Monthly Archives: April 2018

Writers need to rethink age adjectives.

When my grandmother was in her eighties, someone asked her the age of one of her friends. Her answer, “He’s not very old. About my age.

She wasn’t being flip or funny, it was a sincere reply. When retelling her answer, we all laughed. But now, over fifty years later, I realize the joke’s on us.

The other day I read an online article about a 71-year old Georgia woman named Judy Tucker, who had gotten herself arrested after some pretty reprehensible behavior on her part. One thing that caught my attention was that a number of news sources had referred to her as an elderly woman.

The description elderly doesn’t just conjure up visions of age, it also made me wonder if this woman was suffering some sort of dementia due to her advanced age, which might explain her outrageous and bigoted behavior. But then I looked at her picture and thought—she doesn’t look that old.

From my perspective 71 doesn’t seem all that old anymore. I can think of many 70-something friends who I don’t consider elderly.

I looked up the definition of elderly online and according to Merriam-Websterit means: rather old;  especially  : being past middle age

I then looked up the definition of middle age. According to Merriam-Websterit is: the period of life from about 45 to about 64.

In one way I am relieved. According to Merriam-Webster I am still in my middle age—until this coming November.  Does that mean I will then be elderly? Just how past middle age is elderly? One day? One year?

Writers need to think twice before using a word like elderly to describe a person just because that person’s birth falls after middle age. While Judy Tucker didn’t seem like a very nice woman, I don’t understand why they called her elderly. Just state her age and remove the additional adjectives that don’t accurately depict the subject.

Another thing—writers often refer to a person as a Grandmother, as if that image conjurers up sweet little silver haired ladies baking cookies.  It’s often used when that woman has done something that contradicts the grandma stereotype—like when she has robbed a bank or single handedly taken down a mugger. I feel the writer tosses in that adjective for shock effect.

In my opinion, in most of those instances stating the woman is a grandmother makes as much sense as pointing out she’s a Pisces or dyes her hair. Fact is, any woman can become a grandmother—and it doesn’t say anything about her character or age. My aunt was a grandmother at age 35—that’s not even in the middle-age range.

(Photo: Our friend Dave Walsh taking my mother for a motorcycle ride. She was 85-years old when the picture was taken.)


Why Anna J. McIntyre?

When I published the first book under Anna J. McIntyre, Lessons (now Coulson’s Lessons),  people asked me why I was using a pen name.

I don’t think I was ever truly honest with them—or myself—as to why I decided to write under a nom de plume. But now, almost seven years later, I think I have a better understanding as to why I actually made that decision.  I was afraid.

It’s a little scary putting yourself out there.  Back then I didn’t have the benefit of beta readers telling me they enjoyed or hated the book. To be honest, only a couple people had ever read Lessons before I hit the publish button, and they were close family members who probably weren’t the most objective readers.

Of course, back then I told people I wanted to keep books written by Anna J. McIntyre separate from the non-fiction I had written under my own name—which were only a couple books with limited appeal.

I don’t have any regrets about writing my Anna J. McIntyre books under a pseudonym.  However, I do regret choosing THAT pen name.

How did I come up with Anna J. McIntyre? It was simple really, Anna for my middle name, Ann—J for my maiden name Johnson—and McIntyre, a surname from my family tree.

Before finalizing the pseudonym, I checked Amazon, to make sure there were no other authors with that name. There weren’t. Unfortunately, I failed to Google “Anna J. McIntyre.” Had I done that, I would have discovered an artist by that name.  It was a novice mistake on my part, and one I didn’t discover until long after I started writing under the pseudonym.

I have always felt guilty for hijacking Anna J. McIntyre’s name. While my J stands for Johnson, hers stands for Jane.

A cautionary tale for other authors—thoroughly vet your pseudonym.

For those who would like to meet the original Anna J. McIntyre, here is her website.







Two blogs too many…


Out in cyberspace I once had half-a-dozen or more blogs on various subjects. Sometime ago I abandoned or deactivated those and redirected my energy to two author blogs. One was for my Anna J. McIntyre pen name—the second for my legal name.

In the beginning, I thought to keep the two separate. After all, books by Anna J. McIntyre are R-rated, while books under my own name are either non-fiction or G-Rated.  My original intent was to avoid confusing my readers. Well…kinda…sorta. It’s actually a little more complicated. But I will get back to that in a minute.

What I have discovered, I don’t do a terrific job keeping two blogs going. Fact is, I can’t even keep one blog going at my current rate. One reason might be my writing and publishing schedule. I’ve been publishing a new Haunting Danielle book about every 90 days.

But the thing is, I have no desire to abandon blogging. There are things I want to write about. So, I have made a decision. From here on out, I intend to post exclusively on the blog under my own name: Even if it’s about one of my books written under Anna J. McIntyre.

I will then post a snippet of that blog post on my Anna J. McIntyre page, with a link back to That way, readers who stumble across the Anna J. McIntyre page looking for me, will get a small sample of my current posts, with a link to the entire entry.

I intend to publish this post, in its entirely, on both websites. But, this will be the last one I publish in its entirety on my Anna J. McIntyre blog.

As to what I wrote in the second paragraph of this post, about getting back to you on my original intent in using a penname, I will discuss that in tomorrow’s blog post. Hope you stop back by to read it!

(The title of this blog post should have been: One blog too many!)