Monday, May 30, 2022

May 30, 2022


 In honor of the men and women who gave their lives to protect our great country:



Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Written Word

 I started this blog post in December of 2020, the 17th to be precise. In January of that year, regular blogging by participants was suspended, not because of the soon to be worldwide pandemic, but a general ennui we had all, in varying degrees, felt at the time. 

Why the title, The Written Word, I don't recall, but I do know that I had not written or published anything of significance since September of 2018. In January of that year, my husband and I went house-hunting in Billings, Montana. His chamber orchestra arrangement for the Welsh opera Blodwen had been taken up by Rimrock Opera to be performed in May of the following year. He had also been offered the position of Musician in Residence (MIR) at NOVA Center for Performing Arts in the same city. 

Before this post becomes an advisement for my husband, let me say that Montana had been a location in one of the books that I was writing over a period of time and my interest in the "Last Best Place" had not been diminished by the decades that had passed since I first experienced the "big sky country" as a teenager eager to meet my penpal living in Bozeman.

On our final* day of house-hunting, we found the perfect house for us: a tri-level built in the 1960s with character and features we loved. We had to be out of our San Francisco apartment by midnight, February 28th and therefore move into our house on the 1st of March, exactly 28 days from the day our bid on the house was accepted - the *day we were leaving Montana.

All details fell into place and the cab that took us to the airport arrived on time. We even managed to drop our keys to the apartment in the box before midnight on the 28th. Only one item was left behind: an oblong stained glass window we had acquired somehow and parked behind a closet door. We slept at the airport and arrived in Billings on the morning of March 1st, signed all the title papers and moved into our home with no furniture but the blow-up double bed we had checked as luggage.

Writing from that point became a matter of stolen minutes. Between my husband's work as MIR at NOVA and the premiere American performance of Blodwen, I sang in the Blodwen chorus as the only Welsh-speaker and was the Assistant Director,  as well as continuing my "day job" as Administrator working remotely and two gardens to tend, there was little time or energy left for completing a novel. The best I could do was prepare a 2nd edition of Pavane for Miss Marcher, the first novel in my "In Maine" series which began with "Nights Before: The Novel" - a compilation of six novellas. 

I am still in Montana, still tending two gardens, still working a "day job," still involved with any work I can do for NOVA and my MIR. But, writing? Very little such luck. Steven Pressfield, in his book, The War of Art, has labelled this behavior as resistance. I don't disagree with that assessment. My excuse is "finding time." 

For writing, the cure is "make time." 

I think about the book I am writing, plot the next scene, read what I wrote the last time I "made time" and still have not moved ahead with the two books I originally scheduled for publication in 2020, then 2021 and now, 2022. I have written blog posts about procrastination - I am an expert! 

This is my promise to myself: I will publish That Kentucky Boy - a sequel to Pavane for Miss Marcher - and Dance by the Light of the Moon - in the "American in Love" series which includes Wait a Lonely Lifetime and This Can't Be Love - before the end of 2022. 

I don't need luck, I need perseverance. But wish me luck in any case!

With gratitude to all my fellow contributors to Classic and Cozy Books

Leigh Verrill-Rhys, Novelist







Wednesday, January 1, 2020

It's a New Year and Changes Are A-Comin'

A new year means changes and we of the Classic and Cozy blog are changing too. 

Over the years we have enjoyed bringing you our thoughts and news and sharing what we know, but all of us are spending more time working on our books, which decreases the time for blogging. 

Don't worry - we are not going away, not really. Our blog is still active, but we are have all voted to end regularly scheduled postings in favor of random blogging and special announcements. Do keep an eye on this area for news and exciting announcements as they happen. 

The past years have been wonderful, and we hope you will join us in this new phase of Classic and Cozy.

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 www.FranMcNabb.com


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.  

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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 https://sofiecouch.com/blog/ 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 SofieCouch.com, 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 ClassicAndCozyBooks.blogspot.com, and a name from new and old followers at SofieCouch.com 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.