Happy New Year! Until a few years ago, I’d never heard of claiming a word as your mantra for the upcoming year. I’ve been through goal-setting and making resolutions (and breaking them), but the whole “one word” thing was a new concept. One I didn’t really pay attention to, if I’m being honest. But this year, I’ve decided to embrace a whole new outlook. The past year, I’ve felt scattered, rushed, disorganized, stressed, depressed – but not without moments of exhilaration, joy, accomplishment, and pride. I want to be more intentional about bringing those positive moments into my life this year. I want to spend my time this year writing, having fun with my family and friends, selling books and reaching more readers, exploring my passions… and much LESS time fretting and worrying. So I’m trying this “One Word” thing for 2019 and I’ve chosen as my word…. <drum roll please>  


I considered words like “Intentional”, “Motivate”, “Focus”. But I think “sparkle” says it best. Because I want to sparkle in all aspects of life. I want to be that light that attracts people, that makes my family feel good, that makes ME feel good. And in order to sparkle, I’ll have to do things like be intentional, motivated, and focused. But one cannot sparkle all alone. So here is a short list of the people and tools helping me to shine this year: My Damned Mob of Scribbling Women: my writer peeps, including JL Lora, Shadow Leitner, Laralyn Doran, Audrey Coloumbis, and Katie Baldwin. They cheer me on and cheer me up, and are always there whether I need to wine or whine. Or both. Commit30 Planner: I’m trying this out for the first time this year! I’ve always been a sucker for a good planner, but had trouble finding the right one. This one has places to break down your goals and encourages you to use baby steps. And I get to use stickers, which make me happy. Bad Redhead Media: Rachel is THE guru for book marketing and also a brave survivor who hosts #SexAbuseChat Tuesday nights on Twitter, a conversation that’s helped me with my own issues. Highly recommend her for her expertise and her advocacy! My Writing Chapters: I’m a chapter slut. In addition to the national organization, Romance Writers of America, I belong to Virginian Romance Writers, Maryland Romance Writers, DC Romance Writers, and now Central PA Romance Writers. I can’t help it! I love my fellow chapter members and they each offer unique benefits. While I’m typically a homebody and somewhat of an introvert, membership in these chapters has forced me to come out of my shell. And that’s a good thing, because you can’t sparkle if you’re hiding in the shadows. Sharpies: I am addicted to Sharpies. They are colorful, they feel comfortable in my hand, they are bright and permanent and when I write with them, I feel I’m writing with PURPOSE. What I need are a few that sparkle. (Adding metallic ones to the next shopping list…) Death Wish Coffee: Because it’s socially unacceptable to break out the bourbon before 5 p.m. The intensity of this keeps me pumped and sparkling until it’s relaxation time.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo: You can’t sparkle if you’re buried under clutter. Sparkle – Spark- Spark Joy by Tidying Up! And now it’s on Netflix. I sense a new addiction taking over while I wait for The Great British Baking Show to return…

Your A-Game with Damon Suede: There are so many reason to love Damon. Talk about someone who sparkles! I’ve taken a few workshops with him over the years and I never fail to come away with actionable items. I’ve improved my writing using his techniques and now I’m tackling the business-side of my passion using his advice. If you’re a writer, I highly recommend picking up Your A-Game (co-written with Heidi Cullinan) and Verbalize. They’ll energize your writing from all sides. Anything in flannel, especially red/black plaid flannel: Because it makes me happy. ­čÖé
What’s your word for 2019? How are you going to live it? Let me know in the comments or stop by my Facebook page to chat!