Monday, January 31, 2011

More Thoughts on Resistance

I'm making my way—slowly—through The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

It's actually a very quick read if all you want to do is finish it and mark it off your list. But I suggest you get yourself a copy of this book, read a page or two, and let some of the things he has to say sink in.

The relevance of his words are not just for writers, or 'artists', but for anyone who has a dream.

Here he's talking about Resistance:

The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point, Resistance knows we're about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it's got.

When I near the actual end of a writing project, especially one I've spent months on, I can feel the battle. There's an undercurrent that pulls at my excitement and questions my sureness of the ending. One that feeds my doubts by telling me that once the last page is finished, no one will like it. Once I've completed the manuscript, there's no more keeping it to myself, and no more pretending I'm a writer.

Resistance by definition is self-sabotage. But there's a parallel peril that must also be guarded against: sabotage by others. . . . They may become moody or sullen, they may get sick; they may accuse the writer of 'changing,' of 'not being the person she was.'"

I remember years ago when I joined Weight Watchers to lose some weight, the meeting leader told us we might find some of our friends would become unhappy with us. Especially those friends who we used to eat with on a regular basis. I thought she didn't know my friends. Turns out, she was right. As Pressfield goes on to say,

The reason is that they are struggling, consciously or unconsciously, against their own Resistance.

Have you experienced either of these in your life, writing or otherwise?

CR: Everything but the Squeal by Timothy Hallinan.

It's all better with friends.

Friday, January 28, 2011

OT: Love Reflection

I am not an American Idol fan. But after looking at this clip, I might have to at least peek in from time to time to see how Chris Medina is doing and give him a thumbs up.

I've also considered how many people truly operate out of love. Faced with enormous challenges and life-disruptions, how many times does love win? And I thought about how many of those people (where love does win) we never see on television. People who just move quietly through their days being honorable, and fully knowing what it means to love.

Grab a tissue. Appreciate what you have.

CR: Everything but the Squeal by Timothy Hallinan. I was going to read something else, The Help, which has been in my TBR pile for ages. But I've learned something. If I have an unread Hallinan, nothing else will do.

It's all better with friends.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Wisdom of Ralph

"The way to write is to throw your body at the mark when your arrows are spent."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes, when you're all-in, with no more chips in front of you, amazing things happen. When your brain is sufficiently enough on auto-pilot your fingers fly along of their own accord, connected somehow to that place where you stopped trying. Just beyond the place where your ego fell to the ground, dried out and useless.

I love that place.

Anyone else?

CR: I'm on the very last bit of The Four Last Things by Timothy Hallinan, Edgar nominee for the amazing The Queen of Patpong. If you want to see what I thought of this book, read here.

It's all better with friends.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Action Scenes

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers sponsored a presentation last Saturday by Ian Thomas Healy.

There are a lot of elements to writing a compelling action scene, but here are a couple to consider:

Building Blocks of an Action Scene

An action scene is a series of stunts. When you're writing, consider each stunt as a single camera shot.

The engagement in an action scene is when multiple stunts take the reader to a plot point.

And finally, the sequence occurs when multiple engagements lead to a major conflict resolution.

A sequence has more than one type of action scene. (fight, shoot out, chase, battle)

And finally, remember learning that short sentences increase the tension and speed in an action scene? If you're like me, you've read some action scenes that read like a To Do List. Short and choppy. Yuck. Glad they weren't mine. *wink* I was glad to hear some corroboration of something I've felt for some time.

Readers will read a longer compound sentence faster than they will read a short sentence. That pesky little period at the end does what it's supposed to do—it stops them. So . . . when you're looking for speed, write longer, compound sentences. When you want to make sure your reader gets a particular detail, write short. A blend is always best, in my opinion.

For the full presentation, with detail, visit Ian's website (different from the blog linked above).

CR: The Four Last Things by Timothy Hallinan.

It's all better with friends.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Left Coast Crime

I'm very excited to be attending Left Coast Crime this year. If any of you will be there, please look for me. I've learned that this process of getting published is a fun (but sometimes frustrating) process of connections and dedication.

And here's a list of the Left Coast Crime 2011 Award Nominations:

Four awards will be given at Left Coast Crime's 22nd annual convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The winners will be selected by ballot at the convention. We are delighted to announce the nominees for books published in 2010:

The Lefty has been awarded for the best humorous mystery novel since 1996. This year's nominees, in alphabetical order, are:

Donna Andrews, Stork Raving Mad (Minotaur Books)
Laura DiSilverio, Swift Justice (Minotaur Books/Thomas Dunne Books)
Donna Moore, Old Dogs (Busted Flush Press)
Kris Neri, Revenge for Old Times' Sake (Cherokee McGhee)
J. Michael Orenduff, The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein (Oak Tree Press)

The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award, first awarded in 2004, is given for mystery novels covering events before 1950. This year's nominees are:

Rebecca Cantrell, A Night of Long Knives (Forge Books)
Robert Kresge, Murder for Greenhorns (ABQ Press)
Kelli Stanley, City of Dragons (Minotaur Books)
Jeri Westerson, The Demon's Parchment (Minotaur Books)
Jacqueline Winspear, The Mapping of Love and Death (HarperCollins)

The Hillerman Sky Award is a special award given this year, in honor of the convention's New Mexico location, to the mystery that best captures the landscape of the Southwest:

Sandy Ault, Wild Penance (Berkley Hardcover)
Christine Barber, The Bone Fire (Minotaur Books)
Margaret Coel, The Spider's Web (Berkley Hardcover)
Deborah J Ledford, Snare (Second Wind Publishing)

The Watson is another special award given this year to the mystery novel with the best sidekick. The nominees are:

Sandy Ault, Wild Penance (Berkley Hardcover)
Rachel Brady, Dead Lift (Poisoned Pen Press)
Chris Grabenstein, Rolling Thunder (Pegasus)
Craig Johnson, Junkyard Dogs (Viking)
Spencer Quinn, To Fetch a Thief (Atria)

If you're coming to the convention where we will vote on the award winners, now you've got your reading list!

Lucinda Surber & Stan Ulrich, LCC 2011 Awards Committee Co-Chairs
Pari Noskin Taichert, LCC 2011 Chair

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Complete List of the Edgar Award Nominees

Mystery Writers of America announced (on the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe), its Nominees for the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2010. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at their 65th Gala Banquet, April 28, 2011 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

The EDGAR (and logo) are Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by the Mystery Writers of America, Inc.


Caught by Harlan Coben (Penguin Group USA - Dutton)

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (HarperCollins – William Morrow)

Faithful Place by Tana French (Penguin Group USA - Viking)

The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan (HarperCollins – William Morrow)

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books)

I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman (HarperCollins – William Morrow)


Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva (Tom Doherty Associates – Forge Books)

The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron (Minotaur Books)

The Serialist: A Novel by David Gordon (Simon & Schuster)

Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)

Snow Angels by James Thompson (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)


Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard (Random House - Bantam)

The News Where You Are by Catherine O’Flynn (Henry Holt)

Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski (Minotaur Books)

Vienna Secrets by Frank Tallis (Random House Trade Paperbacks)

Ten Little Herrings by L.C. Tyler (Felony & Mayhem Press)


Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime and Complicity
by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry (University of Nebraska Press – Bison Original)

The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in Jim Crow South
by Alex Heard (HarperCollins)

Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery
by Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)

Hellhound on his Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr and the International Hunt for his
Assassin by Hampton Sides (Random House - Doubleday)

The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science
by Douglas Starr (Alfred A. Knopf)


The Wire: Truth Be Told by Rafael Alvarez (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press)

Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making
by John Curran (HarperCollins)

Sherlock Holmes for Dummies by Steven Doyle and David A. Crowder (Wiley)

Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendevouz with American
History by Yunte Huang (W.W. Norton)

Thrillers: 100 Must Reads edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner (Oceanview Publishing)


"The Scent of Lilacs" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines)

"The Plot" – First Thrills by Jeffery Deaver (Tom Doherty – Forge Books)

"A Good Safe Place” – Thin Ice by Judith Green (Level Best Books)

"Monsieur Alice is Absent" – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
by Stephen Ross (Dell Magazines)

"The Creative Writing Murders" – Dark End of the Street by Edmund White (Bloomsbury)


Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon (Candlewick Press)

The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy by Dori Hillestad Butler (Albert Whitman & Co.)

The Haunting of Charles Dickens by Lewis Buzbee (Feiwel & Friends)

Griff Carver: Hallway Patrol by Jiim Krieg (Penguin Young Readers Group - Razorbill)

The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman by Ben H. Winters (HarperCollins Children’s Books)


The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf)

7 Souls by Barnabas Miller and Jordan Orlando (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)

The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price
(Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers)

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston (Penguin Young Readers Group - Razorbill)


The Psychic by Sam Bobrick (Falcon Theatre – Burbank, CA)

The Tangled Skirt by Steve Braunstein (New Jersey Repertory Company)

The Fall of the House by Robert Ford (Alabama Shakespeare Festival)


“Episode 1” - Luther, Teleplay by Neil Cross (BBC America)

“Episode 4” – Luther, Teleplay by Neil Cross (BBC America)

“Full Measure” – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by Vince Gilligan (AMC/Sony)

“No Mas” – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by Vince Gilligan (AMC/Sony)

“The Next One’s Gonna Go In Your Throat” – Damages, Teleplay by Todd A. Kessler,
Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman (FX Networks)


"Skyler Hobbs and the Rabbit Man" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
by Evan Lewis (Dell Magazines)


Sara Paretsky


Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, Forest Park, Illinois

Once Upon A Crime Bookstore, Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 27, 2010)

Wild Penance by Sandi Ault (Penguin Group – Berkley Prime Crime)

Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)

Down River by Karen Harper (MIRA Books)

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Live to Tell by Wendy Corsi Staub (HarperCollins - Avon)

Congratulations to all of the authors and the people who helped get them on this list. I'm honored to have 'met' many of them them through their books. And by golly, I've stayed at the Grand Hyatt

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Timothy Hallinan Got 'er Done.

Tim Hallinan snuck up on me.

And now, after all of his sneakiness, he's been nominated for an Edgar! For those of you who don't know, being nominated for an Edgar is, to writers of mystery and suspense, the equivalent of being nominated for an Oscar. The biggest difference is that there is no best and worst dressed competition. That's probably because it's not televised.

He's written a few little stories. This last bunch, surrounding a fellow named Poke Rafferty (yeah, totally believable name—*smirk*) takes place in Bangkok. So far, no connection. Am I right?

I'd read a story by another author set in someplace hot and Asian, and well . . . it didn't exactly ignite my jets. So even though I heard a lot of nice chatter on Dorothy L and For Mystery Addicts (both Yahoo groups), I just shook my head. We all have different tastes in our reading. And this Tim Hallinan person was apparently an author who catered to those who had different tastes than mine.

There was a temporary flurry, when for some reason Tim's first novel in the Poke Rafferty series was being offered as a free download on Kindle. So, based on the chatter I'd heard—and the word FREE—I went ahead and downloaded A Nail Through the Heart. When Tim learned I'd done this (probably through one of the Yahoo loops), he told me not to be put off from the rest of the series because Nail was kind of dark, and the rest not so much.

So I stalled. And stalled some more. I don't know what I'd been reading, or what was happening in my personal life, but 'dark' sounded dreadful.

One day, without another compelling read, I thought I might as well give A Nail Through the Heart a shot. Within pages (or locations, if you read on Kindle), I'd fallen in love. I hadn't seen a mystery yet, but the setting and characters had drawn me in. Tight. Close. Personal. Connected.

Tim's nomination is for the fourth book in the Poke Rafferty series. It's called The Queen of Patpong. Beyond a doubt, one of the finest books I've read in years.

But start at the beginning. Give Poke and the people who accompany him through this life your attention. They deserve it. Start your journey with A Nail Through the Heart.

And, oh yeah. Celebrate what might be the boot of up the economic ladder of one of those fabulous authors of the last couple of decades.

And by the way, I'm CR: The Four Last Things by Timothy Hallinan on my Kindle. This is from an earlier series of his. Coincidence? Yes. But then, I have a lot of catching up to do.

It's all better with friends.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What is That Smell?

Egad. Did I think this junk was good? Yeah, I thought it was better than good. When I wrote it, it seemed terrific. I even read it through a couple of times and made some tiny changes.

Today, I realized I needed to stop for a moment and read through the whole thing as it stands, do some light editing and make sure my timeline made sense. So I printed out what I had and began to review. The first three chapters weren't bad. But chapter four?

It's like I wrote it with a smelly sock over my face.

I've decided the best thing I can do for myself and my work is to let it rest tonight. I'll pick it up tomorrow when I'm fresh.

Maybe I'll be easier to get along with.

Maybe the smelly sock will have some answers.

CR: The Four Last Things by Timothy Hallinan.

It's all better with friends.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Random Thoughts

My current non-fiction reading is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

Here are a few quotes from the book and my randomness:

There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is the sitting down to write.

What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

When I've been away for a bit, it's like I forget everything. Skill, creativity, the feeling of accomplishment. What in the world was I thinking? Just because I was able to write a cohesive sentence the last time I sat my butt in this chair, put my hands on these keys, why do I think there is even a remote chance of a repeat performance?

If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.

I'm pretty sure, as I read through this book, I will find out that Doubt is an associate of Resistance.

And, just in case I've had a particularly good day when Resistance and Doubt have been sufficiently conquered?

Pressfield writes under the heading RESISTANCE NEVER SLEEPS:

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.

Great. Just great.

CR: The Four Last Things by Timothy Hallinan.

It's all better with friends.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Fun Distraction

Do you know what books were on the New York Times best seller list ten years ago? Twenty? How about the week you were born?

The #1 fiction book the week of my birth: The View From Pompey's Head by Hamilton Basso. The book is a nifty little mystery involving a famous writer.

The #1 non-fiction: The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Not sure where you would have needed to be for the last half-century or so not to have heard of this one.

Here's the link to make your own discoveries. (Note you need to enter the day before the month.)


CR: I'm picking a new one today! Like unwrapping a present. I finished L.J. Seller's Secrets to Die For about 2:30 this morning. Love it when I finish a satisfying book. Thanks, L.J.!

It's all better with friends.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Saddle is Feeling Good

Okay, I'm not knocking out 10,000 word days like some writers. But then, I've NEVER had a 10,000 word day, so I don't feel so bad.

But I am feeling like I'm back in the saddle again. I am scheduling myself and following said schedule. Well . . . mostly.

Some things happen just because they're supposed to, you know? I was stymied for a good method of delivery for my amazing biological threat agent. I researched online and nothing felt right. A bomblet? Come on . . . bo-ring.

And then, on Christmas day, Fred came into my life. He was visiting his uncle, our neighbor, with whom we share most major holidays and an occasional beer.

I might be making some of this up—you know how that goes—but I'm pretty sure Fred was Special Ops. I'm pretty sure he's Mensa. And I know that right now, Fred works for a company called XE. Who most of us know better as "Blackwater." After we got through the obvious political connections, I decided Fred could be interesting. We spent an intriguing Christmas day and evening with him and his stories.

And then I realized he might be the answer to my bio threat delivery quandary.

So, I invited Fred back for New Year's Day and our crab bisque and crab cakes and money salad with black-eyed peas. To brainstorm—his words. But they were kind. The term 'brainstorm' makes it sound like I would have something to offer. The truth was, his uncle is a widower and I offered actual food. As a bribe. Easy decision on Fred's part. And, um, my only contribution to the 'brainstorming' part of the afternoon was madly taking notes.

Now, thanks to Fred, I have a cool method of delivery. And the saddle is feeling pretty good again.

How about you? Are you in the saddle? Have you ever had something happen to you at just the right moment for you manuscript?

CR: Secrets to Die For by L.J. Sellers on my Kindle. Had life not intervened, I seriously would have finished this one days ago.

It's all better with friends.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Police Shootout

This reminded me of some of the videos we were shown as students at the Citizen Police Academy I attended last year. They had some doozies.

As writers, getting the details right is a good thing. Getting the feel of something right is even better. Watch and learn.

CR: Secrets to Die For by L.J. Sellers on my Kindle. L.J., as usual, is tackling some kid-glove topics. Without the gloves. You go, L.J.!

It's all better with friends.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

E-Book or Traditional?

Many published writers waited 8, 10, 12 years or more before they realized their dream. It can be a painful time, full of hope and heartbreak. This is an actual email I sent to a friend. We'd been discussing the merits and demerits of going the e-book route:

A couple of thoughts: The Big Thought is that I haven't actually walked down Publication Road, so anything I say is basically a regurgitation thing, and we know that sometimes anecdotal information is right, but it's not to be relied upon in the least. The Second Thought is that, anecdotally, the two authors you mentioned who were happy with the marketing support from their publishers, were probably both a little surprised, and are probably the exception to the rule. But, back to the Big Thought. On a personal level, I know squat.

Many (established) writers are making more money off of their 70% royalty than they ever made from publisher's—five-figure advances or not. At least that's what they say. And some (Konrath being one) actually appears to show the numbers. But you need more than one book to do it. And you still need to market.

Tim Hallinan, who is doing well with his traditional books, is doing equally well (if not better) with his e-books, and is publishing some now straight to e-book where he feels he has more freedom. Which, of course, he does. And in his case, the success of CRASHED bears him out.

Debbi Mack, traditionally published by a small press who went belly-up, took that first book to LuLu, and writes full-time now, directed at Kindle. And her newest, LEAST WANTED sells for only 99 cents on Amazon. (She's thinking about upping that price, btw, after her launch.)

Once again, all anecdotal. Not personal.

For me? I will continue to look at the traditional route. At least for now. It's been a goal that I somehow don't think I've pursued long enough to abandon. Even though at the time I established publication as a goal, this e-book thing wasn't even a thought, actually receiving affirmation from people in the biz would mean a lot.

What are your thoughts as both readers and writers? Is publishing electronically versus traditionally a cop out or an opportunity?

CR: Secrets to Die For by L.J. Sellers on my Kindle and thoroughly enjoying the book.

It's all better with friends.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lois Winston Talks about House, Hawkeye, Glue Guns as Weapons and Writing

Please welcome award winning author Lois Winston to Suspense Novelist. She'll be checking in to see your comments, so please ask her anything.

PB: One of your books is House Unauthorized. I can maybe see some similarities between Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H and the House character (who I would really, really want for my doctor if in dire need), but is there something more?

LW: First, let me clarify something: House Unauthorized is an anthology. I’m one of 20 authors who contributed to the book. My essay is entitled, “Is Gregory House the Hawkeye Pierce of the Twenty-first Century?” When I was researching the character of House, I discovered that there were many articles written comparing the show and character to Sherlock Holmes. However, the more I thought about it, the more similarities I found between House and Hawkeye. I don’t want to give away the entire contents of the essay, but the similarities include everything from mannerisms to dress to attitudes regarding authority figures and refusing to play by the rules. The essay gives dozens of examples of the similarities between the two characters.

PB: How close is Anastasia Pollack modeled after Lois Winston?

LW: Anastasia and I have similar backgrounds. We’re both North Jersey girls. We both went to art school. She’s a crafts editor for a women’s magazine. I worked for many years as a crafts designer and editor for various kit manufacturers and publishers. I still design for several magazines. We both have two sons and one other relative in common (but I’m not saying which one!) The differences? My husband is very much alive (thank goodness!), I don’t have a Shakespeare quoting parrot, and I haven’t found any dead bodies glued to my office chair. Yet.

PB: You have won a lot of awards for your writing. How much of a role did those awards play in getting published?

LW: I sold my first book as a result of being the first runner-up in a publisher’s writing contest.

PB: A review from Kirkus! How cool is that?

LW: Incredibly cool! Especially given what the reviewer said -- “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum. Funny, gutsy and determined, Anastasia has a bright future in the planned series.” I love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, and being compared so favorably to her by Kirkus Reviews is one of the highlights of my writing career. And since that review came in, I’ve received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. So I’ve been floating on a cloud.

PB: The review says your Anastasia Pollack is "North Jersey's more mature answer to Stephanie Plum." Would you elaborate?

LW: Like Stephanie, Anastasia, the amateur sleuth of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, is a born Jersey girl. However, Stephanie is the embodiment of blue-collar Central Jersey; whereas Anastasia is more middle-class North Jersey. At least she was until her husband permanently cashed in his chips at a roulette table in Las Vegas and her life crapped out. Now she’s stuck with a mountain of debt, her communist mother-in-law, and her dead husband’s loan shark who’s demanding fifty thousand dollars -- or else.

PB: You have generated a lot of buzz with your humorous style. Is there a more serious story bubbling inside of Lois Winston, just waiting to get out?

LW: Yes, there’s definitely a serious side to me and my writing. Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, my second published book was a romantic suspense with dark undertones. I’ve also written a proposal for a book that’s loosely based on the murder of one of my friends when we were in high school.

Award-winning author Lois Winston’s Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in her Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series, will be released on January 1, 2011.
In celebration of the book’s release, Lois is doing a blog tour throughout January. You can find the schedule on her website,, and at Anastasia’s blog, Everyone who posts a comment to any of the blogs over the course of the month will be entered into a drawing to receive one of 5 copies of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun. (If your email isn’t included in your comment, email Lois privately at to let her know you’ve entered. In addition, she’ll also be giving away an assortment of crafts books on various blogs, so look for those if as well.

My thanks to Lois Winston for answering a few of my questions. Do you have comments or questions of your own?

CR: Secrets to Die For by L.J. Sellers.

It's all better with friends.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What Do You Really Want? I Mean REALLY?

This is the time of year we all take stock. And for most of us, it's a mixed bag of disappointment and desire. A win here or there, for sure, but mostly, well . . . there's room for improvement.

I didn't finish that manuscript.

Budget? You've got to be kidding. My bank account has become meaningless in any financial strategy.

I want to be on the New York Time's Bestseller list and have Hollywood clambering for a nod from me.

And so usually, at this time of year, we suck up our failures and somehow convert them to ideals for the next year, because our dream hasn't changed. We search the cosmos for a place to hang our hat and try to convince ourselves the new place is the right place and something magical is bound to happen.

We've learned how to formulate our goals: they must be SMART. Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timely.

Can I just say one word for all of this rhetoric toward intense introspection? Blick.

I've really been thinking about this.

In fact, for the last couple of months, the little list of tasks I have on my desktop is a lot different than one you'd expect from someone who actuallly wants to accomplish something. It's focused less on things I must accomplish than on how I want to feel after the outcome of actions I take.

At the end of the day, every day, I want to feel good about myself. I want to feel I have taken a step toward validating my dreams. At the end of the day, every day, I want to feel I've made a difference. The details are supplements to those things, but Those Things are the end goal. Every 24 hours. I'm hoping that not only will they help me achieve my dreams, but that I'll become a better person in the process.

So what I'm suggesting you consider is for your plan for 2011 to be less specific and more intrinsic.

But whatever you choose, we'll work through the year together. We'll celebrate and commisserate. I'll be as open with you as I can about my process and progress.

And there's no question I won't tackle.

For each reader here, whether regular or happenstance, I wish you validation in whatever you pursue. And to know what you really, really want.

CR: Secrets to Die For by L.J. Sellers

It's all better with friends.