Feb 23, 2012

Middle Age, She is a Cruel Mistress - Guest Post by Toby Neal

I met Toby Neal a short while back, through a mutual membership within an awesome Triberr tribe. Since then, I’ve been impressed with many of the insightful posts on her writing blog. Read a few entries and you'll see the strong passion behind them, and not just passion for her books either. She's someone who obviously cares deeply for her family and community.

I also just recently learned that Toby is a therapist by day and that many of her clients are special needs children. If you read one of the previous posts here, you know this is something I have a personal interest in. Let me just say I have had to exercise great restraint to keep from flooding her inbox with question after question.

That all being said, I am forced to conclude that my ongoing acquaintance with Toby will be of the love/hate variety. Why? Well all of the above falls into the positive category. There’s just one downside...Toby lives in Hawaii. As a native New-Jerseyian, that tells me that no matter what is outside of her window, it probably beats the hell out of the view from mine. That, and she’s probably swimming or relaxing in the sun with some tropical drink (served in a coconut, no doubt...grrr!) right now while I’m freezing my ass off on the east coast. Tell me that isn’t worth a baleful glare or three. Ah jealousy, where would I be without you? :)

But enough about my Hawaii envy. Toby was good enough to join me this week with a guest post that hits close to home for me...albeit much closer to my bald head than my heart... getting old. Take it away, Toby, before I ramble on anymore...

Middle age, she is a cruel mistress.

I came up with that phrase myself, liked the ring of it, and tried it out on Twitter. Then I thought, why is middle age female?

Hell, male middle age is a mean bastard too.

Somehow I didn’t think it would happen to me, and I know The Hubby didn’t think it would happen to him—and the shocker is, if the TV ads and changing media themes are anything to go by, we’re part of a huge population bulge that is equally horrified and angry about the onset of these indignities.

Let me list some:
  • Having recently had a close encounter (very close, mind you) with a Mammogram machine, I’m in a position to tell you it was designed by a man. No woman would leave corners on something like a giant, freezing waffle iron that squishes your tit and then say, “Don’t breathe for at least a minute while we get this image” while handling your boob like it’s a piece of Silly Putty.
  • The phrase “just relax” as applied to a rectal exam is not really helpful.
  • The hot flashes of menopause in women often coincide with the onset of Viagra in men (but only if you’ve managed to stay married that long.)
  • Arthritis hurts and get this—there’s no cure. I know, shocking right? Once they tell you you have arthritis, just get used to being in pain and creaking around until it’s so bad you have to have a giant joint replacement operation that may or may not work. The alternative? Not having the operation and getting more and more crippled and in pain. But hey, you won’t die from it. That’s the good news.
  • Skin is highly underappreciated until it all begins heading south and erupting in cancer as a result of all that frolicking you did in the ocean when you were young and thought you’d live forever.
  • Wrinkles as the result of smiling most of your life, end up making you look grumpy. I find this particularly ironic.
  • Hair—where do I begin? For women, the debate of dyeing vs. not dyeing. For men, the manscaping of areas that should NEVER have hair growing out of them while Rogaine-ing areas that SHOULD have hair.
  • Tight waistbands- apparently as you age, you have to eat less and work out more to stay the same. How fair is that, I ask you?
All these things combine to make me even more committed to escaping into writing crime/suspense romances where the protagonists are young and fit, the sex is hot, and the fights don’t pull any punches for potbellies.

I couldn’t agree more, Toby! Well ok, maybe not with that first point about boobs, but the rest definitely. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go drag my old, bald, fat self over to the universal machine and hope I don’t have a heart attack in the process. When finished, I shall most likely collapse into bed where I shall continue reading Toby’s book, Blood Orchids. I’ll be reviewing it shortly. Stay tuned!

Toby Neal was raised on Kauai in Hawaii. She wrote and illustrated her first
story at age 5 and has been published in magazines and won several writing contests. After initially majoring in Journalism, she eventually settled on mental health as a career and loves her work, saying, “I’m endlessly fascinated with people’s stories.” She enjoys many outdoor sports including bodyboarding, scuba diving, beach walking, gardening and hiking. She lives in Hawaii with her family and dogs. Toby credits her counseling background in adding depth to her characters–from the villains to Lei Texeira, the courageous and vulnerable heroine in the Lei Crime Series.

You can find her fast-paced crime mystery, Blood Orchids At:



Just one of the many awesome reviews for Blood Orchids:
"Sometimes in crime fiction you stumble across a character who lives on beyond the book's end by virtue of their psychological complexity, and the richness with which the author has drawn them. Will Graham, Jack Reacher, Alex Cross, and now they have a worthy female counterpart in Lei Teixera. Blood Orchids is that rarity among debut novels, in that it satisfies on every level. A powerful new talent is on the scene, whole-heartedly recommended."-Drew Cross, former police officer and author of BiteMarks

Additionally you can visit Toby on the web at:


CarrieVS said...

Hey, anyone who didn't find out about arthritis until middle age can consider themselves lucky. Although I have somewhat more sympathy for you than all the people who had perfectly functioning knees until they took an arrow to one of them. At least they presumably still have one that works.

Although, fish oil works like black magic for arthritic joints, at least for me.

Rick G said...

My knees have never been great but ouch! I'm sorry to hear it.

J.L. Campbell said...

Read this and had to stop smiling for fear those permanent lines will etch themselves deeper.

Thanks Toby and Rick. I enjoyed reading this.