Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Waiting is Over

By Fran McNabb

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already experienced the excitement of Christmas morning,
especially if you have children in the house. You still might have lots of torn wrapping paper around the Christmas tree and empty boxes where the children left them after getting their toys. Watching the excitement on a child’s face on Christmas morning makes all the stressful weeks before the holiday worthwhile.

Maybe you’re relaxing in a big chair after feasting on a traditional Christmas meal or waiting for the rest of the family to come in to enjoy a later meal together. Christmas is about family and what better way than to sit at a table together.

Every family has a different tradition as to how Christmas day will be spent. I hope whatever you choose to do with the rest of your day and the rest of the holiday week, you spend it with family and friends and find the peace and joy that Christmas should be all abo

And lastly, if you or someone you know received a Kindle or an iPad and you’re looking for some great reads, don’t forget the ladies on this blog: Susan Aylworth, Sandy Cody, Sofie Couch, Roni Denholtz, Victoria M. Johnson, Karen McCullugh, Deborah Nolan, Janis Susan May, Leigh Verrill Rhys, of course, me, Fran McNabb.

The waiting is over. Enjoy your holiday. Merry Christmas and Happy Hannakuh to you and yours. See you in 2020.

FRAN MCNABB and her husband live on a quiet harbor on the Gulf Coast. She writes sweet, traditional romances and uses her beloved Gulf Coast in many of her books. Check her out at

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Holiday Traditions

With Christmas approaching I start the count down for the big day, stress over the right gifts for the folks on my list, and how to squeeze in time to decorate.  I also think about what I’ll serve for every meal surrounding the holiday.  Planning those meals is the fun part.  I enjoy the whole process—from the menu and the special ingredients needed, right down to the actual preparation. My trip to Zabars is done, the herring, Stilton and brie are in the fridge, and my husband is in the middle of the three day preparation for the gravlax.  
We have our traditions and each of them is sacred.  But all this delicious and to some, exotic food, accompanied by great wine, doesn’t overwhelm the fact that this holiday has always been a family affair with my husband and children, and now their spouses, helping out at every step. 
When I started writing this piece I was thinking the food was what made Christmas so special.  But I realize that really isn’t true. There’s no dispute that the meals and preparation are important, but it’s not what makes holiday so meaningful and enjoyable. What is important are the rituals and the traditions that have been created from having these family meals and being together. The dinners, including the planning and preparation, are what the holidays are about and are so much of our family’s tradition.  It’s why I try each year to make them special.
I marvel at friends and acquaintances and even extended family that tell me how they’ve figured out how to make Christmas easy.  “Cold cuts,” they say. “We pick up food at the deli the night before so no one has to fuss.”  Others tell me they’ve discovered the solution to a peaceful Christmas:  the simplified menu.  “We just get a spiral ham,” I’m told, “and with a Caesar salad, we’re set.”
            In our house, there would be a revolution if I ever suggested either menu. I wouldn’t be happy either.
But in the end, I understand it’s really not about the food per se.  Focusing on the meals isn’t about having a gourmet feast or the extraordinary wine that’s been chosen to accompany all that good food.  It’s the being together around a table enjoying each other’s company.
I don’t have the perfect family—does anyone?  But in spite of our differences and maybe because one of my daughters and her family live on the other side of the country in LA, we want to come together as a family and so far have managed to every Christmas and several other times of the year.
That’s the real meaning of the holiday, being together around the table enjoying the time that we have.  Of course what we eat and drink adds to the fun, at least in our house, and the fact that everyone pitches in to cook and help with the clean up makes it all possible and enjoyable for everyone.  So really, cold cuts or a simple and basic meal may not be my choice, but it’s not a sacrilege.  The important thing is the comfort and joy of being at the table together this time of the year.  


Friday, December 13, 2019

It's Snowing at the Classic and Cozy Corner!

Welcome to the world of Classic and Cozy writers...

Come on. Walk with me down Main Street! (We'll cut through the park.)
It's not far now. (Crunch, crunch, crunch.) This is it... Can you hear the music coming from inside?
As we step inside, we are greeted by the smell of cookies...
...the sound of a crackling fire...
...the sight and smell of a tree...
...and coming from the corner of the room, someone is reading from a Classic and Cozy Book.
My gift to one of you...
So sign up to follow my blog at and I'll choose a couple of names and post the winner on my blog,

In celebration of the holiday, to launch an overhaul of, I’m giving away the Christmas Trifecta – one of each, IN THE ST. NICK OF TIME, IN THE ST. NICK OF TIME…AGAIN, and DRAGON RUN, a not so Christmassy collection of short stories. I’ll draw a name from our current followers here at, and a name from new and old followers at and those folks will receive a copy of each of those short-shorts! Well, I think it’s exclamation worthy!!! Woot, woot!
And if you haven’t already, you can still order books in time for Christmas from the many amazing writers here at Classic and Cozy. They are books with heart that anyone would appreciate finding under their tree.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Of Travel, Ideas and a Heavenly Heliodore

by Janis Susan May/Janis Patterson

I have long said that everything is research, and that ideas fly around us with the intensity and persistence of a gnat horde. It’s true. It’s also frustrating. And overwhelming.
Right now I’m sitting at an ungodly early hour of the morning, my inner clock still refusing to synchronize with my home time, trying to sort out the masses of information boiling in my brain. The Husband and I returned (LATE!) a few days ago from a trip to the Munich Gem and Mineral Show, a wonderful trip concluded with long hours of flights on uncomfortable planes interspersed with long hours spent sitting in uncomfortable airports. Our return day began at 5 am in Munich and ended right around midnight here in Texas. My poor jangled electrons are still trying to catch up.
So what does that have to do with ideas? Everything. As I said, I believe ideas are everywhere, and they are there in spades at the biggest gem and mineral show in Europe, if not the world. (5 acres under roof – it may be weeks before my poor abused feet recover!) All we have to do is open our minds and imaginations to them. Ideas, that is, not my feet.
Everywhere you look there is the germ of an idea. Fossils, for example. Who found them? What kind of creature were they? Where were they found? What kind of adventures did the discoverers have bringing them to market? Or take the case of the 38 carat emerald cut heliodore (a gloriously clear pale yellow-green stone) that looks as if it might have been snatched from the crown of some pagan idol.  It made my little jewelry-junkie heart beat like a hyperactive triphammer.  While my rational mind is completely assured that it was legally acquired and is purely legitimate, my warped writer’s mind is off on a wild ride of ‘what ifs.’
Adding to this rich mix of stimulation are the languages. Walk down any aisle and in fifty feet or so you will have heard at least a dozen languages, some of which I could identify, some of which I couldn’t. While doubtless all these people were either exchanging gossip or talking about business, that self-same warped writer’s mind can spin a tale of international skullduggery or heroic derring-do.
Of course, no writer has to make an exhausting and punitively expensive trip just to find ideas. You can do the same thing with a trip to the grocery store (which, to be honest, can be punitively expensive, too!) as long as your eyes and your mind and your imagination are open. And maybe that’s the trick – not where you go or what you see or anything else – just be sure that your mind is open. Explore. Dream. Think. And imagine. It’s easy.