Who am I?

I’m in my early 70s, and most of my adult life I was a professor of US and Women’s history, with an unpublished novel in my desk drawer that was based in part on the research I did on my doctoral dissertation on working women in the far west at the end of the 19th century. When I retired from teaching, in 2009, I fulfilled my life-long dream of being a historical fiction author by self-publishing that manuscript, Maids of Misfortune, as the start of my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. Since then, I have independently published 12 novels, 4 novellas, and 9 short stories, and I have made well-over half a million dollars and sold over 300,000 copies of my ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks. In short, I have had a spectacularly unexpected yet satisfying retirement career as an indie author…a career I hope to continue for the rest of my life.

Why am I writing this?

I have found as I get older, the struggle to create and then maintain some sort of balance in my life has become more difficult. But in the spring of 2019, I was doing quite well. I had a marriage that had lasted nearly 50 years, my husband and I traveled to visit our daughter and grandsons 3-4 times a year, I frequently met friends for tea or lunch, and I kept active by going to water aerobics three times a week. And, in addition to all these activities. I was still able to carve out enough time to do research, write, and market my fiction, with my newest historical mystery novel having just come out to good reviews and sales.

Then Covid hit, throwing me (and most of the world) off balance.

My water aerobics class shut down, my special health needs meant I couldn’t risk any social interaction, and then my husband went north to help out my daughter and grandsons for five months, isolating me even further. And the science fiction novella I had started writing became too depressing in the midst of a real-life pandemic, and I stopped writing.

After a few dispiriting months, I decided to start writing a daily diary on my author facebook page, as a way of reaching out to others, creating some order to my days, motivating me to get out and walk, and getting me to back into writing, even if it was a few paragraphs nattering on about my day. This daily diary post did all I hoped it would do, and it developed a lovely sense of connection with a small band of committed readers.

In time, my husband returned, I substituted walking for water aerobics, and I found that I was able to maintain good social connections with family and friends by phone and zoom. I even started writing again, publishing two novels and a novella since January of 2022. Nevertheless, the pleasure I got in writing my daily report for that band of readers never waned. Which is why, when I discovered substack in the spring of last year, I decided to use this as my primary forum for my daily diary.

Who am I writing this for?

First of all, I am writing this for fans of my fiction. I will keep posting on facebook but my hope is that fans who are not active on Facebook (or would prefer to hear from me by email) will sign up for this newsletter. Substack will also make it easier to tell those fans about new publications or promotions of my books.

Second, this is for people who are struggling to balance their own emotional and physical needs on a day-to-day basis, especially as they age. I hope that in reading about my own struggles, strategies, and successes they will find some solace and wisdom.

Third, this is for writers who are interested in being indie authors and might benefit from seeing what my life is like as a writer. To that end, I will periodically include longer pieces about different aspects of being a self-published author. For example, what services (editing, cover design, formatting, etc) I do myself, contract out, or use commercial entities like Vellum for, why I decided to make my ebooks and audiobooks widely distributed, and what promotional strategies have worked for me.

Finally, I am writing this for myself. Knowing that there are people (even if they number in the tens not the thousands) who look forward to my daily posts, enjoy my photographs, and feel a sense of connection with me and each other, motivates me to maintain my balanced life. If I don’t walk, I don’t have a new photo or experience to share, if I don’t get my daily quota of words written, there are people out there who know, if I read or listen to a book or watch a tv show I like, I get to share my enjoyment. In addition, if I have a physical or an emotional set-back, there are others who share my pain and give me encouragement.

For more information about me and my books, check out my personal website at https://mlouisalocke.com and if you would like to get a copy of my monthly newsletter announcing new publications, discounts, and giveaways, you can also subscribe to Mary Louisa Locke’s Monthly Newsletter.

So subscribe for free to get full access to the An Aging Author’s Daily Diversions. Never miss an update.

To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.

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The daily events in the life of an older independent author of historical mysteries and near future science fiction.


Mary Louisa Locke, retired historian, writes the USA Today best-selling Victorian San Francisco Mystery series and the Caelestis science fiction series. More about her work can be found at http://mlouisalocke.com/