Friday, October 30, 2009
I'm currently rewriting my first geezer-lit thriller titled Reset. The subtitle is "Saving the World Between Naps." It's an interesting challenge thrusting an octogenarian into life and world threatening situations. Needless to say, my protagonist steps up to the challenge. Older people may not have the strength and stamina of thirty-year-olds, but they have the life experiences and wisdom to apply to difficult problems.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Aging is part of our human predicament. At first we want to be older: to be able to stay up past ten o’clock, to get a driver’s license, to vote, to buy a drink, to rent a car. Then suddenly our perspective changes. Whoa. I don’t want to be thirty, forty, fifty, sixty. I recently looked back over each of my decade milestones. When I turned ten I was in fifth grade, having just suffered the indignity of being required to wear shoes to school in Honolulu. I celebrated by twentieth birthday in France in the middle of an adventure, learning another language, experiencing a different culture, exploring new ideas, starting to discover what I was about. At thirty I was immersed in a career, married with a four-year old son. Forty found me having achieved some success in business and about to leave a large company for my first foray into the world of start-ups. At fifty I was struggling through a bad work situation (about to get fired), had acquired a daughter-in-law and was soon facing an empty nest. At sixty I was a grandfather, dealing with the issues of my aging parents, settled in at work, experiencing the excitement of learning the craft of writing and looking forward to retiring. Birthdays used to be a big deal. But when I turned sixty, my wife was in Los Angeles selling her mom’s house, so I celebrated alone, fixing a TV dinner. Just another day. Recently I reread parts of a journal I had kept in the 1980s and early 1990s. Two things struck me. How things are different now and how things are the same. My core being is the same as when I was younger and I’m still grappling with the same issues: self-consciousness, fears, relationships, attitudes and deciding what I want to be when I grow up. Yet so much has changed. I’ve mellowed and don’t get as uptight as I used to. I go with the flow more now. I guess you could say that’s part of maturing. But I still picture myself as a young person. It’s just that I’m trapped in an aging body. I’m now more aware of the next steps, having dealt with the issues of placing my mom and stepfather in a retirement home followed by assisted living facility and then facing their deaths. And I have retired from a career in the business world to write full time. With six plus decades of life experience, I find much material to work with.
Monday, October 19, 2009
I had a great time at the Bouchercon conference. The only problem was getting off the ground in Denver. When I arrived at the airport, the flight showed on time until half an hour before scheduled departure. Then it began to slip due to foggy conditions and after moving six times I ended up back at the original boarding area before taking off three hours late. That was the only glitch. From there everything went well. Wednesday night I had dinner with the 4MA people, a wonderful group of avid mystery readers. The conference kicked off on Thursday and I had an opportunity to participate in a continuous conversation with Barbara Fister, Molly MacRae and Libby Fischer Hellmann. Thursday night I participated in the talent show along with others including Parnell Hall, Don Bruns, Peter Lovesey and Liz Zelvin. On Friday I attended the guest of honor interview with Michael Connelly. His advise was to write what you know and what you never want to know and to move your story ahead at least one step every day. Friday night we had a gathering of the Five Star and TeknoBook authors including Beth Groundwater, Patricia Stoltey, Molly MacRae, Julie Hyzy, Mike Black and Deni Dietz. On Saturday our Geezer Lit Comes of Age Panel with Naomi Hirahara, Chester Campbell, Mary Saums and Patricia Stoltey played to a packed room with lots of laughs. On Sunday I participated in the Book Bazaar where each attendee had five tickets to use to get signed copies of authors’ books. It was a madhouse due to not having enough space for everyone to walk through the aisles between the author tables. I picked up books by Brett Battles, Wendelin Van Draanen, Lori Lacefield, Cricket McRae and Julie Hyzy. During the conference I attended two sessions put on by Amazon.com. I learned that they have a beta program for Author Central whereby authors can post their own information to be put up on Amazon’s Author Pages. Another session discussed Kindle which can now hold 1500 books with a battery life of two weeks of continuous reading. Over 370,000 titles are now available on Kindle. I had a chance to meet authors as Michael Connelly, Charlaine Harris, S.J. Rozan, catch up with old friends and make many new ones.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
This coming week I’ll be attending Bouchercon, the largest conference in the United States for mystery fans and writers. At last count at least 1500 adults and over 700 kids were registered. I’ve been to a number of writer or fan conferences such as the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference, Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Left Coast Crime Conference and Malice Domestic but this will my first time at Bouchercon. I set a goal of going once I had two published mystery novels and with the release of my second one this April, I signed up. I’ll be moderating a panel titled “Geezer Lit Comes of Age, The Graying of the Genre” with panelists, Chester Campbell, Naomi Hirahara, Mary Saums and Patricia Stoltey, a great group of authors. I’ll also perform a comedy routine at the Author Talent Show, participate in the Continuous Conversation program, auction off a character in a future novel along with Beth Groundwater, Bonnie Ramthun and Patricia Stoltey and sign books at the Book Bazaar. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting a lot of new people.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Yesterday I attended the Author Fest of the Rockies. Irv Sternberg and I conducted a panel on Geezer Lit Humor, and I had a chance to catch up with old friends and meet new people. The luncheon speaker was Alec Greven. For those of you who haven’t heard of Alec, he’s a ten-year-old fifth grader in Colorado who wrote a book titled How to Talk to Girls that became a New Your Times bestseller. He gave a delightful talk about his writing and promotional experiences including being on the Ellen DeGeneres show. During the question and answer session someone in the audience asked Alec if he still gets in trouble. His response, “Everyone gets in trouble.”