Nan Reinhardt, Author

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

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

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)

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

Saturday Is Sunny

March11

It’s sunny today–cold, but sunny. We’ve been spoiled by spring weather in winter this year, so this sudden switch to normal temperatures is making us all a little whiny. But you know, I don’t mind the cold so much. The air is crisp and clean–with the sun shining, the chill isn’t quite so biting.

I’m deep into the second week of being off social media and I’m still alive. Actually, being away from Facebook and Twitter is much lonelier than I ever imagined it would be. I’m not sure why, but in my head, the hiatus would mean that people would email and text me and check in here. But they’re not. I’m rather silly to expect that. Facebook is an easy check-in–just click Like and friends know you’re there and that you’re okay with whatever they’ve posted. Comments are even nicer unless someone is trashing you, but even so, it’s acknowledgement, right? Apparently, I’m more of an attention junkie than I believed myself to be. Who knew?

Writing goes along–I’m working with my crit partners on Sarah’s story and I think I may be figuring out where to go next. I toyed with the idea of not having any sex in this book and I confess the reason was I’m not crazy about writing those scenes. I thought I could maybe get away with it because of Sarah’s aversion to all things physical–she was abused in every way by her ex-husband. But the amazing Cheryl Brooks, who is one of my critique partners, pointed out that I would disappoint my readers if I didn’t have Tony and Sarah make love. Fans of the Women of Willow Bay books have come to expect some level of sensuality, so I’m going to put in a love scene . . . She’s right of course–my WOWB happily-ever-afters depend on sensual loves scenes. But I need to be very aware of Sarah’s issues when I write it.

In the meantime, here’s a taste of Tony and Sarah’s budding romance. Their first date is dinner, a walk along the jetty, and then a trip to the shooting range so Sarah can learn to use her new pistol–what Julie later refers to as a “cop date.” 😉 Sarah revealed some of what happened to her when she was married, and Tony can’t hide his fury at her ex-husband. She interprets his anger as judgement of her and tells him to go screw himself, but he chases after her to explain that he’s not judging her–that he never would.

Tony dug his toes into the sand, his heart heavy as he imagined a defeated, grieving Sarah fleeing the home that had turned into her worst nightmare.

Dear God in heaven.

Now he’d blown it. He’d be lucky if she ever spoke to him again. She’d probably leave Willow Bay and he’d never see her after tonight. “I didn’t mean to hurt you or frighten you . . .” He hung his head. “Jesus. Those are the very words I never ever wanted to have to say to you, and here I am saying them on our first date. I like you. I like you so much and . . . God, I’m a jerk.” He put one hand out. “Here, let me take you home.”

Silence stretched between them, widening the gulf he was sure was getting bigger with every word he uttered. At last she sighed. “I believe you’re not judging me, Tony. I-I’m not used to normal men, to normal male reactions.” She stepped closer to him, reaching out to touch his arm before snapping her hand back. “And I’m prickly, especially when I talk about . . . then. I struggle everyday with the fact that I’m a victim. I hate it.”

Were a victim,” he corrected, longing to tug her into his arms or at the very least, take her hand. “You are a strong woman, Sarah Reynolds.”

“Not so much.” She gave him the faintest of smiles. “I’m mostly a basket case—hopped up on mood-enhancing drugs and just trying to make it through each day without screaming like a banshee.”

Encouraged by the smile, however faint, Tony extended his arms toward the sky. Time to bring in some levity. If he was emotionally exhausted, poor Sarah had to be drained. “You feeling the need to scream right now? I’ve been told I can sometimes incite that urge. Hey, we can stand here and howl at that puny-ass moon if you want.” He threw his head back and let out a low coyote yowl, side-eyeing Sarah the entire time and praying he hadn’t ruined their tentative friendship.

* * * *

Sarah stared in disbelief as Tony took a deep breath and let out another howl that echoed over the bay. The silver threads in his salt-and-pepper hair shone in the lights the lined the sidewalk to the beach and she clenched her fists to keep from stroking the strands that curled over his shirt collar. Inanely, the thought occurred to her that he could use a haircut. Dimples bracketed his grin when he glanced over at her and nodded.

Dammit, he was handsome. Not suave, sophisticated handsome, but good-looking in a rugged, plaid-flannel-and-denim kind of way. He exuded gentleness, and even at his angriest, he would never hurt a living soul. She realized that now as she studied him standing there at the edge of the water yipping at the moon. Tony Reynard was the kind of man you instinctively trusted even if you were a woman who’d never consider trusting any man again . . . ever.

“Come on, join in,” he said. “It’s very cathartic . . . and kinda fun.”

“Um, I’m not all that much of a howler,” she said, even though the idea was intriguing. How many times in her life had she wished she could let go and wail? She’d never done it—not once in all the years of her marriage . . . or after.

Maintaining an iron clamp on her emotions was what kept her sane. If she let herself howl, she might not ever be able to stop, and then they’d surely lock her up in a rubber room forever. “Besides, there are people down there.” With a little jerk of her head, she indicated a group gathered around a beach fire in the distance.

“Nobody cares. Hell, I’m surprised they haven’t already joined in.” The words were barely out of his mouth when a yowl that sounded like a wounded hyena, followed by laughter came from the direction of the bonfire.

He chuckled. “See?” He howled again, grinning as several of the beach partiers responded in kind.

“I seriously wonder about this town.” Ambling closer to Tony, she put her head back and let out quiet yelp. She sounded pretty pitiful, so she took a deep breath, opened her arms, and gave it another try. This one came out more like an owl’s hoot, however her effort got an answering cheer from the group in the distance, most of whom were on their feet, dancing, yowling, and whooping. When she glanced at Tony, he was beaming at her like a proud father whose kid had just hit a home run in the little league championship game. She faced him, turning her palms up in a self-conscious shrug. “I imagine I’ll learn to howl better.”

“You howl just fine, Sarah Reynolds.” Tony extended his hand. “Come on, wanna go shoot some bad guys?”

Let me know what you think . . .

Knitting: You’re Doing It Wrong . . .

March6

I went on a girls’ getaway with my friend CL this past weekend–it was nice. We hadn’t done anything like that for quite a while, so just spending time together was a treat. We went to an author event, saw some of a new city, had some good dinners, shared a couple of bottles of decent Riesling, and played cards while we caught up on each others’ lives.

We also went to a knitting store–a cutesy place that sells fancy expensive yarn that I would be terrified to touch at my current skill level. I’m a rank beginner, so I happily buy my yarn at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. Not that I don’t appreciate gorgeous yarn–I certainly do, but $25+ per skein is way out of my financial comfort zone. And I’m really not enough of a devoted knitter to drool over fancy alpaca or silk yarns. But it was fun to wander through the shop and touch the threads and see the lovely things that folks have made.

One sour note–one of the women who worked in the store really got after me because I’m knitting left-handed. She believes I’d be a better knitter if I learned to do it right-handed. Um . . . okay, but here’s the thing. I’m left-handed. It took me weeks, literally, to master the two simple knitting stitches of knit and purl. I watched YouTube videos, I read instruction books, I practiced and ripped out and practiced and ripped out again and again. Truthfully, it was hard. I’m not a crafty person at all–that’s not my gift, so none of this comes naturally to me. Being left-handed is just one more handicap to my being a gifted knitter.

So to do something like knitting for my own pleasure means that I have to do it the way I’m comfortable doing it. I’m probably not ever going to be knitting Fair Isle sweaters or gorgeous alpaca socks or mittens. But I can make baby blankets and scarves and dishrags and maybe even one day, an afghan. To be honest, it was a little demoralizing to be told that I’ve been doing it wrong. Sorta sucked some of the pleasure out of the creative process for me. I don’t want to re-learn how to knit. I’m perfectly happy knitting left-handed, so sorry, lady. I’m glad you’re knitting amazing garments–I respect your talent. But, I’m going to keep knitting in my own awkward left-handed way. I think my baby blankets will keep my new great-nephews and nieces perfectly warm and my dishrags will wash dishes just fine and my scarves will look fabulous even though they’ve been knitted “wrong.”

Day Two

March2

I’ve decided not to think of this hiatus from social media as “going dark.” Rather, I’m going to consider it stepping back into the light.

Here’s the thing. I have a tendency to be a hermit–particularly in the winter. I write, I work on editing gigs, I knit, I binge-watch shows on Netflix, and I spend way too much time on Facebook and Twitter. Oh, it’s not that I don’t go anywhere at all. I have the occasional lunch with my friends, I do go the pool at least twice a week, I go up to see Dee, and Husband and I do things like the rare movie out and going to the grocery. We go to church on Sundays and sometimes get together with Sister PJ and her husband for supper. But mostly, I’m here in the house and I spend time cruising Facebook and Twitter.

I haven’t been on either for a little over 36 hours. Yesterday wasn’t too bad because I spent the afternoon with Dee and our buddy Di, and then Husband and I headed up to church for Ash Wednesday services. But when I got home last night, after I had a few minutes on the phone with Son, I immediately thought about checking social media. But I couldn’t, of course. So instead, I knitted and watched some Acorn TV. Not a great substitute, I’ll grant you–I should’ve been writing. But I didn’t want to write. I was processing the time with Dee and I needed to escape into something that required no thought.

Another thing is that I’m really curious about how I appear on Facebook since I deactivated my account–am I not showing as anyone’s friend anymore? Can you tag me? Can you still see my posts? If someone wants to answer that for me in a comment, I’d sure appreciate it. 😉

So in the interest of being in the light, this weekend, CL and I are heading up north to spend a girly weekend together, which we haven’t done in ages, and I’m so excited about that! Our treat is that we’re having lunch with an amazing Regency romance author, Eloisa James, and then going to an event at the local library. As it happens, I do the copy edits on her novels for her publisher, Avon Books. I can’t wait to meet her–she is a terrific writer and working on her books is pure editorial bliss.

So . . . there’s the first report on my Lenten sacrifice. I think it would be good to end these check-ins with a gratitude list, don’t you?

  1. Husband, Son, DIL, and Grandboy–they always bring light to my life.
  2. Good friends–you know who you are.
  3. Pastor Diane, who’s smile is so lovely. I appreciate how much she sees and how much she cares.
  4. Sunshine today–well, sorta.
  5. Coffee–man, I love coffee.

Going Dark (Cross-posted)

February28

I’m going dark. That sounds way more ominous than it is, kids. Fact is, every year, I make a sacrifice at Lent and this year, I’ve chosen to give up Facebook and Twitter for Lent—which begins tomorrow, March 1. Here’s the thing. I need a break—not just from social media, but from getting all my news from social media, from the post-election/new administration fear, frustration, and rancor, and from my own attachment to all of that.

For forty days, I’m going to get my news from NPR, PBS, and other news outlets. For forty days, I’m going to blog on my own website—maybe not every day, but regularly. For forty days, I’m going to email and text and telephone my friends for updates, and I hope they’ll stay in touch with me off social media. For forty days, I’m going to use my computer, laptop, and phone for work and writing, not for cruising around Facebook and being outraged on Twitter. It’s time for me to stop and Lent feels like the right moment.

My current goal for this time off is to finish book four in the Women of Willow Bay series—Sarah’s story—and get well-started on my new book—Hallie and Tim’s story. They’re not part of the Willow Bay books because honestly, I need a break from Willow Bay too. I have a bunch of other story ideas floating around on scraps of paper, in my head, and in a folder on my computer aptly labeled Story Ideas. I’ll also have plenty of work, so I’ll be editing as well.

I’m going to go to lunch with my sister, keep going to the pool, enjoy time with Husband, and make a trip out West to spend time with our kids. I want to do some geocaching (totally geeky fun!), open up the lake cottage, knit (I have two nephews who are going to become first-time dads this year and I almost have one baby blanket done.), meet with my writing group, spend time with Dee, and gather with friends at every opportunity. I’m looking forward to keeping in touch the old-fashioned way.

I don’t do this lightly—I’ve given it a great deal of thought and honestly, it’s going to be really hard. I’m ashamed to tell you what a difficult time I had when I removed FB and Twitter from my phone a couple of months ago. But that move was preparation for this one. This is a different kind of Lent sacrifice than my usual giving up chocolate or wine—this is taking an entire part of my reality and setting it aside for forty days and frankly, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stand it. But, the upside is I know lots of people who live perfectly happy lives without Facebook and Twitter, so we’ll see . . .

I’ll still be at Word Wranglers every Tuesday, possibly curled up in a fetal position, suffering from FB and Twitter withdrawal. I’ll also be here sharing the experience with regular posts, and I’ll still be checking out my favorite podcasts and websites, including Chipperish.com. Can’t wait for LaniDiane Rich’s first “Jed Bartlet Is My President” podcast, which drops March 8. YAY! Feel free to email me if you want to talk—all the ways to get in touch are here on my website, so come on in and get comfortable. Let’s have a cup of coffee–maybe even a glass of wine–and talk. So glad you stopped by!

posted under This Life... | Comments Off on Going Dark (Cross-posted)

Chipperish Is Coming!

February25

So excited that my friend and editor, Lani Diane Rich has started a new podcast network called Chipperish Media! She is an amazing podcaster and delightful to listen to, so I know her podcasts will be terrific and I can’t wait for the first one, which drops March 8! It’s “Jed Bartlet Is My President,” and she and Daphne Olive will be talking about the pilot episode of The West Wing! Check it out and be sure to tune in on March 8–if you like what you hear, support Chipperish Media on Patreon–you’ll be so glad you did! Here’s a quick teaser for Jed Bartlet Is My President. I’m headed to Netflix–time to start rewatching Season One of The West Wing.

posted under Chipperish Media, My Favorite Podcasts, This Life... | Comments Off on Chipperish Is Coming!
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