Nan Reinhardt, Author

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

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!
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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 . . .

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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 . . .

JED BARTLET IS MY PRESIDENT

March8

Jed Bartlet is My President

Today is March 8th, and it’s launch day for Lani Diane Rich’s newest podcast JED BARTLET IS MY PRESIDENT! #JBIMP! I’m celebrating by listening to the podcast and then binge-watching Season 1 of THE WEST WING on Netflix!

It’s a good day, kids. Let’s have fun.


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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!

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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.

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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.
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A Heartening Tale

December13

Man, I’d so love to write an update blog that has nothing whatsoever to do with my health–sadly, it’s not this one. But happily, there is good news to report. I haven’t shared this particular issue on social media, mostly because I’m kinda sick of my own issues, but also because I’m trying to keep social media a happy place where I talk about writing and books.

About three weeks ago, maybe a month, I started having dizziness and chest discomfort–ack! I’ve been really tired for about a year and have chalked that up to grief and other body issues that we won’t go into and of course to my fat butt, which I blame everything on. The old, “if I just lose weight, this *** (you fill in any old symptom) will go away. Well, I lost 30 pounds, but the tiredness got worse and I developed diverticulitis (now well under control, thanks to smarter eating), then the arthritis started acting up, the doc sent me for some carotid studies after my last physical (they were fine), and then I broke my foot . . . yeah, 2016 has been a bad year–I’ve been a mess.

So when the dizziness and chest stuff started, I just figured, the heart attack I’d been expecting since my mom died twenty-eight years ago had finally shown up. A trip to the ER two weeks ago showed that although I’ve got a funky arrhythmia going on, I was not having heart attack. But I was already medicated for the arrhythmia, so what was up? The day after the ER, I went to see my cardiologist and she ordered a Holter monitor and a chemical stress test–no treadmill because of my left blocked bundle branch. Apparently, that issue makes it hard to get an accurate stress test reading. Okay, so I did the tests last week–but I’m still dizzy!!  (Not that I expected the tests to fix the symptoms.)

Yesterday, we had a consultation about the test results and turns out, the stress test showed I had a small anterior apical perfusion defect and hypokinesis of the anterior apical wall. I won’t make you Google that–basically it was saying I had decreased contraction in one small part of my heart. That result combined with the dizziness, chest discomfort, and fatigue made the cardiologist decide that a cardiac cath was in order–immediately. So we left the doctor’s office and drove across the street the hospital and within about four hours, I was in the cath lab having dye shot into into my arteries through a tube in my wrist.

I don’t have to tell you that Husband and I were freaking out–I’m sure both of us looked like a couple of deer caught in headlights. But, the story ends well–my heart is just fine, no blocked arteries and it’s pumping like a champ–well enough, in fact, that the cardiologist who did the procedure said that he believes the stress test showed a false positive. YAY!! The good folks at Franciscan Health Heart Center were amazing–kind and gracious and comforting every step of the way and we are so grateful to them for making a scary time easier.

Gratitude for today:

  • I have a strong and healthy heart.
  • Husband is the best support any woman could have–man, I love that guy!
  • Sister and BIL were on the spot yesterday to be with us through this and Pastor Diane came by for word of encouragement and prayer–I am so blessed.
  • All the friends who prayed for me–I’m so grateful and I love all of you–thank you.
  • All the folks at St. Francis were amazing and took terrific care of us.

But, yeah, I’m still dizzy (no blonde jokes, please. 😉 Now that we’ve eliminated what’s NOT causing it, time to explore what could be. We’re starting with meds–just a simple process of elimination and see what happens. Hold a good thought, okay?

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