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Joan Swan | Welcome to the Journey of a Debut Author Blog Tour! Tips from Cindy Gerard

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This is our 10th week in a behind-the-scenes look at what's involved in getting a debut author prepared for publication. My own debut novel, FEVER, releases in a little over a month, so it's coming up fast. At every stop on the tour, I'll have a guest NYT bestselling author answering questions about their experience as a debut author and I'll also be giving away their books! My guest author this week is the fabulous Cindy Gerard, and I have 4 of her books to giveaway and 1 of my own ARCs!  Any comment or question enters you to win!  International!

This week we're talking about setting and reaching goals – apropos for the beginning of a New Year, no?

Can you believe we're already closing in on the end of January?  That means we should all be knee deep in those New Year's goals; after all, it only takes 21 consecutive days of an activity to create a habit, and here we are on day number 25.  So, all those awesome resolutions we made on January 1 should be cemented in our behavior patterns. 

Right?

*insert crickets chirping*

Yeah, me either.

In fact, I no longer make resolutions.  Yes, I've employed all the best guru advice on setting and keeping goals—write them down, make a public announcement, find a goal buddy...etc.  But, alas, I have to admit, I don't like to be boxed in and writing goals down in black and white is tantamount to putting and angry monkey on my back.

I'm a perfectionist, you know, that OCD writer-type (oh, don't raise your brows and shake your head at me...you know what I'm talking about).  And when I can't meet those goals to the letter as printed on the page, I get this icky, inadequate feeling.  How annoying is that?  I've spent years in this catch 22: can't succeed without concrete goals, can't create concrete goals because they make me feel...less than successful.

(I'm still in therapy...but I hear I'm making fabulous progress.)

Some time ago I realized that making solid, write-it-down, shout-it-to-the-world resolutions just don't work for me.  Creating a more flexible idea of a goal and meet even a portion of it leaves me feeling far more positive and powerful. 

Now, my goal setting techniques are a lot like my plotting techniques.  I write (and set goals) into the mist.  It's similar to the panster way of writing, but with a tad more structure.  The best way to describe it is that I'm standing a point, looking forward.  I can only see so far—to where the landscape gets a little fuzzy (that's the mist).   I write (or set a goal) to the farthest distance I can see, then set out for it.  I know where I am, I know where I'm headed, and if time is an important factor, I have a rough idea of how long it will take me to get there.   And somewhere, out there beyond my scope of visibility, is an end point.  In a story, that might be the next chapter, the next act or, if we're uber lucky, The End.   It's the same with goals for me. 

Yes, I'm a debut author, learning juggling skills, mastering the demands of writing, promotion, the day job, and oh, yeah, that pesky family!  (The family gets dropped on its head a lot.) And, yes, I have a ton to learn.  For now, this planning into the mist works fabulously for me.  It's a form of organization that simply fits with my brain function—or lack thereof. 

CindyGerard.jpgI interviewed New York Bestselling author Cindy Gerard for this topic and can only say I aspire to her methods and the success those techniques have brought.  I was introduced to Cindy's work by my critique partner, Elisabeth Naughton, and immediately fell in love with Cindy's Bodyguard series. (May I just say...YUM!?!?)  Cindy is a bestselling author of forty plus contemporary romance novels.  Along with numerous industry award nominations, Cindy is the recipient of The National Reader's Choice Award, The Readers Crown, the RT Reviewers Choice award and 2 Romance Writers of America's coveted Rita Awards. 

Clearly, her goal-setting techniques are working!!  

Cindy writes sexy, heart-pounding romantic suspense and her January 31st release, LAST MAN STANDING, promises to be yet another thrilling read, and she's here to talk about her thoughts on setting goals.

Cindy, in an industry where we can't determine our own success in terms of popularity and sales numbers, how do you determine what goals to set for yourself in the next 5-10 years?

This may come as a surprise, but I don't set goals that far ahead.  Number one, there is only one thing I really have control over:  the book.  I have control over content and delivery, and that's pretty much it.  Consequently, my goal is to write the best book I can, deliver it on time and thereby make my publisher and my readership happy so both want more from me :o)

Outside of sales numbers and other data represented by numbers, how do you define success for yourself as an author?

Readership and publisher support.  Great reviews are wonderful as are best-seller lists but the bottom line is that I must consistently deliver what my  readers like.  If I do that, then they are not only going to buy my book, they're going to tell their friends about it.  Good sales, steady sales, rising sales will prompt my publisher to push my books with fantastic marketing opportunities.  More marketing opportunities, more exposure, more sales and more ability to reach a larger audience.

Last-Man-Standing.jpgWhat goals did you have for yourself when you were a debut author, and have you realized those goals yet?

The only goal I ascribed to as a fledgling was finishing that first book and submitting it to a publisher.  Once I accomplished that, I did not rest on my laurels.  I wrote another 3 books before I ever got a rejection on that first one.  And after that rejection, I just kept on writing – it wasn't until my 3rd book that I sold and it's been full steam ahead ever since.  I now have over 40 books/novellas and short stories that are or will soon be in publication by 4 different publishers.

What goals would you advise debut authors now to focus on meeting?

Finish the book.  I can't tell you how many writers I've encountered that never finish a book because they get distracted or lose interest.  You can't sell if you don't finish.

And once you make that first sale (or if you're self publishing, once you publish your first book) then continue to be professional.  Deliver on time (or to the schedule you've promised your readership) and deliver a good product.

Has the focus of your writing goals changed over time?

Honestly, no.  I have always had one goal in mind.  Write the best book I can possibly write, maintain a good working relationship with my publisher (meaning I deliver a polished book on time so it doesn't destroy their production schedule) and then HOPE I find myself in a position where I continue to grow as a writer.  Stagnating by sticking with the status quo, not pushing for a higher level of craft, or not delivering to expectations are career killers.

In your opinion, what is the most important goal an author can have?

I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but I can only restate what I feel is obvious.  You must write the best book you can possibly write and you must do it consistently.  It all boils down to product.

This is a demanding and difficult profession.  Absolutely, it has some wonderful rewards, but the writers who survive are the ones who are constantly pushing themselves, who work hard and don't get distracted by either setbacks OR successes.  You are only as good as your last book ... because if it's not good, it just may BE your last book. :o)

Everyone needs to find their own path to success, whether it comes in the form of a prepackaged solution, a custom fitted blend of many ideas or a totally out-of-the-box unique fix. 

What are your best goal setting techniques?  Do different approaches work better in work vs. your personal life?  Any awesome tips for success?  We're all ears! 

Every comment will enter you in a drawing for three of her irresistible alpha Special Ops Inc. heroes...in book form, of course: WHISPER NO LIES, SHOW NO MERCY, FEEL THE HEAT and her new release, LAST MAN STANDING, on release day!  In addition, one lucky winner will receive an ARC of my very own FEVER!

Author bio:  Joan Swan is a triple RWA® Golden Heart finalist and writes sexy romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. Her debut novel with Kensington Brava, FEVER, releases February 28, 2012. Her second novel, BLAZE, follows in October, 2012.

Find Joan Swan: FreshFiction.com * Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

Find Cindy Gerard: FreshFiction.com * Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

 

 

Comments

151 comments posted.

Re: Joan Swan | Welcome to the Journey of a Debut Author Blog Tour! Tips from Cindy Gerard

Great interview! It's really admirable that you stay true to one goal, and to do things to the best of your abilities. It sounds easy, and this is a commonly known phrase, but it's still so hard to accomplish.

I's REALLY love to get my hands on Fever and Last Man Standing!!!! GAH, I love their covers, especially Fever's! Haha.All that red and defined pecs..Sigh.. *Wipes drool* :P Thanks for the giveaway!
(Chia Yet Peng 2:56am January 25, 2012)

The covers of both of the books are amazing!
(Renee Pajda 8:10am January 25, 2012)

I've heard that before, doing something for 21 days in a row creates a
habit .... if only I could get past day 5! LOL!!!!! "Fever" sounds like an
AMAZUNG book! The cover is very eye-catching!!!!!!!! Best wishes :~)
(Stefanie Finn 8:14am January 25, 2012)

some good advice, best of luck on your release
(d Kenney 8:57am January 25, 2012)

I've had VERY indifferent success with New Year's Resolutions, so on that front my goal setting skills are practically nil. I do best when I have a support group or have to report to someone by a certain date.
(Rebecca Whitehead-Schwarz 9:05am January 25, 2012)

I have set many goals, but they always fail due to some life mishap...but I still have goals and am still determined to reach them!!
(Dawn Staniszeski 9:42am January 25, 2012)

I don't make NY Resolutions anymore. I just feel too guilty when I fail. I seem to have the ability to do all the things that aren't good for me. I always admire people who can stick to one goal. I must have a selective form of ADD. I think I need a drill sgt or something to follow me around to make sure I do what's right. Hmmm maybe he could be hot and give me private bonuses for completion of tasks...that would be perfect.
(Patti Paonessa 10:17am January 25, 2012)

Joan, very best wishes for your debut. LOVE the cover!

Ms. Gerard, in my opinion, writes novels that are high on the list of those that set the standard for RS. I think it can safely be said that she consistently produces outstanding work, and I cannot wait for Last Man Standing. 6 days and counting down...
(Sharon Spiller 10:44am January 25, 2012)

Thank you for discussing writing and the need
tos push through. I am so glad that you were
able to interview someone else about it to. I
think that the work involved has been
overlooked but appreciated. I am a little ocd, I
also find that life interrupts those goals I set.
Afterall, the one that can get things done the
way they are supposed to, is me. I have to learn
delegation and relax on being hard on myself if I
can't jump the bar I set.
(Carla Carlson 10:44am January 25, 2012)

I think that the greatest thing about this interview is that Cindy Gerard
knows her readers and is willing to give it to them.

I know that it is all the rage and authors may be pushed by their
publishers to venture into the paranormal, but its quite a jump from the
genres their readers prefer. I do not mean to suggest that authors
should not write only RS, for example. I read contemporary, historicals
and straight suspense. It may be me but the vampire thing and books
that are way out there are not what authors I read generally write. Lately,
authors that I never would have expected are venturing there.

I know this might seem inconsistent, but I do read J.D.Robb and know
what to expect just as I do when I read Nora Roberts.

Anyway, I am glad that I know what I am getting from Cindy Gerard, and
that is terrific RS.

Good luck with your debut novel, I will be on the lookout for it Joan!
(Marijane Diodati 11:11am January 25, 2012)

I would love to win Cindy Gerard books - and your ARC for your debut novel. Best of luck with your debut novel - and a very happy 2012.
(Nancy Reynolds 11:15am January 25, 2012)

Great interview. And the best advice I have on goals is to write them down. It makes you responsible for them, rather than just dreaming of them as a pipe dream.
(Pam Howell 12:02pm January 25, 2012)

I gave up setting goals along time ago. I just have a mental to do list. I try to accomplish everything with in reason on that list.
(Annetta Stolpmann 12:07pm January 25, 2012)

I am not a writer and sometimes just defining the goal is the major difficulty. However, after setting the goal it is a matter of continuing to work until I reach it.
(G. Bisbjerg 12:09pm January 25, 2012)

I am a great fan of Cindy Gerard! You are in good company!
Blessings,
marjorie
(Marjorie Carmony 12:16pm January 25, 2012)

I don't work due to illness, so I can't comment on the work vs personal life angle, so to speak. What I can say works for me in my everyday life as a whole to reach a goal that I've set is to take so much time a day to apply towards your goal. We do that with knitting or crocheting. Even if you start out with just 10 minutes a day, before you know it, you start getting the hang of it and enjoying what you're doing more, and want to spend more time doing it. It doesn't seem like the drag you thought it was going to be. You also have to change your mindset into something positive. Keep thinking that it's going to be a wonderful change when you complete it, instead of thinking how awful the process to get there is going to be. I would absolutely love to win all of those books!! They would help keep me occupied in between my goals since I don't get out much due to my illness and the cold weather in the North.
(Peggy Roberson 12:17pm January 25, 2012)

Great interview; thanks. I love Cindy's take on setting goals--that she has control over the book. Period. I think if we can all pare things down what is ours to do, to control, then we'll be much happier about our own goal setting.
(G S Moch 12:20pm January 25, 2012)

Love your goals, Cindy. And I agree. Only sweat the stuff you're in control of. Write the best, put it out, move on to the next. :) Workin' it! :) Thanks for the post!
(Cj Snyder 12:27pm January 25, 2012)

I really enjoyed getting to know you both more. As for goals, I only put my work goals on paper, life goals are on a fuzzy to do list in my head that I try to whittle away at.
(Cathy MacDonald 12:29pm January 25, 2012)

I love both Cindy and Joan! Great interview.
(Jennifer Wilson 12:31pm January 25, 2012)

Great interview. I love Cindy's attitude toward her work. This is our career and we should take it seriously if we want to succeed. I set goals. I make New Year Resolutions. Then I do the most important thing...sit my butt in my chair and make it happen. ((smile))
(Barb Han 12:32pm January 25, 2012)

I love Cindy's books & her advice is good even if you aren't a
writer...I haven't read Joan yet but she's @ the top of my TBR
list.
(Ivy Truitt 12:36pm January 25, 2012)

It's so reassuring the hear the advice to write the best
book you can write and do so again and again. I used to
hear that consistently when I began writing. Now there is
so much focus on promotion and getting your name and face on
social media, it's easy to lose focus on what's most
important. Thanks for the reminder.
(Sara Daniel 12:39pm January 25, 2012)

Great advice! Cindy, you have always been one of my favorite suspense authors!

Joan, congrats to you!

susan meier
(Susan Meier 12:41pm January 25, 2012)

Love these interviews, I learn a lot! I was just recently
introduced to Cindy Gerard's books and I am looking forwarded
to reading them!! Thank you.
(Kathy Meyers 12:42pm January 25, 2012)

I enjoyed reading the interview...thanks for sharing it with us... Goals for me... I try to plan things out and take things one step at a time...
(Colleen Conklin 12:43pm January 25, 2012)

Love the interview. For every new year, I have certain goals that I try to obtain. Most of successful, but sometimes some do not pan out. Keeping organized in my job and personal life has helped a lot. Focus is also important. Good luck on your debut novel! Can't wait to read it :)
(Angela C. 12:53pm January 25, 2012)

I have ADHD and so for me sticking to a goal long term is a toughy sometimes. My most recent goal was losing 30 lbs in 6 months after joining a weight loss challenge. I am happy to say that i met that and exceeded it by 7 lbs. 37 lbs and so far i am maintaining that loss and working on losing just a few more plus toning everything up. Never did i think i could do this but i turned it into a mental game. I figured out what i had to do or not to get there without it being to complicated. I don't dwell on wanting that big mac i figured out what i could have and just order that. Think about it and you'll go for the big mac. lol Same with exercise. Don't think about whether you feel like it or not just suit up and do it. I think that works for a lot of things. Find what motivates you and use it and if it's possible get others to help keep you on that path.

Love your book Cindy! Whatever you've been doing to reach your girls is working and i bet it feels great to be able to do that.

Lisa B
(Lisa Boggs 12:57pm January 25, 2012)

I really enjoyed this interview. The books all sound so good and I promise I will give them all a very loving home!! :)
(Sue Sattler 1:00pm January 25, 2012)

Great interview. Any good advice given will be gratefully read
by me as I am terrible at setting goals let alone achieving them!
(Ilona Fenton 1:15pm January 25, 2012)

Great interview. I think goals are important,
HOWEVER they need to be achievable. Like
losing 50 lbs instead of the 100 lbs you really
need to lose. LOL. If you can't reach the goal,
you'll just give up. I have ALL of Cindy's book
except Last Man Standing. Would love to win a
copy of it and Fever. Thanks.
(Trish Johnson 1:23pm January 25, 2012)

HI JOAN!! GOOD LUCK AND I'LL LOOK FOR YOUR BOOK. I GAVE UP
YEARS AGO! LOL
(Linda Bass 1:35pm January 25, 2012)

I just try to keep the big picture in mind when I set a goal.
That usually helps!
(Heather McKenna 1:42pm January 25, 2012)

Is there any genre you really shy away from? Or do you set a goal of writing about a certain topic and you just go for it?
(Cheryl English 1:49pm January 25, 2012)

Great post Joan and lovely interview with Cindy! I love her Black Ops series. I just discovered them earlier this month and just love the balance of suspense and romance in the novels. I wonder, is maintaining this balance churning in the back of your head as your write?
(Annie Tegelan 2:01pm January 25, 2012)

I'm a full time mom therefore my goals are a lot different to what they used to be while I was working. When I was working my boss set the goals for me and I made my schedule to get them done in time. Nowadays I set my own goals and am flexible about it. I have 3 kids between 1 and 5 years old, the most important thing I learned: if something does not work out how you wanted it, suck it up and make the best out of it. There is always a tomorrow to get back on track :-)
I would love to win the ARC Fever (looks yum, lol) but I already have all of Cindy Gerards book (she is the best!).
(Christine Hoelzl 2:03pm January 25, 2012)

I cannot wait to read last man standing .... and your book looks pretty
good too
(Patty Porter 2:14pm January 25, 2012)

I enjoyed the post; it was a great read. Looks like I'll be adding some books to my wish list!
(Tracey Dent 2:16pm January 25, 2012)

Congrats on making your debut soon. The cover is great which is the thing that makes me pick up a book to read the blurb or pause to read an excerpt.

I no longer do resolutions too. I can remember the last goal I set for myself, I'm a roll with the breeze kind of person.
(Anne Muller 2:22pm January 25, 2012)

I finished my first book last year and have now started writing my second... The hardest part for me is starting, not finishing! But then again, if you don't start, you can never finish.
(Laura Sheehan 2:24pm January 25, 2012)

Hi! I liked reading your blog, I don't make New Year Resolutions but I do write down on things that I'd like to do that I've never have done. this year, IU'm going to try horsebacking for I've never have rode a horse, mucked stall, but never have ridden.I like Cindy Grards books alot, and finding a new author like yourself is so cool-your book sounds so good. I have dyslexia which I've overcome but its still a challenge especially if I'm over tired but it never stopped me from reading, and when I had it they didn't know how to treat me, my mom and a good 4th grade teacher helped me...so I just keep working hard, thats my motto...don't ever give-up! Love to win this package!
(Carole Fiore 2:25pm January 25, 2012)

Great interview!
(Cheryl McEwen 2:28pm January 25, 2012)

Chia Yet Peng - Thanks! I do love both covers! Hot, hot, hot!
(Joan Swan 2:32pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks Renee!
(Joan Swan 2:32pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Stefanie! I stop right about 5 as well! :)
(Joan Swan 2:33pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks D Kenny!
(Joan Swan 2:34pm January 25, 2012)

Some of those "writer" to-do's/goals are applicable for us
non-writers too. I find it helpful to break long term or big
goals down into pieces, then you get that accomplished feel
good several times. I also like to make easy short term goals
too make me feel like things are progressing.
(Diane Sallans 2:35pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Rebecca! Sounds like you've found what works for you! YAY!
(Joan Swan 2:35pm January 25, 2012)

Go Dawn!!
(Joan Swan 2:35pm January 25, 2012)

Patti, you are certainly not alone! I'm with you all the way! It's tough!
(Joan Swan 2:36pm January 25, 2012)

Sharon, Thank you! And I whole heartedly agree with your assessment of Cindy's work!!
(Joan Swan 2:37pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Carla, I'm on that OCD level with you! I enjoyed interviewing Cindy on the topic - it's a fantastic compare and contrast of not only styles but places in our careers. I hope to look back on this in several years and be far more set in my goal making practices as Cindy is (and have the success to show for it) :)
(Joan Swan 2:40pm January 25, 2012)

I love all of Cindy's books. Would love to read your new also!
(Jodi Morgan 2:42pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Marijane! It is fantastic when authors are so great at what they do that they can remain successful even when the market shifts!
(Joan Swan 2:42pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks Nancy!
(Joan Swan 2:43pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks Pam! That is one of the pieces of advice that works for many people!
(Joan Swan 2:44pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Annetta - that sounds very reasonable and balanced. :)
(Joan Swan 2:45pm January 25, 2012)

G. Bisbjerg, Figuring it out is a big first step, isn't it? Sounds like you're got the process down.
(Joan Swan 2:46pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Marjorie, I'm in the Cindy fan club with you!
(Joan Swan 2:48pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Peggy, you've got an awesome outlook and attitude! Wishing you better health!
(Joan Swan 2:50pm January 25, 2012)

G S Moch, Good point -- work at the things you can control, let go of the things you can't. :)
(Joan Swan 2:51pm January 25, 2012)

CJ, Thanks for coming out! :)
(Joan Swan 2:52pm January 25, 2012)

Cathy, sounds like you've got your ways figured out!
(Joan Swan 2:53pm January 25, 2012)

Awww, thanks Jennifer!! XOXO
(Joan Swan 2:53pm January 25, 2012)

Go Barb!
(Joan Swan 2:54pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Ivy! Thanks for coming by! :) XO
(Joan Swan 2:55pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Sara, Yes! Very easy to lose focus!! But all the big names will tell you -- focus on the next book!
(Joan Swan 2:56pm January 25, 2012)

Hey Susan M! Thanks for stopping by!
(Joan Swan 2:56pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Kathy -- I've learned so much from doing these interviews!! It's amazing! Enjoy Cindy's books! They ROCK!
(Joan Swan 2:57pm January 25, 2012)

Hello Joan! When I want to achieve a goal I usually map it out on my calendar. It motivates me to not drag my feet if I can see that big red X looming in front of me.
(Stacie Deramo 2:58pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Colleen, very reasonable and sane! :)
(Joan Swan 2:58pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks Angela! Great advice: organization and focus--simple yet awesome!
(Joan Swan 2:59pm January 25, 2012)

Lisa, KUDOS!!! That's a huge accomplishment!! Your positive attitude is inspirational!
(Joan Swan 3:01pm January 25, 2012)

Sue & Iliona, Thanks! Appreciate you coming by!
(Joan Swan 3:01pm January 25, 2012)

Welcome. I look forward to reading your books.
(Cindy Olp 3:02pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Trish! Another great piece of advice: attainable goals so you are successful!
(Joan Swan 3:02pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks Linda B.!
(Joan Swan 3:03pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Heather! Another great piece of advice: keep the big picture in focus.
(Joan Swan 3:04pm January 25, 2012)

A big shout out to all of you who have stopped by. LOVE that you're loving my books~ Thanks to Joan for inviting me to blog with her today. Good luck with all of your projects and with winning one of the 5 books!
(Cindy Gerard 3:04pm January 25, 2012)

Great post. I would love to win the book.
(Wilma Frana 3:05pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Cheryl, great question! I don't shy away from genres as much as I'm drawn to others. Romantic suspense is my first love. I enjoy certain paranormal elements as I enjoy thrillers and mainstream suspense, so that's the direction I take when I write.
(Joan Swan 3:07pm January 25, 2012)

Joan, congratulations on your upcoming debut release of Fever. It sounds like a great read and what a HOT cover! Thank you for the lovely and insightful interview.
(Christine Stack 3:07pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Annie! Thanks for coming by! I'm not sure how it works for Cindy, but for me it's not a conscious thought anymore. When I started writing - absolutely. It was always in my mind, but then, so was every other element of craft, which of course is why my first works didn't sell :). Now, the story is far more fluid, it ebbs and flows and the romance is as integral a part of the plot as the suspense, so they easily intertwine. That also gets evened out in editing/revising if I see I've gone awry somewhere.
(Joan Swan 3:10pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Christine! I imagine FLEXIBILITY is your middle name! :)
(Joan Swan 3:11pm January 25, 2012)

Patty & Tracy, Thanks much! Appreciate you coming by!
(Joan Swan 3:12pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Anne, the rolling with the breeze reduces a lot of stress and opens you to what life brings. There's a lot to be said for that!
(Joan Swan 3:13pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Laura! WHOO-HOO! Congrats on finishing your first and starting your second! You're on the right path!!
(Joan Swan 3:14pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Carole! Sounds like you've got a system to overcome obstacles! Congrats on your accomplishments!
(Joan Swan 3:16pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Di! Another great piece of advice: breaking big goals into smaller pieces so you feel more successful!
(Joan Swan 3:33pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Jodi! Thanks!
(Joan Swan 3:35pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Christine! Thanks for swinging by!
(Joan Swan 3:36pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks Wilma!
(Joan Swan 3:36pm January 25, 2012)

Hi, thanks for doing interview and contest :)

MaDonna Lemmen
derna4u@yahoo.com
(MaDonna Lemmen 3:38pm January 25, 2012)

CINDY G - Thanks so much AGAIN for taking the time to do the interview! Can't wait to get LMS! :)
(Joan Swan 3:40pm January 25, 2012)

Congrats on your upcoming debut release, Joan. I don't always set goals, but I do find that when I do set them I find it easier to see the finish line.
(Jane Cheung 3:58pm January 25, 2012)

Great interview!

I'm not a big planner for the long term future. I have goals, but no specific time of when I want them completed.
(Lindsay Wolford 4:10pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Joan, I've been eagerly awaiting FEVER since I first heard about. Getting an early copy would be such a great thing. I've got so many goals and am always suprised when I actually reach one! My biggest goal is to be a debut author one of these days. Congrats! : )
(Amy Valentini 4:10pm January 25, 2012)

Fabulous interview, Joan! I have been a huge fan of Cindy's
since I stumbled upon the Bodyguard Series! (I've read each of
them several times!) I an eagerly awaiting the release of Last
Man Standing, as well as Fever! Both of them are sure to be
great novels! I only wish I could write like that! :)
(Laura Kelley 4:24pm January 25, 2012)

I'm big on goal-setting and I think big or small it's a great way to set a map of where you want to go. Even if I don't accomplish what matters is that I try and keep on trying.
(Na S 4:53pm January 25, 2012)

Great interview, and I feel it's important to set goals (but not too far in advance), and it then sets forth something to look forward to accomplishing. The best approaches when working is to work well with others and be positive about their input in their suggestions and ideas. It's easier said than done in both work and personal life, but I've always found out that it's better for you, being upbeat rather than downbeat and you get further ahead, especially when you want others to hear and respect anything you put forth. Criticisms and negativity doesn't go far with most. I love your new release, Joan, and would love to own it and of course, Cindy's series, as well. You've both been really busy!
(Linda Luinstra 4:56pm January 25, 2012)

I make general resolutions and this year it was to take the clutter out of the house and, so far, I have been moving forward with it. Congratulations on the new book!
(Maureen Emmons 5:20pm January 25, 2012)

I love Cindy's books. Thanks for giving us the chance to win them.
(Marilyn Legault 5:33pm January 25, 2012)

FEVER sounds like a great book! I didn't make any resolutions, but I do set forth goals for myself and usually accomplish most of them, which gives a person a good feeling. Congrats on your upcoming new release! Good luck with it and Cindy with all her books.
(Rich Cook 5:43pm January 25, 2012)

I enjoyed the post and Fever sounds like a fantastic story, as well as Cindy
Gerard's books. I think the hardest thing is figuring out what my goal is. Once I
do that, I just work toward it until I achieve it, then set the next one.
(Barbara Elness 6:04pm January 25, 2012)

I find that I dont' set many goals myself anymore. I'm a teacher, and I have to be really flexible day to day as thing are always changing. I've found that my personal life is the same, so I just go with the flow and let things work itself out. Congratulations on the upcoming release of Fever.
(Tabitha Monroe 6:15pm January 25, 2012)

Here lately my goal setting techniques are nil. I've been
in a slump, so until I get desperate - ARGHHH - who knows.
Although I know I'll never let myself reach that point.

Joan, I immediately put FEVER on The List when I started
hearing about it. I want this book. Oh, and excuse me,
your critique partner is none other that the uber wonderful
Elisabeth Naughton? She who pens the fabulous and fearsome
Eternal Guardians. I am impressed. Yep, you are one to be
watched.
(Cynthia Netherton 6:31pm January 25, 2012)

Awesome interview!
(Natasha Donohoo 6:52pm January 25, 2012)

I don't set New Year's resolutions because they just don't make sense to me. I do set goals for myself but just in small chunks each month. I have always been amazed that authors are able to organize and stay on task. I don't think I could do it.
(Jennifer Beyer 7:51pm January 25, 2012)

I don't make goals anymore but I have decided to do my best to take better care of my health. No promises and no disappointments just trying.
(Diane Sadler 7:58pm January 25, 2012)

I know it sounds oversimplified and all Nike... but best way to meet a goal is just do it. Starting is the hardest part for me. Then just staying focused and just trying to avoid anything that might deter me. Yeah harder said then done huh :P Great interview and great giveaway.
(Sharon D 8:16pm January 25, 2012)

Finishing small goals first helps me finish the bigger goals
(Tammy Yenalavitch 8:31pm January 25, 2012)

Great interview with a savvy writer. Goal setting is tricky for me because I am too high. But breaking it down into small chunks is more doable and halfway achievable. It must be nice to cross tasks off your lists.
(Alyson Widen 8:41pm January 25, 2012)

Wow that would be difficult to just hand off your book and leave it to the
publisher/whoever to do the publicity (content and delivery). Even book
covers they choose right?
Good for you for having goals. I havn't set goals for myself in a long time, just
too busy with getting through every day. So good for you, hope you keep it
up! And I hope your book is a success!
(Lexi Hansen 8:44pm January 25, 2012)

Csan't wait to read Last Man Standing and Fever!
(Mary Chin 9:33pm January 25, 2012)

It's always very interesting to find out how the whole process works. I love debut authors and also authors I know to be a sure thing. So that's perfect for both of you. And all the covers are gorgeous!
(Jeanne Sheats 9:36pm January 25, 2012)

Congrats on the new release! How exciting. Do you write for fun, or is it a chore?
(MaryAnne Banks 9:59pm January 25, 2012)

Great interview! Can't wait to read Last Man Standing and Fever. Have
heard some buzz on Both books and have added to my TBR. Cindy
Gerard is one of my favorite author!

No goal setting for me, I just try to find a happy medium.
(Susan Tso 10:02pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks MaDonna!
(Joan Swan 10:29pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Jane! Good point - setting goals give you greater focus!
(Joan Swan 10:30pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Lindsey, Often hard to see that far out, isn't it?
(Joan Swan 10:31pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Amy! Thanks so much!! And that's an awesome goal :-)
(Joan Swan 10:32pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks so much Kelly!
(Joan Swan 10:33pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks for coming by Laura! I too got hooked on Cindy's Bodyguard series!
(Joan Swan 10:34pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Na! Thanks for coming by! You're inspiring me to set goals!
(Joan Swan 10:35pm January 25, 2012)

Linda, love that positive attitude!!!
(Joan Swan 10:36pm January 25, 2012)

Oh, Maureen...come over to MY house!! What a GREAT resolution!
(Joan Swan 10:36pm January 25, 2012)

Marylin, I join you in the Cindy fan club!
(Joan Swan 10:37pm January 25, 2012)

Rich, thanks for coming by! Congrats on your successes with setting and achieving your goals!
(Joan Swan 10:38pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Barbara, the deciding factor can be tough!
(Joan Swan 10:38pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Tabitha, I definitely find myself more flexible as I get older. And I'm really enjoying it!
(Joan Swan 10:40pm January 25, 2012)

LOL, Cynthia, yes that is my CP. She was even my CP BEFORE those Eternal Guardians were even a sparkle in her eye! :-) They are fantastic, aren't they? She is awesome, no doubt!!
(Joan Swan 10:42pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks Natasha!
(Joan Swan 10:46pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Jennifer, they don't make sense to me either, the way Valentine's Day doesn't make sense.
(Joan Swan 10:47pm January 25, 2012)

Hi Diane, very reasonable and your health is always paramount.
(Joan Swan 10:47pm January 25, 2012)

Sharon, I agree, starting is the hardest part!! Nike was onto something!
(Joan Swan 10:48pm January 25, 2012)

Tammy, great principle!
(Joan Swan 10:48pm January 25, 2012)

Alyson, you must be in the overachievers club. I actually have friends who makes lists with items on there already done so they have something to immediately cross off -- gives them momentum. :)
(Joan Swan 10:50pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks Lexi! Yes, an author loses a lot of control once the book is handed over to the publisher. The cover, the cover copy blurb, their in house marketing, so much is completely out of your control. As Cindy says, all we can control is the writing of the book. :)
(Joan Swan 10:52pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks Mary C!
(Joan Swan 10:52pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks Jeanne! I enjoy the process too -- it's always a little bit different for each house.
(Joan Swan 10:53pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks MaryAnne! Hmmm, fun or chore... Depends on the day :), but I'd have to say it's mostly fun. The chore part is there, but it's there with any job. And there are ways to make even the most mundane or tough part of writing entertaining.
(Joan Swan 10:54pm January 25, 2012)

Susan T, very reasonable!
(Joan Swan 10:56pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks for the interview I enjoyed it. I like setting small goals. I find it is easier not to set myself up for failure that way.
(Lisa Kendall 11:07pm January 25, 2012)

Thank you for the wonderful interview. I don't make resolutions either.
(Mary Preston 11:19pm January 25, 2012)

Thanks to all of you for dropping by! You totally rock!
(Cindy Gerard 9:06am January 26, 2012)

Oh - and many thanks to Joan Swan for setting this all up.
(Cindy Gerard 9:08am January 26, 2012)

Having tried various methods of goal setting without much success, I decided to try to keep whatever it is for one day at a time. That is working better than the other ways for me. Any little success is good for me so I don't beat up on myself.

Thanks for having the drawing.
(Linda Howell 9:53am January 26, 2012)

I tend to run as a perfectionist, I will make lists
from lists to make sure nothing is overlooked. I
have my own schedule that can be tweaked
when things POP up.
(Carla Carlson 12:56pm January 26, 2012)

I really liked this interview. Congrats on the new novel coming out! I have been trying to collect your books for a while now lol. I have tried setting goals and what not, but I always feel as though there is a knife over me and I do not want to put out a piece of crap.

Thanks for the giveaway!
(Desiree Bingham 1:36pm January 26, 2012)

Congratulations on the book Joan. Cindy, thanks for letting us know about it.
(Tracy MacLeod 4:21pm January 26, 2012)

Congrat's and Best of Luck with your Fantastic sounding book "Fever". Your interview was terrific and I learned a lot from it about both of you. :) Thanks so much for having this contest. Although I wish Everyone Good Luck, I secretly hope that I will be the LUCKY winner! As far as goals, I haven't set any for many years. I used to set them but tended to set too many and ones that were nearly impossible (for me anyway) to reach. Of course, since I could never reach those goals, I stopped setting them. I decided I might try to set smaller, more reasonable ones that I will, with some effort, be able to reach. Hopefully this will give me enough encouragement (as I reach each one), to set a bit more difficult goals the next time. I was told that IF you do something daily for 2 weeks, it WILL become an automatic part of your daily routine. (I like the sound of that, LOL) A few of the goals I hope to achieve: 1. set aside a few hours a week to help someone, 2. try to schedule at least 1/2 hour each day to do some form of exercise to help improve my health 3. every month read a book by a new author(or new to me). Ms. Swan,I hope 2012 brings you much happiness and success with both"Fever" and "Blaze" (as well as, all the other books that are sure to follow).
(Cheri Minott 2:05am January 30, 2012)

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