Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spunky Senior Author, Carolynn Carey, and her Prognosis for Happiness

Loving and Living with Language: An Editor/Author’s Story

“Don’t let aging get you down. It’s too hard to get back up.”—John Warner

As a lifelong lover of language, I wanted to start this Spunky Seniors blog with a quotation about aging. I picked one that I think is both funny and—in my case at least—true. This quotation illustrates how a few words, carefully chosen, can help us find humor in a truth that is sometimes less than humorous.

I’ve always enjoyed the power of words and the beauty of language. Like most writers, I’m sure, I possess an intuitive grasp of grammar, and this has led to my being associated with publications such as my high school newspaper, county newspaper, and college newspaper. As you might suspect, all of this newspaper experience steered me toward a bachelor’s in journalism, then to a master’s in English Education, and finally to a career as an academic editor.

At Carolynn Carey's retirement party

Carolyn with grandson

But while I enjoyed my stints first as a copyeditor and later as an editor, I always wanted to write fiction. I tried on a few occasions when I could carve out some time between raising a daughter, caring for a home and husband, and keeping up at work. Unfortunately, I discovered that knowing grammar doesn’t equal understanding the craft of writing. Learning to write fiction well required a new skill set and many years of practice.

When I was finally published (by Avalon Books in 2005), I maintained my interest in sharing what I knew about grammar. I wrote articles for the newsletter of my local Romance Writers of America chapter and contributed a monthly blog called “Carolynn’s Clues” to a website for writers ( I still enjoy grammar but as my writing career heats up, I’ve had to cut back on writing about grammar. My last “Carolynn’s Clues” column appeared on February 14 of this year. Not coincidentally, my most recent contemporary romance was released earlier in that month.

Prognosis for Happiness is a sweet romance set in a small Tennessee town. The hero and heroine were high school classmates fourteen years before the story begins. He was the “Boy Most Likely to Succeed” and she was the class nerd. He went on to become a successful plastic surgeon in Hollywood while she stayed at home as a small-town pediatrician. Then he comes back to town to oversee her work with his young niece and… Well, I won’t give the entire plot away here. The book is available as a paperback on Amazon or as an electronic book for the Kindle, Nook, or on Smashwords. The links to buy the book follow, as do links to my homepage and blog. I hope you’ll visit both, and thanks for allowing me to guest blog here today.


My website and blog:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Please Welcome Spunky Senior & Romance Author, Mary Marvella

One Lucky Commenter Will Receive - A free download from Smashwords of The Gift or Haunting Refrain, or if both were already read, a download of Forever Love. Please leave your email address to be contacted, in case you win.
Mary is in the middle
My former students are reading my sex scenes. How strange is that. 
by Mary Marvella, AKA Mary Marvella Barfield

Last night I saw a message on Facebook that made me grin! One of my former students said she LOVED reading my books. She finished 2 novellas and is halfway through one of my novels. She says if she HAD to choose a favorite, it would be the reincarnation story with ghost facilitators, the one she is now reading, Haunting Refrain. I didn't quote her, because I haven't had the chance to ask permission. I did hint strongly that I would appreciate reviews. 

 All my stories have steamy sex, so I had concerns that my "older" kids might feel odd knowing their teacher wrote those love/sex scenes. Most are now parents, and some are even grandparents. Hmmm, several offered to be my proofreaders/beta readers.  I taught those folks when they were teenagers. Having them as my friends  now rocks!  Some call me Mary, while others still call me Miz Barfield, but they all seem to enjoy having me join them for social events.  I get to hang out with the cool kids.  I love being able to share my work with them.

I started websites and blogs with the help of younger savvy folks. Sometimes I think I have the blogging thing down. Other times, NOT. Twitter? Not yet, but soon, I guess.

Who is Mary Marvella?
I'm a mom and teacher. I still tutor after retiring from the classroom. My daughter is now 39 and her daddy, my first love, is my Ex.  Tutoring one-on-one is wonderful most of the time. Now I know immediately if I reach a student or not and can spend as long teaching a concept as necessary.  Having parents call me a miracle worker warms the cockles of my heart and helps pay bills.

I have been a storyteller since I could talk. No, I didn't write my first novel at 10, but I made the other kids and people within earshot listen to my stories.  I actually wrote my first novels and short stories after I retired from teaching. I finally had time to read for pleasure again and write.  I wrote some of the old family stories and the stories I made up for my daughter.

 As a language arts teacher I still love the classics. As a woman who loves a good love story, I adore romances and women's fiction.  The decision to self-publish wasn't easy, but it made sense. I could never write to the market.  I write the stories I must write if I want to have any peace from my characters.  

The act of uploading my own books kicked my sagging old butt! I am technically challenged, but I managed to upload 2 novellas and 2 novels to Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Now for the promo. Drum roll!
The Gift
On Edna Mae's 40th birthday she buried her controlling father and lost her virginity in a one-night stand with a stranger she never expected to see again.  Her life is about to change in more ways than she could imagine.


Inside the restaurant piano music drifted from a bar and the scents of garlic and tomatoes made me even hungrier. The music changed to something that sounded like a recording. I caught myself humming softly with the music.
For the first time in my life, a man looked at me with desire in his eyes. The delicious memory made me shiver with anticipation. Having a drink from the bar, another first, I answered the man’s smile with a shy one of my own that had come more naturally than I’d expected.
Crinkles around his gray eyes matched his crooked smile. “Waiting for someone?”
I remember fidgeting with my top button, round and smooth against my rough fingertips. Clearing my dry throat, I answered. “No, no one.”
His smile lit his face and I smiled I return. “Mind if I join you?” His deep voice vibrated through me.
 When he sat, I nearly panicked. What could I talk about with this handsome stranger? What could we have in common?
The waitress looked so envious, leaning toward him and pursing her red lips, I almost blurted that the man wasn’t with me. But he was – at least for now.
He ordered the special, and so did I. I had no idea what I wanted and could barely think straight with his attention centered on me. He commented on our choice of steak and fresh asparagus - something we had in common, after all.
We talked about everything from movies to his work experiences and college education. I lied about my background, since there were none of those things for the woman who had devoted her life to nursing a bedridden parent until three days ago. If he’d asked me to repeat what I said, I’d have been hard put to do so. I did remember shredding the soggy napkin from under my glass.
Someone began to play the shiny baby grand piano. The stranger and I glanced around the crowded area, commenting on people around us. When had so many people come into the restaurant?
He spoke first. “Didn’t know there was live music tonight.”
“The music is nice.” Too brilliant for words.
He smiled and looked pointedly at my nearly empty plate. Neither of us said anything, but when he held his hand out.
I took it and stood.
“I don’t dance,” I said, apologizing.
He drew me close. “We can stop when I step on your feet too many times.”
A shiver hit me as I smiled. More than likely I’d step on his feet. I couldn’t push the man away yet, though I probably should have. Dancing with the handsome stranger, I lost myself in the warmth of his strong arms until the bar closed at midnight. Unlike Cinderella, I didn’t run home.

The Gift.

Other books by Mary Marvella
Haunting Refrain, Forever Love, and Christmas's Best Bet, Humble Pie.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Who Likes to Exercise?

Morgan Mandel & Rascal
resting after a walk.

Exercise is supposed to be good for the body and even the spirit, especially as we age. Still, who likes to exercise?

Sometimes, I do. Oftentimes, I don't. It would be nice if I were one of those women who could get so wrapped up in exercising that I wouldn't mind doing it so much.

I have to admit once I get started I do enjoy my walks with Rascal, which I do regularly each morning and each afternoon, weather permitting. We have a fenced in yard, but it's good for both of us to spend some time walking around. How long our walks are generally depend on her. She takes me where she wants to go and I let her lead the way, at least to a certain extent. It's her time and I want her to enjoy it. There are limits, though. It's not as if I let her pull me down the street or across the street into traffic.

Sometimes the DH comes with us in the afternoon and we head over to Rascal's favorite haunt, Bentley's Corner Barkery, an animal food and sundries shop, where they all dote on her and spoil her with treats. We love witnessing her excitement and enjoyment at being somewhere she loves. Actually, she could probably walk there by herself if we let her.

Rascal at Bentley's with co-owner,
Giovanni, giving her a treat.
 Other than dog walking, my chief exercise is going to Fitness Classes, which I do twice a week, whether or not I'm dragging at the time I set out. I do that because I know it's good for me. I actually enjoy class at the start, but usually after about twenty minutes, I'm longing for it to be over, with forty more minutes to go.

I probably should exercise more, since I've lost those exercise minutes each weekday when I used to rush to catch the train, rush to the office, then do the reverse in the evening. Somehow I can't get up enough enthusiasm for even walking into town and pretending I'm catching the train. I'd rather sit at my computer, network or type a blog or manuscript.

I've heard that it's best to get up every half hour or so and stretch or move around instead of just sitting and typing constantly, but I often forget to get up, except when hunger or other bodily functions force me to do so.

What about you? Do you like to exercise? If so, what do you do? If not, do you force yourself?

PS: If you like to read thrillers, mysteries, romances or a combination, I invite you to check out my offerings at where you'll find excerpts and buy links.

Morgan Mandel

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Answers to the Guess Who

The Answers to the Guess Who Are:

The first is Marian Allen.
The second is Terry Crawford Palardy
The last is Morgan Mandel.