Tuesday, December 31, 2019

End of 2019 Thoughts

I think, ever since I was a kid, the last day of the year has been a reflective time--a dividing line between the old and new.

A day of letting go.

A day of hope.

A chance of renewal.

A clean slate. 

2019, on national, global, and personal levels, was a year of great change--extreme highs and extreme lows. For me, it was a year of reckoning--with who I am and with who I know I can be.

Personal change is always present. But 2019 also brought changes that marked the end of things and, as ever, the beginnings of others.

In 2019, I ended a relationship of nearly a decade and more than thirty books with Dreamspinner Press. It was like the end of a marriage...and equally stressful and painful. It was also eye-opening. Sadly, I will never again be as trusting of people. I had thought the folks at Dreamspinner were good friends and even family. I adored them and welcomed them into my heart, my home, and my imagination. I believed in a future with them. That these dreams went up in smoke and betrayal was testimony to the fact that everything changes. My dreams have been hobbled, but I will go on, hopefully stronger and more resilient and maybe even a better, more mature writer. I'm grateful for all Dreamspinner did for me and sad that our relationship ended in such spectacular disappointment.

But all change is, I believe, balanced. The new year will see a deepening relationship with other publishers and collaborators. I'm looking at you, Nine Star Press and JMS Books. 

2019 also marked the end of some significant friendships. There's a saying that people enter our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Sometimes, we can't predict who will fall into these categories, but they show us who they are, sometimes painfully and sometimes with simple acceptance for what once was. And sometimes both. I'm grateful for what once was and look forward to deepening and new friends who share my worldview.

2019 saw the loss of my mom's sister, my beloved Aunt Jackie. I'm so grateful for the support of family and friends who cared enough to reach out and to try, even in small ways, to offer comfort. But I'm more grateful for the memories I have of Aunt Jackie, which are so intertwined with memories of my own late mother as to be invaluable. 

I look forward to 2020, knowing it will bring, in varying amounts, the same levels of disappointment and joy. I hope to deepen the message my writing brings, to deepen my personal relationships, and to find that elusive inner peace I've searched for all my life.

I wish the same for you.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

New Re-Release: DINNER AT JACK'S Another Romance with Recipes

Yesterday was the re-release of my redemptive story of food, love, and yes, PTSD--DINNER AT JACK'S. It's another romance with recipes, originally published by Dreamspinner Press and now in a new, updated (cover, lower price) edition from JMS Books. Check out the gorgeous new cover from Written Ink Designs and then get between the sheets with Jack and Beau! BLURB Personal chef Beau St. Clair, recently divorced from his cheating husband, returns to the small Ohio River town where he grew up to lick his wounds. Jack Rogers lives with his mother, Maisie, in that same small town, angry at and frightened by the world. Jack has a gap in his memory that hides something he dares not face, and he’s probably suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Maisie, seeking relief from her housebound and often surly son, hires Beau to cook for Jack, hoping the change might help bring Jack, once a handsome and vibrant attorney, back to his former self. But can a new face and comfort food compensate for the terror lurking in Jack’s past? Slowly the two men begin a dance of revelation and healing. Food and compassion build a bridge between Beau and Jack, a bridge that might lead to love. But will Jack’s demons allow it? His history could just as easily tear them apart as bring them together.

BUY Amazon
JMS Books (where it's even cheaper, for you bargain hunters)

Monday, December 16, 2019

Two Holiday Options for Your Reading Pleasure

In the mood for a little holiday poignancy? I have two tales that just might bring a tear or two to your eye....


Check out my story, AN OPEN WINDOW, about which Divine Magazine said:

An Open Window is told retrospectively, which is a tactic that works really well for this short because Reed focuses the reader's attention on Henry and Jim's meeting.

Reed poignantly highlights the plight of homeless people at Christmas and immediately we only feel sympathy for Henry rather than judging him for his choice to enter the open window in someone else's home. I think our emotions are intensified by the fact that Henry thinks about being found frozen on Christmas morning with a mixture of "terror and relief".

Another man who is alone on this Christmas Eve is Jim, who has had a lucky, if upsetting, escape from a man who could not give him the love he deserved. Every reader knows that Christmas is a time to be spent with loved ones and for that reason, we feel compassion for Jim, who feels that "he might never celebrate the holiday again".

Reed brings these two men together unconventionally but beautifully and I adore the fact that Reed is able to capture the Christmas spirit of goodwill in An Open Window. I turned the final page and was left with all the right warm and fuzzy feelings.

An Open Window may only be 21 pages but it is a story perfectly formed!

Two men. One Christmas Eve that changes the courses of both their lives.

Henry’s homeless and only wants a warm place to sleep on the coldest night of the year. A forgotten open window in a darkened house entices Henry inside with the promise of warmth and comfort. He knows it’s bad, but he promises himself he’ll be out before the owner wakes on Christmas morning. Except he oversleeps and the homeowner, Jim, discovers a bearded stranger sawing logs under his dining room table. When the shock and the drama that ensues dies down, Henry and Jim discover that they might have found, quite unexpectedly, the Christmas miracle they’d both been longing for—love and home.

JMS Books
Amazon Kindle


I've always loved the darkly beautiful fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. "Matches" is my gay take on "The Little Match Girl".

Christmas Eve should be a night filled with magic and love. But for Anderson, down on his luck and homeless in Chicago's frigid chill, it's a fight for survival. Whether he's sleeping on the el, or holed up in an abandoned car, all he really has are his memories to keep him warm-memories of a time when he loved a man named Welk and the world was perfect. When Anderson finds a book of discarded matches on the sidewalk, he pockets them. Later, trying to keep the cold at bay hunkered down in a church entryway, Anderson discovers the matches are the key to bringing his memories of Welk, happiness, and security to life. Within their flames, visions dance-and perhaps a reunion with the man he loved most.

BUY for .99 on Amazon Kindle (FREE for Kindle Unlimited Readers)

Friday, December 13, 2019


Happy Re-release day to me! The new edition of DINNER AT FIORELLO'S, "where love is on the menu" is now out from JMS Books. This new edition has a new cover and new lower price (only $3.99 at JMS Books).

BLURB Henry Appleby has an appetite for life. As a recent high school graduate and the son of a wealthy family in one of Chicago’s affluent North Shore suburbs, his life is laid out for him. Unfortunately, though, he’s being forced to follow in the footsteps of his successful attorney father instead of living his dream of being a chef. When an opportunity comes his way to work in a real kitchen the summer after graduation, at a little Italian joint called Fiorello’s, Henry jumps at the chance, putting his future in jeopardy. Years ago, life was a plentiful buffet for Vito Carelli. But a tragic turn of events now keeps the young chef at Fiorello’s quiet and secretive, preferring to let his amazing Italian peasant cuisine do his talking. When the two cooks meet over an open flame, sparks fly. Both need a taste of something more -- something real, something true -- to separate the good from the bad and find the love -- and the hope -- that just might be their salvation. REVIEWS "I recommend this to those who love stories of embarking on your own path in life, of being poked back to life and the living, of a tentative new love blooming, of grabbing life with both hands and facing the fall out, and of two men who embark on a new stage in their lives." --MM Good Book Reviews *** "I loved this book...I very highly recommend it!" --Love Bytes Reviews *** "In the end, everything came together nicely and exactly the way it should have. I loved watching these guys battle with themselves as they stubbornly made their way to each other....Overall, an excellent love story." --On Top Down Under Reviews *** "...a beautiful love story, not just showing the early stages of what may become love for Henry and Vito, but the love Vito holds for his son and his husband--a love that transcends their death. Don't miss a chance to pick this one up." --Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Reviews *** "Dinner at Fiorello's is one of the reasons why I adore Rick R. Reed. I highly recommend to those who love an emotional journey featuring all the hurdles MM Romance generally provides." --Wicked Reads *** "From the characters to the food, Dinner at Fiorello's is a warm, sweet and emotionally raw story of love and loss, independence and interdependence. I loved it." --Inked Rainbow Reads


Sunday, December 1, 2019

My Award Winning Novel CAREGIVER Rereleases Today World AIDS Day

Today, on World AIDS Day, I'm #grateful for the re-release of my award winning novel, CAREGIVER, based on my experiences as an AIDS buddy in Tampa, FL in the early 90s. This edition includes an afterword that reveals the incredible true story behind the book. BLURB
Winner of the 2013 EPIC eBook Award for Best Contemporary Romance
It's 1991, and Dan Calzolaio has just moved to Florida with his lover, Mark, having fled Chicago and Mark's addictions to begin a new life on the Gulf Coast. Volunteering for the Tampa AIDS Alliance is just one part of that new beginning, and that's how Dan meets his new buddy, Adam. Adam Schmidt is not at all what Dan expected. The guy is an original - witty, wry, and sarcastic with a fondness for a smart black dress, Barbra Streisand, and a good mai tai. Adam doesn't let his imminent death get him down, even through a downward spiral that sees him thrown in jail. Each step of Adam's journey teaches Dan new lessons about strength and resilience, but it's Adam's lover, Sullivan, to whom Dan feels an almost irresistible pull. Dan knows the attraction isn't right, even after he dumps his cheating, drug-abusing boyfriend. But then Adam passes away, and it leaves Sullivan and Dan both alone to see if they can turn their love for Adam into something whole and real for each other.