January 23rd, 2022
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A welcome second chance… Or a recipe for disaster?

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It might be impossible to put out these flames…Good thing this cowboy can handle the sparks.

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Dead To Me.

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Rip Roaring Regency Romp

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Healing his physical wounds is just the beginning…

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After suffering a horrific injury that threatens to end his career, Baden Oulett is about to learn that sometimes a fresh start is just what the doctor ordered.

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In January this year, my friend Gloria will come to my home for three days while we review the ten personal and ten professional goals we set for 2009 and set our goals for 2010. She'll reassure me that Shattered, my 49th novel and the eighth book in my Bitter Creek series, which hits bookstores on December 29, will sell like hotcakes. I'll drink lots of hot tea, eat lots of Hershey's kisses (with almonds) and angst about whether my readers will like Kate and Jack's story, which they've been waiting to read for two years. (I know, finally!!!!)

Gloria and I became friends at a Romantic Times writing conference and we've shared these sessions--at her house one year and my house the next--for the past fifteen years. It's amazing how much more you accomplish when you write down your goals and check in once a week with a friend to see how you're doing during the year.

Every goal you write should be stated as though it has already occurred. It should also be something within your control and achievable during the year. I'll share a couple of mine from last year with you, so you can see what I mean.


1. I have invited my family (my son, daughter, son-in-law and two grandkids) over to dinner one night a week.

My family knows that I'll be making dinner for everyone every Monday evening. This goal has given me a chance to try a lot of new Rachel Ray recipes (favorites include Road to Morocco Lamb with Pine Nut Couscous, Crab & Corn Chowder, and Black Cherry-Black Pepper Lamb Chops with Sweet Pea Risotto) that I'd never cook just for myself and to check in with my very busy kids and grandkids to see what's happening in their lives. When I get busy, I arrange to take everyone out for dinner, or just cancel until the next week. But we all look forward to getting together.

2. I have enjoyed a mother/daughter weekend with my daughter.

When my daughter was growing up (and I was a single mother) I was busy writing five books a year for five years. We missed a lot of mother/daughter time that we're making up now that she's an adult. My daughter and I ended up going to Savannah for the weekend this year (a chance to talk and share a little fun). We took a cooking class at The Mansion on Forsyth Park, where we were students learning how to cut and how to cook. This class gave me the idea to make every Monday dinner a "cooking class" for my seven-year-old grandson and nearly-four-year-old granddaughter. They love every experience--from learning how to open a can with a hand-held can opener, to peeling potatoes (!), to rolling up meatballs, to making an apple pie with a lattice top.


1. I have updated my web site and done a contest monthly.

This sounds simple, but it entails writing a new letter to let readers know what's going on in my life, and then making sure it gets incorporated by my webmistress. This year, I managed to stay pretty much on top of the situation, although there were months when I didn't. Contests have been great fun, a way to give readers advance reading copies or other prizes when they sign up on my mailing list to receive postcards or enewsletters when new books are in stores. I'm just finishing Invincible, a Benedict Brothers book, which will be in stores in September 2010. You can find out more about this new series at my web site.

2. I have become proficent at WORD by a) practicing and/or b) taking a class or c) getting a tutor.

Okay, so I've practiced a little, signed up for a class (and copied all the lessons, so I have them for future reference). I'm better than I was, but I'm still not writing my books on WORD. This goal will probably be there again next year.

No, you don't have to achieve all your goals every year. Sometimes I get 80%; sometimes I get 40%. The important thing is to reevaluate and decide what you want to continue working toward, and what isn't so imprtant after all. It was a goal of mine for many years to become a New York Times bestselling author. What is amazing, is that the year I finally achieved that goal (with my 40th novel, The Cowboy) it was no longer on my list. I'd already done everything I could to make it happen, and was working toward my next goal.

Hope you have a happy and productive New Year--and reach all your goals!

Joan Johnston




8 comments posted.


HI Joan
I love your books. Thanks for the thoughtful advice. Happy New Year.
(Mary G Grzesik 9:20am January 1, 2010)

Great examples for clearly stated goals - thanks for the incentive.
(Penny Tuttle 3:23pm January 1, 2010)

Ever since I retired I have done something new every year. This includes flying a glider plane and climbing to the top of the wall and ringing the bell. I don't know what I will do this year, but it will be different - at least for me!
(Karin Tillotson 6:58pm January 1, 2010)

No goals, I can't keep them but some self improvements I will try to commit to.
(Diane Sadler 8:38pm January 1, 2010)

My goals tend to be more daily. Today I will do this or finish that.
(Mary Preston 9:04pm January 1, 2010)

I love your books! You have set realistic goal which are very obtainable! I just want to take one day t a time. Happy New Year!
(Lisa Glidewell 9:45pm January 1, 2010)

You're so right about writing goals. When written down, they'e got a better chance of happening - the precontemplative stage. My list is always longer than possible to achieve, but a girl can dream.
(Alyson Widen 3:55pm January 2, 2010)

I will never be organized nor stick to my New Year's resolutions, lol. Good luck to you and hope everyone has a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.
(Vicki Hancock 4:52pm January 2, 2010)

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