Well, since it’s after five at the campfire, I’d love a glass of wine. Anything red. Zinfandel is my favorite, especially since the fridge is like Mary Poppins’ carpetbag. Have you got my favorite wine, Zinforomantica? It’s Italian.
Well you know it’s 5 O’clock somewhere, right and sì, naturalmente. One glass coming up. I too enjoy a nice red wine, unfortunately, some days it doesn’t agree with me. Now, you’ve visited before. Tell us, about a camping memory or adventure. What made it special to you?
I was a Girl Scout, even at thirteen, way past when other girls gave it up. My best friend and I went camping with our Scout leader, Mrs. Manz, her real name. Who could make that name up anyway? Once we got to the campsite, we dug latrines and built the fire pit. I know how to boil water in a paper cup. Who knows? It may still come in handy one day.
Ugh, I remember roughing it when I was young. One time it was a semi-rough with my friend Linda. There was an old abandoned camper in the woods of Minnesota. On a snowy, ten-degree night we thought it would be a good night to stay there. We stayed up half the night drinking Dr. Pepper and shivering. Fast forward to 2021 and you have some exciting news to share with us.
My new book, Eat Your Heart Out, just got the new cover you see here. It’s a little difficult to make out the details since the sun is setting on our campsite, but you can see the guy is a cutie. My characters are fifty and they’re both dating. Not each other. “We’re older, not senile,” Dana says. Dana and Alex, the two main characters, are foodies and do a bit of sautéing and bantering, along with tiptoeing around each other.
I adore books with older and experience characters. Add a bit of wining and dining and I’m hooked. Do you have a tagline? Life Motto? If you have both, let us have them.
Never give up. Seriously. It’s on my coffee mug.
As an author, that has to be ingrained in us. Perseverance and thick skin are in our DNA. So, speaking of never giving up, how long did it take you from conception to publication?
I am not a fast writer. I’ve written five books, two of them when I still worked full time. (Three are waiting patiently for rewrites.) It took me years to grab the courage to pursue a publisher and get the first, Middle Ageish, published. Although marketing is so time-consuming (Dear Readers, did you know that?) I write every day and if it’s not my book, it’s a blog post or book review.
I testify to that on the marketing. I’m not a fast writer either. Are there any mentors, authors, or books?
I’d have to say the group of authors I work with and exchange ideas with at Wild Rose Press deserve a round of applause. They are so supportive and I learn something new every day. D.V. Stone, thanks so much for having me here at the campfire. I’ve been wanting to join you for a while now. Oh, I brought all the making for S’mores. (Shirley reaches into her bag.) Zinfandel and S’mores, what a great combination.
You are very welcome! I love talking to other writers about the craft and sharing them with my readers. I’m looking forward to reading this book. If anyone hasn’t read Middle Ageish I highly recommend it. And don’t be so slow with those s’mores. (D. V. does gimme hands). While these marshmallows are toasting can you tell us about what literary success look like to you? I love this question because it’s different for everyone.
Success means readers. I want readers who laugh along with my characters and can’t wait to ask questions about them. Ask me if the dating stories are true, was my boss that awful, and where did I get the concept of the buttered noodle syndrome. Hint: It’s in Eat Your Heart Out.
You heard her, grab Shirley’s books and enjoy a good laugh. I did. Do you have any Life Hacks for Authors? Tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others. I’m also interested in how you have been managing your life and writing with COVID-19.
Writing has saved me during Covid times. There is no other way to say it. Writing is keeping me sane. I live alone, so I’m not a stranger to hermit-like habits. Lucky for me I live in Florida. Tough in the summer, though, but all summer long I got up and out early to get in my morning walk. That helped me a lot. It’s all in your head.
A tip for writing is always bounce your writing off others. My writing group is essential to my writerly well-being. Before publication, I rely on the help of friends and my writing group to proofread. My sister is very patient when I talk about my characters as if they’re roomies.
Thank you for sharing that. It kind of takes a village, right? Now the fun questions. If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you?
My Life as a Date. It would star Goldie Hawn. I have no idea what she looks like these days, so I’m taking a leap of faith.
What is your favorite mug or teacup?
My Never Give Up mug.
Years ago, there was a commercial that talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a moment in time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget. What is yours?
I used to live in Crete, Greece. My Kodak Moment would be all the times shared with my mom when she visited, and my friends and their kids at the beach. The best things in life are free. We used to say that out loud to remind ourselves how lucky we were swimming in the Med.
Favorite childhood book?
Madeline and Curious George
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
Full-fat deep dark chocolate ice cream with nuts and hot fudge.
What was the last thing you Googled?
Last thing I Googled was the spelling of Madeline, the girl who walked with the others in one straight line.
Shirley, you are such a fun guest. Thank you for joining us today and letting us have a peek into your life. Now I have to go wash all this stickiness off my hands. I would love for you to leave us a little more about you, your life, and especially your new book cover. And readers out there, don’t be afraid to ask any questions of Shirley. If you are intrigued enough about this lovely lady, here are her social media links.
Note from D. V.
Eat Your Heart Out doesn’t have a release date yet but soon, very soon. So keep your eyes peeled and I’ll let you know when it does. In the meantime, head over to https://midagedating.com/ and check out her other books.
Alex Bethany, actor turned teacher and newly hotified, craves a family, even late in life. Online dating for the first time, he’s buffeted by many, delighted with none. Meanwhile he’s sending Dana mixed messages in the kissing department. After a surprising event rocks his world, Alex panics, certain he’s blown his chances with his special person.
Funny and bittersweet, Dana and Alex’s story will have you rooting for them.Alex leaned in, took the piece of bread from her hand and placed it on the plate, then pushed the plate out of the way. “Come closer,” he said. “I want to whisper sweet somethings in your ear.”
Here’s a peek between the pages
Dana bent toward him, a puzzled but amused expression percolating, her face glowing in the subtle lighting.
“Yes?” Her voice throaty, challenging.
“This is a date,” he said and tilted his head, brushed her lips with his, pulled back slightly and did it again. They separated and regarded one another.
“It’s a beautiful friendship,” she said. “But I don’t want anything to spoil our collab-or-ation.”
“We must dine now,” said Alex, “so that we can imbibe a bit more and verbally spar. I love sparring with you.” Once the words were out, he realized they were true, and he realized he didn’t want to compare her with Honey. Because Honey came up lacking every time. “Let’s reopen our menus, shall we? I draw your attention to an array of brain dishes you’ll find in the left bottom corner.”
“Yes, I see.” Her finger seemed to be tracing selections in the area he’d indicated. “Brains in liver sauce. Mmm. Fried with head cheese. Oh là là.”
“May I suggest the brainiac’s delight,” he intoned in a British accent, “a mélange of liver and brains, simmered kidney sauce—”
“Enough.” She blocked her face with the menu.
She was right. His mouth was talking nonsense while his brain was all too clearly instigating other possibilities. After dinner activities. Unwise with his emotional confusion.
Emotional confusion be damned, he intended to kiss her again. If she’d let him.
Kissing colleagues, what was wrong with that?
“Did she cancel on you for tonight?” asked Dana, jerking him back to reality so quickly he felt dizzy. “Is that why you called me? Lucky me.”
About the Author
Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website http://midagedating.com offers a humorous look at living single and dating in mid-life. Shirley is the author of two rom coms. Eat Your Heart Out and Middle Ageish, both in the series Starting Over. Shirley’s friends nag her to tell them which stories are true in her novels. Her characters believe you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.