Featured in Renaissance Magazine

renaissancejanuaryI’m thrilled to be featured in this month’s salute to Creative Minds in Renaissance Magazine, a quarterly publication for RTO-ERO (Retired Teachers of Ontario) members.

You can read about my writing journey in “Revisiting the Dream” on Pages 30 and 31.

Download the magazine here.


Chatting about Boomer Lit

9188269_sIn my late forties, I realized that I no longer enjoyed reading novels with 20something and 30something protagonists. It felt like poking into the heads and hearts of young women who could easily be former students. So, I started searching for novels featuring an older crowd and discovered several late-blooming authors who had launched successful second acts. I longed to pen my own novel, but family and career obligations prevented me from launching a writing practice.

When I retired six years ago, I was ready to write. At first, I focused on the non-fiction market and wrote book reviews and articles about careers, education, money management, personal growth and development, and wellness. While I was pleased with the response from newspapers, magazines, and online publications, I felt a growing restlessness.

It was time to pen the novel.

Continue reading on Mahrie Reid’s blog.

Claiming Fantasy Hen Lit

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It’s officially mine.

After Googling “fantasy hen lit” and discovering my picture, the book cover of Between Land and Sea, and several images from my website on the first page of search results, I claimed the new sub-genre as my own.

A bit of history…

I never intended to write fantasy. I avoided books that featured werewolves, vampires, witches and other dark creatures and am probably one of the few people on this planet who could not read past Chapter 1 of the first Harry Potter novel. But after participating in a series of science fiction workshops, I decided to try my hand at light and breezy fantasy with inspirational elements. Whenever I described my work to other writers in the workshop, they would frown and ask, “But what genre is that?”

Continue reading on Katie Teller’s blog.

Introducing Fantasy Hen Lit!

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I’ve come across a lot of discussion lately about genre definitions. The debate has grown from writing in multiple genres to writing across genres. A fellow Soulie, Sandra Harris, got me to thinking about this with her post Cross Genre – Why Has It Taken So Long? and S.C. Mitchell wrote here about adding superheros to romances.

Today, we talk with Joanne Guidoccio, author of Between Land and Sea, for her take on the pros and cons of blending fantasy and romance:

“You’ll have to explain what that means.”

“I don’t think the hens will like it.”

“Huh?”

From the start, I knew there would be problems when I combined genres. Unlike other fantasy and science fiction writers, I did not want to focus exclusively on the out-of-world elements. Instead, I wanted to write the kind of fantasy I could actually sit down and read. I am one of the few people on this planet who could not read past Chapter 1 of the first Harry Potter novel, and I avoid books that feature werewolves, vampires, witches, and other dark creatures.

Continue reading on Kathy Bryson’s blog.

The Evolving Mermaid

9491775_sWhen I announced the release of Between Land and Sea, a novel about an overweight, middle-aged mermaid, I was surprised by the subsequent comments.

The typical male response was a Duchenne smile followed by a puzzled expression and several pointed questions…

Why is she so old?

Just how overweight is she?

What happened to her?

The men had preconceived notions of what a mermaid should look like—wavy auburn tresses, mesmerizing green eyes and a curvaceous twenty something body.

Continue reading at Kate Wyland’s blog.

Visiting Sarah Hoss

11838450_sThe lawyer shook his head. “I still don’t understand why your mermaid has to be old and fat.”

“Fifty-three is not that old.” I ignored the weight issue.

He persisted. “It is when it comes to mermaids. Why couldn’t you just let her be young, thin and beautiful?”

Thankfully, the conversation was interrupted by the facilitator’s call to resume the workshop. A few minutes more and I might have lost patience with the annoying lawyer who simply wouldn’t accept my vision of an older mermaid.

Continue reading on Sarah Hoss’ blog.

Reinvention and Baby Boomers

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, Beth Carpenter is talking about transitions and introducing her new book, Recalculating Route.

Here’s Beth!

beth1“And they lived happily ever after.” But what if they didn’t? Maybe the marriage didn’t work out. Maybe their career paths led them to a dead end. Maybe everything went just as planned, but now they are retired and need to reinvent themselves. “Happily ever after” isn’t a destination, it’s a journey.

Often, life feels less like a bed of roses and more like a tree on a riverbank, growing from the rock. While the river keeps washing the ground from underneath it, the tree is putting out roots, desperately trying to hang on, to keep from toppling over. Over time, that tree develops a certain grace, a sense of purpose that the pretty roses will never achieve. The struggle creates the beauty.

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Baby boomers everywhere are making transitions. Many, after years at one career, are making the decision to move to another, either to fulfill a lifelong dream or from necessity as their old job disappears. Sometimes, they’re starting their own business from scratch. Others are making that jump to retirement, structuring their days and their lives without the framework of a career to shape them.

Sometimes I think it’s absurd that we expect eighteen-year-olds to choose a college major that leads to a career path. What do they know about life, about the possibilities? On the other hand, a person has to start somewhere, and maybe where they begin is less important than taking that first step.  Knowledge is seldom wasted. Many people move from one career to something completely different, and yet the lessons from that first career shape the person and help him or her succeed in the next. I recently read Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant. In that book, Marsha Roberts tells of the parables she has experienced in her life. She was a nurse, but later became a successful producer. The two careers seem to have little in common, but her compassion, organizational skills, and experience working with people in difficult situations undoubtedly contributed to her success in her second career.

All our experiences make us who we are, and sometimes life seems to circle around, bringing us back to our roots. A few years ago, my brother agreed to help organize his class reunion. One of the other members of the committee was a woman he’d known in high school, but hadn’t seen since, who lived in a completely different part of the state. They’re happily married now, and they’re not alone. I’ve known of several couples from the same hometown who reconnected after years of living in different parts of the country. It makes sense. They have that common ground, that rootstock from which their life took shape. This gives them something to build on as they make their transitions.

bethTransitions can be fairly smooth. My own path from stay-at-home mom and avid reader to writer felt like a natural progression as my children grew up. A combination of life experience and those thousands of books I’d devoured over the years gave me a base to build upon in writing that I wouldn’t have had at twenty-five.

Other times, it’s not so smooth. In my newest book, Recalculating Route, the main character, Marsha, was happily married and had retirement all mapped out when her beloved husband died. That left her without a clue on how to spend the rest of her life. She meets Ben, who is also rudderless after selling his company and retiring. The two of them have to figure out what happens next.

As we make our transitions, whether by choice or by necessity, we need to keep in mind that we are in charge of our own “happily ever afters,” and happiness involves growing and changing. Enjoy the journey.

Where you can find Beth…

Blog: www.BethCarpenterBooks.blogspot.com

Blog Tour schedule: http://www.bethcarpenterbooks.blogspot.com/p/blog-tour.html

Goodreads : http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6443339.Beth_Carpenter

Amazon link: http://amzn.com/B00F4KL1WM

Barnes & Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/recalculating-route-beth-carpenter/1116892125?ean=2940148565888

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/recalculating-route-choices/id685079206?mt=11

Link to Blog Tour Schedule and Prize Description: http://www.bethcarpenterbooks.blogspot.com/p/blog-tour.html

Joanne here!

Thank you, Beth for sharing your wonderful advice and insights about transitions. I just finished reading Recalculating Route and highly recommend it. Leave a comment for Beth and you could win a giveaway package valued at $50. Check out the link to the Prize Description.