Sunday, January 26, 2014


Hello Readers,

As most of you know, TPP blog went on hiatus when I began grad school in the summer of 2013, and posts were only being scheduled for around the holidays when I had less on my plate; however, a hacker decided otherwise. In late November, I was made aware that someone was posting expletive-laden, (almost pornographic), material on The Paperback Pursuer blog. I quickly made contact with Google and tried to remedy the issue, but it seemed that the clever hacker had covered all their bases, making sure that my backup email and phone number for password retrieval were changed. If this wasn't enough, they also gained access to my Google drive and Gmail accounts which were synced with my sign-in info. So, for the last couple of months I have been unable to access any parts of TPP blog or my email platform. Last week, I finally managed to get back into my accounts and try to undo some of the damage, but the hacker cleared my inbox, sent awful messages to some of my contacts, and deleted a great many files. It is for this reason that TPP is in such disarray and why no reviews or posts have recently been created. I will be working, (when I have a chance), on re-updating everything and trying to recoup all of the information that I have lost, including a great many ebooks and author/publisher contacts that I had saved in G-drive, but I may not be able to fully recover the blog until the semester's end, which is at least four months away. Again, I apologize to my readers and contributors for this, and I hope that you'll all bear with me while I try to bring TPP back. Thank-you all for the support.

Allizabeth - The Paperback Pursuer

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Guestpost: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Greg Messel

by Greg Messel

A trip back in time to the 1950s world of my novels "Last of the Seals," “Deadly Plunge” and “San Francisco Secrets” is full of reminders how much the world has changed.

One of the most obvious changes involves the social mores surrounding smoking. When I began my career in the corporate world in the 1970s, I remember conference rooms being smoke filled with ash tray spilling over with cigarette butts and ashes.

I remember the smoking sections on airplanes. I remember being in the last row of the non smoking section which was pretty much the same as sitting in the smoking section.

Flight attendants still warn you on airplane flights to not smoke in the bathrooms. That warning is about 35 years old now.

Today smokers must huddle around the doorways of office buildings to grab a cigarette outside. There are enclosed rooms at airports for smokers. That's fine with me but it has been a monumental change.

In today’s business world it would be considered appalling if in the middle of an office, someone lit up a cigarette.

In the 1950s, smoking was even more pronounced. My grandparents were both chain smokers and I remember as a child or a teenager, that you could actually see smoke rolling out the door when you entered their house. I was exposed to massive amounts of second hand smoke for years.

My grandparents are long gone but when I picture them in my mind’s eye, they are holding a cigarette.

In my mystery novels set in the 1950s, everyone smokes and pretty much non stop. They are constantly lighting up--even baseball players like Sam Slater.

Sophisticated, glamorous San Franciscans of the 1950s, like Sam Slater and Amelia Ryan nearly always had a cigarette in their hands. Watch movies from the 1950s or 1960s to witness how it was just part the persona of the attractive, urbane persona. Watch an old “Tonight Show” when Johnny Carson smokes one cigarette after another with guests like Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin.

In “San Francisco Secrets” the first thing everyone does when they are in a stressful situation is to light up a cigarette. When Sam and Amelia nearly have a fatal crash on one of San Francisco’s steepest hills, they immediately reach for their cigarettes to light up as they recover from the trauma.

I’ve watched vintage cigarette commercials which played on television in the 1950s. They are funny but somewhat disturbing when you look back on them with our knowledge about the impact on health from cigarettes.

Brands like Kool and Newport touted the soothing effect on a raw throat from their filtered cigarettes. There is a famous ad for Camel’s cigarettes which includes the tag line “According to a recent Nationwide survey: More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette.”

When Sam and Amelia visit Dr. John O’Dell in “San Francisco Secrets”, the first thing the medical doctor offers the couple is a cigarette. At their first meeting, Sam asks the doctor if cigarettes are bad for your health.

Dr. O’Dell advises Sam “there are benefits of smoking as long as you don’t overdo it. I think smoking filtered cigarettes like these Winstons helps,” the doctor says. “It cuts down on the irritation to the throat. Smoking actually releases a couple of chemicals in the brain, which relieves tension and helps you experience pleasure.”

The doctor also tells Sam that smoking can aid in weight loss and releases chemicals in the brain which are similar to the sensation that you experience when you kiss a pretty woman.

The doctor’s advice is the common thinking of the times and the narrative from the tobacco companies. Dr. O’Dell tries to convince Sam that smoking a cigarette is almost as pleasurable as kissing Amelia. Sam’s not buying that argument.

Ah, the 1950s, when you could eat a steak dinner, light up an after dinner cigarette and not feel a bit guilty. Ignorance is bliss I guess.

About the Author:

Greg Messel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and now lives in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound with his wife, Carol. San Francisco Secrets is his sixth novel and is the third in a new series of Sam Slater mystery novels. Greg has lived in Oregon, Washington, California, Wyoming and Utah and has always loved writing, including stints as a reporter, columnist and news editor for a daily newspaper.

Follow news about Messel’s writings and books at

Connect with Greg:

About the Book:

Noted novelist and newspaper editor Edgar Watson Howe once said. “A man who can keep a secret may be wise but he is not half as wise as a man with no secrets to keep”

As the spring of 1958 arrives in San Francisco, it seems that baseball player turned private eye, Sam Slater and his fiancée, TWA stewardess Amelia Ryan, are surrounded by people who have secrets.

A prominent doctor, John O’Dell is being blackmailed by someone who has discovered a dark secret from his past. When the private investigator trying to catch the blackmailer is murdered, Dr. O’Dell hires Sam Slater to try to pick up the pieces. Someone is playing for keeps and will do anything to protect their own secrets.

Meanwhile, Amelia begins her new job as an international stewardess which takes her on adventures to New York City, London, Paris and Rome. In hot pursuit is a womanizing older pilot who has his sights set on Amelia.

Their lives get even more complicated when a mysterious woman from Sam’s past returns.

Sam and Amelia’s relationship will be tested as they work together to solve the mystery on the foggy streets of San Francisco.

Purchase your copy of San Franscisco Secrets:

Book Trailer:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Paperback Pursuer Shall Return!

Hey Readers & Authors,

     Just dropping by to let everyone know that I will be back to reviewing soon! I have been busy with work, family, and Grad school as of late, but I plan on getting reviews out there as soon as everything calms down! Enjoy some awesome author guestposts while I'm gone, as well as some great giveaways! Hope to post in the near future,

Allizabeth (TPP) : )

Guestpost: The First Time by O.S. Gill

The First Time
by O.S. Gill

          Many people that I meet seem surprised that I am so into sci-fi and fantasy, having grown up on an island. I don’t know, I mean I have no actual figures to back this up, but Barbados must have more sci-fi geeks per capita than anywhere else in the world. It’s a small country, very small, only 21 miles long and 14 miles wide. But still, growing up here you seem to be immersed in every aspect of pop culture. I know I was.

          The year was 1984, and my Saturdays consisted of waking up and watching as many cartoons as I could. Every Saturday, without fail, no exceptions, it was breakfast cereal and Transformers, and between Optimus Prime and Tony the Tiger, there was nothing more a six year old could possibly need.

          Then one Saturday morning, I woke up and saw that my dad had rented some videos from the store to play on our brand new VCR (to the younger generation scratching their heads, that’s how we used to watch movies before Netflix or Amazon Prime). There were about three cassettes in all, for the life of me I can’t remember what the other two were. But I do remember that one stood out to me, it read “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”. I didn’t know what a Star War was, but I thought it sounded awesome, so I popped it in, and thus my life was changed forever.

          I was totally blown away. Laser swords, they had freaking laser swords and space ships! I have watched many, many movies since that day, but I don’t think I ever recaptured the awe I felt after watching Return of the Jedi for the first time. Lord knows I tried. After that day I watched every sci-fi/fantasy movie I could get my little pre-teen hands on, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Willow, Back to the Future, I was enamored with these wonderful films, in fantastical settings that took me away from my tiny island home for 90 minutes at a time.

          I believe, no I know that’s what drives me to be a writer, particularly a writer of sci-fi/fantasy. I want to create that same feeling for other kids. If somewhere in the world, some kid reads my book, and falls head over heels in love with the world therein, then I would feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. I would feel like I finally recreated that feeling. If only for someone else.

About the Author:

          O.S. Gill grew up on the Caribbean island of Barbados. He was educated at The Lodge School, a 300-year-old former British boarding school and the second oldest learning institution on the island. A certified information technology professional, he has worked for The Banks Holdings Limited, a local conglomerate that owns the local brewery (Banks Beer) and Coca-Cola manufacturing plant for fourteen years. A Systems Analyst, he has been positioned in various capacities, primarily dealing with sales and distribution, as well as the sourcing and implementation of new technologies to further business efficiency. He always had a passion for writing and published his first novel, THE KNIGHTS OF GALARIA: THE CRYSTALS OF POWER, in 2012.You can visit his website at

About the Book:

          For Kaz Silverwynd, graduation from the Galarian Knight Academy begins normally, but an the attempt on the life of Xul Xandu, the newly-appointed head of the Confederation of Nations, pushes Kaz and his team into an epic and dangerous adventure. The action ranges from the floating city of Civitas to the underwater empire of Aequoria to the moon colony of Ourea. Kaz leads his band of knights on a perilous journey to stop a madman from achieving his ultimate goal – the conquest of the world of Galaria. Added to the already volatile mix are the legendary Crystals of Power, a collection of beautiful but deadly jewels that could tip the scales of power toward good or evil.
Pick up your copy!

Tour Schedule

Monday, May 6 - Interview with Examiner

Tuesday, May 7 – Interview at The Writer’s Life

Wednesday, May 8 – Interview at Straight From the Author’s Mouth

Thursday, May 9 – First Chapter Reveal at You Gotta Read Reviews

Friday, May 10 – Character Guest Post at Book Him Danno!

Monday, May 13 – Character Guest Post at My Book Addiction and More

Tuesday, May 14 - First Chapter Reveal at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, May 15 – Interview at Books Books the Magical Fruit

Thursday, May 16 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Friday, May 17 – Character Guest Post for My Cozie Corner

Monday, May 20 – Character Guest Post for Janna Shay

Tuesday, May 21 – Interview at The Book Connection

Wednesday, May 22 – Book Spotlight at Authors & Readers Book Corner

Thursday, May 23 – Book Review at Vic’s Media Room

Friday, May 24 – Book Spotlight & Book Giveaway at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Monday, May 27 – Interview at The Dark Phantom

Tuesday, May 28 – Guest Blogging at The Paperback Pursuer

Wednesday, May 29 – Interview at Literarily Speaking

Thursday, May 30 – Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Friday, May 31 – Interview at Beyond the Books

Friday, May 31 – Guest Blogging at Parenting 2.0

Monday, May 20, 2013

Guestpost: “Seeds of Evidence”: The Power of Perseverance by Linda J. White

“Seeds of Evidence”: The Power of Perseverance
by Linda J. White

Perseverance. Few really worthwhile accomplishments are achievable without it. Yet sometimes we struggle to keep going. What can motivate us?

In “Seeds of Evidence,” FBI agent Kit McGovern is fighting to persevere. When her husband of seven years divorced her it threw everything she thought she knew into question. God. Christianity. Love. Then a forced job change made her even question the Bureau.

Burdened, Kit retreats on vacation to the island her beloved grandmother called home, Chincoteague, off the coast of Virginia. Jogging on the beach one beautiful day, she finds the body of a little Latino boy washing up in the surf. How did he die? Who is he? Kit can’t let go of the mystery, but the only clues she has to go on are the acorns in his pockets and the tomato seeds in his gut.

Teaming up with a D.C. cop, David O’Connor, Kit follows that plant DNA evidence. Soon, they find themselves in the dark world of labor trafficking.

To win justice for the little boy, Kit and David must fight stubborn superiors, elusive bad guys, sparse information, and their own internal conflicts. They must “lay aside every weight” to run their race—including deep hurts and anger from their pasts. They must persevere in faith.

Likewise, writers staring at an empty computer screen must move forward in faith. Mothers struggling at home with toddlers must press on in faith. Grandparents, caregivers, healthcare workers and teachers, pastors and missionaries—each must find the strength to do the next thing, and then the next thing until the task has been accomplished. How can we find the will to persevere?

“The joy that was set before him” enabled Jesus to endure the cross. What might we endure for joy?

About the Author:
          By day, Linda J. White writes editorials for The Free Lance-Star, a newspaper in Fredericksburg, VA. By night, she plays the “what-if?” game, entanglingengaging characters in “white-knuckle” plots. Her first FBI thriller, “Bloody Point,” was published in 2005. “Seeds of Evidence” (Abingdon Press) will be released in April 2013. Linda’s husband, Larry, was a video producer/director at the FBI Academy for over 27 years. Married since 1970, they have three grown children and now live with two dogs and two cats on two beautiful, wooded acres in Virginia.

You can visit Linda’s website at

Connect with Linda!

About the Book:

          Stressed-out FBI Special Agent Kit McGovern returns to her grandmother’s Chincoteague Island home in search of peace. But when a little boy’s body washes up on the beach, Kit cannot resist throwing herself into the mystery of his murder. Her only clues: the tomato seeds in the Latino boy’s gut, and the acorns in his pockets.

          The medical examiner points out that the volume of tomato seeds in the boy’s gut could indicate he was from a farm worker’s family. But the acorns? Kit discovers they’re from a Virginia live oak, not native to the area where the boy was found. Can she use those to identify his origins anyway? And why hasn’t anyone reported him missing?
          Kit meets David O’Connor, a D.C. homicide detective in Chincoteague recovering from a shooting incident. She makes it clear she’s not interested in a relationship, but their passion for justice is mutual and they soon forge a partnership to find the boy’s murderer. As plant DNA evidence leads them straight into the dark world of human trafficking, Kit and David wrestle with the depths of human evil, with questions of faith, and with possibilities for hope. “Seeds of Evidence” takes readers on a white-knuckle ride they won’t soon forget.
Purchase Your Copy:

Seeds of Evidence Tour Page:

Guestpost: The Benefit of the Basement by Jim Kraus

The Benefit of the Basement
by Jim Kraus

I read somewhere that the best time to write about summer is in the winter. The quote—which I could look up on that thing the kids call the Internet—but I can’t because my office, where I do most of my writing, is in the basement and the Wi-Fi signal is pretty weak and while I can get my Google homepage, I can’t get to the Internet without a lot of staring at a page that is 5/23rds loaded.

All that to say, is that I’m sort of cut off from being connected down here.

Even the family, if they want to reach me, have to shout from the top of the basement stairs. Plus, they have to wait until there is a break in the music. I still play CDs down here. I know. I’m a dinosaur. And unconnected.

That distance, however slight, gives me space to wonder and day dream and imagine. I have a bookcase down here, filled with books that I never refer to. If I had my druthers (and I’m not sure what a druther is, except that I want some), I would leave the office completely empty, save for a desk, a lamp, a chair, and my 40-year-old Sony stereo that sounds better and warmer than any newfangled electronic music device. I also still play actual vinyl records. I know . . . a dinosaur.

In order to truly see—in my opinion—you have to have solitude and distance.

There is no greater time to feel love than when one is apart from the one you love.

There is no better time to build an imaginary world than when you are removed from the current one.

I love writing in the dark, often still, often chilly, unconnected basement. I am not tempted by the TV, or the computer solitaire game, or even a view. I do have a window down here, but my back is to it and I do not want to fear someone watching me from the outside. (I saw too many scary movies as a kid.)

See . . . I’ve already started spooking myself out.

Be alone, be cut off—even for a little bit—and let the creativity flow.

What wondrous things are these rooms hidden from view, hidden from the problems of the day. Stay hidden, and write, for then the truth shall come.

About the Author:

          Jim Kraus is a longtime writer and editor who has authored or co-authored more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction. His best-selling humor book, Bloopers, Blunders, Jokes, Quips, and Quotes, was published by Tyndale House Publishers, sold more than 40,000 copies and inspired several spin-off books. Jim, and his wife, novelist Terri Kraus, and one son, live in the Chicago area.

          Also residing with them is a sweet and gentle miniature schnauzer named Rufus. Coincidently, Rufus is also the name of the dog in Jim's recent book, The Dog That Talked to God. "What a coincidence," Jim said. "What are the odds of that happening?" They also share space with an ill-tempered Siberian cat named Petey. Coincidently, Petey is the name of the cat in Jim’s most current book, The Cat That God Sent, by Abingdon Press.

          Jim recently was awarded a Master of Writing Arts degree from DePaul University. "Now, I am able to write more better," Jim said. (Yes, that is supposed to be humorous.)
Passionate about writing, Jim loves to create true-to-life characters. "I tend to be the one at the party that is on the edge of things--observing how folks act and react. Plus, I'm not that crazy about people in general--so it works out fine." (Again, it's supposed to be funny.)

Visit his website at

Connect with Jim!

About the Book:

          Jake Wilkerson, a disillusioned young pastor who is an expert at hiding his fears, takes on a new assignment in a small, rural church in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. It’s a far piece from anywhere and full of curiously odd and eccentric people, including Sally Grainger, a single woman and veterinarian who dismisses all Christians as “those people,” and Tassy, a young runaway with a secret.

          His first day on the job, however, Jake is adopted by Petey, a cat of unknown origins and breed, but of great perception. Petey believes that he is on a mission from God to redeem Jake and bring him and his quirky friends back to the truth.

The Cat That God Sent Tour Page:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Guestpost: Robert Henry on Incline It Baby, Intervals, and Exercise + Nutrition = Health

Incline It Baby, Intervals, and Exercise + Nutrition = Health
by Robert Henry

          The title of this post sums up the highlights of an impromptu video I shot a few weeks ago with Deborah Klein, MS, RD. Deb contributed to the nutrition content of my eBook, “AGE RE-DEFINED: Take Control of Your Health, How You Feel, And How You Look: Even In Your Forties & Fifties”. She is published by McGraw-Hill: “The 200 Super Foods That Will Save Your Life”, which is a great resource. (It has tons of recipes in addition to complete info on nutrients and health benefits of the foods presented.) Deb is also the Health Director of Organic Liaison in Los Angeles.

          First, I talked about specific health benefits I received from re-booting my commitment to exercise and nutrition, beginning four years ago at the age of 52 and about the general philosophy of re-defining one’s age. Then, I talked about interval training (just scratching the surface), and made reference to one of my exercise mottos: “Incline It Baby”. I like to do incline sprints, incline walking lunges, and, of course, incline treadmill.

          In one of the takes - not the final cut – Deb asked how much incline on the treadmill, 5 or 6? I responded that I’ve gotten up to 24% on the treadmill – for brief periods. (Incline is expressed as a percent slope or gradient; 1% = 1 foot vertical rise for every 100 feet of forward travel; 24% = 24 feet of vertical rise of 24 feet for every 100 feet of forward travel. That might not be exact, but you get the idea. As a pilot, for example, I knew that a 5000 foot runway with a 1% slope was going to have a 50 foot difference in elevation from one end of the runway to the other. Leave it to me to throw in a flying reference whenever possible.)

          Last night was a gym cardio and abs night. For cardio, I did treadmill. My walking speed intervals (3.0 mph) reached 20% incline and my running speed intervals reached 9.2 mph at 3.0% incline. At walking speed, I don’t use arms for momentum/propulsion, regardless of incline. I’m 56 (57 next month). Challenge yourself! You’ll have to work up to this if you are a cardio novice or if you haven’t been challenging yourself.

         I started the session with sideways and backwards walking at 5.0% incline: about 30 paces sideways right, 60 paces backwards, and 30 paces sideways left. I usually do this cycle twice, but tonight I did it once.

         My total calorie burn during the workout - per the machine, which may or may not be accurate – was 427 calories in 31 minutes, an average of about 13.8 calories per minute, meaning that I was burning a lot more than that during the most challenging minutes of the intervals. (There is also post-workout calorie burn, especially with interval training. And arguably better cardio results, because of the higher intensity reached during the most challenging of the intervals. As a general rule, if you always work out at the same low intensity, that’s what your body will adapt to: the same low intensity.)

         For abs, I did 67 reps (not all in one set) of “hanging abs”, using elbow slings and a chinning bar, and 120 reps of machine “side crunches” (60 left, 60 right).

         I still have one more cardio workout and one more resistance training workout to get in this week (Friday and Saturday).

And here is a link to the video:

Stay healthy, fit and well.

About the Author:

          As a Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Coach, and Wellness Coach, Robert Henry motivates individuals to transform into healthier, fit versions of themselves and to explore the mind-body connection.

          As a writer, blogger, speaker, and media commentator he informs and inspires his audience to commit to a healthy lifestyle by reminding them “you can get better instead of getting older”.

          At 52, after years of enjoying good health, Robert was challenged when a visit to the doctor’s office revealed his health profile had changed and he was no longer the emblem of health he had been. That alarm, that wake-up call, that unprecedented need to lose body fat and the doctor’s statement “You’re not getting any younger” ignited something within him.

          Robert was challenged for the first time with the need to lose weight and re-boot his commitment to fitness or be at risk for potentially serious health issues. He refused to accept age alone as the determining factor of his health going forward.

          Fitness became such a priority and passion that working out was no longer enough. He began studying and learning as much as his could about fitness, nutrition, and wellness. His appetite for learning led him to earn four certifications: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Certified Personal Trainer from the National Council on Strength and Fitness, Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition from the International Sports Sciences Association, and Certified Wellness Coach from Spencer Institute, an affiliate of the National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association. He has also recently taken additional course work in Sport and Exercise Psychology at California State University. To learn more about Robert’s certifications, click here.

          His law school education (Juris Doctor, Southern Methodist University) and his experience as an attorney distinguish him with analytical skills, which he now applies to his study and work in health, fitness and wellness. While still in his teens, Robert progressed from Student Pilot to Certified Flight Instructor. Later, he became a professional jet pilot. In the fitness realm, he has been a training client and is now a trainer with multiple fitness certifications. All of this gives him unique perspective as both teacher and student, and as both trainer and client. To Robert, learning is a lifelong process. Robert’s latest book is the health/fitness how to book, Age Re-Defined.

Visit his website at

Connect with Robert: 

About the Book:

          Your state of health, how you feel, and how you look are more within your control than you think – even in your forties and fifties (and beyond). This book addresses exercise, fitness, nutrition, wellness, and the mind-body connection. Its purpose is not to promote a particular exercise program or a particular diet plan – although its coverage of exercise, fitness, and nutrition is extensive – but rather to inform, educate, and motivate the reader on the importance of being proactive in one’s own health, fitness, and wellness.

          Even if you are already physically active, this book can assist you in evaluating the effectiveness of your current exercise efforts. A foundational background in exercise and fitness concepts is provided. Not only does this book cite to numerous authoritative sources, but it also conveys the author’s own philosophy of exercise and an informative overview of his own exercise and nutrition regimen. The author, who is 56, shares his own motivating journey and the positive results he achieved through exercise, nutrition, and the mind-body connection, with particular emphasis on the challenges faced by him in his early fifties and the favorable results he achieved at that age by “re-booting” his commitment to health and fitness.

          The importance of nutrition is explained and heavily stressed. A Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition is a contributor to the nutrition content. One comes away with an awareness of quality nutrition and its role in optimal health, fitness, and wellness, and with a good working knowledge of the kinds of foods and eating habits which are most beneficial.

          As stated in the book’s Introduction: This book is about believing in yourself, maintaining inner strength, and understanding exercise, fitness, nutrition, and wellness. This book is also about getting younger instead of getting older, discovering your inner athlete, and becoming and remaining healthy and fit in both body and mind. This book is for people who have never exercised but who would like to start; for people who would like to know more about good nutrition; for people who exercise but have not seen results; for people whose fitness level has declined and who want to re-ignite their fitness quest; for people who choose to be proactive about their own health, fitness, and wellness; for people interested in the mind-body connection; and for people who reject negative self-talk and self-limiting stereotypes about life after the age of 50. All ages are welcome.

Book Excerpt:

Although I didn't know it at the time, this book had its start in a doctor’s office in West Los Angeles, in October, 2008.

I had been thin my whole life and was very thin as a child and teenager. I was not a “jock” in school, and I did not like physical education or gym class in the slightest. When I first began to exercise – at the age of 30 – I wanted to add some muscle mass and therefore some weight. I was healthy, 5’11” tall, and weighed about 148 to 150 pounds, with no exercise history, although I had begun to pay more attention to healthy eating habits at age 29, for example by ordering fruit instead of French fries, and by eating more fish and less red meat.

Physically, I seemed to blossom in my 30s and 40s. My thin frame acquired some “tone”, some definition, some “cuts” – particularly my arms. I became stronger. I had also aged very gracefully and looked younger than my chronological age, that is, based on preconceived notions of what a certain age (40, 45, 49 – you name it) is “supposed” to look (or feel) like.

Okay, so a new me emerged in my 30s and 40s and was still there on my 50th birthday (in 2006). I had a lean, toned physique and good general health, and I looked and felt younger than what someone my age was “supposed” to look or feel like. In my 30s, my weight slowly increased (from the addition of muscle mass) from 148 to 153 to 158 and into the 160s. I weighed about 170 when I turned 40 and remained in the 170s throughout my 40s.

Fast forward to 2007 and 2008: A combination of factors led to what was for me an unprecedented gain in body fat (and weight, but from fat, not muscle) at the ages of 51 and 52. (I don’t have any pictures, but, trust me, the extra pounds were there.) I believe this was due to the long-distance commute to my job at the time (which, in L.A. traffic, often took hours a day away from my free time), the staleness of my exercise regimen (which some weeks had gotten down to twice a week of not-so-high-intensity weights and no cardio), and paying less attention than I should have been to my late-night carb intake. In addition to my work as an attorney (which involved the long commute), I was also on call part-time as a co-pilot on jet charter flights. My passion for flying aside, this further disrupted my workout schedule at times.

Eventually, my weight reached about 194. My waist was inches larger than it had been two years before, and in fact bigger than it had ever been.

So, in October 2008 when I visited the doctor for a routine blood workup, I expressed my concern about my unprecedented body fat.

The blood workup showed some adverse changes in my health profile. The doctor said, “You’re not getting any younger.” My reply: “I refuse to accept that.”

The doctor went on to recommend more Omega 3 in my diet (no argument from me there) and said, “Lose five to ten pounds. Your numbers (triglycerides, blood pressure) should go back to normal after that.”

That alarm, that wake-up call, that unprecedented need to lose body fat and the statement “You’re not getting any younger” (to someone who had always looked and felt younger than he was “supposed” to, and who always had a lower body fat than the general population) ignited something within me.

I had engaged the services of a personal trainer during my first year of working out, and again for six months during my eighth year of working out in 1994. Both of these trainers were great, but we lifted weights (free weights or machines) inside the gym and did not cross-train.

In January, 2009, I hired another personal trainer, who I had met months earlier at the gym. I said to her, “Take me outside. Make me climb stairs. Make me run. And show me some new stuff in the gym. The doctor said to losefive to ten pounds; I want to lose at least fifteen and be more fit than ever.”

And so, at age 52, I began this leg of my journey: the discovery of my inner athlete, my renewed and greater-than-ever commitment to my health and fitness. I reminded myself that I had flown a plane as a teenager, that I had always done well in school, that I had drawn upon my inner strength when my parents died less than four months apart when I was 21, and that I had gone on to complete law school and pass the California Bar. This was my health, dammit. This mattered more than anything.

My trainer and I started working together in January 2009. I climbed stairs. I ran track. I sprinted and performed various outdoor drills. We tweaked my diet and added to my gym regimen. By April, the weight was off.

In terms of waist size, I had been buying waist size 33 for several years before the weight gain. Fifteen to 20 years before, in my early to mid-30s, I bought size 31 and 32. In late 2008, my waist size was approaching 35. In April 2009, I bought some 33s as I had before the weight gain, only to find that they were too big. I began buying waist size 32, which fit comfortably. So, in terms of waist size, we had turned the clock back fifteen to 20 years in less than four months.

But this wasn’t just about waist size. I was more fit than ever, and more committed to and passionate about fitness (and nutrition) than ever. Mission accomplished. (For my 53rd birthday on April 30, 2009, I did a strong outdoor stair session by myself in the afternoon, adding push-ups as well, and then I lifted weights in the gym that evening. Celebrating fitness was the best way to celebrate my birthday that year. The more standard dinner celebration had already taken place a couple of weeks ahead of time.)

As I write this is September, 2012, I have just received blood test results which indicate a very significant decrease in “bad” cholesterol, a very significant increase in “good” cholesterol, and a very significant decrease in triglycerides when compared to my blood workup of October 2008. The 2012 numbers are as follows: HDL (“good” cholesterol): 52; LDL (“bad” cholesterol): 75; total cholesterol: 138; triglycerides: 57 (the 2008 number was 270). These numbers are reportedly very good for a 56-year-old male, and were achieved through diet and exercise, without any medications. These numbers are not the only measurements of interest. Body weight, waist size, body-fat percentage, blood pressure, and other data are relevant, too. However, these numbers are one group of data to look at, and they have shown dramatic improvement since that doctor’s appointment in October 2008 . (My 2012 results also indicated the lowest possible results for the C-Reactive Protein test, which was not performed in 2008.)

Back to 2009: After a couple of months of training on my own, I resumed workouts with my trainer, although somewhat less frequently than before. (During and after the weight loss, the sessions with my trainer were not my only workouts. Sessions with her were always in addition to training on my own in the gym. At this stage of my fitness evolution, my trainer’s role included the cross-training realm. Beginning exercisers who employ a trainer will typically train only with their trainer at first.) During this post-weight-loss period of training, my fitness level reached greater heights as my trainer introduced new and more challenging elements to my workouts. My passion for fitness was now fully unbridled. When I wasn’t working out, I needed to be learning more about fitness, so I began to pursue my own personal trainer certification.

In August 2009, I became a Certified Personal Trainer. In February 2010, I received certification in fitness nutrition. In 2012, I added the highly respected designation of a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and I also became a certified wellness coach.

In December 2010, I was approached in the gym about being involved in a digital media project that required participants with good physiques. That particular project didn’t materialize, but meeting with the folks involved inspired me to consider my own digital media presence. In 2011, we video recorded some of my outdoor training. In 2012, I decided to take things to the next level with a website and blog (, and with this book.

This book is about believing in yourself, maintaining inner strength, and understanding exercise, fitness, nutrition, and wellness. This book is also about getting younger instead of getting older, discovering your inner athlete, and becoming and remaining healthy and fit in both body and mind.

This book is for people who have never exercised but would like to start; for people who would like to know more about good nutrition; for people who exercise but have not seen results; for people whose fitness level has declined and who want to re-ignite their fitness quest; for people who choose to be proactive about their own health, fitness and wellness; for people interested in the mind-body connection; and for people who reject negative self-talk and self-limiting stereotypes about life after the age of 50.

Because I’m well into my 50s, and because of my own recent history, in writing this book we have focused on persons over the age of 40. However, my own fitness awareness began at age 29 and continued to evolve throughout my 30s, 40s and 50s, and is still evolving. Fitness, good nutrition, and wellness benefit people of all ages. So, even if you’re in your 20s or 30s, you’re welcome to come aboard and to keep reading.

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