After my mega 70th birthday party I barely had time to get sick and (sort of) recover when it was time to pack up and head to Big Sur for my niece’s wedding.
When your kid gets married, it’s a lot of work. Aside from travel, it’s zero work when your niece gets married, and you get to hang out with family and friends in lovely surroundings. I recommend it. Only problem was, I’d given my respiratory bug to my beloved, and he was under the weather for our entire trip.
Even so, we spent a lot of time at the beach. Big Sur deserves its rep as one of the most spectacular places on the planet. Got to stick my feet in the Pacific, which totally felt like home even after five years in North Carolina.
Now, mind you, all this happened within a month of publishing Vampires of a Certain Age, so I’ve not had time to focus on the book launch as much as I’d like. So it’s great to discover the comments from people who have read the new novel. Here are two examples from Goodreads:
“If only this book was an HBO series. The concept is brilliant. It spans the Middle Ages, with its prejudice against women (and witches) and the ingenious ways women are able to stick together and defend one another, all the way to a 21st century city-scape where vampires do the night watch at a blood bank.”
“From Medieval England to the modern Midwest, Vampires of a Certain Age tackles the suppression of women’s rights, details the evolution of the blood bank, and illuminates the lore of vampires, all while telling the very human story of love lost and found. With sparkling prose and engaging characters, Fosse creates the best vampire novel I’ve ever read.”
If you have read the new novel, I would so much appreciate your honest review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you review books. Reader reviews make a huge difference! They are the best way for readers to decide whether a book is worth their money and, more importantly, their time.
And if you have not yet read Vampires of a Certain Age, I hope these reviews will encourage you to do so. What better Halloween entertainment than a novel about the rise of the matriarchal vampire?
Please also consider signing up for National Novel Writing Month, which begins November first. NaNoWriMo is a great way to bypass your Inner Critic. When you’re writing fifty thousand words in a month, it’s almost impossible to criticize your own writing – there simply is no time. And while you’re on the NaNoWriMo site, look up my NaNo group for “Seasoned Women Writing Erotica/Romance.” Hope to see you there!
Speaking of which, after two years writing first drafts of novels for NaNoWriMo, I’ll be a rebel this year and edit a project that is partly completed (Shh! Don’t tell!). The Well-Seasoned Romance will be a book for women writers past midlife detailing the ins and outs of writing and selling your late-life love story. The shell is already written, and I’ll add examples from the new vampire romance to flesh out the book. My great cover designer, Diana Rosinus, is hard at work on a well-seasoned cover. Look for this how-to-write book, along with online classes, in late 2023 or early 2024. Make your New Year’s resolution to write your vivid story and join the fun revolution!
I write all this against the backdrop of horrific events in Ukraine and the Middle East. Even in my eighth decade, after a lifetime of wars and famines in far-off places, it is hard to fathom that our good fortune exists alongside so much devastation. We know from our experience with gun violence in the United States that thoughts and prayers are not enough. I hope you will join me in donating to Doctors Without Borders, and let us seek other ways to help those affected by the ongoing tragedies across the Atlantic.
Toni Morrison wrote that “This is precisely the time when artists go to work—not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!” And in that spirit, let’s all keep the pen moving (or the keys clicking). It is our job, our privilege, and our joy.
An immortal healer turned blood bank director falls for the one person who can destroy her.
Marion Chase is a healer in medieval Yorkshire. Accused of witchcraft, she is rescued from certain death by a vampire. Now an immortal vampire, Marion joins a Sisterhood in York dedicated to ethical feeding. Centuries later Marion finds her true calling as president of a Chicago blood bank. There she falls in love with the one person who can destroy her: Rachel Sutter, an FDA inspector who is the living likeness of Marion’s lover in ancient Yorkshire.
I publish two blog articles (published online on the 10th and the 20th) and this newsletter every month, so you hear from me (or a guest blogger) a few times a month. Below is a brief extract from last month's blogs - click the links for the whole enchilada! If you've ever considered getting your voice out there, I welcome suggestions for topics, or a fully written guest piece in line with my philosophy for the site. Drop me a line......
Joan Schweighardt and Faye Rapoport DesPres met twenty-five years ago when they freelanced for the same client. They also had the same plan: to find clients and make a living writing, and find time to work on their own projects. They became lifelong collaborators, including The Art of Touch, their new anthology about the pandemic. The two authors/editors share the ups and downs of the writing life and the benefits of collaboration.
Joan: You and I met a quarter of a century ago, working for a public relations company called CIIC in Nyack, north of New York City. We were freelancers working remotely before that was a thing, so we must have met at a company social gathering. I wrote lots of press releases back then, often for destination clients. I got to travel to places like Acapulco, and Manzanillo, Mexico. What a dream job!
Faye: I never got the travel perks, but I wrote my share of press releases. I started at CIIC with a background in journalism. I’d also worked in media relations for environmental organizations, and in business management for a music company. My contract work for CIIC was my attempt to get back to writing as a career. At the time, my creative work was on the back burner. I don’t think your creative work was ever on the back burner.
Joan: My first three novels published while I was at CIIC. My publisher back then was The Permanent Press. Except for book-cover decisions, I had a front row seat to how publishing worked, from editing to layout to production. And since I already had a handle on PR from working at CIIC, I came up with the wild idea to start my own indie publishing company. I posted a few notices in literary magazines (this was 1998; there weren’t online magazines) to say GreyCore Press was open for submissions. Before I knew it, I had a tower of submissions (back then, all by snail mail). I worked night and day to keep up with them plus my paying work. I was drowning. I needed help from someone with super high energy, and maybe a bit of the crazy.
Five years ago when I turned 65 it was time to choose my Medicare path. The choice took about five minutes. I knew nothing about Original Medicare, MediGap plans, and Medicare Advantage plans (except that Original Medicare sounded a bit like KFC Original Recipe). So I chose the Medicare Advantage insurer that still advertises “the only Medicare plans with the AARP name, for more than 20 years. These plans stand for quality, value and service.”
That quote is from an ad is in the October 2023 AARP Bulletin, sent to all 38 million AARP members just in time for Medicare Open Enrollment (which runs from October 15 to December 5). Then on October 13th, the Medical Director of UNC Healthcare (the university system where my partner and I go for medical care) sent their patients who are insured by that Medicare Advantage plan this letter:
We are writing to tell you about a possible change in your ability to use UNC Healthcare’s provider network… UNC continues to work toward a new agreement with United Health Care. However, UHC is not negotiating in good faith.
So much for “quality, value and service.”
Up to the day I received that letter, I had reveled in the freedom Medicare provides. I can work for myself as a writer and never have to worry about losing coverage or having a big increase in my insurance premiums. The healthcare professionals I consult have up to now been in network and happy to accept my insurance. I am such a fan that I’ve been saying for years that everybody – not just those over 65 – should have Medicare. Then suddenly, with that Friday the Thirteenth letter, it was time to learn how the sausage is made.