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01-31 Debut Romance Author J. Jade Jordan

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crazy Goal Problems

by M. L. Buchman

Disclaimer/Warning: I am a very goal-driven, achievement-oriented, Type-A+ personality. (I can hear all of my friends going, "Well, du-uh!") That said, if what I'm jumping into below isn't the way your brain works...don't burden yourself with it, because it will just tie you up in knots. If my wife tried to do something like this...well, even trying to explain it to her was tricky. Her brain simply doesn't work this way. Moving on...

I've just discovered a new problem with setting goals...what happens when you achieve them?!?

I'm not talking about the little goals: exercise more, finish book #X, turn in a short story before the deadline for the anthology. I'm talking about the big ones. In 2014 I pretty much hammered down a goal. The catch was that it was a goal I set twenty-one years ago:

I want to make my living as a full-time writer.

Now that's a little bit of a cheat, but not much of one. What happened was that, barring any unforeseen problems, I will achieve that goal  in 2015. That's with no breakouts, no hitting a bestseller list, none of that. Simply as a mid-list writer, I will achieve a goal I set more than a third of a lifetime ago.

Huh!

Now what am I supposed to do with that? That simply stated goal had driven me into the writer's chair through: meeting contract deadlines while working eighty-hour a week corporate jobs, while raising a kid, cooking dinner a couple nights a week to give my wife a break, and everything else that went on over the last two decades. Totally exhausted and sleep-deprived, I can tumble into a chair and write a 1,000 words, That's forward progress and it was driven by that simple goal statement.

!

First! Recognizing the problem. I found that my motivation to work on the next book--despite being excited by the next book project (#3 in my Kate Stark "Dead Chef" thrillers -coming in February)--was a little hard to find. I'd sit down, jump into a scene and thirty seconds later be checking a factoid on the Internet that wasn't even going to end up in the book.
A good friend and I spent a couple hours talking about it and he nailed it down for me, "Hit your goal, didn't ya?" Crap! Since when did I feel bad about achieving a goal? Okay, not "bad" just at a loss.

?
They always say that identifying the problem is half the problem. Great! Now where the heck is the other half? (Especially since I haven't quite finished the first goal, It's just that I can see that if I continue in a workman-like fashion, I will achieve it.) Hard to get motivated by a phrase such as "workman-like fashion" isn't it?

So, I wander back to two of my favorite references on goals.

First, Napoleon Hill (This is my favorite of his works. It's a series of lectures in his own voice near the end of his life; Think and Grow Rich was a quarter century earlier). He talks of setting goals and resetting goals. He talks about the size of goals and how to set them. No way am I going to try and summarize all of that here, but I've listened to this at least twice a year for the last 20 years, so I'm diving back in now.

Second is Jim Collins and Jerry Porras' plunge into the structure behind successful corporations. A key phrase comes to mind, the BHAG! It was a common theme to the long-term, stable, immensely successful corporations: the Big HAIRY AUDACIOUS Goal!

Hmmm... There's a catch here. I don't know what my BHAG is! But, I know that I need a good goal now to move me forward.


So, I ultimately set a one-year goal with 2 parts:
  1. Finish out the last year of my "make my living as a full-time writer" goal with ease and success. (That in itself was a BHAG monster when I wrote it down on July 26th, 1993.) 
  2. By January of next year, figure out my Big HAIRY AUDACIOUS Goal!
Stay tuned for more to come as I figure out this thing that I so enjoy doing.

In the meantime, you should feel free to pre-order my March (Night Stalkers, in which Michael finally gets his love story) and April (a Night Stalkers novella for charity along with 7 other amazing authors) releases.

 
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M. L. Buchman has over 30 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.


In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

DREAMS OF FUTURE PAST by Sarah Raplee


Hi! I'm Sarah Raplee, and I write scary, funny paranormal and steampunk romances. I write because I can't help it, and it's more fun than most of the alternatives. My short story, The Telltale Heart, was published this month in GIFTS FROM THE HEART  from Windtree Press.


Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you’d kept all your past years' New Years’ resolutions?

Your first reaction may be to think your life would be perfect, full of butterflies and daisies and unending sunshine. After all, we make resolutions to try to improve ourselves and our lives. Making them makes us feel powerful, in control, as if we’ve caught a magic bullet. If only we can hold on to the magic long enough, our problem(s) will be solved and we’ll float off into the future as thinner, healthier, calmer, more accomplished, more spiritual versions of ourselves who are married to our equally perfect soul mates and have a fat retirement account and great health insurance.

What’s wrong with this picture?

It’s a fantasy, an unrealistic figment of our imaginations. Change is hard work. It takes commitment and perseverance, and many, many small steps to achieve a major goal. Success depends, among other things, on being able to forgive ourselves for moments of weakness as well as a willingness to accept the tests and difficulties life throws at us with grace—because railing against them is like whining about the weather, a useless waste of energy.

But like unanswered prayers, unkempt resolutions may produce a better outcome than we can imagine. If I had been able to easily give up chocolate and caffeine, I not only would have missed out on their (at that time undiscovered) health benefits, I guarantee I would be a grumpier old woman!
If dieting and exercising had come easily to me, I would have had much less compassion for other people’s struggles. Failure helps us to be less judgmental. It is a humbling experience.

If I’d spent as much time cleaning house and exercising as I thought I should, I never would have finished writing two novels and a slew of short stories—not without neglecting my marriage and other important relationships.

Writing has taught me that baby steps, perseverance and an acceptance of the things we can’t control or change are more likely to produce positive results than a lifetime of New Year’s resolutions.


Have you failed to keep a New Year’s resolution? Did something positive come from that failure?
~Sarah Raplee

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Debut Author Fiola Faelan: Holiday Hearts Awakening

I’ve always loved reading and writing, and cut my teeth on books such as The Forest of Mystery, Edgar Allen Poe, Robin Hood, and Nancy Drew. I grew up a devout tomboy, back when Silicon Valley wasn’t even a gleam in San Jose’s eyes. I’m not as agile as I once was, but can still cut a rug, in person and in my books.

I finally sat my behind down several years ago and got serious about writing. I made all the newbie mistakes, but with the help of the members of the Rose City Romance Writers and some gentle critiques, I like to think I make those mistakes only occasionally, now.

Reading—and writing—is in the blood it seems—and certainly in mine! Some are rabid about both, others enjoy a good book but are able to put it down with ease and move on to the next thing. For me, I'd say I fit into the rabid slot in both reading and writing.

If I'm not writing, I want to be reading, and vice versa. There are so many of us out there. Writers who can look at a can of corn and immediately come up with a scene for a book, or an entire story—all because of that can of corn.

We're the ones you may overhear at a restaurant mulling the best way to do away with someone. Where to bury the body. Or the most unusual place to get frisky with that hero or heroine.


On any given day, I can be found writing, playing practical jokes on friends and family, laughing, and thinking up outlandish plots in my head. I love life, living with my son and marvelous daughter-in-law in beautiful Portland, Oregon, along with Nudge the most affectionate cat.

FIOLA FAELAN
Whether you're a writer who's obsessed with the whereabouts of your muse, every minute of every day, or a reader who doesn't mind putting down that book to take a walk or a nap, I hope you'll check in with me often. I hope you lose yourself in a book, whether mine or another’s, when you do pick it up again.



I would love to connect with you, and possibly entertain you, either between the pages of my books or on my website. Please visit—often!

Website:          http://fiolafaelan.com

EXCERPT: HOLIDAY HEARTS AWAKENING

Three painful years after the destruction of her family and determined to spend this Christmas as alone as ever, Natalie is unprepared for the sensuous campaign against her senses from her new hunk of a neighbor. Or for her body’s traitorous attraction.
Zach had sworn off relationships, concentrating instead on work and being a single dad to his young daughter. After almost losing her years ago, every day was about keeping her safe.  Little did he know the holidays would bring not only visions of sugar plums, but also a stubborn too-sexy neighbor in need. His protective instincts roar to the front, as does his libido and the heart he thought he’d locked away.
Little do they know, if they let down their guard, Santa will deliver not only goodies under the tree, but sometimes hearts filled with love.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hearing the Waterfall, Seeing Possibilities

Hi, I’m Linda Lovely. I write a mix of romantic suspense/thrillers/mysteries. My four published novels (available Kindle, paperback and audiobook) are all set present day, but I’m very excited about my just-completed manuscript set in 1938. I’m also well into a new cozy mystery series—spiced with romance, naturally. To learn more about me and my books, please visit my website: www.lindalovely.com.

The week after Christmas our South Carolina home filled with family. A dozen of us to be exact, ranging in age from nine to seventy-three. Four of our guests traveled from Utah, two more made the trek from Iowa.

I’m sure they hoped for a warm, sunny holiday. During their stay, they got one prize day—warm enough for a boat ride and kayaking. The rest of the week was pretty dreary—fog, drizzle and/or chilly temperatures. Yet we didn’t let the weather put us in a funk. (Stay with me, this does relate to the New Year and writing.)
Hearing the Waterfall...

On yucky days we held a bowling tournament, hiked through the fog to “hear” a waterfall, bet virtual fortunes in spirited poker games—some with imaginative wild card combos, and showed off our general lack of artistic skill in a multi-generational game of Pictionary. I might add the seniors got drubbed, but the highlight was the nine-year-old’s excellent attempt to draw “booby trap.” 

Unfortunately his stick figure’s “boobies” were mistaken for goiters.

We drank a little. Ate a lot. Sneezed some. And laughed. We enjoyed each moment and each other.

So how does this apply to the New Year and writing?  I made only one New Year’s resolution—to try to enjoy the moment, the day, and find something to laugh about every day. What does that mean to a writer? 

Here’s what I hope:
·            I’ll say “no” to more activities that take me away from the activities and people I truly enjoy—especially writing and spending quality time with family, friends, fellow writers.
·            I’ll try to write some every day. But if the sun’s shining for the first time in a week, I won’t become so obsessed that I don’t take a day off and bask in the sunbeams.
·            I’ll remind myself that wrinkles and gray hair don’t mean my imagination can’t run as wild and free as a nine-year-old’s.
·            I’ll try to use all my senses in my writing, having realized there’s something magical about hearing a waterfall you can’t see.
·            I’ll read more books for pure enjoyment, and I won’t feel guilty if I stop reading a book I don’t like.
·            I will not let negative thoughts about manuscript rejections or book sales suck the joy out of writing the next book.


Seeing  the waterfall with the help of digital magic...

Happy New Year! I hope it will be a great one for all of us.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

MY GOAL FOR 2015 - INSPIRATION - MARGARET TANNER


WRITE, WRITE WRITE.,  MARGARENT TANNER'S GOAL FOR 2015

My resolution for 2015 is to write more. I know I have said this before, but I feel that I need to up the ante so to speak and write, write, write.

We had a quiet Christmas, my 2 granddaughters were overseas visiting their other grandmother, so the number around our Christmas lunch table was only four.

I didn’t even bother to farewell 2014 or herald the birth of 2015, although illegal fireworks going off in the neighborhood from dusk until dawn was very annoying. The barking of terrified dogs did not help either. As I lay in bed, wondering why I bothered to even try to sleep with so much noise going on, I made my New Year resolution. I was going to be inspired. To finish my WIP and start on something new. It must have worked as I have just sent off my latest novel to my editor, the first of several I hope.

So how can I get this elusive inspiration for my work in progress, or for that matter, all my novels? Fortunately for me, I write historical romance, so delving into my family tree is a great resource for me.

Like the heroines in my novels, my forebears left their native shores in sailing ships to forge a new life in the untamed frontiers of colonial Australia. They battled bushfires, hardship and the tyranny of distance in an inhospitable and savage land, where only the tough and resilient would survive. They not only survived but prospered in ways that would not have been possible for them had they stayed in England, Ireland and Scotland.

I admire heroines who are resourceful, not afraid to fight for her family and the man she loves. I want my readers to be cheering for her, willing her to obtain her goals, to overcome the obstacles put in her way by rugged frontier men who think they only want a wife to beget sons.  A chance for revenge.  To consolidate their fortunes. That love is for fools.  Oh, the victory for the reader when these tough, ruthless men succumb to the heroine’s bravery and beauty and are prepared to risk all, even their lives, to save her.

This is why I write historical romance, and will continue to do so in 2015. I hope you will follow me on this journey. My goal is four novels/novellas, but if I get sufficiently inspired, maybe five.

Dangerous Birthright will be my first novel for 2015. It is the sequel to Falsely Accused. Both books are published by Books We Love.

FALSELY ACCUSED: 1820's England. Robbed of his birthright and falsely accused of murder, American Jake Smith, is exiled to the penal colony of Australia.
 
 
 
 
 
DANGEROUS BIRTHRIGHT: The sequel to Falsely Accused - Due out February/March 2015. 
Can an English aristocrat go against society and marry the daughter of convicts?


 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

by Vivienne Lorret

I’m a person who likes to make resolutions. Each New Year, I write them down and number them. Once, I even alphabetized them.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a very dedicated January-resolutionarian.

By February, the list has suffered a few modifications, nips and tucks here and there. Maybe an entire year without chocolate wasn’t such a good idea, after all.

Yet, when March hits, major reconstruction happens. The list takes on a new form. Half of it turns into a grocery list.

Tea, milk, chocolate…

A new story idea-scribble climbs the right margin.

Rake meets spunky heroine—she kills his dog. Hmm…

Origami becomes an option.

In April… Well, we won’t talk about April.

But that was before I learned how to dream big, and still reach my goals.

It happened when I started to write down the things I was planning to do anyway. Changing the words Lose twenty pounds to Eat healthier, smaller portions works much better.

Check!

Altering the words Write six books this year to Write every day.

Check!

And then adding things like Drink more tea and Smile more are not only easy, but a worthwhile investment in myself. Because, as you might have figured out, Smile more is also code for Go ahead and eat chocolate.

Happy New Year!

~USA TODAY bestselling author Vivienne Lorret loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order ... but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is proud to be an Avon Impulse author of works including: Tempting Mr. Weatherstone, The Wallflower Wedding Series, and The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series. For more on her upcoming novels, visit her at www.vivlorret.net

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hello from the newest Genre-ista!



Hello and a Happy New Year to everyone! I’m Nadine Mutas, and I’m thrilled to be joining the Genre-istas and blogging about all things books, reading, writing, and life around these favorite subjects of mine.   

I write paranormal romances filled with magic, witches, demons, and all things that go bump in the night. Because – let’s face it – I never really grew up and love stories with a little extra something to spice up reality. I mourn the fact that I have to live in a world without magic, so I compensate by spinning tales and building worlds with endless possibilities and intriguing depths of powers. Every story I’ve ever thought up had a paranormal twist, and to be quite honest, I probably wouldn’t even know how to write a story without magic in it. Paranormal romance is also the genre I love reading the most, which is not to say I don’t enjoy the occasional historical, erotic romance, or urban fantasy.

A little background info about me: Being a German native, I moved to the United States with my husband and my two cats in 2012, and now live in Oregon, where I’m enjoying the mild climate and even the rain (which really isn’t as perpetual as reports led me to believe before I came here. Seriously, it’s not worse than Berlin. And you get cold winters and snow in addition to rain over there, which is just mean. I’d take rain over snow any day of the year). I’ve been thinking up stories and collecting ideas since I could speak, but I only started writing with a professional goal in mind three years ago.

The first novel I ever finished will probably always remain safely tucked away in my drawer (I’ve read through it again recently – some major facepalming ensued…), but the second book I completed went on to win a bunch of writing awards and garnered recognition from industry folks. It’s the start of a series (Blood & Magic) set in contemporary Portland, Oregon, where demons and witches clash – and fall in love – amid a changing supernatural landscape.

My goals for 2015 are to finish writing the second book in my Blood & Magic series, and then publish Book 1 and Book 2, and possibly get started with writing the third. If at all possible, I’d also like to squeeze in a novella or two. Or I might just admit that I’m delusional thinking I can achieve these goals with a brand-spanking new baby at home (born in November 2014). Then again, if you don’t set goals that challenge you, you’ll never grow, right?

So, more realistically speaking, I will see how much writing and publishing I will get done while multitasking around an infant, and I’d love to share this journey with you. Thanks in advance for reading my posts and commenting.

As John Lennon put it so succinctly: Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans. Looking back at 2014, what were some of the moments where life happened and made achieving your goals harder than you thought?