Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ultra Runner/Ultra Business Athlete by Michele Ashby

Ultra Runner/Ultra Business Athlete by Michele Ashby

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I am an Ultra Athlete – I have run over 26.2 miles a number of times (way back when it was not so normal) and rowed 24 hours on a Concept II rowing machine (136,010 meters was my longest) and I consider myself an Ultra Business Athlete as well.  Maybe you are too – I meet them every day in my consulting work. 

What is an Ultra Business Athlete? People who are making it happen in their business, company or industry – carrying the responsibilities of many and of one (themselves).   They may consider themselves multi-taskers, and they are hyper-organized, taking on big things that others are too shy, intimidated, risk-averse or tired to.  Ultra Business Athletes know how to pace themselves and to keep on going when others give up or give in. They are aware of their environment at all times and know when to lean in and when to sit back.

I learned my ultra-skills when I was a casual runner and luckily became the running partner of a world-class ultra-runner named Essie Garrett in 1994.  Over a four year span, Essie and I ran thousands of miles together in training and events all over Colorado to raise money and awareness for AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Martin Luther King Day, the homeless, children in need and other causes.  Essie taught me how to pace myself, when to eat and hydrate, when and how to rest, home remedies for aches and pains and all the secrets to overcoming any obstacles and conditions we faced.  

Essie taught me to be patient, take care of myself, and keep putting one foot in front of the other to reach my destination or timeline.  It was never about how fast I was going, rather that I got to the finish line.  Essie’s wisdom was something I carried into the business world and applied to my entrepreneurial endeavors and still serves me today.  These skills enable me to tap into a constant source of energy and keeps me going long after many of my colleagues (even young ones) are done for the day.

How can you do this too?

Literally, you need to think about balance and pacing. It is important to rest as well as work and you want to be conscious of how much you hydrate, what you are eating and how it affects you.  If you drink alcohol and stay out late at night, you have a higher chance of missing an important call or meeting early in the morning.  If you carry a lot of extra weight from eating too much, you tire more easily than others.  If you don’t get enough rest or exercise, it is harder to concentrate and accomplish the tasks you have on your to-do list every day.  

All of us are ultra-athletes when you look at it – we have so many demands on our lives these days between business and personal, it is a balancing act and constant challenge to keep ourselves healthy, full of energy, financially well and emotionally stable.

My top Ultra-business athlete tips are these:

1) Simplify as much as possible – eliminate piles and clutter in all aspects of your life.  

2) Build successful patterns in your life which will save you time, energy and decision making, i.e., use the same hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, transportation, etc.  

3) Drink lots of water every day – keep it nearby and add lemon when you can, because it helps detoxify you.

4) Walk barefoot in the grass whenever possible – connecting your feet to the earth affects your cells and helps balance out your biological energy.

5) Lie down and put your feet up above your heart for 15 minutes a day – this increases circulation and helps you relax.

6) Do one thing at a time – prioritize your list of to-dos and then start with the first one and complete it to the best of your ability before moving on to the next one.

7) Exercise often – everyday if possible which includes walking.  I walk whenever possible, even in the airport if I have a lot of time between flights. I also have a 7-minute workout for those rushed mornings in hotel rooms when I don’t have time to go to the gym – it’s enough to get the blood pumping and the brain going.

8) Always do the hardest thing first – this releases stress, fear and uncertainty and brings us energy.

9) Keep your finances in good order – know when you are overspending and need to cut back – live within your means which minimizes stress because you don’t have debt worry.

10) Discovery and curiosity will always help you stay engaged and young – be interested in what others are doing and thinking, it will keep you fresh and energized and may give you new ideas.

11) Love what you are doing – there is great energy and endurance when we are passionate about what we are doing.

12) Give back – help others, donate, mentor, and hire people.

Michele Ashby, Author of  Secrets of a Closet Millionaire; A Step-by-Step Guide to Financial Freedom – available now on Amazon, Holistic Financial Guide and Coach, Executive coach and Key-note speaker

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What is your story? By D. E Wyatt author of No Good Deeds

What is your Story?”
By: D.E Wyatt (Author of No Good Deed)
April 23,2015

It’s the question that I’m sure every author gets asked at somepoint:


What made you decide to take up writing?”


I’m sure there’s a lot of profound answers out there, but if I had to pick one reason that led me to want to write, I think it’s really pretty self-explanatory:


I did it for the chicks, man.


Now that I’ve got the bad jokes out of my system, and before the offended parties light up their pitchforks, the truth is I’m by nature a very creative person (bad jokes not withstanding). I’ve always been doing something creative; All through high school I was in the band, and my college career actually began on a musical path. I drew, I built models, I cannibalized Lego sets to build X-wing fighters before Lego got the idea to do itthemselves, and I still do a bit of 3D modeling in my spare time.


Writing actually started pretty early for me, and I’ll admit that the very first things I ever wrote were probably Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-related (I was 7 when the Fred Wolff cartoon first airedcut me some slack). But if I were to pick one thing that truly got me started wanting to write, it was Sierra’s Quest for Glory series.


For those of you who missed out on the glory (no pun intended) days of computer gaming in the 1980s and 1990s, the big genre on the PC was the adventure genre. The Big Two developers of the time were LucasArts and Sierra, who both took two different approaches. LucasArts’s games were much more forgiving, while Sierra delighted in murdering you in as varied, hilarious, and humiliating ways as possible. And I’m not kidding; Leisure Suit Larry killed you in one scene if you flushed the toilet! While console games of the time usually only had as much story as they needed to kick off the gameplay, that wasn’t the case for adventure games. In an adventure game you lived the story.


Nowadays deep storytelling in games is an expectation, and ever since Half-Life even shooters have gotten in on the act. In fact aside for a few genre throwback-style games, it’s quite rare for a game not to have an actual plot guiding it forward, but it’s easy to take for granted that, up until the late-90s, a game having a deep an engaging story was the exception.


In 1989 Sierra brought something a little bit different to the table, mixing their typical text-driven adventure game interface with the now-familiar Fighter/Wizard/Thief trifecta of character classes, along with the ability to build up and improve your skills over the course of the game. Then toss generous helpings of self-referential humor, horrible puns, and winks and nods to Germanic fairy tales and mythology, with a dash of mature and serious plot, and hit “puree.” This was Quest for Glory I, and with one title my love of fantasy, and desire to write fantasy,was born.


The Quest for Glory series stood out even among Sierra’s other adventure series of the era, with an eclectic cast — many of whom recurred throughout the series — and a feeling that the choices the lead character made mattered. It was possible to render the game unwinnable by stealing from the wrong character, or any number of other foolish decisions. And by design the game wouldn’t tell you. With the introduction of the Paladin in Quest for Glory II, those choices became even more important in defining who the character was as a personQuest for Glory IVtook the character development and relationships, and depth of storytelling, even further with the introduction of tragic villain Katrina (voiced by the inimitable Jennifer Hale in her first voiceover role)IV marked one of the first mainstream games ever to make it possible to play the main character as if they were falling in love, even giving a dialog option for it at a critical moment in the plot. It had no effect on the outcome of the game, but almost two decades before Bioware’s RPGs made romance sidequest’s a standard RPG feature, Quest for Glory IVincluded it for no other reason than for storytelling.


My very first fantasy story actually began as a loose Quest for Glory fanfic. Over time it started to evolve, but I was never satisfied with how it was turning out. Throughout high school I played with different ideas to varying degrees of maturity (though never more than a few chapters), reworking some and abandoning others. During that time my dad put The Lord of the Rings in my hands, and to this day I consider Tolkien the standard by which I judge fantasy world-building. It was something I wanted to do: Create a world that could live, breathe, and endure, but somehow I just couldn’t quite find the right formula.


Eventually I decided to take a bit of a step back and try something a bit smaller. Rather than the high fantasy of Gloriana and Middle-earth I set my sights on a world much more low-fantasy, and instead of a sprawling epic I aimed for something a bit smaller and more personal. I knew I wanted to use a female protagonist, which I had worked with on my abortive high fantasy, as the idea of taking the traditional fighting, drinking, and wenching antihero, but making him a woman instead, appealed to me. TV Tropes would call her The Lad-ette, and it was a way to play with the conventions and expectations of the reader. The first attempt wasn’t quite right, so I borrowed the elements I thought worked and played with what didn’t.


One of the first steps I took in revising the story was how I developed the world in which it was set. Ever since I first stepped into the world of Gloriana I had an interest in swords and swordfightingIn addition to boffer fighting (which I still regularly participate in. Don’t get any ideas from Role Models, the group I’m in is very hard-contact. Think high school-level hockey with swords) I did a bit of sport fencing in college, but most recently — around the time I was first working on this shorter story — I began studying Western Martial Arts, and I used that as my inspiration. I chose the Holy Roman Empire of the mid-15th Century as a loose basis for the setting and created a new world built around that society and history. I retained something of the protagonist of that first short story, and tweaked her background a bit further. I also gave her a traveling companion rather than having her on her own, and set my two ne’er-do-wells on an adventure that was a bit over their heads, but not so much that I risked veering into Grimdark.


That was how my first published work, No Good Deed..., came to fruition, and it all began with the words “So you want to be a hero...” on the back of a game box.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Why I Write Science Fiction Romance from The Author of The True Calling Series; Siobhan Davis


Blog Guest

Siobhan Davis  (Author of the True Calling Series)

March 13,2015

Why I Write Science Fiction Romance 

Stephen King has said you should write firstly for yourself and then revise or edit your work with the audience in mind. I’ve also heard it said plenty of times, by various different authors, that you should write for your reader-self. Of course, there are others who say you should never write for your reader-self and instead you should focus on your target audience from the get-go and actively visualize your ideal reader.


Aaah!! Sometimes there is too much advice out there;all too readily available and most of it utterly distracting. While a large percentage of it is well-meaning it still has the potential to suck out the writer’s soul and crush authentic writing ability.


When I first decided to focus more seriously on my writing there was no question in my mind as to the type of story (genre) I would write. My love of science fiction started when I was barely out of diapers and I’ve already blogged on this site about my obsession with Star Wars from a very early age. (See previous post here: Http:// )


All the ideas and worlds floating around my brain for years were sci-fi related – either space or aliens or vastly different future worlds. Around the same time I started investing in my own writing, I was drawn into the young adult genre and devoured books like they were chocolate. (To be clear: I love chocolate. Salivating alreadyJ.)


I love the blending of action, adventure, swoon-worthy romance and life–or–death type scenarios that are typical of the YA books I read. I enjoy science fiction, dystopian and fantasy YA more so than contemporary or historical YA. I have a huge list of favourite YA authors including Laini Taylor, J K Rowling, John Green, Marie Lu, Veronica Roth, and Susan Kaye Quinn (a new fav). However, the authors who have most influenced my writing are Stephenie Meyer (I obsessed over the Twilight books), Suzanne Collins (such a talented writerand THG Trilogy is exceptionally well written in my opinion) and most recently Jennifer L. Armentrout (I worship at the altar of writing powerhouse, JLA.)


What I love most about these authors in particular is their ability to blend a compelling story with fast-paced action and a healthy dose of heart-breaking romance. Anyone who follows my reviews on Goodreads will know that I need a good dose of romance to feel connected to the story. I know lots of readers hate reading science fiction with strong romance threads but from my perspective, they go hand in hand.


For me as a writer it developed naturally from that point on: I had found the perfect book for my reader-self and the perfect genre to write in.


And it is for those reasons that when I put pen to paper I chose to write science fiction romance (or it chose me?)explicitly state this in my author profile and in book descriptions because I want readers to understand when they pick up one of my books that it is not purely science fiction nor a straight-up love story. It is a mix of the two, because those are the types of books that I love to read AND write.


Siobhan Davis is the author of YA science fiction romance series True Calling. 
True Calling, Book 1 in the series, will be available to download for free, exclusively on Amazon from 13th – 17thApril. 

Amazon USA:
Amazon UK:
Amazon Canada:
Amazon Australia:



#books #blogs #blogpost #dystopian #sciencefiction #romance #bookreview 

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