|Posted by Nance Crawford on January 11, 2017 at 4:25 PM||comments (2)|
At 9 a.m. today, I was in the dentist’s chair with my mouth open, chock full of his hand and dental equipment. Repairing a bridge.
Doing fine. No pain. Then realized I recognized what was playing over the sound system. It was so quiet. I knew that song, couldn’t place it.
Unexpectedly my eyes started to fill. I couldn’t believe it. “Id dat duh Munkees?” I asked, the moment his hand pulled away from my vanished molars.
“Yes,” he answered.
I forced myself to turn off the urge to cry. It was a blessing.
Dad would be 96 today.
He was an editor on “The Monkees.”
Thank you, Lord. I needed that.
|Posted by Nance Crawford on January 10, 2017 at 3:10 PM||comments (3)|
Happy New Year!
All of the things I intended to share with you went out the window, this morning; instead of hearing about my health (always fascinating to no one, including me) and why there's no report on the doings in Denver, I'm sitting here waiting for the phone to ring, sincerely praying I am not in the process of making a fool of myself. Here's the reason:
Just before the holiday, I sat down to write a letter to the President-Elect of these stunned United States.
I'd been putting it off, making notes, hoping to have my thoughts organized (very important, at my age) when I took pen to page. It finally came down to telling myself that if it did not happen by mid-December, I would have to brand myself a coward and live with the fact.
On December 13, first thing, I sat down with pen and pad, looked at my notes, realized there was too much to say, and went numb.
I wasn't intending to lecture, just to share the concerns of the many friends and fans, progressive and conservative, I have had conversations with - both in person and on Facebook, in the past couple of years, and some of the conclusions I have reached during this somewhat adventurous life. I've got six years on him, after all (he's two and a half months younger than Johnny), and I've certainly viewed it all from almost the very opposite end of the economic spectrum.
It wasn't there. All those brilliant things I've said over the years, all those simple solutions, if anyone thought to try them - nope.
Absolute blank. I held the pencil and stared at the lined paper for what seemed like an age.
And then there was a title, The Watchers. When I got to my feet an hour and a half later, there were five pages of scrawl. It was a poem. A serious poem.
I cleaned it up, read it to David. When I finished, I looked up at him; there seemed to be a trace of tears in his eyes.
The next morning, I stopped by Prince of Peace and read it to The Very Reverend Rand, to a similar response. Knowing how tight things are for us, he suggested publishing it. My response was the same one I gave to David, "Nobody pays for poetry." To which Rand replied, "The New Yorker has poems."
I had stopped by on my way to a writers' group meeting. Now, I was late and knew it was too late to sign up to read, so I asked if perhaps people would stay for a few minutes, after, and listen. About eight people stayed, mostly men. The same reaction. I was numbed. Honestly overwhelmed.
The holidays upon us, there was no way to follow through, no energy to spare, at any rate. I tweaked a couple of things in the formatting, once in a while - changed the placement of a line, added a dash or a comma to make it easier to read, that's all. Read it Christmas Night to a few friends gathered in the kitchen. Encouragement, agreement that an attempt be made to reach the Inaugural Committee.
I submitted it, online, to The New Yorker: ". . . Our response time is around six months. We are interested in original, unpublished poetry. We do not consider work that has appeared elsewhere. This includes websites and personal blogs, even if a posting has been removed prior to submission."
The holiday over, everything considered, I have been doing the footwork. Those willing to listen to the work understand why I cannot share a printed copy until there is active interest and a possibility it might be considered for the ceremony.
Online searches have led me to Chiefs of Staff as time is running out. The 2017 Joint Congressional Inaugural Committee members are:
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairman (202) 224-5721;
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (202) 224-2541;
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (202) 224-6542;
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) 202-225-3031;
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 202-225-2915;
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 202-225-4965.
Left messages yesterday and this morning. Right now, I'm hoping to hear from someone for Nancy Pelosi.
It can't be that complicated to add 4.5 minutes to the program.
UPDATE: January 17, 2017 @ 5:41 PM PST
It didn't happen. Nobody returned calls, or emailed, not even Kevin McCarthy's Chief of Staff, James Min, who - I was told - is very good about responding to emails. Not last week. Not surprising, really. I was disappointed for about an hour after it became too late. (Would I really want to stand on a cold, windy platform, in front of cold, windy people, looking like Granny Hedgehog in my faux fur and hidden silk long johns? Not really. I'm wondering if that's what killed Robert Frost.)
Did not kick the dog (don't have one) or tackle a cat (remembering from childhood that is an experience to avoid). Cooked dinner, binged LONGMIRE on Netflix until unreasonably late. Got up and returned to repacking Christmas. (Don't laugh. If it weren't all catalogued, I could find nothing. I conduct the longest Christmas in town.) nc
|Posted by Nance Crawford on September 13, 2016 at 4:50 AM||comments (0)|
The Richard III Society American Branch is having its (as of this year) biennial General Membership Meeting in Denver the weekend of September 24-25 and I'm going to be there, finally getting to meet people I've "known" for years!
I'll also be available to sign books. To allow us to fill our carry-ons with fresh underwear and other civilized essentials, we can ship books ahead. This presents an interesting challenge for those of us who do not want to have to heave overboard undies, etc., in order to have room to schlep home books that have not been sold. Books are heavy, whether or not they contain intellectually challenging content. Besides, I am increasingly delicate for my age.
In this business, it's the number of books sold through Amazon, and the first 100+ reviews that count. Makes sense. I could buy 10,000 books and sell them all in a week out of the back of my car, and Amazon wouldn't twitch an abacus. In the same statistics rink, 125 lukewarm reviews, half of them negative, would generate more supportive Amazon interest than 30 honest 5-star reviews, not a negative among them. Statistically, only 1 in 75 - 100 readers takes time to write an Amazon review, a boggling truth for an independent writer with no public relations budget. Almost as impressive is a sudden, generous rise in the sales of a book; that, however, takes help from a paid professional.
Hopefully, attending Society members will take advantage of a temporary, but significant, one-week discount (through September 20), and order directly from Amazon - where the prices of both books and the Kindle version will guarantee a profit modest enough to keep me humble - and they will bring their copies with them to Denver, for signature. A signed book is a valuable book.
I have, therefore, decided to order no more than 3 copies of KING'S GAMES, A Memoir of Richard III, and 5 copies of The Commentaries shipped directly from Amazon to Denver. With more I cannot cope.
Tomorrow morning, I am going to pull out my new/gently used Windows 7 laptop and send out the first notice of an update to this newsletter (formerly "Blog") in - oh, over a year.
It seems this server was purchased by Google and the wonderfully inefficient (and cruel) decision was made to switch to Chrome, which would not accept mailings from my no longer supported, unjustly abandoned, XP desktop. The reason (other than the undramatic process of losing brain cells at the time - see the link to the Ricardian Author Interview on the Home page) my XP laptop was not letting me send out notice of blog dates from Leicester or anywhere else.
Well, the worm is working again (still on XP, our contemporary version of the IBM Selectric with exchangeable type-style balls) and turning - no , regaining - control of the mulch in the flower bed.
Now that I'm more fully awake, I owe half-a-dozen fellow authors Amazon reviews of books I have to re-read because of brain slippage. Then it's time to survey the market and figure out who actually pays reasonable remuneration for 2,500 word fiction. I'm also going to pitch Chapter 26 of Dragon Solstice, hoping it's not too late for a holiday issue. (That didn't occur to me in July - well, July was kind of hectic - the traditional month for holiday submissions.) I can but try.
Zenda is happening next.
|Posted by Nance Crawford on August 18, 2016 at 3:15 AM||comments (5)|
Life. There's no way to catch up with it here. It's been challenging.
In June, we started recording KING'S GAMES The Commentaries, which has been an experience because David's got first dibs on the booth - with 80+ books to his credit, he's in there from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. (there's a whole horror story about working in recorded books in the San Fernando Valley: nothing can happen when planes fly over, the gardeners are out, or cars and trucks rumble by, even in professional studio booths, these days, the microphone is so sensitive. Daytime is impossible after 8 a.m. and every private airplane in the valley crisscrosses overhead on Saturday and Sunday. One hasn't lived until having a particularly moving, successful half-paragraph interrupted by a police helicopter checking out who-knows-what-or-who in never-ending circles overhead.) <and I refuse to stop and edit that.
Well, I do believe I've finished my part of the project. David is my producer/engineer. How he cleans up my act and still meets his own deadlines is amazing, but it's happening. The August 22nd release date can't happen. It should be available on Audible.com by September 1.
I decided to record The Commentaries, even though it has lists, because there is no way I could be fourteen actors (or voices) reading the play - wait, that's fifteen actors. Somebody would get to read stage directions. Boring.
What an ego-leveling adventure. The first half-page took an hour. This plays havoc with the self-esteem.
Neither edition of KING'S GAMES has been available on Amazon for the past month. The frustration of stumbling over typos and less-than-accceptable prose resulted in clarifications of the text, which had to be revised in all three versions. (Kindle owners will be able to contact me for a link to update their copies.)
In the middle of all this came word that Dad was in the hospital with pneumonia. He rallied, but not enough to be able to stay in his cottage at the Motion Picture Country House. Brother Bob was a rock - I don't know how he's done it, but he took care of everything, so that Elinor would not have to do the research or make the endless phone calls so necessary at such a time.
Here's the hard part I've been putting off . . .
Dad did not return home, he was sent to a rehabilitation facility and then to hospice. He left us on July 28.
He was my Daddy from the day I was three years and nineteen days old.
Grammy & I went to visit the newlyweds in Quantico . . .
He was only twenty-two.
He never got older, in his heart. An adventurer, curious, challenging, interested and interesting.
He grew a family.
When Mom died in 1971, he kept going, and when he retired, he finally got to really travel.
Then, at last, he met Elinor, and I got a phone call: "For my 80th birthday, I'm getting married."
And they lived happily, ever after.
This is my favorite picture, the most romantic ever:
I wrote a press release and got it to the Hollwood Reporter. There's a bubble at the top of the page, on the right, where people can comment.
This is what we published in the program for the Memorial on August 13:
Robert Crawford, Sr.
Robert was born January 11, 1921, in New York City to legendary music publisher Bobby Crawford and his wife Thelma Briney Crawford, and died July 28, 2016 from complications of pneumonia. He is survived by his wife, Elinor G. Crawford, her sons Andrew, Stanley, Paul and grandson Cole Kastner, and the children of his twenty-eight year marriage to the late Betty Crawford: author Nance Crawford, her five children and six grandchildren; film producer Robert L. Crawford, his three children and grandson; and actor/singer/bandleader Johnny Crawford. His youngest son, Cory, passed away in 1992.
Graduating high school from the New York Military Academy, Class of 1938, he moved to Los Angeles that year, an aspiring actor. He found steady work at Columbia Studios as a messenger. Soon promoted to a film librarian position and eligible for the draft, in 1942 he volunteered to serve in the Marines Corps. Based in Quantico, Virginia, he dealt with the traumatizing raw footage from the Pacific theater. Upon his discharge from the Marines in 1946, the family moved back to Los Angeles and film editing at Columbia Pictures. Since it was the policy at Columbia to hire family members of employees to work as extras, his three youngsters went to work in the movies.
In the evenings, he and Betty performed in local theater and on early local television. His interest in theater led him to apply his G.I. Bill to the only approved theater course available, at the Falcon Studios in Hollywood. There, his interest in fencing was rekindled. Training with world renowned Olympian and fencing choreographer Ralph Faulkner, he became a Southern California foil and sabre champion.
It was Faulkner who suggested Bobby and Johnny attend auditions for the original Mickey Mouse Club, which boosted their careers. In 1958, Robert and his sons earned headlines as the first multiple Emmy nominees in a single family: Robert for editing Bob Cummings (“Grandpa Clobbers the Air Force”); Bobby for Best Actor (the title role in the George Roy Hill-directed Playhouse 90, “A Child of Our Time”); and Johnny for Best Supporting Actor in “The Rifleman.”
During Robert’s 40 year editing career, he worked on many TV series, including "77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick,” “Lawman,” and “The Monkees.” He established his own independent editing service for commercials. His final years as an editor were spent working on popular animation series from Filmation Studios.
Retiring in 1986, Robert turned his attention to enthusiasms for chess, and the serious star gazing inspired by his great interest in astronomy and space exploration. Freed from the confinement of a small cutting room, he actively pursued adventures in sailing, cross country skiing, sky diving, kayaking, bicycling, competing in the Senior Olympics, and hiking every trail in his travels while enjoying the company of his fellow enthusiasts.
Finally, Robert had the great good fortune of finding Elinor Kastner. Their love led to marriage the day after Robert's 80th birthday in January, 2001, and continued until Robert’s final breath.
* * *
He is still, and always, loved.
|Posted by Nance Crawford on February 23, 2016 at 2:55 AM||comments (0)|
It was three in the morning on Boxing Day. Having straighten up the kitchen sufficiently to prevent hungry cat raids, we were falling into bed when I realized I had the high scratching at the back of my throat that signals coming down with a cold.
I thought I had escaped the cold David had recovered from, in time for Christmas.
I not only had it, but a day later, he had it again. The Great Revolving Christmas Yuck cycled through each of us three more times.
There was a brief moment, both of us awake, when we pledged to observe our personal gift exchange on Epiphany, January 6, the traditional arrival of the Wise Men – the reasoning being that Orthodox Christians wouldn’t mind our sharing their tradition Christmas Day with them. The Wise Men came and went while we were in and out.
The lead-up to the holiday had been more frenetic than usual, and by the Eve of the Day Before, I realized I hadn’t wrapped gifts – and experienced the certain knowledge that I was no longer willing or capable of staying up all night to wrap gifts.
By Boxing Day afternoon, in a brief moment of clarity, I comprehended that anything I wrapped at that point would undoubtedly be contaminated with the Bug From Hell.
We have been celebrating Christmas, ever since, as people come by, which is lovely but embarrassing. It’s all packed away – except for the popcorn cans of bows and ribbons and a single roll of gift wrap awaiting online-purchased gifts in the kitchen. Any day.
Facebook notwithstanding, I believe I am again capable of reasonably lengthy cognitive thinking.
I’m awake, now, and I owe masses of people apologies and grovelings.
Which I am trying to get in, during breathers from the final draft of RETURN TO ZENDA and doing laundry.
|Posted by Nance Crawford on December 19, 2015 at 2:55 AM||comments (1)|
There's no time for anything but preparing for the holiday - I get a little crazy, around here. If it's not moving, it gets decorated. If it moves, it gets hugged. The cards are going to be later than usual, this year, because I'm creating it myself and I am a very ambitious and a very novice at Photoshop. Never mind, it's coming together. My health seems to be improving - I'm sleeping longer and starting to dream, again - and have much more energy than at the first of the year. This is just to let you all know that I'm actually forging ahead with the usual madness and there will definitely be the traditional open house the evening of the 25th. Pot Luck, this year.
|Posted by Nance Crawford on December 3, 2015 at 8:30 PM||comments (1)|
Lots going on around here - a Book Signing on Saturday with friends from the California Writers Club-San Fernando Valley Branch (have lunch next door at Maggiano's or the Corner Bakery, and stop by!). If you already own one of my books, bring it along and I'll be happy to sign it, too!
- decorating the house, outside and inside, in baby steps (Brian tells me he'll be here Saturday a.m. to put up lights - oops, a conflict) - and hoping that the word is getting out that DRAGON SOLSTICE is available on Kindle for only $2.99 until Dcember 15th (add Whispersync and you get me reading it to you).
And here's a terrific thing for any author: if you decide to join Audible.com and you choose DRAGON SOLSTICE as your first book, I get a lovely Christmas bonus!
I'm trying to figure out a way to boost membership numbers both here and on my Nance Crawford, Author, page on Facebook. The word is, an author needs an impressive following to be taken seriously by one of the Big Five publishers - and the goal has to be upwards for 4,000 members.
Ah, the challenges.
|Posted by Nance Crawford on July 10, 2015 at 9:55 PM||comments (1)|
In between gearing up for August 25th, I just submitted the play script of KING'S GAMES A Memoir of Richard III to two of the most prestigious theatre companies in the U.S. One announces the results in October and the other next June. (It's a book, now, but the criteria is "not yet presented as a full production.") Good thoughts and other positive energies gratefully accepted.
Meanwhile . . . somebody's hawking it on Amazon at $24.54 higher than the listed price. Which isn't a bad idea, when contemplating my ultimate mad plan for the book . . .
|Posted by Nance Crawford on June 24, 2015 at 1:30 AM||comments (8)|
There’s a lot of catching up: details of the trip to and from Leicester, about which I did not blog daily, as I had intended to do; the discovery of the major goof in what I thought was the final version of KING’S GAMES: A Memoir of Richard III, duplicated in KING’S GAMES: The Commentaries – and the shepherding of both books through the review process one more time; then finding out the reason why I had slowed down and everything was taking so long: my health.
The Sleep Study I had no time for, before leaving the country – and then had to wait two weeks, after returning, before it could be done - was very enlightening.
Although I have no idea how in the world I could stop breathing on an average of 65 times an hour (one of which lasted 23 seconds) and still be around to type this, I am three weeks into CPAP therapy and actually staying awake most afternoons.
Staying awake is only now finally translating into, “literarily functioning.” I have spent more time being amusing and smarmy on Facebook than tending to business – because, for the last several months, I couldn’t face having to confess than I am no longer a Spring Chicken, that my spring has sprung, and that my concentration level was somewhere at the elevation of Death Valley.
However, last Saturday, I turned a corner and it was great. I may not be remanufacturing sleep-deprived brain cells, but at least am finally awake enough to know I’m not sleeping.
I can at last face the fact that Old is Not Yet Dead – and a definite advantage over the latter. It was a terrific day.
This afternoon, I actually sat down and created the title card for the PowerPoint presentation, “An Evening with Richard III,” which will include some Wars of the Roses background and a whole bunch of photos of the historic occasion, along with my modest adventures in Leicester. The whole thing has to be outlined because those of us who know me, know that if I wing it, we’ll be there until the following Tuesday, when I run out of photos.
It was a brilliant experience, and I look forward to sharing it at 7 p.m. on August 25 in Woodland Hills, California, but it’s going to be a semi-private event, by invitation only, as the venue has limited seating.
If you are interested in joining us, please message me here (or on Facebook with your email address) and I will put you on the invitation list. You will receive a proper Evite for a response. I’m not going to put up a Facebook invitation page, just announce it on each of my Facebook Author pages.
In the meantime, I’m aiming to set up a schedule of monthly blog entries, probably around the 20th of the month (which will be an easy date to remember) – and am considering casting around for a guest blogger or two.
|Posted by Nance Crawford on May 1, 2015 at 4:35 PM||comments (1)|
I can’t believe this.
I got off the phone with CreateSpace about an hour ago after a lengthy conversation.
I had forgotten that the final submission of a finished manuscript would show up on Amazon for five to ten days. Having promised the world availability today, it was an unpleasant letdown.
So I cleared the files for printing, ordered copies for myself, and went to play on Facebook while I let my subconscious figure out the next move: groveling was not a completely acceptable option.
Having worked my ire out with responding political rants on other people’s postings, I realized it was time to get to work on announcing the “Ooops” here, with a link to the Amazon placeholder page (which I knew would not display the second book for at least a week).
I discovered that, today at least for an hour, I am visibly beloved by Heaven.
Both books are posted! They are available! I just finished tying the link to the Home Page headline!
So here’s another link to Amazon’s listing for KING’S GAMES – both books!
And there’s another review for A Memoir of Richard III!
Can’t wait to see what response to The Commentaries will be.
God Bless Us! Everyone!