May 31, 2011

122 Years Ago

The great Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood occurred on Memorial Day, May 31, 1889, in which 2,209 people lost their lives. The reason I know all about this is because the flood is featured in my historic novel, Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow. I actually sent the manuscript to the Johnstown Flood Museum and a park ranger was kind enough to review it for me to make sure it was factually correct. The only thing I had wrong was the name of the hunt club in the tale.  I had it as the Southfork Hunting and Fishing Club and it was, in fact, the Southfork Fishing and Hunting Club. 

One reader wrote: I could smell the flood water, your story was so real to me. I wanted to covey the horror. Apparently I did. It is never too late to say prayers for those who died and those who were left behind to deal with the loss of life and property. Reminds you of Alabama and Missouri, doesn't  it? God bless them all.

May 30, 2011

Remember Them

our new flag on our new pole
 When you think about their suffering when wounded, the lives they gave up for us to be able to do such frivolous things as this insignificant blog, it makes all our whining, mine included, shameful.

Remember our military heroes past. We who have not served will never understand fully all they have done for us and our country. They are with God now and that is their perfect reward.

Thank you to them and to their families on this and every Memorial Day.

May 29, 2011

No Excuses

For a recent birthday, my hubby, Bruce, gave me a cake that says: You've Finally Arrived, Kiddo!  I guess I can't blame my transgressions on my youth and inexperience any longer.  Bummer.

May 28, 2011

Vicar of Dibley

I used to watch Vicar of Dibley, a comedy on PBS about a female minister in the small fictional British country town of Dibley. It ran from 1994 to 2006.  Dawn French played the vicar superbly. Well, I thought reruns might still be on but I can't find them locally. Enter You Tube. Ta-dah!  Here is a sample of the silly, not too irreverent folk of Dibley. It's funny, it's charming and it's worth taking a few minutes to watch one or some of the entries on YouTube. 

Get to know the characters and you'll get a kick out of the show. Try this:  The Vicar of Dibley: Songs Of Praise 1.2 [2/2] or Vicar of Dibley and Johnny Depp - Classic Comic Relief  Thank you to You Tube and the folks who put these clips up and keep good old shows alive!

May 26, 2011

Stay Till It's Over

We recently saw Pirates of the Caribbean, part 4, On Stranger Tides.  Johnny Depp was cute as usual in his role of Captain Jack.  Make sure you sit through the end credits (in all the pirate movies) because there is always a smidge more of the movie that leaves you thinking sequel?

May 24, 2011

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA

Now tornadoes in Oklahoma City. My family is there. Please pray the weather lays down and keeps all safe. Remember the Red Cross.

American Red Cross

May 23, 2011

Joplin, Missouri, USA

We have many friends in Joplin, Missouri whose lives were struck by the tornado. I personally know of three who have lost their homes.  Please, please, help them and everyone suffering by donating any amount you can to the Red Cross.
Greater Ozarks Chapter of the American Red Cross - Link
Thank you so very much. God bless them all.

May 20, 2011

And the Rocks Have It

I was cleaning the house last night getting ready for company and thought back to our first cats over twenty years ago. I never remember having a problem with kitty litter. Now, no matter how often I run the sweeper, if I walk in my bare feet, even if it’s thirty seconds after vacuuming, I can feel a piece of litter here and there. GRRRR. After all this time, I figured out why. Number one: Our first cats were indoor/outdoor kitties. They slept and ate inside but went outside to do what was necessary. Then along came Mr. Buzzbee and Spew, cats inherited from our daughter when she moved to a no pets apartment. They were strictly indoor cats. Hence, the dreaded litter box. Number two: Until the last few years, we had carpet throughout our homes. With tile now, there is nowhere for the litter to hide, no carpet fibers. Area rugs help considerably to catch the irritating mini- boulders, but not so much that I still don’t feel them beneath my feet. Bottom line- If we ever get another kitty, and I feel our neighborhood is safe, meaning little traffic, I will train him/her to be the indoor/outdoor kind of cat, translation: NO litter box. In the meanwhile, one look into the faces of our sweet Spew and not-so-sweet Button, aka Little Naughty, and I can endure the granules under my tootsies. Hey, Bruce, my hubby, doesn’t refer to me as the Princess and the Pea for nothing."

May 17, 2011

The Rose Legends- a review

Feel the Dread

Every book needs a good hook to capture the reader’s attention. You’ll find one in the prologue of Kate Brown’s new novel, The Rose Legends, Book One: Found, where judgment is final. Chapter one introduces Dani Demeco, a normal all-American University of Arkansas student or is she? Nightmares become her reality and with one word, the tale turns deeply dark. That word is run! However, the story leaves you thirsting… for more of the same in upcoming sequels. The writing style has an even pace and chapter endings tantalize, as they should. A college student herself at the time of publication, Kate Brown has been writing since the age of eleven and I expect even greater things from this creative young writer.    -jmm

May 16, 2011

Making the Mark

I was double checking info about the Florida Mirror Newspaper for Mark of a Man, my next historic novel set in 1898 Fernandina, Florida. I knew some things and found out others thanks to the Thomas G. Carpenter Library, University of North Florida. 
Volume 1, no. 1 was published November 30, 1878. It was printed twice a week from 1894 to 1899 and three times a week from 1890 to 1891. Publishing stopped in 1901.

This might seem like dry stats to you. However, Breelan Dunnigan is Director of Marketing for the fictional Aqua Verdi Passenger Line, the Dunnigan family shipping business, which runs along the Atlantic seaboard in the 1880s. Bree needs to know this stuff because she makes frequent stops at the Florida Mirror, located  on Centre Street in downtown Fernandina, and turns in her promotional copy, like her Sale of a Sail ads and... Well, you get the idea. 

Stay tuned as Mark of a Man gets closer to publication every day...

May 15, 2011

Never Too Late

My trumpet lilies missed their blooming on Easter Sunday but are a thing of delight this day. 
It is never too late to declare, "He is risen!  He is risen indeed.  Hallelujah!

May 14, 2011

Techno Difficulties

Note worn spot on left button
 of my lapatop!
 It proves I'm working on Mark of a Man, novel #3!
Doy. It's me. It's my fault. Operator error and all, you know. So here I am trying to add new and wonderful content to this fun and fruitful blog when it beeps at me.  I'm not talking your sweet little beep. I'm talking an shocking and annoying BEEP. And it happens when I'm trying to add a new gadget.  It's as if the blog is trying to catch up with itself. Sometimes it goes away if I wait and sometimes I have to sign out and get back in and sometimes it's gone and sometimes it's still there. Seems I can type on the blog and that's not an issue.  It's only when I want to add a new gadget. Grrrr.  Hey, it could be worse. It could be raining. (That's not mine. Remember Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein? "You get the bags."  "I'll take the blonde. You take the brunette." Too cute!) (Now when did I put on my rose colored glasses? No matter. I like it better this way.) Say, maybe I can get past the irritation of the beeps, I can tap on the key producing the beep and play accompaniment to the cat squalling. The ideas never stop! 

May 11, 2011

Blog's 1st Anniversary

the purple & pink mailbox
- Sorry, you'll have to be patient for an answer to your
snail mail. We have to wait until the cement
hen in the box lays her cement eggs.
Yes friends, together, we have completed one year of this friendly, fried and fantastic Gracious Jane Marie's Blog Blog Blog, or so some of you have described it.  It's been a ton of fun for me to guide you through my wacky world of historic suspense novels, and novels in the making, craft ideas, recipes, Lucy moments and whatever strikes me as entertainment. Where would the enjoyment be for any of us if I kept all the crazy stuff in my head and never released it to you?  Now I ask you, what kind of friend would I be? 

Here's to another successful year, full of everything good for each one of us.

Hugs and Blisses!

Jane Marie

May 10, 2011

I Decided

I got to thinking… about Mother’s Day. I was wished a “Happy Mother’s Day” by a women whose personal history I didn’t know. Was she a mother? I wasn’t sure if I should return the greeting so simply said, “Thank you.” After pondering, I decided to wish everyone, man, woman and child, a Happy Mother’s. This is my reasoning: Not everybody has been in the military when we wish someone well on Memorial Day, right? Therefore, since all folks have/had a mother, at least once in his or her life, if we say Happy Mother’s Day to them, we are celebrating the wonder of motherdom, grandmotherdom, great-grandmotherdom and the entire blessing of mamas everywhere.

I conclude. If you’re with me, next time Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and even Grandparents’ Day come around, offer greetings to everybody for it is these people who have made us the quality folks we are. Wishing a Happy Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is another way of saying thank you to our parents as well as our ancestors.

May 9, 2011

Bottle Band

Playing bottles - Who knew?

A fellow handbell-ringer of mine on Facebook  put up a Bottle Band link from You Tube, Dance of the Reed Flutes, That link led me to check out more of  these videos filled with hilarity, sweetness and pure talent. Try Peacherine Rag,, and  Let All Things Now Living,, carry you away. Great fun! You have your choice of 26 You Tube videos by this comical bottle band from St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Illinois, submitted by . Enjoy and share with everyone you know! It's wholesome all-America at its best!

May 8, 2011

Bless Our Mothers

Each day I think of my mother, Marie, smile and then thank the good Lord for the blessing of such a wonderful woman.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Not the Same

I went shopping today.  I had to.  I had coupons!  20% off this item.  50% off that item.  Come to find out, when one reads the finer print, the 50% was only on the red dot sale items. After two hours of filling my arms, this store had no shopping carts, said arms was too tired to continue, so it was off to the dressing room to face the three-way mirrors.  Oh, and I had no red dot items.

That horror of the hall of mirrors over, I actually found two summer sweaters and a gift for my daughter.  I can't tell you what that gift is because my child is a follower of this blog, always seeking her mother's wisdom.  I know, poor baby.

Well, I got those sweaters home, tried them on and guess what? They don't look the same to me as they did in the store. They're going back.  I didn't notice that the while the stripes in the front are vertical in the pink, tan and ecru sweater, they are horizontal across the back.  Not the best look for anyone.  The other long tan sweater with ruffles down  the front is just plain goofy looking. What is it about the lights in the store that dwindle a girl's visual acuity to the point she will spend money on something worthy only of wearing while washing the car?

Did I waste my time shopping this morning?  Heck no.  It is, was and, I hope, will continue to be motivation to avoid those late night snacks, one in particular, I'm thinking about right now.  Viva la silver linings!

May 5, 2011


I needed a way to identify each character in my new creation, The Goodbye Lie Diaries, featured on Facebook at!/pages/The-New-Goodbye-Lie-Diaries/108624849447?  (The Diaries are written by the main characters from the series and they talk about their everyday lives in Fernandina, Florida in 1884 after the novel ends.)  So I came up with the idea of showing the backs of heads of real people who could be/are the characters. I mean the hair color matches the player in the story as does the hair style. This way, too, each of you can imagine their faces.

Now, I've received many a comment and here are just a few I'll happily share:

Michael Dunnigan, father

Those hairy heads just creep me out!

Strangely unique.

I think it's a fun idea.

I keep waiting for them to turn around.

I've never heard of such a thing.  I think I like them.  Yes.  I do like head-backs. Very different.

And there you have it. Head-backs are in, at least in Jane Marie's wacky world.

Breelan Dunnigan
2nd oldest daughter

Carolena Dunnigan
oldest daughter

Jack Patrick (Pat) Dunnigan
only son

Peeper, adopted grandmother

Miss Ella Dunnigan, mother

Can't Find the Moon

Late into the night, Barbra, my daughter, and I were trying out her father's new telescope.  It's the kind I think they call a refractor scope, where what you're looking at appears upside down to the viewer. We were in search of the full moon. Since a full moon is round, I always got Bs in geometry, I figured it didn't matter if it was upside down or right side up.  How would we know the difference?

The Florida "no-see-ums aka flying jaws" were in our hair, tickling our necks and biting our arms, but we were not deterred.  We spend an hour looking for the night light in the clear starry sky. "Why can't we find the moon in the scope, Barbra?  We can see it with our naked eyes. It makes no sense."

"Don't ask me?  I only want to be an astronomer. Since I don't have my license yet, I'm going to bed."

"Not me.  I'm determined to find the moon."   I pushed I pulled, I pointed the scope at the moon.  I moved my eye close to the viewing hole, I moved my eye away.  I wiggled, I waddled, I finally hit pay dirt!

I ran into the house yelling, "I found it!  I found it! And I can see all the craters!  Come on, Bruce. Barbra. Get up. You gotta see this! Hurry up before it moves!"

Sleepy eyed, they finally hauled themselves out of the cool cozy house into the dark muggy night. Barbra was the first to look at my triumph.  "Cool, Mom.  That's great.  How did you do it?"

"I just stuck with it.  Dog with a bone, that's me.  Have a look, Brucie." And so he did.

"Ah, I hate to tell you this.  I mean, you've been at it forever. You've endured the torture of all the bugs. You've-" He swatted at the creatures himself, momentarily distracted.

"What?" I asked.  "What are you talking about?  I found the moon in the telescope. What's the problem?"

"No problem.  It's just the telescope is pointed the wrong way. You've got a perfect closeup of a tiny cement hole in the driveway." 

May 2, 2011

The New Goodbye Lie Diaries

As long as the players in my Goodbye Lie series set in historic Fernandina, Florida on Amelia Island will allow us, let's take a peek at their personal entries in their shared diary. While they can't see what the other characters have written, you and I can. I may be so bold as to ask a question or offer an opinion so long as they allow it. Here is the link on Facebook:

In an unusual twist, each character has agreed to only go so far as to show the back of his or her head leaving your imagination to fill in their expressions as they put pencil to paper. Shh. We must proceed quietly, lest we disturb them as they write their thoughts. Join us, won't you?

Hugs and blisses from all of us at Gracious Jane Marie and The Goodbye Lie series

May 1, 2011

Graciousmobile Takes a Hit

We are all fine, thank you Lord, but my Graciousmobile will be in the repair shop for a while. While visiting family, a young college girl backed into our front passenger door. Husband Bruce was driving while granddaughter Ava and I were in the back seat. The glass burst into the car when the door was hit. It happened instantly and just as instantly, it was over. 

no window, right side of car dented and scraped,
side mirror knocked back into car through broken window

what's left of my "Read Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow" magnetic car sign,
sitting atop broken glass on  my front passenger seat