Old Friends

I’ve been thinking about old friends because a few of them have come back into my life lately. Hi, Nora, if you’re out there. I’ve missed you so much. Nora and I were in a critique group years before we sold our first books. That critique group was incredibly important to me. It got me through the low times, cheered with me through the high times, and was instrumental in getting me published.

But decades before that I had a different support system. I had three friends (Barb, Barb, and Mary) who would invade my house on a regular basis. We’d eat junk food, tell stories, and ride horse until dawn. Sadly, I haven’t seen those friends more than a couple times in the last twenty years, but Monday night at a book signing, the store owner handed me a copy of Unzipped, asked me to sign it, and said she was going to send it to a Barb Bartle in Texas. Barb Bartle…how did I lose track of her? And how did she know that my local bookseller was willing to send out autographed copies of my first mystery novel?

These thoughts reminded me of another old friend story; my son had a good buddy in college who I always really liked. She was one of those tough, super smart, amazing girls who would obviously never need a man in her life. Sometimes I wondered why they spent time together because she had no qualms about putting him in his place if he stepped out of line. It was ultimately clear that they were just friends…until his wedding, when she made a toast. The room went pretty quiet when she stood up, solemnly told us that Travis was the best person she had ever met and then began to cry. Whoa. Sometimes, I guess, old friends will surprise you.

In the same vein, I’ve been slowly re-releasing my out of print novels. My Desperado is my most recent old friend to see the light of day again. Here’s the cover Berkley made for it years ago.

Here’s the latest version. (It should be available at amazon.com right now, but my agent is afraid some poor old man in Amarillo is going to think it’s a traditional western and be shocked by its steamy contents. What do you think?that should be available at amazon.com etc. right now). The photo is of a young friend of mine, taken by a friend of his. Neither of them were even alive when the first edition came out. And never in a million years would I have dreamed technology would allow me to virtually make my own books. So I guess new stuff isn’t so bad. But old friends are still the best.

So how about you? Got any old friends who have reappeared in your life lately? Any that you’d really LIKE to see? We’re not getting any younger, you now. Now’s a good  time to make that happen.

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11 Responses to Old Friends

  1. When I was in 7th grade (called junior high back then. Not sure today), a group of girls became friends. There were twelve of us. One has died. One lives in Missouri (Hi Sheila!). One in Texas (Hi Melissa). The rest of us are back home in Arkansas. (Hi Sandy, Carol, Susie, Leslie, Teresa, Robin, Judith, Tansill) Once a month we meet for dinner. This group goes back a long way. We are in our mid-fifies. Staying in touch over the years has been tough but so worth it. They know the real ME, not the public me. I will add that Sandy, Carol and I go back to FIRST GRADE together.
    Now THESE are friends. :)

  2. michelehauf says:

    OMG, My Desperado was the first book of yours I read! And I fell in love with it, and your writing. I can still remember that hilarious opening scene, and the rest of the story is just as fun and romantic.
    Sigh…

    My oldest friend I’ve known since my birth (she’s nine months older than me). Our parents were friends, and we’ve been pretty close all our lives, even though she now lives five hours away.

    I’m so thankful for the good friends I have. Here’s to friendships that last forever!

  3. debradixon says:

    Lois– Congrats on the backlist coming out. Love the photo on Desperado! I’ve kept up with most of my friends, but only because for the last twenty-odd years, I’ve been in writing/publishing so I’ve been in the same world. And I have a group of folks who were on the old Genie DOS bulletin board. We used to joke that if you were smart enough to get on and sign up, then you were smart enough to be part of the group. We’ve all pretty much stayed in touch. We know each other’s lives. So, when we meet at conferences, it’s is “what’s been happening last year?” It’s more like, “Did your kid get you that red blazer back that she borrowed so you could pack it in time?”

    Deborah Smith and I had GPS chips installed in each other. We’ll never lose track. (g)

    I consider myself very lucky.

  4. superauntkx9 says:

    Last year just as my mom passed away, and old friend had met up with another old friend and told Mary that my mom had passed away and she got in touch with me through FB.. And we found out we only live about 20 minuets from one another.. We have seen each other many times since. I am thinking that we have to get together with a few other old friends and have a good old chinwag about those days gone by…

  5. Kylie Brant says:

    You’re right, old friends are the best! I especially love having old grade school/high school friends re-enter my life. Hubby and I still hang out with the same couples we ran around with before getting married. There’s just so much history there…we tell the same punchlines to old jokes and laugh like loons. Tell old stories about our times together…we’d be incredibly annoying to anyone else new to the group but the history together makes every memory special.

  6. Cindy Gerard says:

    congrats on the reissues Lois and I am so with you on the old friends angle. I love keeping touch and make it a point to. And I love that you’ve recently reconnected with some ‘besties’

  7. Nora Braun says:

    A few years ago when I was visiting my home town — very cute and quaint Ste. Genevieve — my roommate from freshman year called to meet for lunch. What was special was the pre-college history — she had always lived down the street from me and made fun of me as kids. In high school she was the cheer leader and I was the smart nerdy teacher’s daughter. And suddenly on my first day of college she is my roommate?! Turns out her father was making her do one year before he would allow her to marry her older boyfriend and she figured I would make her study — there’s a whole other story about HS nerd goes wild in college. Anyway, we became friends, had a fun year together, and I was even in her wedding. Now flash forward 30 years to meet for lunch — it was like no time had passed as we caught up. That’s the wonderful thing about old friends — it’s easy and fun to pick up the old threads again. And I try to make time to visit my old friend when I’m in town. Next time I’m in Minnesota Lois!

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