made flour, the smith made iron stuff, the cooper made barrels and the baker, well, he baked. Bread, rastaman. Bread.

So, what about the cock? Er, Cocks. One historian says that many farmers took this name to denote their involvement in raising livestock. After all, every species has a male and every male has a…you know.

A cock.

Another historian, however, claims that this surname was erected as a bragging rite, as in “I’m the cock in this town.” The cock of the walk. To put it simply, Mr. Cocks was the most virile dude in the village. Masculine. The big cock in town.

I prefer the latter explanation. Hmm, descended from chicken farmers or…?

Yeah, it’s the latter.

Children being as cruel as they often are, I got razzed about my name, but little kids generally aren’t familiar with “cock” as a slang term for the penis, at least when I was a kid. It was always “cockroach” or “cockadoodledoo” or something silly like that. Everyone knows that the kidslang for penis is “meatwhistle.”

Isn’t that what you all called it?

As my cock and I grew the last name funnigans became a little more vulgar, with actual nicknames being replaced with giggles, smiles, grins, laughs and guffaws. People would snigger behind their hands when my name was called in classrooms. My best friends were the ones who had the balls to chortle in my face. At least they didn’t snigger behind my back, right?

I thought that those days were over. Then came social media.

Now it’s Landon Cocks. Land–on–cocks. I get it. It seems that when my name sounded like the alternative spelling, Cox, it was okay, but now that the proper spelling can be seen in all its proud, long and straight glory I am again a victim of the chortles.

And the guffaws.

So, in conclusion, my name has made me a rooster as a child, a laugh receptor as a teenager and a homosexual as an adult. Nothing against homosexual men, but they land–on…yeah, yeah, it’s not that funny to me, either.

Why do you think I put my first initial (J) in my Twitter handle and on my website? Google searches “Landon Cocks” and comes back with gay porn actors and websites. When it searches for “J Landon Cocks” the results are normal.

Why don’t I just spell it Cox, you may ask.

Because that’s not my name.

And you’ll never forget my Cocks.

 

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The Eagle Told Me So

This year’s family Thanksgiving celebration was held at my brother’s house in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It’s a beautiful part of the country located on the upper reaches of the Mississippi river. This isn’t hot, humid and sultry New Orleans Mississippi river land, this is forested, cold as shit in the winter full of beavers Mississippi river land. The town of La Crosse sits on the eastern bluffs of the river with the states of Iowa and Minnesota resting on the western side; it’s one of those cool parts of America where you can drive in a small circle and visit multiple states in an afternoon.

It has become a tradition in the family to take a drive on the Saturday after the feast and explore something new and unknown, at least to most of us. This year my brother recommended we check out The National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. The journey was less than an hour and he promised that we would find it most satisfying.

My bro had no idea.

Thanks to conservation efforts the bald eagle and its lesser known counterpart, the golden eagle, have been rescued from the brink of extinction and now fill the skies with fishdiving ecstasy. They’re all over the place in the northern Mississippi valley and it’s a pleasure to behold these fast and powerful birds that make hawks and smaller birds of prey look like pigeons.

Sometimes an eagle will get injured or sick and end up at the eagle center, where it will often be treated, rehabilitated and released back into its native element. Unfortunately, there are always birds whose injuries or illnesses have resulted in their inability to fly again. This means that they become permanent guests at the center. Good for them and great for us.

You see, the National Eagle Center in Wabasha is one of a handful of places in the country where you can get super close to our national identity. Did I say “super” close?

I meant “crazy frikkin’ ridiculous” close. The eagles are kept in an area that looks out over the river and there is no barrier between you and them. Seriously, a small guard rail prevents children from becoming snacks, but there’s no glass wall or caging to separate the people and the predators. I was five feet from them and it was an overwhelming experience. Truly, it’s easy to understand how these creatures became the iconic symbols of many of the world’s great civilizations. I could actually feel the power and confidence radiating from them and have never been so relieved to be a person instead of a chipmunk than on that day. Yow.

A week later I was sitting outside in front of the Norfolk International Airport, killing time before going through security. It was an unseasonably warm day in southern Virginia, blue skies and puffy white clouds having chased away the previous week’s winter storm system, and I was reminiscing about the glorious Thanksgiving meal I had shared with my family. Among my thoughts were the eagles of Wabasha and the jolt of positive well-being they had given me.

As I gazed upon said blue sky, a slight form entered my field of vision from the right. Taking off my sunglasses, I peered almost into the sun and what had been only a small shadow grew into the shape that had filled my meditations.

It was a bald eagle, high up, circling and falling down through the thermal updrafts of the planet Earth, proving its majesty without effort. The sight filled me with emotion and, even now, as I write this, I feel a tear in formation at the recollection.

No, this isn’t some cool scene from “Dances With Wolves.” This really happened. I summoned the spirit of that bird and it dwells within me still.

Have you summoned your eagle?

Call me.

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The Sexiest Main Character, EVER

Some of you may have read my previous reviews of Russell Blake’s books and come to the conclusion that he and I are friends or relatives. The truth is, although I only met the guy a few months ago, I have a strange fascination with him and his writing.

I have two reasons for this fascination:

1) His sense of humor is uncommon and his jokes, diatribes and observations about life help me smile through the drool.

2) The man can write. Period. Like, demon powered.

If you haven’t read any of his stuff, do so, and do so now. Can’t decide which riproaringly crazily paced thriller to begin with? (Yes, another dangling preposition. Get used to it. That’s how we speak.)

Try this one: Fatal Exchange. Just when you think it’s about an international currency scam involving a small Asian country and the highest levels of the U.S. government, which it is, you get smacked in the face by the sexiest main character ever created, Tess Gideon. She’s a bicycle messenger on the streets of New York trying to “find herself” while working every muscle in her lean, taut and tattoo covered body in a race to deliver her daily intra-office correspondence on time. Not only is Tess beautiful, sensual and sultry she’s also quite intelligent and hides a soul that could change the world if it was released.

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of trademark Russell Blake action and suspense to go along with the breakneck pace of this novel as the story develops from a small apartment in Myanmar through a run down tenement building in New York City, finally erupting in the offices of the U.S. Treasury. Like all his books, Mr. Blake has chosen a plot that sounds too believable to NOT be true.

And there’s Tess. Dark hair, green eyes. And bad guys chasing her. Yes, please.

Fatal Exchange can be found next to all of the Russell Blake titles on Amazon and his website, russellblake.com

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Our Fragile Community: A Love Story

People, I am in love. Thank you, thank you, but before you all slap me on the back with congratulations and well-wishing let me be clear about this: I am in love with more than one person.

No, this is not a soap opera, nor is it a rebel song.

We met earlier this year when I first began to swim in the tide of social media as a brand new aspiring author. Originally, I was interested in completing my novel and finding representation in the hopes of landing a traditional publishing deal. Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s hard. However, as I met and networked with more and more people on Twitter, Facebook and blog comment forums I realized that what was really missing in my life was not a traditional book deal, but a community of like-minded people that would support and insulate me in my pursuit of art, as I would support and insulate them in return. Although fortunate in my career, my life lacked meaning. I felt disconnected.

Then I dove into the indie community and met the multiple loves of my life.

My lovers are a collection of artistic and creative men and women that I feel strong connections with and who have enriched my life simply by being alive. From brilliant thriller authors to funny social commentators to folks who aren’t even writers, but who emote a special purity of being, every one of them possessing unique qualities, each of my human lovers have allowed and encouraged me to find existence in a new and glorious universe. What brought us together?

We all share a certain fragility. We’re all “broken” in some way that has opened previously closed doors within our minds and souls. Whether our cracks and bruises are the result of bad people, personal tragedy or just an often unfair and meaningless world, we have all chosen to deal with our pain by letting the creative cat out of the bag.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

So, I now say THANK YOU to the love, wishes and respect of the indie community and scream those three not so little words from the mountain top:

I LOVE YOU!

 

 

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