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Author Shirley Goldberg Blogs About Friendship

I’m thrilled to welcome author Shirley Goldberg to my blog today. I’ve been a fan of Shirley’s since last spring, when I popped into her website ( to take a quick look around...and didn’t pop back out for more than an hour! As websites go, this one is fabulous— abundant in well-written, entertaining articles and blogs; interviews with other authors; bright, clever images, and lots more. Check it out when you have a chance.

You know what else is fabulous? Shirley’s novel Middle Ageish, the first book in her Starting Over series. I was immediately intrigued by the premise (online dating with a delightful twist) and mesmerized by the gorgeous cover. When I finally got the chance to read the book, it didn’t disappoint. (Did I mention that Shirley is a superb writer?)

We’re going to do something a bit different today. Instead of providing an interview, Shirley is treating us to a blog about friendship. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Below Shirley’s blog you’ll find the back cover blurb for Middle Ageish, along with an enchanting excerpt and other information about this marvelous book. Enjoy!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I just got the strangest urge to go call my best friend.


Shirley Goldberg Talks About Friendship

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Kimberly, especially since I so enjoyed reading your Paranormal YA novel The Haunted Purse. I love reading in different genres.

Middle Ageish, my novel, is romantic women’s fiction. It is as much about friendship as it is about dating, and as much about starting over as it is about finding your inner strength.

With everything in our world in flux these days, I thought I’d say a few words about my friends during these tough times.

The funny thing? I think dating and friendship are more closely related than we ever dreamed they would be.

Let me explain.

Date Your Friends, Narrow Your Distancing

Nowadays, friends are essential to our health. I don’t have family nearby, so maintaining my friendships is especially important, especially those friendships with history. It takes effort, but staying in contact with as many of our friends as possible is a priority for most of us.

In fact, I’ve put a name to this and say I’m dating my friends. Not so weird since I write a lot about relationships and find myself skewing almost everything in life to dating.

A few years back, I wrote an article about the quest for a literary agent and compared that elusive search to dating.

Same with getting bids from tile guys for a project last year. I considered all candidates from the point of view of a woman dating online. Did the guy arrive late? How savvy were his social skills? Did he put on little plastic booties before coming into my house?

Friends with history are the best

When I needed a real estate agent, though, I turned to a friend, in spite of the old advice about keeping business separate from friendship. We went back 20 years, and there’s nothing like history for cutting through the stickiness that crops up with tricky stuff like selling your house.

She told me, for example, my room color choices (pale pink, please don’t laugh) were turning buyers off. I listened, we repainted, and the place sold.

A week ago, I had a two-hour phone conversation with two friends I originally met in Crete, Greece over 20 years ago. One now lives in Nova Scotia, and the other lives in Crete.

There’s nothing like going back, way back, remembering the old stories, the kind where you had to be there. Having a belly laugh over the time I spit out my wine at dinner in an outdoor restaurant because my friend made me laugh? No one but your oldest friend can share that with you.

I recently connected with a friend I’ve known over 40 years, and for the first time in a long while, we exchanged life stories, catching up on the personal stuff, remembering our childhood adventures, talking about my mom, who she remembers fondly.

Multiple back-to-back dates are great

These moments warm our hearts, ease our minds, help us wind down. Keeping our spirits up by dating a different friend every day is as important as eating well and exercising.

“All we really have is people – nothing else matters,” says my friend Patricia.

And having a couple of back-to-back dates is not only acceptable, it gives you energy.

“You get something different from every one of your friends,” another friend says, adding that with good friends, “There’s nothing you can do that is horrible; nothing you can’t say.”

Like real dating protocol, there are rules of etiquette to follow when dating your friends and acquaintances.

This has been a learning experience for us all as we look forward to the day we’ll reunite and celebrate.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to start distance dating during these challenging times, check out my ideas for safe get-togethers. Click here:


About the Book

Middle Ageish, by Shirley Goldberg

Starting Over, Book 1

Book Release Date: August 26, 2020

Book Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Book Cover Artist: RJ

Book Genre: Romantic Women’s Fiction/Rom Com

Middle Ageish Blurb

Sunny Chanel's marriage is circling the drain when her husband marks his colonoscopy on the calendar and ignores their anniversary. With divorce papers instead of roses on the horizon, she says "au revoir" Paris and croissants, and "hello" cheap New Haven apartment and ramen noodles.

Encouraged by her friends, Sunny jumps into online dating, twenty-three years and twenty pounds after her last date. To her surprise she discovers dating might require a helmet, and occasionally armor to protect her heart, but after years of being ignored, her adventurous side craves fun and conversation. She's middle-aged not dead. Then suddenly, on the way to reinventing herself, life takes a left turn when the one man she can't forget calls with an unexpected request.

Excerpt from Middle Ageish

An email from Noah, the guy who lived on Long Island, slid into my inbox. What was I doing meeting some far away guy? What if we hit it off? New Haven to Long Island. A ridiculous commute.

A little thump, thump warning from my chest, an adrenalin rush. Don’t get carried away here. No expectations. We were meeting, only if I liked his phone persona.

Meeting. Nothing more.

I skimmed the email, smiling like an idiot.

To: Sunny

From: Noah

May I please have your most honuorable presence to enlarge by far the companionment of my pleasurelyness on Saturday the eighth of December MCMXXVVIIMZQX at 1030 hrs under the auspiciscisable weather conditions of shine or no shine or falling snow or sleat yes, even that for the purpose of our ffffirst date in the way of a nice slow freaky amble on the Canal in the Towne of Hamden and of my dreams. Boat optional.

My warmest thoughts, hopes

Respect. Fully. Noah

Ps Leave the Hairy Worker Boyfriend at home. His home.

Ps. Ps. May I call you? Please.

I emailed my phone number and sat on my bed waiting for the phone to ring. All I could think of was Luke, the day we emailed back and forth until he said I can’t stand it anymore, and I’d sent him my phone number.

Well, Noah wasn’t Luke.

The phone rang.


“Hello, this is Noah—your blind date.”

“Aren’t we being polite?”

“Yes, should we be something else?”

“Well, I’m nervous, and you claim to be shy.” I picked at my toenail polish.

“You don’t believe I’m shy?”

“No, I don’t. You’re definitely not shy in email.”

“No. But I have the chance to think about what I’m writing.”

“Yes, that’s an advantage.” This guy has a great voice. I wonder if he knows it. “But it can be a problem because then you have to live up to your email potential.”

Plus, he was fun to tease.

“My email potential?” He sounded worried. “Now you’ve got me scared. Running scared.”

“So,” I said, “should we walk and then meet?”

He laughed, a friendly, reassuring laugh. “I liked it when you said that. Made fun of you, too. Did I get you mad?”

“Absolutely. Did I make you jealous when I went on that Harley date?”


“Is that why you wanted to meet me?” I asked.

“I wanted to meet you from the beginning.”

“What beginning?” This is fun.

“Oh, I think it was when you called me “honey” in your email.”

“You liked that?”

“I did,” he said. “It sorta broke the ice.”

“Oh. You have a New York accent. I hear something there, especially when you say “becawze.”

“That’s because I live in New York and grew up there, too.”

“Of course.”

“So, let me tell you something, but I don’t want to scare you.”

“You’re scaring me. Do you have a record or something?”

What a waste. That’s all I could think. All those lovely emails, the funny French and Italian translations, the great voice. The man was hiding something.

“No, it’s not that kind of scared.” His voice became faint, as if he’d turned his head away.

“Just say it then.”

A long pause before he spoke. “I was thinking, just in case we fall madly in love, well, I rented a room there.”



“Here?” I said, bewildered.

“Holy crap, yes. There. Look, I thought if we hit it off, I could stay over and see you tomorrow. That’s my idea.”


“Oh? Is that all?” He sounded genuinely hurt.

“Well, I feel pressured, and I haven’t even met you.”

“Don’t feel pressured.”

“OK.” And after a long pause I told him I felt pressured.

“Forget it. It was a bad idea. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“Yes, you should have.” He shouldn’t have.


Visit my website for another excerpt from the book. Sign up and grab a copy of Happy Hour, a short story about an online meet and a tiny misunderstanding.

I’m giving 100 copies of Middle Ageish away, so hurry on down to the link below and click.

Enter my giveaway, then take a look at the million+ books+authors +readers+groups+discussions. Everything bookish you've ever wanted.

Here's the link: Goodreads Giveaway

Everyone loves Goodreads as the place for book recommendations.


I won’t let you know the twist in the book but I LOVED it. I never saw it coming but I should have. Ms. Goldberg gives me bread crumbs but I never saw them. - Harlie’s Books

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