September 30, 2010

The Goodbye Lie's Sugar & Spice Nuts

Make your own Sugar and Spice Nuts featured in The Goodbye Lie, set on Amelia Island, Florida in 1882 -where Little House on the Prairie meets Gone With The Wind ...

Sugar and Spice Nuts
Served at the Fort Clinch Dance in the period suspense novel, The Goodbye Lie by Jane Marie, these nuts are a treat for any occasion.

12 ounces whole pecans (almonds or unsalted walnuts will work in a pinch)
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Grated rind of two oranges
Pinch of cloves

Mix all the ingredients in a heavy skillet. Simmer over medium-high heat. Stir constantly for 5 minutes or until water evaporates. Pour nuts onto 2 cookie sheets sprayed with non-stick spray. Separate them quickly with
fork & let cool. Sugared nuts may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. They may be kept at room temperature about 2 weeks.

The Goodbye Lie recipes, crafts & more available at

September 28, 2010

Romance at Heart Interview Questions #1 & #2

Thank you to Romance at Heart Magazine. They interviewed me so I thought I'd pepper my BLOG BLOG BLOG with questions and answers in order for you to get to know the author behind The Goodbye Lie series.  Here we go.  Question #1 and #2:

- Please tell us about your latest book.
Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow - 1889, Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida - Carolena Dunnigan is witness to so ghastly a sight, she escapes her home on Amelia Island, Florida, lured to Charleston, South Carolina by a renowned conductor. She combats a repulsive roommate and an attractive bully as decades of lies erupt. Disgust at the knowledge and an astonishing revelation drive Carolena into the horrifying Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood. Amelia Island’s Velvet Undertow (VU) knots beloved characters from The Goodbye Lie (GBL) (Volume 1 in The Goodbye Lie series) and new players into a powerful undertow of shock, sentiment and suspense. (Each novel stands alone.)

- What can we expect from you in the future?

I am in the throws of editing book #3, Mark of a Man, my next novel in The Goodbye Lie series. Set in Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida, Pat Dunnigan faces the Spanish American War and Mother Nature in this wild 1898 tale teeming with jarring conflict and forbidden love. Book #4 in the series, Sand and Sin, is also written and needs to be edited, but it’s acomin’, too. Oh, Sand and Sin is set in modern times - same town- Fernandina, same family- the Dunnigans, same family business- passenger ships, but …

Read the entire interview at  or wait and watch for more of my answers to their fun questions.  Thank you to Rose, the creator, admin, and guru of Romance at Heart!

September 26, 2010

Join our 3 Second Memory Club!

COME ONE. COME ALL!  JOIN OUR 3 SECOND MEMORY CLUB! Yes folks. It took me a while to remember to start it, but you, too, can be a member of my latest brainstorm if you do ANY of the following:
  • walk in a room and don't remember why you're there
  • reach for the closet light switch on the right that was in your apartment 20 years ago
  • meet someone and, under pain of death, you don't remember their name within the 1st minute
  • can repeat gossip but don't have a clue who told it to you in the first place
  • know the melody but rarely the words
  • know you've heard something about something but what could it be?
  • wonder what that helpful hint was
  • only remember two out of twelve things you need to put on the grocery list 
  • get in the car but can't remember where you're supposed to go for a second or two
  • have an appointment sometime during the month but don't know the date without calling
  • live by jotting down your life on sticky-notes
  • forget to add vanilla to your boiled white icing
  • friends with the same condition commiserate
  • laugh at your goofiness
  • know you've put your glasses, keys, shoes, etc. in a good spot, but where?
  • want to add to this list but can't remember what to contribute
There are no dues, no rules and no meetings, just a kindred of like-minded souls with great long term memories but next to zero short term.  Just know, you are not alone!

Important:  For more information on memory loss, click below:  If you are seriously concerned, as with all things medical, check with your personal physician.

September 8, 2010

Grandparents' Day - a real holiday!

I got to thinking about Grandparents Day and figured it was a made-up holiday by card companies. Was I ever wrong. It's the real deal, a national occasion in fact!

It all began in West Virginia in 1970 by Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, a mother of fifteen, grandmother to forty and great grandmother to eight. Mrs. McQuade, and civic, pastoral and political leaders came together to promote the idea of Grandparents Day. After three years, Governor Arch Moore declared Grandparents Day in West Virginia, Mrs. McQuade's home state. That same year, the idea was introduced to the United States Senate. With nationwide support, President Jimmy Cater signed a1978 proclamation making the first Sunday in September after Labor Day National Grandparents Day. This particular month was chosen to coincide with the autumn of the grandparent's life. So mark your calendars every year. This year the date falls on September 12, 2010.

Forget-Me-Not is the official flower of Grandparents Day. They are one of my favorite flowers I used to grow in Pennsylvania. The tiny bright blue flowers have yellow dotted centers. A perennial, they grow well on the edge of the woods in cooler weather and partial shade.

Celebration Suggestions for Grandparents:

Visit- If you can, a personal visit with a grandparent, is the best. The perfect gift is your company. Whether you cook or take them out to a restaurant, sharing a meal will mean so much. If they have dietary restrictions and you want to give them a food gift, check with their doctor or nursing home as to what goodies are acceptable.

Games- Play a board game or put together a pretty, colorful, meaningful puzzle with them if you are together. You can paint the puzzle with puzzle glue and frame it for their wall, too!

Greeting Card- Pull out the craft supplies and have the whole family, children or just yourself, make a card. A store-bought card is fine, too, but the personal touch is always best whenever possible.

Photo Gift– Find old family photos, preferably of yourself and grandparent in the early years. Scan/copy and give it as a framed gift.

Date Photos- Pull out the photo albums and talk about the pictures. On the back, write the date and name of people in the pictures if you can. Grandparents can fill in any forgotten names and probably share stories the photo will conjure up in their minds.

Family Tree- Gather together and work on a family tree. Include the children. They can help since kids know how to work computers and can do research with you. Focus on heritage, religion, occupation, and ethnicity.

Album – Scan/copy lots of current/old photos of family, friends, events, lyrics to songs of their generation, cartoons, children's drawings, a crossword puzzle or two, jokes, etc. Paste them on colored paper. Decorate the pages as you would were you making a scrapbook. However you choose to do it, make it colorful! Put the pages, in plastic sleeves if desired, in random order so they don't know what delight the next page will bring and place all in an album. They will love it. I have personally made two of these for my father with extra pictures of his first great grandchild, Ava. He perused those albums for hours. J

Journal- Give them a notebook of some sort, handmade or store-bought, and ask them the jot down their memories growing up. You might write a few questions at the top of the pages for them to answer, i.e, What was your favorite meal, game, friend, song, place to visit, hobby, etc., growing up?

Learn- If your grandparent plays the musical saw, quilts, braids rugs, makes bread, does a traditional dance, whatever, ask them to give you a lesson. Ask them to share one of their special talents with you.

Listen! – Older people have wisdom and personal histories to impart. If need be, ask questions to get them started, then just sit back and enjoy.

Music – Get them a CD of music or Video/DVD movie from their generation. If you have time- stick around and listen/watch with them. Ask them questions about it. Make sure they have the proper player, i.e., CD or DVD. If not, you might consider giving them a player as a gift, if it's in the budget.

Physical Activity- Ride bikes, go for a walk, swim, play ball if your grandparent is able.

Recorder- Take along an audio and/or video recorder and ask them to tell stories or just record the general conversation. Make a copy and give it to them. They will get a kick out of hear/seeing themselves. Again, be sure they have a corresponding machine so they can play the recording when they’re alone. Very important: Make sure they know which buttons to push for play and stop!!!!

Secret Pebbles™- I created these hand painted pebbles (blatant plug) with hearts and flowers for just such an occasion. Affordable sweetness, the grandparent can carry one in his/her pocket or put it away in their jewelry box or dresser drawer to be reminded of the giver each time they see it. Click here to see samples:  

Each comes in a white organza gift bag with a verse and signature line:

It is a special blessing to be loved by you. Love_________

It is a blessing and honor to be born into a family led by you. Love_________

Talent Show- We do this every time our family gets together. A master of ceremonies is chosen if no one volunteers, and singing, dancing, jokes, magic, acting, puppetry, instrument playing, pet tricks, etc., ensue. Take lots of photos!

However you celebrate, small gathering or family reunion, if you are fortunate enough to have a grandparent or even a great grandparent living, please don't forget them on their special day. Your heart and his or hers will be touched with a visit, phone call or gift and that, for everyone, is a better thing!

PS Many of these activities will work for family reunions and shut-ins year round, particularly those with no family. Contact your local community center, church or synagogue for details on volunteering and foster grandparent programs. Go to the official site  to find more information and contests.