Life After Retirement
When I took advantage of early retirement from a 31-year teaching career, I had only a vague idea of what life on golden pond would look like. Sleeping in each morning. Leisurely breakfasts. New hobbies. Volunteering. Traveling.
These were my pat answers whenever anyone asked about my future plans. And at some point in the conversation I would work in one of my favorite quotations from Eckhart Tolle: “When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.”
In theory, it sounded wonderful, but the reality was very different.
After three months of leisure, I knew I needed more than this patchwork of activities. Goals and structure—words I thought I had left behind—started creeping up in my daily thoughts. A part-time job would have solved the problem, but I had no desire to accept short-term teaching contracts or start over in another career.
Instead, I resurrected a writing dream concocted at age eighteen.
I started journaling and filled large blocks of unscheduled time with workshops and online courses. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. At first, I focused on the nonfiction market and wrote book reviews and articles about careers, money management, wellness, personal growth and development. While I was delighted with the response from newspapers, magazines and online publications, I wanted more.
“More” translated into a novel, and in my case, two novels: A Season for Killing Blondes and Between Land and Sea.
I had written the first draft of the cozy mystery during my “cancer” year and then filed it away. An integral part of my therapy, writing that novel helped me survive and thrive during the most challenging season of my life. It was now time to edit and polish the manuscript.
While querying, I distracted myself with another storyline. I wrote the first draft of Between Land and Sea (a paranormal romance about a middle-aged ex-mermaid) in three months and then spent a year editing and polishing. I was thrilled when Senior Editor Debby Gilbert of Soul Mate Publishing offered me a contract in 2013.
A year later, Editor Johanna Melaragno of The Wild Rose Press picked up A Season for Killing Blondes. The novel was released on 5th June 2015.
In both novels, the protagonists are fifty-three-year-old women at a crossroads. I thought I had randomly selected that age but later realized it was my retirement age. And there are more similarities. Both protagonists reinvent themselves as career counselors. Toward the end of my teaching career, I enrolled in the Career Development Practitioner Program at Conestoga College. I had hoped to open a career counseling office, but personal and health challenges forced me to alter my course. Instead, I am living vicariously through my protagonists.
In August, Soul Mate Publishing will release The Coming of Arabella, the second book in the Mediterranean trilogy. A fourth novel is sitting on the back-burner and three others are in various stages of completion.
Where to find me…