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.