Time to announce the winner from my previous contest here on the website. Congrats to Debra S. of Minneapolis! You’ll be receiving a copy of  Touch of a Thief!

Last Monday, my guest blogger was Shana Galen. The winner of one of her books is Anne Brown-Speer. Robin D will receive one of mine. If you didn’t win this time, be sure to pop back next Monday when my blog guest will be the lovely and talented Ashley March!

Paul Revere

Statue of Paul Revere

Now to my bucket list news… I can cross off an item on the personal list: Walk the Freedom Trail. Over the weekend, we took the T to downtown Boston and embarked on this roughly 3 mile trek. We visited the State House, Boston Common, several burial grounds, the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s home–the oldest house extant in Boston proper. (As a side note, we learned that Mr. Revere fathered 16 children, 11 of whom reached adulthood. It’s easy to forget that in other times, it was a rare family that didn’t bury at least one child. Made me feel very blessed to live now.)

whale

Humpback at Stellwagen Bank

We also went whale-watching over the weekend.  If you follow my blog, you know last year we sailed out on very rough seas and got skunked. This year, we hit the jackpot. We viewed a pair of humpback whales up close and personal for a good hour as they surfaced and submerged multiple times.

Our pictures don’t do the experience justice. It was such a thrill to hear the spout and see their great heads breach the surface. Then we watched as their long bodies rose in a graceful arc to be followed by a slow wave of the flukes. They seemed as curious about us as we were about them.

It was a very worthy end to my summer. How about you? Did you do anything special this summer you’d like to share? Have you crossed off an item on your bucket list? I look forward to hearing from YOU.

My Bucket ListIt’s past time to revisit my Bucket List and one thing is glaringly obvious. I’m better at hitting professional goals than personal ones. I still can’t do the splits and my walls remain an unobtrusive off-white. I didn’t go topless on St. Maarten or have a lobster dinner in Maine. But I did lose 30 pounds, take ballroom dancing lessons and say yes to something I normally wouldn’t, so the list wasn’t a total loss.

Here are my new targets. I’ll work to hit them all by the end of next May.

PERSONAL

  • 1. Lose 70 pounds. I lost 30 last year, but since then, 13 have crept back on. At the risk of sharing TMI, my weight has been a life-long struggle for me. I was the little fat girl in the kindergarten picture, taking up two spaces to my classmates’ one. But if I’m determined, I can don’t have to continue to occupy too much real estate.
  • 2. Learn to do the hula. The DH and I are already booked on a Hawaiian cruise for next May. I think this will be easier than the splits. And certainly more fun!
  • 3. Play the piano at least once a week. It’s so easy to get caught up in writing, my piano molders in the corner. My fingers need a chance to do something creative that involves a different sort of keyboard than the one on my computer.
  • 4. Hit the treadmill 5 times a week. I’ve discovered I can balance either my Kindle or my little computer on the handles, so I can read or edit while I walk. This should be a no-brainer if I can only summon the gumption to do it!
  • 5. Discover a new favorite author. That’s not to say I don’t love the ones who are auto-buys for me now. I simply need to read for pleasure more. So often, I read to analyze another author’s style instead of losing myself in a well-told story. I may be a writer, but I was a reader first.
  • 6. Walk the Freedom Trail. It’s so close, it’s a shame I’ve lived in Boston for 4 years without doing it already!
  • 7. Make a new friend or strengthen an existing friendship. A writer’s life is by definition a solitary one. It’s easy to kick back with the repertory company in my head for companionship. While this leaves me solidly in my comfort zone, life is meant to be lived in community.

PROFESSIONAL

  • 1. Attend the NECRWA meetings each month. It’s easy to let other things get in the way of those Sunday afternoons. Unless I’m ill, I need to be there to support my fellow writers.
  • 2. Reissue my backlist as ebooks. My agent negotiated for rights to the titles published under Diana Groe to be returned to me. I plan to update and revise these award winning stories and bring MAIDENSONG, ERINSONG and SILK DREAMS to readers as soon as possible.
  • 3. Offer the novella I started on my website last year to my newsletter subscribers as a free ebook. Many of you have written to ask whatever happened to A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS. I did finish it! Be sure you’re on my newsletter list because once the story is available, it will be a freebie for a short time only and I don’t want you to miss out.
  • 4. Organize a blog tour for all my new releases. I’m off to a running start on this one. My blog tour for IMPROPER GENTLEMEN begins July 26th! Check my Events page for the latest.
  • 5. Attend at least one regional writer’s conference. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Romantic Times Convention and the energy of RWA Nationals is undeniable, but there’s something intimately cozy about a regional conference.
  • 6. Enter my books in published contests. Ah, yes. Just as contests help aspiring writers attract notice and garner offers of representation and publication, contests also help published authors find more readers.
  • 7. Write the best book I can every single time. This will be a difficult goal to measure because theoretically, my writing skills should improve with each manuscript, so the bar will be set ever higher. Plus an author is not the best judge of her own work. I’m routinely convinced that what I’ve sent off to my agent or editor is crap. No one is more surprised than me when someone is moved to laughter or tears by what I’ve written. But I think it’s important to have this goal on the list. I need to stretch myself, to work harder, to leave it all on the page every single time.

Now it’s your turn. If you don’t want to share your entire bucket list, how about at least one personal and one professional goal?

My Bucket ListI’m basking in the glow of accomplishment, happy to report that I can tick a couple more items off my 9 Month Bucket List. Good thing, too. My deadline for completion on these goals is April 26th–Touch of a Thief’s release day.

I’ve finished writing A Duke for All Seasons, the online novella (#2 on the list) I began on my EmilyBryan website in January 2010. For 8 months last year, I posted a new chapter each month, but then when a flurry of contracts came in, I was snowed under by other writing requirements. However, I didn’t forget about Sebastian and Bella and their tumultuous love story and had to see how it ended. Now we’re working on the best way to give it to you in complete form instead of piecemeal. Stay tuned for future developments!

Then as I was looking at the list, I realized I’ve also completed #6 on the Professional list–Meet my contractual deadlines. Though I still have some manuscripts to complete for later in the year, everything due to my publishers by April 26th has already been turned in.

I can also report progress on #4 Organize a blog tour. I’m not planning a 50 day/50 blog marathon, but I’ve set up several visits to some terrific blogs for April and May. Check out the current schedule on my Events page. More will be added in the days to come. Hope you’ll plan to join me.

As usual, my Bucket List accomplishments are heavy on the professional side. I need to focus on the personal list over the next few weeks.

How are you doing on your bucket list? Do  you even have one? If not, why not? One of the main reasons we don’t hit our goals is that we refuse to take aim. Take a chance. Set a goal, write it down and see what happens.