Want to meet your goals this year? Start setting definite ones - Guest Post by Amie Gibbons

It's my pleasure to welcome author Amie Gibbons to my blog today. She has some great tips on how you can rock your goals this year. Take it away, Amie!

Want to meet your goals this year? Start setting definite ones.

Hey, how are those New Year’s Resolutions going?

No, I’m not trying to bait you or make you feel terrible about yourself, I’m trying to make a point.  If you set goals, do you stick to them? I’m here to give you some tips on how to stick to your goals, basically by sharing what works for me.  If your way works, stick to it, you’re obviously doing something right  If it hasn’t been, try these tips and see what happens.
  1. Set definite goals
  2. Start small and build up
  3. Know why you’re setting the goals
  4. Reward yourself when you hit a milestone
Yep, that’s it.  Why set definite goals?  Well, let me ask you something.  If your goal is to lose 40 pounds in a year, what are you action steps to do that?  How do you know if you met what you need to for the day to make that goal happen? 

Exactly.  And how do you know that 40 pounds is healthy for you to lose?  Instead of the vague, I’ll lose 40 pounds, how about something more concrete? Something you can look at every day and say if you’ve met it or not?  You’ll be able to feel good because you met your goal, keep track of your progress so you can see yourself accomplishing instead of the general, well, I should’ve lost 3.33 pounds this month and I haven’t lost 1 yet, so I’m doing something wrong.

Instead, try I’ll walk 10 minutes every day for January and I’ll do 10 push ups and a set of 20 crunches every day, and I’ll limit my soda intake to 1 can a day.  It’s small, but it is definite and it’s a start.  Once you get yourself to that little goal every day, carving out time and energy for that tiny bit, then you can increase your goals.  I’ll walk 20 minutes, only 2 sodas a week, ect…

You get the idea?  So here are some suggestions:

If you’re a writer, don’t say I’ll finish that novel this year, say, I’ll write 1000 words a day and once the book’s done, I’ll edit for 1 hour a day for 3 months, and then I’ll reevaluate and increase that.

If you want to learn how to cook, don’t say you’ll learn, get a cookbook or scour the internet and say I’ll do a new recipe a week for the first 3 months, then up it to 2 a week.

If you want to lose weight, start setting some definite and realistic goals, like above, and build it up once the habit is set.

Why should you know why you’re doing this?  Because keeping your goals isn’t always easy, if it were, we’d all do it.  Losing that weight?  It’s going to be hard work and you’re not going to get to eat like you used to.  But if you’re doing it because your heart’s in trouble, you have diabetes, or hell, you just want to look sexy again dammit, then keep that in mind.

And reward yourself.  You’ll be putting in hard work, give yourself something for it.  You meet your workout goals all week?  Reward yourself with a soak in the tub, a night out, maybe an extra treat (though that may create the mindset of junk food good and is a reward, which you probably need to get rid of if you want to lose weight so it depends on if this works with the way you think about food.)

I hope this helps.  Set your goals, just try one for a month, see what happens.  

And here’s an oh so subtle push of my new book, Psychic Undercover (with the Undead), https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N4OCJE5/.

vampires, romance novel, Amie Gibbons, setting goals, how to, new years resolution, weight loss
*Vampires aren't the only things that go bump in the night...

Singers are a dime a dozen in Nashville, so despite her mama's urging, psychic Ariana Ryder's working her way towards a career in law enforcement at the FBI, one tray of fetched coffee at a time, instead. She's got an extremely handsome boss, a dancing partner among the lab techs, and a solid year as the team rookie under her belt...

Right until the director gives her a big break, working undercover as a singer at a club to investigate why it's being targeted by a serial killer. This might have worked better if the club didn’t happen to be a vampire nest.

Now, with the vampire's investigator, Quil, on her case, the jurisdictional battle isn't the only thing heating up as they race to solve the case before the killer strikes again!*

History Films You'll Love

Dangerous liasons, Dangerous beauty, king arthur, 300, 300: rise of empire

I love history, but I also love modern medicine, microwaves and the ability to buy what I eat instead of growing it. Luckily, modern life allows history buffs like me to enjoy a taste of history through movies. Since I'm obsessed with period pieces (
I'm a historical romance novelist, after all) I'll watch any movie with a costume and an accent. As a result, I've seen some great movies, some terrible movies, and some that are just great fun.

Below is a sampling of the good, the bad and the fun to watch. This list only represents a small portion of the movies I love. So feel free to post your own favorites. I'm always on the lookout for another flick to add to my to be watched list.

Dangerous liasons, Dangerous beauty, king arthur, 300, 300: rise of empire
There's something decadent about watching Dangerous Liaisons. The costumes are rich, the story is intriguing and the characters are down right evil. It's wicked fun and a lot less calories than chocolate.

Dangerous liasons, Dangerous beauty, king arthur, 300, 300: rise of empire, an ideal husband

Who can resist the scene in Dangerous Beauty when Veronica's mother instructs Veronica on the art of pleasing a man? The story is a little trite at times but the chemistry between Veronica and Marco is sizzling, and Venice provides the perfect backdrop for their complicated love.

Dangerous liasons, Dangerous beauty, king arthur, 300, 300: rise of empire, an ideal husband
How sexy is Rupert Everett in An Ideal Husband? This film combines all the pithy dialogue one expects from Oscar Wilde with excellent actors and lush costumes.

Dangerous liasons, Dangerous beauty, king arthur, 300, 300: rise of empire, an ideal husbandAs much as I enjoy King Arthur, I'll be the first to admit it isn't a great film. However, I can't resist Clive Owen and Ioan Gruffadd in Roman costume.
Also, the soundtrack is amazing.

Dangerous liasons, Dangerous beauty, king arthur, 300, 300: rise of empire, an ideal husband, vanity fair

Vanity Fair is gorgeous and it's fun watching Rebecca scheme her way up the social ladder. Also, James Purfoy is really sexy in his uniform. However, the period detail isn't perfect and neither is Reese Witherspoon's accent. I've read William Makepeace Thackery's novel and the movie is a good adaptation of the lengthy tome.

Dangerous liasons, Dangerous beauty, king arthur, 300, 300: rise of empire, an ideal husband, vanity fair

300 and 300:Rise of an Empire. Beefcake. Need I say more?

Love and Friendship. This isn't the best Jane Austen adaptation I've ever scene, but Kate Beckinsale's witty dialogue makes this film a must see.

If you love history then you will love my books because there's a lot of history in them. 

Writing the Conflict You Know

writing, how to, conflict, character, novel, book

What to write about, what to write? This was the dilemma facing me early in my career. I’d written and published a traditional Regency and finished another which had been rejected. I wanted to try my hand at contemporaries but I couldn’t figure out what to write about. The old adage “write what you know” came to mind, but what did I know? Perusing the shelves at the local bookstore, I noticed a lot of stories about knitting, wine, cooking and other specific interests and hobbies. I don’t knit, I’m not into wine and I don’t cook, so what did I know that was worth building a story around?  I love books and movies but where’s the conflict there?

        At the time, I was working at a large entertainment union in Hollywood. My days were full of conflict as I argued with producers and studios over various claims for violations of the union contract. I’m not sure at what point the obvious jumped out and hit me but one day it finally did. I knew about Hollywood and especially the conflict between studios and labor unions. I began to ponder different fictional situations until I discovered the one that would ultimately become my novel. What would happen if a lawyer at an entertainment union and a lawyer working for a studio fell in love while they were both working opposite sides of a major arbitration?

Christmas, romance, Hollywood
        Thus was born my novel Her Hollywood Christmas (first published under the title Labor Relations), a story about two labor relations attorneys on opposite sides of a major arbitration facing a passionate conflict of interest. The heroine, Sarah Steele, is the newest member of the Movie Actors Guild legal team and new to Hollywood. The hero, Jake Rappaport, is the head of Labor Relations at Lion Studios, a veteran movie industry man enjoying the perks of Lala Land but wondering if there isn’t something more. There is an instant and powerful attraction between them but a personal relationship during the arbitration could ruin both of their careers.

The natural conflict built into their jobs combined with the conflict of their ideals helped me develop the story and keep it moving, providing many opportunities for creating bumps on the road to true love. Setting the story in Hollywood allowed me to use my knowledge of the city and the entertainment industry to give the novel its flavor. I had a lot of fun writing a glamorized, fictional version of tinsel town as seen through Sarah’s eyes.  

So, what can you learn from my experience? You can write what you know, even if you think you don’t know anything. Start by examining different aspects of your life such as your job, where you live, the groups you’re involved in and then look for the potential conflict in each of these situations. Once you find it, make it as big and threatening to your main characters as possible so that they have everything to lose if they don’t overcome their obstacles. Finally, use your own personal experiences to make the characters, backdrop and yes, even the conflict, feel real and believable. By the time you hit “The End”, you’ll be surprised to discover that the conflict you know really is worth writing about.

If you enjoyed this post then you will enjoy my books because there is a lot of conflict in them.

Things I Learned on the Way to London

London, Buckingham Palace

I just finished reading Anna Quindlen's Imagined London. It's a great book for voracious readers who originally learned to love the city through novels. Like Ms. Quindlen, my first introduction to London was through the written word. Like her, my reading left me with a few impressions a trip to London would quickly clear up. Knights and ladies, Regency pinks and carriages no longer roam the streets, but you can still feel their echo in Westminster Abby, Hyde Park and many other great places you've read about.

Some of the things I discovered on my first visit to London in 1997 were:

Tower of London, execution, church, london, england
1) That Tower Green is a lot smaller than I thought it would be, and the grassy areas behind the Tower where non-royals were executed is gone.

keep calm2) What a queue is. I had not come across this word before. Then, I was standing in line to buy tickets for Buckingham Palace and reading a sign that said "The queue forms near the gates." I stood there wondering what a "kway" (my mangled pronunciation) was. It wasn't until I heard it used in a sentence a few days later that I realized what the word was and how to use it properly.

3) Coke and Sprite taste different in England. So does a Twix bar.

4) I love the white chocolate Magnum ice cream bar, and at the time they didn't sell them in America.

Things I learned on my 2007 trip.

1) At the time, the newspaper is alive and well in London and an essential part of any tube ride.

London, union jack umbrella,
2) A California umbrella, i.e. one that folds up tiny and fits in your purse, is useless in London. Luckily, the Evening Standard was giving away real umbrellas if you purchased one of their papers. I bought one and picked up an umbrella that actually kept me dry.

3) I still love the Magnum ice cream bar but it wouldn't be until 2012 that I could buy them in America.

4) Having tea at the Pump Room in Bath is an excellent way to celebrate Thanksgiving when you are in another country during the holiday.

What I've learned about London since 2007.

1) I want to go back.

2) I want to go back.

3) I want to go back.

For those of you who share my passion for London, please check out my books because most of them are set in London. www.Georgie-Lee.com

Tips for a Successful Book Sigining or In-Person Event

In-person events for me often involve book signings. Getting out and meeting people is invigorating, and a great way to garner new fans. I've done a number of them at both bookstores and other events, and I've learned a few things about making any live, in-person event from a book signing to a craft fair both enjoyable and productive. Below are some tips for having a successful in-person event or book signing.

1. Stand up. It's easy to sit down and hide behind the table and your books or sale items. If you want to meet people then you need to stand up and make yourself seen.

2. Engage with people. Don't wait for people to come to you. Ask questions, make small talk, and smile. You don't have to be pushy or get in people's faces but you do need to be outgoing, friendly and willing to approach people.

3. Give people something to take away. People love free stuff. Give them something to remember you by. I hand out postcards with tea bags attached to them, and I offer these goodies before people can even ask for them. It's a good way to start conversations and engage with potential readers. Vistaprint is a great source for postcards and other paper promotional items

4. Dress the part. Look nice and you will exude an aura of confidence that will encourage others, and yourself. If you feel confident then you will be better able to do the first 3 steps.

5.  Recruit Similar Writers or Business People. If you can, recruit other writers or people with similar products to do the event with you. This will encourage their fans to attend too and you can cross promote. The more the merrier! 

I hope you find these tips helpful for making your next book signing or in-person event a success. Check out some of my books to see what I have signed at various bookstores.

Fall Comfort Gift Basket

Fall is in full swing, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. To help people get into the feel of the season and the holiday, I created a fall comfort gift basket for a recent silent auction. I filled the basket with all sorts of comforting things to help a person relax on a crisp and cool evening.

Items I put in the basket included tea and a vintage Johnson and Bros. His Majesty mug to enjoy it in. For comfort food, I included a Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. When the weather turns cold I practically live by my slow cooker, and I am always looking for new recipes. Once dinner is done and the tea is brewed, the winner of the basket can enjoy an evening watching the BBC's production of Sense and Sensibility or pampering themselves with a selection of body creams and some lip balm. I also included a pair of fluffy Harlequin socks from the RWA 2016 conference so the winner can feel extra cozy.

I hope whoever wins this enjoys it!

If you love to be cozy in the fall then you will love my books because they are great for curling up with.

How to Find Your Path

How to Find Your Path, Success, Career

Figuring out what you want to do in life isn't easy. It takes a lot of trial and error and you don't always get it right the first time. I'd wanted to be a professional writer since I was a kid but my journey to achieving my goal wasn't a point A to point B kind of trip. It took me a while to find my path and my success.

I began writing short stories in grade school but I didn't go to college to earn an English degree. Instead, I wanted to be a screenwriter and I earned a degree In TV and Film Production. I wrote marketing videos and public service announcements for a small cable TV station in my home town before moving to Hollywood to pursue my dream. I earned an M.A. in Screenwriting and then tried to break into the biz. Well, things didn't go exactly as I'd imagined. Even though I worked in the entertainment industry, it wasn't as a screenwriter.

A number of years went by and I found myself at a crossroads. I still wanted to be a professional writer but I'd come to realize it might not happen as a screenwriter. I had a lot of writing education and experience, and I knew there had to be a way to use it. One day, along came a Regency romance. As I sat in my living room reading it, I realized I could do this, and I did. Since then. I've published over fifteen books and novellas, given workshops and presentations at writings conference, had books signings at Barnes and Noble, and won numerous writing awards. All of this never would have happened if I hadn't been flexible with my goal of being a professional writer.

Finding your path doesn't mean giving up on your dreams. It means taking your skills and finding a different way to apply them. My MA in Screenwriting wasn't a waste because the program taught me story structure, how to deal with criticism, revisions and editorial notes. My experience writing the marketing videos taught me about working with clients and meeting deadlines. My experience working in Hollywood taught me about contracts and residuals that has been invaluable for understanding royalty statements. I've built on the things I learned to create a career that I love, and you can too.

So, evaluate where you are and where you want to be. Look at your skills and experiences and figure out how to apply them to something new, then get out there and do it. Don't whine that you can't or sit around and complain that the cards are stacked against you due to some nebulous reason. Find a way to get what you want and be ready to work for it. Once I made the transition to writing romance, my success didn't happen overnight. If I had given up when things got hard or sat around complaining, them I wouldn't have the career I enjoy today.

So get up and get started on finding your path. Your dreams are waiting for you to claim them!

Check out my romance novels to see how I applied my education to my writing.