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Attainable New Year’s Resolutions

We all know about New Year’s resolutions … about how we always make them and never seem to accomplish them.

Well, I’ve managed to accomplish my last two New Year’s resolutions.  Of course, they were rather vague and not very specific.  For that reason, however, they allowed some flexibility and managed to be not only reasonable but also attainable.

For many years, I actually quit making New Year’s resolutions because I always failed to lose weight or acquire large sums of money.  Our of sheer desperation one year, I decided I really needed to take care of myself … instead of everyone else: family, clients, even strangers in line at the grocery store who had far fewer items to check out and were really in a hurry.

Why do so many of us actually believe other people are busier than we are,  live more stressful lives, and face more challenges?  Well, I got over that.  We all have 24 hours in our days.  Most of us have parents, siblings, children, co-workers, bosses, employees, friends, neighbors, strangers, etc. who bring joy to our lives and/or manage to seriously mess with them.

Two years ago, my New Year’s resolution was to take better care of myself–as in, every single day I thought of something I could do to take care of myself.  I accomplished that goal by putting a sticky note on the bathroom mirror (Take care of yourself today!).  I accomplished a lot more thinking about taking care of myself than actually doing it, but the point is I truly thought about my own well-being each and every day.  And managed to take better care of myself in 2010 than in previous years.

I began 2011 with the goal:  Be Selfish.  This was the result of 2010’s goal being too vague.  Being selfish is a lot more specific.  Or so I thought.  About a month into the year, I realized selfish was too harsh a word.  (Of course, I should have looked it up in the dictionary before making my resolution.)  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, selfish means “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.”  Since I’m a writer, I decided to take poetic license with the definition and, for my purposes, simply eliminated the “without regard for others.”  It worked for me and I did a terrific job.  Resolution accomplished.

So, there I was on December 31, 2011, and I still hadn’t come up with a New Year’s resolution.  I admit it’s tough coming up with one that beats those of the last previous years.  And, being the over-achiever I am, I really do prefer to keep beating past records.  Instead, I decided to pitch my competitiveness (even with myself) and go a little deeper with my goal of taking care of myself.

So, here’s my New Year’s resolution for 2012:  Do something for myself each and every day that improves my personal well-being.

Yes, it’s posted where I can read it every day–although not on my bathroom mirror.  And I’m more than happy to share it with you.  Feel free to take it for yourself.

If you have one, what’s YOUR New Year’s resolution?  How did you arrive at it.  If you don’t have one, why not?

Regardless, here’s wishing you good health, weight loss (if you want it), large sums of money (if you get them and don’t want them, feel free to donate to the Linda Fund), and much happiness in 2012.

Dreams

When we’re little, most of us want to grow up to be someone wonderful and/or famous: a brain surgeon, an astronaut, a professional athlete, an Oscar-winning movie star, a chart-topping singer, a bestselling author … and the list goes on.

Somewhere along the line, however, most of us begin to believe our dreams are not only far-fetched but unattainable. According to Webster, a dream is a ”strongly desired goal or purpose.” But our parents, or brothers and sisters, or teachers, or friends tell us we’re nuts to think we’ll ever hit number one on the country charts … or the New York Times bestseller list. They lay out the odds, in explicit detail, against us becoming the first-string quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys or the starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

We buy into all the ”good advice” about how we’re being unrealistic and immature and selfish when we plan to skip college to join a rock ‘n’ roll band or submit our applications to NASA.

My job here today is to tell you that all that “good advice” is bullshit. And those people don’t know what they’re talking about.

How do I know? Because I began living my dream on 11/11/11–which would have been my mother’s 78th birthday if she were still alive. Which is ironic, since she was one of the biggest supporters of my dream … while also being one of those people who nagged me to put my dream on hold while I attended to the responsibilities of living in the “real world.”

I always wanted to be a published writer. As in: a writer who supports herself with her writing. Yes, part of that dream was being a bestselling author of fiction–which hasn’t happened yet. But I am supporting myself with my writing. Exclusively.

Am I doing it exactly as I’d dreamed? No. Am I doing it as quickly as I’d dreamed. Hell, no. But am I doing it? Yes. Imagine how quickly I could have done it if I hadn’t allowed myself to believe all the garbage…

Then again, maybe this is exactly the way it was supposed to be. Maybe the lessons I learned along the way– and the patience I acquired and the flexibility and adaptability that are so much a part of my professional repertoire–were an essential part of the journey.

Here’s the lesson: don’t give up on your dreams. Even if you have to put them on hold while you live your life in the “real world,” take them out and examine them on a regular basis. Do what you have to do to fulfill those dreams. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Because if you do, your dreams will come true.

DARK MIND by Jennifer Chase

Emily Stone is hot on the trail of an abducted child and the clues take her to the beautiful island paradise of Kauai. It doesn’t take long for her to get thrown into the middle of murder, mayhem, and conspiracies. A serial killer stalks the island, taking women in a brutal frenzy of ancient superstitions and folklore. Local cops are stumped without any clues or suspects.

Can Emily find the killer before it’s too late?

Scheduled release date: November 21, 2011

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Y6V0RfvFQ

Blog: www.authorjenniferchase.com

Website: www.jenniferchase.vpweb.com

Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com

Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

EIKO, a new release by Kenan Brack

In this martial-arts fantasy, a young girl is raised by the assassins who killed her family. When she comes of age, she becomes their next target. Eiko follows a dangerous and fascinating journey as she grows from child to young woman, along the way experiencing a world few could understand.

Eiko was released on October 1, 2011 and is published by GrayBooks, LLC. It can be found at http://graybooks.net/aisleseatbooks/eiko.

EIKO, a new release by Kenan Black

In this martial-arts fantasy, a young girl is raised by the assassins who killed her family. When she comes of age, she becomes their next target. Eiko follows a dangerous and fascinating journey as she grows from child to young woman, along the way experiencing a world few could understand.

Eiko was released on October 1, 2011 and is published by GrayBooks, LLC. It can be found at http://graybooks.net/aisleseatbooks/eiko.

Does YOUR auto policy pay for a rental car?

Here are some facts about auto insurance losses in the United States:

  • Approximately 1 in 8 drivers will be involved in an accident in a given year (National Safety Council)
  • Nationwide in 2005, 2 cars were stolen every minute (Better Business Bureau)
  • Speed is one of the most common factors causing car wrecks (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • The highest incidence of claim frequency and severity among vehicles of model year 2007, 2008, and 2009 occurred with very large luxury sport utility vehicles (Highway Loss Data Institute)
  • Only 75% of all costs related to car accidents are covered by insurance (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • After an accident, the average car is in the repair shop for nearly 2 weeks
  • Nationwide, 19% of all motor vehicles involved in accidents are uninsured (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

So let me ask you this: if you can’t drive your car after it’s been involved in a wreck–or struck by a tree, or stolen, or vandalized–what are you going to do? Hitchhike to work? Take a cab? Inconvenience friends and/or family? Rent a car?

If you rent a car, who’s going to pay for it–you or your insurance company?

On average, the annual cost to buy rental reimbursement coverage on your auto policy is less than the cost to rent a car for two days.

Want to know more? Just ask!

Murder on the Interstate by Jean Henry Mead

Murder on the Interstate is the third novel in Jean Henry Mead’s mystery/suspense series. The book features continuing characters Dana Logan & Sarah Cafferty, two 60-year-old amateur sleuths traveling Interstate 40 in northern Arizona in their mothorhome when they discover the body of a beautiful young woman recently shot to death in her Mercedes convertible. They soon learn that the killer is stalking them. Their murder investigation leads them into danger and they’re kidnapped by homegrown terrorists plotting to take down the government.

Murder on the Interstate has received the following blurbs and reviews:

“Careen into crime with two intrepid sleuths who outwit terrorists in a fast-paced plot taken from today’s headlines. A page turner. ”

~Carolyn Hart

“Murder on the Interstate burns rubber right out of the gate and exceeds the speed limit on every page. With all the car chases, gun shots, screeching breaks, and crashes, the movie version could be the sequel to one of those car-heist action-films. Except for the fact that the protagonists are two women approaching Medicare, and their vehicle is a motorhome. Dana and Sarah are stalwart, clever and funny characters, and author Jean Henry Mead caroms them from one tight situation to another as they weave along the Interstate and into a high stakes mystery.”

~J. Michael Orenduff, Lefty Award winning author of The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein

“Full of surprising twists and turns, Jean Henry Mead has produced an RV adventure with her two senior sleuths in hot pursuit of a murderer, but the tables turn and the two women learn that not only are they in danger but so is our national security. An exciting mystery that will keep you turning pages.”

–F. M. Meredith, author of Angel Lost

(Murder on the Interstate is the third novel in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series.)

.Murder on the Interstate is currently available from Oak Tree Press in print and will soon appear on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Interstate-Jean-Henry-Mead/dp/1610090144/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305156555&sr=8-1 and at Barnes and Noble: http://my.barnesandnoble.com/communityportal/WriteReview.aspx?EAN=9781610090148

Interview with Peggy Frezon

Peggy Frezon is a freelance writer and pet enthusiast. This interview is about her writing and, if you’re interested in learning more about her “animal” side, check out her interview over at Forever Friends which appears on March 23rd..

You do a lot of freelance writing and submit work to a lot of places. Share with us what it’s like to be a freelance writer.

The best part of being a freelance writer is doing what you love, and working from home. No commute. No problem if you’re sick or just want a day off. And yes, sometimes I do work in my pajamas!

I generally write every day from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., with a break midday to take Kelly for a walk. Sometimes I write at midnight–freelancing usually means you can have a flexible schedule.

The most difficult part about being a freelance writer is the isolation. It helps to meet people with similar interests through social media, and join a few face-to-face writers’ groups and attend conferences.

Your latest book is about dieting with your dog. What sets it apart, why should we buy it, and where can we buy it?

Dieting With My Dog is unique because, sure, it’s a dieting story, but it’s also about a reciprocal relationship. When I learned that my dog was headed toward some serious medical concerns if she didn’t lose weight, I was ready to do anything to help her. The funny thing is, my doctor had given me the same warnings for myself for years, and I never took action. Kelly, however, became the motivating factor to help me face down the physical and emotional reasons for overeating (and overfeeding my dog).

This book is “for anyone who has ever loved a pet–through thick and thin.” Parents and pet parents will relate to the emotional struggles of motherhood and the empty nest.

Dieting with My Dog will be released September 15 (August 15 in the UK). You can pre-order the book now on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Dieting-My-Dog-Figures-Unconditional/dp/1845844068/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295758203&sr=8-1

What did you learn while Dieting with My Dog?

Keeping fit is a lifelong challenge. Humor helps. And everything’s easier with a best friend.

What’s your take on the furor about eBooks and how they’re going to change the world of publishing?

I think it’s inevitable. I don’t own an e-reader yet, but I assume that in time I will. I love books, holding a book, turning the pages. But I am comfortable with technology and there is no use fighting it. I write for several magazines and we are constantly figuring out ways to integrate our website and Facebook pages with the print pages. Most authors today need to understand and embrace blogs, twitter, etc. to survive.

What are the addresses of your websites, blogs, and other online presences?

Peggy’s Website

Peggy’s Pet Palace

Pawsitively Pets (Guideposts website column)

 

Stanley Moves in by Jack Rosse

When you think of fairies, the name Stanley doesn’t automatically come to mind. Come to think of it, grumpy doesn’t come to mind when you think about fairies, either.

All that aside, Jack Rosse (also known as crime writer Bill Kirton) has crafted a children’s story in the same fashion as the stories he’s been telling his grandkids for years. Stanley lives in a wash basin in Jack’s bathroom…

Wait! Why don’t I let Stanley tell his own story?

Here’s the book trailer, narrated by none other than Stanley himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ci7qZhzKA90#!

You can find Stanley Moves In on Amazon and you can find the author’s website here: http://www.bill-kirton.co.uk/