Saturday, August 24, 2019

Chasing a dream ~ by Lynne M. Spreen

Have you ever put off chasing a dream because you’re too busy, too burdened, or flat overloaded? Do you hope that someday, you’ll finally be able to pursue it?

That was me. I couldn’t start writing seriously until my 50s. But maybe that was a good thing, because at that age, I had something to write about. Life experience, hard knocks, wisdom. And by then I was passionate about finding the good in old age because TV, magazines, movies—the culture—all conspired to make me feel bad about myself.

I wouldn’t let them. I’d come too far, suffered too much. I didn’t deserve to have a poor self-image just because that’s what we do.

I fought back by looking for information about the good in aging. And I found so much, it’s incredible. Unfortunately, most of it happens on the inside where you can’t see it, but it’s so powerful it could save the world.

See, when we get older, we think differently. We’re mentally stronger. When you feel like you’re SO over the drama? That’s a biological thing having to do with your fight-or-flight mechanisms. While younger folks are constantly on alert, overreacting to every threat, older folks are calmer, because their amygdalae have quieted down. It’s not that we grow placid. We’re on alert, but we don’t overreact to every little thing. One researcher said, “It’s as if, having figured out what isn’t going to kill you, you settle down.”

Another thing that’s cool is that you start using both sides of your brain more, resulting in more creative, deeper thinking. (It’s called bilateralization).

And yet another thing: you know how sometimes when you face a big hairy problem, suddenly a great answer comes to you in a flash before the young ‘uns at the table have even grasped the situation? That’s pattern recognition. It’s why we, homo sapiens, are still here after those other guys died out.

But I’m sure you already know this, having read about it in all your favorite women’s magazines. Sure. Right next to how to hide your wrinkles for three hundred bucks.

As I began my new career as an author, I realized my passion wasn’t only to write. It was to create stories about older people facing and overcoming hardship, using the power nobody thinks they have. My prequel novella, California Blues, is an example of that.

The second book, Dakota Blues, won an award for Women’s Issues. So I think I’m on the right track.

When I started writing about people over 50, some folks told me I was crazy. I would never find an agent, let alone a publisher, they said. “Nobody wants to read about old people. What are you going to talk about, naps and bingo?” Once, at a book fair in Palm Springs, a woman pulled me aside and confided that I should change my signs, because the word “midlife” would turn people off!

But most people were very supportive. The best reception I ever got was from women in their forties, at an annual conference of the Romance Writers of America. Want to know a secret? Women in that age group are scared to death about getting old. They’re facing menopause and the end of life as they know it, so you can sympathize. But when they saw I was excited and happy about being older, they begged me to write my stories. Our conversations were so emotional, I wanted to hug them all. I told them it would be better than they could imagine.

People love to read about what happens when you're older. They love stories about older people experiencing personal growth and triumph when faced with challenges. About sacrifice and heroism when least expected. And about falling in love when you’d given up hope.

There are plenty of non-fiction books out there, collections of essays about reinvention and personal growth after fifty. Those are great, but there’s a big gaping hole in the bookshelf: fiction about growing old. Because fiction contains an emotional element that lifts you, moves you, and sticks with you forever. That’s what I desperately want to read, so that’s what I write. The future might be daunting, but there are those who’ve walked the path ahead of us, and they’re sending messages back. Here’s how it’s done, they’re saying. Be strong.

If you’ve ever longed for novels about women your age, for stories about older women finding a new gear, I hope you’ll check out my five books. People love them. They say, “Finally, someone is writing about us.” (Men do, too. I have two reviews that begin (after a manly huff), with, “I rarely read women’s fiction, but…” and they gave me five stars. 

Also, on my Facebook Author Page, you’ll find a collection of fifty-five books by other authors. Every book in this collection features older characters. I recommend them all. You’ll find the link to that page below.

To learn more about the midlife fiction of Lynne M. Spreen, go to her website.

You can also find her on Amazon and  Facebook.

Visit her
Facebook page to find fifty books featuring older characters, and to learn about the amazing strengths of the middle-aged brain, go to this series of four blog posts.

Listen to Lynne M. Spreen's podcast here

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Episode 88 - Guest Rich Amooi

Rich Amooi - author of Dog Day Wedding, Bored of the Rings, and Dying to Meet You.

Episode 87 - Guest Will North

Will North - author of the Davies & West Mystery series and The Long Walk Home.


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Question to my readers ~ by Ava Cuvay

Hello from Ava Cuvay!

When Kristine invited me to be a guest blogger, I thought, “Sure! I can be witty and interesting for about 150 words!” (to be honest, 150 words might be pushing my “wit” capacity ;-)

But as my blog deadline approached, I realized I actually need some reader help on a new project. So rather than a blog filled (sprinkled?) with wit and snark, I’m asking you for some feedback. Here’s the thing:

Cyborg Transparent #1005832

I normally write hot Sci-fi Romance set in another universe filled with aliens (mostly humanoid, although there’s the occasional extra appendages or tentacles). But I’m veering off course to come back to earth and write an aging cyborg series. Maybe because, as I approach the big 5-0 birthday, my body is yelling louder that I can’t do everything I was once able to, so I thought it would be interesting to write about the special challenge cyborgs would have as both their human body and the cyborg parts begin to age and creak and groan and break-down.

So my questions to you are:

© Terminator Franchise - James Cameron
At what point in our future do you see actual viable mechanical “upgrades” available to wounded soldiers and first responders? I’m envisioning a “Robocop” or early “I, Robot” type of situation. Could it happen now, decades, or centuries in the future?

In what sort of form would these first cyborg “upgrades” manifest? Mechanical, with gears and motors? Or more pneumatic and computer-y? More obvious-cyborg with upgrades showing (think “Terminator” without the skin) or more human-android-like (“Terminator” with the skin, or the androids in the Alien series)? Slick and shiny like a new car or clunky and loud like a steam engine?

What sort of malfunctions would you anticipate? Broken parts needing replaced? Software upgrades (gotta love how those can really mess things up!)? RAM/Processor inadequate or slowing… blue screen of death? Internal power lines leaking?

© i,Robot - Davis Entertainment/20th Century Fox
What do you think the biggest issue with being an early-model cyborg would be? The integration of human and cyborg parts? The battle for the brain between human and CPU? Societal prejudice against cyborgs? Being at the mercy of hackers who might upload malware to your CPU? An internal struggle with the reality of not being “whole” human?

Okay, those are all my questions for now. I know it seems like I threw a lot at you. I probably did, but feel free to pick and choose what you answer. This is the kind of brainstorming/throwing-stuff-at-the-wall-and-seeing-what-sticks process authors often go through with their friends, pets, office walls, and voices in their heads. It’s fun and frustrating and can be overwhelming, but your answers and ideas will help me fine-tune my story. Trust me on this, your responses are invaluable. And a big THANK YOU to Kristine for letting me come here today. And another big THANK YOU to you the reader for your time and support!

If you want to see how this series eventually turns out, feel free to stalk me:



Amazon Author Page 



Listen to Ava Cuvay's podcast episode here. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019