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Kate St. James | "Good Vibrations" & The Power of Goals

December 31, 2007

Good Vibrations” in Red Sage Secrets Volume 21: Primal Heat is my first erotic romance novella. I had a blast writing it, and I’m thrilled to share the story with readers. My heroine, Lexi O’Brien, is funny and practical and dead-set on her goals. She’s about to give notice at her quirky aunt’s love shop where she works so she can enter a competitive MBA program. In the past, mixing her studies with dating has caused Lexi’s grades to suffer, so she’s decided to remain celibate for the next two looooooooong years. Then Gage Templeton, her favorite out-of-customer, shows up as she’s about to close shop for the night. Lexi realizes this might be her last chance to see him…and her last chance for some hot loving before she straps on her chastity belt. So she does what any bright girl in her position would do–she modifies her goals. Lexi’s new goal is to share one wild weekend with Gage and then go merrily on her way. However, Gage has other ideas. Unknown to Lexi, he was raised in her city and is moving home. He has no intention of settling for a short-term affair. So…Lexi’s plans are turned upside-down. Have no fear, she rises to the occasion, just as readily as Gage does (sorry, couldn’t resist the double entendre).

I’m talking about Lexi’s goals because we’re about to embark on a new year, and I don’t know about you, but I’m allergic to New Year’s Resolutions. They make me nervous. They make me feel pinned down. They make me feel like an ant has a greater chance of surviving a volcanic eruption than I do at keeping my New Year’s Resolutions. I mean, how many of you have made a Resolution to stop biting your fingernails, for example? To lose ten pounds? You do great for a month or two, and then next thing you know you’re nibbling again (on fingernails or snacks!). And now you’re a failure, because apparently you have no Resolve.

I changed my feelings about New Year’s Resolutions by deciding not to make them any longer. Instead I write up a list of potential goals for the year. Some might say it’s just semantics–writing down goals instead of resolutions–but in my mind goals are more malleable. They are subject to change as life changes around us. Let’s say, were I making New Year’s Resolutions (which I’m not!), I might resolve to sell a single title manuscript. After all, resolving to attempt to sell a single title manuscript doesn’t sound very determined. However, by changing the resolution to a “goal,” suddenly the pressure decreases. My “goal” might be to sell a single title manuscript, but I can’t control if an editor buys it. All I can control is that I send it out and keep sending it out if the rejections trickle in. I’m still putting forth my best effort, I am resolved, but using “goals” instead of “resolutions” helps me break down the goal into baby steps: polishing the manuscript, researching the market, targeting the correct editors, spelling their names right, licking the stamps, slamming that baby in the mail box! Achieving every tiny step toward the larger goal is a mini-goal and achievement in itself. Plus, at that point, aside from following up on the submission, I’ve done all I can. My “goal” might be to sell the story, however, if the manuscript sits on an editor’s desk for over a year, I still have resolve, I’ve done everything I can to sell that book within the year’s time frame. If the story doesn’t sell, I can modify my goal: maybe look at the manuscript again with a new eye after (hopefully) getting good feedback from editors and agents, search out new markets, set a new and perhaps more reasonable time-line for hearing back from certain publishers…or even decide to stick the story on the back burner until the market changes.

Or…wonder if another of my goals for the year is to write a story in a new genre? What if, by some miracle, that story sells right away? Suddenly, I could have a new career taking off and so the goal to sell the single title manuscript in the first genre might decrease in importance. I might even strike that goal off my list, temporarily or permanently.

See what I mean about goals being more malleable than resolutions? I’d still have resolve, but my goals would have changed…as life changes.

How about you? Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Or, like me, do they make your head spin? What are your goals for 2008? If you don’t achieve the goal, what will you do?

Kate St. James **New Web Site!**
Good Vibrations in Secrets Vol. 21 PRIMAL HEAT, Dec 07
Exes & Ahhhs in Secrets Vo. 26 BOUND BY PASSION, Dec 08

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