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Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest Post from Boomer Lit Author Marcia Richards

Three Precepts for Boomers and Writers to Employ 

I’ve been blogging about Baby Boomers and our trials and tribulations of navigating through mid-life for nearly ten years. Helping, inspiring and laughing with Boomers are all part of my passion. Now I‘m using my experiences to create Boomer Lit about women who find out in midlife just how strong and smart they really are.

I’ve also spent three years learning the craft of writing fiction and creating a few stories that will be published in 2014. As all Boomers do, I have a million of them. This, too, is my passion.

I’d like to share three critical precepts, for Boomers and writers, I’ve learned and practice:

1)    Move: Not your home; your body. As Boomers, one of the first things we lose is flexibility. That can mean sprains, bone breaks and creaky knees. Walking, bike riding, even climbing stairs several times a day can help you avoid those maladies. All forms of exercise from swimming to sex reduce stress, create clarity of thought, and maintain healthy fluid and glucose levels.

Writers sit for long periods of time, shoulders hunched forward and eyes glues to the computer screen. That’s not a pretty sight. It isn’t comfortable, either. Get out of that chair to walk for fifteen minutes, drink water and stretch. You’d be surprised how much more creative you’ll be when you get back to your writing.

2)    Connect: Not to the Internet or video games; to other people and pets. More than any other age group, Boomers benefit from personal connections. Friends, family and your pets provide companionship, someone with whom to share your troubles and your joy. Those relationships help you live in the moment, which relieves anxiety and creates interest in healthy eating, activities and learning new things.
A writer’s life is mainly solitary. Closed doors offer the quiet necessary to focus on the plotting, character profiling and world-building that we engage in. Joining a writing group, critique group, attending conferences, one-on-one sessions with a friend are all healthy ways to connect with others, have fun and learn ore about your craft.

      3)  Learn: Yes, there is still room in your noggin for more cool stuff.
Learning something new should be the quest of every Boomer. You have time now that the kids are grown, your responsibilities fewer. Try a yoga class, take an adult education class, learn to ride a horse or ski, teach yourself to crochet or learn woodworking. Every time you venture into the unknown you grow more brain cells, boost your immunity and develop a new passion. No more boredom. Dive into your new activity with gusto and have some fun.
Writers have many opportunities to learn something new. Learn to create a book trailer, a webinar, build a course for your blog readers, create an event for readers to dress as your characters, give a speech on writing, learn to connect better with social media. If you write novels, try learning to write non-fiction or short stories or a different genre. Anything new you learn will help your writing career, boost your creativity, add to your credentials, develop more ideas for stories. 
Could you employ these precepts in your life? What other ways do you stay healthy and connected as a Boomer?

About the Author
Marcia Richards is a veteran blogger and author of the blog Marcia Richards…Sexy. Smart. and Strong where she writes inspirational, funny and helpful posts about strong women, health and the path to pursuing your passions. She is currently writing women’s fiction exploring the theme of growing older and reinvention. She also has a collection of 20th Century short stories in progress. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with the grandkids or her husband, seeing the sights of her home state of New York or turning sad, discarded furniture into works of art. She believes there is always something new to learn and always time to play.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Post from Boomer Lit Author Sharon Struth

There’s No Love Lost Here

Free love. A concept extolled by hippie and other non-conformists of the 60’s and 70’s…folks we now call baby boomers.

Boomers redefined traditional values back then and continue to be image changers now. Over fifties are
active, in good health and breaking the images associated with getting older, especially when it comes to their love lives. I remember visiting my grandparent’s house when I was a kid and wondered why they had those twin “Rob and Laura Petrie” beds but my parents didn’t. The message was pretty clear…none of “that stuff” going on in this bedroom. Now couples in this age group are seen on commercials smiling about their afternoon delight thanks to the wonders of modern medicine.

The general public seems to embrace the idea of fifty and beyond couples in their entertainment, even as it relates to romance. The movie industry has offered stories such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Hope Springs, The Descendants and It’s Complicated. These films show us how the life-time experiences of baby boomers makes them perfect candidates for fiction with characters who are rich with complexities and issues. Beauties like Jane Fonda, Rachel Welch and Meryl Streep show us that being older doesn’t mean you’re not desirable or capable of love. Come on, who wasn’t rooting for Meryl Streep and Steve Martin at the end of It’s Complicated?

What about in books, though? Some mainstream publishers seem slow to embrace the idea that Romance + over fifty hero/heroine = retail success. Generally speaking, the bigger publishers seem to believe a romance with a vampire or shape-shifter is more believable (and profitable) than someone finding romance over the age of forty. Traditional contemporary romance heroines/heroes are in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties, yet readers of romance cover a wide age range with over 40 percent in the 31-49 years age group.

Luckily, the world of publishing now has more options for authors. Many mid-sized and small publishers, along with self-published authors, are offering romantic novels with mature characters. The generation who brought awareness to the idea of “free love” does want to read this kind of literature. Many of those readers are divorced or have lost their spouses. They love stories about how second chances for romance can happen—even if you have an AARP card or are an empty nester.

More than once, I’ve received comments from readers about my recent release, The Hourglass (Etopia Press) that stated, “Your story gave me hope that I can find romance again, too.” As an author, those comments were a gift. Imagine giving someone hope?

I’ve decided to take the advice of the ominous voice in Field of Dreams...“If you build it, they will come.” My calling is to continue to write romantic stories for folks who might be a wee bit older than the usual romance genre benchmark. I believe if these stories are out there, then the readers will find them – both boomers and younger. They’ll find rich plots, compelling characters and the kind of love that comes to folks after a lifetime of experience, often wiser due to the passage of time.

Yes, Virginia, there is romance (and sex) after the age of fifty. And nowadays authors even write about it.

About the Author
Sharon Struth writes from her home in Bethel, Connecticut. Her writing credits include her debut novel, THE HOURGLASS (Etopia Press), award winning romantic women's fiction. She also has essays in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the anthology A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers, Sasee Magazine and

Prior to writing full-time, Sharon worked at the headquarters of Waldenbooks/Borders Books. She's a member of the Romance Writers of America and Treasurer of The Romance Writers of Southern Connecticut and Lower New York (CoLoNY). Sharon takes a look at the plights of being middle-aged in her blog, "Life in the Middle Ages." She is represented by Blue Ridge Literary Agency.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Guest Post from Boomer Lit Author Stephanie Zia

Stopping Old In Its Tracks: Where Does This Boomer Attitude Come From?

It’s all about the widespread availability of hair dye. Hair dye stopped Old in its tracks, said a famous iconic author who died recently. So that’s looks taken care of, what about attitude? For me it’s music and independence. A fierce independence that grew out of the incomprehension that became known at the generation gap. I don’t think there’s ever been anything like it, generally, at any other time and mine was particularly extreme. My father was born two centuries ago, in 1899. He came late to parenting obviously - I’m not that old. In 1955, up I popped into my father’s life in the company of rock & roll and all things utterly incomprehensible to him. As time passed and I grew into my teens, the cohabiting peace-badge-waving hippie and the Victorian who’d fought in two world wars for all the freedoms that we enjoyed, were never going to see eye to eye.

For me growing up was all about growing away. I left home as soon as I could - still a child, certainly in naiveté, never to return apart from duty visits, and to this day regret the lack of communication that just grew and grew between us. I remember my father gazing on, baffled, as his 14-year-old daughter laughed until she cried, rolling about on the floor in hysterics at a man walking in a silly way on new TV show called Monty Python’s Flying Circus. This was nothing compared to the music. My poor father’s incomprehension and, well, sheer disgust, just grew as my (full-on) groupie instincts kicked in. From repeatedly playing an album called My People Were Fair & Had Sky In Their Hair But Now They're Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows to plastering the walls of my bedroom with an androgynous skinny being (“You call that a man?!”) with spiky orange hair and full make-up. I grew up in South London, which happened to be the beating heart of the 1970s rock scene. David Bowie played in the local pubs and village halls and my friend Jean and I were there. ALWAYS. Two shy 16-year-olds, the only regular fans at every single gig. He was kind to his fans and we got to know him a little. The scene in my current novel work in progress where he drives Avril home in his blue jag after a gig, still in his blue padded Ziggy spacesuit, did actually happen.

My father’s desire for me to go into his beloved RAF (Royal Air Force) was laughable. I understand now how hard it must have been for him, but I hadn’t a clue at the time, so wrapped up was I in myself and my beautiful idols. By the time the first boyfriend arrived - a musician of course, with frizzy Bolan locks, flowery Indian shirts and an intoxicating aura of weed and patchouli - all had been lost. At the age of 18, I was driven away in an orange VW Campervan plastered with peace logos to live in a kind of hippie commune without as much as a wave goodbye. I never talked with my parents about leaving home, but then we never talked about anything.

So, along with sexy savvy heroines, music is what I bring to my Boomerlit novels. The Widow’s To Do List is a comedy romance about a 50-year-old rock chick, a backup singer who can’t decide whether to age gracefully or disgracefully. As she struggles to get over her grief she finds herself in a world where sex is everywhere whilst death is still the great taboo. My male lead is a musician, a cross between the two sexiest men on the planet in the 1970s who weren’t David Bowie or Mick Ronson - Cat Stevens and Leonard Cohen. Hidden beneath all the words runs a deep regret. A sadness that will never go away for the father I grew up with but never knew.

About the Author
Stephanie left school at 15 and joined the BBC as a Russian Section junior secretary. Before taking up writing, she was a BBC TV arts production assistant, researcher and director. Her debut BBC film as a writer/director, 10 x 10 Applause, about why people clap, has been shown at several film festivals. Author of 2 Piatkus commercial fiction novels and 2 Hamlyn non-fiction books, Stephanie has written for a variety of British magazines and newspapers. Embracing the epublishing revolution, she started Blackbird Digital Books in January 2010 to produce her first ebook, a collection of her Guardian green ‘cleaning guru’ columns, answering readers’ impossible cleaning and stains questions. She now enjoys editing and publishing other authors as well as her own books. She lives in London with her partner and teenage daughter.

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