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.