Nan Reinhardt, Author

Grown-up love stories, because we're never too old for a little sexy romance…
Browsing Writer’s moments

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.

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 . . .

On 2016 . . .

December30

It’s almost the end of 2016–something I’m kinda grateful for because it’s been a crappy, crappy year. From politics to my own health, 2016 has been hard.

The politics thing is going to have to work itself out–I can’t control it nor would I choose to, but I will say that I’m happy I live in the United States, it’s a great country. However, I’m not one bit happy about our new president, but you know what? I’m not the first person to be unhappy about who got elected president of this great country and I won’t be the last. The difference is that this election has affected me more than any other has since I’ve been voting age–for the first time, I’m sad and scared for our country. Maybe time will help–I hope so. I also hope that after the inauguration, we will see this president become a strong, fair, thinking leader. I pray for his wisdom every single day and for the safety of all us. For my part, I will write my congressmen and senators, I will continue to read and learn and stay informed, I’ll pray for our nation and our leaders, and I will work to keep love and peace in my little corner of the world.

As for my health . . . well, things are better. The meds changes are helping my heart considerably. I see the cardiologist in mid-January and hopefully, I’ll get the okay to be normal again. The arthritis flare-ups are under control and I’m feeling well and strong enough to return to the gym and begin working out again, which is terrific. I’ll start slow, so I don’t irritate anything, but moving regularly will be a very good thing. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted in whatever quantities I wanted over the holidays–that will stop, too, which should help. 😉 All in all, the outlook is sunny on the health front.

Writing is a little rough right now–Sarah’s story is sorta stuck and I’m not sure why. I haven’t written in about 10 days, mostly because Nan, the writer and editor, became Nanny, grandmother deluxe. I have no problem with that. I adore Grandboy and spending time with him and Son and DIL has been wonderful. I wouldn’t change it for the world. But, I do need to restart my writing program of getting up early to write for an hour or so. That certainly worked for a couple of months. I confess also that I’m confused about where I want to go with the writing career. I think I want to find a publisher instead of self-pubbing any more of my books, but I don’t know for sure. I have so many things to consider, not the least of which is money. I’m doing okay selling books on my own–not fabulous, but I’m getting royalties every month and I know a lot of traditionally published romance authors who can’t say the same thing. But, I can’t get over feeling like I’m not a real author–I know, I know . . . I am a real author, but I guess there’s a part of me that needs the industry to acknowledge that.

Work was good in 2016–I stayed mostly with fiction editing and I have to say, I adore working with fiction authors and with the companies who publish them. It’s fun and man, there’s nothing more professionally satisfying that having a world-class, famous romance author tell their publisher, “I adored this copyeditor, and I’d love to submit a request for that person to work on all of my books in the future.” Wowza! They never know my name and that’s okay because they know I’m a good copy editor and that’s all the validation I need. Also, I’ve got a small stable of indies that I edit for and they are all good writers whom I enjoy working with and am very proud of. I’m not sure if I’ll be adding any new indies to my client list in 2017–that remains to be seen. I try to stay fluid about that because work ebbs and flows and I must bob along in the surf as best I can, but for now, I’m all good and looking forward to a great new year of editing.

I guess that’s it. Except for gratitude–always, always I remain grateful for the many blessings in my life–here are just a few:

  1. Husband, Son, DIL, and Grandboy and Sister, who light up my life with joy.
  2. My dear friends (you know who you are), who will always laugh and cry with me–I love you all.
  3. A warm home and plenty to eat in a world where so many don’t have even those necessities.
  4. Important work to do.
  5. A church home that fills my spirit.
posted under An Editor's Life, Gratitude, Musings, This Life..., Writer's moments | Comments Off on On 2016 . . .

Still Here, Still Grateful

November17

Nancy's MI trip 077 whiteriver07These are pictures of the lighthouse at Point Betsie in Frankfort, MI–the town Willow Bay is based on. Remember this lighthouse–it will show up in Sarah’s story and in Libby’s, too–the Women of Willow Bay books currently in progress.

I’m behind, as usual, but with good reasons . . . well, okay, decent excuses. I confess gratitude comes hard after this election because I’m sad and scared. But, sad and scared is no way to live. Neither is angry, so I’m working very hard to remember that I live in a great country. America is already great and we’ve survived this long because of our diversity and creativity and our mutual respect for one another. We can do this. We can. Son and I were talking about how folks have compared this situation with Germany in the late thirties and although, I get why the comparison is being made, I’m not convinced it’s a valid one. First of all, nothing gets hidden in this country thanks to social media, 24-hour news cycles, and cell phones with cameras. Second, our president-elect is not a stupid man–he knows he can’t turn this country on its ear without getting a lot of push-back from the citizens. I pray he finds wise counsel.

Also, Son and I were talking the other day–okay, moaning, but nonetheless, I said that I hope 9/11 showed us that we don’t have to be run over by hatred and craziness. Seriously? Do you think anyone could hijack a plane and fly it into a building in the United States today? I don’t think so. We have locks on cockpit doors now, as well as other safeguards, but also, I don’t think a single passenger would ever let that happen again, even at the risk of their own lives. I wouldn’t. Would you? That’s why I don’t think comparing us to 1930s Germany is fair. The world is different now–in some more dangerous, but in others, better, smarter, more caring.

So, here are seven days worth of gratitude . . .

  1. I’m healthy and strong.
  2. In the same vein (no pun intended), the CT scan showed that my carotid arteries are only 0 to 10% blocked, which is fabulous for a woman my age. Fabulous for anyone really.
  3. My darling daughter-in-law is having a birthday on Saturday–we’re blessed to have her in our lives and we’re thankful for how much she loves Son and what a great mom she is to Grandboy. We love you, baby!
  4. Gertie, the immobilizer boot on my foot, and I are tolerating each other pretty well.
  5. I’m learning to sit still.
  6. The blanket I’m knitting is coming along wonderfully–a picture next time I post, I promise.
  7. Fall has been lovely–warm days and crisp, cool nights.
  8. Husband–just because I’m so lucky to be loved by the most amazing man on the planet.
  9. IRWA Retreat was a fun time of fellowship with other writers.
  10. IRWA Retreat was also a great time with one of my dearest besties–hugs to you, Lizzie! You are the most delightful of traveling companions–I look forward to many more trips together.
  11. I got to know a new writer friend at Retreat–always a pleasure.
  12. The new book is continuing at a merry clip–this weekend, I’ll do a little bit of timeline work and plotting, although I know where I’m going. The trick is not to rush it, but also not get bogged down–it’s a tightrope sometimes!
  13. Son, DIL, and Grandboy are doing well–busy, busy lives, but they’re all good and when they’re good, I’m good.
  14. Dee is out of the hospital and yesterday we celebrated her 61st birthday–something neither of us thought would happen. Right now, I’m holding onto this fact–she’s still here. What a miracle!

Just a bonus: I’m so very thankful for all the dear friends who care about me and my well-being. I saw it clearly yesterday when I had to make several phone calls to let folks know the results of the CT scan. I am a blessed woman.

posted under Gratitude, Liz Flaherty, Musings, The Women of Willow Book, This Life..., Writer's moments | Comments Off on Still Here, Still Grateful

Writing MoJo

November6

bootIn all the crap going on in my life right now, writing is the one thing keeping me sane–well, writing and Husband, who has been amazing and supportive. He deals with my fears and my little stupid meltdowns and is taking on more of the household responsibilities since standing on the damn boot I have to wear on my broken foot makes my hip hurt. At the moment, my body and I are working at cross-purposes in my life, but as far as I understand it, everything happening with my health is pretty much fixable, so I suppose I should chill and ride it all out. Honestly, I’m kinda ashamed that I’m such a whiny brat about it all when I think of my darling Dee and what she deals with everyday. Remembering her struggle is pretty much all it takes for me to get over myself.

The writing continues, much to my amazement. I’m still getting up every morning and putting in the hour, at least, sometimes longer, depending on when I get started and when Husband wakes up. I’m even doing it here at the lake, which means I’m writing in the bedroom while he sleeps just a few feet away, instead of in my office down the hall at home.

The story is coming along, I guess. Hard to tell because I’m not editing as I write, I’m just writing. Sort of my own version of NaNoWriMo? This is entirely different from my usual M.O. of editing what I wrote the day before when I sit down to work. My poor critique partner is getting pretty raw material right now, but she’s hanging in there. (Merci Cheryl Brooks!) I’m about a third of the way through the story and I actually needed to create a timeline and character list, just to make sure I’m staying on track. There are a couple of things going on with Sarah and I’m working on figuring out what to do next . . . she and Tony need to get started. Hmmmm…

fall at the lakeI meant to start a November Gratitude list here on November 1, but it’s me, so I’m starting on November 6 instead. So today’s list has twelve things I’m grateful for since my idea was to list two things each day. Ready? Here we go:

  1. Beautiful November fall–it’s been crisp and temperate and colorful.
  2. Husband, without whom I’d be simply tossed around in the sea of mischief that seems to be my life right now. He anchors me.
  3. My BFFS–life would be impossible without them.
  4. Sister–I miss her. She’s in CA, drinking wine and visiting her kids and just generally having a better time than I am right now.
  5. Writing
  6. Work–I love my work.
  7. Geocaching fun with Rich and Moe–sure has been great!
  8. Knowing what’s wrong with my foot and getting it fixed. The boot is pain, but not as much as the actual pain, so it’s a win.
  9. Docs who can fix things that are wrong–they make up for insurance companies who rape you.
  10. The election is almost here–thank heaven. No matter the outcome, at least it will be over.
  11. The lake, which always settles me.
  12. Coffee–man, I love coffee.

I Did It . . . And I’m Still Doing It

October27

me-writingMan, I’m amazed. I did it. Twenty-one days, I hauled my happy butt out of that nice warm bed, trotted right to my office, and sat down and wrote. I didn’t stop to make coffee or get dressed or check email or social media. I wrote. Final word tally for three weeks is just over 22,000 words.

So, what’s the takeaway? First of all, I can do it—I can write. That’s a biggie because I’d pretty much convinced myself I was no longer much of a writer. Life got in the way and I let it. I think that happens to all of us, don’t you? Illness, death of a loved one, finances, jobs, family responsibilities, housekeeping—it all distracts us. And of course the first thing we allow to drop off our plate is the one thing we love doing the most. Is that a woman thing or a human being thing? I’m not sure, I should probably get Husband’s take on that one, although now that I think of it, I see Son doing the same thing. He’s overwhelmed with work, family, caring for a home, being a husband, parenting a young child, trying to finish up his PhD. Music, which he loves, gets done in spurts instead of every day. It’s not a priority. Pleasure’s the only reason to play guitar, so it can wait. It must be an adult thing . . .

Second, I’ve wondered frequently in the last couple of years whether writing is worth the effort when I’m so frustrated with ads and promotions and trying to figure out ways to get my books in front of a larger audience without spending a small fortune. In May, at Spring Fling, I pitched the Women of Willow Bay to some traditional publishers and every single one requested to see a full of the first book, synopses of the other two, and a proposal for the rest. So far, I can’t say the results have been very spectacular. One editor turned the series down, although she repeatedly told me how “wonderful” my writing is; another is mildly interested in the last two books that I haven’t put out as an indie yet; and publisher #3 has pretty much ignored me. But you, know, after twenty-one days of writing every day, I can say that yes, it’s worth the effort. So, I’ll probably try some other publishers while I’m writing Sarah and Libby’s stories. I’m even considering a Christmas novella for next year so I can tell Jack Reilly’s story as he graduates from Julliard and goes out into the world. Who knows?

And third . . . yeah, there is a third, but it has nothing at all to do with writing. It has to do with proving to myself that I’m not losing my ability to focus and commit, which is something that I’ve worried about since Dee got sick and David died and CL was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Kate died and my body has started to sometimes feel like it’s ninety-three years old. For the past couple of years, sticking to anything except work has been hard. I’ve promised myself so many different times that I was going to maintain a diet, an exercise regimen, a housecleaning schedule; that I’d go to the gym regularly, that I’d swim in the lake or walk the shore every day, that I’d get on my bike or get the damn gardens weeded every week or . . . well, you get the picture. But it wasn’t happening and I was feeling more and more like somehow, I’d lost control of the disciplined person I once was. Well, she’s still in there—go figure, and I’m doing a little internal squee that she hasn’t abandoned me completely.

Can I keep it up from now on? Maybe. Dunno—I guess we’ll just take it day-by-day. That seems to be working out so far . . . at least it has for the last three weeks. Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

15 Days and Counting . . .

October19

print-booksA quick report on the 21-Day Writing Challenge that I’m doing in between editing gigs, blogs that need to be written, last-minute IRWA Retreat duties, physicals, flu shots, laundry, getting the lake cottage ready for winter , cleaning the city house . . . aw, hell, there’s no cleaning going on. At this point in time, I’m lucky to be getting laundry done and meals made. Good news is that I’ve written for at least an hour every single morning for the last sixteen days, averaging about 800 to 900 words a day. It feels so good to be writing. I don’t know if what I’m writing is complete crap, but I’m not stopping to edit, I’m just pushing through. The story is there and it’s coming. We’ll worry about revisions when it’s done.

irwa-logoI’m crazy excited about the IRWA Retreat coming up in less than a month! Liz and I are in charge this year and we’re doing something different. We’ve gotten a great response from members with about 24 registered for the event–sure hope they like what we’ve decided to do!

Well, I’m off to edit and then edit and then edit some more! Glad for the work though, it pays the bills. Plus, I’m very grateful to be editing fiction almost exclusively now. The books are fun!

posted under An Editor's Life, Musings, The Women of Willow Book, This Life..., Writer's moments | Comments Off on 15 Days and Counting . . .

Checking In . . .

October13

21-days. . . with my 21-Day Writing Challenge. It’s Day 10 and I have gotten up every day between 6 and 6:30 a.m. and written for at least one hour. Sometimes I get so involved that I’ve written for an hour and a half without realizing it. I’m surprised I’ve made it halfway through without missing a day–that may not sound like much of accomplishment, but given the chaos of the last couple of years of my life, it’s big stuff. Altogether, I’ve managed to get down 9,625 new words on Sarah’s story–an average of about 800 words each day–which brings the story to a little under 14K words. Given that a month ago, I was telling Lizzy that I was sick to death of the Women of Willow Bay and wanted to write something brand new, I don’t think that’s too shabby.

At first, getting up was hard–as I said before Husband is warm and cuddly and it’s still dark at 6:30 in the morning, but today was a milestone because I wanted to get up. I woke up thinking about the story and where I was headed next and making a mental list of some things I want to research when I take a break from work later on this afternoon. Could this be the beginning of a new habit? Who knows? But I remain hopeful. 😉

bob-dylanIn other news, congratulations to Bob Dylan for winning a Nobel Prize in Literature for his body of songwriting. That’s pretty cool. He’s only the second American to win a Nobel Prize for Literature–Toni Morrison was the other in 1993.

I got to Skype with my boys last night, which always brings me no end of joy–they both seemed happy and healthy and we giggled while Grandboy pulled out the contents of a goodie bag he’d gotten a birthday party at school. I love how four-year-olds are delighted over the smallest things. I think I need to work at being more easily delighted. Maybe we all should.

lawsThing that are delighting me today: New plantation blinds throughout the entire lake cottage–they look amazing! Dinner last night with Rich and Moe–good food and great fellowship. The sky is October blue this morning after yesterday’s rain and the air is crisp and very cool so I’ll get to wear a sweatshirt all day–nice! We’ve had fresh pears the last three mornings and they’re perfect and delicious. Right now, pears are my favorite treat.

posted under Gratitude, Liz Flaherty, The Women of Willow Book, This Life..., Writer's moments | Comments Off on Checking In . . .
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