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.


  1. Norma, you could start another Zumba class, as a leader. But writing books and stories is a great alternative!

    1. Kaye, if you saw me doing Zumba, you wouldn't suggest that. Those young gals who lead classes are able to exercise and TALK at the same time to tell everyone what to do.

  2. I use several older Hollywood actors in my Johnny Casino Casebook series. They basically do guest appearances, but everybody loves them. There is just something about the knowledge older folks have and the attitude that says "been there, done that" that makes them so good. I hope you revisit that older female sleuth and have fun with her in your upcoming books. They bring depth and character to a story. Even your mother would make a terrific character in a story.

    1. One of my readers suggested Angela Lansbery (Landsberry?) should play the lead. Your Casebook series sounds VERY interesting.

  3. Welcome to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents, Norma.
    I love Zumba also!

    Morgan Mandel

  4. Norma, you are a true inspiration to us 60 something 'kids'.

  5. Norma, you are a true inspiration to us 60 something 'kids'.

  6. Welcome,Norma!
    Just one thing that puzzles me ...

    If Zumba is such good exercise,set to Latin-American music, why not simply find a pretty señorita and DANCE a rumba? Though the Paso doblé is my personal favourite ... LOL!

    1. Well, in my case, that should be a handsome senor. (My husband might have something to say about that!) Tee hee! (That's OLD FOR LOL!)

  7. Welcome, welcome Norma! I'm so happy to have another writer to share thoughts with! I'm planning to write a murder mystery, set in a school (because we write what we know, right?) I've written two paragraphs so far, and that was month ago! It's been a busy month, though. You can find me at Facebook, and at my blog, or at several other Facebook pages I've started (Multiple Sclerosis an Enigma, and Terry's Thoughts and Threads.) I also spend time with my wonderful husband of 42 years at his Facebook page, Wooden Toy and Gift. See you around!


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