Thursday, December 31, 2009

T3 - New Year Resolutions: Some Friendly Cautions

To set the record straight, I'm all for resolutions. I just don't think they should only be inspired by a new year. The date should be irrelevant to when you want to make an improvement to yourself.

However, it's pretty accepted that January 1st is some magical date to "start over" or "wipe the slate clean." So to that I say give it your best shot! But I have a few cautionary words as well.

1) Make your goals realistic.

If you're completely addicted to Starbucks, live/work three blocks from one, have a friend who works there or any combination of these three, then your resolution to abstain from Starbucks is pretty unfeasible. (Not to say there aren't extremely strong-willed individuals out there, but I'm just speaking in generalities as I so often have to do.)

2) Don't always focus on BIG goals.

Goals don't always have to be the long-range, big time stuff. The best accomplishments, in fact, could be a series of small goals you achieve. But if you only think about the big picture, you could miss this opportunity to triumph!

It's a great idea to break big goals into smaller ones anyway. That way, you're not overwhelmed with the idea of having to graduate from school. You just work your way through individual classes first. Losing the first 5 lbs can be the hardest when the amount you're aiming for is 50 lbs.

3) Figure out your rewards ahead of time.

What's the fun of actually accomplishing your goals if there's no reward? Sure, there's that inherent, philosophical idea that you did what you set out to do. That might be enough for some of us, but it's not at all enough for others. Some crave recognition, so maybe you should blog monthly about how far along you are in sticking to your resolution. Some crave a physical reward, such as divinely expensive chocolate, Kindle books, or manicures (oh, wait...this post isn't supposed to be about me!). Reward yourself for staying true to your goals...and do this on a regular schedule. It might work for some to treat themselves weekly instead of monthly. You know yourself.

4) Don't wait until January 1st, 2011, to jump back on the wagon.

There's nothing magical about January 1st! If you don't meet your goal, just get back to it as soon as you can! There is this supposed formula that it takes 28 days to break a habit. Well, in 28 days, you're still in January! Many, many, many resolutions are broken during the very first month (I tried to find the exact percentage, but it's late and I'm tired and the internet fairies weren't forthcoming).

Treat an occasional lapse as a temporary setback, not something to throw your hands up, gnash your teeth and wail about. If you went 10 days with no Starbucks, but on day 11 couldn't fight the aroma calling to you in your sleep, then just start back on day 12. One coffee in 10 days won't send you to the dark abyss. It's better than 10 coffees. The same could be said with getting off your diet, smoking a cigarette or compulsive shopping.

5) Be purposeful in your resolutions.

Don't just sporadically come up with something you think you'd like to change. Really give it some thought. According to psychologist Richard Wiseman, who led a study about failed resolutions, "If you do it on the spur of the moment, it probably doesn't mean that much to you and you won't give it your all. Failing to achieve your ambitions is often psychologically harmful because it can rob people of a sense of self control." Even more so, when we fail at our resolutions, we can often feel even worse about ourselves than we did before we made the resolution, and that's no place anyone wants to be.


So, now that you know better how to prepare for your resolutions, I thought I'd add some sure-fire ways to increase your chance for success.

Breaking goals down into smaller steps is definitely the number one thing to do. This increases your chance of success to 35% (according to Wiseman's study). If you add the reward system, the success rate goes up. If you add telling your friends, keeping a diary (or blog) of your progress, and focusing on the benefits of succeeding (not focusing on the downside of not succeeding), then your success rate goes up to 50%!

So keep these things in mind when making your resolutions!

Here's wishing everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - Personalities of Doctors

Digging into the Myers-Briggs types associated with doctors stop on by The Character Therapist!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Parent Pointers

January's focus for Sage Ministry Online is "Media = Becoming a Christ-Conscious Techie in a Technology-Consumed World." You can see my article for parents about giving your child the Benefit of the Doubt when it comes to setting boundaries with them regarding their technology usage.

Hope you parents out there find it useful. Would welcome any comments or discussion about my particular views.

Q4U: What do you see as the biggest technological danger to young children today?

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Here's wishing a wonderful Christmas to everyone! May you be blessed as you remember the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm going to take a break for the holidays and will be back in action next week. The Character Therapist is finally taking a break, as well, so no Therapeutic Thought this Thursday.

Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - Down Syndrome & Foster Care

Today's assessment focuses on foster care and Down Syndrome, both of which could easily slip into your own manuscri

pts! So check it out at The Character Therapist.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Official Kissing Day Blogfest!

Okay, writers, readers and guests! It's the Official Kissing Day for blogs everywhere as we give a Writer's Tribute to MISTLETOE!! The following is an excerpt from The Character Therapist, my current WIP. I don't really think you need a lead in. You'll pick it up. :)

Charlotte helped herself to a cup of hot water provided by the hotel in the back of the room. While she was steeping her Earl Grey tea bag, a cough issued behind her. Charlotte whirled around to see a snarl of a grin on Jorja Patterson’s face.

“Lottie. Fancy running into you, of all people.”

Jorja's use of her father’s pet name for her was Jorja’s way of throwing the gauntlet down. Charlotte stirred her tea with measured calm. “Jorja.” So many other names would have fit better, though, like home-wrecker, adulteress—

“I was real sorry to hear about your mama. Just tragic, really. How’s she doing?” Jorja’s honey-sweet drawl was razor sharp, cutting Charlotte to the quick faster than any gang member walking the streets of Atlanta.

Charlotte would sooner spit on the doorstep to her mother’s nursing home before she talked about her to the one woman responsible for it all. It took two to tango, but no doubt Jorja had wagged her little finger—or shaken her caboose—at her father until he’d come running, throwing their family into utter chaos and pain.

She deposited her teacup on a round, linen-covered tray, the thought of drinking it now souring her stomach. “Good-bye Jorja. And, uh, good luck covering the conference.” Charlotte allowed just enough superiority to creep into her tone that Jorja’s impeccably made-up face twitched. Her ex-stepmother was close to forty, but her botoxed face and lipoed body was that of a twenty-year-old.

“You might have landed the opening story, Lottie, but there’s a lot more of Brock Corbin to go around.” She lifted a brow. “I should know.”

The inappropriate innuendo Charlotte had come to expect from Jorja would have normally made her roll her eyes and turn away. But instead of her usual response, a balloon began to inflate in her chest, filling her up and spilling out her mouth with a gust of laughter. “Like I said, good luck with that.”

With her ex-step-mother’s hawk-like eyes tracking her , Charlotte made a beeline to the front where Brock was sitting. Her neck burned hot as she bolstered her courage to do what needed to be done. He glanced up at her approach and stood to say hello.

Charlotte didn’t say respond as she dropped her bag in the chair next to the one he had occupied. She didn’t so much as hesitate as she reached up, grasped Brock’s tie to pull him down a few inches, and lay a kiss on him Jorja wouldn’t mistake for a chaste kiss hello.

It wasn’t until Brock’s mouth opened under hers with a surprised strangled sound that Charlotte wondered what the heck she was doing. She was already trying to figure out how she could explain Brock shoving her away to Jorja when one of his hands threaded around her waist to pull her closer while his mouth slanted on hers. Just as Charlotte’s knees began to buckle, Brock used his other hand to hold on tight, the folder occupying his attention earlier now pressed against her back.

Charlotte had no idea how long they stood there, kissing like leading actors instead of fundamental strangers, but it wasn’t long enough. All she knew was that when Brock raised his head, his eyes were curiously alight.

“So…um…is that your way of wishing me luck, or saying your sorry for getting me into the mess in the first place?”

As she stepped away to adjust her blazer jacket, Charlotte risked a quick glance back at Jorja in time to see her eyes narrow.

“Oh, the kiss?” She turned back to Brock. Interesting how she could sound so glib about it, like it hadn’t been completely bone-turning-to-Jello good. She congratulated herself. She had to make Jorja think things were far more normal than they were. She tossed her hair over her shoulders and smiled at him for Jorja’s benefit. “All you need to know is that it was spur of the moment, urgent, and necessary. I figured it would be better to ask for forgiveness later than permission first.” That certainly would have lost the impact for Jorja.

Brock ran a hand through his hair, drawing Charlotte’s eyes there. “Was there an apology in there somewhere? It’s not like I’m used to getting accosted by females.”

“You better get used to it.” Charlotte pointed out the French doors to the mob of women. “They are going to descend on you in less than five minutes for the first session. Are you ready?”

“I was just going over my notes before you distracted me. What was the urgency?”

Charlotte almost laughed. She had momentarily sidetracked herself, as well. Seconds after their mouths had touched, Charlotte forgot about Jorja. She forgot about the Hilton, the conference, Mack, and the Journal-Constitution. All she could think about was the dry warmth and fit of his lips against hers.

She had to put some distance between herself and this man, if only to gain perspective for the article she had to write. She couldn’t very well turn in a story about the sporty clean smell of aftershave that teased her nostrils. Or the darker rim of olive that surrounded his irises, irises that were regarding her intently.

She decided on the truth. “I needed someone to think you and I are an item.”

One of Brock’s eyebrows raised. “Glad I went with it, then.”

“Me, too.” Her lips still buzzed with how glad she was.

“So, am I going to get that apology or not?” Though his words were demanding, his tone was playful, teasing.

One last peek assured her Jorja was still watching the show. “I don’t believe so.” She stepped closer, letting her eyes follow the progress of her hand as it ran under his jacket lapel, smoothing it down. Then she moved to his tie, needlessly straightening it, before her fingers found their way to the hair at his nape. She stroked the softness there by his neck, reveling in the feel of his hair. She hadn’t realized how much she’d wanted to touch it until now.

Brock shifted his weight from his right foot to his left, his eyes sliding shut. “Why, uh, why not?”

She stood on her tip-toes to reach the thicker hair at the back of his head, the hair that just brushed his collar. While she fanned her fingers, she stretched to whisper in his ear. “I was taught that you shouldn’t apologize if you don’t really mean it.”

Leaving him with one mussed hairstyle, two incredulous eyes, and three minutes to spare, she turned to walk off.

Hope you enjoyed my excerpt. Don't forget to check out everyone else's kissing scenes around the blogosphere!

Oh, in case you missed it...

I'm going to be a new columnist on Christian Fiction Online Magazine! Starting in February, I'll be doing my signature Character if you have questions about your characters or plot feasibility, email me and you could be one of the lucky monthly winners to be featured in my column on the magazine! You'll get links back to your website or blog, so this could be great exposure for your breakout or high concept novel. So what are you waiting for? :)

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kissing Day Blog Fest Tomorrow!

Hopefully I'll be seeing you all here tomorrow for the Kissing Day Blog Fest! Everyone's posting their kissing scenes in honor of the Christmas seasonal tradition of mistletoe. Go by this website and register your link so we know to visit your blog and read all the yummy deliciousness of kisses and near-kisses!

See you tomorrow!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

T3 - Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

The last personality disorder is on parade today at The Character Therapist. It's one heck of one, too. I should know, as I have more tendencies toward this one than any of them. :)

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - A Teen Mother's "Brother"

Interesting one today, folks. A teen mother gives birth to her son? Click the logo above to go to The Character Therapist.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Being Tagged and Tagging Others

So I got tagged yesterday for the first time by Christine H. In turn, I sentence the following three people to also be tagged, because I'm ruthless that way:

Katie Ganshert
Jessica Nelson
Eileen Astels

(Because the three of you have absolutely nothing better to do, I know.) :)

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?

The last thing I wrote was chapter 7 of my new WIP, The Character Therapist. This was about a week and a half ago. The first thing I wrote that I still have was this story about Mrs. Diamond (an actual diamond with arms and legs) who almost gets stolen. It is accompanied by a lovely crayon drawing from an abstract design the teacher made on the page that was converted into said Mrs. Diamond with arms and legs.

2. Write poetry?

For special occasions

3. Angsty poetry?


4. Favorite genre of writing?

Contemporary romance/romantic suspense

5. Most annoying character you've ever created? new one, Jorja Patterson (same aged, ex-step mom of the heroine). I call her my botox villain.

6. Best Plot you've ever created?

My character therapist plot is rocking so far. It's very different and really creative.

7. Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?

After reading Maass and hearing him speak, I went back and connected my villain in Blessed to the hero in a fairly surprising way.

8. How often do you get writer's block?

Usually once per book during the brainstorming stage. I just hit a wall. But I can get past it fairly easily with using critique partners and family as sounding boards.

9. Write fan fiction?

No, but I devoured all the Southern Vampire fan fiction I could get my hands on.

10. Do you type or write by hand?

Type. Only.

11. Do you save everything you write?

Absolutely. See post here on Therapeutic Writing.

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?

Oh yes. I don't like to use the word "abandon." Usually, though, one idea far outshines the others in my idea notebook, and that's the one I go with.

13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?

I'd have to say the chapter in The Character Therapist when my heroine realizes that the character therapist is using her anonymous submission as an example at a speech to a writing organization. Hysterical.

14. What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?

I guess Blessed. Its the one most have read and enjoyed...although honestly I don't even think my crit partner has read it in its entirety. Have you, Katie?

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

Yes to having written romance. Yes to having a fetish to READ teen drama (hel-lo Twilight).

16. What's your favorite setting for your characters?

Places I've lived and know about.

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?

One fiction novel...when I have time, that is...and monthly articles for Sage Girls Ministry Online. You can read my latest one here.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Not in the proper sense, no. But

19. What are your five favorite words?

That's a hard one. I love words, so have many favorites. The ones I probably like the sound (and meaning) of the most are some of the following: eclectic; cacophony; iridescent; juxtaposition and gregarious.

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?

Without a doubt, Shannon Hughes from my first book, What Might Have Been. It was written about a situation I went through, and she looks and acts a lot like me.

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?

From my professional background as a licensed marriage and family therapist.

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?

I haven't yet. That said, if I did write a book based on a dream, I don't know that I'd advertise it like Stephenie Meyers did. I wouldn't want someone saying that I had my "dream" after reading someone else's book, like Stephenie probably did when she read *cough* L.J. Smith's Vampire Diaries before she fell asleep.

23. Do you favor happy endings?

Yes. Romantic at heart, so I better have a good inclination from the author that they get together at the end if it's not blatantly obvious (like with a ring or white dress).

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Probably a bit too much so.

25. Does music help you write?

Not really. Haven't written much with music, although it was always classical music. I'm too easy to distract if I know the lyrics to something.

26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.

Here's one of my most favorite sentences:

Threads of uncertainty weaved a light tapestry of optimism over her heart.

So there you go. A bit more about me. Happy writing this weekend!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

T3 - Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Only two more personality disorders to go in our Parade! You can find out about this funny-sounding disorder at The Character Therapist.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - Multi-Disordered Assessment

This week's assessment focused on a character with more disorders than ornaments on a tree. Check it out at The Character Therapist.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

T3 - Dependent Personality Disorder

Come read about this fascinating, yet disturbing, personality disorder at The Character Therapist.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009



It's been 2 1/2 weeks....and she's coming in this afternoon with my mom on the "airpane" she loves so much. Please be praying for their safe travels...and our super sweet reunion.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - From Playboy to Committed Husband

How can you make a character swing from one thing to something totally opposite? Click on over to The Character Therapist to find out.

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