Nan Reinhardt, Author

Grown-up love stories, because we're never too old for a little sexy romance…

Best Friends

June9

Yes, it’s me, looking for peace again . . .

You see, my dear Dee died on Monday–quietly and surrounded by her family, she moved on. I don’t deny I’m grateful that she is finally free from the cancer that has racked her body for five long years. I’m happy that she’s finally reunited with the love of her life because she’d been longing for that. I’m glad this horrible siege of illness is over for her sons, who can now remember their Mom as the vital beautiful woman she was, even when cancer stole that from her. Honestly, I’m even a little relieved that my life may return to some semblance of normal . . . maybe, if I can remember what that is.

But I have to tell you, I’m overwhelmed with sadness at the loss of my friend of thirty-four years. I hate that I won’t be talking or texting or visiting with her again in this life. It feels as though a piece of me is missing–not the same feeling that I had when Kate died. That was different–like a third of the sisterhood had gone missing, which it had.

Dee and I raised our boys together, confided in one another, protected each other’s secrets, and stood by one another through thick and thin. And although I have several very close friends who fit into that same category, Dee was the first. The first woman-to-woman friendship that I trusted. She showed me what it meant to be a best friend, so I was able to discern who was going to fit into my life in that way as I got older; and now I’m blessed to have several best friends.

I’m so grateful that she was in my life, glad that I could be in hers. I’m thankful for the women in my life now, who I know will see me through this grieving time and understand because they’re friends like Dee was a friend. You all know who you are, so I’m just going to say thank you right now–thank you for your love and support and care-giving. I want to gather you all close and find a way to keep you safe so I won’t ever have to feel this empty place in my heart again. However, I also know with everything inside me that you precious ladies will fill that hole with love and joy and laughter. I’m blessed to share my life with all of you, just as I was blessed to share my life with Dee. Thank you.

posted under Gratitude, Memories, Musings, This Life... | Comments Off on Best Friends

Done . . . Begin Again

June3

Saving Sarah is with my editor, which means it’s out of my hands for a few weeks, which also means it needs to be out of my mind for the next few weeks. Honestly, that’s a really hard thing to do–release a book. I keep going back through it . . . but it’s time to stop because until I get the edits back from Lani, it’s pointless to make changes. I’m fairly certain that she’ll have plenty for me to do on the manuscript when she returns it. My challenge is to let go and start something new.

To that end, I’m working on a new story that I started last summer when Liz and I went to Michigan for a week. I really like these characters–Hallie and Tim and Aunt Bette. They’re all talking like crazy in my head. I just need to sort them out and get their story down. The big news is they’re not a part of the Women of Willow Bay series–this story takes place in Indiana, and that means Husband and I will be taking a day trip north to Indiana Dunes State Park (you knew I couldn’t resist using Lake Michigan as a setting, right?) and scope out the area. The town is fictional and sits right at the edge of park, so Hallie and Tim get long walks on the beach.

There is another WOWB story brewing–Libby, the vintner from Saving Sarah, has a story and there may even be a holiday novella for Carrie and Liam’s son, Jack, but I need a break from Willow Bay. I’ve been there for five years and even though I love those stories, it’s time to let some of the rest of the people in my head have a chance.

So here’s just a tiny taste of Hallie’s story–as yet untitled. Let me know if you’re in, okay?

It was all Millie’s fault. The roadside sign—Millie’s Pie Emporium—had enticed Hallie Nelson off the interstate and onto the little road where she was now stranded. In spite of the flat tire and the pouring rain, Hallie smiled, remembering the delicious slice of pecan pie she’d had at Millie’s, along with amazing chicken and dumplings, fresh peas, and biscuits that were pure poetry. Even though her stomach was past full, her mouth watered at the thought of the take-out biscuits, butter and honey, and the Dutch apple pie stowed in her cooler in the backseat. Comfort food to share with Aunt Bette when she finally got to Primrose.

Her father would scoff at taking a detour for something as mundane as food, but then he’d never been a foodie like Hallie. Dad ate for fuel, nothing more, while she ate purely for pleasure. Her best friend Suz hated the fact that Hallie could eat like a trucker and remain slim, warning her since eighth grade that one day her hummingbird metabolism would give out.

Just last week at their farewell lunch, she shook her head as Hallie scarfed down a double-fudge chocolate shake while Suz primly spooned up a single scoop of low-fat vanilla. “Just you wait until menopause. It’s gonna getcha, girl, and all that sugar and fat will land right on your tiny behind.”

Hallie wasn’t worried. She came from a long line of hardy Nelson women, who ate whatever they wanted and lived to be lean, wiry senior citizens. Just look at Aunt Bette. Besides, menopause was still years away. She gave a quick glance in the rearview mirror. Worried dark brown eyes under a thick fringe of auburn hair looked back at her. Thirty-two didn’t look bad at all; her skin was still smooth and soft. High cheekbones emphasized the fact that somewhere in the distant past one of her Irish ancestors had taken a Shawnee bride.

However, none of that changed the fact that she was still stuck on the side of a two-lane highway. Rain pounded on the roof and drizzled down the windshield while the swipe, swish, swipe, swish of the wipers gave her brief views of the spring landscape. Trees budded out with soft green leaves and wildflowers were starting to bloom in the grass along the shoulder. The air smelled fresh and newly washed, although a chill still lingered. She glanced behind her, but there was nothing to see except the U-Haul trailer looming over her little sedan. Flicking on her hazard lights, she rested her forehead on the steering wheel and moaned out loud.

The sun had been shining across the Ohio River when she’d left Evansville that morning. Karl, her mechanic, had promised the car would be fine. Hadn’t he spent an entire day going over every inch of the darn thing? Hadn’t he changed the oil, replaced the spark plugs, and every filter and belt under the hood? And the tires were less than a year old. He’d assured her it was in tip-top shape for a road trip. Well, as much as a ten-year-old Toyota with two hundred and thirty—Hallie squinted at the odometer—two hundred and thirty-seven thousand miles could be in tip-top shape.

It had been her first brand-new car—a gift from her parents when she graduated from college. For nearly ten years, she’d treated it as lovingly as a mother treats a child. And how did the silly thing repay all her years of careful maintenance? By getting a flat in the middle of some dismal road, two towns away from Aunt Bette’s.

And in the rain.

A semi sped by, splashing water all over the side of the car and drawing Hallie’s attention back to her situation. Time to focus and figure out what she was going to do. The rain pelting down showed no sign of letting up any time soon and even though it was still early afternoon, she longed to be warm and snug in Aunt Bette’s cozy house—there would be tea and pie. She found her umbrella in the console and got out, sending up a little prayer that the tire might be drivable.

Apparently, the angels were busy elsewhere because the right front tire wasn’t just flat, it was shredded. With a sigh, Hallie climbed back in, took up her cell phone, and gazed at the screen. At least she had a couple of bars of service and the 4G seemed to be working. Great news if she had even a clue who to call. A touch of the screen brought the GPS to life and showed her exactly where she was, only twenty miles from Primrose, so she asked the phone to find her a garage or gas station nearby.

Gus’s Service Station was in Cedar Hill, the next town north. She dialed the number and was greeted with a gruff, “Garage.”

When Hallie explained her dilemma, the man on the other end of the line guffawed. “Lady, I got six calls ahead of you and only two tow trucks. I can get there in mebbe two, three hours. You’re gonna have to sit tight.”

“Is there anyone else I can call?” Hallie chewed her lower lip. She could feel the temperature dropping.

“Nope. Even if you got Triple A, I’m the one they call around here.”

“But I’ve got to get to Primrose and—”

“Lady, we all gotta get somewhere. Now, my tale of woe is that my nephew took off last night with the mayor’s daughter and my sister’s brand new Land Rover. The only other guys I got to drive tow trucks for me are a sixteen-year-old who doesn’t know one end of a wrench from the other and my worthless brother-in-law, who ain’t no mechanic either, but he can probably change a tire.” He gave a disgusted snort of laughter. “He’s out on a call west o’ town and the kid’s down to McHenryville pulling a tractor outta the mud.”

“I’m really sorry, but I’m all alone out here and I’ve got everything I own in the world in a trailer behind the car.” Hallie tried to sound as defenseless as she could, hoping to elicit some sympathy from Gus. A cheap tactic, but one she wasn’t above using at this point.

“You’re hauling a trailer? Sheesh.” Gus’s disgust came through loud and clear, even with only two bars. It was looking very likely she was going to be changing her own tire in the rain.

“Yes, I’m moving to Primrose. You see I’m going to live with my aunt and—”

“Look, I don’t need your life history, just tell me again where you are and I’ll get someone out there soon as I can.”

Hallie went ahead gave him the information from her GPS, managing to be halfway polite when once again he ordered her to “sit tight.” It was a wretched day weather-wise and that wasn’t his fault. Neither was her flat tire. Gus sounded as overwhelmed as she felt. She clicked off and dialed Aunt Bette to let her know she was going to be late, but got no answer, so she left a message. She debated for about three minutes before reaching into the backseat for her raincoat. She may as well get out and fix the darn tire. She’d been changing tires since she’d gotten her license at sixteen, so she had no excuse except her own unwillingness to get wet.

Okay . . . so there it is . . .

Gratitude list for today:

  1. The lake–the only place I seem to be able to take a deep breath right now.
  2. Time with Dee on Tuesday, although she slept through most of the hours I was there, she squeezed my hand and opened her eyes at one point and knew me.
  3. Dee’s cousin Darhius and Dee’s sons are such good caretakers–exactly what she needs.
  4. Gorgeous, sunny summer days here at the lake–it’s been lovely.
  5. A boat ride yesterday–the lake was quiet with no traffic.

The Last 4,000 Words

May26

I’m in the home stretch with Saving Sarah, book 4 of the Women of Willow Bay series. I can’t wait to finish it, but there is a little bit of bittersweet involved, too. I’m not positive, but I think this will be the last WOWB book. I have another woman in the village who could have a story, but I’m pretty sure it’s time to close this one out. I have a new book already started and I like the characters and the setting, which is Indiana, not Michigan. Of course, we’re up in northern Indiana near the dunes and Lake Michigan because I can’t imagine a story without a lake. But that’s the only thing that is the same.

So, I’m counting on writing the last few thousand words over the holiday weekend and then it goes to my editor, the incredible Lani Diane Rich, who will edit, while I work on a tag line and back cover blurb. Tag lines are so hard for me because I think I’m a naturally wordy person and tag lines are, by their very nature, not at all wordy. Lani is great tag line writer and so is my crit partner, Cheryl Brooks, so I may have to turn to them for ideas. I’m thinking it needs to have something to do with running away from bad and running to good, but I’m dammed if I have the first idea how to start.

It’s a sad time right now–my oldest and dearest friend Dee is dying–her cancer has become aggressive and is simply eating her alive. (See this post.) It’s probably only a matter of days now and she has so many people who love and care about her, both here and in heaven, so I know her passing will be eased by that. I spent some time with her yesterday–sweet time where we simply sat and held hands, cried a little together, and I watched while she slept.  But oh, my heart aches with a sadness so deep, I hurt in my bones.

When sister Kate died, it was different–no less sad and my heart aches still for her, but it was so fast, we barely had time to take a breath before she was gone. This has been five years of awful and I hate that Dee has had to suffer with not only cancer, but also with the deaths of her husband and mother in the midst of the cancer. But you know, I’m heartbroken for me, too–Dee and I always teased that when we got to be old ladies, we’d sit in our rocking chairs on the front porch, sip wine, and shout “F@*# you!” at the cars driving by. I hate that we won’t get to do that . . . we’d have been fun old biddies together.

Okay, so time for gratitude, although I don’t feel very grateful today. But I am so blessed, I have to remember that even though my heart is breaking.

  1. Husband, Son, Grandboy, DIL, Sister PJ–my close family and how they always support me.
  2. My BFFs–how blessed I am to have an awesome group of women friends I can depend on: Liz, Di, Moe, Harlene, Patt, Connie, Cheryl, Mary, to name a few . . . the list is way longer than this, but I hope they all know how much I cherish them.
  3. Pastor Diane at ACC–thanks for prayers and always being there.
  4. The lake–if there’s peace to be found anywhere, it’s there.
  5. Work and writing–I can lose the real world in the pretend ones (mine and other writers’) and sometimes, that’s a very good thing.

Last Day of Lent

April15

Today is the last day of Lent. Tomorrow is Easter and I can get back on social media. This has been a fascinating journey for me–an eye-opener, frankly. I had no idea I was so attached to Facebook and Twitter, no idea that so much of my social life was online. If you had asked me forty days ago if I was on social media much, I would’ve said “no, not much.” If you had asked me if I would miss it, I probably would’ve laughed. “Oh please, I have a life–I don’t need FB.”

Well, apparently, it has nothing to do with whether or not you have a life–at least not for me. I do have a life, but I confess I missed Facebook, I missed reading all my friends’ posts and news, checking out my author pals’ promotions and announcements, and seeing pictures of people’s grandkids and vacations. So there we have it–I am a Facebook junkie.

But, I didn’t miss the rancor of political posts, the constant stream of whining about either party–my friends come from both sides of the aisle–or the ads. I really didn’t miss the ads because it’s kinda creepy how you can look at something on Amazon or Google and the next day it shows up up in your Facebook news feed. Is it just me or is that creepy? All in all, I think I’m going to try not to be so addicted once I sign back on.

So to that end, I won’t be re-installing Facebook on my phone–I took it off my smart phone in December in preparation for giving up social media for Lent and honestly, I’m a happier person without it on there. I can still check Facebook on my computer and a couple of times a day should be just fine for that. I hope when I go back, I can focus my social media time on book promotion more than anything. That was the original reason I started my Facebook account and I think I’ll be a more well-rounded person if I keep that in mind.

All in all, an interesting experiment. I’m looking forward to saying howdy to everyone on Monday–I’m going to wait until after Easter to re-activate my account just because, you know, it’s Easter and my mind and heart should be elsewhere on Easter. Thanks to all of you who stopped by here while I was on social media hiatus–I’ll still be posting here regularly, so please continue to drop by! Happy Easter!

Gratitude for today:

  1. It’s the last day of Lent.
  2. Spring yard work is nearly done and man, are things getting green! Can’t wait for the flowers to start blooming.
  3. Powerful Good Friday service at church last night–so glad we went.
  4. Good day with Dee and Di yesterday. Also great to have Liz to talk to on the way home. Thanks, Lizzie!
  5. Husband, who worked so hard in the yard today–we make a good team.
posted under Gratitude, Musings, This Life... | Comments Off on Last Day of Lent

Wednesday Chipperish Reminder

April12

Lani Diane Rich’s fabulous podcast, JED BARTLET IS MY PRESIDENT, episode 6 is up! I’m headed there right now after getting a great report from the doc at my 6-month checkup–I’m healthy and strong, and my hair is adorable. (Yeah, my doc is a woman, so she notices stuff like that.)

Gratitude for today:

  1. I am healthy and strong and my hair is adorable. 😉
  2. Great time opening the lake cottage–we’re good to go for the summer.
  3. Wonderful to see the lake friends who were there this weekend–can’t wait to see the community all back together again.
  4. Terrific day Sunday with Liz and Duane–sure hope they’re frequent visitors this summer!
  5. Had a fun time at Lake Ladies Lunch–met a new friend–and subbing Bunco, also always a treat.
posted under Chipperish Media, Gratitude, Lake life, Liz Flaherty | Comments Off on Wednesday Chipperish Reminder

Some Saturday Entertainment

April8

So we’re opening up the lake cottage this weekend–yay! We’re up and running–the water’s back on, the yard’s been cleaned up, the bathroom’s are cleaned, and the vacuum’s been run. We still have to wash windows/windowsills, scrub the back of the house, scrub the deck, and set up the porch furniture, but we’re getting there. It’s a gorgeous day here–60 degrees and sunny, sunny, sunny. We took some time out to Skype with Son and Grandboy, which is always a joy, but now I’ve got to head back outside to help Husband clean the deck.

Before I go though, here are a couple of fun places for you to check out if you’re just sitting around wishing you had something really exciting to do today. First stop by Word Wranglers and meet podcaster Dr. Kelly Jones of Southern Fried Scholar fame. She is delightful!

If you haven’t listened to the new episode of JED BARTLET IS MY PRESIDENT at Chipperish Media, then definitely head on over there next. Lani Diane Rich is always a ton of fun and I love spending an hour in denial with her each week.

Husband sent me a fascinating interview with author Lionel Shriver this morning, where she discusses her new novel The Mandibles with talk show host, Mark SteynSteyn is a terrific interviewer and, although I’ve never read her before, I’ve heard about her and from this interview, she seems like a smart and very interesting woman. I love finding new authors, so I just ordered this book for my Kindle.

Gratitude for today:

  1. Anytime I get to see Son and Grandboy.
  2. Lake season is here and I am so ready!
  3. A fun evening with our friends Moe and Rich last night–good friends, good food, good wine, good fellowship. Nice!
  4. Saving Sarah –book 4 in the WOWB series–is moving right along, thanks to the characters basically taking over the story.
  5. Tomorrow BFF Liz and her Hubs are coming over to share some lake fun with us! Can’t wait!
posted under Chipperish Media, Lake life, My Favorite Podcasts, Southern Fried Scholar, This Life... | Comments Off on Some Saturday Entertainment

Wednesday Chipperish Reminder

March29

It’s Wednesday, folks, and time for another episode of Jed Bartlet Is My President. Given the state of our current administration, a little political fantasy is unquestionably in order, don’t you think? I’m in, how about you? The amazing Dr. Kelly Jones–one of my dear pals from Betty days joins Lani for a discussion of “Six Meetings Before Lunch.” Kelly is delightful and I’m so jacked about her new podcast Southern Fried Scholar. I’m in, how about you?

Also how about some gratitude?

  1. Today, I’m excited about my WIP, which is coming together like magic–the hero and heroine wrote their own love scenes, which made my job so much nicer. Thank you, Tony and Sarah! Only about 20K more words and it’s off to Lani for edits.
  2. Sunshine–gorgeous sunrise this morning and sunshine all over the place today.
  3. Got to talk to Son last night where we processed a knotty issue for him–nothing dramatic, just something he needed to talk through. I’m always glad when he picks me to process with–it’s a Mom thing, I guess.
  4. Coffee, coffee, coffee…you know?
  5. Liz Flaherty, who is a friend who only becomes dearer with each day.
  6. Acorn TV–fun British television. Husband and I are hooked!

That’s it for today–I’m off to listen to JBIMP #4. 😉

 

Spring Is Springing (cross-posted)

March28

Spring seems to be springing already and you know, we really haven’t had much of a winter here. (Those are my grape hyacinths that grow under the dining room window–aren’t they pretty? You can also see that the flowerbeds need to be cleaned out . . . yikes!) Oh, we’ve had few days of snow, but no real accumulation, and a few days of serious cold, but no long stretches of temperatures below freezing. That’s unusual but certainly not unheard of here in the middle of the United States. I remember lots of mild winters. But I think this one is feeling weird because it’s been a weird year. Between body stuff going on—which has been resolved—and an election I can’t fathom and all the unconventional activity in our nation’s capital, everything feels . . . I dunno—unsettled.

I’m not the only one feeling this sea change—Son has mentioned it and I know Husband is aware that this year has been/is different. Liz and I have had endless conversations about life seeming different and sorta uncomfortable right now—like a pair of yoga pants that are a little too snug or socks that keep slipping down. I’m hoping that a trip to see the Grandboy soon will even things out in my head and that opening the lake cottage will bring some sense of normalcy because man, I am ready for just plain normal.

To be very honest I’m also really ready for Lent to be over—I miss my social media. The break has been eye-opening. I never would’ve guessed I was so addicted, but apparently, I am. I’m missing out on a lot of stuff from friends and family and church and writing circles and editor groups. Hopefully, everyone will still remember who I am when I get back after Easter.

I’m so thankful for Liz, who keeps me in the loop—we text or talk or gChat at least once a day, more often most days. We do that anyway whether I’m on social media or not—I need Lizzy like I need air. Dee stays in touch and so does sister PJ and my good buddy, Charlie. But you know what’s really cool? Fellow Word Wrangler Margie has been sending me stuff via snail mail—cards and little notes just to check in—and I want to say here how much I appreciate her care and concern. I don’t know who told her that I love, love to get mail—I always have loved to get mail, but wow! This is so much fun! I’m thinking Margie may have a new pen pal because I love to write letters too. There’s just something special about a pen and pretty paper, don’t you think? I got this one from her yesterday . . . and it’s on the bulletin board above my desk—a sweet reminder that she knows how much I’m missing the contact of social media. Thanks, Margie—you rock, baby!

So here’s the question of the week: Do you like writing letters? Would you go back to pen, stationery, and stamps if you had the opportunity? If so, send somebody a note today. I’m sure it would be much appreciated.

posted under Lake life, Liz Flaherty, This Life... | Comments Off on Spring Is Springing (cross-posted)

It’s Wednesday . . .

March22

. . . which means it’s a Chipperish day! YAY! A new episode of Jed Bartlet Is My President is up, so I’m off to listen. Hope you are too!

 

 

 

 

Gratitude today:

  1. Sunshine!
  2. A day with Dee and Di–always a treat.
  3. My new mug that Husband got me–it’s got the Eiffel Tower on it! Pictures later.
  4. A terrific three-hour lunch with Liz on Monday!
  5. I’m into my new knitting project and it’s already really pretty!
posted under Chipperish Media, Gratitude, My Favorite Podcasts, This Life... | Comments Off on It’s Wednesday . . .

Tuesday Cross-Post

March14

While I’m on social media hiatus, I’m going to cross-post my Word Wranglers blog here–it’s not lazy, I promise. I’m just trying to keep traffic to both sites moving along.

I’m sure you’re probably sick of hearing about this, but I’ve been off social media for two weeks now. That doesn’t seem like all that long, but seriously, it’s been tough. Mostly because I live kind of a solitary life here—I edit, I write, I hang out with Husband, and I bug Liz with texts and gChat. However, I’ve never whined about working at home. It’s a great gig. Where else can you go to the office in your jammies and get your laundry done the same time you get your work done? And pretty much, I’m free to take off at any given time of day to hit the grocery store (although Husband has pretty much taken over that duty) or take a walk or go to the pool or go see Dee or meet Sister PJ for lunch. That part rocks, no question. The good stuff far outweighs the not-so-good, no matter what you may read here today.

But . . . ah, you knew there was a but, didn’t you? There always is. So here’s the thing—and this is true for every freelancer I know. We tend to use the Internet, specifically Facebook and Twitter, but more Facebook, as our virtual water cooler. It’s where we keep up with what’s going on in the world, where we chat about last night’s episode of Designated Survivor or Victoria and the latest breakthroughs in great software and tools for editing. It’s how I know when the most recent version of CMS is hitting the shelves and whether or not Acme Publishing has decided to outsource all their production work to India. Facebook editor groups are a terrific resource for any and all grammar, usage, and style questions I may have.

As for the writer part of me—social media keeps me up-to-date on my favorite authors, lets other authors know I’m around and accepting work or that I’m out of the office and not taking on any new clients at the moment. This is all stuff that I can post to my blog—www.nanreinhardt.com—(See what I did there? I just threw in a free promo for my blog . . . and all you have to do is click!). I can also answer questions in emails and I do get frequent notes from clients and potential clients, so that’s all good. But still . . . I’m feeling a little out of touch.

So you see can why I’m sorta suffering from a huge chasm of lonely right now . . . darn good thing I have Netflix and knitting and my treadmill. I can watch and knit and watch and walk—it’s a win all the way around. Thankfully, my new favorite podcast, https://chipperish.com, is on the same page as I am right now regarding binge-watching TV. Lani Diane Rich is doing weekly podcasts about different episodes of The West Wing, one of my all-time favorite series. It’s been fun to watch the assigned episode and then listen to the podcast—the second one of which drops tomorrow—yay! I can get an amazing amount of knitting done through four or five episodes of Toby and Sam and CJ and Josh and the rest of the inhabitants of the West Wing. (Notice I mentioned Toby first—he’s my favorite character—sensitive, uber-intelligent, and sexy in a balding professorial kind of way.)

Anyway, Netflix is saving my sanity through Lent, which may possibly mean that I’ve merely exchanged one bad habit (too much time on social media) for another (too much time binge-watching TV). However, I don’t think so. I look at Netflix as discovery–absorbing narrative–which always makes you a better writer. So here’s the inevitable Word Wranglers closing question: If you gave up social media for forty days, what do you think you’d use to replace it? Discuss . . .

posted under Chipperish Media, Musings, My Favorite Podcasts, This Life..., Writer's moments | Comments Off on Tuesday Cross-Post
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