It happened so fast I didn’t have time to prepare myself. One day I was in my Fifties and happily writing away, beginning to get published and having a grand old time. Oh, I was having all kinds of fun. Traveling, running, walking, gardening.
Then something occurred that will forever bumfoozle me. I looked up and I was seventy. My
legs didn’t work so good anymore, my back hurt, if I knelt I couldn’t get up. And every once in a while I was surprised when I woke up in the morning. I began to ask who was that old man in the bathroom mirror. Then I started covering mirrors with black cloths. How did this happen? And what would it do to my life, both in general and specifically writing? Oh, you youngsters can laugh. Just wait.
The oddest thing that has happened in my Seventies is the resurgence of my fiction writing career. I figured by this time it would all be over. I’d be sitting in a rocking chair crocheting, or watching daytime television, which isn’t quite so bad as it was when I was younger and there were three channels, two of which were barely visible here in the Ozarks. Still, when I bumped up against seventy I realized I did not want to sit in a rocking chair. I wanted to keep writing. To see me now, catch a photo on my website. There you can check out all my books. I find it astounding that every book I’ve had published since 1994 is still available, some thanks to Kindle ebooks.
Well, you know what? Continuing to write is precisely what I’ve done. Want to know what has been the most difficult to conquer? The advancement in computers, online promoting, learning to write blogs, which I don’t think I’ve accomplished yet. The secret is to keep learning. Never say I’m too old to learn that computer stuff. After taking three months one summer to learn how to format and upload my backlist books to Kindle so I would have some books out there for readers, I discovered small presses. And did I have some books for them.
These folks are doing for writers what New York Presses did fifty or more years ago. They are supporting each individual writer, taking care of us, caring what happens to us. My first small press publication was Stone Heart’s Woman in 2012, soon accompanied by Wolf Song. This year came Wilda’s Outlaw and the first of a mystery series, The Purloined Skull. Just received news that this one went to press yesterday. Coming up in 2014 is a book that toured New York with an excellent agent for almost a year about four years ago. Nan Swanson, my editor at The Wild Rose Press, told me she loves Once There Were Sad Songs, which is due out sometime in 2014, and she is recommending it to all her friends. This one is a book of my heart. And there are a couple more of those.
I just finished what I hope are my final edits on the next in the Victorian Series, following Wilda’s Outlaw with Rowena’s Captain. Next up? There is Tyra’s Cowboy, the last of the Victorian series; another book of the heart, Beyond the Moon, which I hope to finish this winter, and the list goes on. Several more are waiting in line, either to be heavily edited or written. I’m not done yet.
So you don’t get too old in this business until you’re ready yourself to call it quits. Those of you out there who are saying you’re too old to have a writing career, think again. It’s perfect for us old codgers who can’t dig in the dirt or turn cartwheels anymore. No one has told me I’m too old and they don’t want my work. I hope they never do, not till I’m ready.
I’ll see some of you at Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs, where I will teach a class on formatting for Kindle. Drop by my table in the lobby and say HI.