Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Paddle Surfing Adventures of Spunky Senior Author, Terry Ambrose

Terry Ambrose 

Terry Ambrose started out skip tracing and collecting money from deadbeats and quickly learned that liars come from all walks of life. He never actually stole a car, but sometimes hired big guys with tow trucks and a penchant for working in the dark to “help” when negotiations failed.

Terry's Website:

Finding My Inner Hawaiian by Terry Ambrose

I’m pretty sure that in a previous life I was Hawaiian. Kauai is the one place I’ve ever been where I feel truly “centered.” I’m sure that surfing, playing in the sun all day while my skin turned a golden brown, and paddling an outrigger canoe were my favorite activities.

That was that life, fast forward to the this one. Last year I had the opportunity to try paddle surfing. For those not familiar with the sport, you’re on a board a bit wider than a surfboard and have a paddle to help control your direction and balance. My wife purchased a package lesson for me, her brother Bill, and his then 14-year-old daughter Brenna.  None of us had ever paddle surfed before; so this seemed like a great opportunity.

The day began with us on the docks with our guide, Jimmy. Jimmy had been in the business for about three years and said that he’d never had anyone actually go in the water. That gave all three of us, especially this intrepid paddle board wannabe, comfort—and a goal…don’t be the first.

Jimmy explained how the secret to paddle boarding is to stand up slowly and keep your center of gravity low while maintaining your forward motion. Sounded easy enough. Next, he had us kneel on the boards in the water and paddle around the harbor. Still simple, no problem. The water in the harbor was flat and, according to Brenna (who tested it with her hand), not that cold. That was comforting.

So here’s how the action went down…so to speak. Brenna, being a kid, popped up on her board in no time. Bill, being an ex-surfer wasn’t far behind. That means, you guessed it, the real entertainment here was yours truly.

I did as Jimmy instructed and built up some forward momentum. My speed was good and the board felt stable. I was on my knees and ready to stand. The other two were paddling around me…not quite in circles, but the term “lagger” or even “slacker” comes to mind. As I started to stand, I realized how shaky my knees felt. Still, I figured, once I was up, everything would be okay.

Part way up on the first attempt, things got even shakier. Back down to my knees I went. Another try…more momentum…keep the balance…I can do this…halfway up…now, paddle a little…uh, oh, paddle’s dragging in the…

I hate being the center of attention…at least, while I’m floating in dirty harbor water. However, not being one to give up easily, I climbed back onto my board, more determined than ever.
On the next attempt, I dropped to my knees before I dropped…again…into the water. 

The third time was the charm and I popped up like a rusty nail coming out of a board…yes, it was slow and jerky, but I made it. I only went in one more time and that was when a boat’s wake caught me sideways…okay, the wake was only two inches tall and moving slowly, but that’s not the point. The point is that I got back up on the board, stood, and finished out.

So, in this life maybe I’m not Hawaiian…can’t surf that well, everyone knows about the fair-skinned people in the sun thing, and the outrigger canoe? Who knows, maybe…someday.
The bad news is, Jimmy can no longer say, “nobody’s ever gone in.” The other good news? I saved my hat. Try it again? Absolutely!

And Now, About Terry's Book, License to Lie - Set where else, but Hawaii -
License to Lie
by Terry Ambrose

Catch island fever with this funny Hawaiian mystery set on the beautiful island of Oahu.
Wilson McKenna’s newest tenant is hot, gives great hugs, and just saw a dead body being thrown from a plane. McKenna’s not one to get involved in other people’s problems, especially those of a woman half his age, but before he knows it, he’s volunteered to track down the plane and its owner. In no time, McKenna has uncovered an island drug ring, pissed off a sociopath, and set himself up as the victim in a beautiful woman’s con that could cost him his life. 

What people say about Terry's Book:

License to Lie is fast and well written, almost sure to satisfy discerning readers of thrillers.  There’s a verve to Ambrose’s language and the story moves with assurance, defying easy predictions.  Bravo to this writer.  I hope there’s more to come. — T. Jefferson Parker, Author of The Jaguar and The Border Lords
"Fast-paced, unpredictable, and a lot of fun--no one is who they seem in this smart and twisty tale of high finance and double dealing. This unlikely and irresistible crime-fighting duo will charm you--and keep you happily turning the pages." — Hank Phillippi Ryan, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity award-winning author
Buy Links for Terry's Books:
Please leave a comment to welcome Terry to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Spunky Author D.B. (Donna) McNicol - Motorcycler, Traveler, and Dog Owner

Donna McNicol
Donna B. McNicol retired after 30+ years working in the IT industry. She spent many of those years writing technical documents and user instructions. In 1996 she tried moonlighting in freelance writing; she spent the next ten years writing for such online sites as The Mining Company, Suite101, BellaOnline and as well as RV Companion magazine.

At age 55 she learned to ride a motorcycle, prompted by her husband who was battling head-neck cancer at the time. Motorcycling turned out to be the high point of the next few years. Widowed at 57, she spent the winter planning a once in a lifetime motorcycle trip. 
She decided to ride the 48 contiguous US states on her Harley-Davidson motorcycle, solo. Over five months and several separate trips she managed to ride through 42 states, covering over 27,000 miles. She also spent three weeks volunteering on the Blackfeet Nation Reservation in Browning, MT.

In 2007 she sold her home and belongings, bought a used Class C motorhome and became a full-time RVer. While traveling in Wyoming she met her current husband, Stu, who was recently widowed himself. 
Stu, Sadie and Donna McNicol
He was a full-time RVer and Harley rider. They currently live and travel full-time with their pup, Sadie, along with their two Harley-Davidson motorcycles in a 41' fifth wheel toy hauler trailer pulled by their medium duty Freightliner.

She started dabbling with fiction writing in 2012, found and fell in love with flash fiction. She has published several compilations of her flash fiction stories, two short stories and two novels. Her first book was a romance, Home Again, which continued the story she told in her short story, "Lost and Found". Her second novel, Not a Whisper, is the first in her cozy mystery series, The Klondike Mysteries, set in Pennsylvania. She plans to continue the Klondike Mystery stories this year as well as the first romance in a new trilogy.
Retirement isn't for sissies, I have no idea how I got everything done when I worked and had children at home. Of course it may have to do with my motorcycle that begs to be ridden at any available opportunity. Or it may have to do with living and traveling in a 41' toy hauler fifth wheel so we can travel the country. Or maybe it's the annual cruise or trips to Disney with the grand kids. Quite possibly my starting to write fiction stories this past year could have tipped the scale.

Sixty-five outside but twenty-five inside, who is that gray haired lady in the mirror and did she get here? As I people watch, a common hobby of writers, I enjoy watching the older folks and their antics. See that old couple of there, walking hand in hand. Aren't they cute? Oh, look at those two dancing towards each other. Aren't they cute?

Well guess what. My husband and I have both been labeled as "cute", walking hand in hand during his rehab stint for double knee replacement. And we were labeled "cute" by the restaurant hostess as we came dancing out of the restrooms across from each other.

It seems I have become one of those little old ladies I love to observe. When did that happen? But I'm not too old to enjoy travel, riding my Harley-Davidson, playing with my silly Pit-Boxer, Sadie or just enjoying life.
Home Again, a contemporary romance
When Chicago's city life takes its toll on single mom Sarah Davidson, she jumps at the chance to move back home, all the way to the boondocks of Kansas. Little did she know, the local Sheriff, handsome Carl Pierce, was making the same move from Tulsa. A tornado of events conspire against them, tamping the rising fire of passion. Can they beat the odds or will Sarah regret moving home again?
"Well, you just got me in a whole lot of trouble. The dishes are still in the sink from last night 'cause I was reading your new book. You Go Girl!!! It is great. Your descriptions of the people made me think I was back in the Midwest in my "growing up" days. That might have been a made up town - but it sure sounded like my home town - right down to the diner on Main Street. Can't wait for your next one."

Not a Whisper [First book in the cozy mystery series, A Klondike Mystery]
Nestled away close to the New York border is an area of Pennsylvania that many miss and the residents are glad of that. But even in this idyllic setting in the middle of the Allegheny National Forest, mysteries abound. Murder, arson, kidnapping and more. Join our troop of quirky residents as they help solve each mystery.

See all of Donna McNicol's books at Amazon:

Writing [blog/website] -
Personal/Travel -
Future Cabin -

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spunky Author Duffy Brown Gets Inspired by Consignment Shopping

     Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. 

Dr. Watson


     She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, and conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Iced Chiffon, out October, 2012, is the first in the Consignment Shop Mystery series. Duffy writes romance as Dianne Castell and is a USA Today bestselling author.

And Now, Here's What Duffy has to say about her Consignment Shop Inspiration:

      When I decided to follow my dream and write mysteries I went with the old adage of write what you know and love. Killing off my kids and husband in books didn’t seem like a good idea...though there are times when it was very tempting so instead I went with my job and favorite vacation spot. I adore Savannah, Georgia, and I work in an upscale consignment shop. That’s how the series Consignment Shop mysteries got started.

     Consignment shopping is the fun of wearing designer clothes on the cheap. I could never afford a Coach handbag or an Armani jacket but I do love the expensive look and great quality. Most of all I love bragging to my friends how much I paid! The conversation goes something like, “Oh, isn’t that a great Kate Spade purse.” And my reply is, “I got it at the Snooty Fox for forty bucks!” instead of the usual three-hundred and fifty!

     For years I shopped consignment stores then decided I needed to work at the Snooty Fox since I was there all the time looking for deals. My kids were some of the best-dressed on campus and I did it for K-Mart prices.

     Don’t you love the name Snooty Fox! The Snoot is an upscale consignment shop. How many times have you bought something, wore it once, decided it wasn’t your color or didn’t fit the way you liked and you were stuck with it? Well, that’s where the Snooty Fox comes in. You can sell your green plaid jacket that you just had to have but then decided you hated at the Snoot. There is a customer out there who will love that jacket and pay you good money for it.

     How this works is that you open an account and hand over your clothes. The Snoot chooses which clothes they will’s called Snooty for a reason, we only take the good stuff. The clothes must be cleaned, pressed, on a hanger, gently worn, in very good condition, and within a two-year style period. The price is a third to a fourth of retail and you get half of that when the item sells. Not a bad deal for something hanging in the back of your closet that you’re never going to wear again!  

     Consignment shopping is a lot like solving a mystery. It’s all about the hunt for the perfect scarf, skirt or shoes. I think that’s why the Consignment Shop mysteries seemed like a perfect fit. The hunt is on!

     I’m always amazed at where someone’s hobby or special interest leads them. I have a friend who loves to paint and is now doing murals on nursery room walls. Another friend loves to dance, took lessons and met her future husband at an Arthur Murray studio.

    So what about you and your hobbies or special interests? Did you meet a best friend? Your mate? Visit a new place? Get an award for perfecting your hobby or even teach a class on it?
     Hobbies enriched our lives and often take us to places we never a murder mystery series. Who would have thought.

I’ll give away two Iced Chiffon totes from the answers. Please leave your email address so you can be contacted.

About Iced Chiffon:
To pay for rehabbing the dilapidated Victorian house she loves, Reagan Summerside opens the Prissy Fox consignment shop on the first floor and gets involved in the lives of her Savannah customers, neighbors, ex husband and the attorney who screwed her over in the divorce.
Murder and mayhem at the consignment shop for the ex, his Cupcake and the badass attorney 

Barnes and Noble:

Happy Reading.
Duffy Brown
Berkley Prime Crime
Mystery and Mayhem for Fun and Profit

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Spunky 76 Year Old Velda Brotherton Restarts Her Career Through eBooks

Velda Brotherton at a
Holton, Texas Book Fair

   One of the most challenging things I've faced as a 76 year old author has been trying to restart a career in E books and all that goes with such an endeavor. Twenty-eight years ago, when I began writing on a portable Sears typewriter, I never dreamed of such a thing as the Internet and computers. Even when my first books were published by Penguin/Topaz, the word processor I used was a far cry from computers of today. And there was no Internet.
   By the time the mid-list crisis hit in the early 2000s, and book publishers began to fall like pins in a busy bowling lane, I'd had six books published in New York. Though sales increased with each release, it wasn't enough to hit the best seller list so, a victim of budget cuts  I slunk back to regional nonfiction publishing with my tail between my legs.  
   Two summers were spent on the road, the first researching and finalizing a nonfiction book, the second making three to five appearances every week in libraries, historical societies, museums and book clubs. By the end I had sold a lot of books but was physically exhausted. It was something I doubted I could do again. Meanwhile, I'd done a lot of fiction writing, but truly thought my career was over.
   Till the Ebook phenomenon exploded.
   Here was my chance, and I embraced it. I limped my way into using a computer, and everything about that process has been a tremendous challenge, but I love to write, so what was I to do?
   Having begun my career after the age of fifty, I was pretty long in the tooth to start over again. And I probably wouldn't have had it not been for Ebooks and Indie publishers. I'd cut my teeth on Indies for nonfiction, so it seemed natural to turn to them for fiction.
   My mother taught me to be tough and stubborn and do what I wanted no matter what anyone else said. So I refused to look at the calendar that told me I was getting too old to work. And at the age of 74 I embarked on a completely new learning process. I set some goals, the first of which was to obtain a reversion of rights on my out-of-print New York books available again. While waiting for something to happen, I'd had several nonfiction regional books published, one of which was a finalist in the WILLA Literary awards and I'd written a few novels in different genres just to keep busy.
   It wasn't long before I learned that converting my books to Kindle was going to be tough. I wanted to do it myself rather than pay someone. I had my work cut out for me. The first step was to have the books scanned because I had no computer copies of the manuscripts. When the scans came back, I edited them carefully, then set about learning how to format them for Kindle. That was the steepest learning curve I've ever encountered, but thanks to several writer friends,  I managed to learn this process. Then went on to create some decent book covers. This took almost an entire summer.
   While this was going on, I edited a couple of book manuscripts and sent them off to Indie publishers. They were accepted immediately. By the time I had a couple of books uploaded to Kindle I had my first two books published by two indie presses.
   Today I have seven Kindle books of my own available, plus all 14 of my previously published books are now available through Kindle, and a new one was released a few weeks ago. Two of the new indie books are also available in print.
   During the past year I've given four all-day workshops on publishing to Kindle and am currently learning everything I can about online promotion. I'll be 77 in February, 2013, and have no intention of slowing down in my writing, though I no longer hit the road much to promote. I am scheduled to speak at two conferences in 2013, but friends lend a hand when I have appearances to make. When I'm asked to speak somewhere I say yes if I can at all because I still enjoy being out among writers, but I don't go looking for engagements.          
Velda Brotherton at An Ozark Creative Writers Panel
   Oh, yes, I still co-chair a critique group that we formed about 26 years ago. We meet every Thursday, have 45 registered members and have anywhere from 12 to 21 people show up each week.
   Promotion online takes up a big portion of my writing time, but I'm working on a novella and another novel in The Victorian series for The Wild Rose Press. I have no intention of slowing down as of yet.
Velda Brotherton working on an oil painting. Some
of her paintings can be found on 
   Besides writing, speaking and giving workshops I love to paint and though I don't have as much time as I'd like to pursue that hobby right now.

About Velda's book, Wilda's Outlaw
Calder Raines and his outlaw gang may be more than Wilda bargained for. All she wanted was to escape an unwanted marriage, now she finds herself in the arms of a tantalizing man whose warm kisses arouse a storm of forbidden desires. Calder never wanted to rob banks, but it's a family tradition. When he embraces the alluring redhead, passion conquers good sense and he imagines a life he cannot have.
Wilda's Outlaw link:    
Some Other books by Velda Brotherton:
Stone Heart's Woman
Please welcome Velda  Brotherton to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents by leaving a comment.