Happy Birthday to Me

nan02~ By Nan Reinhardt

Last month I turned 60. Not a particularly newsworthy event, I grant you. There were no newspaper articles about it, no parades in my honor, Google didn’t post a little “Nan turns 60” animation that day, and I didn’t make the evening news. Nope, it was, as milestone birthdays go, rather quiet.

However, for me personally, it was an enormous event because it wasn’t only my 60th birthday, it was launch day for the first two novels in my new contemporary romance series, The Women of Willow Bay. I released Once More From the Top and Sex and the Widow Miles on the same day. I sent them out into the world of Amazon Kindle Select and held my breath. It wasn’t a coincidence that I sent my babies out into the world of indie publishing on my 60th birthday, it was very deliberate on my part. I had to do something bold that day. You see, 25 years ago, my mother—a vital and interesting woman—died of a massive and unexpected heart attack. She was 60 years old. Since that day, I’ve been metaphorically holding my breath, anticipating my own demise when I turned 60.

You’re rolling your eyes, I know, and believe me, I’ve heard every reassurance there is to hear from my friends and family.

“Your mother didn’t take good care of herself, and you do.”

 “Your heart is fine, hers was not. You’re not going to die young like your mother.”

And of course, the finale: “You are NOT your mother!”

So you see? My choices were to cower in fear when I turned 60 and prepare join my mother in the hereafter, or to rebuke the fear that had settled cold and dank in the pit of my stomach for so many years. I needed to celebrate turning 60, not dread it. I chose to stick my tongue out at the fear and do something truly bold.

Now I’m no expert on the subject of being bold. Frankly, I’m kind of a puss about most things and I’ve lived what some people might consider a small life, at least my reality is rather ordinary. Skydiving doesn’t interest me or bungee jumping or zip-lining through the jungles of Costa Rica or heading to faraway lands… I’m simply not very adventurous in real life, but my stories are.

When my editor, Lani Diane Rich, first suggested self-pubbing, my heart leapt to my throat and then dropped to my socks. Take control of my own writing career? Puhleez! But the more she oonced and nudged me about it, the more I began to believe I could really do it. So I straightened my shoulders and sucked in a giant breath. With my StoryWonk buds, Lani and Alastair and author pal Cheryl Brooks all virtually and literally holding my hand, I jumped into the self-publishing pool. And you know what? I’m swimming! It’s scary, it’s nerve-wracking, it’s exhausting, but it’s wonderful! So far, things are going pretty well. The books are being well-received, have gotten good reviews, and I’m building an audience of Baby Boomer women like me, who believe that love never ages.

Going indie is absolutely the boldest thing I’ve ever done and in honor of my mom, who always encouraged me to bold, I did it on my 60th birthday. What better, bolder way to celebrate turning 60 than by putting my work out there in anticipation of a glorious long life doing what I love most in the world—telling stories.

Nan Reinhardt is a writer of romantic fiction for women in their prime. Yeah, women still fall in love and have sex, even after 45! 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, a secretary, and for the last 17 years, she’s earned her living as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader.

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, menopausal woman who believes that love never ages, women only grow more interesting, and everybody needs a little sexy romance.

Visit Nan’s website: www.nanreinhardt.com

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

12 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me”

  1. Dear Nan, Wow, what a story about your mom! She’d be so proud of her daughter!!! You’re living life boldly–and you’ve got super smart, compassionate friends like Lani and Alastair bolstering you!!! I can’t wait to hear how your adventure is going a year from now. I think you’re going to hit it big with a book that will be made into a movie starring Diane Keaton!! It might even be one of these two.

    Ok, I said it first!! Remember that!!

    Lots of love,

    Kieran 🙂

    1. Wow, Kieran, what a wonderful idea! Can you picture Diane Keaton as Julie in Sex and the Widow Miles? How fun would that be? If it happens, baby, I’m getting on a plane and taking you to dinner–maybe in Paris! We’ll take Lani and Alastair with us and make it a party!

      Hugs, sweetie!!

        1. Hey Jill! You don’t happen to have any connections to Keaton, do you?! 😉 Will…hmmmmm…that’s a tough one. Mark Ruffalo? Paul Rudd? The guy who played Sawyer on LOST? Leo DiCaprio? You tell me!

      1. Thanks, Jill! I loved, loved working with Lani and Alastair–Lani is the best editor ever! The Women of Willow Bay are on their way…hold a good thought!

  2. Happy belated birthday, Nan! Wonderful post. My father died when he was 58 from lung cancer and even though I don’t smoke like he did, I joke that for me, if I can make it to 60 then I’m home free. Best wishes on your self-pubbing adventure. Given the wonderful writer you are, I have no doubt your audience will continue to grow!

    1. Thanks, Jim! Sorry about your dad, but I’m very glad you don’t smoke. My dad died of cancer from smoking too, and I’ve never smoked. Happy you came by, my friend!

  3. Oh Nan, I can relate about your mother. Mine had a massive heart attack at age 51. Thank the Lord, she survived it. But ever since, I’ve always seen that age as a barrier to get past. I still have a few years to get there. Back then, my husband started taking unhealthy food out of my hands and saying, “You’re not gonna die on me when you’re 51.” It sounds kinda mean, but it was done out of love. My family dubbed him the Food Nazi.

    Congratulations on your self-publication and your birthday too. What a great way to kick off a wonderful year in your life. Best wishes for much success.

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