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Each year, millions of people – young and older -- look at themselves and their jobs and careers and wonder whether they should start something new. This may be especially true of people who are retired, who also may wonder if it’s not too late to do so. One individual in his 80s decided it wasn’t (too late) and reinvented himself.
After a fulfilling career in the insurance industry and numerous retirement activities, Oakland resident Richard Wren decided to live another dream while in his early 80s: becoming a published novelist and an inventor.
His first effort, the mystery novel CASEY’S SLIP, was published in 2011 and took him three years to produce, during which he started his own publishing company. What he learned along the path to the first book allowed him to finish his second, JOSHUA’S REVENGE, in a matter of months and have it published in mid-2012, while working on the third. That third book, a sequel to Joshua’s Revenge entitled Justice for Joshua, came out in his 88th year (2014), soon after he moved to Lafayette, CA.
CASEY’S SLIP received national recognition from the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards, taking second place in the Action/Adventure category, and receiving a Finalist Award.
At a spry and energetic 89, he’s currently working on a sequel to Casey’s Slip, and is working with a screenwriter to market a screenplay based on that first novel.
“I’ve always been a story teller since my four daughters were small children,” said Richard. “Every night I’d challenge them to give me a word and I’d make up a story. Example: They give me ‘Hamburger,’ and I make up a story about a hamburger that dreamed of becoming a New York steak. I still use that technique. My stories are designed for pure entertainment. I do not have a whole story in mind when I start. I let the story develop itself, just as life does. “
As with many other fiction writers, he draws from his own personal experiences, people he’s met and places he knows. At age 89, he’s had a long life to draw from for his stories. “People should look back on their lives and think about whether they have stories to tell, fictional or otherwise,” he said. “And they should know that it’s not hard to get a book from that, and get it published.”
In the midst of fiction writing, he decided to share what he learned with other budding novelists, a common-sense approach to finishing and publishing a novel, and publish that as a booklet and ebook.
A Practical Guide to Writing & Publishing a Novel: The Keep It Simple and Successful (K.I.S.S.) Way truly is a powerhouse – short and succinct, common sense advice, resources and action points all packed in less than 30 pages. Unlike the majority of other “how to write a novel” books which often focus on plot, character and dialog, it’s about getting the writing done, getting past any hold-ups and blocks, and getting it into book form. Most would-be novelists have a story to tell, but often don’t know how to get it together enough to actually write, let alone publish, the novel. But it’s also relevant for non-fiction writers, and a non-fiction specific version will be out soon.
Wren has truly reinvented himself, and his excitement for his new career as an author shows in the enthusiasm he presents while discussing his books, what he learned in publishing them, and even in his desire to spread the word about his works. He is active in promoting his work and his simple plan for publishing. But he’s not merely satisfied with doing just the one thing (writing): he’s also an inventor, and having lots of fun with that as well.
Richard Wren has much to say to people considering taking on something new, especially to our growing senior population. Using one’s mind is the best way to defeat the telling affects of inactivity, and writing is one of the easiest ways to do that. Reinventing oneself as a writer, whether writing fiction or nonfiction, is an easy path for seniors with decades of life experience. Too many have let the obstacle of getting published stand in their way.
“But if you reinvent yourself thinking of yourself as both writer and publisher, the obstacles go away,” said Richard. “Today, there are so many ways to publish easily on your own, and for almost no money.”
With a twinkle in his eye, and a smile, he added “And it’s lots of fun!”
Richard L. Wren’s books are available from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, both in print and as Kindle ebooks, and also available in bookstores throughout the US.
He is available for interviews about how he reinvented himself (and advice for others), about getting a book done and published, and about his novels.
At age 82 I started writing my first of 4 novels. At age 84 I had finished it and started on the laborious tasks of proofreading, editing and publishing. Like so many others I turned to my computer for help and found much available and advertised.
As a rank, extremely virginal author, I was totally unfamiliar with, for example, the difference between proofreading and editing. What I needed was expert proofreading plus editorial input. I paid for both and got neither at a cost of close to $2,000.
Next were ads by publishers. You’ve seen them. Mail us your book and we’ll judge if its quality is good enough for us to publish. I did it and a few days later I was thrilled to get a letter saying my book had been accepted. The offer was accompanied by a contract asking for, you guessed it, money. I almost bit, my first book? Accepted by a well-known publishing company? Fortunately, I checked their references and found they were infamous for having been put out of business numerous times by numerous district attorneys, only to re-organize and pop up again. At one time several authors ganged up to write the worst novel they could cobble together and submitted it. It was received with the same glowing praise mine was. By the way, this company is still at it.
LONG STORY SHORT: I finally convinced myself that I could do it myself mostly by myself using ingenuity, imagination and friends plus a lot of research. Finally, almost 3 years later, at a total cost of less than $100.00, CASEY’S SLIP was published and went on to garner an INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARD Finalist slot.
If I could do it, so can you. Using those same methods I published my 6 step plan in a booklet at virtually no cost to me.
No cost to me results in FREE to you on YouTube. youtube.com/richardlwren
Tune into KPIX-TV (Channel 5) on Sunday morning for my appearance on BAY SUNDAY with Frank Mallicoat. The show airs a bit early, from 5:30-6:00 AM, so for all of you who are not early risers (me included), set your DVR or what recorder you have. If they load the video on the KPIX website, I'll be sure to post the link --- so check back here if you missed it!
~~~~~~~ Poor Richard Publishers Announcement ~~~~~~~~~~~
JUSTICE FOR JOSHUA Now Available I just released my newest novel on Amazon.com Mystery...intrigue...adventure... martial arts... Can a Yosemite Park ranger defeat a sociopath and his gang that kill for kicks? When his wife is hit in a drive-by shooting in Oakland, Joshua -- who is also a world class martial artist and ninja expert -- vows to find and punish them and achieve justice for his family. For more on the book, and to purchase, go to http://tinyurl.com/justiceforjoshua
~~~~~~~ Poor Richard Publishers Oakland, California~~~~~~~~~
CASEY'S SLIP is Finalist for 2014 Action/Adventure
National Indie Excellence Book Awards
Please pass this along to all your friends and share it on social media!
CASEY'S SLIP and Richard L. Wren's second adventure novel JOSHUA'S REVENGE are both available through Amazon.com and bookstores across the nation.
On June 21st., I will be the guest on a nationwide radio talk show originating in Jamaica, The show is scheduled for 9:00 AM PST (11:00 EST). It can be found online here:
The hostess, Corinne La Font will be taking phone calls from anyone wishing to talk to me. Call in number: 347-945-5192. I just wish I could be in Jamaica to do the broadcast instead of doing it over the phone.
An announcement, hope to see you there. Come one, come all and bring your friends.
Next Saturday, March 2nd, I’ll be at the FIRST ANNUAL LOCAL AUTHOR’S BOOK FAIRE (which I’m co-sponsoring) from 11 AM ‘til 5 PM. We will have 15 published authors present to talk with and hopefully purchase autographed books from. Each will have his own table plus some stage time. Open and FREE to the public. Mysteries, children's books, suspense, poetry, adventure, historical, biographical, health, science fiction, paranormal, all will be represented and presented by their authors. Plus there will be chocolate sampling and sales.
Where: The Oak Room at Grace Presbyterian Church. 2100 Tice Valley Boulevard, Walnut Creek, California. (Next to entrance to Rossmoor.) Lots of free parking, easy access and loads of fun.
SUNDAY, MARCH 17TH TELEVISION INTERVIEW If you have nothing better to do like playing solitaire or cutting your toenails, you might want to see me being interviewed this weekend on KOFY. (Channel 20) The show will be at 10:00 P.M. on Sunday, February 17th. and is referred to as a Retro T.V. night. They show an old T.V. show, ( this time it’s an oldie of The Partridge Family). I’m interviewed at the beginning, middle and end of the show. The interview was done this morning at their studios in South San Francisco, Betty went along and we both enjoyed the experience. Richard Wren, Author CASEY'S SLIP JOSHUA'S REVENGE K.I.S.S.: The Keep It Simple and Successful Way to Easily, Inexpensively and Finally --- Write Your Novel www.rlwren.com
Richard L. Wren
IN HIS NEW CAREER AS AN AUTHOR, RICHARD DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS TALL, DARK, HANDSOME AND A LIAR. A FOURTH GENERATION CALIFORNIAN, A SAILOR, FATHER OF FOUR BEAUTIFUL AND SUPPORTIVE DAUGHTERS, AND HUSBAND TO ONE OF THE BEST WIVES OF ALL TIME. [MORE]