Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Please Welcome Professional Grandfather, Dr. Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. Four young people are genetically related to me, but I have hundreds of grandkids all around the planet. If you enter something like "I hate myself" in a search engine, one of my answers to such cries for help come up. I have the gift of being able to convert helplessness and despair into inner strength and hope, and many of the people I respond to keep in touch for years. They become my grandkids.
I am also the author of 14 published books, 4 of them award winners. They can be inspected at

My genre is English. Whatever grabs my attention, and sometimes even what doesn't, ends up in my writing somewhere. This is why one of my short story collections is titled "Through Other Eyes," because in that book you can look through my eyes as I look through the eyes of 26 very different people.

Some of the people I write about are 3 feet tall, green, with three arms and legs and no head, but you'll love them anyway. These cute critters are the heroes of "Liberator," the lead story in "Bizarre Bipeds," which was a finalist in an EPIC e-book contest (don't know what was wrong with the judges in the final round).

One of my best is the award-winning "Sleeper, Awake," which is for sale at Double Dragon e-publishing It is set 1500 years in the future, but is spot on relevant to today. You'll like the world I created -- for one thing, women have all the power!
I also write non-fiction: on building, woodwork, psychology self-help, coping with cancer, and an award-winning biography.

Of course, writing is a spare time activity, the joy and relaxation in my life. I am also busy having 3 other occupations, and have already retired 3 times.
Dr Bob Rich
Commit random acts of kindness

Please leave a comment to welcome Dr. Bob to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents

Thursday, May 24, 2012

More Spunky Seniors Coming Your Way

Stay tuned for more Senior Authors and Talents. In the lineup on Thursday, May 30 is Dr. Bob Rich. On Thursday, June 14, is Anna Jacobs. Shirley Bosius will be here on June 28. More guests will be announced once they are confirmed.

In the meantime, check out our past Spunky Senior blogs. Our Seniors are quite active in unexpected ways. You will not believe what our Spunky Seniors have been up to!

Your Host, Morgan Mandel

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spunky Senior Author, Rosemary Morris, Loved Books Even as a Child in a Pushchair

My love of stories developed at a very early age. When I was a tiny child in my pushchair a passer by noticed I was holding an open book. “It’s amazing to see your little girl reading aloud,” she said to my mother, who promptly explained I had memorised the story.

My love of books grew. An early memory is of having my photo taken at the age of about three, when the photographer handed me a book to hold. Even now, I remember my indignation when he took it away at the end of the session.

Another clear memory is of sitting on my maternal grandfather’s knee while he read to me from Enid Blyton’s children’s magazine Sunny Stories.

When did I first begin to make up proper stories with a beginning, middle and an end? I am not sure. However, there was a point at which I found it difficult to distinguish between imagination and truth. Certainly I embroidered incidents or made up events when I attended nursery school.

I don’t know whether my imagination was a blessing or a curse. At primary school I soaked up English language and literature, history, geography and religious instruction. During mathematics, I retreated into my own world peopled by characters real and legendary from the past, and imaginary characters of my own creation. By the time I went to a girls’ grammar school I made no effort to come to grips with mathematics, physics, chemistry or biology, and I loathed gymnastics and hockey.

During my years at primary and secondary school, my appetite for fiction and poetry grew. I spent every spare minute reading. And, for example, Anne of Green Gables and later the heroines in Georgette Heyer’s novels seemed more real to me than my own humdrum life. Why wasn’t I born on beautiful Prince Edward’s island or in the privileged world of Regency ladies?

I can’t remember when I first wrote down my own stories, but have never forgotten a painful incident. I wanted to write something so I asked my mother for some paper. She said she didn’t have any. I begged for her Basildon Bond paper reserved for her letters. Mother refused to give me even a sheet or two. I can still recall my anger and frustration at being denied paper. Now, a new notebook represents a tale about to unfold. There is nothing comparable to penning the first few lines on pristine paper. In March I went on holiday to Devonshire. Inspired by the primroses in the hedgerows, the daffodils and golden gorse flowers, as well as the rolling countryside, the glorious beaches and seascapes, I bought a notebook and wrote the plot, theme and first lines of a new novel.

I married and had my first child not long after I left secondary school.  By the age of twenty-one, while living in Kenya, I had written my first historical novel, which was accepted by a famous publishing house. I received a contract and a generous advance. Unfortunately, I did not know that a firm date of publication should always be included in the contract. The publishing house was sold; the new commissioning editor did not like my novel, which was not published. Undeterred, I finished my second novel, which was accepted, but due to peculiar circumstances never published.

For years I did no more than jot down ideas until, after twenty-one years in Kenya and five years in France, I returned to England. Eventually, after each of our five children had left home, my late husband encouraged me to write. I immersed myself in books on How to Write, attended some courses on writing and bought a computer. After I wrote eight novels and countless short stories I was accepted by two literary agents, one for novels, the other for short stories, but neither of them placed my work.

I submitted each of my novels to other agents and publishers, some of whom were kind enough to praise them, although they rejected them. I joined online critique groups, and received constructive feedback about my work in return for critiquing other members’ submissions. Through one of these groups, I came into contact with Enspiren Press, an electronic and print on demand publisher. Enspiren Press accepted my novel Tangled Hearts. Delighted, I wrote a new novel. Fate was against me. Enspiren Press closed and I did not receive a penny of the royalties due to me.

Several years later, after innumerable rejections from more publishers and agents, undeterred, but with many misgivings, I submitted to MuseItUp Publishing an electronic publisher. Tangled Hearts, set in England in Queen Anne’s reign, 1702 – 1714, was accepted and republished as Tangled Love. Since then, MuseItUp has also accepted my novels, Sunday’s Child, to be published in June, and False Pretences, to be published in October, both of which are set in the Regency era.

I set my novels in a period of change. When Queen Anne came to the throne, her father James II was alive and living in France. Some of the peers refused to swear an oath of allegiance to her while her father lived, because they were bound to him, even if they did not like the man, his politics or his religion. What, I asked myself, would be the effect on Richelda, the daughter of a nobleman who refused to take the oath and followed James to France. In Tangled Love Richelda, suffers loss, hardship and danger before she can keep her promise to her father to regain their family’s estate.

In Sunday’s Child, prior to the Battle of Waterloo, Georgianne and Major Tarrant have suffered as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, and have to come to terms with their nightmares.

And in False Pretences, Annabelle yearns to discover who her parents are, yet nothing in her life is as it seems and the truth, when it is finally revealed, is extraordinary.

As for my new novel, Tangled Lives, also set in Queen Anne’s reign, Juliana refuses to believe her half-brother’s accusation that she and her sister, Henrietta, are bastards. On the way to London to consult her late father’s lawyer, she encounters Mister Seymour, who has recently returned from India.

Many people are unable to fulfil their lifelong dreams, so I am grateful to God for allowing me to fulfil my dream of becoming a published novelist.

If you visit my website you can read the prologue of Tangled Love, see the beautiful book cover and watch the book trailer. You can also read the first chapter of Sunday’s Child and see the gorgeous book cover.
Tangled Love set in England in 1706. The tale of two great estates and their owners.
Available from.MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon Kindle, Bookstrand - Mainstream, Sony-e-Reader, Kobo, Smashwords.
Sunday's Child June 2012
False Pretences October 2012
Please welcome Rosemary Morris to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents by Leaving a Comment.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spunky Senior Morgan Mandel Plays Bingo, Slots and Goes to Flea Markets

I'm not afraid to tell people I'm over 60. I also readily admit to enjoying typical senior pastimes. One is playing Bingo. When I was younger, one of the nearby churces held a weekly Bingo, which I often attended. Now I don't get to play as often, but I do enjoy it. It's more fun when I win, though, than when I'm waiting for one number, which never comes in!  In this pic, I'm on vacaton at Lake of the Torches Bingo Hall. Notice, the great dessert next to my sandwich and chips. It's okay to eat that sort of thing on vacation, because everyone knows that vacation calories and holiday calories don't count, right?

Here I am in front of one of my very favorite vacation haunts, Lake of the Torches Casino. I absolutely love playing slots. Whether I'm winning or losing, I find it almost impossible to tear myself away from a machine. The ones I play are called penny slots, but they really aren't. To get anything good, you need to play at least 45 or 90 cents. On vacation, if I get a decent win the first time, I let myself go back to the casino again. If not, I try to keep busy doing other things, like reading or working on a book, walking my dog, Rascal; or if desperate enough, I even go fishing with my husband. Anything to resist the urge to go back to the casino and lose more money. Now that I'm retired, this year I'll need to be extra careful not to give in.

Morgan Mandel at Apple Fest

I also love flea markets and craft shows. Such places are exciting, because you never know what kind of items you'll find, which aren't available at regular stores.

About those regular stores - I like Kohl's the best. They always have great coupons and deals. There also just happen to be one in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. I might be going over there again real soon.

I mentioned writing before. If you'd like to see excerpts of all four of my books, you can find them at along with buy links.

What about you? Do you enjoy senior pastimes? Or do your tastes run elsewhere?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spunky 82-Year Old Norma Huss Does Zumba Gold and Follows Tradition

Keeping Up the Spunky Senior Family Tradition -

I’m eighty-two. I like to do Zumba Gold (that’s aerobic exercise to a Latin beat, which means faster—except the Gold part means for senior citizens). I write books.
That should qualify me as a Spunky Senior. Right?

Of course, I’m still a kid to my spunky mother. She’s 102, takes two walks every day, and does word puzzles. Here's a picture of her on her one hundredth birthday wearing the birthday cake. Well, not really. It was stuffed fabric, strictly non-edible.

My father was a spunky senior too. In his eighty-eighth year he climbed Mount Baker. Well, sorta. That summer he did walk to the end of the cleared walkways at the Mount Baker Lodge area, which was maybe a half mile beyond and pretty much the top at the lodge area, which isn’t really on the top of Mount Baker. 

About that same time my father gave me six audio tapes telling about going to Alaska at the age of nineteen to work and try to save money for college. He named his story A Knucklehead in Alaska, and believe me when I say that name was accurate. If there was a wrong way to do anything, he found it. Eventually, I had it all down on paper, and then more problems emerged. My dad had been a hotheaded youth and he had calmed down with age, but I remember one heated argument. It was me and a map against Dad and his memories. We “published” his memoir on type-written sheets in loose-leaf notebooks. Recently, I’ve been working on his book, A Knucklehead in 1920s Alaska, soon to be published. I’ve enclosed a picture of the cover. (This is the cover’s debut appearance on the internet.) And that’s Dad on the cover as a teenager, then in his eighties.

So what have I been doing to hold up the family tradition of Spunky Seniors? There’s a reason I call myself The Grandma Moses of Mystery. If you are really old, like me, you remember Grandma Moses. She was the lady whose fingers got so arthritic in her late seventies, she could no longer embroider. She began painting. By the time she reached eighty her primitive paintings were in major art museums. She continued painting to the age of 101. Now that’s one Spunky Senior! I figure I’ve inherited the longevity to do the same with writing.

Although I’d had short pieces published before, my first book was published a month before my eightieth birthday. That book, Yesterday’s Body, a 2011 EPIC finalist, was a murder mystery solved by a mature woman. I never admit how old she was, just that she was over forty. When I began writing that book, she was my age, but as the years passed, she got a bit younger. I submitted, revised, gave up and worked on other manuscripts, went back to the original, revised, submitted to more agents, then tried small publishers.
The third one took it, and I was on my way.

Okay, I haven’t gone far. I’ve since indie published another book, Death of a Hot Chick. That murder is solved by a mere child in her twenties. My elevator pitch for that book is: A young widow trying to make her way, a ghost with an agenda, and the boat they share. (That’s the cover with a boat and a ghost.) I guess “collecting” the boat for the cover was a spunky senior thing to do. I saw a boat I loved called Snapdragon. I got myself invited for a tour, took pictures, and asked the owner if I could set a murder mystery aboard. She agreed with one reservation. Sheshould have asked for more! 

Right now I’m revisiting my first mystery sleuth, the lady I think of as around sixty. I’ve started writing the sequel. (Hey, the Zumba Gold teacher quit, so no more Zumba. Have to do something with my time!) The picture I’ve sent is me at last year’s EPIC convention signing my first book. I was really hoping I’d win that EPIC, but I remained a finalist only. I took a bit of comfort in the fact that the man who did win, also won the Lefty at Left Coast Crime Convention for another book of that series. (He looked like a Spunky Senior too.)

My website is If you’d like to sign up for my alerts, I send brief messages out every month (or two or three), whenever I have any news to share. Love to see you there.

Please welcome Norma Huss to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents by leaving a comment.