Saturday, November 29, 2008


This last week I received the advance reader copies (ARCs) for my upcoming novel, Living With Your Kids Is Murder. My publisher sends these to reviewers and provides me with additional copies that I can distribute to local newspapers and other reviewers I know. This is always an exciting time to have an early copy of a book in hand. The published book with be hardcover but the ARC is trade paperback size. Over the color cover picture is an overlay stating, “Advance uncorrected proof—not for sale.” Still ARCs do show up on Ebay. I guess some reviewers try to sell them or pass them on to other people who try to sell them. In any case, I now have something more concrete in hand, still awaiting the official publication in April, 2009.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I just finished reading a book called From Age-ing to Sage-ing. It describes some of the new roles for older people including mentoring. The thesis is that older people have wisdom to share with the younger generations. I can’t put myself yet in the realm of someone with wisdom but I do know that I have enjoyed the role of mentor. Last school year I mentored an eighth grade student who was writing a young adult novel for a school project. We met periodically during the year to review his writing progress. I looked forward to reading the next parts of his book and seeing how the story was developing. This was a worthwhile project for both of us.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Author Program at Retirement Homes

This last week I gave talks at two retirement communities. I continue to be impressed by the involved seniors I meet at these programs. On Friday during the question and answer session, several people described their memoir-writing group. One ninety-year-old woman came up to me and presented a copy of the manuscript she had written for her family. It’s a wonderful account of her life and experiences. This is something we should all do for our children and grandchildren.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Book Cover for Living With Your Kids Is Murder

Here's the cover for my second Paul Jacobson geezer-lit mystery novel, Living With Your Kids Is Murder, which will appear in April, 2009.

The Mature Mind

Yesterday as a member of the Aging Advisory Council for Boulder County, I attended a “Create Our Future” celebration. The keynote speaker was Dr. Gene Cohen, author of The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain. His talk countered the traditional view of only focusing on problems of older people by looking at the potential of what older people accomplish, not despite their age but because of their age. He had had an opportunity to interview George Burns and shared several stories about the comedian. When asked what his doctor said about his drinking and smoking, George Burns replied, “My doctor’s dead.” George Burns also quipped that he started asking for applause in advance. Gene Cohen described how the old view that the brain doesn’t produce new neurons has been dispelled as well as indicating that the brain continues to sprout new dendrites and form new synaptic connections. He described the “new senior moment” being not one of forgetting but one of doing something creative. He gave an example of his father-in-law who when faced with a snow storm and no taxis in Washington, D.C. had this solution. He went into a pizza shop and ordered a pizza for home delivery. He then asked that he be delivery home along with the pizza. Cohen also cited research that older people use both sides of their brain more than younger people. Older people may be slower at solving certain problems than younger people, but they possess something that is gained over years: wisdom.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Big Sur of the Rockies

On Halloween evening instead of donning a costume and giving out candy, I attended the Big Sur of the Rockies Children’s Writing Workshop. Although I missed out on candy treats, I filled my writer’s bag with lots of goodies over a weekend of intensive critique groups and writing. I workshoped by middle grade novel in progress, Jennifer Jacobson Private Eyeball, and received great feedback on things to do to improve the manuscript. Since children’s writing is new for me, I learned a great deal about the different forms: picture books, chapter books, middle grade and young adult. Over the weekend I participated in four critique group sessions where I read sections of my novel and received oral and written critique as well as giving feedback to other writers. On Saturday afternoon we had time to revise our manuscripts, and I pounded away on my laptop for two hours. Another key benefit was the opportunity to speak with agents, editors and other writers in a relaxed session. When we broke on Sunday afternoon, I was exhausted but went home with pages of notes to fuel the rewriting I will do over the next several weeks. Jennifer will be much more beautiful as a result of this workshop.