Nan Reinhardt, Author

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

Gratitude When It’s Hard to Be Grateful


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.

We’re Not Hopeless Old Farts…Truly


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 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!

posted under Musings, This Life... | Comments Off on We’re Not Hopeless Old Farts…Truly

Late for Lent


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.

Still Rollin’ Along


Liz and Nan’s big Madison adventure continued today, but our adventurousness sorta stayed in the fiction realm. We went to breakfast, then came back to the hotel and set up in the lobby to write. We stayed put there, each of us writing and occasionally stopping to share a paragraph or ask one anothers’ opinion or discuss a word choice. Or even, ask for a word! We ended up skipping lunch and writing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It was amazing–I got a fabulous start on novel 1 for Tule and Liz–ta da!! Liz finished her book that is due to Harlequin Heartwarming on December 1!! YAY!

At 4, we closed up shop and headed to town to wander a bit–we needed to walk and breathe fresh cold Indiana air. Then we headed to the Key West Shrimp House for an early fish supper. It’s been a great writing day. Liz is delighted to have put The End to the first draft of Cass’s story and I’m pleased as I can be about the great start I have on Colin’s story. Now, we’re just hanging out in our cozy hotel room–a fire in the fireplace and the gray, gloomy day out of sight and out of mind.

It was good for me to be down here with Liz, writing and keeping my mind occupied. Today would have been my dear Dee’s 62nd birthday. All day, I’ve been thinking of her and remembering when I was down here with her when she turned 55. We had a great time at the Clifty Inn. Man, do I miss her.

But all in all, with the lovely hotel, delightful folks we’ve met, and the successful writing we’ve gotten done, we’re declaring this Writer’s Retreat a complete success! Now, we’ve got to decide where we’ll go next . . . stay tuned!


posted under Liz Flaherty, This Life..., Writer's moments | Comments Off on Still Rollin’ Along

Rollin’ . . . Um, Writin’ on the River


Hey, it’s Liz and I just took over Nan’s computer! It’s Wednesday, and I gotta say, we have written a ton of words here on the river. This afternoon, we came down to the dining area of the hotel lobby and have been here for a couple of hours. Nan’s talking about thousands of words and I’m saying “yeah, yeah, yeah….”

Liz at Lanthier WInery among the 100s of Christmas trees!

It’s been a rainy day–good day to write.

We’ve been winerying, coffeeing, and writing. It is fun. There is homesickness around the edges of the fun, always, and it’s kind of like the best of two worlds. It’s a good time traveling with a good friend and eating at all different kinds of restaurants that wouldn’t thrill our husbands, but the other side is going home to where our hearts are.

For now, though, we have more wineries and more words to roam through and discover. Hope you’re enjoying our trip! 🙂


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On the Road


We had a great day in Madison! Spent the day wandering around–fun late lunch at a coffee shop in town and then two wineries for tasting. Loved, loved The Ridge–a little winery tasting room right on the Ohio River. Delish wine, lovely hostess, and beautiful view of the river. The Ridge is actually the winery I was thinking of as I imagined the Flaherty brothers’ tasting room on the river. It lived up to all my expectations. I’m excited to use this little river town as the basis for my stories.

Liz says it’s been a fine day and she is so right. Somehow, we are the best of traveling companions. She’s crazy about our hotel, which has turned out to be such a delightful place. And she loved the Ridge Winery! We met a lovely couple of folks who were so jacked to meet “real romance authors.” We took full advantage, of course, and showered them with swag and a complimentary book each. Fun!

Right now, we’re sitting on the second-floor sun porch of the Riverboat Inn, watching the Ohio and eating our impromptu supper of cheese, crackers, bread and summer sausage and apples. We’ve had our complimentary glass of wine from the little bar downstairs and it may be time to write for a while. Here are some pics from our day–more tomorrow! Here are some pics of the day…enjoy!


A Teenager Trapped in an Old Body


So, I’m back with more body stuff, which just irritates the heck outta me. Although I’m truly okay with getting older, I really hate the physical stuff associated with aging. Flagging energy, a genetic proclivity for arthritic joints, occasional memory lapses, saggy underarms, the damn diverticulitis flares, and scary heart stuff. For some reason, even though fall is my favorite time of year, it also seems to be the time of year when body issues rear their ugly little heads. I wonder if it has anything to do with being a fall baby–maybe it’s my body’s way of acknowledging that I’m a year older. Who knows?

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Anyway, this fall, it’s my boobs that are showing their age, just like the rest of me. I had a bad mammogram, so I went back for a recheck, which showed microcalcifications in my left breast that the radiologist feels he needs to do a biopsy on. Apparently, they’re “indeterminate.” So on Monday, I’ll be having a stereotactic breast biopsy done and I can’t resist putting up the drawing that goes with the explanation of the procedure because seriously, one look at this and what else could you possibly want to know? Yikes!! I guarantee you that whatever you have planned for next Monday, you will be having a better time than me.

Believe it or not, that drawing does not show the worst part of this as far as I’m concerned. Worse even than having my boob hanging down through a hole in cold metal table and squeezed between two plates, is the fact that I’ve had to go off the anti-inflammatory med that keeps my arthritis pain at bay. I am discovering, much to my pained non-amusement, that these drugs really do work! They are what keep me moving so that my joints don’t just decide to turn in their notice. When I move, I’m good. So, I’m dealing with the pain in the best ways I know how without the meds–lots of water, keep moving, no sweets or alcohol, and prayer. I probably should’ve put prayer first on the list because it is the one thing I’m doing most of.  The good news is that only about 30 percent of these procedures show any malignancy, so I’m counting on being among the vast 70 percent whose tests come out negative for cancer. So if you have a few good-news vibes to toss my way, I’d sure appreciate them. Oh, and since I’ve brought this all up, I promise to report back when I know anything about the results.

In the meantime, here’s my gratitude for today:

  1. Husband, who is so sympathetic and helpful and loving. He’s the best.
  2. Friends who keep reassuring me with their stories about the 70%–they give me endless hope.
  3. Son, who would take on my pain if he could–God, I love my kid.
  4. Beautiful fall days, with blue, blue October skies and cool breezes.
  5. Medical innovations that make early detection possible.


ManyBooks . . . and I’m One of Them!


Hey gang, check out ManyBooks today to find lots of great deals on books, including Once More From the Top, which is still at the discounted price of just 99 cents! It’s been a wild ride these past couple of weeks as I’ve prepared for the release of  Saving Sarah Book 4 in the Women of Willow Bay series on Tuesday, September 26. I picked that day because it’s my birthday and releasing a new book seemed like the perfect way to celebrate. If you haven’t met the Women of Willow Bay yet, now’s the time to get started. I hope you’ll love Carrie and Julie and Sophie and Sarah as much as I do!

Today’s gratitude:

  • Fall is here and it’s going to cool down next week.
  • Sales are going well for OMFTT and Saving Sarah pre-orders are not bad at all.
  • Trip to CA in November is planned and I get to see my kids.
  • Kids sent an amazing early birthday gift–Weather Tech car mats! I’m way overwhelmed and grateful!
  • Husband is as thrilled as I am that I’m starting a new series–more on that as news comes in.

Make it a great day!

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Life Is . . . Settling Down . . .


. . . a little bit. Summer is nearly half over. Can you believe it? I really thought that after Dee’s memorial service, life would settle back into normal, but you know, I think that I’ve lost “normal.” Or maybe I never had it in the first place. I’m not sure anymore. Is there normal?

If anyone figures that one out, let me know.

In the meantime, here’s a scene from Saving Sarah–Book 4 in the Women of Willow Bay series. It’s currently with my editor and hopefully, very soon, we’ll have a cover to show you and a release date. This scene takes place about a week and half after she’s moved to Willow Bay. Her friends Carrie and Julie have come to her apartment because they haven’t been able to get a hold of her and they’re worried. Rightfully so. Sarah’s been holed up, but her friends have come to rescue her. Hold tight and let me know what you think, okay?

“Okay, let me look at you.” Julie closed the gap between them with three long strides. “Jesus, Sarah Jane, you look like hell. When’s the last time you ate a decent meal? Or had a shower?”

“I showered a couple of days ago, I think,” Sarah muttered, heat rising in her cheeks. Dammit, what did it matter to Julie how often she showered? Resentment flashed through her. She sure as hell didn’t need Julie and Carrie poking in, dragging strangers into her house. How often she showered was none of their affair. Neither was how much she’d been eating for that matter. “And I’ve been eating. I finished that casserole and ate the pie and salad you left me.” She gave them a nod, shoving down the anger her reasonable mind told her was silly. “Thanks, all of you, by the way.”

Julie put a finger under Sarah’s chin, gently insisting she meet her gaze. “Baby, you’ve been holed up for over a week. You’ve answered our texts, but put us off and put us off, claiming you were exhausted or had a headache or some other nonsense. I’m fairly sure you haven’t opened the door once because Noah and Margie said the place has been shut up tight since you arrived.” She didn’t even have the grace to look sheepish for having checked up on her with the Dixons. “The shutters were all closed when we got here, all the blinds are drawn—”

“And what’s the deal with the chair wedged under the back door?” Carrie called from the mudroom. She appeared in the doorway, a new bottle of laundry detergent still dangling from her fingers.

“So what’s going on? Did something else happen?” Julie led Sarah to a bar stool and practically shoved her onto it. “It’s obvious you’re frightened out of your wits, and now, you’re scaring us, too. Jesus, Sarah! Tony said you pulled a gun on him last week when he came to finish up the closet.” She peered into Sarah’s face and enunciated firmly, “Paul’s not here. He doesn’t know where you are. You’re safe.”

Sarah folded her hands on the bar, opened her mouth to speak, and shut it again. She was a mess, Julie was absolutely right, but the terror was real and she had no idea how to express it without sounding like she’d completely slipped a cog. Perhaps she had. Maybe Paul had finally sent her ’round the bend. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate in irony? She finally fought back, but lost her mind in the aftermath. She glanced around at the four women, who were all staring at her with various levels of sympathy and curiosity. “I-I . . .” The words clogged up in her throat.

How could she confess she’d spent the past few days curled up in the armchair in the bedroom because it was in the corner that faced the door so she would see anyone coming up the stairs? How did she admit that hourly she’d made the rounds of the windows and doors, assuring herself each one was securely locked? That she’d finally turned off the ringer on her cell phone because every time it rang, she nearly jumped out of her skin? That the sound of gravel crunching under car tires in the parking lot at the top of the hill sent her flying to the window to peer out between the slats of the shutters to make certain it wasn’t a black Town Car with dark-tinted windows?

Libby held up a bottle she’d pulled from a six-bottle cloth carrier. “I think we need wine. I mean it’s almost two. The sun is definitely over the yardarm somewhere.” She yanked open a drawer and took out a corkscrew. “Soph, grab some glasses.” She stopped for a moment to give Sarah a concerned smile. “Unless . . . I mean, unless you need Sophie and me to leave . . .”

Sarah gazed around for a moment before closing her eyes and pressing her fist to her mouth—the only way she could hold back a wail of anguish. These women had no idea. Just looking at them, she knew. They were clueless. They’d never known the cold brick of fear that she’d carried in her belly for so many years. Not a single one of them had ever hidden in a closet from a ranting maniac or been kicked in the ribs as she cleaned up an entire pot of hot spaghetti sauce that had been swept from the stove because it didn’t have enough basil in it; or re-ironed a shirt nine times while a monster stood behind her tightening an extension cord he’d wrapped around her neck.

So–a little peek into Sarah’s head . . .

Gratitude list:

  1. Husband, Son, Grandboy, DIL, Sister–my family. How grateful I am for them!
  2. My denomination just elected the first black woman General Minister–man I love being a part of the Disciples of Christ.
  3. The lake–always a place of peace and comfort.
  4. Richie came through his cancer surgery well and is home safe and sound.
  5. Made the decision to go indie with Saving Sarah. Big load off my mind, so now I can focus on new stories.



posted under The Women of Willow Book, This Life..., Writer's moments | Comments Off on Life Is . . . Settling Down . . .

Best Friends


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

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

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

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

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

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