September 22, 2016

Festive Flamingos

I think of myself as a rebel. Not just any rebel, but a responsible rebel. By that, I mean I am happily different.  Not so different that they call the round-up squad from the local loony bin, but just enough that I have been known to deliver to folks a chuckle, chortle and, perhaps, the occasional guffaw.
    Yet, sometimes, I strive for something deeper than hilarity because I want to be well rounded. Okay, admittedly, perhaps I am more an oval than a perfect circle.  Whatev.  Keeping in mind, taste is in the mouth as surely as it is in the eye, you decide if my attempt at sprucing up our resident flamingos is a success.  My plastic bird buddies have stood sentry at our mailbox for many years.  With such dedicated service and their fake feather striations of color fading, I figured a few cans of half-empty spray paint from the garage sale down the block was certainly worth my $2 cash investment.  Plus, that investment is tax deductible since I'm sharing their photos on this blog.  Here at Gracious Jane Marie, you now have proof that we are fiscally responsible. Additionally, we forever advance not only the rich romance and mystery that is the Goodbye Lie series of historical novels I write, but we imbue your senses with art. What a deal!   

September 16, 2016

Goodbye Lie Diaries, Pat Dunnigan Quote?

Pat Dunnigan, Amelia Island's Mark of a Man
    It is 1898 in the small seaside town of Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida. Pat Dunnigan, our hero, (or is he?) is tossing one back at the Strathmore Hotel on the beach.  Watching the Atlantic Ocean's swells beat out their steady tease and retreat, this intense thought might have entered his partially focused brain. Turning to the barkeep whose black head hair and white ear hair bring the face of a panda bear before Pat's eyes, he asks the man with the worn towel in hand, "Hey, Stompie. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?"
    At the small square table across the tavern, his Aunt Noreen is seated beside her husband, Clabe. "These are the only chairs available to see a view as lovely as this. And here we have to listen to more of your  noxious comments, Jack Patrick Dunnigan."  Notorious for her show of decorum concerning all matters, except those of her own caustic tongue, she is unable to refrain from remarking.  "Yet again, sir, you have shamed and disgraced the good Dunnigan name with your indelicate sentiments. I shall instruct my Warren Lowell to disassociate himself from you completely!"
     Pat laughed aloud, then his gay expression vanished.  "Don't make him choose, Auntie, or you may find yourself without a son."

The quotation in bold lettering above is anonymous to my knowledge. If you know the creator, please alert me and I will credit him or her. But our Pat Dunnigan is just the kind of fellow who would say such, for his own entertainment and those around him, worldly enough, to his mind, to appreciate his quick wit. 
   You can survey Pat's ascension into manhood by reading The Goodbye Lie  series of novels.
Amelia Island's Mark of a Man is part of that series set in the late 1800s and tells Pat's personal story as a wild young man facing many challenges, physical, mental and emotional. It is not a smooth ride for anyone ...

September 8, 2016

A Writer's Tote

     Look what came in the mail from my ever-wonderful brother, Bob.  He saw it and thought of me.  I like the way this guy thinks! 
                                             Thank you, Bobby

September 3, 2016

Hermine Damage on Amelia Island

Some of us had a bit of trouble from Hurricane Hermine this past week.  Our screen door was twisted off its hinges. The blinds in the screened patio were shredded. We have a leak in the ceiling of our front hall and palm fronds and debris were scattered all over our yard. 

I certainly will not complain.  Our friends in Tallahassee, Florida  continue to be without power for another week and the upper Atlantic east coast is bracing for a dangerous water surge. Instead of grousing over some minor repairs and clean up, I am sending up prayers of support and safety for those who have experienced far worse than I and those who are in the path of this storm. Please join me in my prayers.
   - Jane Marie

August 29, 2016

Square Piano?

      Please see our piano pictured here. It is not just any piano. This is a square piano. Well, it's not really square, it's rectangular, but that's what they call this gem and, if I'm honest, we only own one key.  That's not exactly right either.  And so the story goes, many years ago, when we initially joined our local Amelia Island Museum of History, one of the first projects we participated in was that of restoring this square grand piano for the Victorian Room there. Each key was $100, as I recall.  Since middle C was already snagged by someone else, we chose one we would remember from all the others by its placement and that was low A, the first white key on the left side of the keyboard. Because this was a fund raiser and since we donated the money, you can understand we don't really "own" the piano or the key, but we still love her very much.

     I will never forget the
summer Sunday afternoon we spent at the museum in that Victorian Room.  With a candelabra as the only light, a gentleman in tie and tails played while a lovely women in period costume and wig sang music from vintage sheet music. As a matter of fact, this scene returned before my mind's eye and was part of my mental image when I wrote of Maestro Paolo Alontti in Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow.

     Over time, as the exhibits in the museum were changed, we lost track of the piano.  When I asked someone on the museum board about it, they told me it currently sits in the lobby of the local Citizens State Bank in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida. That's downtown Centre Street across from St. Peter's Episcopal Church with the red tin roof.  So if you're in the area, stop in to see it. 
Music Stand
     If you want to learn about these antique square pianos, visit the YouTube links below.  You can hear what a similar piano sounds like in Part 2 of The History of Square Pianos, beginning about 5 minutes into it.  Enjoy!
Piano Lyre and Foot Pedals
Decorative Feet

Brief History of the Square Piano Part 1 - narrated by Thomas Strange of Easley, South Carolina

Brief History of the Square Piano Part 2  - also narrated by Mr. Strange

P.S. In my research, I found this exact-looking square grand piano dating from 1865 to 1873 either sold or selling for $30,000.

This piano is currently housed in the lobby of:
Citizens State Bank
715 Centre St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
 (904) 261-8233

August 27, 2016

Clichés - Horrors!

     I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Yes,    I'm going to let the cat out of the bag.  Let's face it. Clichés are the bane of every author's existence.  We avoid them like the plague or try.  But why?  If truth be told, they are often  right as rain.  Still, writers beware.  Don't fall asleep at the switch or, by popular demand, you will reach the end of your road, sooner rather than later.  - Jane Marie

August 18, 2016

Fairy Tale Quotation

Amelia Island Perfection
"Fairy tales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
                                           - Neil Gaiman

P.S. Remember, Jane Marie believes in happy endings. "May all your dreams arrive on time ..." - Jane Marie Malcolm

August 15, 2016

Failure Highway

Some folk say I need to be smarter.
I have tried all I know how to do. 
The path to success is challenging.
The easy roads are few.

To fail is certainly needed.
Yes, it certainly takes its toll.
For Failure is the name of the highway,
That will take you to your goal.

Fear not the failures in life, you see,
They are the path to success.
No creature on Earth has done better.
None has avoided the stress.

So when you encounter failure,
Do not dismay or groan.
It's only another required step.
Treat it as a welcome step-stone.
                                    by Chuck Hall

I read this poem by my friend Chuck Hall and asked him if I could put it on the blog.  The message in it is so encouraging and says it all.

Chuck is a website designer and owner of and one heck of a banjo player.

August 5, 2016

Goodbye Lie Diaries-Aunt Noreen VS Mrs. Ickles

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida 
Late 1800s   
Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow is part of The Victorian Goodbye Lie Series
Aunt Noreen writes:

Dear Readers of Jane Marie's stories,
This is your favorite and very well-known Aunt Noreen, once again coming to you by the magic of what Jane Marie Malcolm calls electronics.  Today, I thought I might mention a little something about my dearest acquaintance, Mrs. Ickles.  You have occasionally seen her name in Jane Marie's Goodbye Lie trilogy, although not nearly as often as you have mine. We both live in Fernandina, the seaside city on Amelia Island and are very proud Fernandiners (pronounced Fern-an-deen-rs). Mrs. Ickles and I participate in many of the same activities, including the Orchid Society and St. Michael's Linger-Longer small prayer group, where we study scripture.

In the interest of getting to know the personalities of the people in the books better, I thought it would be useful to tell you something about Mrs. Ickles.  I'm writing this now, before she makes her own entry in these Diaries and distorts matters. So, there we were, in small group.  This time it was in Mrs. Ickles' home. We had each finished a serving of her somewhat soggy lemon pound cake and melted lemon ice cream. Mrs. Ickles isn't known for her baking or cooking, as am I. It was her turn to recite the required memorized scripture aloud.  She was unable!  She could only recall one line out of three!  Shame, I say.  Being her friend, I thought it best to point out why she had become so unconcerned with regard to her Bible verses.  "If you didn't spend so many hours setting such a beautiful table, you would have time to memorize your verses." I thought this was grand advice, given in a kindly manner.  Complimenting her table removed any sting she might have felt at my observation of her lack of effort on doing what she should.  I expected praise from the others gathered. To my utter surprise, no one said anything.  In fact, they all rose, thanked Mrs. Ickles for being a lovely hostess and left, rudely leaving me behind to help clean up the tea cups and plates. Mrs. Ickles was quiet, too, I'm sure contemplating how she could remedy her short comings.  She is blessed to have someone like me, who cares enough to instruct her as to what is right and proper.

July 30, 2016

Grammy Camp 2016 Antics

Corn Husk Dolls
Annual Grammy Camp was a success, once again!  Granddaughter Ava and I tried new activities, made new crafts, cooked and ate what we cooked, and laughed more than we have ever laughed before.  That's the best part of Grammy Camp, after all. Here are some pics from the good times we shared! 
Painting Secret Pebbles

Jewelry Making   
Fine Dining

Painting Mailboxes

Painting More Secret Pebbles

 Contortions on the Beach in the Name of Physical Fitness

Cooking No Bake Cookies

History Class at Fort Clinch

Chemistry AKA Salad Dressing

Book Marks from Paint Chips
Science Experiment - Growing Crystals and It Worked!

Music Appreciation on the Spam Canjo

Drawing Class - Subject is Abby, the Singing Chihuahua

P.S. Our only activity "fail" was making our own lip gloss from a kit.  Well, in a pinch, maybe it wasn't a complete fail.  I mean, if your lips were so parched they were cracked, the lumpy wax bits, which didn't melt, might offer just enough grease to sooth any blisters.  Nah.  It was a fail. But it was still fun. 

July 20, 2016

Novel Music Heard At Last

Paolo Alontti, male player in Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow, set in 1889, is a world famous conductor.  The music, Mosquito Waltz, on the cover of this novel, represents his part in the story. I found this music in an old book called Music for the Pump Organ, which I found in my husband's grandmother's wind-up Victrola. 

It so happens, we have our very own antique pump organ.  Now, while I can pick out a tune or two, so long as there is only one sharp or one flat in a piece, my keyboard skills are lacking, and, thereby, I had never heard Mosquito Waltz played.  When I discovered my new friend, Linda Plumlee Riley, played the piano, I asked her if she would give it a try.  Click on the picture above of Velvet Undertow, my dear friends, and listen to  Mosquito Waltz, as you would have heard it in 1889, played on the instrument for which it may have been written. Thank you, Linda.


July 12, 2016

Spicy Roast Beef and Goodbye Lie Trilogy Excerpt

Spicy Roast Beef
Do you know which female
character from The Goodbye Lie series is the subject of the excerpt below? If only she had tried the recipe which follows for Spicy Roast Beef at her dinner party...

 The Goodbye Lie Series Excerpt:

     Grammy's gift was a quart of her meat flavoring. "It's our family secret, _____. Here's the recipe. Memorize it, then burn it. Promise?"
     "Yes, ma'am. I promise."
     Peeper was not to be out done, "I saved the best fer last. It's a bottle a my very own special furniture polish."
     "The way Peep experiments out back in the little house," Michael explained to Trip, "it's no small miracle she hasn't blown us all up. Isn't that the stuff you make from turpentine, alcohol, and ether, Peep?"
     "Yup, but you forget the balsam fir and linseed oil, Michael. That's how come I'm the chemist and you're the architect." 
     The laughter had been strained and everyone had been uncomfortable. The cozy glow from the candles helped hide the chipped dishes and patched linens that came furnished with the house, and no adult noticed or, at least, mentioned the shortcomings of her table. Leave it to her brother to have asked, "How come you use all these cracked plates, ____, when you have a whole hope chest full of brand new dishes and stuff?" Everyone else had been too polite to inquire.
     She'd quickly answered, "I'll bring my chest over as soon as my cooking warrants the beauty of the china." The ladies had made a sincere attempt to reassure her that the meal was delicious. She would have believed them, too, had she not tasted her own food. The salad was gritty with sand, the deviled eggs were runny from the honey and too salty, the butter beans in the stew were hard, and the chocolate frosting was so thin, the cake showed through. ____ saw her mother throw several sharp looks at Jack Patrick each time he'd tried a new course and then opened his mouth to comment. She imagined the lecture the poor boy must have received about how to behave at his sister's house right before they'd left Dunnigan Manor...

Jane Marie writes:
My church friend, Kris Mandrick, brought this wonderful "stringy" beef roast to a pot luck.  I loved it.  I mean loved it!  She was sweet enough to let me share it with you.  It's made in the slow cooker with ingredients you probably have on hand.  It makes some rich gravy, is moist, is good for Sunday dinner or sandwiches and freezes well, if there are any leftovers.  Thank you, Kris. -JMM

Spicy Roast Beef
You'll need:

2-3 pound beef roast 
Lightly salt (optional) and pepper all sides.
Sprinkle with minced/powdered garlic or garlic pepper.  Put in crock.

Mix in separate bowl: 
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used lite.)
2 Tbl balsamic vinegar
2 Tbl A1 Sauce or Worcestershire sauce (I used Worcestershire.)
2 tsp yellow mustard, liquid or dry (I used liquid.)
Make several shallow slits in top of roast and pour mixture over roast. Let cook in crock 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

P.S.  This recipe will also be listed in the Recipes link at the top of this page. 

June 30, 2016

Small Town, USA

Happy Fourth of July

Everybody loves their hometown.  After all, it's THEIR hometown.  Born there or living there by choice, we all take pride in the accomplishments, beauty and notoriety of our place.  I am no exception.  For me, Amelia Island, Florida has it all.  I often say, "History loves here."  Since I love history, I'm in the right place. A real live working seaport with a National Historic District full of Victorian homes and storefronts, this city is my definition of Small Town, USA.

Through the generosity of many, we can now brag about all the American flags hanging from street lights and telephone poles in our downtown and clear out to our Main Beach at the Atlantic Ocean.  The flags are our cherry on the top of our rich dessert of Southern hospitality smothering our Amelia Island. Next time you're able, come on down and enjoy this paradise, along with us. It's too beautiful not to share!

June 22, 2016

My Purple Chidken - Another Lucy Moment

   When I cook, the result is most often tasty.  However, the appearance is just as often not what I expect it to be.  Case in point:  There I was, wondering the answer to the question my friend, Jamie, often asks, "What are you chiseling out of the freezer tonight?"  So to that end, I knew there were some boneless, skinless chicken breasts just waiting to be thawed and turned into another of my never to be repeated because I can't remember just what I did, delicacies.  Okay, what should I add to the slow cooker with the chicken?  I found some frozen onions and green pepper pieces, canned spiced tomatoes, broken pieces of spaghetti noodles and  red wine in the refrigerator.  I dumped all but the noodles into the pot, which in my vast culinary experience, must be added the last few minutes, lest they don't soften to the point of disappearance. I added the lid and cranked the dial to high. 
   Leaving the kitchen and entering Story Central, down the hall, the special spot in our home where the minutes, like  the overcooked noodles, disappear as I empty my mind of the thickening agent which will add flavor to the characters in my next novel, Sand and Sin. What eventually tore me away from the story of the woman in the leaking canoe being paddled down the rough river rapids through the jungle--was the smell, a delicious small.  I hastened back to the kitchen, to trip over the cat and land, after one less than graceful skid, in front of the crockpot. Daring not to lift the lid, I anticipated the taste of heaven arriving within the next hour.
   The table set, I served the spiced bouquet of odiferous delight by the bowl to my waiting family. The comments flowed like the tomato based broth before them.
   "Ick.  What is that purple stuff?  Liver?"
   "It looks like eels!  I'll vomit if I have to look at it again."
   "Mom, what did do this time? Did you mix up our dinner with the garbage, again?"
   Oh, those kidders of mine - Perhaps I was a tish heavy-handed with the red wine, but I've never had better tasting purple chidkin, our new name for this most unusual chicken, in my life. Of course, the blindfold helped a lot.  

June 19, 2016

Moustache Cup

To the fathers out there:
Thank you for all the love you've given, the lessons you've taught and the money you've spent on us.

So,  long ago and who remembers where, we came into the possession of this
beautiful antique moustache cup. If you've never seen one for Dad before, note the inside coffee guard, for lack of  knowing the real name.  As you sip on the rim, the guard supports your moustache while  leaving room for your nose so you can breathe by way of the dip in the middle of the guard. Pretty clever as well as beautiful, huh? If you father has a moustache, think about getting him his very own.

June 15, 2016

Gone With The Wind Quote

Children are life renewing itself ... 
      - Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell 

Today we welcome the newest member of our family.  A perfect baby angel on earth, we all are blessed to have this sweet soul among us.  

In difficult times, may we remember those wise and wonderful words above, penned by Mitchell in 1939, and be comforted.

June 8, 2016

Guess Who

Who is this person on the right?  It's me!  I love fun surprises.  When I opened my email, I found this multi-color picture from Sarah W., sent all the way from Arizona!  She snapped my picture at a book signing here on Amelia Island and created this oh-so-artsy quad image. 

Her note read:

 To Jane Marie -
   The characters in your books are especially colorful. Because of that, I made this picture to
 represent all the rainbows in and around you.  
 -Sarah W.

I am so very touched, I have to share with everyone. Thank you, Sarah. You are too sweet!
                                                      -Jane Marie

June 2, 2016

Chocolate Table- Goodbye Lie Diaries, Nora

Pictured on the right is a chocolate table. Also known as a tea table, note the removable serving tray on top. Owned by my friend, Emmie Noble, she's placed her hot chocolate cup, saucer and chocolate pot set inside.

I discovered some information online by Fay Spencer of Spencer's Antiques in Waynesville, Ohio.  She explained these were especially popular from 1800 to 1850.  I also found most interesting that during our American Revolution, hot chocolate was served instead of tea as a way of protesting the British and their tea tax.

Thank you to Emmie Noble and Spencer Antiques. For more about Spencer's, call 513-897-7775, 274 S Main St., Waynesville, Ohio 45068


Goodbye Lie Diaries
Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Nora Duffy
Nora Duffy writes: My mother, you know her as Aunt Noreen, or Noreena, as Peeper calls her when she wants to irritate her, has a chocolate table in the parlor of our Duffy Place.  You can't know how many times my brother, Warren Lowell, my father, Clabe, my mother and I sit in that room, carefully sipping our chocolate treat.  Except when the milk was scorched, Mother blamed it on the stove, or that time Father burned his lip and spilled his cup onto the handwoven rug, I have wonderful memories.  I am most pleased to see such a lovely piece of furniture has survived the rigors of time to be appreciated in your century. (Jane Marie - I tried to sound somewhat dignified in my diary entry.  You know the true me and how Breelan and I can get into trouble far too easily to suit our families.  I have some ideas about what we'll do next ...)  

Nora, Aunt Noreen, Warren Lowell and Clabe Duffy live right next door to the Dunnigans on Amelia Island, Florida. Breelan Dunnigan and Nora are first cousins and quite the conspirators in their The Goodbye Lie series.

May 29, 2016

Women of WWII

This post is in honor of all the women who served in so many vital positions during World War II, to bring victory to the United States and her allies. Thank you for your service from all of us. Freedom rings loud and true because of you.

(I took this photo inside the wonderful National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force located outside Savannah, Georgia. For info, please click on the link above.  -jmm)

May 24, 2016

Quite the Quote

"Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
- Neil Gaiman