Nan Reinhardt, Author

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

Staying in the Moment

March30

On Wednesday, I posted this to the Word Wranglers blog–take a minute and read it. I’ll wait here.

Are you a Phubber?

Oh, good, you’re back! Then today I read this article on a phenomenon called “phubbing,” which is the habit of snubbing someone in favor of a mobile phone. We’ve all done it. Some of us do it. I tend to do it most at breakfast because I’m tracking my food on my WW app or checking points for food or… okay checking to see what’s coming in the mail and yes, okay, checking Twitter and Instagram. I don’t have Facebook on my phone because I was spending too much time there. Starting to think maybe Twitter needs to go, too…hmmmm.

Then last night, I caught myself looking at my phone while I was sitting across from my sister at a Maundy Thursday gathering at church. She said something to me and I looked up from my phone and had to ask her to repeat it. She didn’t say anything about the phone, but the look on her face clearly said, “I’m here, whoever’s texting you is not.” She may not even have been thinking that, but man, oh man, that’s what I saw. So I turned turned off my phone, dropped it into my purse, and focused. I focused on my sister and the meal we were eating, I focused on the service, which was beautiful, and I focused on helping bring warm water for the feet/hand washing. I shared communion with my tablemates and passed the peace with my fellow worshippers. I sang. I prayed. I helped clean up. I didn’t touch my phone again until I got into my car in the parking lot, where I turned it on long enough to text Husband that I was on my way home. The beauty of that service and the joy of the fellowship stayed with me all the way home and then I was able to share it with Husband.

Yeah, there’s a lesson there. Be in the moment. Enjoy the here and now because this particular moment isn’t ever going to happen again. Nothing on Twitter or texts or Instagram is as important as what’s happening right in front of me. Or as important as anyone I love.

Gratitude for today:

  • Last night’s service
  • Spring is here, but I could do without so much rain
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Husband is done with the taxes

 

 

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Hanging with the Grandboy

March25

I’ve been so very blessed these past few days because I’ve gotten to spend extra time with my darling Grandboy, who is the heart of my heart and the joy of my life. His parents are away on a much-needed vacation, so Nanny volunteered to stay with the kiddo. It’s been a blast. He’s so unbearably funny and clever, so sweet-natured and easygoing, and so very curious about everything.

He’s especially interested in anything under the sea–his class is currently making an under-the-sea mural and Grandboy can’t stop talking about it. When we read, he always chooses books about octopi and lionfish and whales and dolphins. He and his Poppy have watched every episode of Octonauts together–a British animated TV show on Netflix about a group of animals who live in a pod city under the sea and have all kinds of adventures. Each episode features a different kind of fish or sea creature and they learn fun facts about them. It’s very cool.

He’s also into owls and the ducks that live on the pond near his house. Really, anything to do with nature–Grandboy is all in. He’s all about cars too and Star Wars and Spiderman because what five-year-old isn’t? He loves Legos and the guitar Daddy brought him from London and his dog, Lily, who is the most tolerant animal on the planet. He plays games, draws, tells stories, and sings.

I’d forgotten how delightful little boys can be and yes, how exhausting. His other grandparents took him for a couple of days, so I could have a break and I did appreciate it. He’s due home any minute and I’ll be more than ready to see him. Here he is talking to the ducks.

All in all, this post is mostly to say I do love being a grandparent. It’s a special kind of love, isn’t it? Tell me about your grands…I’d love to hear your stories!

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Gratitude When It’s Hard to Be Grateful

March12

I gave up being dissatisfied for Lent and man, oh, man, is life ever testing me on that one. It’s been a tough week–Son is trying very hard to finish up his PhD thesis in preparation for defense next month, their house is in serious disarray as the contractor gets the kitchen remodel finished up, and we had a terrible tragedy in our family. My niece’s daughter died of an overdose last week. At 24 years old, her life was sad and spiraling downward due to addiction and bad choices, but no one deserves to die so young. We are all heartbroken for her mother–I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child.

Amidst all this, I’m thinking that all I want is to move–and yes, slapping myself each time I get the urge to check Zillow for houses closer to Son. How selfish is it really? He’s moved to the same town we live in after 15 years of being 2000 miles away, so a 30-minute drive is nothing. But I’ve been wanting to move to a different area and to a one-story house for quite some time, so this is not new, but it’s also not the time, and the longing for it sure doesn’t make my Lent promise any easier.

However, in January, I committed to a year of peace, a year with no big decisions, no major changes, no life overhauls. We need a year where nothing happens. We need twelve months of simply living and enjoying the here and now. Then, maybe we can figure out what we want to do next. So, the Lenten sacrifice of dissatisfaction is key here. I think when I find myself being dissatisfied with anything at all in my life, I’ll simply stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and do a couple of rounds of gratitude.

To that end:

  1. Son is nearly done with his thesis!
  2. I’m one-third of the way to finishing my first novel for Tule Publishing.
  3. In another month, we can open the lake house–yay!
  4. Grandboy is always such a little charmer–that face…he’s so precious.
  5. My niece has lots of support from friends-she will survive this.
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We’re Not Hopeless Old Farts…Truly

March6

So right off, I love my phone carrier–we have great service, great coverage, and our bill doesn’t make us hyperventilate each month. I wanted to get that straight right off because now, I’m going to complain a little. Not a rant…I promise.

I’ve been after Husband to upgrade his flip phone–he’s had it a long time and he was borrowing mine to text Son or check the weather or the incoming mail or to get directions or to Google something while we were out and about. It was getting kind of silly for him not to have his own smartphone. Then this past weekend, Son gave him a nifty little device that lets you see into tight spaces, but it needs a smartphone. In a nice way, I said, “Well, you can’t download that app to my phone, but I’d love to get you your own phone for your birthday. What do you say?” At last, he said, “Okay, let’s get me a smartphone, but I want one exactly like yours since I already know how to use it.”

Great idea. So, we went online to our carrier and in a few quick clicks, we’d upgraded his old flip phone to a way-cool Android that was as close to the one I have as we could get. Turns out, it didn’t change our bill at all except to add the price of the phone to next month’s bill along with a $30 setup fee. (This is significant, I promise.) No problem. Husband was actually getting kind of excited about it. We arranged to pick it up at the store, so we waited the couple of hours indicated to get a text telling us it was ready. Well, we never got one. So after about three hours, we just toddled into the store, told them why we were there, and the young man who greeted us, checked his little tablet and found us immediately. “Sure, let me go get that phone for you.”

Now, our expectation was that things would happen much as they always had when we upgraded a phone–the customer service rep at the store would activate the new phone and then move Husband’s contacts and photos over from the old phone to the new one. Um, not so much. He dropped the unopened box into a bag and handed it to us. “There you go.” He couldn’t even be bothered to fluff up the tissue paper that came with the fancy bag–it was tossed into the bottom under the unopened phone. Nice.

So we asked, ” Aren’t you going to set it up? Move his contacts over?”

With a pityingly look that clearly indicated he thought we were hopeless old farts, he replied, “Nope, we don’t do that here anymore. Just turn it on and that will activate it.”

“But…but…what about his contacts?”

Another glance over our bent and arthritic bodies at the other workers that no doubt included an eyeroll, he said, “Well, you can try getting them off the old phone”–said in a tone that clearly indicated the old phone was probably something Alexander Graham Bell once played with–“but I’d guess you’ll have to re-enter them all. Sorry.”

And with that, he returned to his friends, who were yukking it up over one of them singing like a street corner do-whop group. Oh, I think there was a “Have a nice day,” as we hobbled out the door.

Well, holy shit. Thanks guys for the great customer service and we’re guessing the #30 setup fee we paid you was for the effort of dropping the unopened box into a bag. Yeesh. Oh, and as we got into the car, the text arrived telling us our phone was ready for pickup, then another saying someone had picked it up. Yeah, thanks for that.

However, there is a happy ending here because we may be doddering old seniors, but we figured it out. We couldn’t get the contacts to transfer via USB or through the the Cloud, but we experimented and discovered I could Bluetooth the contacts that he wanted from my phone since we share a lot of the same people in our lives, and then all he had to do was add the ten or so he had that I didn’t. So there, you smug little putzes. Just because you were raised on technology doesn’t mean you have ownership of all of it and you don’t need to treat those of us who are older than forty like we’re clueless. We’re not. Just FYI, Bill Gates, the guy who invented Windows, is 62. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple is 57 years old. And check out these stats from Medium.com. Boomers are online, we’re everywhere, and we’re the ones who have money to spend. Don’t treat us like we’re idiots. Try to remember that we’re the people who taught you how to use a spoon and a potty…just sayin’.

Gratitude for today:

Husband has a new phone! YAY!

Nice breakfast with my friend/mentor Sandra today.

Novel is moving along.

Found a really nice bummin’ around Riesling at Kroger.

SIster Pam is coming home!

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Late for Lent

March1

Well, Ash Wednesday was a couple of weeks ago–on Valentine’s Day this year, which was kinda interesting. Anyway, usually, I post during Lent about what I’ve given up and how that’s affecting my life. I’m late to posting about it this year because I committed February to featuring authors of Seasoned Romance on the blog, and it didn’t seem fair to shove in with my own stuff. But the blog is mine again.

I did give up something for Lent this year, but it wasn’t wine or social media or chocolate. This year, I gave up being dissatisfied. That may not sound all that courageous, but trust me, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately feeling sorry for myself. I recognize it and I hate it, but I do it. So on February 14, I committed to being happy right where I am. I have everything I need–not everything I want, but that’s a dark and frustrating path to head down, so I’m just not going to do it anymore. Well, at least not until after Easter. Then all bets may be off, although I hope not.

I’ve let the things that aren’t going right in my life overwhelm my appreciation for all the things that are going right. In the interest of maintaining my Lenten promise, I’m not going to list the things I’ve been struggling with for the past couple of years. Instead, each time I post during Lent, I’m going to name five things that I’m very satisfied with–things in my life and circumstances that make me unreasonably happy or even just mildly happy. Sometimes, yeah, I may be typing the list while I’m gritting my teeth, but, by golly, I intend to be joyful this Lenten season.

So, things that fill me with joy today:

  • Husband. After almost 45 years of marriage, he is still the heart of my heart.
  • Son and Grandboy and DIL–the loves of my life and what joy that they are now living so close!
  • Sister PJ and Brother Bud. We have history and it’s so important to have at least one person in your life who’s known you your whole life. Those people becom fewer and fewer as we grow older. I still have two.
  • My dear girlfriends–you know who you are. I couldn’t begin to find joy without you all.
  • Writing, which fills up a place in me that cannot be filled in any other way.

Celebrating Seasoned Romance: Linda Tillis

February28

Is there a better way to close out our celebration of Seasoned Romance than with a giveaway? I don’t think so! So, today, I’m turning the blog over to author Linda Tillis, who’s got an audio book to give away to one lucky commenter. READ ON FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A FREE AUDIO BOOK!

Thanks, Nan! Folks often ask, “where do you get your stories from?”  Well, first off, I was born in Appalachia, where storytelling is bred into you. In years gone by, we would sit at the feet of our grandparents in the evening, and learn about our ancestors. These were remarkable stories that led me to dream of fantastical things.

Secondly, I’ve held only three jobs in my life, and all were filled with color, people, pathos, and adventure. And so, I write about what I know.

My first 18 years of work were spent in a sewing factory. I learned everything there was to know about the fashion industry. From designing to the shipping of the finished garment. This gave me a love of color that has never left me.

My next twenty years were spent in Crime Scene Investigation.  Quite a change, right?

So, I spent twenty years of documenting everything from the smallest burglaries, to horrific homicides.  That much raw life and death can take a toll on the body, and mind. And eventually my husband convinced me the job I loved was killing me, so I retired.

I began to photograph wildlife, which led to articles and photos for the Florida Wildlife Magazine. At that point my husband told me I needed to write a book. And so, I did.

You will find my stories are of women who overcome adversity to find the love they deserve. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll leave a comment for a chance to win an audio book version of A Heart Made for Love.

In A Heart Made For Love, you meet the Hinton family.

In rural Florida, 1903, Mae Hinton cares for her father and younger brothers, trying to fill her deceased mother’s shoes. Her life is shattered and her faith tested when her innocence is stolen by roving miscreants. Left unconscious, unable to identify her attackers, she pledges to help other victimized women. She pursues an education and learns to deal with bigoted ministers, well-to-do hypocrites, and men with higher regard for their livestock than their women.

 Edward Finch is nearly done with medical studies in England when he comes home for the holidays. Love flourishes, and Mae seems close to achieving her dreams of both true love and a haven for victims, once she can explain to him why she carries a pistol. Then her new-found happiness is upset by a murder as one of her attackers returns. 

She may settle this herself…or she may find that vengeance truly belongs to God.

Buy link:  http://amzn.to/2BPmQFR

http://lindatillisauthor.com

Twitter: @Linda34434

 

 

 

 

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Celebrating Seasoned Romance: Liz Flaherty

February23

I’m always delighted to welcome my bestie, Liz Flaherty, to the blog. Liz thinks one of the things that keeps you young when you quite obviously aren’t anymore is the constant chances you have to reinvent yourself. Her latest (and happiest!) professional incarnation is as a Harlequin Heartwarming author!

One of the reasons she loves writing and reading about seasoned protagonists is the most obvious one–it’s a dream she’s living. She remembers early conversations with her husband when they tried to imagine having sex at 40 and beyond. She was utterly thrilled to find out it was not only possible but even better than it had been in their 20s!

That’s as personal as it’s going to get. Liz has three grown children, the three they married and brought home to her, and the Magnificent Seven grandchildren who are, you know, magnificence. She and Duane live in the same farmhouse back a lane they’ve been sharing for 40 years and hope to share for…well, probably not another 40, but a long time more. She also hangs out with me–our 3-hour lunches are the stuff legends are made of. Liz is a multi-published author with Harlequin, The Wild Rose Press, and Carina Press.

She’d love to hear from you at lizkflaherty@gmail.com or please come and see her at http://www.facebook.com/lizkflaherty

Today Liz is sharing her thoughts on seasoned romance, a topic the two of us have taken apart and put together more times than I can count. However much we discuss romance written about and for women in their prime, we inevitably come to the same conclusion–we need it! Take it away, Liz!

Thanks to Nan for having me here yet again. This article is a re-run from a year or so ago on The Pink Heart Society but my feelings on the subject haven’t changed at all. My own seasoned romances are still among my favorites. My women’s fiction title about four girlfriends in their 50s, The Girls of Tonsil Lake, is something I’m embarrassingly proud of.

I’ve been reading romance since long before Janet Daily wrote No Quarter Asked and gave American authors a new place in a genre that belonged almost exclusively to women.

That particular revolution was only one Big Thing—romance and most of its changes have been an embarrassment of riches since its beginning. Multi-cultural romances are widely available, which wasn’t always the case. Indie-pubbing is huge, yet I remember when the very idea of it was pretty close to the f-bomb on the roster of dirty words. Romance used to be the love story of one man and one woman and now gender isn’t even an issue. The traditional Happily Ever After ending can be Happy For Now or, if some supporters have their way, Not Happy At All. Sex has gone from being a heavy-breathing suggestion near the climax of the story to multiple scenes in the same chapter. The use of any kind of swearing or other obscenity has become a non-issue because nothing is forbidden.

It must be admitted that nearly every adjustment has been accompanied by kicking and screaming from its authors, readers, or both, but the biggest blessing of all these changes is that now there is something for everybody. I write sweet romance for Harlequin Heartwarming with no on-the-page sex and no swearing. Inspirational publishers, lines, and imprints are alive and well. Readers don’t have to look far to find books that tell stories of LGBTQ protagonists. A reader can go from chaste kisses to multiple orgasms with the touch to the screen of her e-reader. Contemporary, historical, and paranormal romances have delighted readers waiting for them and no one’s intoning in somber voices that their chosen category is dead.

I’m old enough to be appalled at some of the alterations to the genre I love at the same time I am, as a child of the 60s, completely thrilled that the changes have been made.

Except. Did you see that term in the paragraph above, there where I said “60s.” That’s where I’m at—not the 1960s anymore, but in my 60s. Somewhere past the middle. If we want to be brutally honest or intentionally rude about it, I guess I’m old. I’m retired from a long and happy career at a day job but I still write romantic novels and work part time in a library. I’ve been married to the guy who holds my heart for going-on-47 years and we have seven pretty-much-perfect grandchildren.

Surprising as it is to me, apparently no one wants to read about romance between people who lost their skin tone and their waistlines sometime in the previous decade. Or the one before. Who aren’t necessarily falling in real, true love for the first time, who won’t be pregnant or have children in the epilogue, who answer first and foremost to such pet names as Nana and Grampy-Buttons.

My daughter and daughters-in-law are in their early to mid-40s. They’re bright, beautiful, educated women with professions they’re excellent at and proud of. They’re also great mothers and wives. They’re readers, too, just like me. But no one wants to read about people like them, either. People whose days start in the dark and end in the dark because between their jobs and their families and that little-bit-of-time-before-bed they can call their own, their lives are completely full.

We read, all four of us, but we can very seldom read about women like ourselves because we’re too old, too settled, too married, the wrong demographic all around.

It makes me sad, because as gorgeous and smart and hilarious as everyone born after 1980 is, I don’t want to read about them all the time. I’m not interested in their body art or, for that matter, their body parts. I don’t believe they invented sex or that they’re the only ones who are good at it or that they are the only ones who can experience angst in its truest, most heartbreaking forms. They’re not the only ones who know how to laugh from the deepest parts of themselves or who hide behind closed stall doors in restrooms and weep from those same places.

Do I sound a little bitter there, as if I’m protesting too much? Yeah, probably. Because those of us born before 1980 have been in all those places. What’s more interesting is that we’re still there. We still laugh, cry, and have sex. We love more than we ever have before simply because the width and depth of our lives grow every single day and the love grows right along with it.

Yet we can’t be heroines in romance novels and the men we love can’t be heroes. I mean, we can, but not often. Not many. Not usually ones published by the Big Boys in New York. We can’t have imprints with provocative or heartstring-pulling names. It’s been tried; Harlequin’s Next imprint comes to mind. Its 100 titles are some of the best women’s fiction/romance books ever published and several of them had Baby Boomer protagonists. But think of that—100 titles. Not many in the scheme of things.

When I began to stage this little protest—remember, I said I was a child of the 60s; protest is part of my personal operating system—I looked up the demographics of romance readers. On this particular website, I read that “18 percent are between the ages of 45-54, 11 percent are between the ages of 55-64…eight percent are over 75…six percent are between the ages of 65-74…” Now, the way I read that, 43 percent are 45 and older, so wouldn’t that make you think protagonists “of a certain age” might have more stories in them than are available to read?

Not all statistics read that way, of course—it depends on your source. And not everybody my age or my girls’ ages want to read (or write) about protagonists in their own age groups.

But some do, and I’d love to see statistics on how many of that 43 percent I mentioned up there would like to see more romances about mature people. I’d love to know how many writers would like to write more romances about mature people. (I must note here that using the word mature is making my teeth itch—we’re people and don’t need labels.)

I have friends who write older protagonists—Nan Reinhardt and Jan Scarbrough to name two. I’ve written a few. Many others have, too, and terms like seasoned romance, grown-up love stories, never too old, not their first rodeo populate numerous blogposts and websites. I’m glad to see it, glad to read those stories that are written from hearts scarred and made strong by surviving life’s rodeos.

But I don’t think it’s enough. Until it is realized that we are here “in numbers too big to ignore,” until stories both by and about us are published and marketed with the same respect and enthusiasm awarded virtually everyone else, we’re still going to be the writers and the readers who are left over at the end of the day.

Here are links to Liz’s other stories with characters over 40:

A Soft Place to Fall

Summer in Stringtown Proper

Because of Joe

The Gingerbread Heart

 

 

Celebrating Seasoned Romance: Lina Rehal

February21

Today we’re featuring Lina Rehal, a self-published author who writes contemporary romance, nostalgia, memoirs, and slice-of-life stories. Her first book, Carousel Kisses, is a collection of nostalgic stories, personal essays and poems about growing up in the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s.

She combines her passion for fiction and love of storytelling in her contemporary romance novels. Her two romance books, October In New York and Loving Daniel, Book One of her Tucker’s Landing Series, are available on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle formats.

NAN: Welcome Lina. Tell us what you are currently working on or promoting.

LINA: Hi, Nan. Thank you for having me on your blog. I’m currently working on edits to the first draft of my contemporary romance, Lasting Impressions. It’s book two of my Tucker’s Landing Series. I’m hoping to self-publish it in late March or early April. I’m also promoting Loving Daniel, the first book in the series. Both stories are set in a coastal town in Massachusetts. It’s my first attempt at writing a series.

NAN: What genre(s) do you write in?

LINA: Mostly, contemporary romance. I love writing fiction and romance stories with happy endings. I also write nostalgia, memoir and slice of life stories.

NAN: Do you have an agent and/or publisher, or are you self-published?

LINA: All of my books are self-published.

NAN: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

LINA: Write from your heart. Get it down on paper and worry about the edits later. Go with your muse. Listen to your characters. They’ll lead you in the right direction.

NAN: Who is your favorite author and why?

LINA: Nora Roberts. Her characters are engaging and memorable. She grabs my attention from the first page and holds it through to the end. I’m never disappointed when I read one of her books.

NAN: Is there a theme/message underlying your book(s) that you hope comes across?

LINA: My characters are in their mid-forties and up. If there’s a message, I’d say it’s don’t be afraid to love again. Second chances are hard to come by.

NAN: What do you like best/least about writing?

LINA: I like entertaining people through storytelling. I love creating characters and the worlds they live in and finding ways for them to interact. What I probably like the least is the time between books. After I finish a book, I miss my characters and the anticipation of what’s going to happen next. Thankfully, it goes away once I’m immersed in the next story.

NAN: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

LINA: Several years ago, a local newspaper accepted one of my stories. I was asked to write for a weekly column. I wrote day trip stories for a year and then moved up to travel and feature ones. When people would come up to me and tell me they enjoyed my story, I felt like a writer.

NAN: What is the hardest thing about writing a series?

LINA: Making the next book/books stand alones. Blending the characters from a previous book in with the new ones in the current book can be difficult. You have to make sure the timeframe works and that you don’t repeat too much. I keep thinking I have to explain what they did in the last one.

NAN: What do you do in your spare time?

LINA: I like to read, of course. Other than that, I enjoy traveling with my husband to Disneyworld and short getaways to Maine and New Hampshire. I love spending time with my family and going to lunch or dinner with girlfriends.

Lina is all over social media:

http://thefuzzypinkmuse.com

Loving Daniel

Romance writer, Grace Madden stumbles across an old journal and a stack of letters from the man who shattered her dreams when he returned from Iraq, broke their engagement and left Massachusetts with no explanation. Reading his letters brings back the unanswered question of why he broke up with her. Memories she tucked away in a corner of her heart, over two decades ago, resurface. Realizing she never got over him, the well-known author tries to find closure. She writes LOVING DANIEL to tell the story she’s kept inside of her all these years.

When Aidan McRae reads it, he is convinced the story is about him and has to know why she wrote it. He learns she’s doing an author event at a bookstore near his home in Maine and plans a surprise visit. He persuades her to have lunch with him. Hoping to find her answer, she accepts his invitation to spend the next day in Ogunquit, the small coastal town they visited as kids. An innocent kiss leads to feelings neither of them can deny.

Excerpt:

When Aidan woke up, he found himself in the living room. It was dark. He could see the full moon through the open blinds. The TV was in sleep mode. Red numbers from a digital clock on the end table glared at him. 2 a.m. Must have nodded off on the sofa again, he thought.

He had been dreaming. But, this time was different. He didn’t wake up in a panic or soaked from sweat. It wasn’t one of his usual nightmares. Aidan couldn’t remember this one, but he wanted to. It was about something, or someone pleasant. He was sure of that. Yet, it left him with a sense of sadness or loss.

The dream bothered him. He closed his eyes for a few minutes, hoping it would come back to him. When it didn’t, he decided to get up and go to bed. Swinging his long legs off the sofa, Aidan stood up. The book he had been reading slid off his chest and fell to the floor. The cover gave him a jolt. Loving Daniel by Grace Madden. He picked it up, sat down and remembered.

Aidan had been dreaming about Grace Devlin, a woman he fell in love with back in the late 1980’s in Massachusetts. She was in college then, studying to be a journalist. He was working at a local garage and taking business administration courses at night. They met when her car broke down and Aidan had to tow it back to the garage. She was a petite, beautiful young girl with long, flowing hair the color of copper and eyes as green as emeralds in the right light. He gave her a ride home that day and invited her to dinner before she got out of his truck.

In the dream, she was the Grace he knew back then. She was vibrant, tenacious, impatient and crazy in love with him. It was coming back to him. He had been kissing her. Awake now, Aidan could still feel the softness of her lips on his and smell the traces of lemon shampoo in her hair. It felt real. It felt right. He wanted to go back to sleep so he could hold her and tell her he loved her.

Link to Loving Daniel on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ybfkbvd2

Celebrating Seasoned Romance: Karen Ginther Graham

February19

Today featured author is Karen Ginther Graham, who hails from San Diego county but has lived in Oklahoma so long she consideres herself an Okie. These two locales are often reflected in her writing. She is married and has one wonderful son, now grown. Finding Rose Rocks is her debut novel and she is working on another one about a girl’s coming of age amid strife and beauty.

NAN: Tell us what you are currently working on or promoting. 

KAREN: I’m promoting my debut novel, Finding Rose Rocks, published May of 2016. It began as a contemporary women’s fiction about a divorced woman of 45 who embarks on a journey, internal and external, to find her emotional happy place. However, almost immediately the story became an autumnal romance between Jennifer, an owner of a failing apartment rental business, and Troy, 50, a silver fox and rugged rancher.

NAN: What genre(s) do you write in?

KAREN: I surprised myself by writing romance because I’d always imagined being a straight fiction writer. I have an idea for another autumnal romance, and am also working on a coming-of-age tale involving a girl in a dysfunctional family.

NAN: What sets you apart from other authors in your genre?

KAREN: I’m told I have a flair for description. I love words that flow in an almost poetic fashion. This skill of mine can be a double-edged sword because readers want action and dialogue. I have to take care in my writing to stay in the scene, to keep things lively.

NAN: How do you keep sane as a writer?

KAREN: I’m a big exercise person. It helps me sleep, keeps me slim, and keeps me on an even keel. I’m a nicer person because of it. These days yoga is my favorite form of exercise, augmented by swimming laps in an indoor pool. I alternate them five days a week. I take weekends off to spend with hubby.

NAN: What do you like best/least about writing?

KAREN: The thing I love best about writing is when I become almost obsessed with the story, when my desire to sit at my computer and write overtakes me at the expense of almost everything else. Hours fly by and it’s just me and my story. I love that—being in the “zone.”  What I like least is the business side of things, the marketing. It is essential but laborious.

NAN: Did you learn anything from writing your books, and what was it?

KAREN: I learned a great deal about myself. As an older person and someone who for many years struggled with low self-esteem, I didn’t think I could write an ENTIRE book. Instead, I wrote a novella. I discovered there wasn’t much of a market for novellas so I pushed on and expanded what I’d written until I had a novel-length story. How pleased I was!

Also, during the process of writing I learned that magic can appear in a very quiet way. An owl arrived outside my window and stayed during all those late nights of writing. It promptly left when the book was done. I wrote a short story about that experience.

NAN: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

KAREN: I’m not sure I do. In school, writing came easily to me. I published a poem in my high school paper. At my twenty-fifty reunion, someone came up to me and recited that poem verbatim. I think that planted a tiny seed in my mind. In college, I majored in English and loved all the papers we had to write—easy A’s all—and doing so planted another seed. After college, I didn’t write but rather raised my husband’s and my son and ran our family business. I always thought that once a person has a book published, that’s the mark of a writer. I can check that off my list, but now I feel like I need multiple published books before I can claim that status. Am I a writer? I don’t know.

NAN: Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

KAREN: Please Buy My Book!

Besides that, it means so much to writers to have readers take the time to leave reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites. We don’t ask for the full five stars and high praise if you’re not inclined, but only for a heartfelt opinion.

NAN: What would be your dream vacation?

KAREN: I’ve traveled quite a bit in the United States but very little outside of it. My dream vacation is an extensive trip to Europe. Also, I’d like to go to an uncrowded beach in Mexico that has big waves where I can body surf like when I was a kid in San Diego. No warm water. I find it unnatural.

NAN: What do you do in your spare time?

KAREN: I mentioned my exercise regimen. That takes a lot of time. The gym I go to has become sort of a social mecca for me. Beyond that I love to read, and I garden in the spring, summer, and fall. I can’t say I love it but I love the results of my labor —pretty flowering plants and shade trees on my half acre slice of solitude. I like getting together with my women friends. We have a Kaffee Tante group that meets monthly, organized by—you guessed it—a German lady in our midst.

NAN: Has reading a book ever changed your life? If yes, which one and how?

KAREN: Yes, my life has been changed by reading. There are so many really great books that have deeply affected me. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd and White Oleander by Janet Fitch made me almost hurt with longing to write like that. Their prose is the most beautiful ever. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls reassured me that I could overcome an impoverished childhood steeped in familial dysfunction. And indeed I have.

Find Karen on social media:

Website: http://karenginthergraham.blogspot.com/

Facebook

Twitter: @ginther_graham

Goodreads

Amazon

 

Finding Rose Rocks

When Jennifer Ellis’s business fails, she decides to leave Oklahoma in a cloud of red dust and return to her San Diego roots. Then Troy Stanhope comes along with a solution to her company’s woes, and she falls for his velvety voice and appealing confidence. As their relationship deepens, she is called to the west coast on a family matter and decides to stay for the summer. She meets a new man and is drawn to his irresistible charm. Her newfound self-awareness mingles with salty ocean breezes and eucalyptus-scented air to place her in his arms. Their liaison is heartfelt but brief, mid-life’s last hurrah. Jennifer realizes her heart is back on the southern prairie, but she may be one adventure too late.

EXCERPT:

Jennifer refused to let Ben’s ordeal revive her old jellyfish phobia. She changed into her swim suit and grabbed a towel. She’d be most visible in front of the lifeguard tower so it’s where she entered the surf and forded the mild current until she reached the choppy calm beyond the breakers.

Alone save for a curious seagull, she let the sea rock her in their guarded reunion. There were fellow creatures in the water with her but she’d ignore them and let them do the same.  Children’s squeals and deeper adult voices carried over the waves and reached her submerged ears in wavering echoes. She was at peace here. From time to time she drifted off course and a dozen lazy back strokes realigned her with the lifeguard tower.

Her astrological element was water, emotional and intuitive. She’d grown up with her mother’s belief in such quirky notions and she could never quite shake them. Troy was earth, strong and steady, grounded, of the land. Water and earth were compatible elements. She should have nurtured him, supplied him with life-giving sustenance rather than running off to let him face the summer’s drought without her.

Ben was air. She’d never asked him his sign, but she knew. He was a rare winged creature too elusive for her with his almost indiscernible touch and hint of scintillating breath on her bare breasts. She held herself to blame for his accident, at least in part. Before she’d come along he didn’t go into the ocean, instead content to stroll its shoreline. He’d wanted to be with her and followed her into her watery realm. She’d led him to danger like a siren. He’d mentioned bee stings in an off-handed way, making little of it. She should’ve honed in on the subject, asked what he carried in his faded blue backpack. The signs were there and she’d paid no attention.

Jennifer checked her position in the water, found all to be well, and returned to her thoughts. If she went back to the Lazy J Ranch, would she and Troy reunite or would she end up back in Oklahoma City where she’d started? Trading California for a cowboy? She’d have to be crazy, or crazy in love with a man whose only connection to an ocean were waves of flaxen wheat and a prairie’s endless sea of tall grass.

Something brushed her leg and she bolted upright. A piece of kelp bobbed beside her and she flung it away. She’d become chilly anyway, and made her way to shore.

Amazon

Celebrating Seasoned Romance: Peter Perrin

February16

What a treat to welcome Peter Perrin today–honestly, it’s so cool to have a guy writing romance, particularly seasoned romance!

Peter writes sweet, seasoned romances involving larger-than-life mature characters who will make you rethink your views on older people in a positive way. His characters are mature in age but not necessarily in their behavior. They may not be in the first flush of youth but that doesn’t stop some of them from acting like hormonal teenagers.

Peter was born in Romford, in the county of Essex, near London, England. For nearly twenty years he has lived with his wife of almost forty years in a quiet suburb of Swindon, in the county of Wiltshire, in England. He is a father and grandfather. He is a former member of The Royal Air Force who has served in the UK, and in Madagascar, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia. He was also stationed for two years in Aden—which nowadays is part of Yemen.

After almost fifteen-years’ service in The Royal Air Force Peter worked in Engineering, Quality Control, and Procurement Management, not to mention myriad smaller jobs in between those careers.

Now retired Peter’s interests are Writing, Carp Fishing, and (despite being in his early seventies) PC and PlayStation games.

His favorite quote is “Youth passes, but with luck, immaturity can last a lifetime.”

NAN: Tell us what you are currently working on or promoting.

My debut novel, Grace’s Turmoil, was only published in December 2017 so I am still actively promoting that. However, Grace’s Turmoil is only Book 1 in a planned series called Not Too Old for Love, and I have made a start in pulling ideas and information together for Book 2 in the series.

NAN: What genre(s) do you write in?

PETER: I write sweet contemporary romances. But, more than that they are about mature characters, so they fall into an evolving sub-genre—Seasoned Romance.

NAN: What sets you apart from other authors in your genre?

PETER: Well I would guess that is that I am probably one of the few men openly writing romance, using their own name or a male nom de plume. That and the fact that I am not only writing about mature characters but specifically those who are aged at least sixty.

NAN: Do you have an agent and/or publisher, or are you self-published?

PETER: I don’t have an agent as I didn’t go the traditional Agent/Print Publisher route. But, I do have a publisher—Devine Destinies. As Grace’s Turmoil is my first book I wanted to use a publisher so that I would have the satisfaction of knowing a professional team had found my work to be of a sufficient standard for them to take a chance on.

NAN: Is there a theme/message underlying your book(s) that you hope comes across?

PETER: There is indeed a theme/message that totally underlines the book and that will be maintained throughout subsequent books in the series. The theme is that many older people want and have romance, relationships, and sex in their lives. That, having experienced marriage and divorce or bereavement, mature people with emotional baggage can and do find love again. Or even that someone who has been single for their whole life can find love in their twilight years.

NAN: What obstacles, if any, have you encountered in being a writer?

PETER: There were a few obstacles when I started writing Grace’s Turmoil. One of those no longer exists but the others if anything are worse. The one that no longer exists is the problem of having no previous experience of any serious writing, let alone a novel. And, while that is no longer strictly true I still have a lot to learn.

The man problem is my memory, which has never been good, and which has worsened as I’ve got into my seventies. So, I constantly have to reread and recheck things that in an ideal world I would be able to instantly recall.

NAN: What do you like best/least about writing?

PETER: I love seeing ideas that come primarily from my own brain, my imagination, and my life experiences turn into a book that hopefully people will read and enjoy.  The greatest thrill has been when I have written something and on reading it over thought ‘That wasn’t supposed to be like that’ or ‘He/she wasn’t supposed to say/do that.’ In other words to have a character or characters effectively write or do what they wanted rather than what I had planned or expected.

NAN: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

PETER: That would have to be when I got the email from Devine Destinies offering me a contract to publish Grace’s Turmoil.

NAN: Would you rather read a book that is poorly written but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content, but is well written?

PETER: That’s a hard question as I would rather not read either, but I guess it would have to be the first option.  Content and a good story are crucial, and I would probably be able to read it and enjoy it even if the writing was poor. But, if I started to read a book and found the content was weak there would be no point in continuing with it. Arguably such a book couldn’t be classed as well written other than technically.

NAN: What is the hardest thing about writing a series?

PETER: I haven’t really discovered that yet as I am only just starting to scope out book 2 of the Not Too Old for Love series. But, my gut feeling is that it will be writing books that each stand alone yet are clearly part of a series and link at least some of the characters from one book to another. It will be even harder for me as all my main characters live at The Grange Retirement Village. So, from book 2 onward, I will have to find a way to let new readers know about The Grange (a 17th Century English Manor House) and the relationships between the characters that were in book 1 and are now in book 2. And, I’ll have to do that without repeating the descriptions etc. from book 1 or using great info dumps.

Find Peter all over social media and on his website:

Website: https://peterperrin.blog

Blog:  https://peterperrin.blog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/peterperrin44

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PeterPerrin44/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/peterperrin/

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/PeterPerrin

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B078J3NVHW

Grace’s Turmoil

Divorced and emotionally damaged, artist Grace Stollery wants nothing more than to spend her semi-retirement painting and let time heal her emotional scars.

But when dashing widower Alfred Nobel moves into her retirement village he turns her life upside down and her heart inside out by awakening feelings she wants to keep dormant.

Alfred quickly sets out to woo Grace and slowly she warms to him. But the village’s resident femme fatale wants him for herself. Will she succeed in driving a wedge between Alfred and Grace?

Buy Links

https://goo.gl/XWjrCB                   Amazon USA

https://goo.gl/D8uEPD                  Amazon UK

https://goo.gl/uk7Hvr                    Amazon Canada

https://goo.gl/abTdXL                   Amazon France

https://goo.gl/DFZfW8                  Amazon Germany

https://goo.gl/g8KcDB                  Amazon Italy

https://goo.gl/ZeW72Q                 Amazon Spain

https://goo.gl/WqZ2Dz                 Amazon Japan

https://goo.gl/FN2cuC                  Devine Destinies

https://goo.gl/nD7gF9                  Barnes and Noble

https://goo.gl/T621s9                   Kobo

 

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