Thanksgiving Snuck up on Me...How to Balance Your Writing Life with the Holidays

I have been so busy lately with reviewing ARCs for our anthology (Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II - February 2016), doing the preliminary work for my debut novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes (May 2016), my day job, preparing to moderate two panels, doing a book signing, and well, just life. I'm still wondering where June went, and Thanksgiving has come and gone.

And now it's time to think about decorating and presents. As a kid, it seemed to take years to get through the year to Christmas. Now, I blink and it's the holiday season again.

My normal day starts at 5 AM, and I'm at work by 7:15. I tend to work 9-10 hour-days and then write and do all the other things that come along. I don't want the holidays to fly by without enjoying them. Here are some ideas to help your writing life stay on track during the craziness that is this time of year...

1. Write blog posts in advance and schedule them. You can schedule Facebook posts and tweets too.

2. Get your holiday shopping and decorating done early. I'm doing a lot of online shopping this year. I hope to be done by the first week in December.

3. I use my TV time to do my social media updates. I also do quick updates in the morning during breakfast.

4. Take a good look at your free time. Are there time sucks? If you cut down on TV, game time, or perusing the Internet, you make free up some chunks of time.

5. I use my lunch hour at work to write and edit. That's five hours a week of extra writing time.

6. I record the shows that I like to watch on TV, so I can speed through the commercials. It does save some time.

7. I have a 35-45-minute daily commute twice a day to work. I listen to a variety of news programs on my satellite radio during the ride, so I don't usually have to catch up on news later. in the evening.

8. Look at your schedule and the activities that you've committed to doing. Are there things you can cut back on or jettison? I had to cut down on some of my volunteer work when I committed to writing.

Holiday wishes and happy writing!

The Edits Came Today...

The edits for Virginia is for More Mysteries arrived today. We are getting closer to having book two in print.

We also had a wonderful day yesterday at the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival. The group signed lots of books and presented two workshops to standing room only crowds.

l-r: Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Maria Hudgins, Teresa Inge, and Vivian Lawry

l-r: Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Maria Hudgins, Teresa Inge, and Vivian Lawry

"Spring Cleaning"

My short story, "Spring Cleaning" is going to be a part of Virginia is for More Mysteries, and our publication date is February 2016.

In the story, medical records manager, Douglas Weimer, gets more than he bargained for when he’s moved onto a new team and receives a project with a drop-dead delivery date. His assignment in Roanoke, Virginia gives new meaning to work deadlines.

My short story, "Washed up" is in the first Virginia is for Mysteries.

More Book Events. . .

I had the pleasure of being a part of the Virginia is for Mysteries panel at the Poe Birthday Bash and the Poe Museum on January 17. It's located in the Old Stone House in Richmond, Virginia. We enjoyed talking with mystery and Poe fans. And the Embalmers were on stage after us. We enjoyed signing books to their retro 60s surf sounds.

I also had fun signing Virginia is for Mysteries at Barnes and Noble Short Pump with the Lethal Ladies of Sisters in Crime Central Virginia. Maggie King signed her debut novel, Murder at the Book Group. Mary Miley signed The Impersonator and Silent Murders from her 1920s series set in Hollywood. And Ellery Adams signed books from her Book Retreat Mysteries and her Books by the Bay series.