Nan Reinhardt, Author

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

Wine, Writing & Romance

August29

What’s more fun that doing a book-signing at a winery? Not much. My writing BFF Liz Flaherty and I did just that on Saturday and we had a ball. The good folks at Whyte Horse Winery, in the little lake town where Husband and I have our cottage, opened their doors to us and our readers. We had wine and snacks and books and wine and lemonade and wine and did I mention we had wine? It was wonderful getting to meet readers and answering their questions about writing. Our husbands acted as cashiers while we sold and signed books. Good buddy Maureen was a lovely hostess for us, setting up cookie trays, greeting guests, and inviting them to fill out a slip to win the tote full of goodies we were giving away.

A delightful reader named Terri (she’s the second one from the right on our picture above) won the tote and all fun stuff in it–wine, wineglasses, wine charms, apple butter, apple and wine kitchen towels, earrings, books, a candle . . . lots of cool things for her to remember our event by. It was so fun to see our readers, who were mostly strangers to one another, bond over wine and romance novels. Another big score for love . . . and wine!

All in all, it was a very successful day and Liz and I both appreciated the opportunity to introduce readers to our current books and the new ones we have releasing soon! Not sure when our next event will be, but I’ll keep you posted! Until then, as always, mes amies, remember, hold your face to the sun, be grateful for all things, and love well.

Nan

Monday, Monday

August6

Remember when Mondays meant starting a new work or school week? When the weekend was over and reality hit? I have a confession–since Husband’s been retired, I never know what day it is. Seriously, I don’t. Most of the time I couldn’t tell you whether it was Sunday or Thursday.

It’s worse at the lake because every day at the lake feels like Saturday. Weird phenomenon, but it’s true. The only way I can keep track of anything happening during the summer is to consult my trusty Google calendar. It may get easier beginning this week because Grandboy starts school on August 8, which I happen to know is Wednesday, but I only know this because DIL and I had a conversation about how odd it was to start school on a Wednesday.

Grandboy in school means that the kids will only be at the lake on weekends from now until time to close up the cottages, unless he has an off Friday or Monday. Then I’ll be confused again.

So here’s the thing. Husband loves the freedom of not caring what day of the week it is. Heck, he loves not even knowing what time it is! He took his watch off the day he retired and he hasn’t worn it since. I work at home–on a deadline, but it’s a nebulous this book is due back to the publisher on a date two or three weeks out kind of deadline. So, although I have to know my deadline date, I don’t need to know specifically what day today is.

I need to get more attuned to what day of the week it is however, because I’m going to start promotion for my new Four Irish Brothers Winery series from Tule Publishing soon. I’ll be blog touring and posting hither and yon about Conor and Sam’s book, A Small Town Christmas, which releases October 29. That happens to be a Monday–I looked it up.

So talk to me, do you always know what day it is? Do you care what day it is? Retirement means not having to care, but there’s also a certain amount of security in knowing that today is Monday.

Until next time, mes amies, remember, hold your face to the sun, be grateful for all things, and love well.

Nan

posted under An Editor's Life, Lake life, Musings, This Life... | Comments Off on Monday, Monday

Getting Older or Better?

June3

Seems like this year, June is going to start out with an emotions overload. Yesterday was sister Kate’s birthday. She’d have been 67 and we lost her way too soon. I was so counting on becoming feisty senior citizens with my sisters, like my Nana and her sister Alice. They were so funny and got on one another’s nerves and loved each other with all their hearts. I thank God I still have PJ to make those kinds of memories with–we’ve promised each other we’ll live to an old age and drive each other crazy.  I’m counting on you, PJ!

Today is the celebration of life service for my friend and neighbor, Bon–she passed in April (another victim of evil cancer), but her family decided to have the service today on what would have been her and David’s 56th wedding anniversary. I confess to wishing they’d simply had it back in April because Tuesday is the first anniversary of Dee’s death and I’m already feeling bereft at the thought.

But you know, I think there’s a chance that this may be the new normal for me because I’m getting to the age where friends die. People are living longer because medical science is keeping diseases like cancer at bay longer and we are better at taking care of ourselves. The fact is, though, that I’m almost 65 years old and that’s senior in anyone’s book. Right now, I feel old because my body hurts from switching up my exercise and my arthritis is screaming at me, but I don’t want to be old. Well, not old and sick anyway.

So to answer the question in the title of this post–I think I want to get older and better. I want to be that fascinating old lady that people want to get to know better because man, she’s a little crazy and a lot of fun. I want to write romantic books and swim in the lake and go boating and play with the Grandboy and enjoy Husband and Son and DIL and my friends. I want to find a place to volunteer this winter and be of help to someone other than myself. I want to learn more about everything and taste some different wine and learn to cook some new and exotic dishes. I’m not done yet, not nearly done. Yeah, I’m getting older, but I’m also getting better . . . and that’s okay. That’s okay.

 

 

Once a Month Works…Right?

April30

Yeah, it’s been a month since my last post here. Frankly, it’s been a crazy month where life happened while I was making other plans. Mostly, I’ve been writing. I’m on a deadline and so that’s been where every writing moment has been spent. When I wasn’t writing my own book, I was editing someone else’s. Been a busy month for Editor Nan–good news because, you know, they’re paying me and there is that damn $1K/month health insurance bill that has to be paid. But between work and writing, I’ve pretty much been a hermit. I did get to meet up with my bestie/writing buddy and we had a writing day at the library in the town in between the lake and her house. It was grand to spend time with her!

In other news, we got the lake cottage open for the season and it’s been grand to work and write there. Our kids have been up and that’s been double fun because Son is just nuts about the lake, DIL is fast becoming quite the little lake girl, and Grandboy loves all things lake. He’s kind of getting into fishing–lots of curiosity about it, so Poppy and Daddy took him down to try out the new bait net this past weekend, and he was delighted to be able to hold a crappie in his hands. In fact, the kids are turning into such lake people that they decided to buy a summer place, too. We are beyond thrilled that they’ll be just down the road from us. Isn’t that fun?

 

When we “decorated” the lake cottage (and I use the term decorated very loosely), I used some old photographs that my MIL gave us. I framed them in black and white frames and hung them collage-style in the living room. Old pictures of Husband at the lake with his grandparents back in the ’50s and ’60s and several of Son when he was kid at the lake in the ’80s and ’90s. Husband figured out that Grandboy is the sixth generation of Reinhardt to be at our lake. Isn’t that cool? To commemorate that, I’m going to use the three photos below to make a 3-picture framed set for both us and the kids–aren’t these darling? My little fishermen!

All in all, life is hard, life is good, life is sad, life is joyful, life is busy, life is lovely… how about you? What’s news?

 

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.

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

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)

Three More Days of Thankful

November20

img_5964It’s Sunday and we’re closing up the lake cottage for the winter season, which means draining all the pipes and pumping in antifreeze, packing up all the food, storing all the deck furniture, making the place as unwelcome to mice and other rodents as we can, and covering the furniture with dust sheets. It’s bittersweet. I love being at the lake, it is unquestionably our escape from real life and we work hard to keep it that way.

In the past, when November came around, we were pretty much ready to stop making the drive and spend winter in the city. This year . . . well, not so much and I’m not really sure why. Perhaps it’s because we stayed longer each time we came up this summer–often at least a week–which allowed us to “settle in” more. Maybe it’s just that we’re ready for a simpler life in a small town. But we have so much in the citywe’d miss–family, friends, our church home, access to lots of culture, and our docs, who’ve become more important as we’re aging. Ugh. The lake is lovely, but the little resort town depends on the summer folk and tourists, so winters here would be long and . . . uneventful, and neither of us are snowbird material.

fireplaceFortunately, there’s no hurry for us to make any life-changing choices and we’ve decreed this winter to be drama-free. No big decisions or changes. Just long cozy days together by the fire, reading (both of us) and writing (me) and binge-watching British television (both of us again because we are British TV addicts). We’ll see what next summer brings . . .

Here’s my gratitude list for three days:

  1. The lake.
  2. Our dear, dear lake friends–how we will miss them over the winter!
  3. Brisk weather–I really do like winter!
  4. Supper with the gang last night at a pub in the next town over–fun!
  5. Knitting–I’m getting better at it and as I get more proficient, it’s becoming more fun. I promise pics of the baby blanket I’m making when it’s done.
  6. The fascinating book I’m reading right now about the Dakota apartment building in New York and all its past and present occupants.

What’s in store for you this winter?

posted under Gratitude, Lake life, Musings, This Life... | Comments Off on Three More Days of Thankful
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