Archive | December 2014

New Year’s Resolutions… versus New Year’s Goals…

goalsEvery year people make resolutions, and every year I think about making some, and then I don’t. Maybe it’s because I’m so goal-oriented to begin with that I don’t see the need to set up additional resolutions for myself. But the more I think about it, I realize that while I do a lot, there are things I put aside because of the time and effort it takes to get them done.

For example. I write books, but they are presently only available on Amazon. My writing “goal” for next year is to publish another novel in the Kelsey Porter series and put out a horror anthology. My “resolution” is going to be to finally get all my previously published books formatted and put on other platforms besides just Amazon.

Another goal I try to do is to socialize as much as I can. I go out with friends, get together for special family occasions, etc. But my resolution this year is going to be to “bring more people together.” I want to throw a few random parties where it’s not because of a holiday or a special event. Maybe I do “Thanksgiving in February” and invite people in the neighborhood I’d love to see more of? Maybe I do a holiday dinner “a week before the actual holiday” so that I can be assured that all the different families are around and not already booked with their immediate family celebrations? My goal has always been to let my children know that they have a wide community of people that care about them. So my resolution this year is going to be to foster stronger ties with those people and create a stronger sense of community with those neighbors and friends I’d love to see more of.

My last one is a tricky one. The number one resolution everyone always seems to make is to exercise and eat better. Well, I do that all the time. It’s always something I try to do and with a bad back, it sometimes gets in the way of this goal. My resolution this year is not going to be “I’ll exercise and eat better” but it will be to “not allow my body to dictate my life.” If I need to rest it to heal, I will, if I need to kick myself to get down to the treadmill, I will. In 2015 I’m not going to let my “body” be one of my goals – it will simply be there as part of “me” and my resolution is to not let my limitations dictate how I live my life.

So, do you have goals and resolutions? Do you have things you always say you’re going to do, but don’t? I suggest you think about them differently. Come up with ones other than eating healthy or exercising. Find some new ones that speak to your sense of community, your family, your inner circle and run with them. You may be surprised at what you accomplish.

The Allure of the Give-away…

Come enter to win...

Come enter to win…

I love contests. As a kid, I was the one that got suckered and would send out money (my meager dollars) to those bogus contests where “just send $5 and you get an extra twenty chances to win $10,000!” And then the next letter would come, telling me that I’d “progressed and to send more money and I’d be up to win the $1,000,000 grand prize!” I believed all of it. When my father found out what I’d been doing, he freaked and sat me down and explained to me that these contests were complete shams. (not to mention how illegal it must have been to take money from a kid)

But the allure of contests never left me. I used to enter them all the time. I got the free cans of food, a few watches, some pens, once tickets to a basketball game, and my biggest haul was a Weber Charcoal Grill that sat under my kitchen table in NYC for three years since we didn’t have a balcony to use it (thankfully we eventually moved and were finally able to break that baby open).

So, now I like to actually DO giveaways and have one going on Goodreads for my novel THE MANNEQUINS. Until December 24th, people can enter to win a free hardcopy of the book here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/119558-the-mannequins

In the deep woods of California, there’s an old decaying mansion with a terrible secret. When any enter its doors, the house claims them, propelling them to a land in a different reality, run by a man who calls himself, the Preacher. If you play by his rules, you live a life of luxury, but if you displease him? With a flick of his wrist, you are transformed into a living doll, a mannequin, and there is no escape… until the madman is done playing with you.

Sorry that it’s only open to US Peeps – the next give-away I’ll open up to folks overseas. If you enter, or for those who can’t, please consider also putting it on your shelf. If you don’t win, you can always check it out another time. If you just can’t wait and the book sounds SO GREAT that you just have to have it right now, well, by all means, click here for it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/12YQVwR

So tell me, do you love to enter contests? What’s the biggest thing you’ve won so far?

Making Excuses

excusesLet’s put it out there right now. We all make excuses. Excuses for not wanting to exercise, excuses for not being able to eat right, for not wanting to go to work, school, do homework, put our laundry away, write. “I have a headache, I’m tired, my back hurts, or the best, I just don’t have the time.”

I get it. We all make excuses. I’m known for my piles. I have papers, letters, scraps of stuff I just don’t know what to do with, so I put them in piles and then make excuses as to why I can’t put them away. I have been making an excuse for the past two weeks why I can’t exercise. I blamed “I lost my iPod.” (which I did) But I found it today and suddenly my excuse is gone and I’m like “Uh oh, I have to exercise now.” (now I’m frantically thinking if my bad back, which I have, is enough of an excuse not to work out – I’m thinking not)

I think the thing is, we have to think about why we’re making an excuse in the first place. Is it avoidance of an issue, plain laziness, or is the effort too much?

I’m staring at two piles of papers in my room now. Today I put away 10 pieces of paper from one pile. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I had to figure out WHERE to put those things and while I’m feeling pretty good about it, I realize I have about 100 more papers to go. After I’m done with this post, I think I’ll put a few more away. I think.

But you see, while I do have these piles, I’m anything but lazy. I made a lasagna today and a pot of sauce and meatballs, I made a photo album for my kid’s birthday party, I edited a horror anthology I’m working on and spoke to two beta readers who are reading Book #2 in my Kelsey Porter series. (Book #1 is THE HUNT FOR XANADU which you can check out here if you’d like: http://bitly.com/1tzIna2 ) I also went food shopping to two stores, cleaned my bathroom and hustled one kid to classes AND played Minecraft to appease another child. (dang it’s hard to move on that game!)

So, I have a few papers on a pile. Big deal. Maybe it’s not such a bad excuse after all. So tell me, what “chore” do you put aside until you just can’t put it aside any longer? Love to hear!

Stop Getting Upset When You’re Unfollowed on Twitter…

twitterunfollowWhen you are new to social media, and specifically twitter, it’s all about gaining followers. The question begs, WHY are you following people and why are you gaining followers? Are you an author and wish to reach readers and other authors who will in turn do tweets for you to get messaging out? Are you an interviewer or reporter and want your words and messages heard? Are you a reader and want to tell people about the books you’re reading? Or, are you what we lovingly call a voyeur who simply reads the tweets of the people they’re interested in, never commenting or posting on their own? People on twitter will generally follow like-minded people and others will follow people because of what they’re posting.

No matter how people start following you, stop staring at your follow numbers and WORRYING ABOUT PEOPLE UNFOLLOWING YOU. Really, just stop. I used to check all the time. When I first started building my follow list, I’d be devastated and confused when I discovered people unfollowed me. I mean, why would they do this? “I’m not provocative, I’m funny. What did I do? Don’t they like me?” The reality is, they stopped following me for whatever reason they wanted. There are just so many things you can control in life, and other people’s actions are NOT one of them.

Want to hear the #1 Follow Rule on Twitter? Follow people who follow you or seek out new people to follow. Retweet people, comment on people’s tweets. Participate in twitter hashtag parties. It is the simplest and most direct way to gain new followers – and these are like minded people for the most part. That said, I still get unfollowed all the time. For this example, right now I just went to www.justunfollow.com and checked the recent amount of people who unfollowed me since I last checked, which was yesterday. In that time period four people have unfollowed me. It’s usually as high as twenty. EVERY ONE of these people are authors. I no longer get upset when I see this. But don’t think sometimes I’m not tempted to actually tweet an author and ask them WHY they unfollowed me. But that sounds a little “stalky creepy” and I’ve decided against that tactic. And don’t get me started if I discover I’ve been blocked. That ALWAYS freaks me out a little, but in an effort to stay sane, I let that go.

Now that I have over 26K followers, what is happening is many times people will follow me in order for me to follow them back. THEN they unfollow me. It’s a tactic they do to gain followers, but not have a high following count and a tactic they will do hoping I will do a tweet for them to my high follower list. It’s not nice and it’s sneaky and doesn’t sit well with me, but it is what it is. With justunfollow.com I now have the ability to see who just unfollowed me and I go and unfollow them right back. I don’t confront, I don’t retweet, I just do this non-passive aggressive thing and move on. NOW, that said, there are people who simply don’t follow others, and they have great content to share – so remember, YOU are in control of who you wish to follow at every moment.

Sometimes an unfollow is a mistake. I have had a few very good friends suddenly disappear from my lists. When that happens, I call them out on it and they are usually surprised. It really is only a simple click and someone is unfollowed.

So, I leave you with this. Stop worrying. You don’t know most of these people, you’ve never met most of these people, you’ve never interacted with most of these people. They are strangers. Stop worrying if they don’t follow you or unfollowed you. Return the “favor” and let it go. Then go follow 50 new people, commenting on a few great posts, find a few you haven’t supported in a while and retweet them, and then call it a day.

Life is way too short to be offended by people who you’ve never interacted with in the first place. My favorite phrase? “Don’t let it rent space in your head.” Post great comments and your peeps will find you. Or they won’t. It’s all good.