Being Pulled in Two Directions By Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp, writing as J. C. Eaton

Years ago when Ann’s niece and nephew were young, her brother decided to take them through the ice caves in upstate New York. It was a popular tourist attraction and he figured that his 8 year old daughter and 7 year old son would enjoy it. What he didn’t count on was being pulled in two directions.

You see, the minute they entered the ice cave, her nephew yanked his father’s arm and started bellowing, “Hurry up, Daddy! Hurry up and go in!” But her niece planted her feet in one spot and pulled his other arm, crying “I don’t want to go in! I don’t want to go in!”

Forget the stalactites and stalagmites. The only thing her brother remembers about the experience was yelling “Slow Down!” and “Come on!” depending upon which arm was attached to which kid. But somehow they made it through the ice caves.

As authors trying to make our way, we know the feeling only too well. We’re constantly pulled in two directions trying to decide if we should use the available time we have to write and edit our cozy mysteries, or to use social media, and any other means, to market our books. Sometimes we feel as if we’re stuck in the middle.

Writing and marketing have become the yin and yang of our world.  They’ve got to work in harmony or we won’t survive this game. Then why do we feel so guilty when we’re doing one thing instead of the other?

Our characters plague us all day with their continuous dialogue in our heads. But our social network is constantly reaching out for attention, too. Which writers’ conferences to attend?  Who might be interested in interviewing us? What did we last post on Facebook? Twitter? Our website? (And it better not be another cutesy photo of our cats). Are our books selling in the brick and mortar bookstores? Or online? It’s all about networking, contacts, and remaining in the public eye. Trust us when we tell you, it’s a struggle when we’re thinking about the corpse our sleuth just found in her neighbor’s flowerbed instead of our marketing plan.

We know. We know. It’s all about time management. At least that’s what they teach you in school. Maybe set a block of time for writing and another for marketing. But believe us, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Everything blends and even though we divvy up tasks all the time, we inevitably want the feedback from each other right there and then. Still, we try.

We came up with a plan to put two wall calendars in our kitchen – one for the actual appointments we have and the other for the writing/editing/marketing time we need. Not to mention the deadlines we have. Every day at breakfast, we scan for conflicts and re-schedule. True, we could do this on the computer but it’s impossible to ignore those giant wall calendars when you’re trying to enjoy your first cup of coffee.

Like it or not, we’ve become Ann’s brother. We’re moving through the ice caves in two directions. But we’re moving. And right now, that’s the best we can do. Until a stalactite comes crashing down on our heads! LOL

There’s a lot of noir surrounding this rare pinot.

As the vineyards in Seneca Lake, New York, prepare for the seasonal “Deck the Halls Around the Lake” festivities, someone is determined to keep pinot noir off the wine list. Hijacked trucks and sabotaged ingredients have made it a hard-to-acquire vintage for the six local wineries—including Norrie Ellington’s Two Witches Winery.

The case of the stolen and spoiled wines gets stranger when Arnold Mowen, owner of the company distributing the wine, is found dead, the apparent victim of a hunting accident. As Norrie tries to find the connections between the pinot’s problems and Arnold’s death, she uncovers a conspiracy among many locals whose hatred for the wine distributor was bottled up for far too long. . .