What do you wish you knew before you turned 40?

A few days ago, Naturally Savvy, for which I am the Savvy Over 60 contributor, posted my article: “Ten Things I Wish I Knew before I Turned 40.” I put a lot of thought into that article, and even though I came up with ten things as my editor suggested, I know it is still incomplete. I didn’t address religion, or money, or women’s equality – a subject so much in the forefront today. I also didn’t discuss marriage, or children, or what to do during retirement, or politics. The list is a work in progress. The list will never be complete. Perhaps to entice you to go over to Naturally Savvy to read my article and other articles I’ve contributed, I’ll give you a few examples from my list. But really I’d love for you to share your list either here or at the Naturally Savvy link. Only spend time with people you care about. Life is too short to feel obligated to be with people we don’t care about. Learn to excuse yourself gracefully. Gently fade away. And believe me they won’t mis … [Read more...]

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Another novel milestone met

I just sent off draft seven of my novel to another reviewer. I very much value this person’s judgment because of her experience editing books for the Oxford University Press and that she helped me revise and edit my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On.   I spent the last two and a half months working on this draft, looking for repetition, places where I told the story rather than showed it, and rewriting in response to some earlier review comments. As a result I cut out almost five thousand words. It’s now down to 85, 485 words. It’s still a little heavy for a novel, but in the right range. I’ve asked this reviewer to especially assess the content - are the story and its characters worth even pursuing at this point. My problem is the more I read and work on this material these days, the less confident I get. I said I don't need her to edit, except for giving me possible suggestions on where to delete/add stuff. After I sent my manuscript off to my reviewer today, my h … [Read more...]

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Happy Birthday, Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Ruth Bader Ginsberg turned 82 yesterday. In honor of her birthday, Huffington Post, shared some of her famous quotes. And since I love quotes I'm sharing a few with you. We're also celebrating RBG's 21 years on the Supreme Court. I sure wish I could give her a celebratory hug.   I agree with Ruth Bader Ginsberg about having it all - but not at once. I wrote this article about it for Naturally Savvy.   … [Read more...]

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Writing work resolutions for 2015

I’m finally back to real work after a nice long new year’s holiday rest. And it’s about time. Of course I didn’t stay exactly idle. I’ve thought long and hard about how to proceed with my writing life this year, and I've made a preliminary list. I’m sure I'll add more things in the weeks and months to come. Keep slugging away at my novel revisions. I’m about to start Chapter Six – only Twenty-one chapters to go. In other words I’m on page forty-one of one hundred and seventy-nine single-spaces pages. It’s going to be a long haul. Write blog pieces for Choices that are more about my writing work and writing advice for others. Write for other websites: Naturally Savvy, Aging Bodies, and Cate Russell-Cole’s CommuniCATE Resources for Writers website. I feel so honored that she asked me help her out while she works on her own memoir. Write more poetry. In the last few months I’ve let my poetry writing go by the wayside in favor of working on my novel – that’s not good for my soul. … [Read more...]

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Blog hops – another way to introduce our fellow authors

I always love to participate in blog hops and tagging games, so I thank author David Berner, whose new memoir recently won the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year award, for tagging me to play this week. David and I recently met (virtually) through our publisher Mike O’Mary at Dream of Things. I heartedly welcome David into our Dream of Things family. David’s book due out this fall is Any Road will Take You There, the story of a father who sets out on a cross-country road trip, one he never had the guts to take as a young man. He hopes it will spark a new chapter in his life. But the once-delayed journey now takes on new meaning when he’s forced to confront his family’s unsettled past. Plus, this spring Dream of Things will publish David’s collection of essays: There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard. So here I am tagged IT and answering the: BLOG HOP AUTHOR QUESTIONS What am I working on? My list is long. I’m just about ready to get back to revising my novel based on four s … [Read more...]

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Ten ways to reinvent yourself after sixty

I am Naturally Savvy’s Over Sixty Expert, contributing about an article a month at the website. This piece was originally published on March 31, 2013. Please go there to read more of my articles on topics relevant to women over sixty. I love exploring ways for us to keep moving, keep working, keep creating, keep experiencing life to the fullest no matter how old we are. I first heard of the term reinvention when I entered “More” magazine’s February 2010 Reinvention story contest. My story about how I returned to work outside my home and began to write regularly after the suicide death of my son came in eleventh in the number of votes received out of over 500 entries. With that, the term reinvention became part of my vocabulary. I write about it frequently. Nora Ephron said it’s good for women to reinvent themselves every ten years. She also said reinvention seems easier for women than for men. And I agree. In fact, seven years after I went back to work full time, I retired and rei … [Read more...]

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Late breaking book news

It’s time to bring you up to date with book news. It seems like things are moving so fast, I barely have time to do my novel and article writing. But it’s all good. Books for Sale As of yesterday the Kindle version of Leaving the Hall Light On is for sale. The paperback has been available for the last month or so. And in case you still like hardback books as I do, I have them for sale at my Amazon storefront at a reduced price of $21.50. Marketing Events Book giveaway at Goodreads. Hurry over there. It ends on August 28. Google + Hangouts with Jason Matthews: Indie Authors #21 on Memoir Writing and Indie Authors # 24 on Writing as Therapy. I’ll participate in another hangout next Monday, August 27. A September 13 roundtable with Linda Joy Myers of the National Association of Memoir Writers and Mike O’Mary of Dream of Things to talk about how I was able to contract with Dream of Things after my former publisher went out of business. Readings at the Essay Fiesta and W … [Read more...]

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A rant about junk food

I was definitely heartened to read this story today. It is a great positive step to curbing the childhood obesity epidemic. CHICAGO (AP) — Laws strictly curbing school sales of junk food and sweetened drinks may play a role in slowing childhood obesity, according to a study that seems to offer the first evidence such efforts could pay off. Please click the link to read the whole story. http://news.yahoo.com/study-junk-food-laws-may-help-curb-kids-041613114.html In fact while I was at my poetry workshop at Esalen in Big Sur, CA last month I wrote a rant about junk food – triggered by the word junk, one of a list of ten given in a daily prompt. (See the Scary Seven at the bottom of this post, courtesy of Naturally Savvy.) A picture prettier than the rant (the Big Sur coast) Here’s the rant: Junk food is a business. Junk food is an addiction Eating junk food is an epidemic Can you imagine that recent studies show that obesity in children is not related to their … [Read more...]

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Birthday post mortem or how I’m moving forward

Just about a year ago – on Mother’s Day and near my last birthday – I achieved a huge goal. My memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, A Mother’s Memoir of Living with her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide, was published. In it I tell the steps I took in living with the loss of my son. First and foremost I chose to live and take care of myself as a woman, wife, mother, writer. In hopes that my story will inspire others to find ways to survive their own tragic experiences, I’ve devoted most of this last year marketing my book. I have become increasingly more engaged in social networking, through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, I had a blog tour through Women on Writing (WOW), radio interviews, and many speaking and book signing engagements. I’ve also embarked on a whole new writing career – writing for the Huffington Post That’s Fit and Healthy Living columns, the Naturally Savvy website as its over sixty expert, PsychAlive, a website that focuses on suici … [Read more...]

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I’m querying again

Well, I’ve already sent out mini query letters to a couple of recommended prospective publishers. I’ve included information about my book and links to sample chapters of my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On, and I’ve told them I’ll have all the files in native QuarkXpress and pdf. So if they want to add my book to their portfolios it should be a slam-dunk. Plus I’m not interested in another hardback run. I would prefer a paperback and/or e-book. I've also made a little pitch about my current writing work with links to my blogs Choices and Red Room, and to the PsychAlive and Naturally Savvy websites, where I blog every month. And now the waiting begins. I hate this part. The querying and waiting.   I thought I wouldn’t have to do it again until I’m ready to market my novel. And, now I wonder if it is even worth it. Readers, I need your advice on this one. Should I even try to find a new publisher or should I just go ahead and self-publish? What do you thin … [Read more...]

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April Platform Challenge – Day 2

Today's platform-building task is to set goals, including short-term and long-term goals. Robert Lee Brewer wants us to also make a list of goals to accomplish by the end of this year; and then, make a list of goals to accomplish before I die. Here are my goal lists: Short-term goals: Complete April Platform Challenge on My Name Is Not Bob blog Complete April PAD Challenge on Poetic Asides blog Get an ebook of my memoir ready for publication Submit poetry to chapbook and full-length book contests Have lots of sales at the LA Times Festival of Books Finish editing Keith Alan Hamilton’s Nature IQ book of poetry Answer Daisy’s questions for her SunnyRoomStudio blog Keep on with my social network marketing efforts Set up blog tour for release of my ebook Long-term goals (same as goals to accomplish by the end of 2012): Publish my ebook Produce and release a CD with Paul’s music Finish my novel and find an agent for it Publish full- … [Read more...]

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Writing resolutions check-in

Besides writing I do participate in other creative activities - like seeing a wonderful art exhibit at LACMA called In Wonderland. This painting is by Frieda Khalo. Time to revisit my 2012 writing resolutions (posted on January 1, 2012) and report how I’ve been doing. First for the things I’ve accomplished. I participated in the January River of Stones project, writing a small stone every day of the month. I finished reading Doreen Cox’ Adventures in Mother Sitting and wrote and posted reviews for it. I overachieved in the review category, by finally writing and posting a review of Laura Mays Hoopes memoir Breaking the Spiral Ceiling: An American Woman Becomes A DNA Scientist. And I’m happy to report that my novel writing has gone very well. I’m writing a bit more than the one thousand words a week that was my commitment. I’m also writing a poem a week and writing my regular posts for NaturallySavvy and PsychAlive One of my best accomplishments of the month was finally … [Read more...]

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My 2012 writing resolutions

It’s time to get back to my writing life again. I know this list looks daunting but it’s not much more than I’ve already been doing for the last six months or so. But I must say that writing this all down makes it seem more ambitious. Hopefully, this list will encourage my writing readers to join me. · Participate in the January River of Stones project – notice something properly and write a small piece (stone) about it every day this month · Finish Doreen Cox’ Adventures in Mother Sitting book and write a review · Read and comment on other writing blogs to get ready for a May blog tour promoting the release of the eBook and paperback editions of Leaving the Hall Light On · Write a thousand words a week on my novel · Write at least one poem a week – use Robert E. Brewer’s prompts at Poetry Asides as a jump start · Enter a poem into a contest or for publication at least once a month · Post a poem a week on my Facebook poetry group pages, Poetry Pact and Poets. Wri … [Read more...]

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The eve of New Year’s Eve

I think this is a perfect day for looking back. Usually we go to an eve, eve party where we always share about our events of the year. Since it was cancelled this year, I'll share our major happenings of 2011 here. Major Happenings of 2011: 1. My husband, Bob, and I traveled to Amador County and Sutter Creek, CA with Manhattan Beach friends to taste some native zinfandel wines in January. On our first night there Bob fell and broke the three metatarsal bones in his right foot. Bob had foot surgery to repair and pin his broken bones together in February and had to be off his foot for eight weeks. He got around on a knee scooter (Rolleraid) or crutches. I was his driver. Bob on his knee scooter (Rolleraid) 2. On May 8 (Mother’s Day) my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On was released by Lucky Press. My successful book launch reading and signing at our local independent bookstore, Pages, was held on May 12. A couple of weeks later we celebrated my birthday in Lake O … [Read more...]

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So how many more "acts" do I have left?

This has been a busy week. First thing Monday morning I received a note from my publisher, Lucky Press LLC, that it will submit my book to the ForeWord independent book award competition in January with awards are announced in June. That email definitely got my attention and my imagination percolating about what it must feel like to receive a book award. Next I received a call from a member of our local American Association of University Women inviting me to speak at its November meeting on the subject of my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On. One of my former work colleagues suggested me. I’ll be expected to speak for about an hour, including time for questions and answers. And, needless to say I happily accepted. We discussed topics and settled on: 1) local help for mental illness and suicide prevention, and 2) how I used writing to help me survive after my son’s suicide. Of course writing or any other creative outlet can help assuage grief from any kind of trauma or loss. I a … [Read more...]

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Pirates and book sales – any connection?

October started out with a bang and a trip via the Catalina Express to Two Harbors for Lisa Smyth’s pirate birthday party. This was Buccaneer Days on the island and everyone came in costume. Lisa won the prize with seven costume changes. Bob and I bought pirate hats and he got a swashbuckler’s black velvet coat with brass buttons, while I mostly commandeered stuff hanging in my closet to bring for the festivities. Needless to say many people we met enjoyed themselves with their brains thoroughly adjusted by pirate’s rum. I stuck with my usual red wine. The Birthday Wench  As you can see the Two Harbors (formerly called Isthmus) village of Catalina is almost barren – one hotel, one restaurant and bar, lots of camp grounds, boating and other water activities, about 300 locals, and lots of buffalos left over from an old Tom Mix movie. It was absolutely beautiful this past weekend. Gorgeous Harbor   And now that that not-to-be-missed experience is over it’s back to work and … [Read more...]

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My writer’s life – lots of action these days

Here’s a little run-down of what’s been happening in my life as a writer in the last few weeks. My second piece for Naturally Savvy went live this week, http://www.naturallysavvy.com/inspiration-and-motivation/fitness-over-60-and-counting, an interview about a woman I’ve known for lots of years, Becky Neumann. I wanted to profile her because as an over sixty personal trainer and fitness instructor, she’s so fit and so inspiring to people over sixty and way beyond. Becky - Sixty-three and Counting I was asked and so I wrote another column for Huffington Post’s subvertical, Aging Gracefully, but I haven’t heard back yet from my contact there. My last piece for Huffington Post was for the That’s Fit subvertical – that turned out to be quite well received. So even though I’m a little nervous about not hearing I’ll be positive based on the response I got about the That’s Fit piece I did for them. I’d very much like to keep up my relationship with Huff Post. And as a result of my W … [Read more...]

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Catching up

On Saturday we took our great niece to the Hollywood Museum housed in the old Max Factor building on Highland and Hollywood boulevards. This was the first stop on our last day of touring with her that also included the Hardrock Cafe, seeing "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes" at the Sunset Boulevard Cinerama Dome theater, and dinner at Musso and Frank's Grill - the oldest Hollywood restaurant. (The menu is very much in keeping with the age of the restaurant.) She was indeed ready to go home yesterday and rest up. My favorite exhibits at the museum were of Lucille Ball's 100th birthday and Jean Harlow. We were there on August 6 - the day Lucy was born and the day Jean died. But,those displays were a very small portion of the museum's many thousands of items. It would take days to see everything there. Beautiful Art Deco Lobby of the Hollywood Museum, located in the historic Max Factor Building, originally built as the Hollywood Fire and Safe building in 1913. Today, the … [Read more...]

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