Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Early Christmas Stranger

I always think of her this time of year--December 23, to be exact--hence the word "Early." It was on a night very much like this one. There was a cold, gloomy drizzle and low-lying fog--it didn't feel "Christmas-y" at all despite the Rudolph song.

And this is how the story goes:

She was my family's slightly early Christmas Stranger. She arrived on our doorstep on Christmas Eve eve many years ago, and we, my mother and I, can no longer remember her name. It was so dark out that night--no street lights where we lived. My mother was sewing my angel robe for the Christmas Eve pageant at church, and my little sister was just a baby. The pounding on our front door was so abrupt and urgent that I was afraid for my father to open it, and even more afraid of the young girl who tried to duck under his arm when he did. She was barefoot and crying, begging to be let in.

She lived in Charlotte, she was eventually able to say, and she'd been on her way to a party her father had forbidden her to attend, something she regretted even before they had gotten lost and the boy behind the wheel had become too drunk to drive. He had lost control of the car she and a number of party-goers were in and they ended up in a ditch. They managed to get the car out, but they drove off and left her in the dark, not knowing, not caring whether she was hurt or not. "Leave her!" one of them said, and so they did. She had no money. No way home. No shoes.

My mother searched her closet to find some shoes for her -- gray suede penny loafers that were a couple of sizes too big. Getting her home was a little more difficult. We all piled into the car--a 1950 green Ford coupe--and took her to the bus station in Salisbury nine miles away. I remember how strange I felt, wearing my winter coat over my flannel, nursery-rhyme print nightgown.

I didn't get to go to town very often at night, and at that time of year it was dazzling with Christmas lights, the kind you don't see anymore. Everything was so beautiful -- a real treat despite the strange young girl in the car who was trying not to cry.

My father bought her a bus ticket to Charlotte -- which literally took all the money he had -- and he insisted that we would wait with her and make sure she got on the bus. I don't think he trusted her decision-making at that point. It seemed to take forever for the bus to arrive, but eventually it came. She got on it, and that was that. She rode out of our lives and we never saw her again, never heard from her. But I always think of her and wonder what happened to her and whether she ever thought of us in return.

So I'm wishing her -- and all of you -- a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season.

Monday, December 1, 2014


Beginning today, the Kindle version of PROMISE ME A RAINBOW will be available for $1.99 throughout the month of December.

The book was a RITA finalist for Best Single-Title Contemporary Romance the year it was published, and there is a smidgen of Christmas in it. It's also one of my personal favorites.

From the Publishers Weekly review: "...delicately crafted, eminently satisfying romantic fiction. Reavis works magic..."


Saturday, September 13, 2014

(The) Writing Life--Or The Blog That Never Was

Or I could title this "Better Late Than Never."

So here's the thing. I was asked a number of months ago to do a blog about my new release, THE FIRST BOY I LOVED--which I did. And well before the deadline, too. It never appeared, at least not in the place where I thought it would be, and my follow-up inquiry as to whether or not there was a problem with it--which I would be only too happy to remedy if I could--or whether it had been received, was never answered. No Reply. Zip. Zero. Nothing.

I've never had this happen before, but a family crisis became such that I forgot all about it--until I happened to see the file when I was clearing out some of the emails in the "Sent" box today. ("Sent." Which means, I'm almost positive, that it left my computer and went on its merry way to theirs.)  But be that as it may. As far as I can tell, it never appeared where it might have helped when the book was initially released, so I thought I'd just post it on MY blog now.

And here it is:


Sooner or later, all writers are asked where they get their ideas, and whenever that happens to me, I’m likely to say that the world is full of interesting, book-worthy events, but that actually I don’t “get ideas.” It’s more that a very particular idea will somehow get me.

This was very much the case with THE FIRST BOY I LOVED. Six years ago I was listening to NPR radio, to an interview with singer/songwriter Patty Griffin, and at one point they played her beautiful and haunting song, “You'll Remember”:

Maybe one day along the way you’ll remember me…and it won’t be sad to think of all we had…Maybe one day…you’ll think of me…and you’ll be smiling….

And in that wonderful way it happens sometimes if a writer is very lucky, the character who would become “Gillian Warner” was there. “Gilly,” who firmly believed that she was safe from the past, that it had been dealt with and buried, that it was a done thing that could no longer disturb her life and break her heart. But she was wrong, because the death of her husband brought back the pain and sorrow of her first love, the young man who had gone off to an unwinnable war and never returned. Suddenly it wasn’t her husband she was grieving for. It was Ben Tucker, and he seemed to be everywhere—in the music of the time, in the rainy nights when she wandered the house alone—had he always been there, she wondered? She didn’t know. She only knew that these resurrected memories of Ben were strong, despite the fact that she could no longer see his face.

As Gilly began to take shape in my mind, I could sense her overwhelming guilt, even though I didn’t yet know precisely what had caused it. I could feel her regret and her unresolved grief, but more importantly, I knew how desperately, even at this late date, she wanted—needed—to do something about it.

But like most of us, Gilly didn’t live in a vacuum. She had family—a troubled granddaughter named Mae who would complicate her pilgrimage to the place where Ben had died in ways Gilly couldn’t imagine, as would the cynical Vietnam War vet expatriate in Ho Chi Minh City, who made his living taking grieving Americans on what he called “Guilt Trips, Inc.”

I would like to say that the book “wrote itself,” but truthfully I’ve never had one of those. I can say that writing this book was easier than some, that I loved these characters dearly and that Patty Griffin’s song was my touchstone.  The idea got me. I wrote the book. The book was published. End of story, right?

Well, no. At the very last moment, THE FIRST BOY I LOVED was “orphaned.” Now this is not the worst thing that can happen to an author and a book, but it’s high on the list, especially when this particular book was already up on the amazon and Barnes & Noble websites for pre-ordering when the cord was pulled. The editor who had worked with me on the book fought hard to find a place for it elsewhere in the publishing house, but there was none. No place. And so the book languished. And languished. And languished some more—until one day Bell Bridge Books came along and rescued it—and may I say, made a friend for life.

So here we are again, “Gilly” and I, orphans no more. At last she is finally, finally going to make her publication debut, and should you do us the honor of reading THE FIRST BOY I LOVED, we both sincerely hope that you will enjoy it.

Amazon Link, CLICK HERE. It's also on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, BelleBooks, etc. Links are over there----->

Thursday, July 24, 2014

(The) Writing Life--or "Ink Pink, You Stink."

I have a "zig-zaggy" kind of thought process so first let me say that the Large Print, "sweet" version of this book is coming out in November. It is probably my favorite of the series. I did have a reader chastise me once because she didn't see the point of the title. I don't know why she didn't. The music box and the song it played ("Tenderly") is the only somewhat positive link the heroine had to her difficult and indifferent mother. Made sense to me, and it's my book. Other than that, I have no defense for it.

Remembering this title issue naturally made me think of long ago days on the playground, and the jibes from fellow elementary schoolmates one was apt to encounter if it happened to be your turn. Like "Ink pink, you stink!" (Love that one, and no, I didn't really stink.) As far as I can tell, such often mystifying trash talk was all part of the school experience then and probably still is are despite the policies regarding such things.

But then, you grow up and all those delightful observations periodically cast in your direction more or less disappear--unless of course, you write a book. In which case, it's good you've already been toughened up, don't you think? 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

(The) Writing Life--Today's "Novel Quote" from THE FIRST BOY I LOVED...

"...The old monk told me a story today, a legend, he said. I'm not sure why--except that he seems to know everything and he likes to share. But I guess the real reason he told me is because of you. I took some food to the orphanage--whatever C-rations we could spare, mostly. He always sits in the doorway and he almost never says anything. But today he asked me if I left a woman behind. I said I did, and he asked me if I loved her. I told him all the time. He said I was worrying too much and I should stop. It's already decided, he said. Then he told me about the red string. He even gave me some to hold, because that's the way he teaches--quietly, with props. So here's the legend..."



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

(The) Writing Life--Today Is The Day

Today is the day, THE BRIDE FAIR, a RITA-winner for Best Short Historical, goes solo digital (it was formerly available only as part of an anthology).

I remember when I was writing this book, and I hit a wall.

Me: I need to ride to town--you have to drive so I can see. I have to go RIGHT NOW.
DH: See what?
Me: I have to find a house to burn down.

Fortunately, he had been a Writing Widower long enough by then that this did not seem in any way odd to him. So away we went. He drove me up and down the streets in the Historical District until I had my "That's it!" moment and I had found just the right house for the scene I was trying to write. (It's around the corner from the old Kress building, for those of you who know Salisbury, and not far from where the Occupation Army Headquarters would have been.) I remember, too, that I was very happy--a writer just knows when she sees the right whatever it is and the pesky scene is suddenly real.

Anyway.  THE BRIDE FAIR is now "live." In case you might possibly want to know that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

(The) Writing Life--Wait--What?

I was checking the KOBO eBook website. I wanted to see if they would be offering THE BRIDE FAIR, which is going solo in digital formats April 15. (Up until now, it's only been available in an anthology.) Sure enough, there it was. And, as they might say on Duck Dynasty--I was happy, happy, happy. It's one of my personal favorites, it's set in my hometown, and it won the Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Short Historical the year it was published. It's also the book the daughter of a reader told me her mother insisted on having with her when she had to have a subsequent, major surgery. There is no higher honor than that.

I scrolled down, and near the bottom of the KOBO page was a section called "Related Titles." In that section was, of all things, 

HOW in this world THE BRIDE FAIR is in any way related to THE VELVETEEN RABBIT, I do not know, but apparently somebody at KOBO--or one of its handy-dandy computers--thinks it is. 

I just wanted to say here and now, IT'S NOT.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


My theory is this: If you like the book trailer, you just might like the book. So give it a try. If you do like it, there are assorted "buying" links over there....on the right side of the page. Scroll down:

The Book TraIler for THE FIRST BOY I LOVED

Friday, January 31, 2014

GET LOST IN A STORY Blog/January 31-February 2/Book Giveaway

I'm delighted to be a featured author all this weekend on the GET LOST IN A STORY Blog. Drop by and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of my new BelleBooks release, THE FIRST BOY I LOVED.

Click HERE

Saturday, January 18, 2014

NEW RELEASE: The First Boy I Loved...

now available 
in print and in ebook format at