Is there a right or wrong age for success as an author?


Saturday evening I watched the ACFW awards via a live blog and simultaneous streaming video.  It was next best to attending in person. I stayed glued to my computer for three straight hours.

I held my breath as the finalists were named and winners announced, and smiled when familiar names came up. One thing that surprised me was the noticeable absence of men’s names among them. I can recall only one among the winners. (I’m not talking about agents, of course — Chip MacGregor looked very dashing in his kilt as he accepted an award on behalf of a client.)

What didn’t surprise me was the youthfulness of most finalists and winners – indeed of the various people pictured at the conference. Unless writers age extremely graciously, not many appeared to be in the over-fifty category. I’ve discovered that’s the norm.

When it comes to supportive cyber friends, age is irrelevant, but when I realize that publishing success seems to come more often to those under fifty, I have to question my own ambitions. After all, I’m in my retirement years. Publishing houses are looking for career writers who can be expected to produce for a number of years, and I understand the economics of that. But given the long years it can take to even get an agent, let alone a first book contract, is it reasonable to embark on the process at my age?

Is there discrimination against mature writers? Don’t they have a valuable perspective born of life experience to contribute to their stories? Do their ages have any bearing on the genre they write and the age group of their target market? Why are lists of debut authors populated mostly with young and good-looking people? Is there no place among the successful newcomers for greying hair and a few wrinkles? And where are all the men?

Now there’s a litany of questions for you to consider! Pick one – any one – and offer your opinion. 🙂


Disclaimer: No, I certainly wouldn’t risk including any photos of people I know. I don’t have a death wish!
Photos by Photostock and Graeme Weatherston. 


Progress of sorts…


One week today and it’s all over. NaNoWriMo, that is. The writing won’t be, I can guarantee that. Even if I finish this novel, there’s another simmering on the back burner, its aroma wafting through my words, teasing and tantalizing. A writer is never finished writing.

My NaNo progress has been slow so far this month. Despite writing every day, the word count continues to fall below the needed daily average. At this rate I certainly won’t make the 50,000 by month’s end, but I’m not so inclined to toss verbiage onto a page just for the sake of racing to “The End” this time.  I’m conscious of a needy protagonist that deserves more focused attention, a storyline that will wander if given half a chance, and several sneaky adjectives and adverbs just waiting to slip in from the margin if I don’t take the time to find stronger alternatives.

So it’s a slow and steady approach right now, which is why I qualify for this “Progress Badge” offered by Merit Badger… “for getting just the tiniest bit closer to where you want to be, even if you’re not sure you’ll ever make it all the way there.”


How about you? NaNoWriMo projects aside, are you a dash-to-the-end kind of writer or more of a slow-and-steady sort? Can you regularly chalk up 3,000-word days, or do you have to stop and ponder a lot? What kind of writer are you?

Unresponsive Brain Cells Don’t Matter, Do They?

Information Overload’ is a reality. I know, because I’m afflicted. Just home from four days at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference and my fuzzy brain refuses to offer up coherent words for a timely post of writing inspiration. Not that it doesn’t contain lots of said inspiration. It does. It’s just that the great helpings of it acquired this weekend are nestled away in sluggish grey matter that refuses to release it. I need to go to bed! Hence, a shortened version of my weekend’s highlights:

Awesome Thursday Master Class on ‘Next Level Fiction’ with James Scott Bell

… who had the greatest gelskin for his laptop!

Daughter, Shari Green, winner of the SiWC Writing Contest, YA category.

There’s a brief podcast interview with Shari here.

Hundreds and hundreds of fellow writers, authors, editors, agents, and publishers making connections, attending workshops, sharing good ideas, good news, good fellowship, and good food.

Bottles of wine, late night gatherings, Tweeted directions.

(Of course there is no picture! Would you really expect one?)

A Silent Auction, huge Trade Show, books and bargains galore.

(I wanted one of everything!)

The Saturday evening Book Fair and its author book signings.

The annual rendition of “Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud” by Jack Whyte.

(Just ignore the bottle… a little pre-song fortification.)

There’s tons more, but eyes are glazing over. Have to sleep now.

To be continued….

ACFW Genesis Awards

The annual American Christian Fiction Writers Conference is wrapping up today in
Indianapolis, Indiana. A LiveBlog event was posted live from the Conference on Sunday evening during the Awards Ceremony. An archived transcript including nominees and winners for the various awards can be found online here. Congratulations to all the winners!


Contemporary Fiction

  • Runner up: Chris Kraft, Brandywine Reckoning
  • Winner: Lynnette P. Horner, The Assistant

Contemporary Romance

  • Runner up: Sarah Forgrave, Stilettos and Aprons
  • Winner: Janice LaQuiere, Truckload of Love

Historical Fiction

  • Runner up: Lori Benton, The Quiet in the Land
  • Winner: Brenda Jackson, Principle Engagement

Historical Romance

  • Runner up: Ruth Trippy, Celia
  • Winner: Pam Hillman, Terms of Indenturement


  • Runner up: Barbara Early, Chaos at Camp
  • Winner: Rich Bullock, Storm Lake/Storm Song

Romantic Suspense

  • Runner up: Terri Weldon, A Cry in the Night
  • Winner: Valerie Goree, Weep in the Night

Speculative Fiction

  • Runner up: Suzanne Krein, Time Dancer
  • Winner: Andra Marquardt, Traitors

Women’s Fiction

  • Runner up: Lisa Buffaloe, Nadia’s Hope
  • Winner: Jennifer Fromke, Docking

Young Adult

  • Runner up: Kasey Heinly, Broken Glass
  • Winner: Stefanie Morris, Shyla, Desert Daughter/Shyla, Child of the Desert

Versatility With Substance?

Holidays are my poor excuse for the delay in responding to Carol Benedict and Joylene Butler’s kindness in awarding me the Blog With Substance and Versatile Blogger awards. It’s such a precious gift to have one’s writing efforts acknowledged by other writers. Sincere thanks to both of you!

Both awards come with similar although not identical requirements. The Substance Award asks that I share five words that sum up my blogging philosophy. That’s something I haven’t thought much about. Let’s see, I want this blog to be a place that is:

  1. Respectful – of differences in people, their abilities and their opinions
  2. Reflective – of the world around me, of God’s light and love
  3. Helpful – sharing information, news and advice from within my realm of experience
  4. Individual – an honest expression of me, my faith and my ideas
  5. Uplifting – a place of encouragement and empathy

Then the Versatile Award wants me to share seven things about myself. Seems like I’ve already done that on a couple of occasions. Do you suppose these have to be seven new things? I may have to steal a few from a different list but I’ll give it a try…

  1. Although I’ve never been able to play it very well, my favourite musical instrument is the piano. I’m sure there isn’t a mood it can’t express.
  2. I painted in oils, mostly landscapes, for two decades, sold everything and now don’t own a single piece of my own work.
  3. Despite living on the Pacific west coast, the only kind of seafood I like is barbecued salmon and canned tuna.
  4. In 1954 I was a majorette, twirling my baton and high-stepping with a friend, providing half time entertainment for the BC Lions football games. “Lions roar in ’54!”
  5. Singing the Canadian anthem always brings tears to my eyes.
  6. I love a good mystery story but my favourite TV programs are non-violent ones such as “Little House on the Prairie” reruns, “Heartland” and “Divine Design”.
  7. If I had to pick just one food to exist on it would be soup. I love all kinds of soup except for clam chowder.

There! Does that do it? Not quite. The other requirement is to pass along the awards to several other blogs. I’m never comfortable singling out one favourite over another, and to complicate things, some of the writing blogs I might choose have already received one or both of these awards. Carol Benedict suggested nominating blogs that I feel qualify as blogs with substance, or listing the blogs I check most often. I could do that, but I don’t believe the owner of the one I have in mind would accept an award.

And perhaps that’s my answer. I won’t nominate anyone this time, but simply refer you to Ann Voskamp’s poetic words of faith. If you have not yet visited her blog, A Holy Experience, please check it out. You will be blessed.