February 15, 2018

Remember the Maine - An Amelia Island's Mark of a Man Excerpt

Excerpt from                                           
 in E-book and Paperback

Amelia Island's Mark of a Man               

February 15, 1898
Fernandina, Florida

     "I'm ready, Sheriff." Stepping away from his parents, Pat said, "I'm sorry for this embarrassment, Mama. I'm sorry I can't go with you, Daddy. I'm hoping for the best for Aunt Kathleen." He added in afterthought, "Oh, you may want to have a look at that newspaper extra I brought in to show you. The Spanish sunk the Maine in Havana Harbor. My guess is we'll be declaring war on them any day." 
     "Dear God!" Miss Ella put her hands flat to her chest in distress, thinking how everyone alive would remember where they were when they heard this ghastly news. 
     Aunt Noreen, mercifully, was still passed out and unaware of the dispatch. However, by this time, most others in the building had filled Michael's office and were listening. Officer and prisoner walked through the grasping, sobbing maze of relatives, secretaries, clerks and draftsmen.
     Pat noticed Angelique running out the back way, her arm thrown across her weeping eyes. Had he meant that much to her? Of course not. Thunderation! He could be a conceited bastard, he concluded. She must have other troubles. 
     As he climbed into the barred prisoners' wagon, he saw Marie sitting on the front porch railing, swinging her legs and smiling his way. Her ice-blue eyes cut through him. Her attitude seemed somehow—reckless. What had gotten into her? What might happen to her with him not there for protection?  

     The U.S. Battleship Maine was sent to Havana Harbor, January 26, 1898, by President McKinley, to protect United States interests and the Cuban rebels. She was mysteriously blown up while at anchor on February 15, 1898, killing 260 Americans on board. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer of the New York Journal printed the cry: Remember the Maine. Spain declared war on the United States, April 24, 1898. It was the beginning of the Spanish-American War.

February 9, 2018

Treat Yourself for Valentine's Day

     Discover Amelia Island, Florida's romantic   Goodbye Lie series  - We think you'll love the lure of it when you experience the romance then remember the legend of it all ...  (Available in e-books and paperbacks most everywhere online or order it in your local book store.)
     The Goodbye Lie, Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow and Amelia Island's Mark of a Man, all part of the historical romance/mystery/drama/comedy series, are where the written road delivers you into the antics-filled and angst-ridden lives of the Dunnigan siblings, inside and out of their small island town of Fernandina.  
Breelan and Waite and Trip's story circa 1882
 from Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida to
New York City and back.

Carolena and Grey's story circa 1889
from Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida to
Charleston, South Carolina to Johnstown, Pennsylvania and back.

Pat and Angelica's story circa 1898
from Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida to
Erie, Pennsylvania to the waters of Cuba and back.

Buy e-books and paperbacks here --Goodbye Lie series 

February 2, 2018

Walking Leaf plus Goodbye Lie Diaries- Peeper

       Have a look at the walking    
leaf aka leaf insect aka leaf bug in the above picture. How wonderful, don't you think?  My friend, Carlo, showed me this fascinating critter, and I want to make sure you, my on-line friends, see it, too.  I did some mini-research. Always in disguise, it can be from one to four inches long. It has six legs and doesn't bite. Notice it has veins, too, just like a real leaf. The babies are a dark red and turn green as they grow. Its walk is such that it wobbles as if blowing in the breeze like a real leaf! 
     For further details, click  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqGiEOw17wA and/or do a video search for walking leaf on YouTube.

 Goodbye Lie Diaries

Late 1800s
Fernandina, Florida   

Peeper writes:  I and our youngins has seen them things and the walkin' stick, too.  Ain't God grand?

(Peeper is the beloved grandmother, who knocked on the Dunnigan family front door one day during the Civil War.  Announcing she'd heard Michael, the patriarch, was off fighting, she entered their home to take care of Miss Ella and her two girls, Breelan and Carolena.  Peeper never left.)

January 23, 2018

Goodbye Lie Diaries - Miss Ella's Simple Salad

Late 1800s
Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida
     Miss Ella Dunnigan writes:  Everyone about town is aware I plan the menus for our Aqua Verde Passenger Line of ships.  My staff and I do our utmost to make our passengers' travels a safe yet exciting sea adventure and that, too, is the case with regard to their taste buds.  Sometimes, easy to prepare food is just as appetizing as elegant.  This is the case with my Simple Tomato Salad.  Four ingredients and you have a healthy delight to serve on board your personal boat or yacht, on a picnic or at your dinner table.
     As is the usual, I want to express my thanks to Jane Marie for photographing her version of my salad. It does look tempting. Find how she made it, below.

Miss Ella's Simple Tomato  Salad

You'll Need: 
(Guestimate the quantities of ingredients as to how many people you'll be serving.)

Tomatoes - chopped or Cherry Tomatoes- halved
Walnuts or Pecans- in pieces
Sharp Cheddar Cheese (jmm used 2% fat), Colby or your favorite cheese- in bite-sized pieces
Salad dressing - (jmm used Avacado Ranch)

Toss all the ingredients and serve chilled.  Individual servings may be prepared by the bowl or salad plate. If tomatoes are out of season where you are, tuck this recipe away or splurge.  (Cherry tomatoes were less expensive here in Florida this time of year.)

This would make an easy Valentine side, too!


Miss Ella Dunnigan
     Miss Ella, the Dunnigan family matriarch, and prominently featured player in Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie series, is the nearly perfect mother of  the family. Held in high esteem on Amelia Island, Miss Ella is gentle, loving and a thoughtful soul. She would rather turn and run than get "into it" with nosy, nasty Aunt Noreen who lives next door. But Miss Ella's backbone turns iron when need be. ( PLEASE don't tell Aunt Noreen I wrote this reality about her. )     -jmm

January 16, 2018

Bear Advice

CareStaf's Mike Bear
is a fine looking bear and
so health conscious, too.
  He's a busy fellow and that includes
posing with his tissue for this shot. 
     'Tis the cold and flu season again.  Take a tip from our friend, Mike, the  Kansas City Carestaf* bear, on how he stays healthy.  His Mama Bear taught him and he listens to his mother like all bearlings, children and adults should.
     P.S. Mike has no medical training, so take or leave his advice.  Your fate is in your paws/hands.  However, we must add that he likes to listen to hearts with his toy stethoscope, so that qualifies him for something. Oh, yes, that qualifies him as a stuffed toy.

Mike Says:
  • Don't touch your face.
  • Don't rub your eyes.
  • Hold your breath when someone coughs or sneezes.
  • If necessary, touch elbows in greeting when someone is ill. Don't shake hands.
  • Spray disinfectant on door knobs, inside and out.
  • Polish television remotes with fresh disinfectant wipes.
  • Polish all phones with fresh disinfectant wipes.
  • Wash those paws/hands.
  • Dry your hands with paper towels, not a community cloth towel.
  • Bundle up in layers to go out.
  • Wear a hat out in the cold.
  • Layer your clothing, inside, too, if your thermostat is set low to save electricity.
  • Don't touch your face or lips.  I know I wrote that already, but it's the number one thing Mama Bear says.
     By the way, Mike Bear is friends with our Martha Bear, ursine spokesbear for this blog and Gracious
Martha Bear sitting in her
official Bear Chair
wearing her official uniform
Jane Marie. Martha also makes cameo appearances in Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie series. 

The Goodbye Lie Series

    *CareStaf - Dennis and Peggy Brown opened CareStaf in 1991 and still own and operate the company.  Their commitment to high clinical standards has made CareStaf a recognized leader in supplemental staffing and home health care.  (Peggy Brown is my sister, as well, so  please permit me to brag about her and her wonderful hubby, Dennis.  - jmm)

    January 10, 2018

    May I Recommend?

        I had the most scrumptious potatoes at a pot luck luncheon.  I was told the recipe was on the back of the Simply Potatoes® bag located in the refrigerated section of the local grocery store.  And there it was. Since it called for chopped onions and I was short on time,  I bought their Potatoes O'Brien® version, with green pepper and onion included. All I can say is the result is YUMMO!

     ***Cheesy Hash Browns***

    You'll need:

    1 bag of Simply Potatoes O'Brien® or your own shredded potatoes with chopped onion
     3/4 cup sour cream
     1 regular can of cream of chicken soup- I used the healthy version.
    8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese - I used 2% sharp cheddar.
    1/4th cup melted butter- I  used Earth Balance organic spread.

    Mix all the ingredients.  Spread in a 9"x 11" pan or 2 quart casserole sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake for 60 minutes  at  350° F. Cut into squares and serve for Sunday dinner or anytime.  It would go wonderfully with eggs at breakfast, too.  Think I'll run by the store tonight and get the ingredients to make more!
         Enjoy,   Jane Marie

    January 3, 2018

    Hope It's Not Too Late plus Goodbye Diaries-Miss Ella

    I see some rearranging of the heart squares is required ...
         If you haven't already disposed of your live Christmas tree - WAIT.  If you have an artificial tree you haven't put away yet or if you have, get it out again. Why? Because you can easily create a Valentine Tree.  A friend suggested doing this since there was still plenty of life left in the living tree.  
         You can see in the photo that I still have room for improvement and that I'm not yet done. I've used a couple strings of red lights, red garland, pearl garland and cut out paper hearts of pink and white.  This took me all of thirty minutes.  The kids will love it, too, and they can help with cutting the hearts and decorating.  Add a faux bird or three (odd numbers look better), some lace, tie bows on a few of the branch tips, place an old Valentine card for sentimental reasons or new Valentines here and there, add a white sheet, an old Victorian-looking book and a heart shaped platter beneath the tree and a small doll or large bow at the top. There you have it.  Good, wholesome, all-American fun! 
         Hey, decorate a small outside tree, bush or potted plant with red, pink and white weather-resistant bows.  I figure it like this.  If you go to the effort of decorating, enjoy that effort and make it last until the dust settles over it and you're forced to dismantle the thing or redo it.
         What? Too soon after New Year's?  Maybe for some, but I'm always in the holiday spirit!
                                      Jane Marie

    Goodbye Lie Diaries
    Late 1800s
    Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

    Miss Ella writes: This is such a wonderful idea,
    Miss Ella

    Jane Marie.  I do not have your strings of red lights, but have pretty patterned wrapping paper we can use for the hearts to decorate our potted palm in the parlor.  The Sisters of Saint Michael's church have given me the most beautiful handmade lace.  That can be our garland. I will not have to cut into it and shall use it for trim on a  christening gown for the family.  You know how we have babies now that our children are grown. The little ones might find some pink-hued small shells on the beach to hang as well.  The ideas are endless.  Thank you for always including our Dunnigan family.

    The Goodbye Lie historical romance series, available in e-book and paperback, features the Dunnigan family and all their antics, desires and dreams in late 1800 Amelia Island, Florida. Click on the link above for details.   

    December 27, 2017

    Goodbye Lie Diaries - Peeper- Smoking Bishop Recipe

    Excerpt from The Goodbye Lie:

         Leona was at the piano playing Auld Lang Syne. Aunt Noreen and Peeper passed steaming mugs of Smoking Bishop and the scent of the spiced wine filled the room. A toast was raised and cups clinked. 1883 had begun.

          In Drinking with Dickens by Cedric Dickens, who was the great-grandson of Charles Dickens,  I discovered Smoking Bishop was Victorian hot spiced port wine.  Besides the Bishop, there were other clerical drinks in those times:  Archbishop-claret, Cardinal-champagne and Pope-burgundy.  
         We served Smoking Bishop at a holiday party and got a chuckle out of seeing one of our guests tip the pot to get the last drop - and we’d made a double batch!  There are variations of Smoking Bishop, but this is the recipe we used. 
         As with all alcoholic drinks, moderation is key. 

         Jane Marie

    Smoking Bishop Recipe- a GBL Fave 

    You’ll need: 
    • 4 whole washed, unpeeled oranges
    • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
    • 1 bottle dry red wine
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 cinnamon sticks.
    • 1 bottle port wine (red wine and port wine combined should equal 4 to 5 quarts)
    • 5 to 6 quart slow cooker or large pot for stovetop cooking
    Stick the whole cloves into the oranges.  Poke the oranges several times with a fork so the juice will seep out while cooking.  Place the oranges in the pot. 
    Add  the red wine, sugar and cinnamon sticks.
    Cover and cook on low or simmer for 3 1/2 hours.  Add the bottle of port. 
    DO NOT BOIL at any time.  
    Heat the mixture for another half hour to warm the port. 
    Serve warm straight from the pot.
    Garnish with extra orange slices or wedges and individual cinnamon sticks, if desired. 
    Serves 10.  This recipe is easily doubled.

    The Goodbye Lie Diaries:
    Fernandina, Florida

    Peeper writes:
         Yes, Miss Jane,  I did pass cups a Smokin' Bishop around Dunnigan Manor with Noreena. I never want ta do a thing with her.  I only dun it 'acause  Santee Claus hadn't yet come and I wanted me a pair a new shoelaces, so I had ta be nice.  Miss Ella got me the shoes ta go with 'um, but I didn't ask.

                          Happy New Year All!

     Reprinted from our original
    GraciousJaneMarie.com website

    December 24, 2017

    Merry Christ Christmas

         Many years ago, I learned a rub-out painting technique. You fill a section of the canvas with solid paint then use Q-tips to slowly remove the paint and develop your picture.  Mine is painted on a wooden board and encircled by a straw wreath. To me, the babe in the manger with the chipmunk, lamb, redbird, bunny and donkey looking on, is sweet beyond measure.  I hope it reminds you of the love radiating from the Christ Child into all the world.  Merry Christmas everyone.     
                                                             - Jane Marie

    December 20, 2017

    2017 Annual Christmas Letter

    Somebody else's Christmas Cactus
         Here is another of our annual appalling          
    appealing family Christmas letters.  Hope your year was filled with events and quotes as great as ours!
    Mother tried out for the community theater production of Little Mermaid.  She will play the coveted role of seaweed.
    Auntie instructed Son to put up the trellis for the wedding ceremony.  He readily agreed, adding, "What’s a trellis?"
    Uncle asked, "Who was the last one to brush?"  “Brush what?” came the reply in unison. That happened in May.
    Father warned: "Don't go in there.  He's got The Crud and he'll take us all down with him."
    The doorbell rang. "Who ordered this kind of pizza?  I hate mushrooms so I ain't paying.  Granny, it’s for you."
    "Who wants a white Russian?"  I don't, but I'll take a furry Frenchman."
    Uncle Tree-tree talks into the TV clicker and replaces the batteries when he can't change the channels. It keeps him busy and away from the garbage can.
    It rained so hard the apple pie was good.
    Father cut the grass and his toe nails, in that order
    Cousin Skin bought a ticket and wore a sneaker.
    The pool was not cleaned this year.
    Anybody got any TUMS?
    A feather was on the sidewalk.
    Ants carried off the cat food.
    Mother sewed on a button then removed the blood stains with her spit.
    Brother got a new one.
    The cat coughed up a pickle.
    The timer on the sprinkler got reset.
    The oven burned the chicken. 
    The repairman made two trips to plug in the toaster.  He wears a uniform and is Father's nephew.
    Friday's newspaper was thinner than the bacon.
    Sometimes we didn’t dry the dishes.
    The stairs still need watering.
    The chimney smells funny.
    Merry Christmas
    from all the crew and characters at
    Gracious Jane Marie and
    Amelia Island Novels Blog

    December 17, 2017

    Quick Beef Stroganoff

         I heard somewhere, "It is better to wear out than rust out."  And I agree, but our lives do often seem hectic and we may forget a thing or two. (That's why there are sticky notes in my world. )
         One thing we must remember to do is feed the family- like they would let us forget?  So, I am always on the look-out for quick and easy recipes that are delicious.  This Beef Stroganoff has been around our house for a couple of decades. Give it a try! 

    Quick Beef Stroganoff

    Brown and drain any grease:
    • 1 pound lean ground beef
    • Garlic powder to taste
    • 1 medium onion, chopped finely (optional)
    • Flat noodles or pasta            
    Add, stirring over medium heat until hot clear through:
    • 1 can “healthy” mushroom soup (regular is fine, too)
    • 1 cup regular, non-fat or light sour cream
    • 1 three ounce can of mushrooms, drained (or larger can if you love mushrooms) - fresh mushrooms taste even better, but should be added with the onion so they can be cooked through
    • 2 tablespoons ketchup           
    • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    Serve over flat noodles or pasta.

    P.S.  This recipe was first posted on my Gracious Jane Marie website a long while ago.  It's so good, I thought you might like seeing it again or discovering it for the first time.

                Jane Marie

    December 12, 2017

    The Goodbye Lies - Peeper-Perfect Purity Almost

    Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida 
    Present Day

       Jane Marie writes:   My friend, Johanna Eversole, showed me this photo of a Great Egret she'd taken here on Amelia Island, Florida and let me share it with you. She and her son occasionally cast a net for shrimp.  This beautiful birdie, she kindly calls Freddie the Freeloader, watches for them and accepts any of the tidbits they offer. Not only is this creature pure and perfect, but smart. 

    Here is a link for more info. 


    Fernandina, Florida                                         

    Late 1800s

         Grandmother Peeper writes:  I seen one a them birds aflyin' the other day.  I admit to it.  It was a pretty thing, but sure as a croakin' frog can wake the dead at night, them egrets fly high up and let loose, if ya understand my meanin', and it always lands on the clean clothes ahangin' on the line.  That's the way of it.

    The Goodbye Lie Diaries- What are they?
         Through the magic of electronics, the characters in my Goodbye Lie Series set on Amelia Island can talk to me from the late 1800s and I to them.  It makes for some interesting conversations.- Jane Marie

    December 5, 2017

    Carnival Cruise Anniversary

         My husband, Bruce, and I recently celebrated our anniversary and decided to go on a cruise. Can you say An Affair to Remember (See complete movie here on YouTube.) -That wonderful Cary Grant movie with several scenes set onboard a cruise ship ... I didn't want to drive to a distant port of departure because we'd have to drive home that same distance, tired and worn, from said cruise.  Happily, we have a terminal nearly in our back yard.  Actually, it's little more than half an hour south from Amelia Island, in Jacksonville, Florida. We also had the luxury of being dropped off and picked up by sweet friends. Very lucky us.  So, we hopped on board and off we sailed! 

    Elation's stern passing under
    Jacksonville, Florida's
    Dames Point Bridge upon departure. 

         We took a 5 day sail on Carnival's Elation to the Bahamas.  It was just great. The food, the service, the maintenance,  the near-Broadway style shows, my favorite part, were all wonderful. Oh, plus 24 hours of pizza, ice cream and room service. Sigh ... Talk about pampered

    Yes, Virginia, the Caribbean water is that blue.
    just a cool interior shot
    Nassau, Bahamas   

    Darling towel animals greeted
    us each night on our bed.
    We won!  We won!!!

    This little birdie fought the wind and
    rode on the flagpole for miles. 
    What a view he had!

    smooth sailing all the way

    Remember I wrote the ship was well
    maintained? This greased pulley
    impressed me and made me feel safe.

    a full moon, too

    so romantic

    Jane Marie, Bruce and Queen Victoria 

    And to all, a good night ...

    PS - Have I mentioned, my next novel,
    Amelia Island's Sand and Sin, takes place, in part, aboard a cruise ship? - Jane Marie

    November 30, 2017

    Goodbye Lie Diaries - Carolena Decorates with Jewelry

    Late 1800s
     Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

    Carolena Dunnigan writes:  I heard  word my sister, Breelan, wrote to you, Jane Marie, sharing her perfume tip. I can't have my baby sister show me up, so this is my idea. ( See Breelan's tip here. )
         Instead of leaving my bracelets and necklaces tucked away in my drawer or jewelry box , I decorate my room with them.  I drape my favorite necklaces on lampshades and hang my bracelets from the pulls on my chest of drawers. 
         I am forever changing them out for new pieces as I wear them. And they look different when the candles are lit compared to the the light of day.
         Jane Marie, thank you for trying my style of decorating and taking photos to share with your friends.  I don't want to brag, but little creative touches of all types add to my interior designs for our family's Aqua Verdi Passenger Line grand ships and yachts.  Business is brisk, so I must dash.  Daddy promised I would have my sketches to the gentleman from Boston completed and in the post to him by week's end.

    shade by night decorated with butterfly necklace
    bracelets on drawer pulls

                          necklace on lamp by day

    same necklace, shade turned at an angle, by night

    Carolena Dunnigan is the
     featured player in
     Amelia Island 's Velvet  Undertow.
                                Carolena Dunnigan

    Click here for Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow  eBooks and paperbacks Set on Amelia Island, Florida in 1889, Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow will twist, turn and torture you with Carolena's passion for her family, her art and her lovers, all from her deep and dawning creative soul.

    -Necklaces handmade by Jane Marie's sister, Nancy Kamp
    -Bracelets handmade by Jane Marie's granddaughter, Ava, Nancy Kamp and Jane Marie 

    November 21, 2017

    Bless This House by Perry Como

    Please take a moment during this special time of giving thanks and listen to Bless This House
    by Perry Como. Written in 1927, the melody is gentle then  powerful and the words leave you counting your many blessings.

    Thank you to YouTube, as always.

    November 16, 2017

    Goodbye Lie Diaries - Breelan's Hidden Perfume Tip

    Jane Marie's recreation of Breelan's perfume bottle hidey-hole 
    Late 1800s
    Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

    Breelan writes: I do not have a care if my perfume gives Aunt Noreen the sneezes.  During the day I will often wear a sweet scent. At night, spice is my preference. When I feel the need for instant refreshment and I don't want climb the stairs to my room or haven't the time, I will splash a few drops on the nape of my neck from one of the perfume bottles hidden about the house. Inside the china cabinet,  amongst the books on the shelf and in the pantry, I have several scattered about.  I was afraid my mother, Miss Ella, or Grandmother Peeper might object, having to dust around the bottles, but they understand the importance of always smelling delightful. And I know for a fact, they, too, spritz a scent on their wrists or necks.


    Breelan Dunnigan is the heroine in The Goodbye Lie, the first novel in the series by the same name.  Available in e-book and paperback, the stories are set on Amelia Island in north Florida in the late 1800s.