Thursday, July 19, 2018

When Fiction Becomes Nonfiction: I’m a Triathlete (A Repost from Ben A. Brock)

dontravis.comblog post #294

 The following post on B. A. Brock Books ( dated July 9 and reposted on Facebook hit me right between the eyes! I knew that I wanted to share this powerful story with my readers and asked if I could repost. Ben graciously gave me permission. I am proud to pass on his story:




Jul 09, 2018 by B. A. Brock in Blog Post

I didn't drown


ALTHOUGH I’M a voracious reader, it may come as a slight surprise that my adventures into triathlons started with a fiction novel. Two years ago, after two of my operations, I read a Mystery/Thriller by Don Travis, called The Zozobra Incident. It attracted me because it promised to be a hard-boiled mystery with an openly gay protagonist, something I hadn’t read before but is very much in my wheelhouse. The book delivered everything it promised, and more, but I wasn’t anticipating the lasting effect it would have on me and my life.

Ominously, the course
started with a hill

BJ Vinson, our protagonist, is a law enforcement officer who was heroically injured in the line of duty, now retired from the force and working as a confidential investigator. He’s nearly middle age, lost his parents in a tragic accident, has a strong work ethic, is daring and intelligent, and is gay. Until I read The Zozobra Incident, I’d never met a protagonist of BJ’s ilk. I especially hadn’t realized how much I’d been pining for a role model, someone I could relate to and look up to on this level. I gobbled up the next BJ Vinson mystery, and the next, and am currently not-so-patiently awaiting the fourth (The Lovely Pines, which comes out at the end of August).

OMG, It's Hot!

There are many differences between BJ’s life and mine, but I felt a closeness to him–which should wholeheartedly be ascribed to Travis’s skill as a writer–and I wanted to feel closer. Because BJ was injured in the leg, he regularly swims for exercise. I reasoned it’s fairly normal for runners to have a secondary aerobic exercise they use as a cross training tool, plus it was something simple I could do in order to feel closer to my hero, so after I recovered from my surgeries I enrolled in a swim class. That swim class led to me swimming three days per week, and because I got acclimated to running and swimming in the same workout schedule, I figured if I wanted to do a triathlon all I had to add
was the cycling piece. Which led me to signing up for my first race.

I trained for a year, vigorously for four months. Every day I spent hours either lifting, swimming, cycling, running, or doing a combination of all four. In my state of exhaustion, I admittedly didn’t spend much time thinking of BJ, of what he might think of all this. I also didn’t see much of my husband. But finally, this last Saturday, at Henry Hagg Lake in scenic (and hilly) Forest Grove, I finished my first Olympic distance triathlon. I am now a marathoner and a triathlete.

Ben the Marathoner and

And I have Don Travis and his character to thank for that.

Thank you, Don and BJ. Without you, none of this would have been possible. To those authors who inspire countless of others, thank you and keep writing. Not everyone may thank you in a blog post, but know your words have changed people’s lives–you make the world a better place.

Here’s my Review of The Zozobra Incident by Don Travis. (At the bottom should be suggestion links to other books in the series.) Also, anyone notice that awesome medal and matching T shirt? Totally rad.

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About the author B. A. Brock

B. A. Brock has lived most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in 2007 at Portland State University--which he mostly uses to contemplate how we can achieve a civilization more closely aligned with Star Trek. When not writing, Brock spends his time reading/reviewing novels, training for marathons, and bemoaning the fact that the world has yet to make a decent gluten free donut.


Thank you, Ben. What else can I say. Just… thank you. Awesome. Rad. Read him at

If readers would like to drop me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.

The next book in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series, The Lovely Pines is scheduled for release on August 28 of this year. It appears on DSP Publication’s upcoming releases page:

Abaddon’s Locusts follows on January 22, 2019. AND I have recently signed a contract for the sixth book in the series called THE VOXLIGHTNER SCANDAL. Publication date as yet undetermined.

See you next week.


New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

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