Saturday, January 29, 2022

Out now! Jimmy ~ Summon a Bad Boy by @meganslayer #agegap #romance #hot #pnr


Jimmy by Megan Slayer

Summon a Bad Boy, Book 1

From Changeling Press

Contemporary, Paranormal Erotic Age-Gap Romance



I call on the fates to bring my love to me. As I will it, so mote it be

What if those simple words plus a name on a scroll could guarantee true love? Karey’s determined to find out if the spell, Summon a Bad Boy, works, and she knows just who she’s going to ask for. Jimmy McCreadie. The tattooed man makes her weak in the knees -- he’s every naughty desire she’s had come to life. She’s nothing like the women he dates, and far too shy for her own good, but she’s not giving up.

Mix a bad boy with some magic and have faith. Anything’s possible. Karey’s desire just might come true.




©Megan Slayer, 2022, All Rights Reserved


“I want a bad boy, but not one that will do me harm. Those guys looked scary -- not in a good way.”

“Agreed.” Sarah thumped her spoon on the table. “And I have a suggestion.”

Karey sat up straighter and paid more attention. Instead of their normal grumbling, someone had a plan? Good. “What is it?”

Karey admired her friends. Nikki was the sexy one. She could walk into any establishment and have men falling at her feet. They seemed to love her tall, slender appearance and deep brown eyes. Then there was Mandy. She embodied sweet-natured and cute. At just over five feet tall, Mandy was the sprite of the group. She laughed easily and smiled a lot. Natalie could be moody, but she knew how to play nearly any sport -- and usually better than her male counterparts. Karey loved cheering her on at the local baseball games. Sarah was the born leader and the pushiest of the five. Her intelligence could be a hindrance or an asset, depending on how she used it. Most people saw her as pushy, but she could organize and plan like no other.

Karey sometimes wondered how she fit in with these fantastic women. She was smart, but not hyper intelligent. She loved books and observing but tended not to talk much.

“The plan?” Natalie checked her watch. “I’m late for a game.”

“Tonight, we meet at my place. I’ve found a spell that guarantees we’ll find our perfect man within the next seven days.” Sarah smiled and narrowed her eyes in triumph. “All we have to do is write down exactly what we want on a scroll, say the words of the spell, and toss the scroll into the fire. What do you think?”

“It’s guaranteed to work?” Karey didn’t believe it.

“Really?” Mandy toyed with her water glass. “You’ve had can’t-miss plans before that were duds.”

“I know, but this one is really guaranteed.” Sarah nodded. “If you’re in, be at my house at nine. I’ll have the scrolls ready.”

“You’re sure this works?” Karey asked again. “You don’t seem to have all the details.”

“Hey, where I found it says it’s foolproof.” Sarah shrugged and toyed with her scroll. “I might not have all the details, but it’s just a spell. For all we know, it won’t work. Do we really need every last piece of minutia? No.”

“Right.” Karey sighed. What did she have to lose? She lived alone, didn’t go out much, and only met people at the store. If a spell could work, then why not give it a try? If nothing else, she’d have an adventure.



Thursday, January 27, 2022

Weird Plague Treatments or Put Down that Chicken. By L. A. Kelley

Weird Plague Treatments or Put Down that Chicken

Well, it’s been over a year. Our good friend Covid is like that one annoying relative that shows to ruin every get-together and won’t go away. Our ancestors survived bouts of the Black Death with their homemade treatments. I say it’s time to reach back in history and start trying them again.

Helpful Animals or What is Mom Doing with that Chicken?

Snakes often got the blame for the plague, their evil vapors fouling the air, but they could make amends. According to Medieval medicine, one evil attracts another, so pieces of an “evil” snake placed on the patient would draw out the evil sickness. Low and behold, they were cured. Or died of blood poisoning. 

Squeamish about snakes? How about leeches? They were used to suck out the “bad” blood that caused the disease and leave the good blood in the body. Or not, and the patient died. Then there’s also chopped up pigeons. Rub bloody parts all over and stand back while the cure takes hold or the neighbors call the cops.

My favorite treatment is the Vicary Method, named after an ancient doctor named Thomas Vicary. I can’t understand why it hasn’t made the rounds. He was a doctor, for heaven’s sake. He must have known what he was doing. Of course, back then being a doctor didn’t require a medical degree, basic knowledge of sanitation, or even common sense. The Vicary Method should really have been called, “What the Hell are you Doing with that Chicken?” The noble doctor would pluck feathers from a chicken’s rump, and then tie the chicken to the patient, so the rump touched an open sore. He believed chickens breathed through their bottoms, so the semi-plucked chicken would draw the plague from the patient. The idea of transmitting a bacterial infection never crossed his mind. If the patient died, so be it. If chicken died first, he’d simply slap on another.

Out of Chicken Butts? Try Vegetables or Emeralds.

For the vegetarians among you or those low on chicken butts there other cures guaranteed 100% effective by our Medieval ancestors. Rub onions on your skin or a eat a combination of mustard, mint sauce, apple sauce and horseradish to balance wet, dry, hot and cold humors in the body. It will definitely effect a cure, if it doesn’t cause the runs first. Have a delicate digestion? Down a delicious crushed emerald. No emeralds lying around? Other tasty suggestions were drinking vinegar, arsenic, mercury or even ten-year-old treacle. Why it had to be ten-years-old is beyond me, but what’s the point of waiting for it to age? The arsenic and mercury would put you six feet under immediately.

Treatments that May be Worse than the Disease.

Clean urine had healing properties, according to ancient medical texts. So, they advised suffers to dive right into a urine bath. Poop mixed with lily root and tree sap was guaranteed to chase away the plague and anyone else with a sense of smell.

For a last resort use flagellation. People whipped themselves to purge their bodies of the sins that brought the plague in the first place. Other believed the hell with that. The best way to chase away the plague was in wild abandon so sickness couldn’t catch you; pillage, loot and then party until the cows come home. I’m with them.

L. A. Kelley writes sci-fy and fantasy adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. She is totally vaccinated and out of chicken.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Sinking Your Teeth into a Good Woo Woo Series

Ever since my oldest sister woke me up to watch after midnight creature features on our black & white after the folks were asleep, I’ve adored paranormal-themed TV! Series were hard to find, coming in sudden spurts then going back to ground: Dark Shadows (my favorite from grade school to high school soapy guilty pleasure!), Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, The Night Stalker, Journey to the Unknown, and The Invaders to True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and Buffy. And now the ultimate ability to binge watch on an endless parade of streaming channels! My latest indulges include A Discovery of Witches and Firebite (Aussie vampire hunters!!) with a touch of SciFi tossed in with The Expanse. My only regret . . . too little time to enjoy them all!

It seemed only natural for that obsession to transfer to my writing with my “Touched by Midnight” vampire and “By Moonlight” shapeshifter series, and even “In The Woods,” a novelization and partnership screenplay for a modern monster movie! I LOVE things that bump and bite in the night (not in actuality as I am a complete coward!). I prefer to prowl those dark corners and creaky stairs in my imagination . . . and on the page.

That’s why I love this blog! I’ve been introduced to exciting new authors, books, and movies from both inside our group and out in the wild through reviews. I’ve discovered gems I never would have found on my own that fed my imagination and filled my COVID lockdown hours. Never stop sharing!

I’m off to find a new favorite. What recommendations do you have?

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Three Widows of Wylder Tops International Charts by Julie Howard



  The last couple of days have been amazing. My most recent release, The Three Widows of Wylder, is now an international bestseller! The historical fiction ranked #1 in western romance in Canada and Australia, and #2 in the U.K.  It also rose to #3 in romantic suspense in Canada as well as in the top 50 Amazon books sold in all genres.

  This is the third book of mine that’s climbed to top rankings. The others were part of my domestic suspense Wild Crime series.

  These numbers are incredibly gratifying as they represent readers who are intrigued enough to purchase the novel. Authors (at least most authors I know) write to share with an audience, and not just for their own pleasure. We love telling stories and without an audience who wants to listen, part of the enjoyment would disappear. Like an actor without a stage, or a couture designer with no one to dress.

  I’m very grateful to readers who spend their time and money on my books. They have lots of choices and that they would choose mine validates my reason for wanting to tell stories. I always hope readers enjoy my books as I know how much joy I get from reading. The author-reading relationship is symbiotic; we need each other!

  Thank you, readers, for providing this encouragement to continue writing. I have so many more stories to tell!

  If you’re curious, here’s the blurb and an excerpt for The Three Widows of Wylder, currently on sale for 99 cents for one more week:

Three women on the run.

After the death of her husband, Clara flees a hanging judge and seeks refuge with her brother in Wylder, Wyoming.

With secrets of her own and good reasons to flee, spoiled and vain Mary Rose joins Clara on the trek to Wyoming. Surely a suitable man exists somewhere.

Emma is a mystery. A crack shot and expert horsewoman, her harrowing past seeps out in a steady drip. She’s on the run from something, but what?

After the three women descend on Wylder, a budding romance leads to exposure of their pasts. As disaster looms, will any of them escape?




Emma stood, legs apart, one hand on the pistol at her hip. The covered wagon was the type used years ago by pioneers, before trains tamed the prairie, and they still lumbered across areas where tracks hadn’t been laid. Two women sat side-by-side, too focused on their argument to yet notice the camp they entered. Their one horse, overmatched by the heavy wagon, was damp with sweat, its mouth flecked with froth. 

“We should have stayed on the main road.” The peevish one appeared much younger, curly gold hair topped by a large straw hat. She wore a light-yellow dress with lace at her wrists and throat, a perfectly inadequate outfit for travel. “Someone could have provided directions.”

The older woman had finely-drawn features, a few strands of gray threaded through her dark, uncovered hair. Dressed in sensible blue calico, she gripped the reins too tight and the poor horse gave a pathetic shake of its head. “The whole point was to avoid people,” she sniped.

Emma strode forward and seized the reins. “For God’s sake, you’re killing him.”

The two women gaped as though at an apparition. The horse, released from harsh hands, lowered its head and halted. Its sides heaved as flies drank at its sweaty flanks.

“Whomever let you two fools handle a horse should be whipped.” Tempted to dispatch the women to hell for their cruelty, Emma rested her hand on the pistol’s handle.

They two travelers spoke in tandem. “Who are you?” and “How dare you call me a fool.”

As Emma crooned into in the horse’s ear, her expert fingers undid the buckles at its shoulders and haunches. By the time the older of the two women climbed to the ground, the horse was unhitched and Emma led it to the creek.

“That’s our horse,” cried the one in yellow. “Clara, what is that insane girl doing? She’s stealing him.”

Emma halted, shoulders stiff. She turned and pointed the pistol at the one with lace at her throat. “I’m no horse thief.” She cocked the hammer. “Apologize.”

The Three Widows of Wylder can be found at these and other retailers:





Barnes and Noble:



About the author:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime mystery series and Spirited Quest paranormal mystery series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and editor of the Potato Soup Journal. Learn more at

Saturday, January 22, 2022

New Year’s Resolutions – Love ‘em or hate ‘em? by Tena Stetler

 It’s my birthday!!! Well.. that doesn’t have anything to do with New Year’s Resolutions, but thought I’d throw it out there. LOL

I’m really excited about the release of my book AN ANGEL’S WYLDER ASSIGNMENT. It’s a bit different than I usually write. It’s a western, historical, time travel, paranormal adventure with a dash of romance. Whew! Want to know a little more? Okay.

An impromptu assignment for a Scottish Warrior Angel and a Native American shapeshifter from present day, must time travel to 1878 in an effort to unravel a dangerous mystery and create their future. It’s available for preorder right now. Releases March 9, 2022.

Okay, now back to New Year’s Resolutions:  For me resolutions are few and far between. More like goals for the year ahead. How about you? 

  1. I cleaned up my writing cave and vowed to keep it organized in 2022. Like that’s going to happen. It’s where the magic and inspiration occurs for my novels. Ok, that’s not exactly true. Real inspiration usually strikes at the most inopportune times. Like standing in line at the grocery store, or while I’m driving on the freeway (I pull over before jotting down ideas). Which is why I always have paper, pen and ipad with me at all times. Yes, I even take them to bed with me. Well, at least I have paper and pen on my nightstand.
  2. I’m working at filing all the 2021 paperwork away and start new file folders for 2022. Good for me. Running a little behind, but I’ll get it done!
  3. Write everyday.
    1. Finish editing the first novel in my cozy mystery series and submit it. It’s been waiting patiently for a while. Hope my editor loves it.
    2. Start on the sequel to Mystic Maples. It’s going to be a fun one. Set in the family Irish Castle with a ghost to disrupt daily life and wedding preparations. Not to mention the mystery surrounding the ghost.
    3. Write 4,000-5,000 words per week.
  4. Get as much camping in as possible this year.
  5. Enjoy life! Remember my motto: "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW what a ride!"

As you can see my resolutions are few but lofty and attainable.  Don’t you agree?

The best news of all besides my new release is that this season's camping adventures will be here in the blink of an eye.

On our agenda this year is Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Rocking M Campground in Cripple Creek, and Mueller State Park.

  1. Then a week with friends at Pleasant Valley Campground near Salida, Colorado nestled along the Arkansas River at the foot of Monarch Mountain.
  2. May make it to Steamboat Lake for camping and kayaking. We’ll see how the summer shakes out.

If you have any suggestions for camping areas, please for heaven sakes tell me. I still have a few camping slots to fill, not to mention settings for my upcoming novels.

Until next month, stay safe, have fun, read a book, and enjoy life!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Bake Around the World, From Home by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

 My New Year's Resolution is to collect and try as many foreign recipes as possible. I started with cookies! Aren't you glad?

I have great sympathy for those of you in lockdown states, but just because you have to stay home doesn’t mean you can’t travel around the world. Years, many years ago I owned a bakery, so baking is my favorite kitchen activity. The last few months I have been baking around the world, from home.

Every holiday season I, like many of you, bake cookies and share them with my neighbors and friends. I have forever made those fun to decorate frosted sugar cookies, but since I retired and followed the sun, I haven’t participated in a cookie making exchange. One of the goodies I missed the most were the pizzelles one of my girlfriends always loved to make at my house because at the time she didn’t have a gas stove. She still used the home-made cookie press her grandfather made and the family brought to the US from Italy. It even bore a family crest. She made both anise and chocolate varieties, one cookie at a time. Stacks and delicious stacks of them!

So, I purchased an electric press (I now have a glass top electric stove) that actually makes 2 cookies at a time. I made both chocolate and anise, some tipped in additional chocolate with chopped pistachio nuts (my hub’s favorites). They were a big hit with friends, the neighbors and my neighborhood watch group. So good, my husband whined that I was giving some away. Here is the link to the recipes I used.

For New Years’, I made French Madeleines. I dipped some in chocolate because my husband actually loves chocolate more than any female I’ve ever met. He’s a self-proclaimed chocoholic. Fine by me! You do need a special pan for this if you want the lovely shell design on one side, but you can find them easily.   Here’s the recipe I used.

Classic French Madeleines Recipe - Baker by Nature

For my husband’s birthday, which is today, actually, I made a chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting.  I wanted to make a Bundt cake for speed and flavor and couldn’t readily find my recipe, so went online to search. The one with best reviews called for a chocolate cake mix and a brownie mix. Really? A mix? scoffed this snobby bakery elitist! Did you know there are recipes for ‘homemade’ box cakes and brownies? Seriously: Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe | Food Network Kitchen | Food Network


I also made some Oreshki--Russian Walnut cookies for him to take to work in his lunchbox. This was no mean feat as I had quite a problem finding a walnut cookie press that actually makes ½ a walnut shaped shell cookie, which when stuffed with caramel or some other yummy ingredient is pressed together to make a ‘walnut’ shaped cookie. They are quite popular in Russian, Ukraine and Poland, but I had never had one or personally known anyone to make them. My friend from Czechoslovakia knew what they were but had never had or made them. If you have a gas stovetop, you can easily find an Oreshki press online, but it is much more difficult to find an electric press. Why? They have European plugs. I finally found one on Ebay, and they assured me it had a US plug. Actually, it came with an adapter attached, but it had been wired to adapt to the US outlets. It worked great and I even got one that made 24 nut shells (12 cookies) at once. Russian Walnut Cookies - Momsdish

I made a chocolate variety (I have established why) as well as the traditional sugar cookie type, and honestly think the original tasted best, but hubs liked them both (of course).  The electric press is not as deep as the manual ones for gas stovetop use, so the nuts are not as round an oval as an actual walnut. My husband said they would make great cookies for Easter as they look like eggs--which means he really likes them. He suggested that I could also dip them in . . . you guessed it, chocolate. LOL! Here are the recipes I used for the cookies. Just so you know, you can purchase the Le Leche already made rather than trying to cook unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk (the idea of which was very frightening to me, as I thought they might blow up!).

I don’t JUST bake, or course, and recently ran across a recipe for Machi so that I can use green tea ice cream (found that recipe too!) and make Japanese machi balls! LOVE them! I’ll probably make some in June if not before, as it’s the hottest month of the year here in the desert of AZ. Maybe I’ll share some of my favorite Asian recipes with you sometime!

So, what’s next? How about sending me some delicious cookie recipes from other countries? 

Who doesn’t love a cup of coffee or tea with a cookie while they read?

Sunday, January 16, 2022

3 of my Favorite Character Resources


It's the month of resolutions, and if yours is that you're going to finally get that novel written but your characters aren't quite popping off the page, then this is the post for you!

This isn't the basic list of getting to know you questions to ask your character (those are great too!). These are a little bit more off the beaten path and great to use after you've flushed out the major and minor chunks that will make up your fictional friend. 

The goal at the end of the day is to share that story floating around in your head, and the characters on the page are the vehicle to do just that. So, we might as well make those characters as visceral as we can. 

1) Writing a Good Gray Character:

Writing an all-the-way good or all-the-way bad character is pretty standard practice (and there's no shame in that game), but sometimes your story needs a character who is a bit more tricky to play both sides. Christopher does a really fabulous job of breaking down the basics of writing characters who dance the lines of morality, and he does so in an easy-to-understand way. 

2) Learning to Embarrass Your Character:

You've got the character motivation down, and you've flushed out the overall arc, but there's something that isn't quite working. You can see point B on the storyboard, but there's still a level of your character's inner workings that elude you. Try doing a quick writing session where you embarrass your main character. You might just learn something new!

3) The Lie Your Character Buys Into:

This one works really well if you're writing any kind of hero story but can definitely work in other types of stories as well. Either way, understanding what misconceptions your protagonist has about themselves or the world they live in can add a lovely dimension to your overall story because there is so much potential to challenge their misconceptions in meaningful ways all the way up to an ultimately super satisfying climax. 

As an editor and book coach, these are some of my all-time favorite resources to share with my clients whose characters need a little more zest. And, I'll give you the same advice I give them: take what you love and leave the rest because there are endless (good) craft sources. I hope you've found a thing or two to add to your character-building mix. 

Happy writing!

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Doing the Scary Stuff by Marilyn Barr

I have blogged about monsters who eat warriors, witches who eviscerate women, and Sluagh phantoms who abduct children. Today I'm blogging about the most scary thing I have ever encountered where naturally I said, "sign me up". I have created a crowd-funding initiative for my first self-published book series. What's so scary? The author puts themselves before the general public and asks for book pre-orders on their reputation and pitch alone. You may think this is easy if the author believes in the story you have written but I have found it is more like Atreyu's journey through the Oracle Gates in the NeverEnding Story. The farther I walk into the process, the louder the doubts in my head become. However, my word for 2022 is "expand" so stepping out of my comfort zone and doing the scary stuff is what I felt I needed to do.

What is KickStarter and crowd-funding for authors? 

KickStarter reminds me of the theater patrons in Regency romance novels. Artists offer part of the creative process (such as early access to their works) in exchange for funding. In the modern world, anyone can back the arts through KickStarter - not just the handsome rogues of the gentleman class.

For authors, KickStarter is a way to collect your pre-orders before the book goes live. The benefits are more than paying your professional editor and cover artist from prepaid royalties. I have had a blast designing reader rewards like bookmarks, journals, and bookset boxes. I'm excited to autograph a giant stack of paperbacks to send out on release day. There is a tier to join my release day Zoom party where I'll be giving away book merchandise from all my series and getting geeked out over the series. Best of all, backers will be listed in the book as part of me hearties (it's a pirate series so you know I had to go there). I may have gone a little overboard (heck-yeah, pun intended) when I added an option to name a crewmember or the villain in the book, but I love the idea of this series being about the fans as much as my world. Want to see the scariest thing I've ever done? Here's the Link.

What's Walk the Walk?

The Walk the Walk trilogy is a 1718, steamy, paranormal romance between Magda Dashkovari the vampiress and Branko the slave-turned-pirate.

(Read the first three chapters of Walk the Plank here )

The first book in the series is Walk the Plank where we meet our heroes, flee the mainland, and assemble the crew of Patricia’s Wish as they outwit Blackbeard’s deputies, the Governor of Carolina’s henchmen, and the scientists who want our heroine. Branko doesn’t believe Magda is a vampire until she shows him, she’s more Sea Hag than fragile damsel-in-distress. Being a democratic pirate, Branko respects the strong woman she proves herself to be and desires for a romantic partnership with her. Unfortunately, Magda is in no rush to tie herself to another man after her marriage resulted in her body being sold to science.

Walk the Deck is the second book where Magda grows into her own on the high seas while fighting naval battles, visiting deserted pirate havens, and exploring her hot and cold relationship with Branko. The Golden Age of piracy is ending and most of the privateers have accepted a letter of marque to settle down or swung from a Sheriff’s picture frame. Our crew must find their place in a world which has left them behind while searching for the elusive treasure ship, The Amelia.

The final book is Walk the Night where Magda’s vampiric immune system catches up with her. The crew’s recent visit to a plague-ridden Nassau has resulted in an infection to anyone who is not native to the region – including Magda. Branko enlists the help of a Hoodoo priestess but magic always comes with a price…and she’s asking for Leaf, the wildcrafter and ship’s cook, in exchange.

Where can you weigh anchor with Branko and Magda to collect your share of the Walk the Walk plunder? Here's the KickStarter Link for the prices of backer levels, the rewards, and more details on when we are weighing anchor.

Branko and Magda fight for survival in a whirlwind of action, witty banter, and flirty winks on the high seas. I wish I was so calm in rough waters. However, I'm embracing my inner pirate and setting out into the unknown to find my treasure chest or at least a story to tell me hearties on the decks. Will you join us to share in the plunder such as early cover reveals, discounted books, autographs, and exclusive book swag?

Monday, January 10, 2022

A Productive Rant About Setting Writer Goals by Keri Kruspe


Goals?! Why do I gotta set goals? I don’t wanna…(insert slobbering whine)

Ahem, I digress.

Why, as a writer, should I set goals? Working for myself, I know what I have to do. Write, market, write some more… wash/rinse/repeat.


Maybe. It depends on what you want from your writing career. Is it a career or a hobby? Is it something you want to do in your spare time, something to do when you’re bored? Or, (like me) are you looking to replace your secular job with your own business? Do you plan to replace your income with a steady inflow from your writing?

While goals were a big part of my previous secular life, I didn’t apply them to my personal writing career at first. During the various training sessions I worked through that first year, one thing kept repeating itself… make goals to achieve your dream to be a full-time writer.

I admit, I had a deep craving to take control of my writing life. I refused to be one of those people who went through life feeling like I never seriously tried to grab my dreams.

“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.” -Bear Bryant

Dare to Dream Big

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” -Les Brown

I’m all for trying different things to become a full-time author, even doing something I didn’t enjoy in my secular life such as making goals. Author and poet Bill Copeland states, “When you don’t set goals, you can spend your whole life running up and down and not achieve anything.”

That really resonated with me. Not only was I trying to learn how to write, but there was a lot to do once I finished the novel I’d worked so hard on. The word overwhelmed barely scratches the surface on how I felt. I kept losing track of what had to be done to launch a successful book. In my mind, I only had one chance to make a good first impression with my debut novel.

While having a dream is everything (you gotta know what you want), you can’t get there by wishing a beautiful fairy will come and sprinkle glittering dust to make it happen (Yeah… and that magical being had better look an awful lot like a bare-chested Jason Momoa). *Sigh* We all know that’s not going to happen.

A true goal is something you can measure. Something you can set into time-sensitive steps and check off when done.

Decide What You Want to Accomplish

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” -Lawrence J. Peter

Just like you, before I get in my car, I have someplace in mind where I want to go. I don’t expect the car to take off on its own without me steering the wheel with my foot on the gas (at least, not yet!). Even then, I’m not going to drive around aimlessly, I have a destination in place. Why should I expect my writing career to be any different?

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” -Zig Ziglar

It’s my responsibility to get the tools I need to keep track of what I’m doing as well as when I’ve got to get it done. If I feel things are out of control, I’ll be bombarded by anxiety, worry, and doubt. It’s important to keep focused on what matters most.  This will help to keep those negative emotions at bay. As I get close to achieving my goal, I can revel in what that would feel like once I do. Maybe reward myself with something fun and delicious….

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford.

Psst... It's Not Too Late

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

I’ve heard the age excuse a lot lately. Throw away those away! You know, like the one that you tell yourself you’re too old. Bull hockey! John Glenn was the oldest astronaut in space at the age of 77 in 1998. Well, until William Shatner did it last year at the age of 90. Dimitrion Yordandis was 98 when he finished a 26-mile marathon in 1976. In 2017, Irish racer Rosemary Smith became the oldest person to drive a Formula 1 car at age 79. 

As I enter the winter of my life, I plan on aggressively pursuing my dream of becoming a bestselling author (not picky – NY Times or USA Today) come hell or highwater. I have daily/weekly/monthly goals in place so I can achieve that within the next five years.

To keep track, here are some examples.

This first one is the pretty picture I make for the month – which I post on my corkboard in my home office so I can keep what I need to do at a glance:

  1. Send WIP to ELF (my editor)
  2. Complete 16 hours of marketing
  3. Complete "1st 10,000 readers" (an online training course)
  4. Create the outline for my next book

The one below is the way I keep a daily track. Here’s how I did in December. Forgive me for being a color-coding nerd. Can’t help myself.

Another side note for using this: it’s a great tool to keep for your records for IRS purposes. Undeniable proof you’ve taken your writing career seriously.

No Rant/Just Examples

“The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” -Michelangelo

Here are some examples a writer can use to create strong goals:

Weak: Write better. Strong: Take two creative writing classes by X date.

Weak: Make a name for myself. Strong: Shore up my author platform through weekly social media updates and blog posts.

Weak: Make a living as a writer.  Strong: Create a financial plan with specific income goals and ways to meet them.

Weak: Get published. Strong: Take online courses on how to become an indie publisher by X date.

After you’ve set your goals, it’s easy to set them aside and forget them. Don’t get lulled into that thinking! The key is for your goals to be a part of your daily/weekly/monthly habit. 

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” -Henry David Thoreau

Success belongs to all of us – so go out and make it happen!

Friday, January 7, 2022

No Resolutions! Checklists work for me! Post by Jessica E. Subject

It's January again, and that means many people are talking about the goals and resolutions they want to accomplish in 2022. I gave up on those years ago. I get easily disappointed with myself if I do not accomplish things by a certain date. And when I'm working on something creative, like writing my stories, that can be disastrous. Sure, I have stories I'd love to publish this year (see below), but I don't have any dates set, and I know that plans can change, and other ideas often invade my mind.

(notice the crossed fingers)

So, what do I do instead? I use checklists!!

I have daily, weekly, and monthly checklists, and started using them at the beginning of the pandemic to stay focused. The format has changed a bit since then to become what it is now. Some of the items on my checklists are personal, and others are work-related. But I get great joy from checking off the little boxes. So much so, it motivates me to get them done. 

Above is a screenshot of part of this month's daily, weekly, and monthly checklist. (The weekly and monthly ones are listed at the unseen bottom part.)

These are my more personal things to accomplish. I always want to get them done, but I never set a target. Simply working on them for any amount of time is enough for me. Some days I will work on them longer, and other days only for a few minutes. It depends on how much time I have that day, and whether I am able to focus for long periods of time. Under write, any work on my stories counts, whether it be planning, writing, editing, etc. Right now I am reviewing all three of my Kaddim Brothers stories and making sure my world bible is up-to-date. Reading can be anything, though I usually read webtoons, print books, and/or ebooks. Exercise is usually a class through my fitness studio. They're all online now, as we're in another shutdown, but I look forward to getting back to the studio, as the people there keep me accountable. And I'm trying to learn Korean. Have been at it for two years now. I know it's going to take a lot longer, but daily practice from multiple learning platforms definitely has helped me.

These are work-related tasks; things I have to or should accomplish each week. They are for other jobs, or for writing-related promo. I usually have set days of the week I accomplish these tasks, but I keep them off my daily checklist, as the day I accomplish them can sometimes vary.

These are tasks I do once a month, like this post on Paranormal Romantics, or my author newsletter. It's more a reminder for me to do them so I don't forget.

The key is, you need to find what works for you. Not everyone is the same, and it's important to recognize that.

So, what works for you? I'm always curious about others. Are you for goals and resolutions, or do smaller tasks work better for you? Do you need set dates and targets, or do you have a more fluid sense of accomplishment?

Until next month!