Nan Reinhardt, Author

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

Three More Days of Thankful

November20

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

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

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

Here’s my gratitude list for three days:

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

What’s in store for you this winter?

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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.

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Three More Days of Grateful

November10

018feff2d45d6aa7bdfc7a91e8188cce881c23ff0eThis is my picture of peace–it’s Lake Michigan. Isn’t it lovely? It’s been a disturbing week–the national elections didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped, but as I’ve read all the comments and postings on Facebook and Twitter and listened to news stories and pundits and commentators, I’ve come down here: It’s going to be okay. Our democratic process worked. The way our founders set up the electoral process functioned as it was meant to function. It didn’t work the way I wanted it to, but it worked and now we have a new president-elect. Like everyone else who voted for the other candidate, I’m disappointed and yes, frightened by this man who will be leading us for the next four years. But I’m also hopeful that Americans will come together, that we’ll support the government and those working in it. Watch this video of President Obama talking about the recent election. He’s right.

I also appreciate what Tim Urban said in his blog, particularly this: “Which is why, if you’re a Hillary supporter, in addition to this being a time for disappointment and frustration, it should also be a time for reflection. Half your country voted for Trump. Over 50 million people—people with kids and parents and jobs and dogs and calendars on their wall with piano lessons and doctors appointments and birthday parties written in the squares. Full, three-dimensional people who voted for what they hope will be a better future for themselves and their family.”

We are a nation of smart people, this isn’t 1939, we aren’t headed into fascism. There are no secrets here–we live in a world where everything is reported within seconds of it happening. We’re also a diverse nation of good, caring people–let’s all remember that and be kind to one another and let our better angels prevail.

My three-day gratitude list:

  1. This gorgeous fall weather. Even though I’m limited to how much walking around I can do, I’m still enjoying the blue skies, beautiful colors, crisp air, and sunshine.
  2. I’m still getting up every morning and writing–I’ve only missed a couple days since October 4.
  3. Husband’s work ethic, which is amazing. He’s so hardworking, taking care of both of our homes, our vehicles, and me. I do love that man.
  4. My BFF, Lizzy, who is the best person I’ve ever co-chaired an event with–together, we will make this year’s IRWA Retreat a fun weekend.
  5.  Butternut squash soup.
  6. Geocaching–man, that’s fun! So much so that I find myself turning on my Geocaching app wherever I am, just to see if there’s a cache nearby. I think I’m hooked. 😉

 

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Two Days of Grateful

November8

Lake flowers 2012Yesterday, we packed up and headed back to the city–just one more trip to the lake for 2016 and that will be our one to winterize the cottage and say goodbye until spring. So, I didn’t write yesterday and I didn’t write today either because we had Internet issues that needed to be resolved and then I went to vote and now . . . well, I’m done with the first part of the editing gig I’ve been working on and my foot hurts and I have a meeting at church tonight and I’m just longing for a cup of tea and a nap. So, I’m thinking . . . a cup of tea and a nap.

However, before I curl up (and I use the term loosely because curling up anywhere with five pounds of immobilizer boot on your foot is nigh on to impossible), here’s my gratitude list for  yesterday and today:

  1. Voting–my voice, my vote and I’m proud to have been a part of the process this year.
  2. Husband–always Husband, who fixed the Internet issue this morning with a minimum of grousing, and still poured me a glass of Riesling to go with our guacamole lunch. What a guy!
  3. Amazing half moon last night when we went to the airport at midnight to pick up PJ and BIL. Man, it was gorgeous–yellow and all streaky with clouds.
  4. All the lovely fall leaves–all colors and so beautiful! Of course, I’m not the one raking/blowing/mulching them, so it’s easy for me to appreciate all the autumnal beauty.  😉
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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!

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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.

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So Far . . . I’m writing

October5

me-writingI made a plan over on the Word Wranglers blog on Tuesday, I committed to getting up every day at 6:30 a.m. for the next 21 days to write for one hour. This may not seem all that difficult, but right now, for me, it’s huge. First, just making myself leave my nice warm bed, where my nice warm husband is sleeping, is really hard. I mean, it’s still dark outside and yes, yes, I’ve been spoiled by sleeping late since Husband retired. (And by late, I mean 7:30.) So that’s the first hurdle, but it’s not nearly so large as the second, which is butt in chair, hands on keyboard, and write.

Well, it’s only day 2, but so far, I’ve done it. Yesterday, day 1, I wrote for an hour and change and got 782 words down; today, day 2, I managed 1,026 words. They may not be great words or even good words, but they’re written. And right now, the goal is writing, not editing, not reviewing–just writing.   I’ve actually managed to stay away from Facebook or Twitter or Yahoo News or even my email box until after I’ve done my hour’s worth of writing. That may not sound all that amazing, but trust me, it’s an accomplishment.

I may have to get up even earlier if I’ve got stuff happening or a job to work on, which I do at the moment. But that’s okay–I can do this. It’s important that I do this. I’ve written five novels and published four, I know I can write, but it seems as if I’ve been unable to work up the gumption to do it since .  . . well, frankly, since Kate died. And I promise, I’m not using my sister’s death as an excuse not to write, but it’s been hard to focus on much of anything since then. Part of what I hope will happen with this one commitment is that I’ll get more organized, I’ll find a way to fit my whole day into my day, to stop being distracted by stuff that doesn’t matter, and to feel better about myself in general. We’ll see. . . I’ll report in here every few days just to keep myself accountable.

Oh, by the way, I’ve also managed to get in thirty minutes on the treadmill both days . . . something else I’ve needed. Hopefully, I can also schedule in an hour with Scrivener each day after the holidays. I’m trying not to overwhelm myself here . . . with work, time with Husband, going back and forth to the lake, cleaning two houses, and trying to see the people I need to see, my days seem to disappear unbelievably fast. Right now, it’s 11:45 on Wednesday morning and I’m still in my jammies and have no idea where the morning has gone. See? I really do need to get more organized. But, I’m going to do this as Anne Lamott says, “bird by bird.” (Thank you, Anne Stuart for introducing me to that amazing book!)

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Fall Is Here

September28

fall at the lakeFall has always been my favorite time of year, maybe because I was born in late September and I think of myself as a fall baby. But since we got the lake cottage, summer has ranked pretty high on the favorite seasons list, too. This year, I’m kinda ready for cooler nights and crisp days, jeans and sweatshirts, and apples from the orchard, but I’m dreading leaving the lake. In about another month it’ll be time to close up the cottage for the winter, get the boat stored, and say good-bye to our lake friends. That’s the hardest part about shutting down our lake life–saying good-bye. I miss them all so much while they’re off to points south and we come back to the city.

One day, we’re going to be ready to get down to just one house and we’ll have to decide where that house will be. So many factors enter into that kind of decision. If we move to the lake, can two city kids make it in a small town that pretty much closes up in the winter? Would we miss the lake too much if we gave up the lake house to stay full time in the city? Man, I dunno. . .  The lake is beautiful even covered in ice. I think I’d love to live full time at the lake, although my life would certainly change to some degree. Shopping would be harder, but then again, I have to go pretty far in the city to get to a decent mall. There’s no symphony in the lake town, only one movie theater, and my denomination doesn’t have a church there. Plus, my friends and family are in the city, but the lake isn’t so far away as to make that a deal breaker. Lots of factors to consider and not a decision that has to be made any time soon.

I’m hoping that fall will bring more writing time for me and frankly, a greater desire to write. I have three different stories going right now and all of them are kinda stalled out. My brain can’t seem to focus and although I have lots of ideas, they just don’t seem to be coming out of my fingers to the keyboard. I’m thinking I might teach myself to use Scrivener this winter–it would be a good project for me and I would be writing as I was learning. I found some YouTube videos about the program, so I can watch those and maybe figure this thing out. After all, I spent $40 on it–I should use it.

I will be getting back to the gym as fall progresses–lake swimming is out of the question now that the lake has cooled down so much. I miss swimming, so the gym will take priority in the mornings soon. The weight is coming off again after a small gain this summer, which I attribute to just not being careful enough. We do drink more in the summer–it’s the old “I’m a social drinker and I’m with people all the time” thing, I think. 😉 We also drink more margaritas in the summer and even though they’re carb-free and sugar-free, they’re still 100 calories of tequila. And how on earth are you supposed to drink margs without tortilla chips and salsa? You get the picture.

I read an article aboutbreathe a month ago that talked about September resolutions–how they’re much easier than New Year’s resolutions because they’re inner resolutions. A fall renewing of your spirit and determination. I like that idea, just a quiet resolve to do better. The worrying thing will need work this fall–the knot is back, I think mostly because of the elections. That situation terrifies the tar outta me, but outside of voting, what can I do? Just live my life, love my family and friends, and try to do good where I can. Oh, and remember to breathe . . .

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