This is not who I was supposed to be.

If you’d told me, back when I was twenty-something, that in my fifties I’d be a romance novelist who got up at 5 am to write, practiced yoga, didn’t drink whiskey, and was well along the road to veganism, I’d have laughed. And then raised a glass of Jim Beam in a toast over a breakfast of steak and eggs.

I wasn’t amazingly reckless (except… okay, I was) but I didn’t see the point in planning too much of a future that might not happen. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow.

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This Endless Summer

I don’t remember summer ever being this long, even when I was a kid. Summers in Australia are long but we only ever had a month or so off from school over the Christmas holidays, so ‘summer’ really only lasted six weeks. Here, in the U.S., ‘summer’ as defined by the school break is usually around two and a half months long.

This year we’ve been doing summer since late March, and for the past two weeks, I’ve been craving the crisp air of autumn, the scent of falling leaves and woodsmoke, hoodies, and all things pumpkin. But August still has a week to go—and it’s nearly 90 out there today. I’m wearing shorts and flipflops.

To be fair, I was probably wearing shorts and flipflops on August 24th last year. I do seem to remember complaining about leaves already turning yellow, though. Saying something like, “I’m not ready.”

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Let’s Connect is available for preorder!

I wrote Let’s Connect for my newsletter subscribers. They’re an awesome bunch who keep opening emails from me, even when all I have to share is how much writing I haven’t been doing. I wanted to give them something new to read, something fun. So I decided to write a serial about the dating adventures of a 50-year-old book shop owner.

As an experiment, I’d call it a success. The response from my newsletter audience and reader group folks was super positive–and that was almost the best part. A weekly affirmation that, yes, I’ve still got what it takes to write something fun and coherent. With much of our lives being devoted to or deferred by the pandemic, it was lovely to be able to deliver and receive something light and fun.

It seemed only right that I make Let’s Connect available in a single edition for everyone else!

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What I’ve Been Reading

The #WritersRead theme for July was a masterwork or comp title. I have been struggling with comp titles for Sundays with Oliver, so picking a book to read for this month was hard. I polled friends and book club buddies and everyone who’d beta read for me. We all had long lists for one half of the story, but kept coming up blank for the other half. For Oliver’s half.

Eventually, I gathered a few author names and started searching library databases with keywords like midlife crisis, unemployed, middle age, and empty nest. One of the returned results was Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah.

The premise wasn’t an exact match, but sort of close, so I grabbed a copy of the book and started reading.

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