Goals: August 2016

PIC1068506062So this post is a few days late, but my recovery from Realm Makers and my crazy week prevented the post from coming out any sooner than, well, today!

I didn’t do a goals post in July, so I don’t really have anything to follow up on. I did manage to get everything I wanted done in July done, except for finishing an edit on my own story. I’m okay with that, though, because I still pitched it at Realm Makers and got a request for a full!

Back to August–and my quest for world domination. Actually, this month, I’ll settle for dominating my to-do list. It’s kicking my rear!

So, here are my goals for August:

  1. I need get a jumpstart on my revision of Dividing Spirits, which is now being aptly retitled, Soul Seer. I need to get the first 3 chapters polished before ACFW.
  2. Which brings me to my 2nd goal: prepare for ACFW. I have to design a new one sheet for Soul Seer and get all the papers printed out. Yay! Plus, I need a newsletter signup/contest sheet for the freebie table. And I need snacks.
  3. Start on my diet. I’ve actually already started on this. Yay! My friends Amy and Michele are jumping in on the quest with me to lose weight and get in shape before Realm Makers next year. Plus, there’s the being healthy part, which is important too. 😛
  4. Get on a homeschool schedule. Yes, I only have 2 weeks to homeschool before I leave for a week, but I think it’s important to get everything together and organized and work the kinks out. That way, AFTER I get back from ACFW, we can jump in to the routine, rather than fumbling about for another few weeks.

And that”s all I’m giving myself this month. I think it’s important to focus on a few things at a time. And this is plenty. Especially since there was only 3 weeks between Realm Makers and ACFW.

What are a couple of your goals for August?

Let’s keep each other accountable. I’ll keep a list of those who respond, and we’ll all check in the beginning of September! Sign up for my blog/newsletter so you can check back in with us!

June 2016 Goals

PIC1068506062Can you believe that another month has flown by? I love May because of my birthday and Mother’s Day . . . and a bunch of my friends have birthdays. It’s a fun month–usually.

This year, though, it was a big ball of illness for my house. Half of April until the last week of May had at least one, if not more, people in my home laid out, too sick to do much of anything. It was rough, but we recovered.

As a result, though, I didn’t full accomplish any of my goals for May. I finished the first draft of Bellanok 4, but did not get revisions done (working on those now), which means I didn’t get the whole thing put together either. And being sick did not make for getting into routines or fixing our diets.

So, this month, is a try and try again type of month. Here are my goals for May:

1. Finish revisions on Bellanok 4 so I can release it mid-month. I should get revisions done by Wed. next week, then out to my proofreader/formatter. Hopefully, life doesn’t intervene too much.

2. Pull the whole Bellanok story together in one book and work on revisions.

3. Read through and make notes on revisions for Aletheia. This is a fantasy I was working on before Bellanok. It’s had a year to rest, so I’m hoping to use my agent’s and CP’s notes to make it stronger.

4. Get into a summer routine where we are still doing homeschool while I am working on big writing/editing plans!

We will get our diet under control by using a monthly menu plan and working it into our routine.

What about you? What are 1-3 of your goals for June?

(Let’s hold each other accountable!)

If you sounded off with your goals on May’s post, how’d you do? Were you more successful than I was? I hope so! (Amy, Jennette, Janeen, Becky, Randy, Liberty, Celesta, Jill, and Josh)

Goals: May 2016

PIC1068506062At last. We have come to one of my favorite months of the year. So many fun things happen in May–including Mother’s Day and my birthday. 🙂 This year just happens to include a book birthday as Bellanok: The Dragon’s Oath will be released soon.

So, what are my goals for the month? I have 2 writing goals and 2 life goals:

  1. Finish Bellanok 4 so I can release it in June. I should finish the first draft this week, then after a revision send it off to my CPs. Hopefully get it back mid-May so I can apply edits before sending it to my proofreader/formatter–and get ready for a June release! Who else is as excited as I am about this?
  2. Revise Bellanok as a whole to get it ready for paperback release. Yes, you heard that right. I will hopefully have a paperback version available sometime this summer.
  3. My husband and I sat up a new schedule/routine for us to find some stability in our crazy busy lives. We start today. So it is my goal to keep with this schedule and make sure that my family does as well. Hopefully this will help me to keep from dropping too many of my various spinning plates.
  4. My husband and I are also determined to start getting healthy. We both know what we NEED to do to get healthy, but we just keep putting stuff off in favor of more convenient options–largely due to lack of planning or poor scheduling on our part. Number one this month is to get our diet under control.

I think that’s plenty for one month, don’t you? I’m looking forward to feeling better and less crazy, and especially excited about having another completed book–and one that is published at that!

What about you? What are your goals for May?

Share a couple of your goals, and let’s keep each other accountable!

February 2016 Goals

PIC1068506062Can it really be the start of a new month already? I feel like all of January was completely lost to me.

Well, in some ways it was. I caught a nasty bug right after the new year, and it held on for 3 weeks! I’m still reeling from the exhaustion of it all. Thank goodness for my wonderful kids and my amazing husband.

Needless to say, when I am sick for 3 weeks in a row, nothing gets done. I made some progress on my January goals, but didn’t fully accomplish any of them. So, my goals for February look pretty similar–mostly extensions of January’s goals.

February 2016 goals:

  1. I will start getting up at 6:00 a.m. so that I can have quiet time with my Bible and prayer before starting my day. My husband also needs to start getting up at this time, so it works out.
  2. I will work on controlling my diet more this month. I have a doctor’s appointment again today to find out what my labs have been like the last few months. We’re still working to get my blood sugar under control, but I know a large part of that falls to me and controlling carb intake.
  3. Prepare Bellanok Part 3 for publication by the end of February (though, hopefully before that). I still have to revise and send out to my critique partners/editor. I hope to get that done by mid-February. Final edits, and then off to my proofreader/formatter.
  4. Write Bellanok Parts 4 & 5. This will help me get a jump start on March!
  5. Put out my first official newsletter to e-mail subscribers! (Sign up here if you haven’t already.)

So there they are. I have quite a few things to work on, but with God on my side, I can do all things!

Stay tuned this month. I’ve lined up some great guest posts that I’m excited to share with you. Also, look for some better consistency now that I’m not sick. I pray you all have a great week!

What are a couple of YOUR goals for February?

Let’s share and keep each other accountable! (If you leave your goals, I will put you on a list, which I will be praying over all month long. In next month’s goal post, I will list your name and goals at the bottom of the list and ask to see how you did! Won’t it be nice to share struggles and achievements?)

Below are the goals people shared in January. How’d you do?

Pam H.:

  1. Create writing space in bedroom.
  2. Pull out all notes on novel revisions and finish them.

Jason J.

  1. Complete edits on YA book.
  2. Shop suspense book.
  3. Initial edits on book 2.

Grace F.

  1. Better plan time.
  2. Schedule cleaning and organizing routines.



January 2016 Goals!

PIC1068506062Bring on the New Year! It’s time to get down to business. I have lots of plans for making 2016 the best year yet. But it’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of perseverance, and lot of prayer. No worries, I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

In evaluating my accomplishments and struggles from last year, I’ve determined that I lacked a serious support system. I mostly made my goals myself, but nobody held me accountable and nobody pushed me if I was slacking. Turns out, I don’t have much will power when I get into a overwhelmed or defeatist mood.

Changes to my Approach

Some things I’m changing/improving to help me achieve more in 2016:

*I’m partnering with my good friend and fellow fantasy author, J.L. Mbewe, to hold each other accountable with our goals–both business and personal–using monthly video chats and weekly check-ins via Facebook.

*I’m going digital! This is the first year that I will have everything related to organization online. Google Calendars will hold my family calendar, writing calendar, project calendar, and menu planning (possibly cleaning) calendar. I’ll continue using ToDoIst for my to-do list, while expanding categories and use within the program. Both Google Calendars and ToDoIst can be used across devices, so I can update from wherever I am.

*I’m planning my schedule with “time boxes” in mind. (See more about this and other productivity methods here.) With time blocks, I’m giving myself permission to focus on just this ONE task/project for a set amount of time. Because I know the time is set, I don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the project as a whole (if it’s a bit one) but will be making progress; plus, I allow myself not to worry about “other things” because I know I will get to them in their time block. Best of all, it will keep stuff like social media and e-mails from being giant time suckers!

I’m combining this with a couple of other productivity methods, like 15-minute sprints (for cleaning, meal prep, e-mails, etc.) and anti-procrastination philosophies.

*Most important, I’m bringing God back into all areas of my life. I know this may sound hokey or weird, but I’ve found myself pushing God to the back burner, not waiting for or heeding or sometimes even seeking His guidance. That’s why this is a God-first year! More prayer, more listening, more Bible study to bring me into a place of close relationship with Him again.

With those 4 items in my arsenal, along with not biting off more than I can chew or taking my health for granted, I have high hopes for this year!

My Goals for January

  1. Re-install quiet times in the morning and make church a priority. I will start getting up at 6 a.m. to ensure I have time for Bible study and prayer before I start my work day around 6:30 a.m. I will also start preparing for church on Sunday the night before so that I have no excuses for not going unless someone is ill.
  2. Work with my doctor to start making lifestyle changes to improve my health. I have a doctor appointment today, the first one in over a year, with a new doctor. I need to go get my blood sugar under control as well as ensure that nothing else is out of control.
  3. Prepare Bellanok Part 3 for publication the first week in February. I need to finish writing/revising it by Jan. 10; get it back from my critiquers the following week; finish final revisions by Jan. 24; and then get it out to my proofreader/formatter. Whew! (This is what happens when you fall behind over the holidays.)
  4. Put out my first official newsletter to e-mail subscribers. (Sign up now if you haven’t already!)
The sweatshirt I'm wearing this morning!

The sweatshirt I’m wearing this morning!

Yes, I’m pushing myself this month. I need to. I need to see what I’m capable of with this new attitude. Like I said, I have high hopes for the year to come, and that will only happen if I’m healthy and wise.

What are a couple of your goals for January?

Let’s share and keep each other accountable! (If you leave your goals, I will put you on a list, which I will be praying over all month long. In next month’s goal post, I will list your name and goals at the bottom of the list and ask to see how you did! Won’t it be nice to share struggles and achievements?)

A “God First” Year

God FirstinIt’s hard to believe that 2016 is already here. Seems like yesterday I was promising myself to write 500 words/day and lose 30 pounds by Realm Makers. The year flew by–and while I managed to write ore this year than in 2014, I didn’t keep to the 500 word/day, and I think I might have gained some weight.

But, I’m not going to let that get me down. I’m going to face 2016 with all the hope of a blank slate and a new year. Who’s with me?

Now, I’ve made a habit of choosing a word to represent my focus for the coming year. In 2014, that word was prayer, in 2015, it was Happy & Healthy. Usually these words come to me pretty quickly when I’ve sat down to pray and peruse the Bible. This year, though, it was actually a struggle. A few weeks passed. In fact, it was only in the past week that I settled on my new focus.

God First.

Do you ever find yourself skipping out on church because there’s so much work to be done? Me too

Do you ever hit the snooze instead of getting up to enjoy some quiet time with God? Oh yeah.

Do you ever forgo your Bible time in favor of a good fiction book? Yep.

I’m sure we’re all guilty of these at time or another. But more and more these past few years, I’ve been putting these things off more and more often. I’m letting myself become an ineffective Christian.

But I don’t want to be ineffective. I want to be on fire for God. All the time.

I want to put Him first in my life. Before my family. Before my writing. Before all the other things that creep up and strangle my time and focus.

Trust the Lord with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

God should be first in my marriage, first in my family, first in my work. He should even be first when considering my finances, my schedule, my homeschool, and my health.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that He’s here in the day-t0-day, right beside us. He wants us to reach out to Him in all things–big and small. He wants s to push ourselves by leaning on Him and letting Him lay out our paths.

As I’m sitting here, considering my goals for 2016, my first thoughts are on how God can lead me in the different areas, how I can put Him first.

I know that I have a lot to learn this year. I look forward to the Holy Spirit’s guidance as I delve deeper into relationship with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

What is your word for 2016? What does it mean to you?

And a Spekkie New Year!

a spekkie new yearChristmas is over (phooey!), and we turn our attention to the coming year. It’s bright, and sparkly, and new. No one has messed it up yet. As we settle down to determine our aspirations and goals, it’s nice to see what others have up their sleeves.

I’ll be doing a whole set of posts on my goals and all that soon, so I won’t give away too much yet. (Sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss the cool stuff I have planned!) I will say that I plan to conquer the small revisions on a couple of manuscripts and then write at least 2 more! And, of course, I continue to hope and pray that my editing business stays consistent (and growing). I love my jobs . . .

But what about other spekkie authors? What are their plans/goals for the New Year? I’m glad you asked . . .


Ronie Kendig:

  1. To be more protective of my time.
  2. As a result of being protective of my time, I will grow as a writer by having more time to learn better craft and be a stronger/better writer.
  3. To help others in the writing craft.


S.D. Grimm:

To finish my Children of the Blood Moon series—the first book in the series releases in October 2016, to write another novel, and to finish at least one more novella in a themed novella series that I’m starting. I know, pretty hefty goals! *cracks knuckles*


Amy McNew:

Writing goals for 2016:

  1. Get published!
  2. Submit more short stories, flash fiction, and articles.
  3. Finish books 2.5, and 3!


A.C. Williams:

My goals as an author for 2016 are mainly to keep producing great novels. I’ve got three novels that should be published in 2016, and my intention is to get three more ready for 2017. But goals need to stretch us. So one goal is continuing to write. A second goal is to take time to enjoy what I’m writing. I get really focused on what I’m doing most of the time, and pretty soon I lose the joy of storytelling. So in 2016, I want to slow down and really remember how to love the art of writing. And a third goal is to do a better job of worshipping God through my writing. Too often, writing is just something I do. I don’t think about it. I just do it. I want to continue to write, but I want to consciously thank the Lord for the ability to write. I don’t want to take it for granted, and I want to make sure that He gets the glory for everything I do. Writing isn’t hard for me. It’s remembering why I write that will stretch me in 2016.


Cindy Koepp:

  1. Do more marketing for the books I already have out. The first 3 came out while I was still teaching or eyeball deep in my Master’s so I didn’t do much with them. The 4th is coming out soon, and I have plans with Tomorrow Comes Media to do some interesting stuff.
  2. Write a novel, at least the draft of it. The idea for the sequel to Lines of Succession has been bouncing around in my brain.
  3. Since a serial didn’t go over real well on my blog, try flash or short fiction next.


C.W. Briar:

Self-publish a short-story collection, finish editing my debut novel, and have at least one short story published in an anthology.


Emilie Hendryx:

Finish up revisions on my manuscript Runaway, finish up my novel Thorn (first of four books), and read more craft books to continue honing my writing!


Nadine Brandes:

  1. Write the first draft of my next two new book ideas in a NaNoWriMo-type flash (aka: one month each.)
  2. Lighten my editing commitments so I can write more.
  3. Mentor new writers as they start the journey of editing and pitching and freaking out. 😉 I’m very passionate about this one.


Victoria Grace Howell:

Goodness! I have so many, but I’ll pick just three.  I want to finish my extended version of my steampunk fantasy novel Red Hood, write the first draft of the sequel of the aforementioned novel called Silver Hood, and edit the first book of my science-fiction series Subsapien.


Lindsay Franklin:

To finish and polish book 2 in my current series, to write book 3 in its entirety, and to decide what series I might want to work on next.


Kristen Stieffel:

  1. Publish my fantasy series … one way or another.
  2. Finish a trio of science fiction novellas set on Mars. The first appeared in the Medieval Mars Anthology.
  3. Develop a daily practice of writing 500 words (two pages) every morning before I start work.


J.L. Mbewe:

My three goals for 2016: publish Darkened Hope in the spring, write the third and final book in the Hidden Dagger trilogy, and publish Clans Divided in the fall/winter. Not so sure about that last one. That depends if there is anything to salvage from my attempt to write it during National Novel Writing Month. We shall see.


Josh Hardt:

  1. Read at least 12 (writing) craft books and 12 new-to-me novels. Both will help me be a better author.
  2. Finish Book One of the Vanguard Saga AND submit six short stories/flash fiction pieces to various places.
  3. Write 2 blogs a month.


Pam Halter:

  1. I want to finish the revisions on my fantasy novel, Fairyeater.
  2. As of Jan. 1st, 2016, I’ll be the editorial director for Bread & Jam Books (part of Fruitbearer Publishing), so I’ll be focused on learning that job and taking submissions.
  3. Getting my costume ready for Realm Makers, of course!!  😀


Ben Wolf:

  1. Finish three novels and one kids book.
  2. Edit my critique group’s collaborative novel so it’s ready for shopping around for publication.
  3. This is pseudo-writing-related, but I need to book a minimum of one speaking engagement per month separate from conferences so I can build my platform and speaking career that way.


Janeen Ippolito:

  1. Write and self-publish Character-Building From the Inside Out.
  2. Speak/teach at two events.
  3. Finish a fiction manuscript, have it professionally edited, and submit it to two publishing houses.

And now it’s YOUR turn! What are 3 of your goals for 2016?

December 2015 Goals

PIC1068506062So, we’re going to pretend that I didn’t make goals for November. Everyone okay with that? Seriously, though, it was another rough month for me. A lot of things kind of converging at the same time across the board, mostly because of illness pushing stuff back . . . again.

I didn’t accomplish any of my goals for November, but I did manage to make a little progress with my health. Yay for progress! (You know I like to keep things positive!)

Now we’re into December–the last month of the year! Can you believe it? I’m still kind of like, “It’s already 2015? Where did 2014 go?” Yes, I’m a bit behind the times, it seems. But I’m ready for Christmas as it is my favorite time of the year.

Anyway, here are my goals for December 2015:

1. Finish Bellanok: An Urgent Quest and prepare it for release. I plan to finish my edits in the next 10 days or so, and then get it off to my proofreader/formatter. While she’s got it, I’ll be making social media images and posts, organizing the release, and all that fun stuff. Yay!

2. Finish the next 2 parts of Bellanok, about 40,000 words working at 2,000 words/weekday, plus a little extra during my full work day on Saturdays. This goal is a little lofty. I don’t see being able to pull off something short of a NaNoWriMo during a busy holiday month, but it gives me a target to reach for.

3. My health is still one of my main concerns, and something God has really been convicting me about lately. So, once again, meal planning and prep is my baby step toward better health this month.

Being that December is a holiday month, I’m not going to commit to anything more than that. I want to be able to enjoy this month with family and friends and celebrate the real reason for the season.

What are YOUR goals for December?

November 2015 Goals

PIC1068506062I can hardly believe there are only 2 months left in 2015. It seems like just yesterday I was making plans and goals for the new year. Yet, here I am already . . .

I’m not going to make this a long post, because I’m already behind on a bunch of stuff and need all the extra time I can get to get ahead. (That in itself could be one goal–ha!)

Here are my goals for November:

  1. I want to complete Bellanok Part 2 in time to release it later this month.
  2. I have committed to NaNoWriMo (50,000 words on a new project in one month), and hope to finish Parts 3-5 of Bellanok.
  3. My husband and I are realizing our health needs to be a major focus in the coming months. I will no longer be relegating my health to the bottom of the list to “take care of everything else. This month, my focus is on menu planning. I have a menu plan and aim to stick with it!
  4. I am going to get a head start on holiday planning so I avoid any potential stress. I need to sit down and make a list of people for presents/cards, plan out our activities, and remember what the season is really all about.

What are YOUR goals for November?

September 2015 Goals

PIC1068506062Ah, summer is finally gone. I can smell the start of autumn in the cool night air. My frustrations with heat and humidity combined with allergies and taking on too much made for a sick Ralene for most of the summer. Also, I realized that not taking my goals and priorities seriously caused a lot of the problems.

That brings us into September. A new month–a time for change. We’re done with the craziness of summer and ready to embrace the glories of fall and prepare for my favorite time of year–the holiday season between Halloween and New Years! But I digress . . . here are my goals for September!


1. Rediscover my priorities and develop a schedule that reflects said priorities. I have the coming weekend to think over things and decide what is most important and how much time I need to devote to the important things–and how flexible I need to be. Then I need to draft a schedule and talk it over with my hubby.

2. Finish editing Bellanok Pt. 1 and get it ready for publishing, then write Bellanok Pt. 2 & 3. I’m going to be setting a goal of 2,000 words/day, which would be 48,000 for the month. Ambitious, especially considering I have ACFW later in the month. Eep!

3. Reinstate family night and date night. With Ray’s school hours this year and my hectic work schedule, we have let go of these precious and important experiences. So, when I make up the schedule, I will choose a night for both and start planning out some family/date fun!


Baby steps. Those are important for me. Big chunks make me freeze. Anyone else like that? I keep thinking I can take on big chunks, but then when I fail I think I AM A FAILURE. Instead, I need to make sure I’m setting myself up for success. And, when I do fail, it is an opportunity to try again!


What are your goals for September? Let’s keep each other accountable!