Friday, May 30, 2014

Can The 'Ah Ha' Moment Come Too Late?


Or...Why I like digital publishing.

What happened to the month of May? With Mother’s Day, birthdays and a family reunion, I seemed to spend the month cooking. As I considered what to make for the reunion, I decided to use the checkerboard cake pan I hadn’t used in years.

I decided on chocolate and strawberry flavors, but after mixing the cake, I discovered I only had one insert for the pans. I diligently greased and floured the insert and pan and poured the first of three layers.

When the layer came out of the oven I could see I over filled the three sections, but I carefully sliced the extra even with the top of the pan. Then discovered the insert would not come out of the pan without running a knife around all three circles.

As I washed, dried, greased and floured the blinkedy blink insert, I admired the trimmed off section and how smooth the two colors blended above the insert. Still no ‘ah ha’ moment and I went through this three times. The amazing thing was the fact that all three layers came out and stacked nicely on the previous layers. Even the gap between the circles that widened when I put on the fudge icing did not ruin the sides of the cake.

Still no ‘ah ha’ moment…

At the reunion, we were sitting with the nephew and his wife when people started going for dessert. I said I hope my cake doesn’t fall apart if anyone tried a slice. I told nephew’s wife I’d made a checkerboard cake. She replied she had made one and boasted of her feat to her grandmother. But granny said, “Oh, I made those cakes years ago, before they made special pans.”

Still, nothing clicked as I asked how her granny accomplished that when the two colors had to be separated for the cake to form the checked pattern. Even as we spoke, images of the trimmed off cake flashed through my head, but that’s all. Just a quick flash, and then it happened. Like a sharp pain to the head, I realized why there was only separator for a three layer cake.

Are you ROFL yet? In my defense, new versions of this pan come with a plastic insert clearly stating remove before baking. My insert is metal. Too bad I didn’t go shopping on line for the pan before I started baking.

So, it’s never too late. Baking three layers…one at a time…is similar to doing revisions and edits. Producing the tall, fudge cake, with stack toy looking rings, is the same a publishing your story. In previous times, if you found mistakes after your book was published, too bad. Today, you can polish and update to your heart’s content.

It’s never too late. So how many times have you wished you could go back and correct a mistake?    
PS…yes, I laughed. What else could I do, my cake was ‘traditionally’ baked.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Travel Makes the Heart Grow Broader

Aberglasney Gardens, © Leigh Verrill-Rhys
Some of us are born with wanderlust firmly lodged in our DNA. While we might be rooted in a village or a crowded city, our instincts are hungry for other places: faraway places or simply places we have never been.

For those of us who don’t have the opportunity to travel, there are books: history, travel guides, coffee table photography collections.

And for those of us who want more from our "armchair" wanderlust, there are novels. Charles Dickens will take us to Victorian England. Gabriel Garcia Marquez brings us to the countries of South America, as does Isabel Allende and, with Miguel Asturias, we explore Central America. If we chose, we can visit Japan in the company of Kobo Abe or Africa with Chinua Achebe. Frank Waters takes his readers to the American Southwest of Native Americans and we learn about the experiences of settlers and frontiers men in the early west from Zane Grey.

Jane Austen is our authentic source of what life was like for young women of the early 19th Century and George Eliot gave us the women of the English country and town in the middle of the same century. Edith Wharton took us to the fashionable, constricted society of New York at the end of this century.

Novels in all genres provide the same pleasurable excursions to the exotic, the sublime and the strange. A sense of place is one of the essential elements of fiction. Without that, we flounder in the ether. Despite our desire for adventure, we want to be sure of our place in this fictional world.

For those of we wanderers who write, this allows us the exceptional opportunity to satisfy our inborn curiosity about our world under the guise of research.

Where do you like to spend your time exploring the fictional world?

We can start right here with the authors contributing to Classic & Cozy. For instance, Loretta C. Rogers writes historical fiction about the American West, including some places and events we wouldn’t consider ‘western’ at all. Sandy Cody writes mysteries, one of which takes place along the Mississippi River. Sierra Donovan writes sweet, contemporary romances set in the atmosphere of ‘small town’ America. For those who like sweet historical romances, set in the Adirondack Mountain region of New York State, Tracey Lyons is your lady.

I have selected these colleagues solely at random and if you click on any of the names to the right of this post, you’ll find some of the best in the genres of classic and cozy romance, western, fantasy and mystery novels.

Pentre Ifan Cromlech, Penfro, Cymru
If you are keen on the mysterious beaches of paradise, have a peak at Marty Ambrose’s list of books. We also have Kathye Quick’s multi-genre efforts for historical romance, urban fantasy and contemporary romance. Speaking of contemporary romance, I’ve been known to contribute a few novels to this sub-genre, as well as historical romances set in medieval Wales under my pen name, Lily Dewaruile.


Happy traveling!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Summer Starts: Don't forget it's Memorial Day

It seems we wake up one morning and the buds on the trees have opened into beautiful shades of green, we can walk out to get the paper without being bundled in a coat, and the birds are joyfully singing. Summer has come.

Today is Memorial Day and along with the solemn celebrations to remember those who have served our country, we use this holiday to mark the beginning of summer. That’s not the purpose of the holiday, but over the years, it seems to have morphed into that meaning. Ads lure us to buy beach chairs and swimsuits, hotdogs and chips, and anything else that will make our weekend enjoyable. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in the excitement of enjoying the outdoors, don’t forget the meaning of the Memorial Day, a day to honor the veterans who gave their lives while serving our country.

I hope to find time to visit the National Cemetery. Because Dad served during WWII, both he and Mom are buried there. The quiet beauty of the acres of land with its rows and rows of simple tombstones will be magnified with thousands of small American flags by each marker. It’s an awesome, emotional sight to experience.

The first time I visited a National Cemetery was in Hamm, Luxembourg, when my husband and I lived in Germany during one of his tours with the Air Force. Here the tombstones were simple concrete crosses. We found the grave for General George Patton. He wanted to be buried among his men who died at the Battle of the Bulge, and his grave looks no different from the others, very simple, very touching.

The rows of crosses marking the site of those who lost their lives overseas during the war was an emotional experience I’ll never forget.

As you’re enjoying the beginning of summer today, I hope you have time to experience one of the ceremonies to mark the remembrance of Memorial Day.

It’s the beginning of summer, but it’s also something much, much more meaningful.

Fran McNabb grew up along the beaches, bayous and islands of the Gulf Coast and uses these setting in most of her novels. She's a retired English and journalism teacher who enjoys presenting writing workshops, fishing and boating, and spending time with her two grandsons. Visit her at www.FranMcNabb.com.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Novel Images

Have you ever found yourself going somewhere in your mind that is completely familiar, vividly detailed, and filled with memories only to realize that the place is not one you have actually ever visited?  I quite often do, many times to the lab in the basement of the English home in Daphne du Maurier’s The House on the Strand.  It wasn’t a very exciting place in the book, and in my mind it is dusty, with old fashioned chemistry equipment, little light, and whatever molders in old English houses.

It is obvious that I was never actually there but for some reason, a combination of the story, the character, and emotion, the place is as real to me as some I visited long ago.  It is not a form of déjà vu, at least I don’t think so, but the feeling of having been in that place is as close to real as it can be.

As vivid is the church rising out of nothing in Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth series.  Before I saw the video of it, I had the place firmly in my mind. The same was true with Manderly, in du Maurier’s Rebecca. I could see it ablaze as vividly as if I were standing beside it, listening to the roar of the fire and smelling the smoke.  But, I can also see it intact, with the unnamed character, the poor suffering second wife, trying to keep her head high in the face of what she perceived as inferiority on her part.  It is so dark, with overstuffed sofas and antiques and that horrible housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, undermining her every move.

It was sunnier on the porch where the main character in Lad: A Dog by Alfred Payson Terhune liked to lay his head.  This ability to turn fictional locations into reality has been with me at least as long as I was a child, reading that book, crying my eyes out when I read the ending.  The island where Walter Farley’s The Island Stallion lived is also as vibrant, especially the entrance to it.

Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, Sherlock Holmes stories, all stick in my mind, not as vividly, of course, as my special favorites, but easily recalled. The halls and rooms in Harry Potter books were all fully visualized way before the movies were ever made.  I can see and feel the Sorting Hat.  It was the same for me with The Hobbit books, but also for the houses in The Help, Gone with the Wind, and The Red Tent.  The Outlander books and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo are now vivid memories of places I have visited, as is the Moon, in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Authors create new worlds for us and allow us to travel there.  But in many ways it is our own imaginations that furnish the details and let them imprint themselves on our brains.  When we get “lost in a book” we can find our own way out, or we can let a piece of ourselves live there forever. Then we can visit anytime.  It lets us keep enjoying the feeling we had at the time we read the books. 

The room in The Mirror Crack’d haunted me for years.  My second book, Vengeance Tastes Sweet, is in a way an homage to Agatha Christie.  So many books over the years have had such an impact on my mind that I feel as if I’ve gone into them myself.

Maybe, instead of saying “I read that,” I should be saying “I’ve been there.”

Friday, May 23, 2014

Musings About the Curious Bond between Cat Lovers and Mystery Readers and Writers

Cats and mysteries just seem to go hand in hand.  It’s not unusual to go into a local bookstore and find a cat wandering about the shelves or gazing from the window. There’s something cozy, too, about curling up by the fireplace with a good book and a cat on your lap.  And writing goes better for many authors if there is a furry friend to keep them company.  My pet Maggie is usually hanging around while I write.


My Cat Maggie Supervising 


Maybe the bond between mystery lovers and cats stems from the fact that cats themselves are mysterious creatures.  While dogs make their wants and needs and affections clear, cats love to keep their owners guessing.  You own a dog, but a cat usually owns you.


Cats Make Good Companions for Writers


Helpful cats (Photo: Godserv: morguefile)

Who Wrote the Book?  ( ML Photo: Morguefile)






My cats keep me company when I work.  I dream up a new green-eyed hero only to find a wide-eyed cat staring back at me from the top of the desk.  Surely, that’s not where my inspiration came from!  My cats also love to help by sitting on my keyboard, knocking things off my desk, or chasing the pages as they come out of the printer, such as these busy cats in the photos.








Famous Authors Who Love Cats

Cats and authors have a long-enduring relationship.  Many famous writers, from Alexander Dumas to Charles Dickens, had cats for pets.  T.S. Eliot, Mark Twain and  Ernest Hemingway all had a large number of cats.  Among Hemingway’s brood of cats were Alley Cat, Boise, and Dillinger.  Beatrix Potter, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, also had a number of cats, named Simkin, Moppet, Mrs. Ribby, Ginger, and Tom Kitten.  Charles Dicken’s cat, Wilamena, contributed to his literary efforts by having a litter of kittens in his study.

Cats and Literature


The characters in Shakespeare’s plays have inspired many cat names, such as Tybalt, Prospero, and Ophelia. There’re also quite a few cats named Shakespeare.  Cats have also been given the names the great romantic classic heroes and heroines such as Heathcliff, Jane Eyre, and Darcy.

Cats may also be named after authors or people associated with authors.  Zelda (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife) has had many cats named for her.  Quite a few black cats have been named Poe, not to mention, Hemingway, Tolstoy, and Dr. Seuss.

Cats even sometimes find themselves the main characters of mystery books, such as Koko and Yum-yum in Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat who...series.

Cats in Mysteries: Don’t Kill the Cat


As mystery writers, my sister and I know better to kill a cat.  If someone is mean to a cat, it had better be the villain.  While humans are more or less expendable as the plot dictates, it’s almost an unspoken law that mystery readers will never forgive the murder of or tolerate any cruelty toward their furry friends.  My advice to mystery writers: kill all the people you want, but “touch not the cat.”



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Would You Ever Skydive?



I opted to take the plunge (literally!) the year I turned fifty. It was a topsy-turvy year for me. Not just because I'd reached that venerable decade (which honestly, didn't faze me), but because the first half of the year was filled with heartache, disappointment, and a lot of near-misses. Six months in, in June, I was traveling to Houston for a speaking engagement. I decided by jumping out of a plane, I would show the Fates I'd had enough of their toying with me and mine. I was taking back my life in the most dramatic way I could conceive. My daughter, who'd undergone spinal surgery earlier that year and had just turned twenty-one, was thrilled to join me. 

After getting the okay from my girl's surgeon, we made our plans. We did our research, chose a site, made an appointment online, and got more and more excited as the date drew nearer. Finally, we flew from New York to Texas, rented a car, and drove to the small airport where we would get on another plane--this time, to leap out of it. 


We arrived at the skydiving locale on a sunny afternoon and spent two hours learning what to expect and what we'd be expected to do. Then, we met our instructors (who would tandem dive with us) and put on our gear. We wore jumpsuits with headsets and mics so our instructors could converse with us and give us last-minute directions. At first glance, my instructor was a little intimidating. Picture Woody Harrelson as he looked in such movies as "Seven Psychopaths," "Zombieland," or "Natural Born Killers." Now, scrape his throat raw to darken his voice and toss in a Texas twang. That was my guy. A former Boeing employee, he had more than 10,000 jumps under his belt, and after spending a lot of time together, I discovered he was also a sweetheart beneath that scary exterior. Once our instructors felt we were ready, they assisted us on to the plane that would take us 14,000 feet up for our moment of temporary insanity.

Sounds crazy? Maybe. But it was an event I'll never forget. Just standing at the open doorway, waiting to push off into oblivion, is terrifying and yet, oddly, thrilling at the same time. All too soon, the sound of "Go!" hit my ears. My toes left the edge, and we were out. The wind slapped my cheeks with so much force, I heard my skin flapping. The view as the earth hurtled into focus evoked a sense of wonder. The altimeter on my wrist, which I'd been directed to keep an eye on, marked our descent. And just when I thought I'd panic from the realization of what I'd done, we hit the right altitude. I pulled the cord, the parachute opened, and with a quick jerk, our speed slowed to a gentle waft. By pulling on the handles on either side of my 'chute, I was able to control which direction the wind took us. For the next several minutes, we drifted through the clear blue sky to the green grass far below. It's beautifully peaceful as you coast to land again, your heartbeat slowing to a more normal rhythm, the world growing bigger and bigger beneath you. 

Once on the ground, I understood my instructor's passion for the sport. Skydiving is an exhilarating experience, and I highly recommend, if you don't have a phobia about heights (or plummeting), you try it...at least once. You gotta have a story to tell, right? 

And by the way, the Fates stopped messing with me after that. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SHOWING UP by Kay Finch

I have a friend who says "half of luck is just showing up." Looking back over my writing life, I remember several times when that saying has held true. There was the manuscript contest I almost didn't enter because the contest required a synopsis to go along with the chapters. I didn't have a synopsis, but I wrote one on the weekend before the due date and claimed first place in the contest. I entered Mystery Writers of America's 50th anniversary short story contest and placed in the top 10 of over 700 short stories. My first published novel was a contest winner, and publication was part of the prize. My first agent approached me after he heard me speak on a Bouchercon panel. And about a year ago I answered a resounding "yes" when given the opportunity to write a proposal for the Bad Luck Cat Mystery series which sold within days to Berkley Prime Crime. I am now one hundred percent convinced of the importance of showing up.

Showing up is exactly what Sandra Carey Cody, Jayne Ormerod, and I did at this year's Malice Domestic conference a couple of weeks ago in Bethesda, Maryland. The three of us are former Avalon novelists who met online but never before in person. What fun to meet at the conference and discuss our writing experiences. We didn't have nearly enough time to visit with each other, but there's always next year.

This was my third Malice, I've been to several Bouchercons, a Left Coast Crime, Cluefest, and many MWA Southwest Chapter conferences. I'd love to attend more conferences, but the full-time job gets in my way. For those of you who haven't taken advantage of attending conferences, there are huge benefits to showing up. You can meet online friends and fellow authors in person, make new friends, meet editors and agents. At the fan conferences, you can visit with readers who have enjoyed your books, or you can go as a fan and meet the authors who wrote the books you love to read.

Just SHOW UP - I did, and I've found that showing up is well worth my time and fun to boot.

Mystery author Kay Finch is currently writing her new Bad Luck Cat Mystery series set in the Texas Hill Country to be published by Berkley beginning in 2015. Her Klutter Killer mystery, Relative Chaos, features a professional organizer who finds a dead body in a hoarder's garage. Kay lives in a Houston, Texas suburb with her husband, two rescue dogs and a cat. Visit her web site at www.kayfinch.com.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Writing Buddies



Solitary Confinement—Must End! 


This biz can make one a hermit hiding behind a computer screen or reared back in the recliner holding a laptop—so it’s really important, in my opinion, to form some writer friendships. I’ve surely been blessed that way. I have a gaggle of buddies.


It started with an organization called American Christian Fiction Writers acfw.com where I met my first bud: Kim Vogel Sawyer.kimvogelsawyer.com This lady is an extraordinary author, so prolific. (She’s probably written a chapter while you were reading to here….) Kim sold her first book in 2003 and had several more contracts within three months. Our online friendship morphed into a once a year retreat at her home in Kansas.

And that’s where we meet with our crit buddies: Connie Stevens, the brainstorm queen; conniestevenswrites.com Margie Vawter, punctuation expert;marjorievawter.com Jalana Franklin, all things pink and Southern;jalanafranklin.com Darlene Wells, a California breath of fresh air;darlenewells.com Kristian Libel, amazing mom and writer.


Our collective group has become more than a critique group. We’ve developed such bonds over the last ten years and walked through many life experiences together. Blessed we are that our online friendship has budded into something much much deeper than reading each other’s pages. We call upon each other for prayer and support daily

Do you have author friends who “get it?” Who know the voices in your head are characters yearning to be on a page? Most times our immediate family think we’re a bit off and aren’t always interested in when Susie Q swooned and said “I love you” to Awesome Hunk. Or did Joe really shoot Ted? Why? What were their motivations? 

All these questions which swarm in our gray matter can be buffered about when talking with another writer. If you don’t have someone like that in your life: RUN to the nearest writers’ chapter in your area or get online and find one. 

An Author Friend is a necessity in a writer’s life. IMHO


Eileen Key retired after teaching school for thirty years. She is a freelance writer and editor/proofreader. Mother of three, grandmother of four, Eileen resides in San Antonio, Texas, where she is an active member of the local American Christian Fiction Writers Chapter and Redemption Hill Church.
 

Friday, May 16, 2014

SERENDIPITY

 by Sandy Cody

Do you have favorite words? I do. Serendipity (a seeming gift for making fortunate discoveries accidentally) is high on my list of darlings.

It comes from a Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip, in which three princes are sent on a quest by their father and discover wonderful things for which they were not looking.

I only learned recently about the fairy tale origin of the word and, when I did, I instantly thought of Albert Einstein's statement that “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.” He's right, of course. Not only will their imaginations take flight, they'll probably discover something they didn’t know they were looking for - and so will you.

Whatever its source, serendipity is an impressive word. Some words please because of the way they sound, others because of what they mean. Serendipity works on both counts. When you say it out loud, the five syllables produce a tripping sound, forcing the lips into a smile.  It starts slow and then picks up speed until it tumbles out, like it’s rushing toward a happy surprise, which, of course, fits its meaning perfectly.

There are other words that mean almost the same thing - chance, fate, destiny, karma, fortune, coincidence, accident, kismet - but for my money, none of them quite measure up to serendipity.

Not only is it a great word, it’s an appealing concept, a reason to leave ourselves open to the unexpected, to pay attention to where life may be trying to take us. Who knows what wonderful things may be waiting to be discovered? History books are filled with examples of happy accidents.

I understand chocolate chip cookies were created by a serendipitous accident (thank you!), as was the discovery of penicillin (more thanks). The microwave oven was invented when Percy Spencer noticed that the microwaves from a radar set he was working on melted the candy bar in his pocket.

As for me, I met the love of my life when I cut an algebra class to go ice skating.  How could I not appreciate serendipity?

How about you? What serendipitous events have changed your life?



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

One-Liners

There’s nothing like a great one-liner. No, I don’t mean jokes. I mean the first line of a book. It has to grab you or you won’t read on. Here are some from the Classic and Cozy Authors current, upcoming, and works-in-progress books.

"No one should have to face a morning with decaf."
by Gina Ardito, Reunion in October, contemporary romance

Rachel tried not to flinch when Tony’s fingertips caressed the side of her neck.”
by Sandy Cody, The Cruelest Lie, cozy mystery work-in-progress

"She didn't intend to sound as if she was begging but was there any other way?"
by Shirley Kiger Connolly, Not Quite an Angel, historical inspirational romance, Desert Breeze Publishing, November 1, 2014

“Look out, Paradox Lake. The Donnelly brothers are back in town.”
by Jean C. Gordon, Winning the Teacher's Heart (working title), Love Inspired Romance, June 2015

"It is a universally accepted fact that newly married couples want to share their joy and misery with all their single relations, thus Jane Bingley plans her first ball with great anticipation."
by Carol Hutchens, Jane's Ball (working title), historial romantic mystery work-in-progress

“RUN!”
The command was redundant, as the sound of a gunshot had been a sufficient catalyst to get me gallumping down the dark paneled hallway faster than a speeding bullet.  That was my plan, anyway."
by Jayne Ormerod, Blond Faith (sequel to The Blond Leading the Blond), cozy mystery, coming soon

"Rikka McAllister hung up the phone and closed her eyes; she never read the fine print."
by Kathryn Quick, Ineligible Bachelor, sweet contemporary romance

"Not the standing room only lurches of the outbound bus on California Street, nor the fact she was late from the office, nor Dr. Gordon’s dismissal of her symptoms, kept Emily from dancing along the sidewalk and making a grand jeté up the steps of Kelleher Memorial Hall to her Thursday night dance class."
by Leigh Verrill-Rhys, Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls, Eres Books, March 2014

Do you have a favorite first-line from a book--any book--you’ve read? Share it with us in the comments.

-- Jean C. Gordon
@JeanCGordon

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Those Glorious Hats

by Sandra Wilkins

Recently, I went to a writer’s conference with a friend of mine.  She is unabashedly one of those “hat people”, and it was great fun for her to snap photos of other hat wearing fashionistas. 
          I have to confess that I’m a closet hat aficionado.  I love the way they look on other people, but with my hairstyle I just get smashed bangs.  And, I don’t feel I have to panache to carry it off either. 
          It takes guts to wear a fashionable hat nowadays, but it wasn’t so in the past.  I think that’s one of the reasons why I like to write about the Victorian and Edwardian time periods—the wonderful clothes and fabulous headwear.  Hats were more than an accessary.  They were part of you.  It can even be part of the story.  In my first sweet historical romance, Ada’s Heart, I used that idea:  “The trolley stopped, and a few passengers climbed aboard.  The last woman was hidden behind a big black hat.  He knew, even before he saw her face, that it was Ada.”  It was fun for me to include part of a character’s wardrobe into the story. 
          But, it’s not only the women who don those wonderful hats.  Admit it, ladies, doesn’t your heart flutter at the image of a confident man in a cowboy hat?  Or maybe you prefer the tilt of a fedora or the grandeur of a silk top hat?  Whatever the style, it’s been greatly appreciated throughout the ages.
          I’m not sure why there is such mystique and romance surrounding those accessories worn on the head, but as cowboy poet Baxter Black explained—it’s not so glorious to write about the exploits of a dirty sock.

       Sandra Wilkins is busy writing another series while home educating her two daughters.  Ada’s Heart, Rose’s Hope and Gwen’s Honor are her first three published wholesome historical romances.  Go to www.sandrawilkins.com to find out more about her and her books. 


Monday, May 12, 2014

Classic and Cozy TV by Cozy Mystery Writer Jayne Ormerod

Trivia question:  What TV show premiered December 16, 1972 and featured a not-so-young mystery-writing sleuth?  If you said Murder, She Wrote, you would be off by almost a dozen years. (Jessica Fletcher made her screen debut September 30, 1984.)    
Guess again…
The Nancy Drew Mysteries?  Right decade (1977) but Nancy was a teenager--and not a writer.
Give up?
The answer is The Snoop Sisters, staring Helen Hayes as Ernesta Snoop and Mildred Natwick as Gwyndolyn (aka “Gee”) Snoop Nicholson.  The two team up as mystery writers--Ernesta dictates while Gee takes dictation and offers praise where praise is due.  When not writing, the two help their detective nephew solve murders.
Oh, the charming part is they do so dressed in 1930s haute couture.  It’s so charming. Set against the backdrop of hip and happening New York, they never go sleuthing without a fur stole, fancy hat and gloves--or even a muff! And they always have a pocket book dangling from their elbow. They have a chauffeur who carries them through the streets of New York in a 1930s Lincoln Touring Car, but sometimes they drive the car themselves as if they were the only people on the streets. Lots of horn-honking ensues.   
It’s not a big surprise if you haven’t heard of it, as its run on NBC was limited to 1 movie and 4 episodes, but what clever and funny episodes they were!
While I was too young to remember the original run (I was alive, but had much more sophisticated tastes, like Gilligan’s Island or Bewitched.)  But my father talked about The Snoop Sisters show for 35 years.  He got such a kick out of the two elderly ladies who had healthy doses of murder-solving smarts and were clever and witty to boot. Yes, Dad was a big Murder, She Wrote fan, too, but got his fill of JB Fletcher thanks to reruns.  It seems The Snoop Sisters were destined for obscurity, until the DVDs were released recently.
I received my DVDs last week and gave myself a Mother’s Day treat by curling up on the sofa and seeing what had charmed my father all those years ago.  It turns out Ernesta and Gee were women after my own heart.  Consider this bit of dialogue after a long day of mystery writing…

Gee:  “Shall we go on?”
Ernesta: “No, that’s enough for tonight."
Gee:  "Shall we have a little tipple then?”

I write alone, so I never have conversations like that, I but do enjoy a post-writing tipple myself!
Here’s another bit of witty banter…

                Gee: “That’s so like Alexander.  He so likes to play with words.”
                Ernesto: “And often loses.”

   
             If for some reason you find yourself with a block of time on your hands (perhaps like my friend Sue who is laid up with a multi-broken ankle!  Or maybe it's just a yucky rainy day...) and you're tired of reading and want something light and funny and well—for lack of a better word—"cozy" to watch, I encourage you to spend an afternoon with The Snoop Sisters. It's a time-warp within a time-warp, and great fun!

                

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Traveling with my Dooney - Respecting Privacy on Social Media




“Friendship- my definition- is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don't have trust, the friendship will crumble.” 
― Stieg LarssonThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo







On the hi-line


On my recent trip to NY, my orange Dooney & Bourke bag was photographed all over the city. If a picture is worth a thousand words then the bag is proof that we were all over the city.










On the Brooklyn Bridge



Although it may seem the Dooney and I were alone on this trip, that's not true. My sister, my husband, and a good friend were there too.
However, my sister and friend, Rochelle have a strong aversion to any form of social media. I was forbidden to post any photos of them. At first I tried to argue the point - to explain how much friends and family would enjoy seeing us all together, having fun. My argument was in vain and I respected their decision to remain unplugged. This is where the Dooney came in. She became the substitute in my pictures for my sister and Rochelle.



Hiding behind a sign




There was on brief moment in Coney Island when Rochelle and another friend allowed me to post a photo where only their fingers and legs were visible.
Believe me, this was a big concession on their part.








FB friends started following my posts, curious as to where the Dooney would show up next. Many of them asked about my sister and Rochelle. When I explained their privacy issue they were very accepting. If you want to find out more about the Dooney's trip to NY visit www.lovebychocolate.blogspot.com