We’re three days into 2014 now, and I’ll bet half of you have already broken a New Year’s Resolution that you made. The other half? You didn’t bother to make any—because you knew you’d break them!
I used to make specific ones each year—the eternal lose 5 pounds (which then changed to 10 as time went by) or walk 5 miles a day. I do that one pretty much anyway, but life gets in the way sometimes, so I didn’t always meet my miles per week. Let’s face it—no one should be out walking if the sidewalks are covered in ice or if you’re suffering from strep. Which means no one should feel too bad if a resolution is broken or not met.
Actually, I think it’s smart to have resolutions each year. Call ‘em goals if “resolution” scares you off. And something I’ve learned about goals is that . . . they’re flexible! As you move through a new year, what applied back in January may not really pertain to you by May. If that’s the case, alter your goals somewhat—or toss them out! No one says you must make solid, stick-with-it resolutions on January 1 only. You can re-evaluate situations throughout the year and make changes accordingly.
So that “Lose 10 pounds” one? Why don’t you just vow to try and eat more healthy, say 4 days a week? That’s about every other day. It lets you have cheat days. And you might get into the good habit of eating better more often than not. Who cares about the number on a scale? If you feel fit and fab and you’re rockin’ the jeans, you’ve met your goal.
I made easy-to-keep resolutions for 2013. One was to travel somewhere I’d never been. My college roommate built a new house in Idaho, so I went to see her this past summer. I’d been to southern Idaho before, but not up in the Panhandle. We explored all kinds of places, and then my hubby joined us. We took off for Oregon, which was beautiful, and I got to add a new state since I’d never visited there. More importantly, I experienced not only Powell’s Bookstore but VooDoo Donuts in Portland. Let me tell you, folks—if you haven’t been to VooDoo, you haven’t lived!
Going a new place made for a simple resolution. It didn’t have to be a new state. It could’ve been a new museum, a new state park, or even a new outlet mall. It was something fun and easy to check off my New Year’s Resolutions List (and believe me, I love to check things off a list).
I also set writing resolutions for each year. I’m happy to report that 2014’s “get a book published” will happen next week (when A Game of Chance comes out January 8) and this coming summer (A Change of Plans). What a way to start a new year!
So take some time and make a few 2014 resolutions today, especially if you didn’t a couple of days ago. Remember that the goals you set for writing or in your personal life should be flexible and attainable. You can ditch them at any time and make new ones if your situation changes because—after all—it’s all about your journey.
Here’s an excerpt from my upcoming January release, A Game of Chance. It’s the story of gambler Jed Stone, who is arrested for a murder his twin brother committed, a man he never knew existed. After escaping, Jed wins the deed to Lucky Lil’s, San Francisco’s most famous whorehouse. He falls in love with the madam’s daughter Lily, who’s always been shielded from house life. Will Jed be able to start a new life with Lily and bring his outlaw brother to justice?
Gordon took out his money clip. He placed a few bills on the bed, soaked in her sweat and water and blood.
“That’s enough to satisfy the midwife. Sorry I don’t have enough for your funeral, love.”
Cara Lee bit back the scream and held it in her throat. The contraction ended. She refused to give him another reason to belittle her.
The midwife came to the bed and lifted the covers. “The head! My God, the baby’s coming out. Push, missus, push. Push for your life!”
Cara Lee gritted her teeth and bore down hard. A great relief washed over her. She closed her eyes, unwilling to see the man who had meant everything to her and who now betrayed her in her greatest hour of need.
“There, little one, there you go.”
She heard a slap and a hearty cry. She opened her eyes and saw her baby. Love burst from her.
“It’s a boy, missus. Hale and hearty. Even got a nice head of hair on him.”
“He’s mine,” she spit out, glaring at Gordon Fisher. “You can’t take him.”
“Oh, I can and I will, dear girl. This child is the meal ticket to my trust fund.”
He took the baby, now clean and wrapped in his mother’s ivory shawl, and spoke in low tones to the midwife before turning back to her. “This child will prove I’m respectable. I thank you for all you did, my dear.”
Gordon retreated from the room. She let out an anguished cry.
“Well, I never . . .” The midwife shook her head. “Let’s make you comfortable, dearie.”
Cara Lee moaned as the woman fussed over her, having trouble breathing again. A great weight pressed upon her.
“The worst is over, missus. Let me deal with the afterbirth. Maybe I can staunch the bleeding.”
As the midwife lifted the sheet again, she gasped. “Oh, no. Oh, my lord.”
Cara Lee broke out in a cold sweat. The pain was back again, this time even worse. Her body, her spirit, her faith in her husband. All had been broken. How much more could she bear?
The woman clucked loudly. “Another one’s coming, child. You’ll have to be strong a little bit longer.”
She sat up again. The burning urge to push had returned, stronger than the first time. She bit her lip hard and willed the baby to exit the birth canal. The burden eased from her, and the midwife cut the cord as before.
“It’s another boy. Spittin’ image of the other tyke.”
The baby gurgled happily.
“You mustn’t call him back. Don’t ever let . . .” Her voice trailed off.
A wet cloth glided across her forehead. What I wouldn’t give for a sip of cool water.
A few minutes later the midwife pulled the stained bed sheet over the woman’s head. She stared blankly at the wide-eyed baby in her arms.
“Lord Almighty. I never even knew your mama’s name.”