Wednesday, December 18, 2013

J.L. (Janet) Greger Climbs Roofs and Does Something Harder - Picks a Book Cover

J.L. Greger is no longer a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; instead she’s putting tidbits of science into her novels.

She and Bug, her Japanese Chin dog and the only non-fictional character in all three of her novels, live in the Southwest.  Her website is at Her blog, JL Greger’s Bugs, is at

Choosing a Cover for IGNORE THE PAIN
I’m no expert on picking covers, but I have opinions. I think a good cover is like a good title. It suggests the topic of the book and is catchy. I will also admit that I like bright primary colors for thrillers and adventure books, pastels for romances, and dark moody colors for horror and mystery novels because the colors convey a message.

Those of you who are sophisticated in your choice of covers have probably concluded that I’m very traditional. Now look at the cover of my new medical thriller. Ignore the Pain is set partially in Bolivia, and the heroine Sara Almquist is an epidemiologist serving as a public health consultant there.

I looked at hundreds (maybe even thousands) of pictures of scenes in South America. None seemed right. They were too pretty and gave no hint about my protagonist. Then I saw a photo with the colors of the Bolivian flag drawn across the face of a blue-eyed woman, like Sara. This woman looked like she had guts.

Now do you still think I’m traditional older woman or do I deserve the title of spunky? If you’re still not convinced, please note I did climb to the roof of Iglesia de San Francisco and peer down at the Witches Market in La Paz, Bolivia. Of course, I wasn’t being chased like Sara Almquist is in Ignore the Pain.

I surfed the WEB for blogs on the topic of choosing a cover after I wrote the first four paragraphs of this blog. Many were by authors showing readers two to five choices, and collecting votes for which cover was best. Some were ads by professional cover designers who didn’t seem to want to admit their secrets. Billie Johnson, my publisher at Oak Tree Press and a spunky senior, gave the best advice. She called the picture we selected “a real grabber.”

I hope this blog encourages you grab for attention when you select your next cover.

In Ignore the Pain, Sara Almquist couldn’t say no when invited to be the epidemiologist on a public health mission to assess children’s health in Bolivia. Soon someone from her past in New Mexico is chasing her through the Witches’ Market of La Paz and trying to trap her at the silver mines of Potosí. Unfortunately, she can’t trust her new colleagues, especially the unsavory Xave Zack, because any one of them might be under the control of the coca industry in Bolivia. 
And coca is everywhere in Bolivia.

Ignore the Pain is the third novel in a series that tracks the adventures of epidemiologist Sara Almquist and her more reserved sister – physician Linda Almquist. 

In the suspense novel Coming Flu, Sara, while tracking the spread of the deadly Philippine flu, identifies a drug kingpin trapped in a quarantined community. 
In the medical mystery Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, Linda Almquist must discover whether an ambitious young “diet doctor” or old-timers in a medical school with buried secrets is a killer.

JL Greger’s Bugs Blog is at

Amazon sell links:

Coming Flu:

JL Greger's Website:
Blog: JL Greger’s Bugs,

Please leave a comment to welcome JL Greger to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spunky Senior Author Joanne Guidoccio Shares Her Yoga Trials and Her Mermaid Book

MY YOGA TRIALS by Joanne Guidoccio

 The blonde willow was out of her comfort zone.
She sighed deeply and tossed her Farrah Fawcett curls as she removed a borrowed parka, three sizes too big for her perfectly toned body. She was not impressed by winter in March and seven less-than-enthusiastic students in Sudbury, Ontario. She spoke at length about her personal journey as a California yogini, and then demonstrated her pretzel-like ability to contort her body in a variety of poses.

Impressed and intimidated, we did not look forward to the short lesson that would follow.

She did not consider our neophyte status. Instead, she continued with her favourite poses, and we all struggled to follow.

At one point, I developed a tickle in my throat and started coughing uncontrollably. I quickly left the room and closed the door behind me. I had a drink of water, but my cough persisted. I decided to remain outside until the end of the lesson.

I assumed the walls were soundproof, but I was wrong. I found out later that my loud and persistent cough was heard throughout the rest of the short yoga session. When I re-entered the room, I received a few looks of concern and pity. As for the blonde willow...she had become a blonde oak. She ignored me and left abruptly.

Fast forward twenty years.

My oncologist is talking about maintaining a healthy lifestyle after treatments. In addition to the usual advice about portion control, exercise and stress management, she strongly urged me to take up yoga. I smiled and tried not to show my frustration. While memories of the blonde willow/oak had faded, I still balked at the thought of forcing my body into difficult poses, especially after ten months of gruelling treatments. She persisted and I grudgingly agreed to give yoga another try.

I bought the clothes—sleek, black yoga pants from Roots and a few Life is Good t-shirts—and signed up for a weekly yoga class. The instructor was very charming and highly recommended. He gave each of us individual attention during the first class. At the beginning of the second class, the business cards came out and he started to talk about his many sideline businesses. I noticed that more time was spent promoting and selling his products and less time on the yoga mats. By the third class, women were taking out their cheque books and purchasing his wonder products. I was not impressed and did not return.

A few months later, I heard about a new yoga instructor who was offering classes in her own home. I decided to call first. She assured me there would be, at most, two other students in the class and that the course was geared for beginners with no previous experience. She sounded surprised when I asked if she had a sideline business and stressed that yoga was her main focus.

Reassured, I showed up and was pleased to see only two other students in the room. Within a few minutes, however, a third participant arrived. An active and poorly trained Boston terrier joined the class. She eyed me with interest. I was the new girl in class, fresh meat. The dog spent a lot of time circling and sniffing me throughout the hour-long class. As for what happened during Downward Dog...

Three yoga trials. Three strikes. Yoga was out.

All that changed during the second summer after retirement.

I had just picked up Wayne Dyer’s latest book, Excuses Begone! I read the entire book in two sittings and spent time reflecting on his message. I was drawn to his suggestion for practicing yoga. I kept returning to that section of the book and imagined myself having a conversation with the motivational guru.

“You must give it another try, Joanne. I’ve been practicing ninety minutes every day for the past four years and I’ve noticed a lot of positive changes. I got rid of all those aches and pains I inherited from three decades of daily running and tennis.”

“That’s wonderful, but I can’t see myself doing yoga every day. For one thing, I would have to take lessons. I don’t like following DVDs or books. I’m not a natural athlete.”

“So, take a few lessons. What’s the big deal?”

“I’ve tried that route before.” I gave him a brief summary of my three yoga trials.

He shook his head. “It sounds like you lasted only a few sessions. You have to give yoga an honest thirty-day trial.”

“Thirty days!” I exploded. I couldn’t imagine lasting that long. “Do you know how expensive that will be?”

He repeated, “Give yoga an honest thirty-day trial.” He added, with twinkle in his eye, “You’ll feel better and you may just stop making so many excuses.”He pointed to the cover of his book.

I was skeptical, but I had to admit he was right. I had not given yoga a fair trial, and I had a tendency to make excuses. I decided to wait until the fall and then investigate the different yoga studios in town.

A few days later, the following ad appeared in a local paper:

Unlimited Yoga during the months of July and August for $160

I shook my head and imagined Wayne Dyer laughing. The universe has spoken. No more excuses, Joanne.

I planned to attend three classes a week and see how I felt by the end of the summer.

I was hooked after the first week.

The classes were small and the instructors were able to work with me on an individual basis. I test-drove all the instructors and then zeroed in on my favourites: Amy, the social worker from Newfoundland who had completed her training in India; Claudia, the young mother who offered a structured class that appealed to my left brain tendencies; and Lisa, the quintessential willow.

I found myself looking forward to each session. There was something immensely comforting in the precision of the instructions: Inhale and raise both arms straight out from the shoulders parallel to the floor with the palms facing down…Exhale slowly while turning the torso to the left...One more long, luxurious inhalation, one more complete exhalation.

I found it easy to focus on the smallest of movements, regardless of the group size or time of day. I also liked listening to the soft, soothing Sanskrit names—balasana, garudasana, tadasana, savasana—that described the different poses. Much more interesting than simply hearing child pose, eagle pose, mountain pose or corpse pose.

When Lisa talked about controlling our monkey minds, I felt she was talking directly to me. I could also imagine Wayne Dyer whispering, “Control your mind, and everything will fall in place.”

It was reassuring to discover that all my body parts were working and reporting faithfully for yoga duty. I felt myself growing healthier and stronger with each stretch, breath and positive thought. And I didn’t feel pressured or frustrated if I didn’t get the pose right the first time or at all. I kept repeating the following mantra to myself: A yoga pose is a journey, not a destination.

I still have my personal challenges, but I am less reactive and more inclined to let things go. I like that strange, beautiful place where I can step out of time and leave all my concerns behind.


About Joanne Guidoccio:

In high school, I dabbled in poetry, but decided to wait until I had more life experiences before writing a novel. The original plan was to get a general arts degree and take a few years off to travel and write. Instead, I gave in to my practical Italian side and obtained degrees in mathematics and education.

While I experienced many satisfying moments during my teaching career, I never found the time and energy to write. In 2008, I took advantage of early retirement. Slowly, a writing practice emerged and my articles and book reviews started appearing in newspapers, magazines and online.

My debut novel, Between Land and Sea, a paranormal romance about a middle-aged mermaid, was released by Soul Mate Publishing on September 18, 2013.

I live and write in Guelph, Ontario.

About Between Land and Sea by Joanne Guidoccio
 After giving up her tail for an international banker, Isabella of the Mediterranean kingdom is aged beyond recognition. The horrified banker abandons her on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England, leaving her to face a difficult human journey as a plain and practically destitute fifty-three-year-old woman.
With the help of a magic tablet and online mermaid support, Isabella evolves into the persona of Barbara Davies. Along the way, she encounters a cast of unforgettable characters, among them former mermaids, supportive and not-so-supportive women, deserving and undeserving men, and several New Agers.

Where to find Joanne…
YouTube (Trailer #1):
YouTube (Trailer #2):

Please leave a comment to welcome Joanne Guidoccio to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spunky Police & Public Safety Psychologist Ellen Kirschman Writes Mysteries & Non-Fiction

I've been a police and public safety psychologist for thirty-plus years, before I had any gray hair. 

My work has taken me to four countries and twenty-two states.
Getting blessed by an elephant in India
I no longer have a private practice. Instead, I spend my time writing, teaching, and volunteering as a clinician at the West Coast Post Trauma Retreat for first responders.

I have written four books: 

I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know

I Love a Fire Fighter: What the Family Needs to Know, 

Counseling Cops: What Clinicians Need to Know
(co-authored with two colleagues), and  
Burying Ben, my first-ever mystery. Burying Ben: A Dot Meyerhoff Mystery received first prize for the not-yet-in-print novel from the Public Safety Writers Association. 

*** Find all of Ellen's books at ***

Writing mysteries is a new skill for me. I used to think that making things up would be easier than writing non-fiction. What a delusion! Creating a story that captures and holds the reader's attention from page one is a tricky business. On a more personal note, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband, who is a photographer (he took the author photos for all my books) and retired remodeling contractor. In our spare time we hike, dance, travel, and cook - not in that order.

Police Psychology is an unusual profession, there are fewer than 300 of us in the United States. People often ask me how I got started. I rarely tell anyone the truth because they’d never believe it. But you, fellow writers, love a good story.
Teaching in the Czech Republic this spring
Growing up in the 1950’s, I anticipated a life like my mother’s, full of frustration and self-denial in the service of others. Like hers, my job prospects were limited to teaching and secretarial work.  Because I had some modicum of theatrical talent, I thought to escape this fate by becoming an actress.

I studied acting with a teacher well known for playing Macbeth.  “Acting is physical,“ he roared as though still on stage. “Macbeth roamed the halls of his drafty castle in a reeking bearskin cape. To get to his heart, you have to smell the stink. Anyting else is shallow romanticism.” He urged me to use my senses while spending a week observing someone at work.

I don’t know what drew me to the Majestic Ballroom on Times Square. Perhaps, it was the only place I knew where I could get a job the same day I applied for it. Down the stairs I went, following the neon arrows and the aging photographs of buxom women with sullen, pouty faces.  I knocked on the manager’s door and told him I was looking for a job. “What are you?” he asked. “Some kind of reporter?”

He handed me to Dorene who looked me over, concluded that I had nothing suitable to wear and handed me a floor-length strapless tube of stretch jersey with a padded bra that catapulted my bosom into a fleshy shelf. 

My training was short and to the point. “Tease the clients,” Dorene said. “Promise something while promising nothing. The longer you hold a customer’s attention, the more dances, drinks, and cigarettes he’ll buy.  String the guy along until closing and then have the bouncer throw him out on his butt."

I waited with the other hostesses in an oval holding pen separated from the dance floor by a low railing. We were a cast of female archetypes. An avatar of Marilyn Monroe smiled provocatively and shook her pearly blonde wig. Cleopatra assumed a regal pose while clucking disapprovingly at an aging siren with deflated breasts who stood near the door blowing obscene kisses and making juicy smacking sounds as our patrons descended the stairs. The youngest hostess had a baby, a diaper bag, and a mother, whose job it was to watch the baby. Off to one side, a forlorn and disheveled Ophelia talked to no one but herself.  

Our clients were a motley bunch. Morose and somber, some were barely able to make small talk or eye contact. Many seemed caught between loneliness and fear, scared of the human contact for which they were paying. No one seemed to be having any fun except for the occasional drunken frat boy who fell through the door on a dare, laughing and shouting obscenities.

Mike was unlike the soggy-faced shufflers who had been breathing in my face. He was young and talkative. “I chose you, “ he said, “because you look different from the other girls.” I was elated to be recognized for what I was, not what I was pretending to be. I poured out my tale: dedicated-young-actress-embarked-on-a-meaningful-but-dangerous-venture-into-the-skin-trade-for-the-love-of-theatre. My confession must have pierced the armor of his anonymity and scared him into thinking I wanted something in return. An eighth note after the music finished, he bolted across the dance floor and made for the stairs. With his hand on the door, he turned and shouted at me:  “Hey you. My name’s not Mike.”

At closing time, we changed into street clothes.  The manager escorted us upstairs where a few sleepy security guards watched us drift away. Cleopatra rode off in a long Cadillac with a man who looked to be half her age. Marilyn Monroe hailed a taxi.  The old siren stuck a cigarette in her nearly toothless mouth and headed for an all night bar. Ophelia skittered off into the darkness. The young Madonna left with her mother and baby.

I quit acting soon after, realizing that I didn’t have the drive or the talent and   tucked the Majestic Ballroom out of mind. I can’t tell you the exact moment when I realized that my brief venture as a dance hall hostess was actually a venture into the world of social psychology, my first experience probing the universe of work, in search of the mysteries that lay hidden beneath the surface.

Police officers and dime-a-dance hostesses are very different groups, of course, and I hope I’m not insulting either, when I suggest they share some similarities. I can say this to you, my fellow writers, because you understand conflict and relish complexity. Cops and dance hall hostesses both need to protect themselves emotionally and psychologically from an ambivalent public that wants them and rejects them in equal measure. The occupational personas they are forced to adopt are tools of the trade; virtual masks that simultaneously crush them and free them to do their jobs.

Teaching in Singapore.
My story has a good end. I’d have been a terrible actress and an even worse dance hall hostess. I’d be poor, for one thing and have a very short career. Grey hair and wrinkled cleavage don’t sell well.  I’d annoy the customers by asking too many questions about their personal lives. Besides, I really like to lead.  The Majestic Ballroom no longer exists, probably replaced by on-line porn sites. Cleopatra, Ophelia, Marilyn Monroe, and the little Madonna have gone on to do other things. It makes me sad that they will never know how much they influenced my life and for how long.  

Connect with Ellen Kirschman at: 
Her books can be ordered at:

Please leave a comment to welcome Ellen Kirschman to Spunky Senior Authors & Talents.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Please Welcome Reluctant Sailor and Happy Mystery Writer, Terry Shames

About Terry Shames: 
Terry Shames grew up in Texas. She has abiding affection for the small town where her grandparents lived, the model for the fictional town of Jarrett Creek. A resident of Berkeley, California, Terry lives with her husband, two rowdy terriers and a semi-tolerant cat. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Her second Samuel Craddock novel, THE LAST DEATH OF JACK HARBIN will be out in January 2014. Find out more about Terry and her books at

What Terry Has to Say:

Thank you to the Spunky Seniors for having me as a guest. This has been a whirlwind time for me with the debut of my first novel, A KILLING AT COTTON HILL. I hope readers enjoy the connection between the book and the sailing life.
The Best Days and the Second Best Days by Terry Shames

Leaving out days like marriages and births, they say the best day of your life is the day you buy your boat and the second best day is the day you sell it. And they are right—at least for sailors.

I’d argue that the best day of my life was last week when my debut novel, A KILLING AT COTTON HILL, came out, but then I’m not an avid sailor; I’m a reluctant sailor who has had some days on a boat.

 I thought my husband and I had had all the best and second-best days we were going to have with respect to boats. But two weeks ago we signed papers to buy another one. Another best day for my husband. And, oddly, for someone like me who doesn’t really love sailing, a happy day for me as well. For one particular reason.

Our last boat was a 45-foot catamaran, a big boat.
 Last fall we sold her after we decided sailing and maintaining her had gotten to be too much for us—physically as well as financially. “Good riddance!” my husband said. Finally completely retired from both working and boating, he then made a valiant effort to turn his attention elsewhere. He took classes; tried kite boarding; and insisted that we double our pet population, promising he would take on all the responsibility for caring for them. But after a few months both of us realized that he was not making a success of being retired from sailing. He was restless and unfulfilled. He wanted another boat. “Couldn’t you take up something like golf?” I whined. No, he wanted to be on the water.

I have to admit, that although I wasn’t as enthusiastic as he was, there were things I missed about our boat: lovely evenings sitting on deck watching the sunset; jumping off into the water in the heat of the day; sailing when the wind was just right. So we decided to get another boat. We looked at a few, kicking tires, so to speak, and then we went to Los Angeles to examine a promising prospect. We walked onto the Catalina and I immediately felt good about her. But there was one thing I needed to test out before I gave my wholehearted love. While my husband was talking to the sales rep, I went below to do my “test.” Eventually my husband came downstairs and found me in the master cabin, sitting propped up on the pillows. “What are doing?” he asked.

I grinned. “Checking out whether I can write here. And it will be just fine,” I said. Sold. 

I wrote most of A KILLING AT COTTON HILL while we were on our catamaran in the Caribbean. Every morning I got up at 6 AM, booted my husband out of the cabin and worked feverishly for three hours, our dog snoozing on the bed while I typed. Learning to write on the boat freed me from feeling unproductive and slovenly. Now I know I can do it. We have a smaller boat that we can both handle physically, but big enough that I can prop myself up and write to my heart’s content.

Happy Sailing!
About Terry's New Release:

In A KILLING AT COTTON HILL the chief of police of Jarrett Creek, Texas, doubles as the town drunk. So when Dora Lee Parjeter is murdered, her old friend and former police chief Samuel Craddock steps in to investigate. He discovers that a lot of people may have wanted Dora Lee dead—the conniving rascals on a neighboring farm, her estranged daughter and her surly live-in grandson. And then there’s the stranger Dora Lee claimed was spying on her. During the course of the investigation the human foibles of the small-town residents—their pettiness and generosity, their secret vices and true virtues—are revealed.

 “…if you’re as fond of good writing as I am, it will be the characters in Cotton Hill that will keep the pages turning until late in the evening…” - Mysteryfile
 “Shames’ novel is an amazing read. The poetic, literary quality of the writing draws you in…” - RT Book Reviews 

 “Readers will want to see more of the likable main character, who compassionately but relentlessly sifts the evidence. Convincing small town atmosphere and a vivid support cast are a plus.” - Publisher's Weekly
 “Terry Shames offers readers a wonderfully-told tale that kept me turning pages… what kept my interest more than anything was the writing. It was absolutely superb.”  -  Lee Lofland, The Graveyard Shift

Please welcome Terry Shames to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents by leaving a comment.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Marilyn Celeste Morris Remains True to Her Military Brat Heritage

Although she was raised as a Military Brat, Marilyn Celeste Morris was born in her grandfather’s house in Toronto, Texas, a small Southern Pacific Railroad Section six miles west of Alpine.  Perhaps as an omen of what would be the next twenty years of her life, the railroad’s abandonment of this settlement shortly afterward left her with no “permanent” home.

Schooling consisted of Dependents’ Schools while overseas, in Seoul Korea, 1946-47 and Linz, Austria (1949-1952) and various schools stateside.  A rarity for a Military Brat, she was fortunate enough to have attended all three high school years and graduated at Lawton Senior High School, Lawton OK.  Further education was attained at Cameron University, Lawton OK, Tarrant County College, Fort Worth TX, and North Texas State University. She received an AAS Degree in Mental Health in 1995.

Morris began her writing career as a guest columnist in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and for ten years Wrote a weekly humor/human interest column for a weekly newspaper in the Fort Worth TX area. 

She has taught creative writing at Tarrant County College, Fort Worth TX, survived numerous book signings and speaking engagements; and is experienced in interviewing on both radio and television.

When not writing or editing emerging writers’ manuscripts, Morris enjoys searching for former classmates and true to her Brat heritage, she has a suitcase packed under the bed, ready to travel at a moment’s notice. 
I'm an eclectic author of eight published works who is finally settling down to focus on historical novels. Someone asked me why I chose that genre, and instead of the "same ol, same ol," "Because I like it."  I answered,"Because I've lived most of it." 
Marilyn Celeste Morris' Family, Mother's Day, 2012

Marilyn Tells Us About Herself:
I'm an old Army Brat, or Military Brat, who followed my army officer father all over the world, post- WWII, and lived to tell about it.And write about it. Once a Brat, Always a Brat is the second of two non-fiction books I have published. 

My most recent novel is The Unexplored Heart, and I am working on a sequel, After Camelot: Esther's Quest. This sequel focuses on the intrepid wife of an archaeologist who researches the history of the sites her husband Charles Wooster, is considering as his next dig. After I typed "The End" to The Unexplored Heart, Esther Wooster snorted and said, "You just think you're finished with me. I want my own book, now."

And so she shall have it. 

My other novels and non-fiction works are listed on the "Free reads of the first four chapters of all my books" status line and I invite you to check them out. 

It occurred to me that I am Esther Wooster, and that is NOT a bad thing. She and I are having a marvelous time returning to the Himalayas on an entirely different search. 

Marilyn Celeste Morris, Author, Editor, Speaker
And now, free reads: First four chapters of all my books:

Please leave a comment to welcome Marilyn Celeste Morris to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Phyllis Zimbler Miller Says Seniors Get a Bum Rap on Technology

I Am Tired of Seniors Getting a Bum Rap About Technology
How many times have you read an article that insists that young people “get” social media and older people do not?  Or that it is amazing that an older person uses new technology?

If you are like me, you have had your fill of such articles.

To start with, just because young people have grown up with Facebook or other social media sites does not automatically translate into using these sites effectively for business purposes.

Using something for business purposes requires understanding business, which in turn means understanding – among other distinctions – the difference between selling and making connections.  Many young people “sell” on social media while many people of whatever age use social media to create relationships that may then lead to selling goods and services.

Second, older people learn new things all the time.  The assumption, for example, that utilizing Twitter effectively is beyond us is plain wrong.

And I am equally weary of older people telling me they are too old to learn new technological things.  This is a fear mentality mindset of not being good at the task and it can be overcome.

I know from personal experience that technology can be learned at an older age – if one is willing to be frustrated and then move ahead as one overcomes the obstacles.

For my 60th birthday I decided to self-publish my 20-year-in-the-writing women’s friendship novel MRS. LIEUTENANT, based on my own experiences almost 40 years before.  I said yes to this new publishing experience because POD (print on demand) had eliminated the need to stack hundreds of self-published books in one’s garage.

At the same time I entered MRS. LIEUTENANT in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, and MRS.  LIEUTENANT was named a semifinalist.

Each semifinalist was given a page on Amazon, and this led to my discovering that one author had something called a blog.

Now while I was an early adopter of computers and email, I will admit in the spring of 2008 I did not know what a blog was.  But when I found out – it was like Alice falling through the rabbit hole.

I started out in my adult life as a newspaper journalist, and I knew what it was to wait for someone to say yes to something I had written.  Here was a free opportunity to write whatever I wanted without waiting for anyone’s okay.  And suddenly the ability to write well for purposes of information sharing had again become handy.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to know.  I took free and paid webinars, bought online courses, and threw myself into online relationship building.

At the same time my younger daughter, Yael K. Miller, was finishing an internship in the corporate communications department of a major Hollywood agency.  Instead of looking for a job, she agreed when I asked her to form an online marketing company with me.  I then introduced her to what I had been learning.

Now for the purposes of full disclosure, it is true that some things come easier to her than to me.  But then other things might come easier to me.  Thus the combination of two different age mindsets works well.

In the meantime, back to my book writing.  When I self-published MRS. LIEUTENANT, Kindle had just been introduced.  I found someone to convert the novel for Kindle almost as soon as the physical book was available on Amazon.

Five years ago not that many people had a Kindle reader, let along other electronic devices that run free Kindle apps.  But as ebooks have become more and more popular, I have expanded my book writing into nonfiction titles as well as more fiction titles.  And I have just encouraged Yael to publish her first Kindle ebook – the Middle Grade novel JACK STROM AND NEW ORLEANS HOODOO. 

Lo and behold, those old copyediting skills of mine honed going to the printer to okay a newspaper edition before it went to press have also become handy.

These days hand coding a Kindle ebook can ensure the best possible formatting.  But due to the addition of Kindle Fire, this type of coding has become quite complicated.

Yael did the research of what I needed to do, and now I use my old copyediting skills when I code my books.  I actually enjoy the coding – formatting my books exactly as I want them.  (I hand coded Yael’s book too.)

Before I did the coding myself, I accidentally lost control of one of my ebooks when a company I paid to do the coding uploaded my ebook to the company’s Kindle account instead of my own.  I immediately negotiated to get the rights back, recoded the book myself, and now completely control all my ebooks – see

And perhaps the best part of all this utilization of online technology is that I have made marvelous online friends throughout the world (as long as they speak English).  These are people with whom I share many common interests. 

In fact, I have created a triad of former military spouses who have written novels inspired by their experiences.  You can read a Digital Book Today article about our triad at

Phyllis with Hubby, Mitchell, Coronation
Ball, at Michigan St. Univ, 11/18/67, sponsored
by Cadet Officers Club & Arnold Air Society

Phyllis with hubby, Mitchell at USS Midway
aircraft carrier in San Diego, 2/1/07, after
US Naval Institute Conference

In conclusion, as spunky seniors we need to disabuse people of the notion that we cannot use new technology the way younger people can.  With our years of experience, we have a lot of valuable wisdom to share online – and we can do this via utilizing new technology!

Phyllis and her hubby twrote
Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders

Connect with me on Twitter at or visit my author website at to find my other social media info.  And let’s show the world that older people using online technology is not an anomaly – it is the norm!

Phyllis Zimbler Miller has a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University and an M.B.A. in finance from The Wharton School.  Her fiction and nonfiction books include TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and she is also the co-founder of

Please leave a comment to welcome Phyllis Zimbler Miller to
Spunky Senior Authors and Talents.