My Shih-Tzus Don’t Care About My To-Do List

The struggle is real people. Susie and Billy don’t give two-licks about my to-do list. Just look at them. Do they look like they’re concerned about any of my deadlines?

The correct answer is “no”.

I have copy edits due. I have an outline to write. I have another book to begin brainstorming. I have social media posts to write. A newspaper interview happening. Oh, and a release coming up in a few days.

I try to explain but all I get in return is pure silliness.

And more silliness.

And I couldn’t be happier!

It’s a nice reminder to stop and take a breath. Or, in their case a long walk. The days of tossing the ball around or paying tug o’ war with a stretchy toy are long gone. My little mops are now seniors but they’re still little balls of energy (just in spurts these days).

I’ll get through my to-do list and I’ll meet my deadlines thanks to organizing and priortizing my work. I rely heavily on a paper planner to track all my due dates and assigning specific tasks throughout the day. My system isn’t perfect. I’m still looking to tweak it more so that my time spent working is more productive which will give me more time for silliness with the pups. I admit, I can’t resist those faces!

I’m curious, how to you organize your day? Paper planner, digital planner or do you just wing it?


It’s a Wrap!

As I’m writing this post, not only is it a wrap of release week, I’m also wrapped in a cozy fleece blanket because it’s freakin’ cold. The polar vortex is still visiting (some guests really do overstay their welcome).  Oh, and I’m drinking a cup of hot green tea to keep my hands warm in between typing.

What’s release week like? It’s like Christmas.




Get the picture?

I began planning for release week last fall by contacting the blog tour company who handled the blog tour for THE UNINVITED CORPSE. Shout-out to Escape with Dollycas! Lori did a fabulous job! Once the dates are confirmed, I begin the process of answering interview questions. This time around I opted for only reviews, spotlights and interviews. I had a mix of author interviews and character interviews. I have to say I had a lot of fun answering questions in Kelly’s perspective. I really do like her and it was fun jumping back into her world for those interviews. At the time I was answering those interview questions, I was in the final edits of THREE WIDOWS AND A CORPSE, book 3 in the Food Blogger Mystery series. By the middle of December I was all done with my interviews. I’d returned all my answers, the media kit for the book and photos – author & book cover.

The next thing I did was to set the date for the Facebook release party. I reached out to the company I used for THE UNINVITED CORPSE’s party. Shout-out to A Cozy Experience! Marie did a fabulous job! We set the date, the time and Marie got to work planning and executing the whole party while I got to work on a new writing project (sorry, no details right now).

Christmas and New Year’s happened and ARC’s (advance reader copies) of MWALBD began going out and early reviews started to come in. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and I couldn’t have been happier. While I was writing MWALBD I found myself not just writing a story about finding a murderer, I found myself writing Kelly’s journey from a young woman who had been carrying around a tremendous amount of guilt and shame being forced to face her past and not only give herself some grace but also let those who love her back into her heart, any yeah, she meets a cute guy and exposes a killer. So, seeing glimpses of reviews (I don’t do seeking out reviews to read) that captured what I had been feeling while writing the book was incredibly satisfying and made this author very, very happy.

The days are passing by, flying by actually. January is truly a blur to me. The release day is coming up. The blog tour began a day or two before the actual release day. I made an effort to share all of the interviews I did on Facebook and I reposted Instagram posts from book reviewers. Then release day finally came!

What was different about MWALBD release as opposed to the release of THE UNINVITED CORPSE was that I spent very little time on Amazon tracking the numbers (it can become obsessive), rather I spent a bulk of my time on social media responding to all of the congratulations I received, liking all of the shares that my own release post got along with shares of posts from friends, family and book reviewer who posted on my behalf. I’d cleared my schedule so I didn’t have to divide my attention between release day activity and writing. I probably could have done both but honestly, I wanted to be all-in on the release. It’s not something that happens every day and it’s a big accomplishment so I wanted to be fully engaged with it.

The flurry of online activity continued for the next few days. MWALBD was still being featured on blogs and I still had interviews being published. And I had to get back to work. I’d been so close to finishing the first draft of the secret project when release day happened (not working that day wasn’t the reason why I didn’t meet my final word count goal – I was 20,000 words from the end) and the second Resale Boutique Mystery was due to turn in so I needed to do a final pass on the manuscript. As of writing this post, SILENCED IN SEQUINS has been sent off to my agent and I get to go back to my secret project to finish.

At the beginning of this post I said that release week is like Christmas, filled with excitement and nervousness. The night before release day was a restless one because my mind was churning with dozens of thoughts – what happens if nobody buys the book, what happens if the reviews that get posted on Amazon all say the book sucks, what happens if Facebook and Instagram crash and no one knows about the book, what happens if Kensington’s email server crashes and their readers don’t get the info on my new release???? You get the picture? BTW, those thoughts still lingered into release day even as I saw the reviews going up on Amazon were good reviews, and all of the Facebook posts were being seen and Kensington’s email server didn’t crash. I still kept waiting for something to happen. Well, something did happen. The book sold, the reviews have been wonderful and the support and encouragement and the love that surrounded me on release day was amazing.

I’ll leave off here with a big, fat THANK YOU to all of you!!!

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Kelly’s Fashion Rule #4

Out-of-work fashionista Kelly Quinn lives by a few simple fashion rules and they’re coming in handy as she revamps the consignment shop she inherited from her grandmother.

Kelly’s fashion rule #4:

Sequins for daytime

Life’s too short to regulate sequins to special events or the holidays. Go on and sparkle!

Below is a snippet from MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS.

What is your most favorite item in your closet?