Welcome to my new blog

Hello, my dear friends,

I’ve decided to write a Blog! It’s going to be an intimate glimpse into my life as a woman writer. Sometimes it will include short stories or articles that are too long for my newsletter or Facebook posts. It won’t be in any special order, because the mind of a writer is an effervescent chaos of ideas. It won’t always be the same length. Sometimes there will be lots of photos. I hope you enjoy them!

Love, Nancy

Eccentriques?

I was so pleased when Sofia Dakos said on my recent post about writing that she likes my little blue desk.  It’s one of several items of orphaned furniture left here when we bought our  1840’s house. It’s not an antique, but it is sturdy and has a graceful curve on one side.  Maybe it was once part of a vanity?

On Nantucket, we have no Home Depot, Ikea, Ethan Allen, Pottery Barn, or any chain furniture stores.  When I moved here in 1984–well, remember back then? No Home Decorator or Restoration Hardware catalogs. Nantucket is an island,  so everything has to be brought over on the freight boat, and prices–and variety of choice–are adjusted accordingly.

I learned from islanders to be creative with furniture and with, well, everything.  We have a friend whose mother had 3 drawers in her kitchen, marked “Long String,”  “Short String,” and “String Too Short to Use.”  Islanders were “repurposing” before the term even existed.

This might be the world’s smallest bookcase, but it was left in the house when we bought it, and we can never have enough bookcases!

This funny small caned chair will be refinished someday (maybe) but until then, I can lift it with one hand and move it to any room.  It’s very sturdy and will hold anyone comfortably.  I think it’s a real antique, and the caning is in perfect shape.  (We had the comfy armchair next to it professionally “distressed” by various cats.)

I bought this used bookcase from a lovely friend.  The back of the lower two shelves are missing and the paint job is, um, less than perfect but it works perfectly to hold my gardening gloves and vases by the back door.

I’ve had the small wicker shelf forever.  Is it an antique?  I don’t know, don’t care.  I love mixing in odd and useful bits of furniture with my modern typing chair and desktop computer.  And I think our old house approves.  I find something endearing and evocative about old furniture and old houses.  Their history makes me dream of who once used the table, or put books in the case.  It’s like having a nice old dog around, sleeping in the sun.

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BERMUDA

I love winter, truly–it’s a great time to write.  But I miss color.  So when my husband went to Bermuda for a meeting, I tagged along.  April and May are the best months in Bermuda, but January is pretty nice, too.

Our hotel, the Hamilton Princess, was luxurious.  

Flowers were everywhere.

 

The hotel had a wonderful collection of contemporary art.

Andy Warhol’s 4 screen prints of Queen Elizabeth II.

A signed lithograph by David Hockney called “Pool made with Paper Blue Ink for Book”. No, I don’t understand it either, and those squiggles look like leeches (or something even more biological) to me, but I loved the color.

Near the rocks, the water was a clear turquoise.

One afternoon we visited the aquarium and small zoo.

Color!

But you know, I think my favorite color was our little orange cat Alani, waiting for us in her hideaway at home.

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My Favorite Holiday Books

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December is my favorite month of the year. Christmas with all its excitement arrives, along with friends and family. The house smells wonderfully of pine and cinnamon. Plus, it’s nice and dark and cold out so I get to stay inside and read!

Here are some of my favorite holiday books:

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. Set in a country village in Scotland, this novel is as delicious and comforting as a mug of hot chocolate.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. No tree or Christmas lights for the Cranks. They’re going on a Caribbean cruise. Or are they? This is not a Grisham mystery, but a funny holiday tale. I only recently learned that it was made into a movie called Christmas with the Cranks. I’ll wait until after the December rush to watch it!

A Highland Christmas by M.C. Beaton. Beaton’s mysteries star a lanky, red-haired, laid-back and rather yummy police constable named Hamish Macbeth in the west highlands of Scotland. This series is great fun, and my friends and I are still hoping that Hamish will end up with Priscilla from the castle . . . This very cozy mystery has charming illustrations, too.

Silent Night by Mary Higgins Clark. All right, I confess. I’m a mystery addict and Clark is a perennial favorite. This cozy tale set around Rockefeller Center involves a crime, a family, and faith.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It’s always a joy to read about Tiny Tim and stingy Scrooge and I get teary every time I read the last line: God Bless Us, Everyone!

And of course, my favorite Christmas books are A Nantucket Christmas and An Island Christmas, written by someone who truly loves Christmas—me. Both books involve family joys and woes and a miracle here and there.

A Nantucket Christmas is at the home of a newly married couple and includes an adorable, abandoned dog, a very pregnant young woman, and a needy ex-wife.   An Island Christmas has a wedding, an ice floe, and a cantankerous cat. The paperback, A Very Nantucket Christmas, includes both books. Next, I’m thinking about writing a Christmas novel with a horse in it!

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P.S. No, I didn’t knock my hot chocolate off the arm of the chair! 🙂

 

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Christmas, Bah-Hum-Bug! NOT!

 

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We can never forget we live on an island. On Nantucket, we’re thirty miles from the continent. We’re surrounded by the cold, dark, uncaring sea. Christmas on the island wraps us in the love of family (even the irritating relatives, and don’t we all have some of those?), love of friends, new love and new life. On Nantucket, Christmas means sharing the feast and the laughter with those who come to this far-away island.

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We start celebrating the day after Thanksgiving, with the annual tree-lighting ceremony on Main Street. Next come the Festival of Wreaths and the Festival of Trees, and  the wonderful Christmas Stroll.

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Santa arrives by Coast Guard boat, and the town crier in top hat leads him to the historic Jared Coffin House to greet the children. Carolers in Victorian dress serenade us as we stroll around town. We can have a book autographed by some of the island’s many writers at a special signing at Mitchell’s Book Corner.

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We enjoy Christmas parties, holiday theater, and  inspiring choral performances.

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We open presents on Christmas morning.  Some of the presents are books!

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We have festive dinners with friends and never curse aloud when we take the S)&#&^# Christmas geese from the oven and spill a drop of goose grease on our leg!  No, we are serene and elegant.

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When the parties are over and the wind howls over the island at gale force, we keep our candles and matches nearby. Then I like to curl up with a cat in my lap and a book in my hand. Soon, I’ll post a list of my favorite, read-over-again December stories.

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