Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Second Annual Justice Run Returns to Littleton This Fall

Photo (c) More Sugar Than Spice
What do you do when you love to run and you hate human trafficking? For Jenny Watson, of Littleton, Colorado, you whip up a 5k from scratch in the fall of 2010 and then add to it a 10k for the 2011 year.
Photo (c) More Sugar Than Spice

The second annual Justice Run (www.thejusticerun.org) will once again be hosted by the Littleton, Colorado Y (mca) on Sunday, September 25, 2011 beginning at 8:30 AM and take place on the beautiful Highline Canal and Lee Gulch trails.

The event is designed for all ages and consists of a fun run for the kiddos, a 5k walk/run and a 10k run. Both races are certified and professionally timed. Post-race runners will find kids’ activities, food and beverages, a raffle and awards.

Registration prices are as follows:

Adults 18-25 – $30
Seniors 60+ -$25
Children 17 & under – $20
Adults 18-25 – $25
Seniors 60+ -$20
Children 17 & under – $15
Kids Fun Run – FREE

Visit www.thejusticerun.org for more information or to register. Each registration includes a t-shirt, goody-bag, a post-race meal and raffle entry.

When asked to share her inspiration for facilitating the Justice Run Watson replied,

“I remember when I was first confronted with the issue of human trafficking I was heartbroken by the stories and images of these girls and women all over the world, held against their will. I wondered, “How can something like this actually be happening in the 21st century? Why is no one helping these people and freeing these slaves.

"I wanted to do something to help, something substantial. We have friends who are a part of the huge network of people working on the front lines. They founded the Justice Project with the desire to see a complete effort developed in their region to combat Human Trafficking, including outreaches to the red light district, building a restoration center for rescued victims, and forming small groups to focus on different aspects of combatting Trafficking. They are the ones that I wanted to help. I wanted the people, who have given up everything to go in to the world and make this their life’s cause, to know that we, here in Littleton, CO, had their back.”

Jenny Watson and the Justice Run team would like to thank: 

Freeway and Longmont Ford who return as the Title Sponsors for this year’s run, Pixel Nine Design who has recently come on board providing the Justice Run with a new website, Ultimate Sounds who will supply music and sound equipment and  More Sugar Than Spice Photography.

Last year over $7,500.00 was raised to fight human trafficking with a goal to double that this September. Proceeds from the race will go to the Justice Project. To find out more visit: www.thejusticerun.org.

Rebecca Dunning is an award winning writer who lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and three children. She not only loves to read and write but also enjoys hiking, climbing mountains 14,000 feet or higher, traveling the world and about anything else out-of-doors. Ms. Dunning is a regular contributor to The Gazette, Pikes Peak Parent and FreshInk. Rebecca is also the author of two children's books: The Real-Life Princess and Beetle Hunter as well as her first novel, The Awen: Book One of the Sacred Oak Series.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Awen: Book One of the Sacred Oak Series

Before you read the excerpt below:

The Awen: Book One of the Sacred Oak Series is my first novel, though I have two other published children's books and a non-fiction, memoir half completed. The Awen is currently on it's second edit before it is handed over to a few publishing houses to make a decision. I am going to release bits and pieces here and there for feedback. 

Statement of Purpose

The Awen was penned to meet the needs of upper elementary and middle school students looking for a fantasy novella that is not only redemptive in nature but entertaining as well. Unlike many contemporary books in this genre, The Awen does not rely on a dark delivery of folklore to captivate its audience. Rather, readers will be spellbound by this tale of hope.

Picture the book... now open the cover and you see an aged map of the UK with Wales highlighted and turning the page you find a glossary of unique terms. Next you are hit with the prophesy and so on. 


The Awen is an intriguing tale full of young heroes, epic battles, and colorful story-telling. It contains the perfect elements for popular youth fiction: three-dimensional characters, a suspenseful tale of mythical proportions, and a view of the redemptive possibilities in every human heart.

Winter Haven Manor sits on a coastal estate in Wales, with mystery and danger in its history. It is the home of Ian, the son of the manor’s groundskeeper and a disenchanted dreamer who is soon to discover a destiny beyond his wildest imagination. It is also the home of Reese, Ian’s troubled nemesis who is heir to the estate, and Libby, Reese’s feisty cousin who has returned from America after losing her father.

What the trio discovers is that they are the "three unlikely"--a team of empowered friends meant to save the world, as foretold by a thousand-year-old prophecy. Not only will they have to combine their skills in order to save the otherworldly realm, known as Mag Mell, but they will also have to overcome battles in their own lives as well. Their struggles with the creatures in the otherworld will teach them about who they have been, and more importantly, who they can become.

(Author's note: There will be a map of the United Kingdom with Wales highlighted as well as a glossary of unique terms.) 

The Awen: Book One of the Sacred Oak Series

Ancient Mag Mellian Prophesy

When pride and greed does kiss
In the heart of our dear land
The Great Betrayal is unleashed.
O, how I fear for you, bright Mag Mell.

Treachery! Treachery!
At the hand of once dear brothers
Who had sung the song so pure
Then forgot the ancient paths
Once so white and true.
Dark mist shall take fair Mag Mell.

From the time ahead of times
Three unlikely they shall find.
Come young ones arise,
Descendants from the other side,
Bring them learned ones
After darkness sweeps fine Mag Mell.

Call fire, wind, earth and sky,
Restore the Queen or land shall die.
Find the heart of deep Betrayal.
Sing Bard: Restore the Awen,
Sacrifice himself for all,
and he shall save dear Mag Mell.

Light shall shine again in thee fair Mag Mell.
O, how I cry for you bright Mag Mell.

-So end the words of Ysbail Seren


It all began with the dreams. There is no other way to say it than that. Ian was having very colorful, very real dreams--dreams that would then come true. Only silly things came true at first, like that his mom was going to make him homemade pancakes with clotted cream and fresh strawberries and he woke up that very morning to the smell of the delicious cakes. Or when he dreamed he found a ten pound note on the way to school. That same day, there the money was, dangling from the bushes like low-hanging fruit waiting to be picked, just exactly like he had seen it in the night.

Ian’s dream-life had become an adventure, and one that he kept to himself in the event that people would think that he had gone crazy. Besides, it had always been good things that happened, so it never occurred to him that the dreams were all that unusual. However, the foretelling dreams began to take place with greater frequency and more detail, which in the last couple of weeks had begun to cause him a bit of concern.

It was after he began to dream about his friend Libby that he realized he was experiencing something special. Ian woke with a small sense of dread each time he had a “Libby dream,” walking around for the next several days awaiting her imminent arrival and the sad news that would come with it. He was unsure how to react when his mom would break the news his dreams had foretold. He decided he needed to share what was happening with his father.  

NEXT:  Chapter One: Winter Haven Manor

Rebecca Dunning is an award winning writer who lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and three children. She not only loves to read and write but also enjoys hiking, climbing mountains 14,000 feet or higher, traveling the world and about anything else out-of-doors. Rebecca is the author of two children's books: The Real-Life Princess and Beetle Hunter as well as her first novel, The Awen: Book One of the Sacred Oak Series.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Operation "Thankful Heart": An Experiment in Gratefulness

This article was featured in The Gazette and Pikes Peak Parent:

Recently, my husband and I were discussing the effects on our children of living in America, both positive and negative. On the negative side, living in wealth in comparison to most of the world, can tend to create a lack of thankfulness among the youth of our country, which we have tried to combat.   For instance we don’t allow grumbling at the table and have taken them to the poorest of the poor in other nations to see them live daily and to volunteer with the homeless in our city. 

This is what I thought I'd get
Our discussion led to an experiment, we dubbed “Operation Thankful Heart.” We decided to make the same boring meal every night for a week without letting them know that they were our “lab rats.” The idea was to see how many complaints we got in seven days. The recipe had to be something not one of the five of us loved or hated, which was almost impossible to find, since we eat a variety of Thai, curry and other wonderful ethnic dishes.

My favorite, Butter Chicken Curry
I chose a crock pot meal that involved chicken served over rice. During the week I actually had a pad of paper out of view that was meant to record hash marks of how many complaints I heard at dinner. We had some astonishing results, which turned my hypothesis upside down.  All in all, my husband and I struggled more than our kids did. He and I  began to ponder how many people in the world eat only to sustain their existence and not for pleasure. On the plus side, there was no thought about what to make or how to make it as I could have added the ingredients blindfolded by the third day.

Thai, "yum"
Here were our results: Each night our children thanked us for dinner. On day four our twelve year old asked us how many more days we would have the dish. At that point we began to have discussions about how many children worldwide eat one meal every three days and how food wasn’t for enjoyment for them but instead used to keep them alive.

Moroccan, My new Fave
Besides a single tear that trickled from an eye on day seven, there was not one complaint, which a pleasant surprise.  I will say I threw the recipe away and will never make it again. My husband and I plan to repeat the lesson once a year if only for our own hearts. There has even been talk of walking each day to the market to get our dinner like most of our third world friends when we revisit the idea. As for tonight Moroccan was on the menu.  Thank God.

Rebecca Dunning is an award winning author/writer living in Colorado Springs.  She has written two children's books, The Real-Life Princess and Beetle Hunter.  Rebecca can be found at www.rebeccadunning.com.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Self-Publishing 101: Part 4- How Friends Can Help @ A Grassroots Level

So you did your pre-order sales to friends and the rest of the people you’ve networked with through your blog and other social networking sites … at a discount. You’ve set up your author site through Amazon (where your book is listed for sale.) You’ve also set up book signings (see my other posts) and you’re ready to get the word out beyond your immediate touch. The next thing is to ask your FRIENDS and FANS to help you along the way.

Here’s one way:

I went to Vistaprint.com (which is a great place to design your postcards for mailing, sell sheets and other various marketing materials that will be the object of discussion for Part 5) and ordered 50 FREE rack cards that I customized with pictures of my books and a blurb:

“Thanks for your purchase. I hope you enjoy your book(s). As you may know, the publishing of these books has been done at an organic level. That means that their success depends on the grassroots involvement of fans. There are three things you can do to help.
1. If you like the book(s) please go to Amazon.com and do a review and click “like.” Look for the book by title by author Rebecca Lynn Dunning
2. Ask for the book to be brought into your local library.
3. Tell your friends verbally and via social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.”

When you do your signings and send out the pre-order sales to friends, slip the card into the book. At signings I ask them to do a review on Amazon when I hand them their copy.

Another way to enlist the cyber community is to do a give-way contest for a signed copy of your book on your blog (you are already blogging right?)

Here is a blurb from my give-away blog post:

1) Click “follow” for my blog AND go to Amazon and click “like” on Beetle Hunter and/or The Real-Life Princess.


2) Visit Rebecca’s Facebook Page for Awen House Publishing and click “like” AND Find her on Twitter and “follow”.

************To be entered: Comment below with which number you chose…”

Afterward the contest is over and you’ve published the winner, offer each person who entered a book at discount.

What you have done is create buzz for your book while moving it up on search engine optimization.

Thanks for reading.  Please comment and pass it along.

Rebecca Dunning is an award winning writer who lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband and three children. She not only loves to read and write but also enjoys hiking, climbing mountains 14,000 feet or higher, running, biking, traveling the world and about anything else out-of-doors. Her books include, The Real-Life Princess and Beetle Hunter.