The New Year Brings a New Chapter

CindyCarrollEIt’s a new year so you’re going to be bombarded by posts this month on goals and resolutions. And yep, that’s what I’m going to be talking about for this post too. It helps to get your goals down, put them out there in the universe. Speaking them aloud makes them more real somehow. You’re accountable to whoever might remember and ask later on – “Hey, did you do that thing you said you were going to do?”

Copyright Flynt - purchased from Bigstock
Copyright Flynt – purchased from Bigstock

Some of the posts on the blog this month haven’t talked about goals but a few have. Mike has two goals that are very doable. I liked Kathy’s post about having a word for the year. In the comments section of Kathy’s post I decided that my word for this year would be positivity. It’s easy to be negative when bad things are going on but being positive can help the bad to not seem so bad. I’ve cut negative people out of my life because they suck the soul out of you. I don’t want to be one of those negative people. The sucktastic year that was 2015 is gone. It’s time to move forward.

There will be setbacks. There always are. It’s how you deal with the setbacks that make the difference. I wallowed last year. I let the bad things get to me more than they usually do. I’ve had bad years before but for some reason last year just broke me. I need to remember that I have family and friends I can talk to that will help me get through the bad stuff. And others are going through worse stuff than I was.

So for this year I’m being positive. I have attainable goals if I work hard to accomplish them. I can be the writer I’ve always wanted to be if I put my mind to it. Last year I was muddled, all over the place. I wanted to write stories that spoke to me but I wanted to make money too. I wrote short sexy stories that sold well (before I jumped on the bandwagon) thinking I would be all set. But even though the writing was good, the rules changed when Amazon brought out Kindle Unlimited 1.0 and then Kindle Unlimited 2.0. I was just starting to get traction on the stories with KU 1.0 when they decided to pay writers per page read for their work in Select. Something had to change.

That’s when I decided to start ghostwriting. I needed the money faster than Amazon would pay me, and it would be more in a month than I had ever earned for any of my writing. But I still want to tell my own stories. I decided to follow the advice of a wise man on one of the boards I read who said to focus on one pen name. Face palm. It seemed so simple. Last year I wrote under five pen names, none of them my real name. I split my focus so they all suffered. By trying to get works out under all my pen names there was too much time in between releases.

This year I’m focusing on me. My brand, my name, my stories. I’ll still allocate some words a month to ghostwriting but the rest will be for me. I will finally finish my trilogy. I will get the first book in my urban fantasy series finished and write book two (maybe even book three). I will focus on building my mailing list, connecting with my readers. To that end I am blogging again on my personal blog. Once a week to start to see how I manage that. Then I’ll do more if I can fit it in. I have lots of ideas to attract readers but I need the books done and available to implement them. And to do that I need to focus. I’ve been known to flit from one thing to another but this year to accomplish my goals I will focus on releasing books I’m proud of.

What will your focus be this year?

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ReflectionsFinal2A road trip without a plan sounded like a good idea when Lena and her friends hit the road. After hours of driving in the heat in a cramped car they’re all ready for something to eat and a good night’s rest.

Reflections Inn looks perfect for the group of friends. A little run down, it hides a supernatural horror. A curse that replaces people with their repressed alter egos forces the friends to fight for their lives. Duplicates who lack restraint, crave gratification emerge from the mirrors. Too late they realize they didn’t know each other as well as they thought.

One by one, Lena’s friends learn the truth about their repressed emotions, their suppressed violent urges.

What doesn’t kill them can only make them stronger.

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Steph_2 copy (2)


By Stephanie Stamm


In preparation for the new year and in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve been thinking a lot about balance.

Webster’s defines “balance” as

  • the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall;
  • the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling;
  • a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance.

All of those definitions fit together, don’t they? When we are out of balance, we feel like we might fall; when our lives are out of balance, they (or we) feel like we might fall apart.

As I’ve thought about this post, I’ve pictured images of a seesaw…


or a scale.


We have so many things to balance in our lives. Work and play, sleeping and waking, family and friends, and for many of us writers, day job and writing. In fact, the seesaw and balance seem a little too limited with only two ends. We might better think about juggling multiple items…

person juggling

or apportioning the pieces of a pie chart.

Balance Pie Chart

It’s very easy for certain aspects of our lives to get out of balance. Maybe we work too much. Maybe we don’t spend enough time with our family. Maybe we don’t work on our writing enough. Maybe we neglect to exercise. We can convince ourselves that we’ll find that balance later, when things settle down, when we have more time, or fewer balls to juggle.

But I’ve been thinking about how we get this one gift of a life—and I’m finding that waiting until later to find balance doesn’t seem like such a good idea. Life isn’t happening later. Life is happening now. Now seems like a good time to get those pieces in order.

So, that’s one of my goals for the new year. To find a sense of balance in all the pieces-parts of life that I want to fit together. I’m tired of tipping from one end of the seesaw to the other. I don’t want to weigh my life in the balance and find important pieces wanting.

Are there particular things you want to balance in the new year? What, if any, resolutions have you made?


Seesaw 1902:  By Chicago Daily News [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Apothecary’s Balance: [CC BY 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


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I am the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy series, The Light-Bringer:




I have also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes:

Undead of Winter Front Only Into the Storm Cover


2015 Writing Resolution Resource by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_12014 has been a year of ups and downs but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Still, there is much to be grateful for. My family and I are healthy, the house is almost back together and it’s better than before. My freelance writing career is going strong, despite a few bumps along the way. I have a book contract for the next two Cabel Evans mysteries. And I have great friends. There are the ones I see on a regular basis, others I haven’t seen in years but love keeping in touch with on Facebook, and ones I’ve “met” through this blog and other on-line activities. So, overall, 2014 was not a bad year.

As January 1st approaches, there is the excitement of the New Year along with the requisite resolutions. I have several NewYearperennial ones such as lose weight (have had some success this year) and keep the house clean (ha). As an author, I always have many writing goals. Last year’s got side tracked with the house disaster and kick-off of the freelance writing career but that’s the past. This year I have several goals including finishing my work in progress and finding a home for a short story I wrote.

Since many of you who read this blog are also authors, I thought I would share with you a tool that I have used with great success and which you might find useful in fulfilling your own writing goals in 2015. Jamie Raintree is an author whom I met on-line, I think through the Sisters in Crime mystery writers group. In addition to being a wonderful author of both books and blogs, Jamie has created an amazing spread sheet sinclogomediumredsystem to keep track of your goals and progress with your various writing projects.

Broken down by month, you can track your word count for up to eight projects. There are goals, graphs, progress reports, year-to-date totals, and more. You can learn more about her spread sheet and down load a copy to use at: You might also consider following her blog, which I enjoy.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that each of you finds health and fulfillment in 2015.

You can learn more about me at:

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