Frost for January


Photo by Martha Reynolds

So far this winter, there hasn’t been much snow. I’m fine with that – the cold is okay but I’m just as happy to not have a foot of snow on the ground. We’re more than halfway through January, and winter’s just gearing up here in southern New England, but the days are lengthening and each day brings us closer to spring..

I’ve begun a new book. It’s in its earliest stages, and I’m thinking about my characters. They keep me up at night, but I’d rather think about Franklin and Emma and Bethie and Chuck than all the misery in this world. writing is such an escape for me – I hope reading is for you!

I found a poem by Robert Frost, another reminder of why he’s a national treasure. This one is called “Brown’s Descent” – and is a testament to the New England spirit!

Brown lived at such a lofty farm
  That everyone for miles could see
His lantern when he did his chores
  In winter after half-past three.

And many must have seen him make
  His wild descent from there one night,
’Cross lots, ’cross walls, ’cross everything,
  Describing rings of lantern light.

Between the house and barn the gale
  Got him by something he had on
And blew him out on the icy crust
  That cased the world, and he was gone!

Walls were all buried, trees were few:
  He saw no stay unless he stove
A hole in somewhere with his heel.
  But though repeatedly he strove

And stamped and said things to himself,
  And sometimes something seemed to yield,
He gained no foothold, but pursued
  His journey down from field to field.

Sometimes he came with arms outspread
  Like wings, revolving in the scene
Upon his longer axis, and
  With no small dignity of mien.

Faster or slower as he chanced,
  Sitting or standing as he chose,
According as he feared to risk
  His neck, or thought to spare his clothes,

He never let the lantern drop.
  And some exclaimed who saw afar
The figures he described with it,
  ”I wonder what those signals are

Brown makes at such an hour of night!
  He’s celebrating something strange.
I wonder if he’s sold his farm,
  Or been made Master of the Grange.”

He reeled, he lurched, he bobbed, he checked;
  He fell and made the lantern rattle
(But saved the light from going out.)
  So half-way down he fought the battle

Incredulous of his own bad luck.
  And then becoming reconciled
To everything, he gave it up
  And came down like a coasting child.

“Well—I—be—” that was all he said,
  As standing in the river road,
He looked back up the slippery slope
  (Two miles it was) to his abode.

Sometimes as an authority
  On motor-cars, I’m asked if I
Should say our stock was petered out,
  And this is my sincere reply:

Yankees are what they always were.
  Don’t think Brown ever gave up hope
Of getting home again because
  He couldn’t climb that slippery slope;

Or even thought of standing there
  Until the January thaw
Should take the polish off the crust.
  He bowed with grace to natural law,

And then went round it on his feet,
  After the manner of our stock;
Not much concerned for those to whom,
  At that particular time o’clock,

It must have looked as if the course
  He steered was really straight away
From that which he was headed for—
  Not much concerned for them, I say:

No more so than became a man—
  And politician at odd seasons.
I’ve kept Brown standing in the cold
  While I invested him with reasons;

But now he snapped his eyes three times;
  Then shook his lantern, saying, “Ile’s
’Bout out!” and took the long way home
  By road, a matter of several miles.

Villa del Sol is on sale now!


Happy 2023, everyone! I do hope the year has started out well for you. I have a deal for you – if you haven’t yet read my award-winning novel VILLA DEL SOL, now’s the time to grab a digital copy. Get your copy here: https://tinyurl.com/bdzuxh78

I’m doing a Kindle Countdown Deal through Amazon. If you don’t know what that is, it means I discount this book to $1.99 on January 6. That’s a 76% discount, so go get it now! On January 7, the price rises to $3.99 (still 51% off the regular price). And on January 8, the price rises again, to $5.99, where it will stay for another 24 hours before returning to the previously-set price of $7.99.

Villa del Sol was awarded the 2018 Book Prize in literary fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England. It’s a story set on the beautiful Swiss-Italian border, along Lake Lugano. And if you’ve read my “Swiss Chocolate” trilogy, you’ll be delighted to reconnect with one of the characters.

45 Years is Nothing and Everything


There are days I feel as though I’m 80. Other days, I’m 19 again. Most days I’m Martha, 64, married, poor eyesight, always struggling with my weight, trying to do better. Writing books, telling stories.

Aquinas Hall Roof – photo via https://residence-life.providence.edu/residence-halls/

At this time of year, however, my mind is flooded with memories of sophomore year at Providence College. Of early snow and Christmas anticipation. And of a tragedy whose roots took hold 45 years ago. Yes, we’ve grown, thrived, loved, and laughed – because that’s what you do. Life is for the living, my mother used to say, even as she was transformed by widowhood at age 50.

I found this short passage and wanted to share it today. We remember. Katie, Debbie, Jackie, Barbara, Donna, Sallyann, Gretchen, Cathy, Laura, and Dottie.

As far as I can see, grief will never truly end. It may become softer over time, more gentle, and some days will feel sharp. But grief will last as long as love does – forever. It’s simply the way the absence of your loved one manifests in your heart. A deep longing, accompanied by the deepest love. Some days, the heavy fog may return, and the next day, it may recede, once again. It’s all an ebb and flow, a constant dance of sorrow and joy, pain and sweet love.
-Lexi Behrndt

Photo free from pixabay.com

Rhode Island Authors Showcase – Featuring Martha Reynolds!


The Rhode Island Authors Showcase is back! Each day in November, I’ll be featuring a different RI author. Each post features a giveaway – a book, an anthology, or something else! All you have to do to be eligible for the daily drawing is leave a comment on the blog post. I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner one week after the blog post (to give you time to catch up).

By commenting on each post, you’re also entered to win our bigger prizes: GRAND PRIZE is a $250 Amazon gift card, BONUS PRIZE is a $100 Amazon gift card, and the CHEER UP YOU WON SOMETHING PRIZE is a $50 Amazon gift card. The big prizes will be chosen, again using a random number generator, on December 7.

I asked myself the same questions I posed to everyone else!

My hometown: Johnston as a child, then Warwick, Rhode Island. Now in West Warwick.

What are my genre(s) Women’s fiction, literary fiction

What have I written? The Swiss Chocolate series (Chocolate for Breakfast, Chocolate Fondue, Bittersweet Chocolate); Bits of Broken Glass; The Way to Remember; The Happy Ever After series (A Jingle Valley Wedding, April in Galway, All’s Well in Jingle Valley); A Winding Stream; Villa del Sol; The Summer of Princess Diana; I Wish I Had a River

Some of my favorite authors: Roisin Meaney, Camille Pagan, Elin Hildebrandt, Marisa de los Santos, Anna Quindlen

My favorite books growing up: The Yearling, Go Ask Alice, and later, The Thorn Birds, The Color Purple

What do you like best about writing? I love starting out! When everything is possible, when I ask, “What if…?” Even though I generally have a good idea about plot, sometimes the story heads in a different direction, and I follow along happily.

What do find most challenging about writing? The technical aspects (so I pay people to do that for me) and the promoting of myself. I’m rubbish at both.

Where do you draw your inspiration? Everywhere! There is always a kernel of truth in my fiction. Perhaps it’s a snippet of conversation I overheard, a distinct (or sometimes fuzzy) memory, the human condition.

You’ve just been given the chance to collaborate on a book with Roisin Meaney. What’s the title going to be? Oh boy! Well, I’ll need to travel to Ireland for collaboration, and we’ll call the book A Song for Kiernan

Please follow me on Amazon and you’ll never miss a new release! https://tinyurl.com/5c2z7c8j

Here it is, my new novel! I do love this cover. Here’s what USA TODAY bestselling author Jon Land had to say about it: “I Wish I Had a River is a magical journey through love, life, and loss, a quest not for riches so much as fulfillment. Martha Reynolds has fashioned a shrewd and sensitive tale that explores both the breadth and the limits of the human heart to emerge from tragedy. This is literary writing of the highest order, on par with Elizabeth Gilbert, Alice Hoffman, and even the great Joan Didion. I only wish there were more books like this!”

The book should be perfect for fans of Eat Pray Love. One winner will receive a copy (print or digital, your choice) PLUS I’ll name a character after you in my next novel! Here’s my question: Of the four countries featured in this novel (Portugal, Spain, Italy, and France), which one tops your ‘wanna go there’ or ‘already been and loved it’ list?

This is the last day for the RI Authors Showcase – thank you for participating! Remember, the Grand Prize drawings will be held on December 7, and I’m going to try to post the video of the drawings here, but I’ll reach out to you if you win. You have a week to catch up and comment on each of the daily posts. Each day that you comment gets you a chance to win one of the big prizes. Good luck and see you soon!

If you’re local, please stop by the 10th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo on Saturday, December 3. I’ll be there with about a hundred other local authors – all kinds of genres, so something for everyone. Did you know that signed books make great gifts? I’ll have plenty of my newest.

Busy Time Ahead!


Every day in November

This is typically the busiest time of year for me and my Rhode Island authors group, with fairs and festivals abundant in September and October, the upcoming Rhode Island Authors Showcase in November (follow and comment on each day’s post for giveaways and a Grand Prize of a $250 Amazon gift card!), culminating with our annual Expo on Saturday, December 3, where over 100 local authors of various genres will be present.

I’ll be there!

Once again, I expect to have my new novel available for you! Fingers crossed, because there are a few more items on my list before I have actual copies. But how about a cover reveal? Would you like to see the gorgeous cover created by Tatiana Vila of Vila Designs?

I said gorgeous, right? I love this cover. In case you were wondering, that’s the Douro River in Porto, Portugal. It figures prominently in this novel. I am so excited to share it with you! And I’ve taken the final day of the RI Authors Showcase (November 30) to feature it.

So join me here! It’s always a lot of fun.

I’m Still Here!


My apologies for not being a better blogger. I have some friends who are so steady with their posts, and I am not that person.

My book reviews and blog posts have all been put on hold as I devote my computer time to my new novel. The good news is that my husband, always my first reader, said this could be my best book yet, which means the world to me. He is always kind but will critique me when necessary. I still have work to do (don’t even have a title yet), but I’m motivated to push on (as soon as this blog post is published!).

I took on a couple of editing projects this summer, too, which put me behind my writing schedule. But I do enjoy helping writers polish their manuscripts. Every writer can use an editor, and it’s best to go outside the circle of family and friends if you want objective feedback.

We underwent some needed renovations in the house this summer, too. Disruption! Plaster dust! Noise! Not too conducive to getting writing done, and my library’s computers were mostly out of commission, too, so that set me back. But the updates are finished, the workers have left the house, and the air is cooler.

So enough with the excuses. It’s early September and I am determined to get back on track.

Meanwhile – the Rhode Island Authors Showcase will return in November. If you’re a loyal reader of these blog posts (thank you!), you’ll know that for the past several years, I’ve devoted the month of November to showcasing local authors, and each day, each post features a giveaway, plus some pretty awesome grand prizes (last year we gave away a $250 Amazon gift card, a $100 Amazon gift card, and a $50 Amazon gift card with a special prize of getting your name in a novel!). So stay tuned here, because it’s a fun event that helps you discover a new author.

Okay, I’m done. Thanks for not abandoning me, as I would never abandon you, dear subscriber. I hope you had a good summer, and I promise to post more frequently. And based on the title of this post, I’m including one of my favorite YouTube clips, of the legend Elaine Stritch singing “I’m Still Here.” Enjoy!

A Bond Forever


Reprinted from an article in the Providence College alumni magazine, May 18, 2021.

The family tradition that is Providence College has been manifested over the decades in many and various ways. Generations of Friars have attended PC. (In my case: my dad John M. Reynolds ‘40, my cousin Kathy ’73, my sisters Ann ’78 and Mary Beth ’84, and me ’80. My husband James ‘79even though we didn’t know each other then, and his father Ray, also ‘79.) it’s a family tradition! Many of my classmates have sent their children to PC. For those of us who were students in the late 1970s, there is one event that has, and always will, define us.

To write about the Aquinas Hall dormitory fire of December 13, 1977, a tragedy that ultimately claimed the lives of 10 young women, prompts sharp and difficult memories. Memories of youth and innocence, of traveling back through time to golden days full of promise and hope. And in one night, much of our innocence and sense of invincibility was lost.

In 1977, there were no cell phones, no internet, no texts or Skype or Zoom. There was no Netflix or Hulu, no TSA at the airports, no ATMs, no AIDS. The Berlin Wall still stood, and Jimmy Carter was the president. There was great (and not-so-great) music, and if you were dining in Raymond Cafeteria, you might have heard Donna Summer singing about leaving a cake out in the rain at “MacArthur Park” over the intercom system. We wore clogs and Fair Isle sweaters, and we sported Dorothy Hamill haircuts.

Family and friends of the Aquinas Hall fire victims receive Holy Communion during a memorial Mass at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence on Dec. 18, 1977. (Photo from Providence College magazine)

For many young women in the mid-1970s, going away to college was an important part of the rite-of-passage experience. A different state perhaps, a new dormitory adventure, and roommates! For some of us, the entire experience was unfamiliar. And daunting. But that’s how bonds begin. Everyone is starting out and going through the same unfamiliar rituals, to varying degrees. Few of us had cars, so our entertainment consisted of basketball or hockey games at Alumni Hall or Schneider Arena, tipping a few pitchers at the Rat, the occasional concert or lecture at ’64 Hall, or just hanging out in each other’s dorm rooms or in Mural Lounge, where the hot ham and cheese grinder was $1 and an ice cream cone was just a quarter.

There were three dorms for girls (which is what we were in those days): Meagher, McVinney, and Aquinas. Each dorm had its own personality, and all three buildings faced what is known as the Quad — a quadrangle of green space flanked by the three women’s dorms, plus McDermott Hall for boys. There were girls who met each other as roommates freshman year and stayed friends forever. And there were attachments forged through tragedy.

I’ve written about that December day, listing all 10 of the young women, even though I only knew two of them well enough to greet by name. But because we’re so connected, because we’re family, all of us, our Friar community is linked by the tragic Aquinas fire.

On Dec. 13, 2002, the 25th anniversary of the Aquinas Hall fire, Providence College dedicated an alcove in the new St. Dominic Chapel to the 10 women who died. They are remembered at a memorial Mass in the chapel each December. The Mass was livestreamed for the first time in 2020. (Photo from Providence College magazine)

When people die young, at the very beginning of their adult lives, one can’t help but imagine what they would have become, how their lives might have turned out. The 10 girls who died in the fire that snowy night will remain youthful in our memories.

Every year in December we stop to remember, because we can’t ever forget. When I return to the Providence College campus, I pause to look up at the fourth-floor windows of Aquinas and offer a prayer for the girls who perished, and for their family members. But I also pray for the girls who survived. One of those survivors told me that for many years, she tried to figure out why she was saved, what was her purpose. Was it her marriage? The birth of her child? She said it took decades to realize she was saved for many reasons, and she tries, even now, to understand. It’s a question that is beyond comprehension, she said. So she focuses on what matters in her life: kindness, expressing to loved ones how much they mean, letting go of anger, cherishing friends.

All these years later and the memories can be as sharp as yesterday. That’s the thing about memory, even as we grow older. Now in our 60s, we often joke about forgetting the most meaningless things, yet none of us can forget the fire. I can remember a conversation with Katie, or the last time I saw Debbie.

Life is filled with moments — some so happy you’ll swear you must be dreaming, and some so tragic you wonder, for years, why they occurred. But if I can learn a lesson from my friend Kim, it is to find joy in small moments, to express kindness, and forgiveness, whenever possible, and to give thanks to the tightly knit community that is Providence College.

Martha Reynolds McVeigh ’80 ended an accomplished career as a fraud investigator and in the past 10 years has written ten novels. Her novel, Villa del Sol, was awarded the 2018 Book Prize in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England.

Welcome to the RI Authors Showcase!


Welcome to the Rhode Island Authors Showcase! Each day in November, this blog will feature a different Rhode Island author. Read the post and leave a comment and you are eligible to win this day’s giveaway!

Leave a comment every day this month for over 30 chances to win either our Grand Prize (a $250 Amazon gift card), our Bonus Prize (a $100 Amazon gift card), or a Cheer-Up Prize (amount to be determined), just in time for holiday shopping!

A winner will be randomly selected one week after the publication of the blog post, and the Grand Prize and Bonus Prize winners will be randomly selected on December 7, 2021. For the daily giveaways, the author will contact you directly to coordinate delivery. Print books for delivery within the US only, please.

Martha Reynolds

So, as this is the first, day, I thought I’d kick it off.

I am Martha Reynolds and I write mostly women’s fiction. Born and raised in Rhode Island, I spent a year of college in Switzerland, the memories of which inspired my debut novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, and its sequels, Chocolate Fondue and Bittersweet Chocolate (find the series here: https://tinyurl.com/fchwkhzp). I have traveled back to Switzerland numerous times, and continue to be inspired.

I have written ten novels, including the Amazon #1 bestsellers Chocolate for Breakfast and Bits of Broken Glass. My novel Villa del Sol was awarded the 2018 Book Prize in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England. My writing has appeared in Magnificat magazine and my very short poem was read by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Connie Schultz during National Public Radio’s “Tell Me More” poetry challenge.

My latest novel is titled The Summer of Princess Diana and is based on true events. And I’m presently working on a thriller – something different!

My newest novel

The Summer of Princess Diana follows the story of Diana Driscoll, who manipulates her wealthy father into funding a trip to London to attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in the summer of 1981. There’s no way she’d miss the wedding of the century, and the thought of bagging her own prince along the way has crossed her mind once or twice. She stops off in Switzerland to visit her best friend, who’s attending school there.

But when her father is arrested and his assets are seized, Diana’s credit card is rendered useless and she’s stuck in Switzerland. What she once thought of as an idyllic area has now turned into her nightmare. Without funds and options, she takes a job as a nanny to a dysfunctional family. To make matters worse, she has to live with them. In this coming-of-age story, Diana learns that fairytales only exist in books, and life’s lessons don’t come easy.

While it’s not necessary to win, I would greatly appreciate your follows! You can follow this blog, if you’re not already doing so. Here is a link to my Amazon page: https://tinyurl.com/wssy6fje

For today, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card. And I’ll toss in a copy of The Summer of Princess Diana, too (print copy for US only, please). All you have to do to be eligible is answer this question: What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

Meanwhile, be sure to comment on each day’s blog post for additional entries into our Grand Prize and Bonus Prize drawings!

Join us on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the CROWNE PLAZA in Warwick for the 9th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo!

A Playlist for The Summer of Princess Diana


As my novel wends its way through the publication process, I’ve come up with a sweet little playlist to go along with the book. Have a listen!

Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes. Reached #1 in Switzerland, 1981.
The Gambler by Kenny Rogers. Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance, 1980.
Kiss on my List by Hall & Oates. Appeared as the 207th video on MTV’s first day of broadcast, August 1, 1981.
A Woman Needs Love by Ray Parker, Jr. and Raydio. Released in April 1981.
Slow Hand by The Pointer Sisters. Released May 1981.
(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me by Ronnie Milsap. Released June 1981.
A Little in Love by Cliff Richard. Released December 1980.
Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. The 25th video played on MTV’s Launch Day (8/1/81).
While You See a Chance by Steve Winwood. Released February 1981.

Yes, the novel is set in 1981 – 40 years ago! Great music from that time, at least I think so. And MTV launched on August 1 of 1981, so you can witness the infancy of some of these music videos.

I will provide teasers about the book and its characters throughout the coming months, leading up to the release of what will be my 10th novel (and 11th book), and the final (really ) book set in my beloved Switzerland.

Fast and Loose


Photograph by Mathilde Langevin. Used with permission.

For mumble-mumble years, I’ve been addicted to sugar. All my life. From the first taste of my mother’s brownies/cookies/pies/cake, I was hooked. I cleaned a plate of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and even the dreaded peas because I wouldn’t get dessert unless I ate all my dinner.

An early memory: somehow eating everything in my Easter basket during a visit to my grandparents’ house, and throwing up in the back seat on the way home. Halloween candy gone in days. Sneaking Hershey’s Kisses from the candy dish. Sneaking candy all the time.

Then older: eating M&Ms for dinner, or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, always washed down with Diet Coke. Sugar sugar. Oh, honey honey. And maple syrup. It felt so good – well, of course. Sugar fuels every cell in the brain. And the sugar rush (yes, it’s a thing), pushing glucose into my blood. Too much.

As I learned more and more about the dangers of elevated blood sugar levels and Type II diabetes, I understood how damaging sugar is. And believe me, I’ve tried quitting many times. Those cravings are real.

Photo by M. Reynolds

Finally, it was enough. We all reach a breaking point. I’ve quit you, sugar, hopefully forever. And I am quickly becoming a fan of intermittent fasting. I’ve started slow and easy – 8 hour window to eat (for me, that’s 8:00 am to 4:00 pm) and a 16-hour fast, during which much of that time I’m asleep, anyway. I’m hoping to add in a 24-hour or up to a 36-hour fast once or twice a month.

Intermittent fasting is not a diet. It will help you lose weight, and it will lower blood sugar levels. There’s plenty of research available online, if you’re interested. Check out Dr. Jason Fung.

A few weeks ago, I had my blood work done. My doctor was very pleased – blood sugar normal (A1c at 5.7). I’m determined to keep it that way. Meanwhile, my clothes are loose. My rings were loose – had them all resized. Unfortunately, my skin is loose, too! But I’m working on that, and would still take the looser skin over any of the other health issues.

This Swiss Chocolate trilogy author no longer wants Toblerone or Cailler bars. Give me Gruyère and Emmanthaler cheese instead!