How’s Retirement Working Out for You? and a #giveaway

by Barb, still at the beach in New Jersey

Today I am so pleased to welcome to the blog Friend of the Wickeds, Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett. Kathy, along with Kate Flora and the late Lea Wait, were very supportive of me when I first moved to Maine and became a published author. We’re the same generation age-wise, but they were all publishing veterans by the time I came along and I felt like I was being let into the big kids club.

Kathy Lynn claims she is a retired author, yet she is here supporting a “new” book, The Death of an Intelligence Gatherer. And she’s giving away an autographed copy (see below). Is she retired? You be the judge.

Take it away, Kathy Lynn!

How’s Retirement Working Out for You?

Say the word “retired” and most people envision long, lazy days with no commitments. Being busier than ever? Maybe, but that would usually involve doing something other than what the retiree did before retiring.  

I am a retired writer. I haven’t had a single idea for a new book since before Covid. I no longer go to conferences. I turn down invitations to present library programs, share a table at craft fairs, and participate on panels about writing mysteries. Since the two cozy series I wrote as Kaitlyn Dunnett were dropped by my publisher, I don’t bother with much in the way of social media.  

Once upon a time I used to insist that writers don’t get to retire. I also recall expressing a wish to die at my keyboard. Funny how someone’s outlook can change.  

Even odder is what stays the same. During Covid I self-published a few books I’d written but hadn’t been able to sell. Then I branched out into producing omnibus e-book editions of backlist titles. Those projects involved only minor editing and repeated proofreading. I had more of the same in mind when something strange happened.         

Back in the 1990s, several of my novels were published in the genre of historical romantic suspense. I planned to collect the three set in sixteenth-century England into one e-book collection and first up for proofreading was Winter Tapestry, a novel described in its cover copy as “a romantic adventure in Tudor England.” I started going through the doc file, tweaking here and there, mostly looking to to cut down on my excessive use of ’tis and ’twas, something I thought was “authentic” back in the day and now just find annoying.  

Before long, I found myself doing more than tweaking. I might not have had any fresh ideas for new books for the last few years, but suddenly I had a whole lot of ideas for ways to make this particular book better. For one thing, the very first version of Winter Tapestry, then titled The Die is Cast, was written as a murder mystery. As it evolved, I strengthened the romance subplot and added a second subplot to do with conspiracies and rebellion during the reign of Mary Tudor (1554-1558). I wrote using multiple point-of-view characters. The result wasn’t a bad book. After all, it was published. But retired or not, the writer in me surfaced as I reread it.   I ended up rewriting the whole darned thing. The basic plot and subplots are the same, but now the story is told from a single point-of-view, that of the victim’s daughter as she tries to discover who killed him. There are new scenes. Some of the old ones are gone. And so, thank goodness, are all those uses of ’tis and ’twas. Very few paragraphs remain completely unchanged. Even some of the characters’ names are different.  

In spite of myself, I seem to have a “new” book. Death of an Intelligence Gatherer releases tomorrow in trade paperback and e-book formats.   But I’m still retired. Honest.  

Readers: What do we think? Is Kathy Lynn retired? Can authors retire? Can anyone? Are you retired? Do you plan to? Comment below or just say “hi” to be eligible for a giveaway of an autographed copy of Death of an Intelligence Gatherer. Apologies, but U. S. mailing addresses only.

About The Death of an Intelligence Gatherer

In 1554, scores of English Protestants fled into exile on the Continent after Mary Tudor took the throne and returned England to Catholicism. Sir Henry Ingram and his daughter Cordell were among them, but Sir Henry is not all he seems. When he dies in Strasbourg, Cordell’s life is turned upside down. Certain he was poisoned, and that his murder had something to do with the intelligence he was gathering about a plot to overthrow the queen, she is determined not only to complete his mission but also to bring his killer to justice. There is only one problem–as a young woman on her own she does not dare trust anyone, not even old friends. Her journey home is fraught with peril, and once she is back in England, nothing is as she expected it to be.

About Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett

Agatha-award-winning author Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett has had sixty-four books traditionally published and has self published others. In 2023 she won the Lea Wait Award for “excellence and achievement” as a Maine writer from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. More information about Kathy’s books can be found at

55 Thoughts

  1. Kathy, congrats on your upcoming release. Retirement has so many different meaning. I do hear that people are more busier than they were working once they retired.

  2. Congrats on your newest book! I’ve been on disability since I was 54 and now I’m at retirement age, my husband was offered early retirement at 60 with full benefits and he jumped at it. I wish I was able to travel more often now that we both have the time but I’m physically not able. I’m bored and my husband loves not having to go to work. He has his projects and his boat so he keeps busy. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

    1. I certainly understand about limits on travel, but to be honest, I love staying at home. And I’m finally catching up on reading for fun.

    2. I can sympathize with physical limitations on travel, but I find I don’t miss it that much, especially the hassle of flying. And I love being at home with my husband, my cat, and all the books I finally have time to read for pleasure.

  3. I love your story of remaking the book, Kathy Lynn. Congratulations!

    I am definitely not retired but am thinking of cutting back a bit so I have more time for family.

  4. Now retired, hubby and I think of retirement as:
    Not punching someone else’s time clock.
    Still getting paid.
    Being able to pick and choose what’s going to happen in a single day.
    Being able to change plans at the drop of a hat if something better comes along.
    Although there’s still that “has” to be done, we get to choose which ones on the to do list get done first, how long we work, how often we take breaks and when we can say that’s enough for today.
    We’ve also learned what’s important and how to start not sweating the small stuff.
    It means taking a day off to goof off when the body or the spirit says it’s time to.
    It also means that retirement doesn’t mean things end, but rather a time for many things to begin.
    It’s given us time to enjoy and appreciate the good things in life.

    When retirement means things stop, you never work again, or you just hang up your hat and sit (although I do enjoy sitting on our porch some times), then you might as well buy a burial plot and crawl in. One may stop holding down a “regular” job, but one never really retires. I think it’s fabulous that you have taken something you loved and turned it into something YOU wanted it to be. Plus you are generous enough to share it with others!

    Thank you for the fabulous chance to win a copy of “Death of an Intelligence Gatherer”, which sounds like an amazing and polished story that I can’t wait to read and review (which I do in retirement because I enjoy doing it and it’s my way of support authors). Shared and hoping to be the fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  5. I retired early, six years ago, and love it! Still busy every day, but at my own pace. Hard to even imagine now having to obey a boss (besides my husband lol) and be a slave to a clock. For writers, I would think retirement would be difficult because you’re probably still in the same environment you were when you worked? So it’s kinda “in your face” all the time.

    Kathy Lynn Emerson is an author known to me, as that was my maiden name, and I remember having quite a surprise when I saw one of her books on a library shelf!

    1. Kathy–how disconcerting! And unless you live in Maine, there’s another Kathy Lynn Emerson here besides me. I used to be able to claim a little bit of uniqueness because Kathy is my real name (not a nickname for Katherine or Kathleen in any of their spellings), but these days just plain Kathy is a lot more common! Thanks for your comment.

      1. Haaa! Yes, I do live in Maine and Kathy is my whole first name as well (my father wanted a name that was quick and easy to remember)!

  6. Congrats on the new release! I don’t think you’re retired at all. You’ve simply morphed into a new phase of your career.

  7. Congrats on the new book. It certainly doesn’t sound as though you have retired.

  8. Congratulations Kathy! You must be retired, because I have a similar situation, but in a different business, and I consider myself “retired”. My 50-year airline career required that I travel and educate travel agents about our destinations, take them there and show them all the beauty of that destination, and promoted my airline routes, aircraft, service. features and benefits. Then I retired, and… Now I am a travel agent. What do I do? I educate my clients about all the beauty, features and benefits of traveling there, and share my travel experience. It is sort of the same, but now I am my own boss, and I work just as hard as before, but do not have the burden of corporate life on top of me. I am happier than ever, and will be even happier reading “Death of an Intelligence Gatherer”. Keep enjoying your “retirement” and amusing us readers who are retired, or otherwise 🙂 Luis at ole dot travel

  9. Welcome back! I’m so delighted you’re here and to read an update. I love that you changed this book so much! Congratulations on the new–newish book?!

  10. Congratulations on your book. I am a big fan of historical mysteries. Thank you for the chance to win. I have been retired since 2010 and am busier now than I was when I was working.

  11. I’ve been retired for twelve years, and at first I wrote at a frantic pace, but I’ve sensed it slowing down. Pandemic changed everything, and I too got used to staying home, found I like it, and I love the slower pace. Right now, well into my eighties, I don’t have a single new idea for fiction that I want to follow up on, but I’m playing with a cookbook. Retirement for me is all fun, and I know I’m blessed.

    1. We are both fortunate, Judy. There’s finally time for other things, too. I spend countless hours when I’m not reissuing old fiction or nonfiction titles by climbing my family tree and researching local history for the area where I grew up. Definitely fun for me.

  12. Retirement means travel which I look forward to greatly since I couldn’t when working, taking care of my beautiful grandchildren whom I enjoy devoting precious time to since it is meaningful and special and enjoying life. Your book is a real treasure.

  13. I’m definitely retired. I have nothing to do with any of the various work chapters in the life. My life is now dedicated to taking care of my ailing husband, and taking care of the house and yard. Particularly, the last because I love doing it. And I love “turtle” days when I do nothing but lie on the sofa and read the latest cozy. I love retirement.

  14. Congratulations on the new book, it sounds wonderful! Will it be coming out as an e-book as well?

    Since I retired I’ve had no interest in doing anything related to work. It’s wonderful to have time for reading, knitting, spending time with family & friends. I would say that you’re semi-retired at this point!

    1. Thanks, Judith. Yes, it’s both print on demand and digital and although Amazon doesn’t yet have the ebook listed, it should be there shortly, as well as at all the other usual ebook outlets. It will be easy for libraries to order, too.

  15. You don’t have deadlines or any of that pressure, so in that regard, you are retired. So I’ll defend your use of the word. (No need to enter me in the giveaway.)

  16. I am keeping occupied with daily walks which are important, reading, and grandchildren who are live in close proximity and I see regularly. This is what makes life worthwhile.

  17. When an author retires, it means that she will no longer be writing new books for me to read. I don’t like that, but I do understand that she should live her life the way she wishes to live it. It would be selfish of me to insist that she cannot retire, and I don’t want to be selfish!

    1. Thank you, Patti. On the other hand, at least in my case, I’ve probably already written a bunch of books (under various names) that you haven’t yet read. Think of the fun you can have finding copies through your local library!

  18. No, Kathy. Sorry, we can never truly retire. I’ve been on a year-long writer’s block sabbatical. Today I wrote 5 whole paragraphs! Yay me and yay you! Congratulations on the “new” book!

  19. ‘‘Tis with great joy that I’ve learnt of the re-working of a moth-balled tome! ‘’Twas a brilliant idea Lady Kathy! As you might remember, I was quite dismayed by the shortsighted decision to discontinue your Cozy series, and was understandably chuffed! ‘Twas not their best decision, in my humble opinion. Seriously Kathy, how could I resist a ‘‘tis and a ‘Twas among friends? Somewhere in my old writing space, overtaken by adult children, returning home during Covid, is my unfinished Cozy, which I’ve begun to wonder if it needs to be more of a grizzly, messy book. I too, was jettisoned into retirement, and out of teaching by the damn-demic , never to return. But alas, retirement arrived sans funds, (a sad tale ‘twas this for another day) and worry scuttled what could have been a new career. In reading this missive dear Lady Kathy, gives me hope, that I too, might begin again. ‘Tis exciting for you and hope the re-write ‘twas fun!

  20. Once a writer, always a writer! Sounds like your retirement will bring you more ideas that will develop into more great books. Happy retirement!

  21. Hello. I think that in some ways, Lynn retired as one door closed, but moved onto a new way of writing and looking at life. I am not sure that we ever retire until the day we die. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  22. I retired last year a bit earlier than I had planned so that I could help with a grandbaby that was on its way. She arrived just after Christmas, and I have her on days when her mom worked all night in Labor & Delivery. For me retirement means that I have control over how I spend my days – although with a baby around, there are limits to what I can decide to do. So I think Kathy Lynn is retired because she gets to decide on her projects and how/when she does them.

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