Forty Years Back


Nice, France

Forty years ago today, I boarded my first airplane and began a year abroad that would forever mark my life. The thirty or so students who went with me might well have the same thought – we all were impacted by a year in Switzerland, with no internet or cell phones.

My first novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, was (very) loosely based on that year. Like Bernadette Maguire, I was 20, naive (yes), and hopeful. Unlike Bernadette, I did not have an affair with a married man, nor did I get pregnant with his child. 😉 I recall explaining that to friends, who took my storytelling literally.

I’ve returned to my beloved Switzerland often – in 1981 to work as an au pair (there’s a book I should write), again a few years later, multiple times in the 1990s, and most recently in January 2017, where I was inspired to write Villa del Sol.

But the year that began on 28 September 1978 was my year. I don’t have any Cardinal beer to drink, no Giandor chocolate bar, and the Café Chemin de Fer is now, I believe, an Indian restaurant. Things change, even in Fribourg, Switzerland.

“Mesdames et messieurs, it is time to go sleep!” 🇨🇭🇨🇭🇨🇭

It is the heat. And it is the humidity.


Nearly September. 95 degrees today. Heat index 104. Just like yesterday.

So who else is cranky? I know (at least) three people who live without air conditioning. I don’t know how they live, though. Our thermostat is set at 74 and I’m hot. But I’m grateful for A/C, especially at night.

I’ve never liked summer best. Fall is my favorite. How about you? Depending on where you live, you might not experience four distinct seasons. But by September, the sun rises later and it’s dark by 8:00 now, so I want that cool air to follow.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished the second round of edits for my new novel, so now it’s off to my trusted readers, who give me honest feedback. I sometimes can’t see a plot hole or a character who uses repetitive language, but they can! I’m still on track to have this book ready by December 1 – the day I’ll be at the Rhode Island Authors Expo!

Until then, I’m reading a lot (what are you reading?). I loved How to Walk Away by Katherine Center and Crossing the Bamboo Bridge by Mai Donohue (her memoir of growing up in Vietnam – you won’t be the same after reading it). I’m almost done with How Hard Can It Be? by the hilarious Allison Pearson, just started Alternate Side by the wonderful Anna Quindlen, and The Pendulum’s Truth by the very talented writing team of Leigh Brown and Vikki Corliss. Vacation next week means lots of reading!

Autumn will get here, eventually. You won’t hear me complain about the cold. Not me.

It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Susan Catalano


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My Salem Muse

Maybe it was watching Bewitched or reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond that first turned me on to witches and the Salem Witch Trials. But stepping foot on the historic streets of Witch City aka Salem, Massachusetts, was the spark that ignited The Timeless Ones, a story about Merry, an accused witch who leaps from the 17th century into modern-day Salem.

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I love visiting Salem–the history, the shops, the New England seaside town vibe. Halloween is always a thrilling time, and I loved incorporating the experience into A Necessary Darkness. Another favorite holiday is July 4th on Derby Wharf with fighter jets flying overhead and an orchestra playing while fireworks light up the harbor. From the beautiful green Common to the bricks and cobblestones of Essex Street to the waterfront – any day in Salem is a good day.

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But, what some may not know is that the witch hysteria that spawned the Salem Witch Trials began in the neighboring town of Danvers, MA that used to be known as Salem Village. This is where the afflicted girls began throwing fits and accusing their neighbors of witchcraft and where many of the accused were interrogated and handed an unfair fate.

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There are many sites to see in Salem proper—one of my favorite being the Witch Trials Memorial next to the Old Burying Point. Within the stone walls are 20 granite benches honoring each of the victims.

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But, lesser known is the Witch Trials Memorial in Danvers. A beautiful granite display containing unheeded claims of innocence behind a pulpit holding the Book of Life, beside which lay the shackles that anchor these unfortunate events to our history forever. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping for a visit.

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Susan Catalano spent most of her youth in a one-traffic-light town in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. Her first act of writing consisted of scrawling a murderous confession on a crumpled piece of paper. She then told her 3rd-grade friends that she’d found it in the wall of the spookiest room on the scary, vacant floor of the Victorian Hotel her family owned. Eventually, Susan ended up in Massachusetts where Salem, known as Witch City, captured her heart and imagination and inspired her first novel, The Timeless Ones. That and A Necessary Darkness are available in paperback and ebook formats. Witches 3, a companion story, is available on Kindle. Susan is currently working on another fantasy book series, this time set in an alternate version of New York state. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. All you have to do is comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication of this blog post.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Leah DeCesare


 

For the past few years, I’ve had intermittent intentions of getting a “real” job, but writing keeps winning out and dabbling in applying for corporate jobs fizzles away. Writing is all I ever really wanted to do and I’m finally living that dream. As I was updating my Linked-In profile and my resume a couple of years ago, I discovered a thread that links my divergent and seemingly unrelated career and volunteer paths: Empowerment. Before recognizing this life theme, I’d written my debut novel which is all about encouraging women to believe in themselves.

 I’ve carried the central idea of this book with me since 1988 when my own father sent me off to college with the advice that my character, Amy York’s, dad sends her off to Syracuse University with: There are three types of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That tidbit was true and when I shared this silly system with my college friends it took off, with everyone adding descriptions for new utensils and talking as if it were an understood concept, for example, “I met this complete fork last night.” 


That idea sat with me for decades, but there was no story around it, so when I finally sat to write this book, I had to build the characters and their arcs and let the Utensil Classification System (the UCS) become a backdrop and an organizing idea serving the characters and their growth. In the end, I had a story about friendship and learning to believe in oneself.

I feel strongly about bolstering and helping people to have true self-love and confidence, especially girls/women who often don’t get the same messages as boys/men from society, family, and media. How can we step out into the world and grab hold of what we want in life without believing in ourselves? It’s critical.
I’ve been a Big Sister to a young woman, now twenty-three, since she was seven years old and it’s something we’ve worked on consistently. I facilitate leadership experiences for collegiate women, middle school girls, and older women in various life stages and the time we share is often described as “life-changing,” and I know that’s because we all need to hear messages of empowerment and strength. Messages that tell us it’s not only okay to prioritize ourselves and our desires, but that it’s essential to our health and happiness. By going after our own dreams, we in turn model the way and empower our daughters, our friends, our peers.
As I’ve met with and heard from readers of Forks, Knives, and Spoons, I’m proud that I continue to hear sentiments such as: “This should be required reading for all young women,” “Every high school and college graduate should be reading this book,” “I will be getting this book for the young women in my life.” To me, that means the message I hold dear is coming through and being shared and that’s a joy to any writer.

Leah DeCesare is the award-winning author of FORKS, KNIVES, AND SPOONS and the nonfiction parenting series NAKED PARENTING, based on her work as a doula, early parenting educator, and mom of three. 

Leah’s articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, the International Doula and The Key, among others. In 2008, Leah co-founded the nonprofit Doulas of Rhode Island, and in 2013 she spearheaded the Campaign for Hope to build the Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness in Uganda. In a past life, Leah worked in public relations and event planning. She now writes, teaches and volunteers in Rhode Island where she lives with her family and their talking cockatiel. 
Visit Leah’s website, find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreadsPinterestInstagramBookbub, and Amazon

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering one signed copy of Forks, Knives, and Spoons  plus one of the T-shirts pictured above (Men’s sizes M, L, or XL). Just comment below to be entered. Winner will be chosen at random and the author will contac you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet L.A. Jacob


Grimaulkin

Mike Lebonte was sent to magic prison for summoning demons. Set free at 18 with the caveat that he never summon demons again, he has chosen to make a new life for himself. He moves in with his sister and her fiancé, and even finds a cute guy to interest him.
But the Pawtucket police have a mystery on their hands. Someone has been summoning demons in Slater Park, and they need an expert. They need an ex-demon summoner to walk them through what the perpetrator was thinking, and why.
With that, Mike just may get forced to do what sent him to prison in the first place.
This story is appropriate for ages 16 and up.
***
L. A. Jacob (also writing as Jake Logan) has been writing fiction for over 30 years. She has been involved with Ceremonial Magic, Wicca and Paganism, and now considers herself Unitarian. Under the Jake Logan name, she writes gay male fiction, such as romance, erotica, mystery, or urban fantasy. Under her own name, she writes fiction concerning magic and other urban fantasy, and military history. She lives in Rhode Island with her son and three cats. You can find out more about her and her work at Grimalkin’s Grimoire (grimaulkin.com).
GIVEAWAY!  The author is offering a paperback copy of Grimaulkin to one lucky winner! All you have to do is comment below. The winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after blog publication. US residents only, please.
Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo
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November is RI Authors Month! (well, at least on my blog)


Again this year, as a lead-up to the Fifth Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo, I’ll be featuring a different RI author on this blog. (The Year of Living Minimally posts will continue on Fridays, too.)

Here’s an opportunity to learn more about an author you may or may not know. Many of the authors are also giving away a book, and all you need to do to enter is comment on the post! Here in tiny Rhode Island we have hundreds of authors – some with one book written, some with many. Genres include romance, history, horror, literary, memoir. There’s something for everyone.

So I hope you enjoy the coming month’s posts and get to know some fabulous authors!

Saving Sarah is here!



She thought she’d never feel safe again. She was wrong.When Sarah Bennett’s abusive ex hunts her down in Chicago, her friends spirit her away to Willow Bay, where she hopes to begin again with a different identity. But terror keeps her holed up, unable to start her new life.

Deputy sheriff Tony Reynard never expected to be staring down the barrel of a gun when he enters Sarah’s apartment to finish up some handyman work, but that’s how the fiery little redhead greets him, and he’s beyond intrigued.

After an intervention by her loving friends, Sarah becomes involved in a project to turn an old mansion into a battered women’s shelter. The women work together to renovate the house, along with the help of the townspeople and the delectably handsome Tony, who is a true renaissance man. Tony vows to bring Sarah back to life and love, but knows he needs to move slowly to win her heart.

When her ex tracks her down once more, Sarah must find the courage to protect her friends and her new love from his wrath.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saving-sarah-nan-reinhardt/1127062255?ean=2940154535783

Nan Reinhardt has been a copy editor and proofreader for over twenty-five years, and currently works mainly on fiction titles for a variety of clients, including Avon Books, St. Martin’s Press, Kensington Books, Tule Publishing, and Entangled Publishing, as well as for many indie authors.

Author Nan writes romantic fiction for women in their prime. Yeah, women still fall in love and have sex, even after they turn forty-five! Imagine! She is also a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and a grandmother. She’s been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay-at-home mom, and a secretary.

She loves her career as a freelance editor, but writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten, a love story between the most sophisticated person she knew at the time, her older sister (who was in high school and had a driver’s license!), and a member of Herman’s Hermits. If you remember who they are, you are Nan’s audience! She’s still writing romance, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, post-menopausal woman who believes that love never ages, women only grow more interesting, and everybody needs a little sexy romance.

Visit Nan’s website at http://www.nanreinhardt.com, where you’ll find links to all her books as well as blogs about writing, being a Baby Boomer, and aging gracefully…mostly. Nan also blogs every Tuesday at Word Wranglers, sharing the spotlight with four other romance authors; and she is a regular contributor at the Romance University website, where she blogs as Nan Reinhardt, Copy Editor. Her latest novel, Saving Sarah, book 4 in the Women of Willow Bay series releases in all outlets on September 26, 2017.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authornanreinhardt

Twitter: @NanReinhardt

Talk to Nan at: nan@nanreinhardt.com