Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday Brunch - Balancing Acts



Welcome to our third Sunday Brunch!  We’re using the third Sunday of every month to share our news and thoughts with you all. Today, I wanted to talk about juggling the many demands in our lives, especially writing more than one series.

For me, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a full-time writer for the past ten years, but before that I wrote the first seven books of my Scumble River series while working as a school psychologist. Of course, when I retired from that job, my agent immediately suggested that I write a second series so for a time, I was writing one Scumble River book and one Devereaux’s Dime Store book a year.

Two books a year wasn’t too much of a strain and I thought what the heck, surely, I can write three. Which is when I started my Change of Heart romance series.  I was keeping all my plates in the air, but all it took to shatter that balancing act was deciding to build a custom designed house.

 Add in an aging mother, and I knew it was time to cut back. I’ve returned to about a book and a half a year, and even though you would think with being quarantined for most of 2020, it would be a snap to meet those deadlines. It’s still a challenge.

How are the rest of you doing with your balancing acts?


MADDIE: I'm holding up my well-earned Three-Books-a-Year badge! Like Denise, I wrote my first few novels around the edges of a full-time day job, in my case as a technical writer with an hour's commute each way. I was not the writer who could squeeze in an hour of fiction on a weekday. It wasn't until I left the day job eight years ago that I made writing fiction my day job. 

When one series ended (the Local Foods Mysteries), I started a new one followed by another new one (the Country Store series and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries). Along the way I wrote the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, which will end (on my terms, in a way I want it to - more on that later) next month. I've now started a new historical mystery project and have continued writing from one to four short stories a year.

Edith/Maddie's Dec 2020 Shelfie

For me, the key to juggling three-plus books a year is to focus, to be organized, and to let the words flow, every day. Publicizing the books is harder work for me than writing and revising. I always make room for daily exercise and for loved ones, but with sons away and successful on their own, that usually means dinner with Hugh and occasional safe (outdoor) visits with friends.

Of course things might change, as they did for Denise. When the expected grandchild happens along, I might decide to reorder priorities. Or another series might end. For now, writing book #29 makes me happy - and that means a lot.


PEG: The juggling is hard at times.  I've been retired for almost two years now and you'd think with all this extra time, I'd get more done, but somehow I don't! I'm comfortable writing two books a year but have done three while I was still working a day job.  I once wrote two books in a row in only two months each.  I don't recommend it! I used to babysit my granddaughter fairly regularly but we have had to be apart during this quarantine. Now that hubby and I have had all our shots, I am sure I will be doing more of that.  I leave poor hubby to his own devices for breakfast and lunch (I eat my lunch at my desk) but I do cook dinner.  The slow cooker is wonderful for providing a nearly hands-free dinner! And the smell is enticing all day long. Contributing to Mystery Lovers Kitchen gets me to try new recipes at least two or three times a month! I feel guilty about not doing any volunteering or organizing much of a social life but I'm doing what I love--writing!


MAYA: Variety is the spice of writing life. Working on more than one series provides spice for some authors, but writing something other than fiction is the spice for me. The Five-Ingredient Mystery series is the only one I write. I can't imagine writing books in two (much less three) mystery series simultaneously in a year, mainly because I'm a slow writer, and secondly, because I started in nonfiction writing and still enjoy it. My website has essays on the history of crime literature. In the last few months, I've contributed articles to Mystery Scene Magazine and Crimereads, where I explored the surprising dark history of gingerbread and of Valentine's Day cards. And I'm thinking about attempting a play next. 


Readers, join us in the comments!

Do you have any tips or advice on
how you juggle multiple responsibilities
in your lives or more than one job?



  1. welcome today. thanks for sharing your tips. I used to be able to keep several things in my mind at a time. now i need to write things down on a list and i am more than good. i get so much more done now. why did i not listen to my husband years ago when he tried to teach me this. i suppose having kids and staying home and having certain days for certain things helped. LOL now i am a list writer. LOL

  2. mmm, drop back 50 yards and punt?
    I don't know how you do it.
    AND keep track of your various aliases!!!

  3. Keeping a schedule's critical, right, along with consistency and planning ahead.