Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This Week's Special Guest - Author Barbara Clark

This week's special guest at the Tiki Hut is author Barbara Clark. Barbara stops by this week to talk about her paranormal romance series and to celebrate her 80th birthday with us!

"All dreams lie beyond defeat." That quote has inspired Barbara Clark to keep writing and creating new stories set in a variety of locations from California to a glittering penthouse in New York City, a working cattle rance in Arizona, the Sahara Desert, and the heat and danger of a Brazilian Rain Forest.

Writing as April Reid, her erotic romances plunge into fantasy worlds where dragons speak and magic rules. Her readers have come to expect deep emotions, simple joys, and heart-stopping peril in her award-winning books.


You know how—when you’re a child—special days seem to creep up too slowly? Then once you’re an adult, time slips by faster than a three-year-old playing, “You can’t catch me.”

Today I’m in a, “Where did the time go?” mode. Yep, I’m 80 years old today, on Halloween 2012.

I have to confess, until August of this year I had really begun to feel the growing years. I was already in my late 70s. I’d had a heart attack followed by a quadruple heart bypass in 2005. My knees have very little cartilage left in them with a few bone-on-bone places. And just to make life interesting, I’d suffered a mild stroke in late 2010, which affected my typing and my balance enough so I needed a cane when I was away from the house.
It had taken months to retrain my fingers and brain so they worked together well enough to start writing again. I finally sent the manuscript for a long novella to my publisher and it came out in early 2011. 

While I’ve gone to cardiac rehab for years; walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes, lift weights, etc., my balance was still wonky and I had noticed my concentration was not as sharp as it once had been. 

I remembered when I had driven my grandchildren to karate lessons years earlier. I’d waited there and watched them until my daughter came to get them after work. I began to wonder if I dared enroll in karate, but figured it would never happen. 

The last few years, I’d heard good things about American Martial Arts Academy from a friend. She mentioned they took on older students and would moderate lessons to a person’s needs. 

 I walked into the AMAA on August 6, 2012 for my first lesson private, half-hour lesson. My goals were to improve my balance, sharpen my concentration, and earn a yellow belt by my next birthday.  

I have to admit, I was frustrated when I couldn’t immediately do the strikes and blocks correctly. And kicks? No way, considering I’d walked into the academy needing my cane. My teacher patiently helped me build those skills. Instead of kicks, I did stomps. Even then, he had me hold onto a chair to keep my balance. 

Gradually, my muscles and brain began to learn those new moves, and, oh, the sense of accomplishment when they begin to click. By the second session, I found it easier to work barefooted. By the third lesson, I felt confident enough to park my cane in a corner. 

I told friends I was a Granny with a cane and a karate fist.  

Now I’ve had to modify that description. Since the middle of September I haven’t used my cane at all. My concentration is improving, and I received my yellow belt three weeks before my 80th birthday. 

These days I’m working on the combined movements for the next step—an orange belt. That’s where the nose snapper I mentioned comes in. The strike is really called an ura-uchi (back-hand strike) but it’s a good way to remember it. 

Here’s part of the sequence of moves facing an opponent: Right hand does a straight-fisted strike above the head at an upward 45 degree angle elbow comes in right hand does a back-hand strike over the knee. Note: That’s where your knuckles connect with the opponent’s nose. 

Yes, I’m enjoying the karate lessons. I even signed up for a program they offer called, “The path to black belt.” I told a friend I’d probably be 85 by the time I reach level 1 of black belt. She said, “You’ll be 85 anyway.”  

Tomorrow I’ll tell about A Touch of Fire, Book III in the series.

WIN - Leave a question or comment anytime this week to get your name in the hat for a box full of of items from assorted authors--things Barbara picked up for this purpose at the RWA National conference this summer. Each box includes a tote bag, water bottle, and books. Barbara will also include an autographed copy of one of her books!


  1. Happy Birthday Barbara!!!

    I can't tell you how excited I am for you and how proud I am of you! I hope I have just a little bit of the umph and courage you have at 80! Talk about taking the bull by the horns - you go girl!

    Congrats on the yellow belt and I hope we're back here next year talking about your black belt! Enjoy your day!

  2. Happy Birthday!!

    I am impressed by the karate. I wonder what will be your next grand adventure?


    1. Hi Mary,

      I'm continuing my goal to reach new levels/ new color rankings in karate. My next grand adventure? I'm thinking about that. In the meantime I have a story to finish, writing as April Reid, and another Sons of Earth and Wind story in the plotting stage titled, Curse the Darkness.

  3. Hi Mary,

    I've signed up for the Path to Black belt program offered at the academy. It will take me approximately 5 years to reach level 1 of black belt. As one friend said, "You'll be 85 anyway.

  4. Oh wow, that's awesome! I hope I am as agile when I am 80 years old.

  5. Hi Mary,

    Thanks again.

  6. Congrats on taking karate lessons! I started taekwondo when I was 34 and went on to earn my 1st degree blact belt 2 years later. I would have liked to continue, but I kept spraining my ankles and it got to the point that my ankles hurt consistantly. It was decided by my instructors and myself that I needed to give it up for awhile! You never know, I may go back and earn my 2nd degree! Especially after reading your story!


    1. Hi Jodi,

      Wow, a first degree black belt two years after beginning taekwondo! I have signed up for the path to blackbelt program at the academy. I figure it will take me 5 years to reach first degree black belt. My teacher says he thinks it will take less.
      Too bad you've suffered so much trouble with sprained ankles. They seem to take forever to heal.
      I sprained a muscle in my arm a month ago. It's still annoying, but we've learned to work around it then I go home and take some Tylenol for arthritis. It's not as weight bearing as an ankle would be.