Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spunky Senior Surfer, Larry K. Collins, Teams Up With Wife, Lorna to Write

Meet the Spunky Surfing Senior

Larry K. Collins
Larry K. Collins, multi-published author, began his love affair with surfing at about fourteen years of age. His passion has never faded. In fact, when he and his wife, Lorna, lived in Japan between 1998 and 2001, he took his board with him. In their book, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, he tells about how difficult it was to get to the beach, only to find very little surf.

Lorna and Larry K. Collins

Twenty-five years ago, he and his wife and co-author, Lorna, moved to Dana Point, California, so that he could be near the beach. Previously, they’d lived inland and had to drive about an hour and a half to reach the waves. Now, it takes five-minutes.

Larry retired in 2011 at age sixty-seven, and he’s never looked back. Each morning he and his seventy-five-year-old best friend, Robert Schwenck, hit the ‘dawn patrol.’ They ride for an hour or so, and then go back to Bob’s house for breakfast.

Larry K. Collins
Sometimes Bob’s son and grandkids join them. Here’s a link to a YouTube video Larry took on September 13, 2012 showing Bob, Larry, and Bob’s son, Eric: And here are some still photos taken on September 19, 2012:

Lorna has spent so much time around surfing (Many of their dates were beach trips.) that she wrote one into her latest novel, Ghost Writer. He’s the guy who lives next door to Nan Burton, the young lady who inherits a cottage on the sand. It comes complete with its own ghost! Of course, the surfer is Nan’s ideal for a hero. (Lorna’s, too!)

When Larry wrote his short story collection, Lakeview Park, he had to include a surfer. The story of George is based on a few incidents from his own experience. (The floating bikini top really happened, but it wasn’t Lorna’s and he never went out with the owner.) This is Larry’s favorite of the fifteen stories in the collection.

Most of their vacations still require the proximity of an ocean and waves. Through the years, they have visited Hawaii numerous times and have never grown tired of this tropical Paradise. In fact, they set their mysteries, Murder… They Wrote and Murder in Paradise in Hawaii. After all, it’s always necessary to visit to do research. They just returned from their latest trip, ready to continue the third book in the series.

A Sampling of Their Books:


31 Months in Japan—the Building of a Theme Park is the story of two Southern Californians who embark on the adventure of a lifetime—moving to Japan to participate in the construction of the Universal Studios Japan theme park. While there, they encountered the wonders and frustrations of the culture as well as the challenges of conducting business following foreign formal rituals. Japanese customs seemed awkward at first, but eventually they established effective working relationships and personal ones as well.


What if a retired NYPD officer is asked to investigate a mysterious death at an authors’ conference where attendees offer their theories and suspicions? Agapé Jones, retired NYPD detective, tries to determine the truth surrounding the death of a noted poet and critic. Confusing and confounding him are the victim’s romance novelist ex-girlfriend, current young girlfriend, ex-wife, recently discovered illegitimate daughter, agent, an action/adventure author, famous psychic, long-time friend, and the mysterious countess. Peopled by a cast of quirky and deliciously amusing characters, Murder…They Wrote is filled with accusations, theories, twists, turns and surprises.


On an early morning paddle, an outrigger team finds a body in the water off Maui. Agapé Jones, retired NYPD detective, is asked to act as special investigator in the murder of a famous surfer, the son of a Hawaii state senator. The assignment takes Agapé to the North Shore of Oahu where he discovers that he’s investigating more than just a murder. Murder in Paradise allows readers to solve the case along with the detective while experiencing a virtual trip to the real Paradise that is Hawaii.


Many people enjoy Lakeview Park, and each one has a unique story. Between the pages, you’ll meet fifteen of them. Lakeview Park is a collection of O. Henry-like slice-of-life stories about the people who frequent a fictitious park. These tales reveal folks of all ages, from small children to the elderly.

Check out Lorna's blog at
To Read More and/or Click to Buy Any of The Above Books and Others by Larry and Lorna, 
Go To:

Please welcome Larry K. Collins to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents by leaving a comment.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spunky Senior Author, Lorna Collins, Shares Christmas in California

Lorna Collins

Today, Lorna is Sharing Her California Christmas With Us 

Christmas in California by Lorna Collins

As a native Californian, I'm often asked how it can feel like Christmas with no snow. After all, Irving Berlin wrote White Christmas while sitting around a hotel pool in Beverly Hills.

The sun is shining,
The grass is green,
The orange and palm trees sway.
There's never been such a day
In Beverly Hills, L.A.
(Verse of "White Christmas".

People always think there's no snow in this part of the state. In fact, we even had snow at our house. Of course, the only time it happened in my lifetime was in 1949.

However, this is one of the few places in the world where we have such varied micro-climates. Within a couple of hours, it is possible to go from the beach to the snow in the mountains to the desert. In fact, for many years, three men in San Clemente had a New Year's Day ritual. They began the morning by surfing at San Clemente pier. Then they jumped in the car and went to Big Bear to go skiing. In the late afternoon, they went to the desert.

You may think that since we live here, we've never experienced white Christmases. You'd be wrong.

In 1969, we spent the holidays in the Chicago area of Illinois with gray skies and wet, heavy snow. It was bitterly cold and going outside was a chore. And the fierce winds off the lake blew the bone-chilling freezing cold through us. No amount of warm clothing could really keep us warm. Since it was our first time away from our families during the holidays, we really wanted to be back in the warmth of our home.

Two years later, we lived in Denver, Colorado. This snow was white powder. After a day or two of stormy weather, the skies cleared, the roads were cleaned, and the area became a winter play land. Although we still had to bundle up against the cold, the nearby mountains were worth the effort.

When we left Chicago, I was sure we'd never live anywhere with worse winters. Then we moved to Osaka, Japan. Our home was in the suburb of Takarazuka, about an hour outside the city. The fierce wind blew down the ice-covered slopes of Mt. Rokko and penetrated our bones.

Once again, being so far from home made the holidays harder.

After three winters in Japan, we were so glad to be back home in Dana Point. The weather gets cool and crisp between November and March but without the bitter cold. As Larry says, "And you don't have to scrape the sunshine off the windshield."

December is my favorite month here at the beach. The skies are blue, unlike in the summer when 'June gloom' (morning fog) blankets the coast until noon. It's usually cool enough for a sweatshirt but warm enough to be comfortable. And the summer crowds are long gone.

Having experienced the traditional white Christmas, we prefer the holiday right here at the beach without snow!

And here's something about Lorna's Book:


When an unemployed computer programmer inherits a California beach cottage from her great-great-aunt, she’s delighted. But she’s in for a huge surprise: The house is haunted by the ghost of a famous romance writer who insists the young woman complete his last novel, threatening to keep her from sleeping until she agrees. The ensuing clash pits youth against the long-dead but still egotistical author with humorous and moving results.

Stay Tuned For Next Week To Read About Lorna's Husband, Surfing Larry, and The Books They've Written Together.
Lorna and Larry Collins

In the meantime, you can check out their books at
Lorna Collins and her husband, Larry, were raised in Alhambra, California where they attended grammar school and high school together. They have been married for over forty years and have one daughter, Kimberly.
Larry is an engineer and spent many years working on various projects throughout the United States and around the world. They both love to travel whenever they get the chance. Lorna was in Document Control, IT Change Management, and Technical Writing prior to her recent retirement.
They both worked in Osaka, Japan on the Universal Studios Japan theme park. Larry was a Project Engineer, responsible for the Jurassic Park, JAWS, and WaterWorld attractions. Lorna was the Document Control Supervisor in the Osaka field office.
Their memoir of that experience, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, was a 2006 EPPIE finalist and named as one of Rebeccas Reads Best nonfiction books of 2005.
Their cozy mysteries, Murder... They Wrote and Murder in Paradise (2011 EPIC eBook Award finalist) were published by Whiskey Creek Press. Both are set in Hawaii featuring protagonist Agapé Jones. They have at least two more books planned in this cozy mystery series.
Lorna also writes anthologies with several friends, also for Whiskey Creek Press. Together they have published Snowflake Secrets (Dream Realm Award, Eric Hoffer, and EPPIE finalist), Seasons of LoveDirections of Love (2011 EPIC eBook Award winner) and An Aspen Grove Christmas. The first three were written with Sherry Derr-Wille, Christie Shary and Luanna Rugh. The last also introduced new author Cheryl Gardarian. The group’s next anthology, The Art of Love, will be published soon.
Lorna’s first solo work, Ghost Writer was released in 2012 by Oak Tree Press.
She is currently hard at work on another ghost story, a new anthology, and the next mystery. In addition, she and Larry have begun an historical novel set in San Juan Capistrano.
They currently live in Dana Point, California.
Please leave a comment to welcome Lorna Collins to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Spunky Senior Author Larriane aka Larion Wills Shares Misconceptions About the Hard of Hearing

Larriane aka Larion Wills

Born in Oklahoma, but raised in Arizona Larriane/Larion feels a native to the state and has settled in the high desert country. Her first publisher used to tease her about 'coming out of the closet' as she had written all her life but didn't take the manuscripts out of the closet and begin submitting until after her half-century birthday.  In a quiet, rural area with a family who tolerates her writer’s single-mindedness, she presents us with a series of science fiction and unique westerns while still producing contemporary romances, many laced with paranormal settings, all with strong characterizations and suspenseful plots, capable of dragging you into a story in a genre you thought you didn’t care for. Under her pen of Larriane she writes science fiction and fantasy. As well as being an writer, Larriane is also an editor.  

Visitors are always welcome at her website, where blurbs and excerpts of her current titles can be found, and buy links, of course.   

Larriane/Larion's constant companions, Guy and Nekko
And Now, Larriane/Larion has words some of you can relate to, or at least understand:

Are you rude or infinitely patient?

Only part of that tolerant family with 4 generations on
hand for 50th wedding anniversary.
Today I’m not even going to talk about writing, at least not in the actual writing. As an author, you’re told you have to promote, go to conferences, books signings, book fairs, etc. Having attended a few is why I ask are you rude of infinitely patient?  If you don’t know, carry on a conversation with someone hard of hearing. Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not slamming people with a hearing handicap. I’m on the receiving end, not the giving. About twenty years ago, thanks to a doctor who gave me a medication in too strong a dosage for too long a time, I lost the majority of my hearing. Since, I’ve discovered people who answer to both ends of that question. To some, I suddenly become invisible to a degree they not only cut me out of a conversation; they turn their backs to me. Are they embarrassed, thoughtless, or….? I really don’t know, but I do know, there are more on the other side, for which I’m grateful. I know it’s frustrating to have to repeat what you say, two or three times. It’s frustrating to me to have to ask you to. I’m happy to say the ratio of those willing to is far higher than those who get irritated, rude, or back off when I move closer to hear better. Honestly, I’ve had people back away to the point I worried about BO more than did I invading their space. On the opposite end are those like a clerk I asked questions about my computer. He’d repeated the information in parts for the third time before he asked, “Are you having trouble understanding me or hearing me?” I could have hugged him. He didn’t look at me as if I were stupid. Furthermore, he didn’t start yelling at me to embarrass me. Yelling, btw, only makes it worse. Yelling distorts the sounds I’m already having trouble recognizing. I have about 25% speech recognition in one ear. I supplement that with lip reading which at its best is estimated to be 33%. Anything that distorts the sound or obscures your mouth lessens my ability to catch enough to make sense of what you’re saying, although admittedly there are some people who don’t make any sense anyway. Poor diction makes it nearly impossible. I’m became more and more aware of how poorly people speak, enough to make me wonder do they not teach pronunciation in the schools anymore. Slurring, running words together, talking a mile a minute, and chewing gum take my comprehension abilities down to about one word in twenty.

As hard of hearing, I would like to pass these tips along in talking to people ‘like us.’
Get our attention. This doesn’t mean walk up and slap us on the back, punch us on the arm, or some people’s favorite, slap the fanny. Not only is it jarring to the nerves, it’s irritating. A light touch on the arm or shoulder is so appreciated. If you’re across the room, waving wildly usually helps. Also what works nicely is to ask a hearing person near us to touch us lightly on the arm and point in your direction.
Look at and talk in our direction. It isn’t necessary to look us in the eye. I know that makes some people uncomfortable. I wouldn’t look you in the eye anyway; I’d be watching your mouth. Keep in mind if you’re looking over your shoulder, to the side, or even at the floor, not only is it difficult to see your mouth, the sound is going that direction.
Don’t cover your mouth.  You’d be surprised how many people do that when they’re talking. Are they afraid they have spinach in their teeth?
Don’t shout. I’ve already explained why. Sometimes pitching your voice to another level helps, but generally speaking normally works the best.  
Pronoun your words clearly. Self explanatory.
Speak at a normal rate. By that I mean, just because someone tells you they’re hard of hearing, don’t think talking in slow motion is going to help. I’ve found slow motion is like shouting. It tends to distort. I’mmmmm gooooingetc. I have asked people to slow down. It’s usually last about three words into a sentence before they’re back up to speed.
Don’t be irritated if they parrot back what you said. I’m just making sure I heard you right before I answer.
Be patient. That’s the most important thing, and enjoy some of the unexpected humor when you ask a question. I’ve given some off the wall answers to what I thought was said. I can always tell when I’ve heard wrong by the ‘Huh?’ expressions I get. Those can be pretty comical. Ah, yes, a sense of humor helps, too.

About Her Book: From the atrocities of war a decision was made to save their race and their world. Protection of those of paramount value must be assured by any means. Ships orbiting their planet were built. Only when their planet would not support even war, the last and lowest, the military, were sent to the ships. From the age of seven when his training began, Jaylon knew only military. Guard duty in the Paramount lounge should have been easy duty though he was warned by his peers to never trust the Paramounts, especially the woman. Many played a game, flirt with military, and report them for punishment for breaches of protocol. His secret assignment, discover the trickster and the method behind the self-moving, sometimes attacking objects. From the first night, Tieanna caught his attention. She didn’t flirt. She tormented, using a formidable weapon, the truth. Hidden behind the lies, corruption, and betrayal of all but the chosen few, was the Paramounts’ fear, resurrection of the Bastards of Ran. Surely they and their powers were no more than legend. Who could believe in powers of the telepathic mind to healing with the touch of their hands? Jaylon did not. Still, if the belief of the Bastards, and their belief all were equal, revived then too would revolt and treason?

Where Larriane/Larion relaxes when not writing.
     Larriane AKA Larion Wills 

Please welcome Larriane/Larion to Spunky by leaving a comment.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spunky Senior Author, Lesley A. Diehl, Likes and Writes About Senior Sleuths

Lesley A. Diehl

Lesley A. Diehl retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York.  In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport.  Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse.  When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats, and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.  

She is author of several short stories and several mystery series: the microbrewing mystery series set in the Butternut Valley (A Deadly Draught and Poisoned Pairings) and a rural Florida series, Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Killed and Chilled (to be released late in 2012).  She recently signed a three-book deal with Camel Press for The Consignment Shop Murders including A Secondhand Murder.  For something more heavenly, try her mystery Angel Sleuth.  Several of her short stories have been published by Untreedreads including one (Murder with All the Trimmings) in the original Thanksgiving anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry and another (Mashed in the Potatoes) in the second anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping.  She invites readers to visit her on her blog and website.


Agatha Christie, Dorothy Gilman and Me By Lesley A. Diehl

I’ve been reading several of the Mrs. Pollifax books, ones I never got to before.  I love the character.  She wears well over the years as does Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.  Both, in their individual ways, could be considered spunky senior sleuths.  Perhaps they age so well because the boomers are getting older and can identify with them more easily now than when they were younger, yet I read and loved Miss Marple in my teens and twenties and Emily Pollifax in my thirties.  What is it that makes these women so appealing to young readers and older ones alike?

Christie did a magical thing when she took the image of the meddlesome old spinster in town and turned it on its head to create Miss Marple.  This is a woman who resides in the idyllic English village, quaint shops, narrow streets, one doctor, an old stone church.  Peaceful, yet murder often comes to visit, and Miss Marple welcomes the challenge of solving the crime.  She’s not meddlesome, rather she’s observant and brilliant, but more than those qualities, she possesses kindness and the ability to listen.  People confide in her, often young  people.  Criminals underestimate her, assuming age to be an infirmity to deduction,  while she proves it only adds to her arsenal of reasoning.  She’s a spry elder who gets around the village with ease.  Those whom she does not know in the town, she knows of or can learn about through her other contacts.  She’s the woman you want living next door to you if you’re not a criminal.  She provides  better security than an alarm system. 

The village, the manners and the customs of Miss Marple’s life take us to a time we may find had more charm and face-on encounters than the present does.  It’s a transporting read, away from the stress of our own, more fast-paced lives.  The escape value of the stories alone is reason to read Christie, yet there is also something timeless about the character in her likeability, her intelligence and her ability to defy our own prejudices about what older people are like.

Gilman’s Emily Pollifax takes the best of Miss Marple and adds other dimensions to her.  Younger than Miss Marple and part of a larger community, Emily Pollifax is a woman who refuses to let life leave her behind.  She has taken karate lessons and sometimes uses them to fight off the bad guys.  Although she dresses in keeping with her age, she loves hats for example, sensible shoes, of course, Gilman gives her a most unlikely avocation, spy for the CIA, and takes her detective off on assignment to countries from old Bulgaria to a rebellion-torn African nation to Syria.  Emily Pollifax is no less a brilliant problem-solver than Miss Marple, but where riding a bicycle in the village might be the most physical Miss Marple might get, a karate-chop and 
a ride on a camel would not be unlikely for Emily Pollifax. 

The world has become Emily’s village, yet these two women sleuths share similar personalities.  Both inspire confidence.  Young people share secrets with Emily Pollifax much as they did with Miss Marple.  Both look their ages, making them fit in where a younger sleuth might be noticed or seen as suspicious.  Who would suspect a little old lady of being a CIA operative?  The bad guys still can’t believe a grandmotherly type could outthink them.  These women surprise many who know them as well as those who dismiss them.  They are perfect sleuths.  They are senior sleuths.

I don’t think a writer can improve on the formula used by Christie and Gilman, but I have tried to update the senior sleuth a bit.  Emily Rhodes, my protagonist in Dumpster Dying, the first in my Big Lake mystery series(the second Grilled, Chilled and Killed is due out soon from Oak Tree Press) is a retired preschool teacher who winters in rural Florida.  Her life partner has died leaving no will, and everything is in his name.  To support herself, Emily takes on a bartending job at the Big Lake Country Club where she discovers the body of the county’s wealthiest rancher in the dumpster.  

I’ve tried to adhere to what I think works in Christie and Gilman.  My protagonist is retired, in her fifties, and was a preschool teacher, someone who wouldn’t be perceived as a threat to any bad guy.  In addition, I made her small in stature, only about five feet in height, not likely to frighten off any killer.  She’s smart, but does  most of her reasoning on her feet.  I’ve also made her the kind of person others confide in.

There are differences between my senior sleuth and Christie’s and Gilman’s.  She’s a bit bolder than Marple and Pollifax, and sometimes she takes foolish chances.  Although Mrs. Pollifax marries again in the Gilman books, there’s not much romance in them.  I give my protagonist the attention of two men, one a detective, the other a bass fisherman.  Several plot twists involve family secrets.  I think these departures from the Christie and Gilman approach make the book read more contemporary and quicken its pace as well as make the plot more complex.  I also have ramped up the grittiness of the setting by making the wilds of rural Florida figure into the plot.

I am no Christie or Gilman, but I think writers can do well examining what has worked in favorite books and emulate some of that in their own work.  I hope what I’ve used from these mistresses of crime and the differences I’ve introduced make my books both enjoyable and novel reads.

My website:


The threat of hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a controversial technique to extract gas from shale, invades the Butternut Valley .  Hera Knightsbridge and her fellow brewers fear it will pollute the brewers’ most precious ingredient, water, as well as destroy the beauty of the valley.  And then murder visits her brewery.  When Jake is called away, Hera must find the killer on her own and confront a murderer as well as ghosts from her past.


Emily Rhodes came to rural Florida for the cowboys, the cattle, and to do a little country two-step, not to fall head first onto a dead body in a dumpster.  Ah, the golden years of retirement in the sunshine state.  They’re more like pot metal to Emily, who discovers the body of the county’s wealthiest rancher in the Big Lake Country Club dumpster.  With her close friend accused of the murder, Emily sets aside her grief at her life partner’s death to find the real killer.  She underestimates the obstacles rural Florida can set up for a winter visitor and runs afoul of a local judge with his own version of justice, hires a lawyer who works out of a retirement home, and flees wild fires hand-in-hand with the man she believes to be the killer. 

Buy link for all my books on Amazon:

Lesley's website:

Please welcome Lesley A. Diehl by leaving a comment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Spunky Senior Authors and Talents wants to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Our seniors are waiting in the wings to offer more revelations about their lives in the upcoming weeks. Thursdays are usually the unveiling days, but sometimes not, depending on technical difficulties.

One such difficulty happened to Barbara Becker Holstein, when the Sandy Storm caught her in its grip, and she couldn't get her post over here for November 15. Don't worry, we're working on an alternate date for her. Also, we have others also lined up.

In the meantime, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Morgan Mandel, Blog Owner

Friday, November 9, 2012

Please Welcome Spunky Senior Author and Teacher of Teachers, Peggy Williams

Peggy Williams is co-author of the mystery On the Road to Death's Door, writing with Mary Joy Johnson.  She also freelances writing corporate and educational videos, screenplays, magazine feature articles, and her own blogs: Musings of a MadCityWriter and Reflections of a MadCityScribbler.  In her day job, she is a public school teacher in Madison, Wisconsin where she and her husband Mark raised their two children.  She is an ecstatic brand new, first time grandma!  Raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, she considers herself a Yooper by birth, but a Cheesehead by choice.

I started writing when I was in junior high, when a group of my friends and I gathered together to write the next great Beatles movie after A Hard Day's Night and Help came out.  We sat around evenings and weekends brainstorming, writing, and reading what we had just written--and laughing!  There was tons of laughter. Writing was fun.  And it never occurred to me that it might be hard. 
I know differently now. While writing has never been particularly difficult for me, it certainly is work. And it's not always fun.  But perhaps because of that first, early collaborative experience, writing is a part of who I am.
Teaching children to write is also a part of who I am. When I do my job well, my young students invariably think of writing as no more difficult than reading or talking--and they see it as fun and rewarding.  As a kindergarten and then first grade teacher, I have always believed that young children can learn to write even before they learn to read. Sometimes a story is represented in drawings and simple words or even just letters. And sometimes a story that just has to be told can be dictated to a supportive adult. But the process starts early in life.
In my first grade classroom, my favorite time was when a group of children gathered at a side table to plan their chapter books about space exploration or lost wolves or the adventures of the myriad princesses and witches that inhabited their stories.  Understand that a "chapter" might be only a page or two long, but these young students understood that a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end and they loved creating their own storybook characters.
Every year, as a class project we would write individual letters to the President of the United States.  Imagine the message these young children got about the power of the written word when that envelope with the seal of the presidency and the return address of the White House came in the school mail bearing a signed photo and a letter of greeting from whomever was in office at the time.
And one time, after a student inadvertently bumped and broke our classroom globe, a letter to the principal from the class explaining what had happened and asking for a new one garnered us a brand new globe with up-to-date country designations. The power of persuasive writing!
Our school is located not far from a nature conservancy, so that we often have visitors on the playground of a rather wild nature. Every year it seems, my first graders would spontaneously take it upon themselves to create posters warning others in the building to "Bewar the wld trkys!" 
And it is amazing to see what six and seven-year olds can produce when encouraged and supported to write free form poetry.  They speak from the heart on a wide range of topics. And interestingly, the opportunity to let go of the conventions of punctuation and paragraphing often allows even those who struggle with other academic challenges to feel successful in voicing their thoughts and feelings through poetry. 
My greatest delight was that the children groaned when writing workshop came to an end each day, and that they often chose to write during their free time.  Social writing sets the environment for this kind of enthusiasm.  Skill is not so important; though I certainly worked to help the children grow in their skills. But publishing is probably the clincher, just as it is with adults.
I found that turning "Show & Tell" into "Read & Share" gave the children a forum for reading aloud their work to an appreciative audience.  Typing their stories, letting them illustrate them, and then stapling or binding them and putting them into our classroom library gave them a sense of accomplishment, just as publishing my book gave me a thrill.  And of course, posting their short work out in the hall shouted to the rest of the school that we were a classroom of writers.
I'm not in the classroom anymore. I provide support to teachers now and focus on larger curriculum issues and teacher training in my building.  But every once in a while I have the opportunity to provide "intervention" in writing to a struggling student or to model a lesson for a younger teacher in a classroom.  That's how I get my kid fix. And that's how I remember that being a writer doesn't have to wait until you are all grown up. 

PEGGY'S BOOK: On The Road to Death's Door
Emily and Stan Remington’s maiden voyage in their newly inherited, second-hand RV goes awry when a body falls off the top of their vehicle. The retired small town police officer and her husband, a retired history professor, find themselves at the center of a murder investigation involving a politician, a corporate executive, and a hippie priest. Emily butts heads with the local sheriff as their search takes them from a backwoods cabin in Wisconsin’s scenic Door County to the Bishop’s Chancery in Madison to an abandoned island in the infamous Death’s Door Straits.  
Left to right, Peggy Williams & Mary Joy Johnson
On the Road to Death's Door is the first in the series by Peggy Williams and Mary Joy Johnson. On the Road to Where the Bells Toll, which takes place in Boston, will be available soon.

On the Road to Death's Door may be purchased through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Musings of a MadCityWriter
Reflections of a MadCityScribbler

Please leave a comment to welcome Peggy Williams to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Please Welcome Spunky Army Brat and Author, Marilyn Celeste Morris

Marilyn Celeste Morris says:
Marilyn Celeste Morris

  I was born in Alpine, Texas in my grandfather's Southern Pacific Railroad section house.  The railroad company soon abandoned this part of the operations, so I was left without a "permanent" home. 
  At the age of eight, I received my very own orders from The War Department to journey to Seoul, Korea, to join my father in the US Occupation Forces. We were isolated in a military compound with little to do, so I turned my attention to writing.  
  My next overseas assignment was for three years in Linz, Austria. Out of these experiences sprang my first novel, The Women of Camp Sobingo and  my autobiography,of sorts, Once a Brat, Always a Brat, described as part memoir, part therapy session. 
Other books quickly followed, as I retired from Corporate America, and at last I could do what I always felt I was born to do: Write. 

 I am single, live in Fort Worth TX and have three grown children and five grands and am now 74. Been through a lot in my long life.

And, now Marilyn shares some fascinating information about her books:
Once A Brat, Always A Brat
Brat:  Def:  (1) An unruly child Def:  (2) A child of the military  BRAT:  British Regiment Attached Traveler. We wear the “Brat” name with pride. Those who argue that the term is demeaning simply don’t understand. Once a Brat, Always a Brat is not intended to be a serious study of children of the military. It is neither an apology nor a rallying cry for our unique experiences. While some of my fellow Military Brats, missionary kids, children of the diplomatic corps, oil company employees’ offspring and others raised outside their home country may find similarities in my narrative, I must emphasize that the first part of this book is based solely on events transpiring between 1938 and 1958, with comments on how the Military Brat experience affected my life. Other Military Brats have contributed to this book, writing about their experiences in their own words. A Resources section is included for those who are seeking information about the various organizations who can offer advice and counsel to our current Military Brats and their families.

The Cards We’re Dealt: Living with Lupus Erythematosis This book of experiences comes from 'Lupies' who have been 'there... this is not intended as any form of medical advice, but rather as Lupus to Lupus survivor support, and includes many entries and posts from sufferers and their friends and families intended to give comfort and support. 
The web address with information about Regional Chapters and how you may donate to the search for a cure can be found at


                                 The Unexplored Heart
      Impoverished but proud Vanessa Danforth is forced from her mother’s home by her new stepfather’s treachery in 1860s England.
After graduating from stenographer’s school, she accepts a position at the estate of famed world explorer, Harrison Courtland.
Made a widower by his wife’s tragic death in the Himalayas, Courtland has retreated into his work while Vanni forges friendships with his daughter Katrin and the handsome physician from the neighboring estate.
As Vanni encourages Courtland to unearth the ancient ruins at the edge of his property she discovers not only a stunning secret and a hidden treasure, but also her own heart’s desire.
    Impoverished but proud Vanessa Danforth is forced from her mother’s home by her new stepfather’s treachery in 1860s England.
After graduating from stenographer’s school, she accepts a position at the estate of famed world explorer, Harrison Courtland.
Made a widower by his wife’s tragic death in the Himalayas, Courtland has retreated into his work while Vanni forges friendships with his daughter Katrin and the handsome physician from the neighboring estate.
As Vanni encourages Courtland to unearth the ancient ruins at the edge of his property she discovers not only a stunning secret and a hidden treasure, but also her own heart’s desire. 

Sabbath’s Gift: Book One in the Sabbath Trilogy
When New York writer, Joanna Elliott, flees her abusive husband to the Texas Hill Country,  she and her six-year old son, Jason, unwittingly become a killer's prey. Despite Realtor Tommy Joe Greenleaf's warning that Wanda and Ralph Spencer had mysteriously disappeared from the remote farmhouse ten years earlier, Joanna moves in, and makes the sunroom into her office. Joanna adopts a cat from the local veterinarian, Sam Kelly, who tells her that Sabbath "had belonged to a witch." Unexplained events unfold: Joanna is locked overnight inside the storage shed, footprints appear under the sun room windows, and Jason's dog, Mournful, is found poisoned.

Sabbath’s HouseBook Two of the Sabbath Trilogy
Best selling author Joanna Elliott and her growing family are looking for another house because, quite frankly, finding bodies in the cellar and a psychotic old woman kidnapping her son were not events conducive to bringing her new child into the world. She discovers a charming old Victorian mansion owned only by women of the Emily Harris family, but the remaining heiress has no descendants to inherit. Once the family moves in, however, psychic black cat Sabbath encounters spirits determined to continue the legend, once again putting the family in peril.

Marilyn Celeste Morris at a book signing
Forces of Nature:
What will happen when a fully-loaded KC130 tanker taking off from the nearby Air Force Base is flung into a crowded shopping mall by a giant tornado. Who lives and who dies? 
Mother Nature against Human Nature. 
  "An edgy, well-written suspense by the same author as the wonderful The Women of Camp Sobingo, Forces of Nature has everything from thriller and horror to romance and human foibles... Each of the characters resonates with the reader with depth and clarity, all while making an entertaining evening's reading..." -Carl Benson, fan

The Women of Camp Sobingo—A novel set in the Post WWII era
The Women of Camp Sobingo shares the story of four women; friends who share the life of army wives in a strange land, with husbands who serve … Their experiences in a far-flung military compound strengthen three of the women, but a fourth chooses to end her life there. A reunion twenty-five years later reveals long-held dark secrets and sorrows …

My Ashes of Dead Lovers Garage Sale
and other stories from a single woman of a certain age.
A collection of humor/human interest articles written for a suburban newspaper over 10 years. 
 Vol. II coming soon!

Marilyn Celeste Morris, Author, Editor and Speaker
Five novels, two non fiction books. All available on Amazon.com See Marilyn's Author Page at Amazon:

Vanilla Heart Publishing:: 
And now, free reads first four chapters of all her books: 

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