January 2018 Goals

My writing and personal goals for the month of January!
Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

It’s been a while since I sat down to set formal goals for the month. I used to be really diligent about it. For the past year or so, I’ve had a general idea of what I wanted to accomplish, but didn’t keep track. I’ve decided to come back to that practice, starting now.

Writing down my goals keeps me focused. It also keeps me from piling too much on my plate, because I can look at what I’m currently working on and ask myself if I really have the room for it. I’ve gotten really good at saying no, but I’d like to keep that momentum going.

Considering my goals for 2018, this month I’d like to…

  • Buy an insurance plan. It looks like I’m going to be able to afford my university’s student plan, which covers me through August. I have angels in heaven and here on Earth, because originally this was going to be a long shot. Once I’m enrolled, I can see my rheumatologist about adjusting my treatment plan, I can have urology tests to see if I have interstitial cystitis, and I can finish my dental crown. Oh, and I can also afford my medication. One step at a time, though.
  • Publish A Disturbing Prospect. I’m not gonna lie—I’m nervous about this release. Every launch gets me anxiously excited, but A Disturbing Prospect is a lot darker than my previous books. I mean, it has a freakin’ trigger warning list. I wrote this book for revenge, though, for the real-life Lucys who never received justice. Also, I have a much lighter book releasing soon, probably in the spring, so that should balance things out.
  • Start writing something new. I can’t decide whether I want to re-write the sequel to A Disturbing Prospect, or write my second chances f/f book shop romance (which has a title but I’m not telling yet). I think I’ll decide by outlining both. I got an Amazon gift card for Christmas and used it to buy Romancing the Beat, which should help with that.
  • Survive Mod 3. The new semester starts January 8th. Because I’m in an accelerated online program, semesters are broken into two eight-week modules. This mod, I’m taking accounting and macroeconomics. Then I’m diving into business law and—dun dun DUN—algebra. Scary shit. So my goal is to not drop out this semester. 😂 You might think I’m kidding, but all four of these classes intimidate me (though I’m excited about business law). I’m also a perfectionist who doesn’t want to do anything unless I’m really good at it. I am a complicated creature.

That should do it.

What are your goals for January? Let me know in the comments!

“Run Run Blood”

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

Hey wolf, just see there’s no fear
Just see it’s no fair, there are lions in here

The first time I heard Phantogram was “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” on the radio. I went straight home and looked up the song. That’s when I found “Run Run Blood.”

I fell in love with its hypnotic melody and distorted sound, but the lyrics were really what sold me.

It’s bigger than life
It’s bigger than love
It’s bigger than us
Bigger than all

To me, it sounded like Olivia trying to convince Cliff. Like she’s saying, “Hey, you think you’re so dangerous? Come and play with me.”

Check out the full playlist for A Disturbing Prospect (January 29th) below!

 


Lyrics via AZLyrics

Sharing Is Caring

Photo by Kaci Baum on Unsplash

The closer we get to Lewisburg, the more keyed up I feel. Lucy had the driver stop at a Starbucks, so I feel slightly more human now. Curiosity is what’s really fueling me. Using a compact mirror, I touch up the makeup that was smudged by our harrowing overnight train ride and smooth my hair. Lucy raises an eyebrow at me but says nothing, and the driver lets us pick songs from his iPod. Not a bad deal, considering he made me waste my cigarette.

And then suddenly we’re in Lewisburg, and the Escalade pulls up in front of the entrance to a Days Inn. A man paces out front, his hands shoved into the pockets of his coat. Long brown hair that’s nearly black frames his face, and he’s got a beard, so I can’t really make out his features. But he’s big.

Not in a heavy way. He’s tall and broad. Even with that bulky hand-me-down coat, I can tell he’s built. It’s like I’m psychic and imagined him into being. Biting my lip, I stifle a giggle. For all I know, he’s really ugly and has a beer gut.

It really has been too long since I’ve gotten laid.

Lucy pays the Uber guy, we grab our luggage, and then the three of us are standing in front of the motel.

“They kicked you out?” she asks him.

He looks up, and depthless brown eyes meet hers. Despite the massive amounts of fur on his face, he’s handsome.

Hot, even.

There’s a scar next to his eyebrow that’s more like a pocked hole. It looks like someone bludgeoned him with a big rock. They probably did. But the rest of his face is intact—no teardrop tattoos or anything like that. His eyes are surprisingly soft and kind. When he smiles at Lucy, it lights up his whole face.

I decide he definitely went to jail for selling drugs, and wonder how long before he’s connected again. I could use some bud.

“Checkout was eleven,” he says with a shrug. He peers at her, almost timidly. “You look good, kid.”

Kid? I blink. Squinting, I examine him more closely. I note the lines at the corner’s of his eyes and the dark circles underneath them. He’s got to be in his early thirties, maybe older. I pluck my pack of cigarettes from my pocket and light one, exhaling smoke into the air.

“Olivia,” Lucy says, exasperated. She gestures toward the motel entrance, as if someone is going to walk out into my cloud of smoke any second. The parking lot is practically empty, the place desolate.

“Yeah, Olivia,” Cliff says, eyebrows lifted. “Sharing is caring.” He holds his hand out for one.

A grin spreads across my face. Resisting the urge to stick my tongue out at my sister, I hand him the pack and my lighter.

He lights up, and his entire face relaxes as if I just took his cock into my mouth instead of sharing a cigarette. Putting my own cigarette between my lips, I stuff down the giggle that is bubbling up. I really am sleep deprived.

“Been a while?” I ask when I get myself under control. Even that statement is dangerously close to twelve-year-old humor. I take another drag.

Cliff nods and smokes thoughtfully for a minute. His eyes never leave mine. They’re a deep brown, but so warm—like redwood. “It’s been twenty years since I had a cigarette that wasn’t stale. But that’s not all I’ve been missing.” He grins, a devilish smirk that shoots straight to my lower abdomen. The implication behind his words might be in my head.

Lucy clears her throat loudly. “Clifford, this is Olivia, my little sister.”

The color drains from his face and he chokes on his cigarette. “Sister?” he sputters.

I snort. “Relax,” I tell him with a wink. “I’m adopted.”


A Disturbing Prospect releases January 29th. Sign up to be notified as soon as it’s available—click here!

Second Chance Divorce Romance is Done

I finished my second chance divorce romance work in progress! More details coming soon.
Photo by Zoriana Stakhniv on Unsplash

The work in progress that I’ve codenamed “second chance divorce romance” is officially done! I just typed “the end” a few minutes ago. I’ve written a lot of books at this point, but this feeling never gets old. It’s even better when you hit publish, but there’s still something special about finishing a first draft.

The book clocks in at 56,405 words. I didn’t realize the last line was the last line until I typed it. Then I realized it was perfect. No need to pad my word count for the sake of reaching a silly goal. Done is done.

I can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year. This one doesn’t count toward my goal of writing four novels this year, but now I can move forward with my production schedule. By the way, it took me four months to write this baby.

I’ll be announcing the title and release date soon.

5 Things You Need to Know About Donny

Meet Donny, the Enforcer in my upcoming vigilante bikers romance, A DISTURBING PROSPECT! Here's who I'd cast for him in my dream movie, plus some fun facts. A DISTURBING PROSPECT available January 29th.
via Pinterest

Donny Jackson is the Enforcer and handles business for the River Reapers. Tall and muscular, Donny might seem dangerous at first glance, but he’s really a teddy bear. Here are five things you should know about Donny!

  1. In my dream movie adaptation, Donny would be played by Morris Chestnut.
  2. Donny is one of the few characters who doesn’t have any tattoos.
  3. He doesn’t get close to many people, but he’s very protective of the ones he cares about.
  4. Donny is 47 years old.
  5. His idea of a perfect vacation is exploring the nooks and crannies of Europe.

Donny is one of the characters in A Disturbing Prospect, my vigilante bikers romance, out January 29th. Get notified as soon as it’s available—join my email list!

My Goals for 2018

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

I’ve been in a fog lately.

There it is. I’m admitting it.

Honestly, from the second I found out Mike and I are losing our health insurance, I’ve been upside down. Even though we’ve mostly got it figured out now, I still can’t right myself. Between the flare I’m in, stress, and self-doubt, I’m having a hard time caring about setting goals for the new year.

Which is precisely why I need to get my ass into gear and get something down on paper, so if nothing else, I’m still moving forward.

The best thing about goals is things change; nothing is ever set in stone, whether life happens or you simply change your mind. I need to remember that, rather than getting caught up in the mindset that I have to stick to my goals or die. Now, don’t get me wrong. You want to set goals and try to stick to them. But it’s not the end of the world if things don’t work out. I’m breathing proof of that. Pretty much nothing goes my way, yet I’m still living my lifetime goal: be an author.

Setting goals is more like drawing a map for yourself. You’re going to get where you need to be, but you need some kind of route to follow. If you happen to make pit stops or find shortcuts, it’s okay to change your plans.

In 2018, I want to…

Write four novels. I have a loose idea of what I’m writing. I’d like to write at least two more books starring Cliff and Olivia, depending on how A Disturbing Prospect sells. Most of my beta readers loved it and are begging me for more, so I think it’ll do well in the market.

I also have an idea percolating for another f/f romance. I don’t know whether it’s a standalone or maybe a series of novellas, but these characters have been bugging me for a year now. I also sort of mentioned them in the second chance divorce romance I’m almost done writing, so I think it has to happen.

Novellas would work really well for me, considering I’m in school full-time. We’ll see; first I want to finish up my WIP and release A Disturbing Prospect.

Finish my first year of my Bachelor’s degree. My first semester went really well, but I’m nervous for the spring semester. I’m taking more intimidating courses (including algebra, send help). I need to remember the big picture: I’m getting a marketing degree so that I can better write and sell my books, not so that I can get straight “A”s and sit on the Dean’s List every semester. I’m a perfectionist but need to remember that progress is what’s most important here. As a friend reminds me when I start to obsess, “C”s get degrees!

More than likely, I’ll pass that algebra class with a C, haha.

Find a better treatment plan for my UCTD. I’ve been on Plaquenil for over a year now and, though it’s been a game changer, it’s not a magic bullet. My rheumatologist wants to try some other medications; I can’t start until I have permanent insurance, though, because they require lots of lab tests and monitoring that would otherwise be expensive. Right now I’m back on Prednisone (which makes me hungry and packs on the pounds), brand-name Plaquenil twice a day (the generic was giving me diarrhea and heartburn like whoa), Advil liquid gels, and Tramadol (which makes me constipated). My pain level has been at a seven or eight; today it’s at a tolerable five, six.

My goal for 2017 was to get down to a four, and I did for a little while. A lot of people with UCTD/Lupus say that Plaquenil can stop working after a while or isn’t totally effective. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get back to that four. At that level, I can function. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to fight that level of pain, so I have battery life for other things: writing, family, etc.

Now that I’ve seen what it’s like to live with less pain—now that I know I can have my life back—I want it more than anything else. Before, it was just a dream.

In previous years, I’ve set all kinds of goals, but I think these three are just what I need right now.

What are your goals for 2018? Tell me in the comments, and have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration!

Why I Didn’t Really Fail at My 2017 Goals

Let’s be real. 2017 was kind of a shit show and it’s a damn miracle I accomplished anything. Between my autoimmune disease and treatment, financial problems, and concerns about my country, I spent a lot of this year upside down. I also decided to go back to school this fall, really sending myself for a spin. It wasn’t a bad year, per se, but it was tumultuous. I grew or whatever.

I also accomplished a lot of things, but let’s start with what I wanted to do in 2017 but didn’t.

I did not get curtains for any of my windows. Turns out, attic apartments have oddly sized windows, and finding curtains with weird measurements is damn near impossible unless you want to drop a lot of money. Since I’d rather have food and electricity, I let the curtains go. I still dream about them, though.

via GIPHY

I didn’t get any tattoos, either. I still really want them, but pesky things like bills got in the way.

via GIPHY

Nor did I pay off all debt and past due bills. However, we put a lot of effort into catching up—and we’ve been staying on top of most of them. I still have panic attacks in the middle of the night, but less so now.

via GIPHY

I also didn’t finish my open series—at least not in the way I thought I would. I realized I’d been “should”ing on myself, and decided to let go of the unrealistic expectations I was holding myself to.

It felt really good.

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Mike and I haven’t been going on one date every month, either. Financially, it just isn’t possible. However, we take advantage of every opportunity to spend time together: doctor appointments, errands, Netflix nights… We also usually eat dinner together every night. No matter how tired we are, though, we almost always sleep together*.

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I didn’t host a family dinner—at least, not literally. This Thanksgiving, both sides of our family had dinner together. Mike also worked out a deal at work and was able to have dinner with us for the first time in years. Even though our families don’t often spend time together, it went really well.

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Finally, I didn’t finish the writing through trauma memoir. It’s still hard for me to talk about certain things, and I realized I’d rather just pour my feelings into fiction. Maybe someday that’ll change. I’m okay with it if it doesn’t, though.

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However, I did accomplish some brag-worthy things:

When I really break it down, it wasn’t a bad year at all.


*Except for when he goes away for conventions. Then I stay awake half the night feeling his absence.