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Friday, May 6, 2011

Guest: L.J. Charles on Movement

When my characters get stubborn, or too demanding, and I can’t figure out what would be the worst possible thing to do to them, I walk. When I lived in North Carolina, it was easy to steal a quick fifteen minutes from their demanding attitudes, and settle our issues offline…so to speak.

Things are different in North Dakota. Not as hectic as the chaos of the Raleigh/Cary area, but, oh, there’s movement and lots of it. Wind. The stuff never quits, and in the winter, hearty gusts are accompanied by snow, sleet, and all manner of body-numbing atrocities. Winter, by the way, lasts until May. As a fairly new transplant from the south, I’ve been hiding from North Dakota winters, ignoring the pleas of my characters to puh-leeze get out and move so I can hear what they’re trying to tell me.

But I couldn’t hide forever, not from the insistent voices of my characters, and definitely not from the bathroom mirror.

My Big Jeans had reached an uncomfortable snugness when the epiphany hit. I got on a friend’s treadmill. Oh, I’d had gym memberships, gone the route of aerobic classes, step classes, and all that sort of thing, but never touched the…machines. Too big, too heavy, too intimidating, and you had to go to a gym where people watched while they waited for their turn with the monsters. But alone in my friend’s house with the treadmill—pure joy.

My husband, sweetheart that he is, tried to drag me to the YMCA. Not one of his better moves, but he made up for it and came through with a Nordictrack. Best Valentine’s Day present, ever, never mind that it arrived in April. It resides in the basement, and we’ve become BFF’s. If I’m stuck on a plot point, need to listen to, or argue with my characters, I hit the treadmill and walk it out. Doesn’t matter if there’s twenty inches of snow in the driveway because I have my machine. And smaller jeans.

What do you do when the literary, or other, doldrums strike?

One lucky commenter will win a copy of L. J. Charles' Lifethread. To be eligible, please include your email with your comment.


  1. Welcome, L.J. I am not sure if I could handle winter lasting that far in to the year. Then again, in Illinois, it is alwasy a crap shoot. Could have the 80s in April one year and 30/40s the next. Mother nature likes to keep us on our toes I guess. When it is nice out, I garden. Either planting or pulling weeds, depending on the time of year, until my characters settle down. In the winter, I tend to bond with my Wii.

    You don't have to enter me in the drawing, I already have a copy of Lifethread, though I relucantly admit it is in my to be read stack. Can a Kindle have a to be read stack? Hmmm.

  2. Good morning, Amy.

    Yes, I'm sure that Kindles have TBR stacks. Mine does. At the moment that stack is 5 deep and counting. And, I reluctantly admit that The Healing Tree is one of those in the stack.

    Lucie j.

  3. Lucie,

    Thanks so much for joining us today. I can relate to the long, miserable winters and being a transplant from the South. Even the act of getting in the cold car to drive to the Y is too much most days.

    When I need inspiration or I have a problem that needs a solution, I get in the shower. It works every time. :)

  4. The walk on a treadmill with a good book. One of my favorite activities!

  5. Hi, Samantha.
    So good to see you. I didn't know you'd signed with SB. Congratulations! We didn't get a chance to talk in Orlando. Sorry about that.

    Love the shower idea. That works for me too, only they're usually not long enough. :)

    Lucie j

  6. Hi, Aimee.

    It is a good place to read, but if I'm not watching the cats tend to try and join me. Cats/treadmill -- a seriously bad combination.

    Lucie j.

  7. Thank you!

    Things were a little too spread out in Orlando to talk with everyone I would have liked to, not like the cozy bar in DC. :)

  8. L.J. I can so relate to your transplant story. Living in Idaho, I've found the treadmill is much more reliable than the weather. When my story stalls, I usually clean house.