Shirley Goldberg and Her New Release Middle Ageish

Shirley Goldberg
Middle Ageish
Starting Over, Book 1
Book Release Date: August 26, 2020
Book Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Book Cover Artist: RJ
Book Genre: Romantic Women’s Fiction/Rom Com

Thanks for joining me on my blog today, Shirley! I absolutely love your cover for Middle Agish, and the concept sounds so interesting. This is your first book, correct? What are five things readers need to know about Sunny Chanel, your character?

1. Sunny’s husband announces he wants a divorce on their anniversary. Since she’s never hung around where she isn’t wanted, Sunny leaves her husband behind in Paris and starts over in New Haven, Connecticut. She goes back to school at age fifty to get her master’s in teaching.

2. She’s shoved into online dating by her best friend’s boyfriend, who thinks he’s helping her. She and her good friend have a dating contest to see who’ll be the first to date 25 men. There’s even a prize.

3. Her first online date throws a mushroom at the waiter and Sunny runs out of the restaurant.

4. Sunny lives in New Haven. I grew up there, lived and worked in New Haven as a teacher for many years.

5. Sunny is a fictional character, but bits and pieces of me are intertwined in her story. It’s a first novel, after all. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what’s real and what’s not anymore.

If that’s how one of her dates go, I’m sure I’d be horrified to learn about some of the others! Share a favorite scene from your book and tell us why it’s your favorite. 

One of my favorite scenes is when two of the characters have a picnic dinner in a motel room. Sunny is living out her fantasy from an old Audrey Hepburn movie where Audrey and Albert Finney, looking oh, so young and fine, are too poor to go to restaurants. They eat in their hotel room and Sunny, craving that closeness, recreates the moment from the movie.

What are five things Sunny can’t live without? 

Sunny can’t live without her sense of humor, her best friends, her students, her books and her independence. Family is a given.

You write a lot about online dating, so you must be an online dating expert. What advice would you give readers about online dating?

It doesn’t matter if you’re twenty-five or fifty, like Sunny. Here are six things you should know about online dating:

1. Online dating isn’t dating because nothing counts until you meet. No, emails don’t count as dates. Meet as soon as possible. These days, do one or two Zoom dates. It’s the closest thing to a first meet.

2. You need a great picture and a profile that doesn’t read like spinach. That is, bland and boring. Tell a story, even if it’s short. Get your friends to help you. Seriously.

3. Talk on the phone before you meet. It’s the best way to weed out the clunkers. No offense. Your clunker may be another person’s honeybun.

4. Most first meets are mediocre. Dating is a numbers game. Email or swipe on a lot of folks. They come and they go. Don’t take it personally.

5. Many people leave their manners at home when meeting someone for the first time. Don’t be one of those people.

6. Never give up. Your person could be around the corner.

7. For more dating tips, including distance dating ideas, check out my website.  

These are some great online dating tips! Any advice for aspiring writers?

I’d give a would-be writer the same advice I give to my friends about online dating. Never give up. Your agent––or publisher––could be right around the corner.

Don’t write in a vacuum. Join a writers group or find a critique partner. It’s so much more fun to have a group plotting party, even if it’s a Zoom event.

Excerpt from Middle Ageish

I slouched at my computer and peered at the screen. The dating site was becoming my best friend.

The first email in the lineup was from Luke. Soulmate Guy, I called him, because he was the first who’d talked about the soulmate thing—even though there were 7,000 other guys online clamoring for a soulmate.

Cute, too, with Jeff Bridges hair. Jeff still had hair, didn’t he?

A popcorn sound startled me––newbie dater that I was––and a cartoon bubble appeared on the screen with Luke’s image. Would you like to chat with Luke?

Well, that was a dumb question. I hit the yes button. Yes, yes I would. Chat was the site’s version of texting and this was my first time. 

—Luke: Hey, got a few minutes? This messaging is friendlier than old school emails. How goes it? Back from vacation. Went to the island. So different there in the winter. Beautiful in a different way. Just came home from doing a little bar dancing. I stayed about an hour. Every once in a while, I do that on a tense night. This was my tense night.

—Sunny: Tense, shmense. What’s wrong?

—Luke: One of those old girlfriend things. We have a lot in common—biking, riding, skiing, and some total madness thrown in, but she doesn’t give me space. It’s complicated. 

— Sunny: What’s with the old girlfriend thing? If you’ll be so kind as to be my dating mentor, I have a question. Dating mentor, is it wise to redate old girl/boy friends? 

—Luke: Absolutely not, are you nuts? My prob is I don’t like being alone. I like sharing things with someone. 

—Sunny: So what is it you look for in a woman? Really, I’m not fooling around here.

—Luke: I know you’re not. I’m taking your question seriously. Well, I’m past craving the 30 year olds with zero body fat and total flawless skin. That is a truly good thing since I’m 54 and they wouldn’t want me anyhow. But our bodies are important, the only one we have, so I can’t pretend I don’t care about the shape a woman is in. I like smiles, legs, arms, necks. You get the picture. Oh, can’t forget that erotic zone called the mind. That’s most of it.

—Sunny: Wow!

—Luke: I can’t stand it anymore. I’m signing off here so I can call you. Give me your phone number. Please. Now—

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 offers a humorous look into dating in mid life, and her friends like to guess which stories are true.  Middle Ageish is her first book in the series Starting Over. Her character believes you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.

Visit my website for another excerpt from the book. Sign up and grab a copy of Happy Hour, a short story about an online meet and a tiny misunderstanding. 



Amazon: Middle Ageish


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3 thoughts on “Shirley Goldberg and Her New Release Middle Ageish

  1. Shirley, I love this advice: “Don’t write in a vacuum. Join a writers group or find a critique partner. It’s so much more fun to have a group plotting party, even if it’s a Zoom event.” So true!

    Wishing you continued success with Middle Ageish! On my list of tbr!


    1. Yeah, Mary. I don’t know what I’d do without my little group, Inky Links. We’re on Zoom these days. Once a week, which is quite a lot. But there’s no travel time and we bring our own wine to the meeting. Thanks for the heads up.


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