Saturday, December 27, 2008
1. Do it. The only thing worse than growing old is to be denied the privilege.
2. Try to have a companion or friends on the journey with you.
3. Stay involved: volunteering, writing, painting, reading and nagging your children. As they say, old age is the period when a person is too old to take advice but young enough to give it.
4. Exercise: if your are able, walking is both a physical and mental boost. I also believe in alternative to the South Beach diet called the North Woods diet: eat less and exercise more.
5. Don’t be afraid to take naps. My favorite bumper sticker: “Consciousness—that confusing time between naps.”
6. Set your priorities: decide what is important for you.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Several interesting things happened. There was only one shooter, but in the heat of the battle, word accidently was communicated that there were two shooters. Once the shooter was down, the SWAT team then went room to room to try to find the second shooter (who didn’t exist). I was sitting on the floor watching this. They neglected to check a restroom where a victim was locked in. If there had been a shooter in there instead, it would have been a real problem (this was discussed in the debriefing afterwards). The major lesson learned by all parties was the need for better communications. The scenario had the head nurse in the emergency room being shot, and there was confusion after that about who was in control there. Then emergency phones didn’t work within the hospital, and there was miscommunication between the SWAT command post outside the hospital and the hospital staff. During the event an amber alert for the emergency room was issued over the loudspeakers in the hospital, meaning no one was to enter the emergency room. Needless to say, several hospital staff members came moseying in while the shooter was still “alive.” Fortunately, this being a simulated event, these problems now are being addressed. As a “victim,” it took half an hour before my wound was assessed. I was classified yellow while the red victims were carted off to surgery. Since I could walk, I was led to a room in the day surgery area with other yellow-classified victims, where hospital staff came to treat us and determine when we could go to surgery if required. After another half hour I was led to a room but the staff there was confused about what to do with me. (Another opportunity for improved communication). Overall, the SWAT team and the hospital staff operated in a very professional fashion and now know where to work the kinks out of their various communication systems. After the debriefing one of the other victims told me that he had started acting obnoxious, been taken off for a psychiatric evaluation and then given a meal to calm him down. With my “two missing fingers” I never was given anything to eat. Afterwards I scrubbed the fake blood off, my fingers magically reappeared and I was happy to be my age again, thank you.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
1. A good judge of human nature – Understanding what motivates people, how they operate, how to get information from them and how to follow up with them.
2. Excellent analytical skills – There is a lot of analysis both of computer-based information, interviews and in-person encounters.
3. Intelligence – Knowing how to approach problems, having the mental tools to tackle a difficult situation and the ability to uncover alternative possibilities.
4. Multitasking – A linear person could not survive in this environment. The detective I worked with had 29 cases on his backlog and these have to be worked concurrently with constant switching of tasks as priorities change. These ranged from a cold case murder in 1954 to two escaped fugitives that he had received information on that morning.
5. Sense of humor – You’d go nuts being around murderers, fugitives and the problems in society being dealt with unless you can laugh at yourself and the situation.
6. Good communication skills – The ability to ask the right question, listen to the answer, keep someone engaged and write clearly. He also spoke Spanish which helped in one interview.
7. Ability to turn off the job at home – We talked about this while driving to track down a work release fugitive. He was a dedicated family man and although his family knew what he did and he told them about what he was working on, he had learned to be present when on family time.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The other extreme described in the National Geographic article is a woman who remembers everything that ever happened to her. She can recall an event for any particular time and date in her life. So take your choice. Would you rather remember too little or too much?
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
6 in the East
4 in the South
2 in the Midwest
1 in Colorado
3 in California
4 in the Pacific Northwest
These novels run the gamut from outrageous comedy to dark suspense, so whatever your reading tastes you will find excellent reading in this list. So here they are:
Laura Benedict, Isabella Moon
Bill Cameron, Lost Dog
Toni McGee Causey, Bobbie Faye’s Very Bad Day
J.T. Ellison, All the Pretty Girls
Dana Fredsti, Murder for Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon
Michelle Gagnon, The Tunnels
Jack Getze, Big Numbers
Barbara Graham, Murder by Serpents
Beth Groundwater, A Real Basket Case
Rosemary Harris, Pushing Up Daisies
Gabriella Herkert, Catnapped
Ken Isaacson, Silent Counsel
Marc Louis Lecard, Vinnie’s Head
C.J. Lyons, Lifelines
Cricket McRae, Lye in Wait
Sharon Rowse, The Silk Train Murder
Susan Arnout Smith, The Timer Game
Patricia Stoltey, The Prairie Grass Murders
Terri Thayer, Wild Goose Chase
Richard Thompson, Fiddle Game
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Whenever I travel I like to try to do a little book promoting when I can, so a couple of years ago I arranged a signing at a senior center where my mother lives and one at a nursing home where my mother-in-law lived. I contacted the activities directors at both facilities well in advance to schedule the events, and both assured me that there were lots of avid readers among the residents and they would love to meet an author.
At the senior center about fifteen people stayed after lunch to hear me speak, and I even sold a few books. My mother was thrilled to introduce her daughter, the writer, and it was a fun afternoon. The residents were eager to talk about books and writing, and seemed equally thrilled to meet a writer.
Two days later, I made my appearance at the nursing home. I was scheduled to follow the late-afternoon bingo game when folks would already be assembled and willing to stay since dinner would immediately follow the talk. I stepped to the microphone the bingo caller left live for me and introduced myself to the audience of about twenty.
They were not an easy crowd.
I knew I was starting to lose them when a gentleman sitting up front asked if I was ever going to get the glass of water he’d asked for an hour ago. Then three women got up and left, muttering loudly that they must be in the wrong place since dinner wasn’t coming yet and it was past time.
In an effort to salvage something – anything – I abandoned my prepared speech and tried to engage the rest of the audience on a more personal level. I asked if they liked to read. One woman said she couldn’t read but she liked to sing. I told her that was nice and tried to engage someone else, but she interrupted to ask if I’d like to hear something. Before I could respond, she launched into a lusty version of You Are My Sunshine.
The other residents cheered when she was finished, so I took the hint. We spent the rest of the hour in a sing-along.
I guess I should have taken my guitar instead of my books.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Author events at retirement communities are good venues for writers whose books appeal to an older audience. For my geezer-lit mysteries, I’ve found this a good fit. I’ve spoken at nine retirement communities with four more scheduled and have learned what works well for the audience and speaker and what doesn’t. For authors planning to speak at retirement communities here are some useful hints:
- You can find a list of retirement communities in the yellow pages or other listings. Make sure you contact independent living facilities and not care homes or nursing homes. Call and ask to speak with the activity director. This is the person who schedules events. Start with upscale communities as these are the folks that can afford to buy books. Since my book comes in hard cover, I want to do signings where people can afford twenty dollar books. Some retirement communities have book groups. Several times I’ve been directed to a resident who heads up a book group and schedules programs. Some of the people in these groups will buy books ahead of time.
- Offer a program, not to exceed an hour. I never charge a fee but do insist on being able to do a signing. My program is a twenty minute presentation, approximately twenty minutes for questions and then twenty minutes to sign books. You will find that some retirement communities will not allow programs where products are sold to their residents. I’ve experienced this restriction at about twenty percent of the organizations I’ve approached. Say thank you and move on. It’s their loss of a good program for their residents.
- If you have a large print edition, bring copies to sell. Since my large print edition came out, I’ve sold approximately half large print and half standard hard cover.
- Understand the set up of the room you’ll be speaking in. I have spoken in auditoriums, meeting rooms, the lobby and the dining room. I always ask for a large table or two small tables for my books, bowl of candy, bookmarks, postcards and display poster. Sometimes a lectern is available and sometimes I roam. For large rooms see if they have a microphone. At the retirement community I visited two days ago, they had a sound system and provided earphones for residents with hearing difficulties. This was a big plus.
- Once a program is scheduled, work with your contact on promotion. I’ve sold anywhere from two to forty-seven books at these events and the main difference is promotion ahead of time. Make sure notices are posted throughout the facility, published in the newsletter if they have one and even mailed to outside parties. The retirement community where I sold the most books had an outreach program to bring people from the community in to see the facility, and they promoted my event to contact outsiders as well as residents and staff. One enlightened marketing director even purchased twenty-five copies of my book as a promotional give away. I also promote the event and have brought people from the outside community in to attend.
- Follow up a week ahead of time to reconfirm. I learned my lesson at one poorly attended event, when I found the event coordinator had neglected to put a notice up that day.
- Always arrive a half hour ahead of time to set up, scope out the room and meet residents. I usually cruise the lobby or dining area handing out book marks and inviting people to the program. Several retirement communities I’ve spoken at had libraries. That’s a good place to find interested residents. Also see if the facility wants to buy one or more books for the library. Some facilities have public address systems, so ask to have an announcement made fifteen minutes before the program begins.
- Have fun. You’ll meet great people who ask good questions and are engaged. As I like to say, all my programs have been successful—no one fell asleep and no one died.
- Send a thank you to your contact person afterwards and keep the information on file for your next book.
People in retirement homes often come up and share interesting stories. I’ve incorporated several ideas in to the book I’m currently writing. Last Friday I was told about a woman who was a widow and took a chance on marrying a man in the retirement home who had never been married before. A month later she went to the retirement home director and said she wanted a divorce and to have a room to herself again. When asked why, she said, “All he wants to do is fondle, fondle, fondle.”
Monday, February 4, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
"This book realistically covered a lot of the issues that seniors face but no one wants to talk about. I felt like I personally knew all of the characters and hated for the book to end."
"Now I am only 76 so it is hard to relate to those old fogies; but I am close enough that the symptoms are appearing. Like, my buddies and I play hard tennis twice a week; but, sometimes, after a heated point, nobody remembers what the game score is. Nevertheless your book kept me laughing, many times out loud. It was a wonderful read and I will pass it along to all my buddies."
"Thank you so much for the joy you gave me in reading your book. Paul Jacobson is my new hero. Whilst I am traveling towards the twilight zone myself this book makes me feel so good about myself, that I can rest easy in the knowledge that all is not lost."
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008