Renee Riva has been writing ever since she won her first writing contest in the second grade. She combines her memories of a happy childhood, growing up in a big Italian family, the heart of a “hopeful” romantic, and adds a big dose of gentle humor to delight the hearts of readers. Renee has published two children’s picture books with Waterbook/Random House: Izzy the Lizzy and Guido’s Gondola, a humorous , family trilogy published by David C. Cook: Saving Sailor, Taking Tuscany, and Heading Home. She has two “Forget Me Not Romances”: Happy Camper, and Dawn’s Gentle Light with Winged Publications.
Before becoming an author, Renee wrote for Madison Park Greeting Cards as an in-house contributing editor. Her articles have appeared in Our Family Magazine and Guideposts. Renee is a touring author for schools, has belonged to Get Lit: sponsoring authors to visit small rural schools in Washington State, and has a weekly booth at Market at the Parkway in Richland, Washington all summer long. Her website is www.reneeriva.com and she can be contacted through this site.
For Shelby Smith, enough is enough. After six years of working the BBQ Lunch Special under the overbearing eye of grumpy, Great Aunt Beula, Shelby is ready to get out of Dodge… until a handsome, young, newcomer walks into the cafe one frosty February morning.
Can Chase Tanner change the direction this city wannabe is heading, and help to heal a family at the same time?
C’mon in for a BBQ Sweetwater Burger and find out! AMAZON
When Peyton Abercrombie runs away from an arranged betrothal, she is soon discovered by Captain Jackson Lafitte stowing away aboard the Mon Cherisse.
“Did you say your last name is Lafitte?” Peyton glanced around the Captain’s cabin. “Oh my goodness; a sword, a crew of uncultured men, barrels and barrels of who knows what all…you, Captain, are a pirate! ….I am on a pirate ship!”
“I prefer to call it a cargo ship,” Jackson replied, “and I’m sorry to inform you that you won’t be staying.”
“Oh, please let me stay—I promise I won’t be any trouble.” Peyton looked longingly into Jackson’s eyes with a silent plea.
Jackson sighed, knowing it was a crazy request. “I’ll take you as far as Grand Isle—but that’s it.”
“You’ll have to stay hidden until we dock.” Jackson glanced around the cabin. ” I’ll sleep in the bunk room with the men. Where are you planning to sleep?”
“The top bunk here looks fine to me.”
“That’s Sinbad’s bed.”
“Your cat? Pirates don’t have cats, they have parrots. What kind of pirate are you, anyway?”
Peyton received a pair of raised eyebrows, strongly suggesting that she was pushing her luck.
“Oh, fine, I’ll sleep with your cat.”
Enjoy the voyage as this romantic comedy erupts upon stormy seas… AMAZON
When Amy Landers inherits Aunt Polly’s Inn, located on a bluff above the Columbia River in Wishram, Washington, she has no plans to stay any longer than it takes to sell it. Even though Amy spent her childhood summers with Aunt Polly in cattle country, she’s lived the past fourteen years as a refined city girl in Seattle. She has no desire to change… until she sees her childhood playmate, Jesse Drake, now a strapping cattle rancher next door.
Amy can barely stand the sight of a tumbleweed, and refers to Country Western radio as the Book of Job put to music. It will take more than a cowboy in a nice pair of jeans, to win this city girl’s heart.
Join the round up and enjoy the ride! AMAZON
West Virginia 1906
Ana Popesque arrives at Miss Ellwood’s boarding house in Pine Glen to find she’s boarding with a couple of very chatty housemates. The constant laughter and gossip make it difficult to focus on her violin practice for her upcoming Christmas Symphony. It’s not until the other girls leave for Christmas break that Ana is left with the peace quiet of Pine Cottage. But in that silence, she hears beautiful violin music coming from the boarder downstairs. Before long, her heart strings are so drawn by his melodious ballads, she’s compelled to discover what lies behind such sweet, sorrowfully beautiful music.
A feel good Christmas story of love, acceptance, and joyful reunions. AMAZON
Brandy Jo Danner made up her mind in the third grade that someday she was going to marry Dane Bronson. Determined doesn’t begin to describe Brandy Jo… Sassy would be more accurate. Dane has wanted to ask Brandy Jo out for the past fourteen years, but his shyness has kept him at bay. It appears two people could not be more different.
Dane begins every morning at The Branding Iron Grill with a bacon-cheese omelette, served up by head-waitress, Brandy Jo. When Dane finally works up the courage to ask her out, his rival, Hank Halverson, begins working behind the grill, and gives Dane a run for his money. A brawny, champion bull rider can be stiff competition for a quiet guy like Dane. After Brandy Jo tells Hank to “Save his butter for the biscuits,” Hank turns up the heat. Can Brandy Jo withstand the flames, and hold to her heart’s desire when bravado and humility go head to head?
Come spend some time in Silverdale, Colorado; a small western town in the Rockies, where life is anything but dull. AMAZON
Neighbors Liza Braun and Dillon Derry began their childhood as enemies–according to Liza. Dillon called it a crush. After winning the Children’s Charity Award for their performance in Anne of Green Gables, they toured with Classic Comedies and became best friends.
Ten years later~ Dillon has finished his tour of duty with the Coast Guard and owns a marina. Liza has finished college and is on her way to Paris. The two friends have one last performance together in The Frog Prince before parting forever.
Then Liza’s red carpet is pulled out from under her.
Keeping in step with her favorite Jane Austin heroine, Emma, Liza decides to play summer matchmaker …
Her plan backfires when her rival Shayla decides she likes Dillon instead of the guy Liza intended for her. Desperate, Liza comes up with a zinger to keep Shayla away from Dillon.
Is a “happily-ever-after” possible when summer is so full of blunders?
Come for Opening Night and find out if a single kiss can really change a toad into a prince.
Where Jane Austen’s Emma meets The Frog Prince~ AMAZON
Animal lover, Zoey Pappas leaves the rat race of Seattle to move to the small town of Leavenworth, Washington to open her new pet grooming salon, Puppy Dooz. Having given up her former dream of acting, she is miffed when her cat, Sofie, is constantly pursued by a theater cat named Valentino. Especially, when his owner, Dawson, runs The Backstage Theater playhouse in town and wants Zoey to audition as his leading lady in the Jane Austen production of Persuasion. Zoey turns him down flat. Come for opening night and find out how a chivalrous cat, a rat named Sir Galahad, and handsome Captain Wentworth, all worked together to PURR-suade Zoey otherwise. AMAZON
Christie Rinkley flies out of rainy Seattle headed for Loreto, Mexico on her honeymoon.The only drawback: she is on a honeymoon for one. When the local adventure guides try to warn the blonde lady that a monsoon is expected, it is lost in translation. Why worry about a chance of rain when the sky is blue and the sun is shining? Unless that hike is in Mesquite Canyon with two rock walls and a rising creek in the middle.
When the winds begin to howl and skies bursts open, Christie knows she is sunk. Thank goodness the burly, good-looking, Alabama boy discovers that the “Americana loco” is hiking the canyon alone.
This romantic comedy takes a fun twist when it becomes obvious to Alabama Joe that Christie needs rescuing in more ways than one.
Alabama may just hold to key to Christie’s dreams, and Joe’s comical aunts; Hattie and Bessie, are determined to help make those dreams come true. AMAZON
South Carolina, 1908:
Scullery maid, Lucy Forman, has been serving at Worthington House since the day she turned sixteen. Now, at nineteen, she is asked to take over the duties of gathering chicken eggs out by the stables. It doesn’t take Lucy long to notice there’s more to see at the chicken house than just chickens.
When Stable boy, James Parker notices the young, red-head in place of Bossy Betty, he suddenly takes a deep interest in repairing loose boards down at the coop. Falling through the wall of the hen-house was not his intention, but when he sees the cute maiden on the other side, he can’t help but fall for Lucy.
Downton Abbey fans who are intrigued by what goes on below the stairs, will love following the antics of Lucy and the fun, feisty kitchen maid, Lizzy. Who, but Lizzy, could talk Lucy into sneaking down a six-story fire escape to go to a dance?
Mischief and young love are in store…
Readers will get to decide who really lives life to its fullest; the well-to-do Gentry, or those who serve them. AMAZON
When an early 1900s love story makes its way from revolutionary Russia to a small town in America, a young girl’s life begins to change.
Clara Bradley moves from the city to a remote farming town in Eastern Washington—with nothing to offer a young cheerleader but miles of snow-covered wheat fields. She now has no cheer team and nothing to cheer about. But that move brings her an unusual neighbor: an elderly Russian woman who has a love story she is translating into English. Clara’s love of books draws the two together and she becomes immersed in the lives of Nina and Pasha.
“Nina sat beneath the tree, winding a bright yellow ribbon through her dark, shiny mane, then wove it all into a long, thick braid. Catching her reflection in the pond, she had to admit she felt pretty.
As she filled glasses from a water pitcher, Pasha appeared in the orchard walking toward her. He was wearing a clean white tunic shirt contrasting his dark hair and tanned face. The instant his soft gaze caught Nina’s, her heart fluttered. For the first time, she had an acute awareness that Pasha was not her brother, or even her best friend. He was someone far more endearing.”
Dawn’s Gentle Light transcends two Countries, two different time periods, and two hearts in need of friendship, hope, and the goodness of God. AMAZON
Allie Jaskie, recent fashion school graduate, needs a job.
Charlie Braun, editor of Happy Camper Magazine, needs a field reporter.
The clock is ticking for an article about summer snow camping on Mount Rainier.
Allie hates camping. And snow. But she’s down to her last can of tomato soup. What’s a hungry girl to do? Change her name to Sage Forester and show up for an interview in old camping duds, courtesy of Goodwill.
Something about Sage Forester doesn’t add up, but Charlie is intrigued enough to give her a chance.
When Sage returns from Mount Rainier with her ridiculous article: “Fashions in the Forest,” the editorial staff roars hysterically—until their boss says “run it.”
Sage is an instant hit with the ladies. Who would guess so many would love trading in their army green camping gear for pink tents, and bright hiking attire? Sage’s celebrity status continues to soar—until Charlie discovers she’s not who she claims, nor is she spending invigorating nights sleeping in the snow.
Readers of all ages are in for an avalanche of fun in this light-hearted adventure as Sage and Charlie battle it out in Paradise on Mount Rainier. AMAZON
When Liza Braun tries out for the Rainier Theater Production of Anne of Green Gables, she has no idea that the assistant director is going to do everything she can to make sure her daughter, Charlotte, is the star of the show. But when Liza wins the lead role, the play is suddenly revised so the character of Diana Berry upstages Anne Shirley in every scene—until Dillon Derry gets the part of Gilbert Blithe and decides two people can play that game.
Knowing the kind of pranks Dillon was capable of, Liza could only imagine what he had in store for OPENING NIGHT: “Welcome Ladies, gentlemen, and children. I am thrilled to introduce to you my assistant director, Patricia Pelan, who I can’t say enough about.”
Liza leaned over to Duncan. “That’s what people say when they can’t think of anything nice to say about someone.”
Duncan nodded, in agreement.
A cordial round of applause rose from the audience, then quickly died off. Most of the audience were parents of the actors and actresses and had listened for weeks about the botched up, hacked up, play script their kids were rehearsing for.
Mrs. Pelan appeared in her sequins and peacock feathered hat as though it were an opening night on Broadway. “Thank you! As some of you may have heard, we have made some subtle improvements to the original screen play, which I am certain you will love as much as I do. Just so you know, we will not begin where the story usually begins. As a special surprise, our play begins at the garden party where Anne Shirley is introduced to Diana Barry for the first time. And now, with no further ado…. Ladies and Gentlemen….Diana …er, I mean…Anne of Green Gables!”
Join the chaos as Liza and Dillon have the time of their life adding a little creative license to help spice things up. AMAZON
In 1948, twenty-one-year-old Shannon Lyons immigrated to America, and was hired as a waitress at The Crater Lake National Park Lodge in Oregon. That same summer, an Italian bus boy, Johnny Marino, is returning for his third summer. It takes some time for Johnny to work up the nerve to ask the beautiful new waitress out on a date. A few dates, hikes, and picnics later, the two are celebrating Shannon’s birthday and take a sunset drive to see Phantom Ship Island:
“So, how did The Phantom Ship get its name?” Shannon asked. “It must have something to do with pirates.”
“They say that on foggy days, it’s often mistaken for an old ghost ship; with its pointed bow and tall rock steeples that resemble sailing masts.”
Shannon glanced out at the small island in the lake. “Yeah, I can see that now that you mention it. I’m sure glad all of this was preserved as a national park. I’d hate for it all to be developed one day.”
“You can thank a man named Will Steel for that. Steel led a seventeen-year crusade to establish Crater Lake as America’s sixth national park. President Theodore Roosevelt signed it into law in 1902.”
“I’m very thankful to Will and the President,” Shannon replied.
Johnny turned to face Shannon. Gazing into her deep green eyes, he said, “So am I, or I wouldn’t be here with you right now by this beautiful lake, wanting to kiss you so bad I can hardly stand it.”
Shannon glanced back at Johnny. “Are you saying you want to kiss me?”
“Yes. Quite badly.”
“Then, why don’t you?”
“I was just making sure that you wanted me to kiss you before I tried and found out you didn’t really want me to. I would feel really bad then and I might just jump off this cliff into the crater. That’s why I thought I’d better make sure first.”
Shannon took one step closer to Johnny. “Please don’t jump, Johnny. Just kiss me.”
Everyone has one summer in their life that stands out above the rest. For Johnny and Shannon, the summer of 1948 was one of those summers~AMAZON
Farley’s Five and Dime
A Charming Waltz Down memory Lane
“It was just me and Daddy and Sammy that made up our family after Mama went to heaven in 1956. I was only nine years old when she left us. I remember thinking she must have been needed pretty bad up there, ‘cause I sure needed her down here, but heaven got her anyway.
The three of us ran the dimestore winter, spring, summer, and fall, without any outside help. We lived right above the store with a slide that landed us in the backroom, so we could look forward to going to work everyday. Summers were my favorite time of all and got a little crazy at times—but a good kind of crazy—‘cause when it got real busy, I got to work the soda fountain counter. The best part about that was getting to know everybody’s business, and believe me, there was a lot of business to know in Hog Eye Holler. “
There is something special about one’s first crush, and first waltz at the innocent age of twelve, especially in a small Southern town in the 1950’s. Farley’s Five and Dime is all of that, and more~ AMAZON
A charming time in a charming town~
“Me and Nellie watch to see who won Miss Hog Eye Holler this year. You don’t find out who won ‘til she comes floating down Lavender Lane on her royal float, waving and chucking candy at everyone. “How long ago was it that you won Miss Hog Eye Holler, Nellie?” I ask her.
Nellie shakes her head and laughs. “Too many moons ago to count!” she answers. Nellie is still pretty as can be so it couldn’t have been that long ago. Just as we are talking about it, who should come around the bend but Miss Sandra Jane Jacobs in her long lavender sequin gown and purple high heels on top of her pink and purple floral float. Sandra Jane is the older sister of Emma Jean, who is the girlfriend of Billy Ray Baxter, who is the hunk of Hog Eye Holler. So I’m just a tinge bit jealous that Emma Jean gets to ride up there on that float with her beauty queen sister. “I sure would like to ride on that float myself someday,” I told Nellie, “but only if I can wear my over-alls instead of that skimpy long dress and high heels. I would trip for sure in those tall shoes right off the side of that float, trying to wave and throw candy at same time. I’d bust my front teeth right out, and then I’d look just awful for the newspaper photo.” This is what I say so when the time comes for me to lose the Miss Hog Eye Holler contest, I won’t feel quite so bad.
Nellie smiles. “Oh, you still got a few years yet to practice.”
~ A summer like this comes along only once a lifetime~ AMAZON