Setting Goals for the New Year

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As we approach the new year, I know it’s tempting to look back and consider all the things we didn’t do. I urge you, instead, to only glance at the past, take a small mental note, and push forward to pursue new ventures.

I’m sure you’ve heard before that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, but what about to yourself? Is it good to hold yourself in competition with your past self? I think, to a certain extent, yes.

You have to train your mind not to focus negative attention on what you didn’t accomplish. It takes practice to only see what you did accomplish. For example, I didn’t publish six books in 2021 – not even half that. However, I did produce a complete, high quality sequel that came out less than nine months after the first installment of the series – all while moving into a new mom, keeping my kiddo safe during the pandemic, and growing my social media accounts to promote my books and encourage other indie authors. See! I might not have produced an incredible number of works this past year, but at some point, my goals changed. I realized quality was more important than quality, and with other events in my life, I could not produce high-quantity without sacrificing quality.

Adjusting Your Goals

Something that I’ve found helpful is to list out your goals at the beginning of the year, and break those goals into twelve checkpoints – one for each month. Then, at the start of each month, break those twelve smaller goal checkpoints into weekly goals and list the tasks you need to complete to reach them. Seeing what tasks you need to complete each week will give you a manageable way to reach your overall goal for each month – and, ultimately, the year!

Rethinking Your Goals

Keep in mind, goals should keep you moving forward. If you reach a point in the year that you realize you’re constantly looking back at how behind you’ve gotten or how much you haven’t done yet – rewrite your goals. Make the smaller, more reachable, if you need to. There’s no shame in that, and you’ll have a sense of pride when you do still meet your newly set goal in the future. Remember, they’re your goals – these are for you! No one’s going to judge you for re-evaluating what you want to (and can realistically) accomplish, so stop judging yourself.

Good Luck!

I hope everyone has a wonderful end to 2021 – it’s been a long year with lots of ups and downs. Wishing everyone a happy new year with lots of luck and love in your future!

A goal without a plan is only a dream.

Brian Tracy

Remember, you can follow me on social media! Here is a link to all of my social media and book links. Thanks for the support!

Writing Challenge: Dialogue Conflict / Fight Scene

Photo by Joe Mania on Unsplash

Writing Prompt: Write a short fight scene between two characters, where neither of them say anything negative to each other.

“You’re faster now.” The sweat leaked from his brow as he circled her in the sand. His blade hung low, nearly drawing a line in the ground as he held it behind him, aggression abandoned.

“You’ve gotten stronger,” she replied, but there was a hint of regret within the playful banter. “You were always stronger than me. I’m happy to see that I’ve yet to surpass you.”

“Perhaps we could step back – return to our training days.” It was a long shot, and he knew it. He could see it in her eyes. The determination. The harsh pursuit of the path she’d chosen – the path he should have chose.

“It’s not too late,” she whispered, barely audible over the whisper of winds against the sand. “You would not be an man without loyalty if you turned against a corrupt king.”

Her blade was still gleaming with the blood of his men, crimson dripping into the white sand. Yet there was hope in her eyes – the same hope he’d seen in her face when he took her in as a young girl.

“You have become everything I hoped you would be,” he said, his voice wavering as the words caught in his throat. “Do not hold back, child. I will give you my best, now.”

Understanding shone in her eyes, and her lips pressed tightly together, her face paling. Then, she lifted her blade and shifted her feet, ready.

Their blades came together swiftly, a dancing clash of metal that sang through the day. She was the perfect mirror of him – a student that studied her master to religious extent. The footwork; the angle of his blade. Nothing was foreign to her. So when she made a lethal swipe for his midsection, half a pace faster than what was known, she knew he would fall. She heard the impact as he fell to his knees, and she dared not look over her shoulder.

“Rest peacefully, father,” she said, eyes fixed on the castle before her. “I will right the wrongs of this kingdom in your name.”

There was a soft moaning sound and a thud as he fell into the sand. “You have made me proud, fierce child,” he said, the words strained with effort. “He keeps a dagger on his hip.”

She listened to his last sigh, the way his breath caught and shuddered. There was silence, and she bowed her head, processing the loss. Then, she lifted her attention to the gates ahead, filled with new purpose and loathing.

The king would pay for this one. Yes, the king would pay, indeed.


I think my writing, in general, is less dialogue-heavy than this scene, but I might be obsessed. Is it okay to love your own writing?


If you don’t love it, how can you expect anyone else to?

Final Thoughts

Originally, I did not think my response would include so much dialogue. I read once, that if your scene can happen without dialogue, let it, and I’ve tried to follow this rule. Whatever was coming to my mind at this point definitely did not follow this rule, and I think that’s okay. Sometimes, you just have to follow your heart… or your mind… or instinct.

What did you come up with? Give the prompt a go! It’s a fun challenge!

If You Could See It

Photo by El Salanzo on Unsplash

A bold kiss
His ungentle lips as he stole my breath
The words he said with my own air
A hand behind my hip, one locked in my hair
Don’t you remember? I asked
The way you stared and laid me bare
Those deep eyes of oceans and green
Glowing with lust and promise and ease
Is it that easy for you to chase self-preservation
Rather than trust this calm and elation?
I saw that you were sad before and even then
I saw it as a reflection, like my very own skin
I knew you wouldn’t be one to slow down
If you had you would have seen what you found
Because we’re the same, just stepping in different times
If you stepped back you would see our overlapping lives.

Writers: How To Reach Your Word Count Goals This Month

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

It’s here – November! An entire new month, or an entire new chance to reset your goals from the month before if you didn’t quite meet them. Maybe you weren’t even halfway to achieving your last month’s goal because it just seemed so overwhelming.

If your aspiration is to be an author, it’s easy to get discouraged when you see endless indie authors producing several books a year (or traditional authors signing an astounding number of contracts!). You’re still struggling with your initial draft while your social media friend announces her tenth book. If they make it seem so easy, why is it so hard for you?

The good news is, regardless of skill or talent, to finish a book, you really only need a solid plan to make consistent, forward movement. Below are some tips and strategies to help you finish that pesky, overwhelming first draft of your current work in progress.

Determine/Estimate Approximate Word Count

If you’ve never written a book before, you might be completely baffled by this step. Isn’t it about telling a story rather than meeting some minimum word count requirement? Yes, it is, but determining a word count goal will allow you to see your progress and set goals to reach by a time of your choosing. A quick search will show you the breakdown of average word counts for different genres. You might even notice that many people have made charts with this information – and it’s all slightly different numbers. That’s because word count expectations for different genres are just a guide, not a rule.

A lot of first time authors will find it easier to meet a smaller goal, but if you’re dreaming of writing an epic fantasy, there’s nothing stopping you from exceeding those average word count expectations. Just keep in mind that editing should shave off quite a few space-filling words, so your sentences flow smoother. Don’t get discouraged if your word count shrinks! You may even need to eliminate scenes completely if you find they disrupt the flow of the story.

Pick a date that you would like to complete your first draft by, and calculate minimum word count per day.

Now, if you have Scrivener as your writing software (it’s what I use!), you can enter in your word count goal and draft completion date, and it will calculate it for you. It will even adjust the number of words that need to be written that day if you decide to skip a day or two. But if your writing softward doesn’t have that tool, it’s easy to calculate yourself.

Pick your day, choose what days of the week you’re going to write on, and find out how many days you are planning to use as writing days between now and your goal date. (Maybe you can only realistically write four days a week.) Divide your word count goal by the number of days, and that’s how many words you’ll need to write on each of your writing days to meet that goal.

You should be able to tell relatively quickly whether that’s an achievable and realistic goal. You may need to adjust your finishing date if your minimum daily word count is too high – and that’s okay! It may feel like a race, but slow and steady is a safe way to keep yourself from giving up or getting overwhelmed.

Set a time of day.

Whether it’s the morning, evening, in the middle of the day, or split between times, having a specified time of day for writing will help you be more consistent on a regular basis and moving steadily towards your goal.

If reaching a specific word count goal is difficult or overwhelming, choose an amount of time to write instead.

Different approaches may seem daunting to different authors. Perhaps a word count goal makes you feel stressed. Instead, set a timer for a pre-determined amount of time, and write that entire time. Once the timer goes off, give yourself an additional ten minutes to finish up, if possible, and then stop for the day, so you won’t feel overwhelmed or burn out. The goal is consistency. An hour every day will get your further than sporadic days of three to four hours, especially if you go for long periods of time between those lengthy spurts.

Keep going!

So, if you’re noticing dozens – or hundreds – of other authors are reaching their goals, just remember, you have the ability to be one of them, too. Find consistency in your writing life, and you will quickly see a change in your productivity. You’ll be reaching those goals much faster!

Thanks for taking the time to read, and good luck on your writing journeys!

If you’re in the mood for a “spicy” romance series (18+ audience), check out my series on Amazon by clicking here. It’s FREE with Kindle Unlimited and also available in paperback. Happy reading!

“Shreds of Sanity” & Author Tip

It clung to her with a vengeance like a vile creature from hell. Her ears rang with the shrieking, a maddened sound that grew with fury. Clutching her head, she could feel it digging into her brain, little more than a leech determined to prey upon her last shreds of sanity.

So I might have been feeling a little dramatic at two o’clock in the morning.

I’d spent a couple hours working on my WIP (3rd book of my romance series), and I somehow ended up with less words than I started with at the beginning of the night. (Don’t edit until your first draft is done!) I moved on to creating some Instagram posts, and then I wrote this lovely little bit.

Not sure whether I will fit it into a whole story. I definitely have several books outlined that a struggle against insanity would fit into, especially with the implied external factor of a creature or paranormal demon of sorts. Wanted to share it for now, but every time I write something short and sweet (or not so sweet, in this case), I always end up with a whole new story! Maybe I’ll have yet another side project to work on to keep me balanced so my romance projects don’t become redundant.

Author Tip

Read and write outside your genre. My published series (still more to come) is an erotic romance, but most of my projects are high fantasy or paranormal/supernatural stories that alternate between fantasy worlds or an urban world such as ours. I’ve noticed that when I allow myself to spend time writing in more than one genre during the week, my vocabulary is fresher, my sentence structure is more diverse, and I’m more creative in general. Reading also enhances these qualities. I was actually reading Wuthering Heights when I wrote most of my first published book, and if you’ve read it, you’ll know it’s about the farthest thing in the world from that classic.

So if you’re struggling with writers block, feeling redundant, or just want to spruce up your writing in general, take time to write in a different style and read in a different genre.

Thanks for reading!

I appreciate your time! Feel free to browse around and check out the books I have currently available!

Happy writing to you all, and have a wonderful Tuesday (or whenever you see this)!

I wonder at the sea.

Photo by Dan Stark on Unsplash

Sometimes, I stare at the sea and I wonder. I wonder how the stars look from just below the surface. I wonder whether the sea can feel sad. The sea will never kiss the stars, no matter how much their light is reflected in its skin. The sea knows the soul of the stars like we know the backs of our hands. It knows their brightness and radiance and shares it with the world each night, bragging like a hopeful admirer. But the stars don’t appreciate the sea at all. The stars don’t even know the sea exists.

Writers Challenge

Today, write approximately one hundred words about the sea. It can be educational. It can be fantastical. It can be mystical or horrifying.

If you’re having trouble getting started, search for pictures of the sea , ocean, or bodies of water as inspiration. It’s amazing what other forms of art, such as photography, can do for the art of writing.

What do you do to stimulate your mind when you experience writers block?

If you don’t have a solid method for escape the traps of your own mind, here are some things I do to refresh myself or push through the struggle of writers block.

  • Spend time outside. It’s a great way to destress. You can also find motivation and inspiration in nature, and pleasant whether has a way of relaxing the body.
  • Journal or free write. Pick up a pen, and put it to paper. Write whatever words come to mind. If nothing comes, start with “I don’t know what to write.” You may be surprised how more words come to you once you actual go through the motion of writing a few down.
  • Write the crappy, choppy paragraphs that are making you cringe. If your writing sounds awful, it’s okay. That’s what rough drafts are supposed to be like! I like to call my rough drafts, “crap drafts.” It takes the pressure of the perfection of wording. Even if you think you’re going to have to re-write, scrap, or edit, push through for an hour and then stop for the day. Getting something written down might open up your mind to what you really want to write.
  • Take a break for the day. Set a timer the next day, and write for thirty minutes. Then, take another break if you need it. You can spare half an hour of suffering for your story to be told one day.

Don’t forget to read.

Try to read daily. Read fiction and non-fiction. Read blogs, read books, read the news. Read anything. But if you’re going to write, you need to read. Writing is the exercise of writers, but reading is their nutrient supply.

Now Available: The Problem with Pell

My name is Olivia Cook, and I’m dating the proprietor of sexual deviancy amongst the wealthy.

Months into their relationship, Olivia couldn’t be happier. Jack spoils her, teases her, and pleases her while discreetly balancing his work at the Playhouse. But when a Playhouse party becomes a little untamed, Olivia starts to wonder whether she’s enough for the carnal desires of Mr. Jackson Pell.

When Jackson’s past catches up to him, he leaves Olivia wondering where they stand as he tries to regain control of a situation that brings threats of imminent danger to those he cares about. Struggling with confessing more secrets of his past, Jackson seeks to find a way to reconcile with Olivia – without putting her in harm’s way.

But darkness from the past is hiding in the shadows on both sides. Will the world tear them apart? Or will it bring them closer to an unbreakable bond as they face their pasts head on?

Paperback $12.99
eBook *FREE* for Kindle Unlimited subscribers (or $4.99)
CLICK HERE to view purchasing options on Amazon.

We saw dragonflies.

Photo by Sensei Minimal on Unsplash

Today, while playing with my son in the backyard, we were surrounded by dragonflies. They hummed in the air, they perched on nearby branches, and they dashed daringly through the water that sprayed through the air from the hose. And then I saw red ones – three of them – and I was completely hypnotized. They were vibrant and fat, and one perched on the tip of a dead tree, the branch spearing straight up into the sky. They were strange and lovely, and I thought, “Perhaps there is magic in this world after all.”

The Importance of Taking A Break

When life is a never-ending blur of work, family, and trying to build some sort of platform to be heard above the masses, it can get a little overwhelming. I just took a few days away from social media, and it was incredibly refreshing. As an author (this applies to my fellow indies, especially) social media can seem like the thing that will make or break your growing business or dream job. It seems like you have to do it all – all the different apps and platforms – and sometimes it can feel like you need to do them all right away. I just want to remind you that yes it will happen, yes you can do this, but yes it will take time.

Longevity is the goal when you’re trying to turn your side-gig or side-hustle into your main income. While it would be wonderful to write one book, create one masterpiece of art, craft one perfect song and that to somehow go viral and change your life forever – that doesn’t always happen and the attention can fade surprisingly fast. To build lasting relationships with others in your industry, it’s important to work slowly, work regularly, and work patiently with social media.

Just one post a day, every day – or starting out with one a week, if that’s too overwhelming – is progress. Having one new follower or fan is progress. Having one person genuinely interested in what you do (other than someone just hopping along the follow train because it’s popular) is progress! You just have to be patient with yourself.

And that’s why rest is important. You want to do this for a long time – that’s why you picked it. You don’t want to burn yourself out just trying to build your social media. If you have been feeling overwhelmed by the thought of interacting with comments and messages, I encourage you to take a break – even if it’s just for a day. Have one day that it’s okay not to reply to everything. The world will keep spinning, and I guarantee your slow reply will be more of a bother to your own mind than it will to others. You are important, not just your craft.

Fellow Authors, Readers, and Book Lovers

If your an author – traditionally or self-published – I’d love to interact with you more. I took some time away from the buzz of social media, but now that I’m back, I want to start using my neglected blog/website more. I’m still getting it set up how I want – this is my author page, so information about my published and upcoming books will be the main focus – but I’d like to start keeping a (somewhat) regular blog as well. I’m a mom who writes, so if that sounds appealing to you, go ahead and follow this page!

Just remember to relax, breathe, take a break when you can, and try to notice the dragonflies.

Who The Hell Is Jackson Pell by VICKI SWEETS

Vicki Sweets has created a chemistry-and-lust fueled, romantic debut novel that hits your bookshelf with a splash. Following the story of Olivia, a woman in her twenties who is plagued by snobbish relatives and an ex who feels entitled to their previously ended relationship, the reader plunges hands-first into a physically-driven romance with an irresistible stranger – a man who happens to have a very curious lifestyle. As Olivia realizes there may be even more to Jackson Pell than meets the eye, she becomes curious of his big secret that everyone else seems to know. While she’s not sure what it is that may stand between them, she still allows herself to enjoy the other large aspects of Mr. Pell. With endless humor, an intensely growing lust, and loaded love scenes, Who The Hell Is Jackson Pell is impossible to put down.


Though inspired to write by many passionate love stories – real and fictional – Vicki Sweets imagined the idea of Who The Hell Is Jackson Pell while working on a project in the fantasy genre. As she worked to build the electric tension between her characters, she kept leaning toward scenes of romantic gestures and passion, so, in an attempt to clear her mind, she wrote a romance scene – and had so much fun! After finding support from several other authors in the romance community, she began a venture that she never expected: writing a romance-based, adult novel. While certain chapters had her blushing to share, she received so much positive feedback that she decided she had to publish her story.


Adult readers (18+) are already falling in love with Olivia and Mr. Pell, and the continuation of the story has been highly demanded. Finding a connection to Olivia’s wit, humor, and appreciation for junk-food, romance readers have called it “hilarious” and a book they “couldn’t put down.” If you’re looking for something relatable, steamy, and satisfying that embraces the fast-paced dating that occurs so often in today’s world – this is it!


Once you’ve fallen head over heels for this sensual duo, readers can expect at least two more novels in The Pell Playhouse series. To read the first book, Who The Hell Is Jackson Pell, you can find it on Amazon. The paperback edition sits at the low price of $8.99, and the eBook is FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers (or $2.99).

To view purchasing options for Who The Hell Is Jackson Pell click here.

Other upcoming projects by Vicki Sweets include a romantic fiction novel and a holiday-themed adult romance. Later projects will include supernatural romance, apocalyptic romance, and horror. As a diverse reader, Vicki Sweets aspires to be a diverse writer as well – and this fun, little romance is only the beginning!


To stay up to date with Vicki Sweets’ latest projects, subscribe to Updates on book releases, upcoming projects, and general thoughts from Vicki will be updated periodically, and short stories will be shared (for FREE!) as well!

Other places to follow Vicki Sweets include:


Vicki Sweets resides in central Texas with her son. Splitting her time between motherhood and writing, she also enjoys supporting the visual and performance arts and small businesses – as well as other new and upcoming authors!