The Easy (er) Sport

They say running is an easy sport to pick up. Just put one foot in front of the other. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

It’s not that easy. Sometimes the feet end up higher than the hips.

I don’t trail run often but I’m no amateur either. With a recent break in the August heat, I ducked into the woods when I would’ve normally been running laps around the office campus. As I neared the end of the trail, I experienced a brief moment of distraction which ended with my foot catching… something, and the rest of me continuing with the momentum of my run.

I never thought myself a fast runner but that little trip had me rushing at the ground pretty darn fast. Not so fast that several thoughts couldn’t race through my mind as I fell.

Pick up your feet for fuck’s sake.

You got this.

No, you don’t.

Ground to knee. Ouch.

Shoulder’s gonna hurt if we don’t do something.

Tuck and roll.

Not exactly.

Gotta try. Pulled shoulder in, tucked chin to chest.

Roll. Yes. Got this.


Then I’m sitting on the edge of a bed of ferns, my legs splayed out in front of me, my water bottle gone, and I’m looking around like I expect to discover I’ve fallen down the Rabbit Hole. There was no caterpillar and no grinning cat. Just the trees, the sky, and a lot of dirt.

Okay, no biggie. It’s over.

Am I hurt?

(pause) Nothing feels hurt.

I glance down the length of my body, somehow amused that my legs are splayed out straight in front of me since the last thing I remember is hoping I don’t jar my shoulder.

Everything seems okay.

My gaze falls on my Gamin. Time’s moving. Gonna mess up my timing.

I was on my feet, brushing dirt and pine needles off my arm as quick as I hit the ground. I paused to check my knee. Blood. Dirt. Lifted my foot. Everything still worked and time was ticking.

I’ve heard it from mountain bikers. Rub dirt in it and get your ass back on the bike. Okay. I look around for clean dirt. Yes, I did. Go ahead and laugh. There are a lot of geese on campus and I wasn’t going to rub goose crap in my wound. I scooped my fingers across the ground and then rubbed dirt over the blood on the side of my calf. I decided there was enough on my knee, and turned toward the trailhead. I was two hundred meters from the end, but I wasn’t letting that trail win. I stepped off the trail and then circled around to do that loop again.

I managed to keep my feet on the ground on the second loop. One foot in front of the other. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Easy…er.

New Release: My Ghost

It took four long months but I finally carved out the time to get My Ghost rereleased. I got my rights back on this short ghost story during the same week I finally got the promotion I’d been angling for at the day job. That day job had to come first, of course.

This kickin’ cover was created by the talented Syneca Featherstone!

My Ghost


My Ghost is now available on Smashwords by clicking HERE.

I’m working on converting files to upload at ARe and Amazon. Smashwords will filter down to B&N, Apple, and a few others. Hopefully soon. For those of you who have read the first edition, there are no major changes to the story in this new release.

Happy Sunday, dear Readers!
~Pia Veleno

Movie Review: Authors Anonymous

It took me a while of knowing I needed to before I actually did. I tend to work that way sometimes. I loved yoga. I knew it was good for me. Yet it took forever for me to make it a habit.

I’m not writing about yoga today. Instead I’m writing about a movie I picked off of Netflix to watch while I practiced yoga in my living room. Perhaps we can talk about the benefits of yoga another day. If you’re interested.

I guess you could call Authors Anonymous a mockumentary. IMDB calls it just a plain ole comedy. I don’t recall seeing any ads for this movie when it came out but with Kaley Cuoco starring and a theme that hits home, I couldn’t resist not only playing it during yoga, but watching the entire film even after my exercise was finished.

Authors Anonymous is a fictional documentary following the members of a writing group as they seek the ultimate reward – publication. When Hannah (Kaley) scores an agent, the group dynamics shift. I won’t share spoilers, just the tagline: Happy endings are hard to write.

I can see why this didn’t do well on the big screen. I imagine anyone not dreaming of, or already succeeding at, writing that Great American Novel isn’t going to appreciate the story. For example, how many non-writers know about those pay-to-publish places that tried to grab a potential author’s money before self-publishing ebooks became so easy. Yet I found that part of the movie amusing.

Authors Anonymous is not a five out of five but if you already have Netflix, it’s free. If you are an author, or hang out with authors, check it out.

Crank is Back

Need I say more?? New NSFW chapter is posted on that fun, sexy series. Very NSFW, dear Readers. Enjoy!


Jabberwocky: K-9 love, re-releases, running nowhere


* With fireworks and barbecues wrapping up, let us take a moment to remember all those who are or have dedicated their lives to our freedom. Read a beautiful tribute by a Massachusetts trooper for his K-9 partner here: “Good girl, Kallie. Free time.” 

* Former Silver Publishing novella, Fallen, has been offered a contract through Loose Id. Yay! I’ll miss that lickable Jimmy Thomas cover but I’m thrilled to get a chance to clean it up and get it back out there.

* Two other Silver returns, Bound By Love* and My Ghost, have some fabulous new covers on the way. I expect to have them released again in the next couple of weeks. Bound By Love is getting a new name but the story is the same for those of you who read the original.

* I’ve been a bit cranky about not running at all this lovely long weekend. A single, tiny muscle has been sharing some painful spasms on and off, mostly on, while walking. So running’s out. Fingers crossed that taking a few days off will see me running again very soon.

CRANK will return soon. Hopefully next weekend. My apologies for the delay.

The boy (cat) just threw him down on the laptop, so I’m done for the weekend. Happy July, dear Readers.

Show Review: Varakai (Cirque du Soleil)

Took some friends to see the Cirque du Soleil show, Varakai, last night. While the acrobatics were amazing, as should be expected from a Cirque show, the story wasn’t clear to any of us and the presentation was choppy. During intermission, we looked up the show on to learn that what I thought was a fallen angel was actually Icarus, falling into the mystical realm of Varakai after his wings melted. Hmm. I had my doubts. Especially since another character seemed to taunt Icarus with his wings throughout the rest of the show.

Icarus’s opening performance, an aerial swing in netting, was unusual and fascinating. Out of all the performances for the evening, I enjoyed his the best. Second best, the duel male aerial acrobats. The comedy skits were out of place in this fantasy realm of Varakai. Neither did they fit the fantastical world Icarus had fallen into, nor did they fit the Romany theme of the costumes, show, and music.

I can’t help but compare Varakai to Zumanity, the latter being sassy and sensual, funny and breath-taking, and yes, funny too, all on the same adults-only, dark and sexy theme. I’ve seen Zumanity twice, and I’d go again. I don’t regret going to Varakai, but I wouldn’t attend a second showing, let alone a third.

Should another Cirque show travel to our area, I’d go. Yes, I would, without a doubt. As for Varakai? I’d recommend it for a virgin Cirque audience, and perhaps more appropriate for those with children in tow, but for someone who’s seen more intense Cirque shows, I’d say pass on this one.


The former Silver Publishing books

Dear Readers,

Please do not buy any of the former Silver Publishing titles at this time. I’ve seen at least one for sale by pirates. It’s a sad thing when pirates offer your hard work for free, but there’s a deep circle of Hell for those that profit from it.

These stories are NOT for sale legally:

Bound By Love
My Ghost
Man Whore

If you see them for sale, please let me know. It’s not me. I don’t see a cent from the sale.

In better news, I’ve arranged for cover art for the first two, and hope to self-publish then within the next month. I’ll let you know when it’s official, and where, so you can download them legally. Fallen is with an editor for review, and Man Whore is on hold until I polish the synopsis for the entire series. Again, hopefully soon, so they’re not off the shelves too long. It’s been too long already!

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Now I’m off to work on the next new story, a contemporary friends-to-lovers novel. The second character is hiding from me, so it’s time to put the two men in the Muse’s sandbox to write some scenes that will force them to show me their true colors. These typically don’t end up in the story, but they help immensely.

Wish me luck, dear Readers, and have a wonderful summer!


Seven on Sunday

Six Sentence Sunday is long gone but that doesn’t mean we can’t have the occasional teaser, right? I’ve finally started the process to do something with the stories that reverted back to me at Silver Publishing’s formal implosion, so here are seven sentences from one of those stories to hold you over until I’ve finalized the details of the re-release.

My Ghost

“I was a friend,” I said.

In the twilight gloom he might not recognize me. My hair shorn up the back now, had been long enough for a ponytail when last he saw me. With my face tipped down, hiding behind the longer locks which fell from my forehead like a veil, he couldn’t see me. I hoped he wouldn’t remember my voice after all this time, because trying to explain—confessing my pain and fear and loss—would be the end of me tonight. I couldn’t do it. Not then, not now.

My plan is to have My Ghost and Bound By Love re-released by the end of the month. I’ll let you know where as soon as they’re ready.

For a teaser from Bound By Love, check out this old Six Sentence Sunday post.



The 5K Revolution

I’ve been running for a while now. I had been working my way up to attempting my first 10k when I broke the third metatarsal of my left foot on what was supposed to be a lazy, easy running day. (On what was supposed to be a rest day, but I digress. That’s a topic for another time.)

This spring, I officially acknowledged that I was finally back to where I was before that injury. Sure, it might’ve come a little sooner but each time I’ve come close to declaring being 100% I’ve had an issue – shin splints, hip pain, foot cramps. Well, you get the idea.

I still struggle with Charlie-horse-like cramps in my arches on bad days, but I refuse to let that keep me down. At least, not down past the time it takes to soak tired feet in cold water before bed. Seriously, it feels great, and I sleep better when my feet aren’t hot. Two birds, as they say.

So, anyway. 10k. 6.2 miles. I’ve been toeing that line again lately. When I go to run club speed work sessions it often adds up to five to six miles, and when I run without watching the clock on Sunday mornings, it tends to reach that point as well. I’m not yet up for running 10k all at once without walk breaks but the potential for a fall 10k race has been on my mind lately.

Then I read a great piece about the 5k by Lauren Fleshman in Runner’s World magazine:

“10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome”

Yes, I’ve fallen for the same things she talks about in this article. I can do 5k; it’s time to do more. Or, after finishing a “long” run of walk/run five miles, 10k is doable, and the half is right around the corner. For you non-runners, a half is 13.1 miles, a half marathon. Or, in some circles only half crazy.

It gets worse from there.

Yes, I’ve considered training up to a half-marathon despite my frustrations with injury, heat, cramps, and other TMI things. I’ve considered it… but only a little. I like running. No, I love running. It is my private time. Just me, and the battle between I’m tired. I can walk now, and Yes, I’m tired, but I’m not going to improve if I don’t push. I can still do that in 3.1 miles. For 6.2 it’d be all about whether or not I should do 2-mile intervals, or set a stretch-goal of two threes.

It was already out there, but Fleshman’s article hit home at a time when I was thinking of doing something besides setting a 5k goal for the 2014 season. This spring, as I started speed work with a running club for the first time in my life, I set a goal of a sub-30 5k by the end of the year. 10k wasn’t in the plan. It doesn’t need to be. If I can break 30 minutes in the 5k, I’ll be thrilled. I’ll be fitter at 40, than I was at half that, and if that’s not something to be proud of, I certainly don’t expect to feel any better finishing a six-point-two at any time.

I don’t need to keep adding miles. I don’t need to daydream about running the Rock n Roll half-marathon in Vegas (Ok, I do – daydream, that is – but not seriously.)

As Fleshman put it: The 5K is freaking awesome.

I don’t need to be crazy, or half-crazy. I only need to run.


For Mike

During my high school years (which shall remain undefined) US troops were off in some desert fighting a war I didn’t understand. An English teacher brought in a newspaper article that included a list of service men and women who lived in our state when they weren’t deployed in foreign lands. This teacher created an assignment to write a letter to one of them.

I won’t go into the how’s or why’s but I’d discovered this teacher had graded my letter before I’d finished it, so I never did complete what I started, let alone mail it. A couple of weeks later, feeling a little guilty for blowing off my potential pen pal, I sent a Shoebox greeting card to a Marine named Mike B–.

It was a typical Shoebox card – this one going on about how annoying the bells at Christmas could be. Incessant ringing. Ring, ring, ring. Everywhere, and all the time. On and on. Ring-a-ling.

I wrote a little note about reminding him what he wasn’t missing that holiday season, and sent it off in the mail. I didn’t think much about it after that. I figured if this Marine’s name was in the paper, in an article asking for pen pals, he probably got a lot of letters. A teenager with a homework assignment was probably the last person he’d have something in common with to inspire a reply.

Not only did Mike reply, but we wrote back and forth for the extent of his deployment, and then on and off afterwards. I’ve since lost track of him as he got embroiled in college, and I in learning to be an adult with an exhausting job and bills to pay and dreams to chase. I haven’t talked to Mike since before the turn of the century, but I still think of him when I see an American flag, fatigues, or a news story about US troops.

My favorite memory of Mike is the day he surprised me (and a friend who’d started to write to him as well) by showing up at the school. The principal called us to his office, and my friend and I met halfway wondering warily what we’d done to warrant the principal’s attention. As we approached the office door, a Marine in full dress uniform stepped out into the hallway.

He was a sight to see. I’m sure you all know that. And my friend and I were floored. I’ll never forget that day, not just because a handsome Marine visited us, but because those letters we’d shared were more than just a school project. For all of us.

For Mike B, and for every man and woman who has or is serving. Thank you.


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