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Reinventing Rita by Nancy Christie is a Shake Off Winter Doldrums pick #womensfiction #laterinlife #fiction #giveaway

Title: Reinventing Rita


Author: Nancy Christie


Genre: Women’s fiction/Contemporary


Book Blurb:


Is fifty too old to start over and reinvent yourself? 

That’s what Rita Reynolds has to decide after a series of unwelcome occurrences arrive in time for her fiftieth birthday, not the least of which is realizing that since her divorce, she’s been coasting on the highway of life. Now, it’s time to hit the gas and start moving ahead, even if the bumps in the road are slowing her down! But is it too late for a midlife makeover? With the help of her friends, including her employer Donna and her ex-husband's second wife Karen, she's about to find out.




“Ta da!” said my son, coming into the kitchen with a box labeled Harry’s Frozen Custard. “I knew better than to get you a regular cake, you being the baker and all, but I figured an ice cream one would be safe.”


He opened the lid with a flourish. There, in bright red cursive letters were the words “Happy 50th birthday, Mom!”


“Bet you thought I forgot,” he added smugly, while Angie stepped forward and handed me a small package.


Candy? A scarf? I wondered as I pulled off the wrapping paper. But I was wrong. It was a book: Finding a Career When You’re Over 50—You’re Never Too Old to Have a Future.


“Thanks,” I said, giving them each a hug while wondering if they noticed my lack of enthusiasm. “This was so sweet.”


I took a quick glance at the chapter headings—“No skills? No worries,” “What to do when you can’t do anything,” and “Back-to-school tips for the 50-plus student”—before closing the book. “Really, thanks so much. Now let’s have some of this delicious cake, shall we?” hoping to forestall any further conversation about my future. But if I thought that food would distract my son, I was sorely mistaken.


“I talked to Dad about you teaching a class and he thinks it’s a great idea,” said Zack, as he wolfed down a slice of cake—pistachio ice cream sandwiched between two dark fudge layers. “He said if you do it, let him know, and he’ll have Karen sign up. He said she can’t bake—not even slice-and-bake cookies.”


Hmm, just for a moment, I lost myself in imagining what it would be like to have Karen—perfect, polished, professional Karen—in my class. Telling her what she was doing wrong—“No, Karen, first you have to sift the flour”—while I was placing perfectly sliced apples into my apple tarte tatin. Karen, pulling her burned oatmeal-raisin bread from the oven—“You really need to watch the timer, Karen”—while I sliced through my perfectly baked light brown loaves. Karen—


“Hey, Mom, are you paying attention?”


My son’s voice broke into my fantasies. Really, what was wrong with me anyway? I didn’t harbor any animosity toward Karen, did I? After all, Paul hadn’t even met her until after we were divorced. And just because she was a successful career woman while I was a stay-at-home mom… But I wasn’t really that anymore, was I? Unlike Karen, who still had an active career, I had been effectively retired once Zack headed off to college. Now I was—what was I, anyway? A not-very-successful salesperson in a store that might be destined for closure.


“I hate it when she does this,” Zack said to Angie, just loud enough for me to hear.


“What? What do you want?” I heated up another cup of coffee. It would keep me up half the night but who cared?


“I said,” Zack answered with heavy patience, “what do you think?”


He apparently expected me to reach a decision right then and there. “Are you going to teach or not?”


“Well, it sounds interesting,” I answered. “I’ll have to look into it.” I tried to put enough enthusiasm in my voice to convince my son, but from the look on his face, I had failed.


“Whatever.” He shot a glance at Angie as if to say See, I told you, before turning toward the hallway. “I’m going to bed.” He left the room, not even bothering to say good night.


I added sugar and creamer to my mug, hoping Angie would follow Zack down the hall. But when I sat down at the kitchen table, she took a seat on the other side.


Angie sighed—the kind of sigh I used to make when Zack was being particularly obstinate about something.


“Look, I know it’s none of my business—” That was what people always say when they are sticking their noses where they don’t belong, I thought—“but I really think you ought to consider the teaching idea. It sounds like a good fit for you.”


She waited, but I just sipped my coffee, burning my tongue on the too-hot liquid.


“Well, anyway, thanks for the wonderful breakfast,” she said finally, when my silence made it clear that I had no intention of continuing the conversation. She got up from the table, then hesitated for a moment by my chair before leaning over to give me a quick hug. “See you in the morning!”


I finished my coffee, trying my best to ignore my thoughts but failing miserably. I could tell that Zack had expected a more positive response from me about his suggestions, but he just didn’t understand.


And after all, parents are supposed to be the ones who had dreams for their kids, who imagined the kind of future they would have and try to steer them in the right direction, not the other way around. But ever since Zack came home—was it just this morning?—he seemed to be pushing me.


“What’s wrong with my life, anyway?” I muttered. “I pay my bills, I do a half-decent job at the store—the best I can, given my lack of talent in that area—and I keep the house neat and clean. What else am I supposed to do?”


I set the empty coffee cup in the sink and then paused, struck by the realization that it had been years since I had even thought in those terms. The whole time Zack was growing up, my goal was to be the best mother I could. I read all the right books and magazines, showed up at all the school events, drove him to sports meets and Scout meetings and kids’ parties. I was so busy being “Zack’s mom” that I never thought about what else or who else I was. And now? Who was I now?


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):












What’s your favorite activity to shake off the winter doldrums?


I start planning my garden. Even though it will be another month or so before I can get the seeds into the ground, I love looking through the packets to decide which varieties I’ll try this year. Planting a garden is a lot like writing. You’re never sure how it will turn out—if the “seeds” (i.e., what you are imagining) will bear fruit (in other words, result in a cohesive and intriguing story)—but the possibility keeps you going, even when you can’t really see the progress.


Why is your featured book a cure for the winter blues?


Reinventing Rita is about getting out of your rut, taking chances, and pursuing your dreams. It’s about the possibilities that exist, and the opportunities that await you, if you can find your moxie and go for it. And after a long, cold, dark season, that’s what we all need: hope and optimism coupled with the confidence and courage to break out of the winter doldrums and look at the coming months with anticipation.


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $35 Amazon gift card



Open internationally.


Runs March 1 – 31, 2024


Drawing will be held on April 1, 2024. 


Author Biography:


Nancy Christie is the award-winning author of seven books: the novel Reinventing Rita; three short story collections: Mistletoe Magic and Other Holiday Tales, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories and Peripheral Visions and Other Stories; two books for writers: Rut-Busting Book for Authors and Rut-Busting Book for Writers (both from BookBaby) and the inspirational book, The Gifts Of Change (Atria/Beyond Words). Her second novel, Finding Fran, will be released late spring 2024.


Her short stories and essays have appeared in numerous print and online publications, with several earning contest placement.


The host of the Living the Writing Life podcast and the founder of the annual “Midlife Moxie” Day and “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day, Christie teaches writing workshops at conferences, libraries, and schools. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the Florida Writers Association (FWA) and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA).


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3 kommenttia

Lisa J Lickel
Lisa J Lickel
22. maalisk.

Love getting out of your rut stories.


10. maalisk.

I read a lot of holiday romances!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
06. maalisk.

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your book in our Shake Off Winter Doldrums!

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