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Friday, May 31, 2013

Guest Post from Boomer Lit Author Laurie Boris

The Baby Boomer Generation Gap

The burgeoning genre of Baby Boomer Lit fascinates me. I love the stories authors are telling about the challenges confronting this generation as we face our mortality but still want to squeeze more out of life.

Often forgotten, however, is that technically, baby boomers represent (mostly Americans) born between 1946 and 1964. That’s a span of eighteen years, for those of you good with math or who happen to have a calculator handy. So theoretically, two generations could be contained within this one moniker: two generations with very different goals and ideals.

I noticed this “gap” as a teenager. My older brother and his friends (born between 1955 and 1957) seemed to be living on a completely separate plane from me (1961) and my younger brother (1963). Even though the span between our ages is not that long, his lifestyle and his interests were not ours. He wanted to go to Woodstock. I wanted to go to a Warren Zevon concert. I partied with my friends and ended up sipping iced tea in the pool. He partied with his friends and ended up…well, there’s a lot he doesn’t remember from back then.

So when I began to write the story that would become The Joke’s on Me, it seemed natural to pit two Baby Boomer sisters, born fourteen years apart, against each other. Jude, the elder Goldberg sibling, at seventeen puts flowers in her hair and runs off to San Francisco with a rock band. She gets married barefooted on the beach. She lives in a commune and becomes an early feminist, Gloria Steinem’s home phone number one of her most prized possessions. Frankie, the menopause baby, was three when her pretty hippie sister took off for good. She grew up cynical, caustic, and always ready to make fun of her sister’s freewheeling generation, which forms the meat of her Hollywood stand-up comic act.

Ironically, the two end up back in their mother’s bed-and-breakfast in the town of Woodstock (actually about forty-three miles from the site of the original concert at Yasgur’s Farm in Bethel, New York), spent from personal disappointments. Following Jude’s fourth divorce, she’s returned to help Mom run the business. Frankie’s Hollywood life falls apart with an exclamation point when she can’t find work and her bungalow rides a mudslide into the Pacific, leaving her only the clothes on her back and a red Corvette convertible of questionable ownership.

Although Frankie and Jude were born fourteen years apart into essentially different families and never had much of a relationship, the sisters both face common baby boomer experiences. What should they do about Mom, who has a stroke and is showing signs of Alzheimer’s? How, with their histories, can they have any credibility taking a hard line on drugs and alcohol with Jude’s eighteen-year-old son? And are new relationships worth the bother, even if they’re with old flames?

Writing about these issues is a way of taking ownership of them. And hopefully, helping others along the way, whether that’s making them feel less alone with their problems, giving them a needed break from them, or just sharing a good laugh or cry, depending.

About the Author

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of three novels: The Joke’s on Me, Drawing Breath, and Don’t Tell Anyone. When not playing with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, cooking, reading, and helping aspiring novelists as a contributing writer and editor for She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Guest Post from Boomer Lit Author Shelley Lieber (Elyse Grant)

Having a Boomer Moment  

It’s my pleasure to introduce a new concept to you today: The Boomer Moment.

You’re probably familiar with the phrase “Senior Moment,” which is usually associated with a symptom of aging such as forgetfulness or memory loss. The Boomer Moment is the exact opposite. It is a moment of perfect elucidation, when everything becomes crystal clear and you glean an insight or see the “big picture” in a way afforded to you only by way of years of life experience.

I had such a moment spark last month when in a two-week period I experienced the joy of my granddaughter’s first birthday directly followed by the loss of two friends.

In her one year here so far, my granddaughter Lacie has given me a royally good lesson in how to enjoy life. From the moment I held her for the first time and felt the freshness of new life, I’ve been struck by her complete wonderment as she delights in almost every experience. If you want to learn how to “be in the moment,” watch a baby. EVERYTHING is new, cool, interesting, possible. No words, no judgment, everything just is, and it’s all good.

Watching (and delighting in) my granddaughter these twelve months, I began to realize how much of that wonderment attitude I had lost. Like most adults, I have layers of experiences to screen and filter my views of the world and how I interpret life's events.

But I yearned to be able to recapture the bliss we’re born to experience, the beauty of the “is-ness” of the moment. I didn’t have a clue on how to do it. I could briefly enjoy bursts of that feeling by just watching her, or relishing the beauty of the Western North Carolina mountains where I live, or by savoring a delicious meal. But I could not routinely sustain the feeling.

A few days after Lacie’s first birthday party (a veritable feast of Lacie lessons in how to have fun), we received word that a dear friend has passed, and less than 24 hours after that, another friend. Although saddened, we celebrated their lives. They had both enjoyed successful careers and had been blessed with good marriages, children, and grandchildren.

Yet, for me, their deaths brought to the surface an awareness of my own mortality for the first time. Being more conscious of death’s certainty didn’t leave me afraid to die, but more determined to live what remaining time I have in full-out Lacie mode.

But how? In a Boomer Moment, I realized that writing is the only thing that keeps me in the joy of the moment for as long as I’m involved in the process. I love it all—the days of unbridled inspiration when my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts as well as the days of staring at the blank page, when I write and delete everything. I love the publishing process from end to end: writing, editing, design, marketing, EVERYTHING. Two of my favorite writer quotes come to mind.
“Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel like I should be doing something else.” (Gloria Steinem) 
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.” (Isaac Asimov). 
Finally, I know how to sustain the Lacie life, a life of joy, and I am so grateful to realize that I’m at an age when I can fully devote my time and attention to fulfilling my purpose, to filling my soul with joy. In fact, it seems foolish to do anything else.

If you've had a Boomer Moment, please share it in the comments below.

About the Author
Shelley Lieber is an author with a split personality. As The Wordy Woman, publishing consultant, she wrote 4Ps to Publishing Success and Publishing Made Easy & Profitable. Shelley is the originator and owner of this blog, Boomer Lit Friday, and the Facebook group, VIP Authors.

Her wilder side writes erotic fiction under the pen name Elyse Grant. The Prince Charming Hoax is her debut novel. A third personality common to both Shelley and Elyse is Vegan Novelist, who blogs about vegan food and lifestyle when not writing books.

Shelley is what native North Carolinians call a “halfback.” Originally from New York, she moved to Florida, then to North Carolina. Shelley now lives in Asheville, NC, with her husband, who is remarkably patient and skillful at adjusting to her personality switches.

Connect with Shelley


Friday, May 17, 2013

Guest Post from Boomer Lit Author Marian Schwartz

My First Lesson in Point of View

When I was in my early teens, my mother had a subscription to The Ladies Home Journal. I wasn’t interested in the stories or the recipes, but I was fascinated by the column, Can This Marriage Be Saved? The column had a simple format: first, the wife would relate her grievances in the relationship; then the husband would tell what he felt was wrong with the marriage.

The first time I read the column, the wife immediately had my sympathy. Her husband didn’t make an effort to remember her birthday and their anniversary; he belittled her in front of their friends by telling jokes at her expense; he spent weekends either golfing or napping instead of participating in activities with her and their children. No wonder their marriage was in trouble!

But then I read his side. She’d plunged them into debt by spending more than he was earning. Although she didn’t work, their house was a dirty, disorderly mess. When he’d married her, she was slender. Now she was grossly overweight and unappealing.

It was a eureka moment! For the first time, I vividly saw two sides to the same story.

Years later, an image of three middle-aged adults sitting at a dinner table, an attractive married couple and an unmarried man, popped into my mind. The husband was asking the man what his intentions were, and the fellow replied, “I intend to marry your wife.” The image was a gift, and I had to run with it. Since the novel would be about a marriage, it seemed logical that the married couple, Buddy and Ginger Middleton, should alternately tell what happened to them. The result was The Last Season, the Story of a Marriage.

About the Author
Although Marian has lived in Virginia for twenty-five years, she still has a Buffalo, New York accent. She doesn’t miss blizzards, but she does miss Buffalo’s summers.

You can find Marian here:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Guest Post from Boomer Lit Author Lisa Deckert (Beth Carpenter)

When I Grow Up

When I was a little girl, long before the existence of the World Wide Web, I loved to read. I read books, and magazines, and cereal boxes. I would hide behind my bed to read so my mother wouldn’t disturb me to make me do chores, but she must have forgiven me, because every month, when the Scholastic Reader form was passed out at class, my indulgent mother would allow me to order more books than the rest of the class combined. She also took me to the library every Saturday.

I grew up on a farm, about five miles from town, and so every day after school meant a forty-five minute ride on the school bus. I would have loved to spend that time buried in a book, but unfortunately, reading on the bus made me carsick. My solution was to close my eyes and make up a story in my head. I’d create the characters, imagine the scene, and compose the dialogue. Horses tended to figure heavily in my stories, usually beautiful white Arabians with flowing manes and tails. Then I’d arrive home and go about my business, forgetting about the story until the next bus ride.

Now, many, many years and thousands of books later, I’m doing it again, but this time I’m writing the stories down. A few years ago, I decided to see if I could translate the pleasure I received from losing myself in a story into creating one from scratch. I discovered, like most would-be writers undoubtedly have, that it’s harder than it looks. So, I followed my usual procedure when I try something new; I checked a pile of books out from the library and started reading about how to write.

My first story that I felt was good enough to share was a young adult mystery, sort of a modern Nancy Drew story. I wrote and polished, rewrote and polished some more, and then I checked out another stack of books on how to sell a book. That turned out to be even harder than writing one.

In the meantime, I wrote a nonfiction book. They are supposed to be easier to sell than fiction, but it didn’t work for me. I admit that by that time I was sick and tired of packaging up manuscripts along with self-addressed, stamped envelopes and paying to ship them into a black hole somewhere, so maybe I didn’t work at it as hard as I might have. Then I discovered Kindle.

I bought a Kindle because I was in love with the idea of carrying around a library in the space of single volume. You have to understand that my house was in danger of exploding if I brought in one more book, and I had a habit of packing a dozen paperbacks in my suitcase every time I took a trip, shedding them as I went. The idea of being stuck on a plane without a book is terrifying for me. Then one day, as I was shopping for new books for my Kindle, I noticed an link that said “Publish with Amazon.”

That ushered me into an alternate reality. Instead of spending my time and money trying to catch the eye of an agent or a publisher, I could concentrate on writing. I didn’t have to impress the gatekeepers, only the readers. So far, I’ve published three YA mysteries, a nonfiction book on financial planning, several shorts, and four boomer lit romances. I haven’t had huge financial success, but I’ve received nice feedback on the stories, met some great people online and overall, enjoyed the process.

I’ve also read dozens of stories published by ‘indies” like me, and I’ve been favorably impressed with the talent they display. Not all were great, but the percentage is much higher than I would have thought it would be. Electronic publishing serves as an amazing matchmaker for the readers and writers of the world to find one another, but it’s still all about the story, just as it was for that little girl on the bus so many years ago.

About the Author

I live in a split entry house in Anchorage, Alaska. From the front door, a short flight of stairs leads up to the main floor and another leads down to a hallway lined with overstuffed bookshelves. One Halloween, I opened the door to two trick-or-treaters, about nine years old. As I offered them candy, one of the boys asked in an awed voice, "Are you rich?" Laughing I asked him why he thought so, and he said, "All of those books!" Afterward, I looked at the paperback mysteries, the old encyclopedia we'd acquired one volume a week at a grocery store, the assorted hardbacks from bargain tables and secondhand stores, and I realized that he's right, I am rich. 

Connect with Lisa (Beth) on Goodreads