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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Read More, Weigh Less

Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket, regularly named as one of Writers Digest’s best websites for writers. Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain was a Christy Award finalist. Wings of Glass has been named as one of the best books of the year in 2013 by Library Journal and was a SIBA Okra pick and a finalist for Romantic Times’ Reviewers Choice Award. Her latest novel, Driftwood Tides is in stores now. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose. To learn more about her, visit

Books are dying, I said to a publisher friend. She sighed. I sighed. The crow outside my window sighed. Okay, it was more of an angry, caw-caw, but whatever.

The world was bleak.
The sky was gray. So were my roots. Okay, are my roots.

Why write anymore if no one was going to read my stuff anyway?
My publisher friend and I lamented the woes of the industry and how there are so many more books these days and so fewer readers. Bookstores are going bankrupt, writers are going crazy, and readers are going to youtube.

What’s the point?
My publisher friend didn’t know.
I certainly didn’t.

And so, I decided to burn off some of my dark energy on the treadmill before I could turn it on myself and do something I couldn’t undo… like eating the whole bucket of chocolate covered pretzels I was supposed to mail to my dad for father’s day. (Can you believe I actually shipped them to my own address instead? Well, hopefully he can.)

So, there I am on my treadmill trying to burn off the lumps of middle-age and my morose mood. I stalk up the incline at a steady 4 mph and try to figure out how many miles per hour I’d have to run if I wanted to win a marathon. I pant, mostly from the exertion of trying to solve a math problem, let’s face it, I’m not walking all that fast. I decide 8 mph seems about right. That doesn’t sound so impossible. Certainly not as hard as writing a whole novel and getting it published.
I increase my speed.

After applying ice to my now Angelina-esque bottomlip (yes, I flew off the stupid treadmill and hit my face on the floor. It looked way cooler than it sounds,) I got back on the treadmill and decided thinking and walking might be one thing too many for me. So, I listen to a book instead. Before I knew it, I had done an hour of walking and I didn’t even hate it.

Maybe listening to the book helped me pass time in a way that music, thinking and staring at the blank yellow wall hadn’t. Or maybe a closed head injury was to thank.

The next day, I charged head first into the wall, (just in case it really was the head injury making exercise bearable), and then listened to another book via Audible. Time flew again, and before I knew it my 5 miles was behind me. 

I was onto something.

The following day, I decided one more blow to the head might drop my IQ into the special assistance range, so I forwent the cranial knock and just had my Kindle read to me in its super-soothing, and oh-so-natural GPS voice. I worked out two hours that day. TWO HOURS. That’s how good the book was. (Travels with Charley by Steinbeck if you're curious.)

In the last 3 months, since getting an Audible membership and getting used to the Kindle’s GPS voice, I’ve read more books than I have in the last few years. Books aren’t dying, they’re just changing form. And guess what? By reading more, I’m getting way more exercise and changing form too. 

All we need to do now is convince bookstores to start offering Zumba classes.

Romantic Times "Holmes weaves a superb story of discovering how to forgive." 

"Driftwood Tides moves like a serene sea: gentle,persuasive, and transformative. Much in the same way time and the elements turn driftwood into something beautiful, Libby and Holton learn that they, too, can change for the better. Readers will delight in this story of redemption and growth." Booklist


  1. I'm impressed! Enough so to get that feature on my iPad, if it's available. TV doesn't work, but we all know books are better than TV anyway. :) And that fat lip? Be careful, my friend. Claire did that, you know. Hurt her knee pretty bad. ;o)

  2. You really should, Ane, all joking aside, I've never exercised so regularly or happily. I'd say I'm in the best shape of my life, but let's face it, I'm middle-aged. I do feel good though, which is huge for me. As far as Claire, am I getting your character's stories confused with my own again?

  3. Hi Gina, I discovered audio books when my husband bought me a first generation iPod for my birthday, way back when my hair was still one color : ). It's great to listen to books while I garden, do dishes, iron and do a million things that don't require much thought.

    I've learned a lot about writing while listening to novels - there's something about hearing the words instead of seeing them that teaches me what works and what doesn't. I could never find the time to read all the books that I've listened to, and I've found that I've listened to many books that I would never have bothered to read.

    I still read books while on my stationary bike, but after reading your post I will be careful listening to books while on the treadmill. I have learned not to play with sharp objects while completely engrossed in a great story : (


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