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What Martial Arts Taught me about Writing: Guest Post by Melinda Leigh

Saturday, December 17, 2011

First of all I want to thank the folks at Live to Read for hosting a stop on my blog tour. SHE CAN RUN is my debut book, so its release is extra thrilling for me.
I took up martial arts at the ripe old age of 35. It’s a physical sport. People hit you. Body tossing is involved. I had to be out of my mind.
It wasn’t too long after this that I also started writing my first book. Also a daunting task, especially since I was a banker for heaven’s sake. Again, I had to be out of my mind.
Yet here I am nine years later wearing a second degree black belt and celebrating the release of that very book.
How the heck did all that happen? Sheer, blind, all-encompassing bull-headed—er persistence was a key factor. But there are many reasons why I’ve stuck with both activities. To born geeks like me, martial arts and writing have very high fun factors. Right up there with documentaries on the History Channel. No, I’m not being sarcastic. I love documentaries. It’s a problem when the rest of the family wants to watch the latest train wreck on Jersey Shore, and I’m eyeing up a special on the ancient Celts.
Karate and writing are both mentally challenging. Stay-at-home moms desperately need this. Trying to figure out the kids’ “new math” enough to help them with their homework doesn’t count. It just makes our hair turn gray faster. Also, the physical nature of karate balances the sedentary requirements of writing. Spending all day with my butt in a chair isn’t good for me or my butt. Plus, both allow me take my frustrations out in healthy ways. In karate class, I get to hit things. This is amazing stress relief. When writing, I have the option of mentally tagging characters as people who have irritated me and having embarrassing or awful things happen to them. Mwa ha ha ha.
Seriously, coping with boatloads of rejections on the road to publication is like training, testing, and fighting for a black belt. There’s a lot of work involved. Mistakes are highlighted time and again. Humility is fostered, and getting knocked down by the pros is a guarantee. The key is getting back up again. Keep plugging away. Work harder.
So, what did karate teach me about writing? If I work hard enough, I can do anything. But I have to want it with a capital W. There’s a difference between inspiration and motivation. Being inspired to write a book is great. It’s the follow through that counts.
Want to know more? Check out my website, Readers can also connect with me on Facebook & Twitter.
Thanks for joining me today to celebrate the release of SHE CAN RUN.

Melinda Leigh web site:
Melinda Leigh Facebook:
Melinda Leigh Twitter:

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She Can Run blog tour site:

She Can Run Book Summary
Elizabeth was a young widow with two small children when she met Congressman Richard Baker. Handsome and wealthy, with a sparkling public image, Richard seemed like the perfect man to provide the security that Beth and her kids were craving. But when she uncovers a dangerous secret about her new husband, Beth realizes he will go to any lengths—even  murder—to keep it. After barely escaping with her life, she and her children flee. They eventually make their way to a secluded estate in the Pennsylvania countryside, where Beth dares to hope she has found a safe place at last…
Forced into retirement by an unexpected injury, Philadelphia homicide detective Jack O’Malley is mourning the loss of his career when his uncle abruptly dies, leaving Jack to dispose of his crumbling country house. Unbeknownst to him, his uncle engaged a caretaker just before his death, a mysterious woman with two children and a beautiful face that haunts his dreams. Determined to know her, Jack begins an investigation into Beth’s past. When he uncovers the shocking truth, and a local woman is viciously murdered, Jack puts his own life on the line to keep Beth and her children safe.
She Can Run is a sexy, satisfying debut from award-winning author Melinda Leigh, packed with enough suspense and romance to get even the tamest heart racing!

Melinda Leigh's Bio:
More than a decade ago, Melinda Leigh left a career in banking to raise her children and never looked  back. She started writing when her youngest child entered first      grade as a way to preserve her sanity. Her paranormal romance and romantic suspense fiction has won writing awards across the country, including The Gateway to the Best Contest, The Marlene Award, Where the Magic Begins, Put Your Heart in a Book, and The Golden Gateway 1st Round Grand Prize.
      Melinda is also an avid martial artist. She holds a 2nd degree belt in Kenpo Karate, studies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and teaches women’s self-defense. She lives in a messy house in the suburbs with her husband, two teenagers, a couple of dogs and one neurotic cat with an inexplicable fear of ceiling fans. With such pleasant life, she has no explanation for the sometimes dark and disturbing nature of her imagination.
      Price: $13.95
      ISBN: 9781612181516
      Pages: 326
      Release: November 28, 2011

Amazon buy link
      Barnes& buy link
Price: $7.99
      Kindle buy link
Publisher's Weekly Review:
“In her debut romantic suspense, Leigh carefully weaves the subplot of a serial killer with the main plot of an abused wife on the run and successfully ties the threads in a thrilling conclusion…  Leigh’s tight, consistent plotting marks her as an author to watch.”

From the TBR Pile: Next Stop!


  1. It was great to share my debut excitement with the reads of Live to Read. Thanks to the blog hosts for having on board today!

  1. Krystal, thanks a million for hosting Melinda on her blog tour.

    Melinda, I think it's fantastic that you started in the martial arts when you were 35. That is truly inspiring stuff.