Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Hello Dear Readers,

I really appreciate the kind comments on yesterday’s post–all the more so because it was such a personal thing to write. So thank you.

It’s an old adage that we should do something every day that scares us–the idea being that we’ll force ourselves out of our comfort zones, and be that much closer to leading extraordinary lives. This isn’t easy to do–especially not everyday–unless you happen to be scared of a lot.

However, I was scared enough yesterday to make up for at least seven days. It was my first double-class Monday in a while, which includes “Stamina Monday” (usually the toughest Level 1 cardio kickboxing workout of the week), and an hour and a half of Level 2 (muay thai fighter training). And in some fit of stupid ambition, I also scheduled a sparring session right afterward with my dojo’s top fighter. Yep, I’m insane.

The Stamina Monday class went well. It was a challenging workout, but not overly so…nothing to push me out of my comfort zone there. But Level 2 classes are becoming more and more difficult, and for some reason, I’m the only woman who seems to go to them anymore. That didn’t bother me, though. My fear really didn’t start until Grant chose me as his partner.

Let me explain…from what I’ve heard (and I’m sure Grant will correct me if I’m wrong), Grant is about 6’4″ and 220 pounds of solid muscle. In short, the guy is huge. His reach is 74″, and he’s been enrolled in martial arts in one form or another since he was nine years old. (I’m not sure how old Grant is, but suffice it to say he didn’t start training yesterday). Next to little ol’ 5’8″ me, he’s a giant. And I knew he was going to kill me.

We started out with leg-trapping exercises. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, they go something like this: you kick, and your opponent grabs your leg and does any number of nasty things in retaliation. Because of our height difference, when Grant trapped my leg, it was really far off the ground. If I’d lost my balance, it would have meant a nasty fall, but whenever I did falter, I clung to Grant like crazy. No way I was crashing to the ground! My heart was beating like mad. I was terrified the entire time.

That class was long, with each exercise more scary than the last. But I survived it. Grant didn’t kill me, although I have a rainbow of bruises in places I’ve never been bruised before…my collarbone. Both shoulders. All the way up and down my arms. You get the picture.

I was so exhausted and beaten up by the end of class that sparring didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. I was basically a punching bag for Wayne. But I survived that, too.

It may sound strange, but what Grant and Wayne did is actually an act of kindness. Because they’re punishing me now, by the time I step into the ring in October, I’ll be ready for whatever my opponent will throw at me. And no matter how scary my opponent is, she’s not going to be 6’4″ and 220 pounds. What could possibly be scarier than Grant? 🙂

How about you, Dear Readers? What have you done to step outside your comfort zone lately? Was it worth it? Do you believe in doing things that scare you? Why or why not?

* I dedicate this blog post to everyone who’s ever kicked my ass in the course of training, especially Grant and Wayne.

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  1. Chris

    It’s a pretty big step out of my comfort zone to go to a kickboxing class when I haven’t exercised in a long time. My cardio isn’t there, and there’s a good chance I’m just going to humiliate myself in front of everyone, but I’m going to give it my best shot and hope I can finish.

  2. Story Teller

    You won’t humiliate yourself, Chris–I promise. But I applaud you for having the guts to give it a try despite your fears! KWest is an incredible environment, filled with supportive, friendly people. No one is going to laugh at you.

    Thanks for being my only commentor these days. 🙂


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