Monday, September 7, 2015

Interview with Morgan Malone, author of 'Cocktales: An After-50 Memoir'

My pen-name is Morgan Malone. A twist on the old “What is my stripper name? A combination of the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on: Dino Homestead. I opted instead for the name of my first cat and my hometown to create Morgan Malone, an erudite yet brazen hussy, who decided, after 15 years of widowhood, to see if there were any men in America (and parts of Canada) who wanted to have sex with a 50 year-old woman. At least that is what I told myself I was doing. Along my almost ten-year journey through the online dating sites, I discovered men who were just as unsure of their intentions as I was. As I flirted with them, met them and even slept with quite a few, I began peeling off the layers of my emotional armor with less reluctance than I was peeling off my carefully coordinated lingerie. I found some really nice men, some very sexy men, some real dogs and a handful of genuine human beings who became friends as well as lovers. And I started to find myself: not just a mom, a lawyer, a wife and a widow but a woman I did not recognize. Yet there she was: a woman I did not like at times, a woman I thought no man would ever love, a woman who spent the first part of her life being the woman she thought she must be, a woman who was facing the last third of her life, finally, with anticipation.

My adventures and misadventures were met with disbelief by my friends who were convinced, almost to a woman, that the only men interested in a woman of our years was nigh on to 80 and in need of “a nurse and a purse.” So Cocktales has become not only a chronicle of my personal journey from widow to woman, from alone to independent, from needy to satisfied, but an instruction manual for the thousands of women facing the last half of their lives lonely and lacking confidence.

I am a published author of Katarina: Out of Control, an erotic romance with shades of “grey.” In September, my country singer-feisty reporter erotic romance, Unanswered Prayers, will be released by Turquoise Morning Press. I belong to several romance writers groups, with an online membership of several hundred voracious readers, authors, reviewers and bloggers, many of whom encouraged me to write. My blog is read regularly by many of these readers and also the growing audience of listeners who have heard me read my mainstream essays on NPR’s “51%”, a nationally broadcast show directed at women, and also on “Roundtable”, a popular program heard on WAMC, Northeast Public Radio.

I have just turned 62. I live near Saratoga Springs, NY with my chocolate Labrador Retriever. We enjoy occasional visits from my daughter who is a clinical psychologist and my son who is works in internet college sports reporting in Seattle. I paint watercolors, swim as often as I can and still practice law in between writing romance and memoir.

About the Book:

Title: Cocktales: An After-50 Dating Memoir
Author: Morgan Malone
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Pages: 264
Genre: Romantic Memoir

An After-50 Dating Memoir…or Eight Years, around Eighty Men, but not nearly Eight Thousand Kisses.

There I was. Approaching 50, widowed for 15 years, alone for all that time, except for two kids, one dog, a full-time legal career, a house, a mortgage, some dear friends…and a wish. I just wanted to feel like a woman one more time. Not “Mom.” Not “Your Honor.” Not “Sis.” But, a desirable and desired woman.

I knew I wouldn’t, couldn’t fall in love again. My heart was buried in a grave in Brooklyn. But, I could offer a sense of humor, big blue eyes and intelligent conversation. I wasn’t sure about kissing or anything else; it had been a long time and I was not sure that sex was like riding a bike (which I could no longer do, given a bad knee and too many extra pounds). I was willing to try. Would anyone be interested?

To my surprise, the cyber-world was full of men like me; men who were looking for a second chance at love or lust, with a real woman, a woman just like me.

Cocktales is the true story of my adventures and misadventures in the world of online dating. It is full of practical advice (never wear knee-high hose on a first date, NEVER), giggles, groans and my growth as a woman. I cried a few tears, I made plenty of mistakes, but I also made many friends. I even fell in love.

Join me on my journey. It is a roller-coaster ride I think you will enjoy.

For More Information

  • Cocktales: An After-50 Dating Memoir is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first. 

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I have an arbitration practice. I get to use the skills I learned in my 30 years as an Administrative Law Judge and travel around New York State. I am very active in my synagogue (I used to teach Sunday school). I spend a lot of time painting watercolors. And then there is my Chocolate Labrador Retriever….

When did you start writing?

My first story was published in the NYS Creative Writer magazine when I was in second grade. My next (non-legal) story was published in 2009. In between, I wrote stories for my children and outlines for romance novels I wanted to write someday.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

I met a group of romance authors in an online chat group, Scamps, Vamps and Spicy Romance. They invited me to attend the Lori Foster- Dianne Castell Readers Authors Get Together in Cincinnati. My first time there in 2009, many of the authors – Dianne Castell, LuAnn McLane, Janice Maynard and Donna MacMeans –mentored me and encouraged me to write. I finished a romance novel and Cocktales over the next three years. In 2013, I had an appointment at the conference with Turquoise Morning Press. I pitched Cocktales to them and they bought it. It would not have happened if I had not stumbled upon the Scamps!

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I have always wanted to write a World War II romance. I would love to go to London, where I spent a summer while in college, to research and write that book.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I would finish the final copy edits on Unanswered Prayers, my September release from Turquoise Morning Press.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

I want to write a pirate tale set along the coast of Maine. I always loved pirates as romantic heroes and I just returned home from a vacation in Maine. I can’t wait to get back there.

Back to your present book, Cocktales, how did you publish it?

I sold it to Turquoise Morning Press in 2013. The publisher, Kim Jacobs, was so enthusiastic and created a great cover for me. My editor, Dee Mullins, taught me more about writing than I learned in five years of memoir writing class. It has been a wonderful experience for a first-time author.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

Cocktales is the story of my almost decade long adventures in online dating. During those years, I travelled to Saratoga Springs, Lake Placid, Maine, New Jersey, Virginia, Myrtle Beach and Massachusetts to be with my man of the moment. I considered every date research for the book I wanted to write.

Why was writing Cocktales so important to you?

Cocktales is the true story of a woman who wonders, at age 50, if she will ever find lust or love again in her life. It is an adventure, it is a guide and I hope it is an inspiration for women like me who think that there are no second chances at love once you reach a certain age. I wrote it a testimonial to the ability to dream new dreams and re-create ourselves.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

As a painter, I have learned to look at a scene or an object or a person and see it in different perspectives, to see it as a painting I could create. As a writer, the same thing happens to me. I see a painting or photograph or scenic vista, hear a bit of music, read a new poem or watch an old movie, and something will catch my imagination. A story starts spinning out from that and if I am lucky, I catch the thread and write it down before it is lost or forgotten. I will have to live to be 100 to have the time to write all the stories I’ve scribbled about in my notebooks.

Any final words?

Thank you for welcoming me here today. I hope you and your followers enjoy Cocktales and my current erotic romance, Katarina: Out of Control. My next contemporary romance, Unanswered Prayers, will be released in September 2015 by Turquoise Morning Press. I am currently working on another memoir, 32 Days, about my late husband’s traumatic injury and our 32 days together in the hospital before he died, as told through the letters I wrote to him each night.

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