Marie Force Blog
21

On 50 Books and 50 Years: Things I Know for Sure

DesireAfterDark500This week marks a major milestone in my publishing career. Desire After Dark is my 50th book, and it releases 17 days before my 50th birthday. To those who would ask, I didn’t plan that. Like many things in this life, it just sort of worked out that way. I wish I could say I’d written a book a year, but in fact most of them have been written in the last five frantic years that have gone by like a flash.

I thought this 50-50 combination platter was a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned writing 50 books and living for a half century. (God, it sounds DREADFUL when I put it that way!) So in no particular order, here’s what I know for sure halfway through my life. Note to my kids: I intend to stick around for the entire second 50, so batten down the hatches.

  1. I’m acutely and painfully aware that too many of my high school classmates didn’t live to be 50, so I’m thankful for every day I’ve spent on the right side of the ground. I’m not planning on indulging in a middle-age funk or crisis or anything like that because being 50 certainly beats the alternative.
  2. I’ve accepted that my arms are never going to look like Michelle Obama’s guns. I’m learning to live with that and letting them out to see the world more often than I used to, taking comfort in the fact that they are still smaller than my thighs. I’ve also learned that eating salt and vinegar potato chips makes me happy, so I will continue to eat them in my second 50 years. This is nonnegotiable as is my relentless war against all forms of chin hair.
  3. My mom had a magnet on her fridge declaring that FIFTY IS PRIME TIME. I believe that. This time next year, my youngest will graduate from high school and next fall he will head off to college, leaving his parents with now two empty bedrooms and hearts full of memories. In my fifties, I’ll be able to do just about anything I want any time I want. If that’s not PRIME TIME, I don’t know what is.
    Emily, Marie, Dan and Jake

    Emily, Marie, Dan and Jake

  4. That said, being a mother has been the greatest thrill ride of my life. There is, simply, nothing better in my world than my two wonderful kids, who are both better people than I could ever hope to be. No matter what they do or don’t do or achieve, all I care about is that they are healthy and happy and productive. The rest is up to them, and I can’t wait to see what they get done while I sit in my tub and eat bon bons, knowing I was never a perfect mother, but I always tried to be a fun mom and I did my very best for them always. And if being a great-aunt is this much fun, I can’t wait to be a grandmother. Take your time, though, kids. Take. Your. Time.
  5. Family is everything. Parents, siblings, cousins, close family, extended family—if you got lucky in the family department like I did, then you know what I mean. They know you better than anyone and don’t let you get away with anything, which is actually a good thing—until they tell people you look like Nick Nolte’s mug shot in the morning with photographic evidence to prove their point. I’m grateful for the brother who has traveled all but one year of this journey with me as well as our posse of cousins who made us feel like we had a huge family when it was only the two of us.
  6. I honestly believe the outcome of your entire life can be determined by who you are born to. I was born to two of the best, and they are as much responsible for the life I have today as I am.
  7. Friends who stick with you through bad times—and good—are worth holding on to. Everyone is there for the bad times. The ones who show up during the especially good times, who share in your joy selflessly and without reservation, are the people you want on your journey with you. I have been enormously blessed in the friend department.
    Marie's Dad, Marie and her husband Dan

    Marie’s Dad, Marie and her husband Dan

  8. I also got lucky in the husband department. We don’t always see eye to eye (what fun would that be?), but I always know I can count on him and so do our kids. He gives me Valentine’s Day cards that say things like “I’m still not sick of you,” which is the perfect sort of card for the nonromantic romance author. And his family is rather awesome, too.
  9. I’m grateful every day for the series of fortunate events that led to my career as an author. If you had told me at 40 that THIS would be 50, I probably would’ve laughed myself senseless at your delusions of grandeur on my behalf. However… Here I am with 50 titles to my name, 5 million books sold, 22 times on the New York Times list, my closest friends and family members working with me, a new house that Mac McCarthy bought for my family and a life that five years after it happened still feels like a dream in progress. For that I thank the readers who’ve taken my books to heart and me along with them. You have made all of this happen, and I never lose sight of that fact. I’ve also learned that never allowing myself to be entirely satisfied with where I am at the moment can lead to new challenges that broaden and expand my sense of the possible.
  10. I have learned that I can do just about everything right, be the best possible friend/family member/colleague/author (fill in your own blank) I know how to be, and it won’t be enough for some people. What I know at 50 is that I’ll never make everyone happy. I’ve learned to be okay with that and to know FOR SURE that if I can make myself and those who matter most to me a little happy every day, then I’m doing something right. And that is more than enough for me.

Here’s to the next 50 books and the next 50 years. As Sam Holland would say, bring it on.

Desire After Dark is out TODAY! Get it here:

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  • Mona Risk

    WOW, Mary, you are a fabulous example to follow. Congratulations on all your achievement, on your hard work and perseverance, and on appreciating what you are and what you have reached. Keep going. The next 50 years will even be better. I know. I already passed the 50 years line and have 24 books to my credit. Like you I enjoyed the thrill. Thank you for the great example and encouragement to continue.

  • Judy Keim

    Love this…You are a hero of mine…smart, savvy and so so generous and helpful to others. I’m celebrating you!!

  • Laura Haines

    Congratulations, Marie! Inspiring words and so much truth! You are blessed, and in turn have blessed us!

  • Sarah Partain

    Now if Mac could have built you a house, that would really be something. But with the building boom on Gansett Island, you’d have to wait your turn. Unless Ned has something special in mind for you.

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments and hard work. You keep writing; we’ll keep reading.

  • Marcy Meyer

    Love the serendipity of you releasing your 50th book right before your 50th birthday. I love it when things like this happen. I have loved every single one of your books that I’ve read. I think I have read almost all of them by now. Can’t wait to get started on Desire After Dark this afternoon.

  • Kathleen Bylsma

    Thanks so much for all the wonderful books!
    I love your reflections on your first 50 years, agreed with your sentiments, and look forward to reading more!

  • Barbara Santilli Caiazza

    Loved the first 50 books and can’t wait for the next fifty! Thank you Marie. 🙂

  • Jane O’Brien

    You go girl! I’m ready for your big party/reader weekend. My 60th birthday present to myself.

  • Elizabeth Bailey

    Wonderful achievement and a lovely set of reflections. I’m 20 years ahead of you but totally get the sentiment. 50 shocked me rigid, but my fifties were probably the most productive and satisfying years of my life. I’m sure you will find the same and enjoy the hell out of them! Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

  • Rachel Meland Hartmann

    Congrats on 50 books! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all.

  • Patricia Marshall

    Have enjoyed each and everyone of your books and now, through your newsletters, I feel part of “The House That Jack Built” family. Congratulations on a wonderful achievement and a very Happy Birthday.

  • Melody

    Love this! Congratulations on a successful life – career and family! Here’s to another 50 years and 50+ books. All the best always.

  • This is the year I hit that number too, Marie. Really enjoyed your interview on Self-Publishing Formula podcast and have been exploring more of your “world” ever since. You’re an inspiration to all of us indie authors!

  • Gina Leveroni

    Well said Marie!! I think we have similar philosophies on life! I took 50 head on last year and continue to think positively and be the best person I can to my son and the people I love since that is what matters the most!!! Congrats on 50/50!!!

  • Misty Roy

    Love this post!!

  • Laurie Laska

    Congratulations and much continued success, Marie. It is well deserved. Your devoted fans love you and wish you all the best as you turn 50 (welcome to the club.) We will be anxiously awaiting the next 50 books. I just hope it doesn’t take you 50 years to write write them!

  • Annette

    Congratulations on your 50th book! What a great book, too! I agree that turning 50 is a good time to reflect on what’s most important. I enjoyed your reflections and wholeheartedly agree! I can’t wait for your future books! Thanks for sharing your journey with your fans.

  • Tina Hawkrigg

    Great post, Marie. I’m a couple of years ahead of you (its also my birthday next month) but after life-saving surgery six months ago, I couldn’t care less about the number, I’m just glad to still be around!
    Congrats on the 50th novel, it’s an amazing achievement. I wish you a very happy birthday – enjoy your 50s, I fully intend to! x

  • Carole Bryan

    dang, I wish I remembered 50…love and hugs to your successes!

  • Janet Wellman Tarnosky Merritt

    Well said, Marie! The other day I saw a post that said, “You can’t make everyone happy, you’re not a cupcake!” I thought it was a great sentiment! lol

  • Betty Caruso

    I have read so many of your books and have enjoyed every one. Keep writing and I will keep buying and reading them. You are so talented. Happy 50th Birthday and many many more healthy years.

MARIE FORCE


Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of 60 contemporary romances, including the Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series, written under the name of M.S. Force. All together, her books have sold 6 million copies worldwide!


Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.


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