running to stand still tagged posts

The story I thought I was writing, and the story I actually wrote

September 1, 2016 Writing  No comments

“The true subject of your story emerges as your characters encounter obstacles and make choices. The subject is often a surprise.” - The Story Within, Laura Oliver

When I first started writing this story, I thought it was going to be a story about how you don’t have to be where you came from. That you can rise above your circumstances and create the life you want to have.

But then, as I worked through the layers of the story, new themes emerged. The story wasn’t about ambition, it was about how shadows get twisted up inside your head. It was a story about rewriting lies into truths. How the behaviors and beliefs that once enabled you to survive become maladaptive once you’re out of danger. About trauma, both singular and prolonged. How parents actions

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Character Profile: Jacob

August 18, 2016 Writing  One comment

JacobJamie and Nate's defacto uncleBartender at Charlie's Place

Last name: UnknownDOB: Unknown

Jacob is still an enigma to me.

He was inspired by a bartender I encountered while out for my husband’s 25th birthday in downtown Detroit before a 21 Pilots concert at the Fox Theatre.

The second I saw him behind the bar, I knew he was going to be a character in my book.

The description Collin gives in the book is the exact narration I had in my head as I watched the bartender that night:

“I knew Jamie thought Jacob was a sweetheart—they even had nicknames for each other—but he was intimidating as hell. He must’ve been a hockey player in a former life with his

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The things she leaves behind

August 11, 2016 Writing  One comment

The night that Amy leaves, she leaves behind a token for each member of her family.*They all play a symbolic role in the story.


For Charlie, she leaves behind her wedding bandShe knows he will hold on to hope of her coming home if she doesn’t give it back.

For Nathan, she leaves her St. Christopher’s medal.To protect travelers across turbulent waters. 


For Jamie, she leaves her amber ring.


Amber is Amy’s astrological stone.

Amber helps draw out negative energy from the body then allows the body to heal itself by taking that negative energy and transmuting it into a positive

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Character Profile: Amy

August 4, 2016 Writing  One comment

Amy Michelle BensonJamie’s mom

41 years oldDOB: November 30, 1970

Round, welcoming face with rosy cheeksBrown hair with soft brown eyesLeans toward the thicker and curvier side5’4”

Dresses artistically bohemian with brown leather cowboy boots with a red and green rose pattern up the side, favors jeans, flowy blouses, color, likes eccentric jewelry

Vibrant, kind, gregarious, affectionate, alluring, resourceful


Musically inclined. Likes to sing, play guitar, and write songs. That’s what brought her and Charlie together. They used to play and perform together.

Musical stylings of Marie Wilson's “Free”

Had Jamie and got

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Character Profile: Charlie’s musical influences

July 28, 2016 Writing  One comment


Something Inside by Jonathan Rhys Meyers (August Rush -  I heart that movie so hard)click pictures to hear music 


This Time by Jonathan Rhys Meyers (August Rush)


I Saw by Matt Nathanson 


Fall Apart by Garrett Hedlund (Lullaby)


If you want more music - Running to Stand Still playlist


Up next: Jamie and Nate's mom, Amy


Until next time, farewell & may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity. 

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Character Profile: Charlie

July 21, 2016 Writing  2 comments

Charlie BensonJamie’s Dad

46 years oldDOB: September 12, 1965

Lean angular faceBlack hair with some gray, dark brown, gray eyesLean, tall body with compact muscles – boxes at gym with Jacob6’0”Scruffy goatee most of the timeBoth ears pierced, small silver hoops

Wears big chunky, silver rings & black leather cuff Brantley Gilbert style Wears his and Amy’s wedding bands on silver chain around his neckGenerally wears blue or black jeans with black boots, simple t-shirts, sometimes plaid, sometimes jean jacket 



1.) Take care of his family

longs deeply for his kids to be better than him – wants them to get more out of life than he has, wants to

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Character Profile: Nate

July 14, 2016 Writing  One comment

Nathan Charles BensonJamie’s brother

17 years oldDOB: April 17, 1994

Long curly brown hair that falls in his eyes, dark brown eyesLean, tall body with sinewy muscles6’0”No facial hair, some teenage acne, angular, long faceBoth ears pierced, small black gages

Graduates from high school in 2012 (when story takes place)Works ten hours a week at Charlie’s Place, usually back in the kitchen dishwashing

Considerate, sensitive, athletic, goofy, daring, funny, prone to procrastination, can be touchy 

Gets frustrated and annoyed with Jamie for not trusting him to make his own decisions and being so controlling.

Understands that going to a good college is important,

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Character Profile: Collin

July 7, 2016 Writing  One comment

Collin Joseph WhiteMale protagonistPOV character

22 years oldDOB: April 19, 1989

Short blonde hair, blue eyes, light skin, athletic/lean body build, broad shoulders and trim, tapered waist, rounded shoulders5’10”Straight white teeth, soft skin, high cheekbones but soft facial features, full lips, sometimes has some facial scruff but usually clean shaven, no tattoosStraight, but relaxed and confident stance   

Average, casual clothing, mostly from Kohl's or Old Navy or Meijer, wears black work boots, and ball caps. Likes to wear long-sleeved thermals under his work shirt, relaxed, easy fit faded jeans.

Born in Warren, MIGrew up/currently lives in Roseville, MIMiddle class

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Character Profile: Jamie

June 30, 2016 Writing  One comment

*Character Profiles are just a snapshot of the characters in Running to Stand Still. Like the Extra's on a DVD, this is just some bonus background information, and I posted it entirely for my own amusement. Read only if interested.


Jamie Michelle BensonFemale protagonistPOV character

23 years oldDOB: October 26, 1988 (should note that the story takes place in 2012, simultaneously with The Charm Necklace--where (Easter Egg!) Jamie and Collin make a cameo.)

Medium, straight length brown hair with reddish tint in it (especially in sun)Dark brown eyes, light skin5’5”130 lbs. slim, with curvesStraightforward walk

Dresses casual punk, jeans, and t-shirts with black

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The world as I see it

June 16, 2016 LifeWriting  No comments

Some rough-cut pictures I took of places that inspired me before and during the Running to Stand Still writing process.


Lake St. Clair. On a chilly November afternoon.Not frozen over here, but beautiful, none the less. 


Downtown Detroit bar. Before the Twenty One Pilots concert at the Fox. The bartender who served us that night inspired the character of Jacob in the book.


Wayne State University.My alma mater. View of downtown from top of parking garage. 


Harper Woods.







Kind of how I picture

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