Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Please Welcome Shirley Brosius, Former Stringer Turned Author, Speaker, and Teacher

Shirley Brosius
 I was almost a spunky senior when I debuted as a writer at age 53. I needed to make a job change and had a yen to write. My husband suggested I try it for a year and see what happens. Almost 20 years, five grandchildren and two books later, I’m still clicking those keys.

Starting out as a newspaper “stringer” helped me learn to express myself concisely. My editor’s red pencil taught me to “kill my darlings,” those flowery little descriptions that add nothing but word count. I loved interviewing people who had won awards, served their communities or excelled in one way or another. In those days, newspapers used more feature stories and I completed almost weekly assignments.

Of course, if I wouldn’t have had a husband to buy the ice cream, I would not have been able to write. 

Shirley doing a presentation
including her memorization of
the entire book of Philippians.
One of my interests is memorizing scripture, then presenting it from memory at women's events. I've memorized the entire book of Philippians, the first three chapters of the gospel of John along with a few Psalms. Don't ever think you're too old to memorize. I'm still at it at age 72.

I also taught classes at a seminary as an adjunct, and it was there I stumbled upon the idea for my first book. Researching a course on women in ministry opened my eyes to the many ways women have contributed to the church down through the centuries. I thought this was important for all women to realize, but who sits around reading history books?
So I wrote Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference. The profiles include martyrs and missionaries, teachers and writers, singers and homemakers, to name just a few categories. God uses ordinary women in so many ways, and I wanted to spotlight what women had done. The book was released in 2006.
Buy Link:

Long before that book was a flicker behind my eyelids, two women, Janine Boyer, Kim Messinger, young enough to be my daughters, had asked me to mentor them. We began meeting weekly to discuss Christian books. Eventually we decided we wanted to serve God together, and we offered to lead women’s retreats for area churches. We call ourselves Friends of the Heart and lead about 17 events a year throughout the East.

Kim Messinger, Janine Boyer, and Shirley Brosius doing a skit at a women's retreat.
 At a writer’s conference an agent suggested that because we speak together we should write together. Since guilt is always poking one of us and we noticed guilt is a common denominator of the women who attend our retreats, we chose it as the topic of our book.
Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides offers six months worth of daily readings that open with “A Guilt Trip to Avoid.” For instance: Faulting yourself for messing things up; wanting ministry to be perfect; setting a poor example, living an imperfect life, and the list goes on. After offering a scripture verse to consider, we share a personal story that relates to the guilt trip. Each reading closes with a way to “Take the Joy Ride,” a paragraph that applies the day’s scripture to the guilt trip. The book was released earlier this year. Kindle Link Paperback
We got dozens of good reviews during a recent Blog Tour with LitFuse. While the contest has ended, you can read lots of comments about the book at this site:

Besides writing, I love playing board games with my grandchildren. I just added an app to do Word Games on Facebook. I also am a regular at chair aerobics and besides speaking with my friends, I am a Stonecroft Ministries speaker.

For fun, I love walking, embroidering and watching Jeopardy and American Idol.

After a lifetime of raising kids and working hard—eight years as a public school teacher and ten years as a director of Christian education—what could be better than being a spunky senior who writes?

Visit or

Shirley Brosius
Author and Speaker

CoAuthor of Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides
Author of Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference

Member of Friends of the Heart, three women who share God’s love through personal testimony, drama and song.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prolific Spunky Senior Author, Anna Jacobs, Leads A Double Life


By Anna Jacobs

My husband and I live a double life. We spend half the year in Australia, to which we emigrated years ago when our children were small, and half the year in England, where we were born and to which we’ve now partly returned.

I’m a novelist, producing three books a year, alternating modern and historical stories, set in both countries, so this lifestyle is part work, but part pleasure too.

Nobody handed this life to us on a plate. We’re at an age where many people have retired, but we’re both working harder than ever. I’m never going to retire from writing novels if I can help it. Why would I? I love telling stories.

Our main home is in Australia, on a marina development where dolphins swim past our jetty. We live at a watery T junction, where the main canal meets another, so have 180 degree water views.

My office looks out on to the canal. Idyllic? Yes, in a way. But I don’t actually spend much time on the view, because I’m usually busy writing - I produce three novels a year. And when I write I’m wherever my heroine is - whether it’s in 1860s Australia and Singapore (at the moment) or modern England (next book). I save my canal watching for early mornings when the water is still, no one is around and I feel as if I own all that gleaming water.

We have another home in England, this time in a golf course leisure village, where we look down a slope to a tiny lake about a hundred yards long, fringed by willow trees. That’s lovely too. My husband enjoys the golf but I’m pitiful at any sport. Besides, I’m still writing while we’re there.

I do take time out for other things, seeing family above all. We have two daughters and a grandson in Australia, siblings in England. And I enjoy being with friends. But I confess to being so addicted to my story-telling that I get twitchy if I have to spend more than a few days away from it.

‘You’re so lucky having this lifestyle,’ people tell me. Hmm. Not much luck about it. I had a dream of becoming a novelist. For many years, I got up at 4am before I went out to work, learning how to write. That’s how I learned my craft and got my first novel published. As far as I’m concerned what my granddad used to say is right: the harder I work, the luckier I get.

Not only do I work long hours, but I employ my husband as my business manager (no sinecure, that) and he works part-time for me. So I keep him busy too.

Living in two countries takes a lot of organizing. Two houses to maintain, security concerns - though actually, anyone burgling our house would be extremely disappointed. We both love reading and spend most of our fun money on books. I buy and read at least three a week. I’m not interested in jewellery or fancy electronic gadgets, either. Being rich to me is being able to buy any book I want any time I feel like it.

Nowhere on earth is perfect, but each of our countries has its pluses and the differences enrich our lives. I hope I can continue enjoying a double life - and my writing - for a long time to come.

Please try one of my books sometime. I’ve had 57 published now and over half of them are still in print. You can try before you buy and read the first chapters on my website at  Each book has its own page with links to buying them on line. And of course they’re available as ebooks as well as in paper.

THE TRADER’S SISTER. My latest historical novel is part of a series set in Ireland, Australia and Singapore in the 1860s. It was fascinating to research. Each book can be read on its own as they focus on a different member of the Deagan family each time. Two published, two more to come.

Ismay Deagan has one wish in the world – to leave Ireland and join her brother, Bram, in Australia. But her father has other ideas and orders her to marry their vicious neighbour Rory Flynn. After Rory brutally attacks her, Ismay runs away. When she meets Adam Tregear on the ship, she finally starts to believe her dreams of future happiness may come true.

Before she reaches Australia, however, she’s flung into adventures in Suez, Ceylon and Singapore. Dare she tell Adam the truth about who she really is? Does he have secrets of his own? Or will her past catch up with her and ruin her new-found happiness?

WINDS OF CHANGE. My latest modern novel is set in Australia and England.
When her elderly father dies, 47 year old Miranda Fox is free at last. He’s promised an inheritance that will give her independence. But her domineering half-brother controls the money and has very different ideas as to how she should live her life
A new friend helps Miranda take the first steps towards freedom, but her actions uncover painful secrets from the past which still have the power to hurt. Her sister escaped the family by leaving Australia. Can Miranda do the same?

In England an old friend reappears in her life and brings further turmoil. She must make difficult choices if she’s to be free. Will she have the courage to stand up for herself this time? Or will her family still control her life?

Anna Jacobs: Historical: 'Destiny's Path', 'Cherry Tree Lane', ‘Elm Tree Road’, ‘The Trader’s Wife’, 'The Trader's Sister' (4/12) Modern:  'Moving On', ‘Short and Sweet’, 'Winds of Change' (3/12)

Anna's Author Page on Amazon:

Please leave a comment to welcome Anna Jacobs to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

More Guests on the Way

We have some great guests lined up for Spunky Senior Authors and Talents. Anna Jacobs will be here on June 14, Shirley Bosius on June 28 and Sheila Newberry on July 13.

In the meantime, I'm busy promoting The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories, in which two of my stories are included.

What they're about:
In What Nice Blessings, tragedy strikes a young adult, testing her courage and teaching her the value of friendship.

The Closing of the Corner Cafe describes the rise and fall of a cherished eating establishment.

Mark your calendar to check over the weekend of June 9 and 10, since we will be offering our book for free at:

Our authors are doing a Blog Book Tour to get folks acquainted with us and our short story book. You're welcome to follow along. Here's the lineup of where we'll be. Note, I'll be on Helen Ginger's blog on June 14, at, & she'll visit me June 18 at .

June 4 Blog Book Tours Kick-off
June 5 Bob Sanchez
June 6 Red Tash
June 7 Magic Dog Press
June 8 Heidi Thomas
June 11 Marian Allen
June 12 W.S Gager
June 13 Chris Verstraete
June 14 Helen Ginger
June 15 Kathy Wheeler
June 18 Morgan Mandel Double M
June 19 Pat Bean
June 20 Shonell Bacon
June 21 Alberta Ross
June 22 Karen Casey Fitzjerrell
June 25 Pat Stoltey
June 26 SB Lerner
June 27 Maryann Miller
June 28 Mary Montague Sikes
June 29 Stephen Tremp

Spunky Senior, Morgan Mandel, writes mysteries, romances, thrillers and short stories. She also has a pit bull named Rascal, likes country music, going to the casino, playing Bingo, going to rummage sales, garage sales, and festivals. Morgan is the owner of this blog.

Go To for Excerpts & Links to Morgan's books.