April 29, 2014

A Sparkling Find!

I love sparkles, glitter, bling and anything shiny.  Don't we all? My sister, Nancy, is among us and even has a jewelry website called www.VeryShinyObjects.com.  So there I was, shopping for my sister-in-law's birthday gift when I stopped dead-still at the sight of the rhinestone lanyards! From multi-color to solid red, blue, yellow and white diamond, they beckoned me come. What use would my sister-in-law have of this?  None, I tell you. It was not for her, but for ME!  Why would I need such an item? Simple. When I do book signings and art shows, I hang my business card around my neck. This is perfect for a romance writer, me thinks.  Did I find a gift for said sister-in-law? I considered the peppermint-pickled beets in the glass pig-shaped jar bedecked with delicate hand-painted orange pine cones, but I'm not quite sure she would appreciate my depth of thought that went into choosing such a treasure.  Thus, I continue the quest for her.  I have achieved mine. Plus, I will write off my glorious lanyard as a business expense because, as you can tell, I'm all about business.

"diamond" lanyard against antique dress
 

  

April 27, 2014

No Kindle? Use Your Smart Phone to Read

I have often regaled you with my lack of technical skills. (I can type 576 words a minute, if you don't hold my mistakes against me. That's an old joke.) So, it is always a pleasure to discover and retain useful info with regard to electronic gadgets. If you already know this stuff, be kind and graciously hide your laughter behind your hand. If you don't know about it, then we will learn together.

What I just found was taken directly from the latest Kindle Newsletter:
Did you know your readers don't need a Kindle to read your book? Simply download one of our free Kindle apps--available for every major smartphone, tablet, and computer.


Go to www.Amazon.com and in the search box type: Free Kindle Reading Apps

or click on the links below:

 Product Details        

Kindle for Android by Amazon.com (Mar 18, 2011)

  • Available instantly on your connected Android device
  • (4,891)
  • Product Features
  • ... best reading experience available on your Android phone--no Kindle ...
Then  get started on The Goodbye Lie and Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow, my historical fiction novels, and become a Goodbye LieR like the rest of us.  Discover what drives intelligent women like the Dunnigans into doing ... Well, into doing less than intelligent things ... things that will change their lives for the rest of time.

(Once you have your ebook reader loaded on your device, go to www.GraciousJaneMarie.com and click on The Goodbye Lie and/or Velvet Undertow book covers to take you to Amazon.)

April 22, 2014

Posters and More Posters

Over time, my Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie series has had many posters.  Here are some of them plus a couple miscellaneous ones from www.GraciousJaneMarie:
 
 
 
 





 


 
 
 
 



www.MarthaBear.com - silly short stories for the whole family



 

Posters for the next novel in the series,  Amelia Island's Mark of a Man, are in progress.  Stay tuned...

Novels, Kindle and Nook available for order at all book sources, www.Amazon and www.GraciousJaneMarie.com.

April 19, 2014

Goodbye Lie Diaries - Peeper's Bunny Buns

Fernandina, Amelia Island, Florida
1880s

Grandmother Peeper writes:

Easter is tomorra, sos the children and me made the family some cinnamon rolls ta look like bunny heads. First off, we took a portion a bread dough and mixed in a tish a cinnamon.  Next,we shaped a head and pinched off a little more dough ta make two long ears each.  Then I baked 'um in the oven, watching sos they didn't burn. We iced 'um with vanilla frosting and added raisins for two button eyes and one nose. They was very popular  and there's none left!  Next year, we'll make two batches for all them hungry youngin's a ours.

More important than bunny buns, is Easter and that our Lord raised hisself up.  It's a miracle and we're all blessed because he dun that for us.  Thank you, Jesus! I'm pretty old, so I'll be aseein' ya soon! 

*****.
Fernandina, Amelia Island, Florida
2014

Jane Marie writes:

Peeper, your bunny buns sounded so yummy, granddaughter, Ava, and I made some of our own. In our time, we are very spoiled, so I didn't have to go to all the effort to make bread dough from scratch like you did.  These days, you can go to the grocery and purchase a sleeve of dough with cinnamon already mixed in.  We sprayed a cookie sheet with non-stick spray, formed the bunny heads and ears, baked them for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees, I think it was, and frosted them with the icing that came with the dough.  We didn't have any raisins on hand so we used peanuts for the eyes and nose. Of course, some people who are allergic to peanuts should just leave the bunnies faceless.  They taste swell either way.


raw bunny buns - before

 
baked bunny buns - after

 
Happy Easter to you and the Dunnigans, the Duffys and Mrs. Ickles and Aunt Noreen, in particular.  The good Lord teaches us to pray for everyone, including the most difficult of people.  Sometimes it's a challenge, but then it's nothing compared to what He did for us.  May we all remember the meaning of Easter, the same as our parents, and their parents before them.  Let us carry on their faith, which is now ours.

 

P.S.  I also saw similar bunny heads on Pinterest.  I guess good ideas are not restricted to particular centuries...

(Grandmother Peeper is just one of the beloved characters from Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie Trilogy set in 1880s - available at www.GraciousJaneMarie.com , through www.Amazon.com and all bookseller outlets.)

April 16, 2014

Making the Mark - What I Discovered

Questions, I have questions.  I have lots and lots of questions… (This is a direct rip-off from  Letters, We Get Letters, We Get Stacks and Stacks of Letters.  Folks would write into the Perry Como TV show from the 1950's.  He would choose a letter and sing the requested song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC7o7FbUipg
 
And you wonder why it takes so long to write my Amelia Island/Fernandina, Florida novels?  Research, dear readers.  Research and tweaking. With regard to research about things available and happening in 1898, the year in which my Amelia Island's Mark of  a Man, the next novel in my Goodbye Lie series,  is set,  here are just a few questions to which I had to find answers:
  • When was Yankee Doodle written? – Answer: 1770s
  • What were the Suffrage movement colors  worn by women seeking the vote?  I thought they were red, white and blue.  Answer: WRONG, oh great assumer, I say to myself.  I was watching a PBS show and there, before my eyes, were suffragettes.   They were wearing white, green and gold!  I verified this through research and went back and corrected it.
  • Will lavender grow in north Florida? Answer: Yes, provided it's watered and in pots.  Then I recalled a horticulturist friend of mine telling me that, yes, it will grow here, but he suggested no matter where it is planted, you cover the surface of the dirt with pebbles.  Without pebbles, the water may splash up onto the lower leaves and transfer bacteria to those leave, causing mildew or fungus or whatever bad germs might make the plant to die eventually.
  • Did doctors wear surgical masks? Answer:  Not yet.  They weren't developed until 1905 or so I read.
  • When as Ava Maria written? Answer:  The music was written by Franz Schubert to a poem before he died in 1828, so I can use it!
  • What about God Bless America?  When as that written? Answer:  1918 by Irving Berlin, so I can't use it.
  • How about Rock of Ages? Answer: Yes, it was written before 1872.
  • Hail Holy Queen composed when? Answer: It is from the 11th century, so heck yes.  Use it!
  • John Phillip Sousa's Stars and Stripes?  Answer: composed in 1896 and published in 1897.  It's a squeaker, but it will work!
  • What is the difference between a bowler and derby hat?   Answer: The bowler, a hard felt hat with a rounded crown, was invented in Britain in 1848.  The Americans copied it and called it a derby.
  • Lyceum Hall in Fernandina, Florida – When was it built and where was it located? Answer: Built in 1873, Lyceum Hall was located on Centre Street, the main street in historic downtown Fernandina,  between Sixth and Seventh Street.  Lyceums were public halls in small towns constructed to showcase wholesome entertainment, song, dance , the arts and assorted programs.
The results from research are fun, don't you think? 

April 13, 2014

Hollywood Hearts - Sway

Everybody knows I'm a fan of old Hollywood, so I love Turner Classic Movies on television.  I was walking through the house one evening and heard a guest speaker on that channel. I think she was a college English teacher. When the host asked her how many of her students were interested in old movies, she said none.  Yes, I am realistic about such things.  The younger generations want to look forward and don't care about what used to be. Still, I remain ever hopeful and will never give up in sharing the joys of music and movies from times past.

Today's offering is a modern day version of Sway, a mambo written in  1953 featuring Mathew Morrison of the TV show Glee. Click on link to enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mathew%20morrison%20sway&m=1Dean Martin made this a hit in the same decade, as well.

Also, click here to see a composite from Rita Hayworth films, as she dances to Sway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FtCIoJATM

But wait, here is yet another modern version from Dancing with the Stars featuring Nicole Scherzinger and the Pussycat Dolls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bnW3ALEccY

Come on and Sway with me.

April 10, 2014

Serving Makes the Difference- a Dessert

Rather than go out to a fancy dinner on our anniversary, I usually choose to make a semi-fancy meal at the house.  I'll set up a table in the living room or anywhere, other than the dining room.  It changes the mood from everyday to special.  Cover the table with a sheet, quilt, place mats, or tablecloth you rarely use, get out your best dishes and silver, a fancy serving tray or dish, cloth napkins,  and your grandmother's salt and pepper shakers.  Clip some greenery and a few flowers from your garden or your nice neighbor's, light an unscented candle (so the aroma is the food, not a candle scent), and turn on the music from your radio, TV, CD or phone. Try something romantic and slow for back ground atmosphere.  After dinner, dance to the wonderful lyrics from the Big Band era, something from Frank Sinatra always works.  In each other's arms, lean back and listen to the lyrics as they tell a story which will inspire you both or, if the words are sad, make you count your blessings.
 
As to the food, keep is simple and fun.  Make something in the slow cooker, so it's ready with no effort. It will give you both time to dress appropriately.  Whatever your lifestyle, the swirl of a skirt and the look of a tie add so much with so little effort.
 
And for dessert, I made these easy brownie, chocolate pudding (sugar-free), whipped topping (lite) and stemmed cherry delights. Yummy and the secret to special is to serve in a fancy stemmed glass.   In the photo below, I wasn't sure which order to layer the ingredients, so they would present best. I tried, from bottom to top, brownie pieces, whipped topping, pudding and cherry.  On the right, I had brownie pieces on the bottom, pudding topping and the cherry.  Decisions, decisions.  Which looks better?  I guess it really doesn't matter, because it sure tasted swell.


 
Oh, don't forget a selfie photo of the two of you and your dessert.  You can't have too many pictures. 

April 7, 2014

Clever, I Love Clever

While visiting a wonderful ice cream shop in Tallahassee, Florida called Lofty Pursuits, I notice the wall behind the candy-making worktable.  An interesting use of domino pieces made up the backsplash.  Centered in the middle of the domino tiles was a small sign.  See the second photo below to appreciate the cleverness. 
 
 candy-making worktable
 

If you're in the area, stop by Lofty Pursuits at 1415 Timberland Road, #410, Tallahassee, FL 32312 and visit www.LoftyPursuits.com for more info.

April 5, 2014

To Drink or Not to Drink

My husband, Bruce, has had a cold.  While he is infirm, I make him sleep in the guest bedroom.  My primary goal is for his quick recovery, and so undisturbed rest is key.  Of course, I don’t want to catch his cooties, either.  Therefore, I’ve been sleeping by myself, accompanied by the baked potato warmth of Abby, our rescued Chihuahua. Abby is a funny little doggie.  One of her weirdnesses is that she doesn’t like to eat from a bowl.  Her food must be on a flat plate.  A noisy saucer on our tile floor will not do.  It must be on a plastic lid from a Cool Whip type container.  All that is fine until it comes to water.  Ever try having sufficient water for an animal to drink contained on a flat lid?  It makes for desert conditions. Like it or not, I am forced to fill a bowl to the top with water and she eventually drinks.  Sometimes when she sits on my lap, which is her choice and constant, and which I like, she will lick her black dog lips, sounding rather dry to me.  I worry and I always try to remedy negative situations to avoid worry.  To that end, it was 4:30 a.m. and I got up to get myself a quick drink.  Abby was snuggled under the covers and I decided she was as thirsty as I.  So, guided by the glow of a small plug-in night-light, I filled a plastic glass with water and took it to Abby for a few puppy swigs.  I tipped the glass so the water was close to the lip and she wouldn’t have to stick her snout down inside.  I was triumphant.  She was thirsty.  Well, less than thirsty, but she did make one and a half tongue laps on or around the water.  The truth is, I heard more than I actually saw.  While I gloried in her hydration victory, my ears perked to another sound.  It was the soft splashing of the liquid falling upon the blankets and sheets in the center of the bed. 

My triumph dashed, I didn’t bother to turn on the light.  I crawled in bed with the dog, which seemed unmoved that I’d poured water on her blankies.  I pushed the cold wet covers to the side, in search of a dry spot.  Like a saturated sponge, the fluid had spread rapidly and wide.  I finally found that dry spot, located six inches from the edge of the mattress.  I had a decision to make.  I could either hug the seam binding and hope Abby, in her cuddling, didn’t push me off onto the unforgiving tile, not forgetting I was likely to hit my noggin on the marble bedside table on the way down. Or, I could sleep on the short loveseat in the parlor accompanied by the horrendous bong of the huge grandfather clock every thirty minutes, with the added harmony of Abby's howling, her latest self-taught trick.  Or I could put clean sheets on the recently stripped, hard to make up single bed in the office. Remember, it's now 4:45 a.m.  Hmm.  I decided to be brave and tough it out on the wet mattress with the singing dog.  And some say I’m not adventurous.   

April 1, 2014

Velvet Undertow Fave- Welcome Landscape Timber

I came up with the idea of a painted landscape timber that says Welcome while putting the finishing touches on my garden in preparation for a family reunion.  It's easy to do whether freehand, traced, or stenciled.  You'll love it, and so will your neighbors.  Be prepared. They may want you to paint one for them, too!
      Enjoy,
     Jane Marie
 
an Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow fave at http://greenlightwrite.com/velvetundertowjanemarie.htm



 
 

read "The Goodbye Lie"

 

You'll need:
  • 1 pressure treated landscape timber, length is your choice
  • Acrylic paints in assorted colors, black for lettering, white for background under the letters
  • Paint brushes
  • Pencil for marking/outline/tracing, stenciling, optional
  • Stencils, optional
  • Spray paint, optional
  • Sealer
  • Newspaper
Spray paint or paint the center third or so of the timber with white paint to set off the lettering. 
Find the center point of the timber and mark it with pencil.
Plan the lettering style and spacing.  Draw the letter C in Welcome on the center point.
Working from the center out, evenly draw the other letters of the word Welcome, making sure to keep the spacing even between letters.
Using black paint, paint the letters, adding decorative gold or single color trim on the upper left edges of each letter, if desired.
Trace, stencil or free hand vines from the center out to about 3 inches from each end of the timber.
Add leaves and colorful flowers in the same fashion.
Wash paint brushes with soap and water.
Let your painted timber dry over night.
Seal the painted surface by spraying it with two coats of acrylic sealer.
 
Seasonal Timbers*
Paint Merry Christmas with green holly vines and red berries.
Valentine's Day / Anniversary:  Paint Happy Valentine's Day or Happy Anniversary, adding green vines and different sized hearts instead of flowers, angling the hearts differently.  Trace a bird or two.  Add some painted curling ribbon.
Halloween: Paint Happy Halloween, adding green vines with orange pumpkins.
St Patrick's Day: Paint Happy St Patrick's Day, adding light green vines with gold and/or dark green shamrocks instead of flowers.
New Home / Wedding Gift for Newlyweds: Paint the couple's last name in the center with the wedding date written as: Est. 2006 (Established) on one end in smaller letters.  Paint vines and flowers along the length.
You get the idea.  Make any occasion special with a painted landscape timber.
 
 
Reprinted from: www.GraciousJaneMarie.com