Friday Favorites: Character Chat with Emma

Guest Blogger: Emma Morgan, a character from MURDER ON MUSIC ROW

 

Hello everyone,

Where does the time go? It seems only yesterday my girls were excited about the last day of school, and now we’re shopping for clothes for the new school year.

Grace, my seven year old, will be starting  second grade and her five-year-old sister, Abby, will begin her last year of pre-school. You’d think Abby could wear some of Grace’s hand-me-downs, but Grace pretty much wears her clothes out. She’s our little athlete and has been playing soccer since she was four. Abby started this summer and it looks like she’s going to be a soccer standout too. 

I’ve decided to enroll them in after school dance classes twice a week starting in September, after they get acclimated to school. They’ll take ballet, tap, and jazz—thirty minutes each—so there’ll not be time for them to become bored. I hope they love at least one style of dance and will want to continue. The rule at our house is the same one I had growing up. If they start something, they must finish that season or school year, depending on the activity.

When I went to the dance studio too sign them up, I was delighted their classes would be on the same days and at the same time.  But what really thrilled me was a “Mommy Program” the dance school is rolling out this year. The 1½ hour adult class will run simultaneously with the girl’s classes and will be half tap and half jazz. I guess they thought the mommies might not have the stamina for ballet. The most exciting part is their plan to feature the moms and their child(ren) in the same dances at the recital next June. I know that’s almost a year away, but I think it will be loads of fun to dance on stage—complete with costumes—with my girls. I don’t plan to tell Josh or Nan and Loralee. I’d love to see their faces when they realize we’re performing together.  Of course as the recital draws near, two little mouths may spill the beans.

I have to admit I’m also looking forward to a new form of exercise. At 5’2” it’s hard to keep the weight off, especially after the girls were born. I go to the gym, but hate the monotony of the machines. The only way I can even tolerate them is because they have televisions attached. Of course, there’s not much that interests me on daytime TV so I’ve started taking my IPad and reading a book or watching a movie. Regardless, I think 1½ hours of dance will burn at least as many calories as thirty minutes on a cross-trainer.

The girls and I do a lot of activities together, but this will be extra special. What about you? Have you ever taken a class with one of your children? Or have you performed on stage with her? I’d love to hear about the experiences of others, so feel free to leave a comment.

Until next time,

~Emma

Wildcard Wednesday: Baseball’s not the only place for a good pitch

What would you do if you recognized an agent in an elevator?

A. Get off at the next floor

B. Faint

C. Pitch your novel

C, of course, is the correct answer.

In order to have an effective pitch, you must be prepared. So prepared, in fact, that it rolls off your tongue and the agent would never guess it was something you’d spent

In order to have an effective pitch, you have to be prepared. So prepared, in fact, that it rolls off your tongue and the agent would never guess it was something you’d spent hours days weeks months crafting.

One way to be prepared is to practice your pitch every time you are asked about your book. So, if the Walmart checkout lady asks what your book is about (yes, you told her you’re an author when you bought more summer reads than you could carry), practice your pitch. When you visit your mom and all of her friends ask about your book, practice your pitch. When the UPS guy delivers packages from Amazon, practice your pitch. When you’re walking around your house talking to yourself, practice your pitch. You get the picture.

As you know, I follow the blogs of several agents. Last week both Rachelle Gardner of Word Serve Literary Group and Stephanie Davis of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management had posts with tips on how to pitch a project. Rachelle did a series with Crafting your Elevator PitchYour Verbal Pitch, and Pitching your Novel where she invited readers to leave their pitches in her comments promising to critique some of them. (Fingers crossed.) Stephanie’s post was titled  The Pitch Session. For some great tips, check out these posts. Be sure to read the comments too. It always helps to know you aren’t alone trying to navigate the yellow brick road to finding an agent

Some authors write their pitches before they even begin their books. They say it helps them stay focused. Others wait until they’ve typed “The End” because they aren’t sure exactly how the plot will go until the book is finished. It won’t surprise you that mine is somewhere in between.

I was taught a pitch is a 30 to 60-second commercial that conveys in one sentence the plot of one’s book. Simple, huh? Yeah, right. Try condensing 80,000 words into seventy-five. I was also taught I didn’t need to name characters or even have the name of the book for that matter, but I chose to include the title.

I have a one-sentence pitch, but for the life of me I can’t make it sound natural and impromptu when reciting it aloud as I drive. (Thank goodness for Bluetooth technology—few people give me “the ‘are you crazy’ look” anymore.) I’d rather my pitch flow nicely than adhere to the one-sentence rule so here is my pitch:

MURDER ON MUSIC ROW is a cozy mystery about a thirty-something Nashville hairstylist who finds her famous ex-boyfriend bludgeoned to death with his own Grammy Award. She and her zany friends comb the Music City for clues to prove her innocence and find the killer.

Readers who enjoy light-hearted southern mysteries with lots of mayhem, in the style of Anne George, would also like this book. Does this sound like something that might interest you?

What do you think? Do you have suggestions to improve my pitch? Will you share YOUR pitch in my comments?

 

 

Manic Monday: Home Alone

I am accustomed to working at home. Alone.

Hubby’s total hip replacement has greatly hindered changed how I do it. I left my cozy writing nook upstairs and set up shop on the loveseat in our den so I could be at his beck and call. First with his walker, now with his cane, he goes from the only chair meeting the requirements for him to sit, to the sofa where he lays down and sometimes naps, to the bathroom or kitchen; then he starts all over again.

He has greatly improved during the twelve days since his surgery, so I don’t have to tote and fetch as much as I did in the beginning.  But requests for water, tissues, tucking him in, etc. have been replaced with questions.  Do I know where the instructions for something we bought three years ago might be? Why don’t we start this project or that project? Where is the Blu-ray movie he can’t find? Why don’t we get out and run a few errands? All are questions that require me to stop work and assist him, so his physical improvement hasn’t changed his demands on me.

And then we get into the disagreements. I went to the same presurgery class and read the same 1” manual as he, but our interpretations are somehow different. In the class (and in the book) it was stressed his physician wants his patients to use a walker for two full weeks putting no more than 50% of their weight on the replacement joint. At ten days, however, Hubby ditched the walker reasoning the book was written for much older patients who weren’t very active.

In addition, he is supposed to wear support hose during the day but not at night. But now that he feels well enough to get out and do a few things, he refuses to wear them except at home. Again, the rules don’t apply to him. He is a physician and maybe he does know best, but the last time I listened to him instead of my gut, he ended up in emergency surgery and was in the hospital for ten days.

And bless his heart, all of a sudden the man can’t hear. He turns on the television with the volume as high as it will go. He is sitting (or laying) right in front of the television, but still needs it to blare. When he drifts off to sleep, I mute it, but he’s not napping as much as I’d like. We tried closed captions, but he didn’t like that solution even though last night he wanted to watch an Italian movie with subtitles. I bought some cordless headphones and charged them for sixteen hours as the instructions said. They lasted for one. We charged them another sixteen hours—again they worked for one. Back to the store we went. Cordless headphones aren’t as easy to find as one might think, but we found another pair at a different store. However they don’t have a way where he can switch the volume back to the TV should I want to watch a movie with him. They have to physically be removed from the television.

Then there is his physical therapy–one and a half hours, three times a week. Today we had an appointment to get a scan to make sure he didn’t have blood clots. Next we went to another location to have blood drawn which was followed by PT at yet a third site. Thank you Starbucks for giving me a place near his PT to write. Even with all of the commotion, it was less than distracting than being at home with him.

I’m sure if you have small children you are no stranger to interruptions to your writing. How do you deal with them? Better than me, I’m guessing.

Friday Favorites: Exciting News

I’m pre-empting Friday’s character chat with a personal announcement:

 

We’re expecting our first grandchild!

 

Middle son, Drew and his wife Naomi, shared their good news earlier this week. Drew is in the Marines and they are stationed in Oahu, Hawaii. It looks like we’ll be taking the long trek to Hawaii in a few months.

 

Have a good weekend, all.

 

~ Kay

Wildcard Wednesday: How to format a Novel

When writing my novel, I learned things had changed since I was in school. Who knew there was only one space after a period now, instead of two, for example?

I was told the Chicago Manual of Style was the end-all, be-all for writing questions. I bought the bright orange book and became more confused than ever. The printing was small. It frequently referenced other sections of the book. It was a pain in the . . . well, you get the idea.

Recently I came across a website with concise, to the point rules to format a novel. With the permission of Glen Strathy, the following is an excerpt from his website www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com.

 

So here, briefly, are the rules for using correct manuscript format for a novel:

* White paper. No coloured paper or electronic files with coloured backgrounds.

* Single-sided. (Obviously this applies to hard copies.) Editors don’t expect to look at the back of a page.

* Standard font: Courier, 12 point, is the standard font to use in manuscript format. This size is easy to read and makes all the letters take up the same amount of space on a line, so word counts are easy. Don’t change fonts or sizes anywhere.

* Double space your manuscript, but don’t put any extra space between paragraphs. Again, it’s easy to read and leaves room for editing marks.

* Only one space between words or sentences. (Traditionally, typists put an extra space after periods and colons, but this has been abandoned by publishers as a waste of space and paper.)

* 1-inch margins top, bottom, left, and right. This should give you 60 characters per line on average (10 words) and 25 lines per page.

* Ragged, not justified alignment. Word processors can do justified alignment, whereby all the lines end flush with the right-hand margin, but don’t do it. It changes the spacing between words in a way that is distracting.

* Include a header on every page except the title page. The header should put the page number in the upper right hand corner. This makes it easy to tell, when flipping through the manuscript, if a page has gone missing. Left of the page number, put your name and the title of your book, or a shortened version of each (for example “Dickens/Two Cities 25”). If a page gets separated from your manuscript and mixed up with other papers, this information will help someone put it back in place.

* Title page. The title page will have the book’s title centred, half-way down the page. Underneath that, also centred, put “By” followed by the author’s name. In either the top left or bottom right corner, provide your contact details: name, address, phone number, email address. On the opposite side of the page, put your estimated word count.

* No bold, italics, or any other font effects. You can underline foreign words, titles, and things you want to emphasize, just as you would if you were using a typewriter (publishers will convert underlining to italics). Black is the only acceptable font colour.

* Don’t add hypens to break up words at the end of a line. Most people wouldn’t think to do this unless they had trained as a typist. But just in case you did, don’t. The line divisions will change in the printed book, which means someone will have to go through the manuscript and remove many of the hyphens you add. So just leave them out.

* Start the first chapter 6 double-spaced lines down from the top of the next page. Centre the chapter title or use “Chapter 1” if you don’t want chapter titles. Then hit return twice to leave extra space before the story starts. Start every chapter on a new page, with a similar title.

* Put “End” at the bottom of the last page, so the editor knows for certain it’s the last page.

* Do not bind or staple your pages together, or include a cover. Editors want the pages to lie flat. They don’t want to hold the manuscript open. Just stack the pages in order and pack them into a box.

Of course, in addition to following the correct manuscript format you will need to check all your spelling, grammar, and punctuation before you submit your novel. Mistakes in these areas damage your credibility with an editor, as well as showing that your manuscript still needs much work.


Great list, huh? Be sure to check out Glen’s website for lots of other useful information. It is one of the best I’ve seen.

~ Kay

Manic Monday: Writing or me?

When I got serious about blogging almost a year ago, I learned, to be successful, I must do three things:

  1. Name the blog. Check
  2. Create a blogging schedule and stick to it. Check
  3. Identify what the blog would be about.

 

You might notice there is no “check” by #3. It’s because I’ve failed miserably on that front. Technically, I guess I could give myself credit, because I decided I’d blog about writing—and I started out that way—but somewhere throughout the year it has become more and more about me and my woes.

Could it be because I had the worst case of bronchitis known to man (all right, known to me) and was out of commission for five months causing me to miss my first tap recital in over forty years? (I didn’t miss a post though.)

Or perhaps it’s because my mother-in-law was diagnosed with stomach cancer, had her stomach removed, and experienced the death of both her husband and her best friend of over forty years in a span of six weeks?

Or could it be because my husband’s business partner’s wife died a few weeks ago?

Or maybe it’s because of Hubby’s recent hip replacement which will keep him at home (with me) for at least six weeks?

Or it’s because our five-year-old godson underwent a 10+ hour surgery (his 22nd ) in Seattle two days after Hubby’s operation and it almost killed me not to be there? It was even worse when his mom told he asked for me (okay, he asked for both Grammy and Pappy) when he woke up from the anesthesia.

Even though I’ve blogged three times a week, joined a critique group, and completely rewritten my novel, I’ve found the subject matter of my blogs seems to be more about what’s going on in my life rather than writing. Well, duh. I have to process this stuff somehow and I don’t have time to see a therapist.

In the interest of full disclosure, with Hubby home for a minimum of six weeks, I don’t see this pattern changing. I tend to blog about what is on my mind and with him underfoot recuperating, I suspect he’s going to be on my mind a whole lot.

He’s using a walker for two weeks then he will graduate to a cane. He has to go to physical therapy three times a week for six weeks. He can’t go to the gym for three months. He can’t ride a bike for a year. Him going without the gym for even three days is like me going without ice cream for a year.

I suspect the first two weeks will be the toughest and, most likely, the worst is behind us as he’ll improve some every day (good God, I hope!).  It’s going to be a busy few weeks so hang in there with me if I blog more about what’s going on in Elamville than I do about writing.

I’ve got a dynamite guest blog for Wednesday on how to format a novel from Glen Strathy of www.how-to-write-a-book.now.com. These are things that weren’t taught in college–at least not where I went.  I hope you’ll come back on Wednesday  for Glen’s rules and again for Friday’s character chat.

~Kay

Friday Favorites: Character Chat (Nan)

Guest post is by Nan Macomb, a character from Murder on Music Row.

 

Hi everyone,

Hot! Hot! Hot! That’s what is is in Nashville right now. With temperatures in the high 90’s we’ve been under severe heat alerts all week. It’s too hot to run; it’s even too hot to sit on the porch. About all you want to do is straddle an air conditioning vent with a glass of sweet iced tea.

 

The trend for hair this summer is short and sassy. Almost everyone wants a cute new look with shorter hair. The problem is these same clients will want long hair this winter. Wait and see–I guarantee it.

 

When someone wants to change hairstyles, they’ll often bring in a picture or tell me they want it to look just like (fill in the blank with the hottest stars du jour). They don’t take into consideration the texture, thickness, and  all the other characteristics unique to their hair. Here are some of pictures my clients have brought in so far.

 

PHOTOS REMOVED — PHOTOGRAPHERS’ PERMISSION NOT OBTAINED 

 Short

  

Medium Short

 

 

 

                                                 Longer but still short  

Obviously, these aren’t my clients. They are all photos from the Internet. (No photo credit was given.)

 

I have to say I did a pretty good job with the cuts. My favorite is the middle medium one and my own hair would look pretty good with that cut. Currently, it is just below my shoulders and I wear it up when I work and in a ponytail when I run. It’s functional so I’ll probably not go short this year.

Just so you’ll know, Loralee’s thick red hair is long and hits mid-back. No way she’s gonna change it. Emma on the other hand, is more trendy. In fact, the first photo in the middle row is what she wanted. Her hair, however, was too fine and thin to do it. She ended up with a style that looks like a longer version of the middle photo on the first row.

 

And yes, someone really did want the last do, minus the eye make-up, of course. Believe it or not, it turned out really cute, but she had to buy lots of product to keep it up like that. When she doesn’t put it up, it’s a simple cut that kind-of sort-of looks like the first photo on the same row–just more layered.

 

I’ve got a full afternoon on the books so I’m gonna scoot. I hope you have a great weekend. Stay cool.

 

~Nan

Wildcard Wednesday: Guest post by Cat Woods

Hi everyone,

Hubby is having hip replacement surgery today so one of my critique partners, Cat Woods, graciously let me “borrow” a recent post from her blog. Cat is among my favorite online chums. She’s an excellent writer (has been published!) and is entertaining to boot. She ‘s married, has four children and a black lab that likes to eat socks and sometimes shoes. Her blog is Words from the Woods.

So without further ado….here’s Cat. Enjoy!

~Kay

 

What base is your novel on?

July 6, 2011 by catwoods

As many of you know, Middle Son loves baseball.  The first half of the season was a series of whiffs and misses at the plate.  Sometimes he’d simply watch the ball go by and not swing at all.  Enter the glasses a few weeks ago, and he’s been getting better.

I think it took him a little time to get acclimated to his new specks and relearn his depth perception.  After all, his eyes had lied to him before and he had to adjust to the land of the seeing.  Over the course of the second half, he’s gotten increasingly more skilled at timing the pitches.

Last night he was up three times in the batting order.  He had two beautiful hits and struck out once.  His second hit sailed through the gap between shortstop and third base and had to be chased down in left field.  By the time he slid into second base, three of his teammates had made it home, tying the game.

Oh, how a grand slam would have been awesome.  Ultimately, it would have won the game if he could have smashed one to the fence.  Yet, Middle Son is teeny for his age and he’s been relearning to use his eyes.  His hit was a victory in and of itself.

Writing is like that.

Not every novel has to be a grand slam.  Sometimes we write simply to learn.  We practice our mechanics and experiment with our voice and style.  We learn the nuances of the business and apply this knowledge to our writing.  Along the way, we see the results and position ourselves for a run.

CAT’S GUIDE TO LOADING THE BASES

  • Strike Out: those first 2,000 words that don’t go anywhere.  They are mere character sketches or inciting incidences written on the spur of the moment in response to events in our own lives.  While this feels like a miss, writing these snippets are essential to learning the craft.  They are practice for future projects.  And without practice, we would never learn to hit.  With luck, these characters or events work their way into other novels.
  • First Base: finishing a novel.  It’s easy to start a story.  It’s not easy to reach the end of one.  And while finally getting a hit feels like a victory, it’s just the beginning.  Not all books that make it to first base cross home plate.  In fact, many do not.  Instead, they end up back in the dugout, cheering the next batter on.  Hitting a single in writing will always advance a runner (our writing skills) and is well worth our time.
  • Second Base: editing said finished novel.  This is a process often over-looked by beginning writers.  Edits may be rudimentary.  Nothing more than typo checks.  Yet getting a novel polished is much more than that.  It takes time and skill and a whole lot of patience.  Practice.  Practice.  Practice.  Sometimes we stand on second base forever before getting the guts to steal third.  Other times, our beloved manuscripts fall victim to a third out and we find ourselves back in the dugout awaiting our next time at bat.
  • Third Base: querying/subbing.  I’m not talking about writing the query letter here.  I’m talking about sending it off.  Third base puts us in position to score a run.  It’s the one place in our journey that hurts the most.  We hover on third–debating whether our manuscript is ready–with home plate taunting us from mere yards away.  We can taste victory, but it’s not quite within our reach.  We’ve declared ourselves writers and put ourselves out there for others to accept or reject.  Once we get this far, we are largely at the mercy of agents, editors and the industry trends as a whole.  It is at this stage in the game that we often learn the maturity and grace of being a professional writer.
  • Home Plate: securing a publishing contract.  We’ve put in the time and run the bases.  Whether we got there with one pitch or a painful series of them, we finally slide into home and earn our place in the writing world.  Someone, somewhere loved our writing enough to take a chance on it.  We have tangible evidence of our hard work.  Yet our work is not done.  We still have to practice.  We still have to edit and write and write and edit.  We market and socialize and learn, all while waiting to win the game.
  • Grand Slam: published novel in hand.  There is no need to expound on this.  However, I feel compelled to remind myself that hitting a grand slam does not mean the game is over. At some point, authors will once again face the pitching mound with a new novel.

I’m not afraid to step up to the plate.  Strike outs don’t scare me.  Standing forever on third base does.  And the only way I can control that is to just keep swinging.

How about you?  Where are you standing at this moment in time?  Are you just starting  out and hoping for a single, or do you have your eye on home plate?  How many manuscripts has it taken for you to get this far?

 

Manic Monday: Hip, Hip Hooray!

It has indeed been a manic couple of weeks around our house. Hubby is scheduled for a hip replacement this Wednesday and we’ve had to ready our home for his return. This includes removing all rugs, putting rails up in the shower and for the stairs coming into house from the garage, rearranging all of the drawers so his clothes are waist high or above, purchasing or borrowing such “equipment” as shower chair, special shower mat, bedside potty, walker and more. None of our chairs or sofas will give him the correct angle for sitting so we also purchased a new chair. We needed a desk chair, so that’s what we got. The height can be adjusted and he can roll around while he’s incapacitated. When he doesn’t need it any longer, it can go upstairs to the study.

 

He’ll use a walker for two weeks, then go a cane. He’ll also do physical therapy three times a week. Luckily (for me), his 24-year-old son is living with us for the summer while he studies for the GRE. Step-son’s plans are to apply for physical therapy school, so he’s volunteered agreed to be in charge of getting his dad to and from PT and supervising his home exercises. I love this kid—really.

 

Hubby’ll most likely be in the hospital until Friday. Then he has to stay home for a minimum of six weeks. Therein lies my problem. The doctor said hubby will feel great in three weeks and will think he can go back to work, but it would be a false sense of well-being. Doc said Hubby’s hip should be the center of his universe for the next six weeks. Ideally, he’d stay out of work for twelve weeks, but if he does well with his PT, six will do. If he feels spry in three weeks, I foresee some battles about his limitations. But I will control the car keys and he can’t so anywhere unless I take him. 

 

I dread the next six weeks and here’s why. He won’t be sick, he’ll be physical limited. This means his mind will be as sharp as always (which is damn sharp) and he can sit around and think of things for us to do. As a business owner he has a unique roll in his company so he plans to do his job remotely. He also wants to knock out several hours of online CME (continuing medical education) while he’s home. In addition, he’s mentioned he might have someone come in to give him guitar lessons and he may do an online typing class . . . see why I’m dreading the upcoming weeks. I’m accustomed to quiet serenity during the day and the next six weeks will be anything but.

 

When I was sick this past winter and when I had an injury a couple of years ago, he took such good care of me. He had so much patience and did all the cooking, cleaning, and even the laundry. (He still does most of that now.) I know, however, I do not have the patience of Job and I fear I won’t be as supportive to him as he was to me. It’s not a contest, but I would like to reciprocate and I fear I’ll fail.

 

How will his being under foot home all the time affect my writing? I don’t know. I enjoy his company (obviously) and if he is watching movies, I’ll want to snuggle in and watch movies too. I’ll probably move from my writing nook, so I’ll be on the same floor as him to better meet his needs (and keep me from going up and down the stairs a zillion times). I’m not as productive away from my nook.

 

I have lined up a few guest posts to use when I’m too busy or overwhelmed to blog. Yeah me for planning ahead, though having him home might give me plenty of blogging topics. I’m just not sure how I’ll tie them in to writing, but that’s my creative challenge.

 

I know we all have unexpected distractions from our writing. I’d love to hear some of your stories so I won’t feel alone in this boat. Prayers and good ju-ju on Wednesday (11 am CDST) will also be appreciated.

 

Thanks for letting me vent. It’s your turn.

 

~Kay

Friday Favorites: Character Chat (Loralee)

Guest post by a character from Murder on Music Row

 

Hey ya’ll,

 

Last night I did something last night I ain’t done in years. I went to a gym. I can barely move today. Ohhhh…

 

I know exercise is supposed to be good for you and all that, but I ain’t that fond of sweat, especially if it’s on me. But I’ve been noticing the laundry has been shrinking my clothes lately. Then I went to my doctor for my annual womanly check-up and her scales said I’d gained ten pounds since last year. They assured me the scales were right and since I don’t believe in having scales at home, I had to believe them.

 

Now Nan and Emma–they love exercise. Nan runs all the time–says it makes her think better. She thinks pretty good anyways in my opinion, but she’s out there hitting the pavement rain or shine. About the only thang that’ll keep her home is lightening. Emma will run sometimes, but she prefers those crowed classes of Zumba (or something like that–I ain’t never been) or step aerobics. Both of them go to yoga or palates a couple of times a week and are all the time telling me these zen-like things to do. I don’t do ’em ’cause I don’t like to be bossed around.

 

But back to me—I’m thirty-five years old and no where near middle age, but “they” say it’s harder to lose weight the older you get. I don’t believe in diets either, but I may have to look into that–especially if this exercise thing don’t work.

 

As luck would have it, I was heading out today and one of the kids in my apartment building—someone I just had a nodding acquaintance with—was getting in his car at the same time. We spoke, as we usually do, and I commented he looked like he was heading to the gym. He said, “Yes ma’am,” and I just about freaked. I ain’t no ma’am. Anyways, he said he was a personal trainer at a gym across town. I asked and he explained how a personal trainer works and he offered to give me a free session which explains how I ended up there last night. Shrunk  jeans, ten pounds, ma’am–it was time.

 

Since I ain’t walked into a gym in years, I was surprised, and intimidated, by all the machines. If kid trainer (he says he’s twenty-four, but he looks like a teenager) hadn’t been there, I’d have turned around and walked right out. To tell the truth, if he hadn’t seen me, I’d have scrammed anyways. But he did see me, even though I’d tried to disguise myself by putting my hair up and wearing no make-up. But I guess you just can’t camouflage bright red hair and a 5’12” body. At least I was across town. Everybody in our circle of friends envies that my metabolism keeps me the same size without exercise.

 

Kid met me at the door with a grin like a hyena and said he had a workout all made up for me. First he put me on one of those cross-trainers. It looks dangerous, but the most riskiest part was getting on and off the damned thing. It had this display that told you how many minutes you’d gone and distance and calories burned and if you grabbed the handles and squeezed, it’d give you your heart rate. Pretty slick, but the clock was all messed up because I’d done about five minutes and it said I’d only done one. The really cool thang about it is it had a TV built right in, but I didn’t think to bring my earphones–I was about the only one there without them–but I could watch it as a distraction. He wanted me to do fifteen minutes, and I did–but the messed up time counter said I’d only done eight. I told him they needed to fix that machine’s mechanisms and he laughed at me. If it hadn’t have been a free session I might have punched him.

 

Then we moved on to the scary looking machines with weights everywhere. But once he explained how they worked and how you could adjust the weights, they weren’t so bad. And the best part–they weren’t that hard to do. I did machines for my legs, my arms, and my abs. He let me try almost every machine there doing ten reps or so on each one. He said when we worked up a routine we’d only use a few machines and we’d do three sets of ten or twelve reps, starting with low weights and moving up. I don’t know what this “we” stuff is, I’m the one doing the work. I told him I didn’t want to look buff and I damned sure don’t want to lose my curves. That’s the laughingest boy I’ve ever seen. He said he’d keep that in mind as he planned my workout.

 

I tell you, I was pretty pleased with myself driving home. I did have to deal with some sweat, but I took a towel. You’re supposed to “clean” the machines when you’re done and they have bottle of sanitizer and rags, but the rags were wet with other people’s sweat so I worked me out a system. I cleaned with the left side of my towel and wiped off my sweat with the right side. I kept it around my neck to I wouldn’t mix up sides. Pretty smart, huh?

 

I’m gonna try this working out thang for three months–that was the shortest membership the gym offered–and see what happens. I’ll keep you posted. Don’t tell Nan or Emma. I’m committed to this but if I quit I don’t want them harping about it.

 

The kid said I’d be sore today, but I didn’t believe him. Except for that cross trainer thang everythang else was pretty easy. But I guess the kid know his stuff ’cause I ache in places I didn’t know I had. Thank God he said we wouldn’t do two days in a row. I ain’t sure I could make it to my car. I’m just gonna lay here on the couch and watch TV all day. It’s raining outside so it’s a good day to veg out.

 

Have a good weekend, ya’ll and I’ll be back soon with a progress report.

 

~ Loralee