High Stakes Birthday Bash

On Saturday, my daughter went to a birthday party and, with her friends, she played a game where all the kids with straws and plates and cups, sucked M&Ms onto the straw and dropped them into the cup. And wow, the pressure. The speed, the competition. And my daughter, like me, has a decent sense of the competitive. She’s number 5 of 6, so there’s a lot to live up to. So much beat in her little world. That when the game ended with her as a front runner,  and the girl next to her said, “You have two on your plate.” She sorta lost it.

Yes, mine is the one who cried at the birthday party.

I smoothed things over with her, talked her out of the tension, and life went on. What she doesn’t know is she’ll always be the one who cried over a stupid game at that birthday party. Maybe a few parents completely understood…or maybe they didn’t and they were thinking, WTH kind of spoiled brat cried over a game?

But I think we all have these kind of moments where we have to put our worst behind us and move on. We can’t worry about what other people are thinking, what they thought, or how they’ll think in the future.

I’ve done this before–professionally and personally–lost my cool or cried over nothing, or something that I should have had the balls to handle. Other times, I just need to put it behind me, promise to do better, and keep going. Because we’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Anyone who says differently is lying or extremely conceited.

So, it’s a new year and a new day…

Go out and do something kind today. And good for you.

 

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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My Lists Have Lists

Resolutions as such, just don’t do it for me. It’s just another list. If your life is like mine, it’s already full of lists. Right now, I need a list to keep track of the lists, and no doubt there’s an app for that. And I have so many time saving apps I don’t have time to use half of them.

One of my many lists involves my writing goals for 2017. Yes, in spite of the fact that I often hear the whooshing sound of a self-imposed deadline as I see it in the rear-view mirror, I still have goals. And I still believe they are attainable. And no, this is not a good way to build a writing career, but it’s authentic.

For the past several months I’ve been working on simply being consistent. That sounds easy. If it were easy, we’d all be living our dreams without effort. Life is good at curve balls and often they can derail the best of intentions.

Right now, I’m dodging curve balls and showing up. And doing the work as best I can. Sometimes it’s not as much as I planned, but it’s something. So, I cut myself a little slack, and consider the progress. Rather than simply quit or lose focus because I didn’t reach that big goal yet, I’m concentrating on I what I have accomplished, not what I haven’t.

And you know what? I don’t feel so derailed. That’s been a big one for me. It eases the frustration immensely. It also really helps the motivation factor and keeps the writer’s block at bay. Instead of thinking, ‘I’ll never get this book written’ I’m changing my self-talk to ‘Look what I managed today. I’ll get this book written!’ I confess, I’m cautiously optimistic about what I may be able to accomplish this year.

Do you have any tricks to keep the motivation humming along?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in the hills of Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City, in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

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Goals for 2017

In the past, my January posts have generally been about how to accomplish as much as possible in the new year. I hate resolutions. In this post, in which I detailed how important it is to set a measurable goal, I said:

[Resolutions] tend to mask a lot of self-hate pretending to be good for you.

I’ll never not feel that way, I think. However, as I said previously, I do believe in commitments and measurable goals.

I have lots of writing goals for this year. I’m writing a 40k novella in January, a full-length from March-July, and finishing a partially complete full-length from August to November. I’ve learned over the last two years of increased productivity that I need December off. Not just because life is so busy, but because I need a break. I’ll be doing lots of editing over the coming year, as well. All those first drafts have to be shaped into something useful.

Personally, I have two main goals. One, I’m giving up my beloved sweet tea. I’m going to miss it–a lot. But, I’m going to replace it with water to make a healthier choice.

Second, I’m going to Dirty Dance. Yes, you read that right. I bought this DVD from Amazon and plan to use it every day, slowly increasing my exercise time over the months ahead, to rebuild the muscles that have stagnated over the last few years of my illness (I have fibromyalgia).

I’m excited to start getting healthier and I believe if I apply the methods I’ve used to increase my writing productivity, I’ll have a lot of success.

Tell me all about your New Year commitments. You can even use that horrible “R” word (resolution).

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Sassy humor for the heart, captivating contemporary romance for the soul.

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Top FIVE Reads of 2016

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

Are you on Goodreads? I love it because it categorizes all my books, what I’ve read and what I plan to read. For someone who functions on organization, it’s a must. And it also helps me set up reading goals for 2017–which is 45 books, by the way. 🙂

As I was setting up my reading plan for the new year, it made me take a look back at what I read throughout 2016.  There were so many great books!

It was hard to narrow down–a few romances, a few “chick-lit”, and a non fiction–but I’d like to share my

TOP FIVE READS OF 2016:

  1. ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes  (Actually, my FAVORITE read of all)
  2. TO THE MOON AND BACK by Jill Mansell
  3. THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne
  4. NIGHT by Elie Wiesel
  5. IF YOU ONLY KNEW by Kristan Higgins

Looking forward to more great books in 2017!

What was your favorite book (or books) you read last year? Have you read any of the ones I listed?

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her upcoming sweet romance: WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH releasing December 5, 2016.

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2017 Goals by Julie Jarnagin

The Passionate Critters have been in planning mode this week. Everyone has been sharing their goals and dreaming about the year to come. It has been fun to see the similarities and differences in how we’re planning for 2017, but we all have the same hope – to have a healthier, happier, more productive new year.

Here’s a few tips I’ve collected from seeing the goals of our group:

  1. Decide how to break it down: Some people have set monthly or quarterly goals. Especially as writers, it’s hard to plan for November and December now. So many of us have set early goals that we’ll look at again later in the year.
  2. Balance: Most of the goals have a balance of personal and professional goals. We all included writing goals (because we’re a writing group), but many of us also set family and health goals too.
  3. Realistic but big: We all have big dreams, but we also try to keep our feet on the ground. Several of us have day jobs, young kids, and other big responsibilities outside of writing.
  4. Keep it simple: My plans consisted of only a few bullet points because too many goals tend to bog me down. I want to keep the most important things top of mind.
  5.  Having friends to encourage you is key: We’re lucky to have a group of encouraging ladies to cheer us on. Share your goals in the comments, and we’ll cheer you on too.

Do you have reading goals for the year? My goal is to read 100 books in 2017. Join my in the Goodreads reading challenge. https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/5493

My Latest:

Engaged by Friday

From a USA Today bestselling author Book 4 in the Matched Online series

Can a fake engagement lead to lasting love?
After her boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Mary Beth wants nothing to do with her ten-year high school reunion. Especially because if she shows up without a date, she’ll lose a bet with her high school nemesis. Christian is too busy with his camping equipment startup to date—until his sister sets him up online. The chance connection could help his business—if he agrees to Mary Beth’s dramatic request that he pretend to be her fiancé. But when make-believe becomes something more, they must decide if this new love can last…

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About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

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Seasons Greetings to All!!

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About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job.

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  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.