|photo by Peter van der Sluijs|
Multi-published author Margo Bond Collins teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Learn more about Margo and her books at her website and blog.
Running for Your Life
A few years ago, I started running as part of my exercise routine. I don’t really like it, exactly. I’m not especially good at it. I tend to be better at the stretchier kinds of exercise—yoga and such. But I’ve discovered that running is kind of addictive. I like the meditative state I can reach when I finally hit my stride, and the way that running gives me time to let my body do its thing while I spend some quality time up in my head. Many of my plot problems get worked out when I’m running. So it’s perhaps not surprising that Elle, the heroine of my latest release, Legally Undead, would also take up running. In her case, though, she is literally running for her life:
Graduate courses in history don’t prepare one for running away from a vampire. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been to the gym. “Out of shape” was an understatement. He caught up with me easily, just as I reached the corner of the nearest building. I felt his hand brush the back of my neck, felt his fingernails--claws? something sharp--dig into the top of my back.
With a final burst of speed I didn’t know I had in me, I rounded the corner into a pool of light. And ran smack into a man walking out the door.
I think “bowled him over” might be an accurate description. He’d been carrying a stack of books, and they went flying everywhere as he and I went down. I think I skidded across him and rolled to a stop--I know I ended up flat on my back on the concrete apron in front of the door, staring up at the sky, just in time to see Greg do some complicated flip over me.
And like many of us who come to running out of a desire to live a longer, healthier life, she overdoes it a bit at first, and has to come to terms with the fact that becoming a real runner takes time—especially for people who begin life as exercise-phobes:
I turned over, ready to spring out of bed, and instead rolled up into a groaning ball. I hurt all over. Every single muscle. My arms felt like they’d been pulled halfway out of their sockets. My neck was stiff, my calves felt like they were contracting up into my stomach somewhere. The sheets scraped against my battered knees like sandpaper.
From now on, I vowed, I was going to hit the gym every single day. If I was really going to continue to live, I needed to be able to get away from vampires that attacked me, and that meant being able to move. Quickly. And reliably. If I couldn’t trust my body not to go into the fetal position when I tried to move it, I wouldn’t survive long.
Although she doesn’t keep her vow to go to the gym every single day, she does manage to survive—even if she has to keep running longer than she ever anticipated!
So what do other exercise-phobes do to overcome a reluctance to hit the gym (or the track)?
A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.
Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.
But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire draining the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs--not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.
As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.