September 29, 2013

Inside Secret-Designing Goodbye Lie's Cover

A Goodbye Lie Favorite*
    Jane Marie:  When I'm at book signings, I often point out the meaning behind the cover of The Goodbye Lie.  I spent a long while deciding how I wanted the cover to look.  It had to be in good taste, of course.  I wanted it to be intriguing, to suggest what the story might be about, but didn't want to give too much away.  Where would the fun be in that?
I knew I wanted sand as a backdrop since the Dunnigan family lives on Amelia Island off the coast of Florida, and the beach and Atlantic Ocean play a significant part in the story.  It would have been ideal to lay out my design on the actual beach, but I didn't want things to blow away or get covered with a dusting of sand, so I asked my husband, Bruce, to tote a pail of sand from the beach to our house.  I found a 3'x4' rectangle of plywood in the garage, laid it in the courtyard inside our wall so no one would see what I was doing, covered the wood with the sand and went to work. 
Leaving room for a title in large enough letters to be read in an online bookstore cover photo, I thought about the elements of the book. I used flowers from my garden for color - roses, sweet alyssum, pansies and hibiscus.   But how would I represent a man and a woman?  What did they have in common?  Gloves, among other things!  I chose a long formal glove that was actually worn by my daughter, Barbra, at her wedding.  I asked a former Marine if he had a dress glove he could loan me to use as a soldier's glove.  He did. I put the man's glove over the woman's.  Was he protecting her?  Was she trying to get away from him?
I added the pewter jewel “coffin” as the Victorians called it.  It had been our mother's, and I've had it for years filled with religious medals and rosaries.  Since a medallion is mentioned in The Goodbye Lie, I put that in the pewter box.
I also wanted a ribbon to weave around and through the picture to represent the meandering story line.  I had the ends of the ribbon running off the edge of the picture to show there was no beginning or end to the story really, that a sequel or even a prequel might happen. 
After taking a dozen shots, I went to work on the covers for Velvet Undertow, Mark of a Man and A Thing Most Necessary (now entitled Sand and Sin), the rest of the books in The Goodbye Lie series, so far.  They all have the same sand, flowers and ribbon, but the main objects in the middle are different to represent a different story.  I was pleased with the results.  And apparently the cover for The Goodbye Lie passed muster because my toughest and best critic and editor, Nancy [Kamp] went with it.  Whew!      
    Bonnie:  They taught me in art class in college that true art speaks to the beholder.  It may speak differently to each person, but if it speaks, it is art.
The ribbon - I was thinking along the lines of ... she let it fall from her dress in a carefree moment, lost in both thought and contentment.  I can picture her [Breelan] walking hand-in-hand with Waite in the moonlight.   Barefoot, of course.  She's dreamily walking with her eyes closed because she is so happy and serene, and doesn't want the moment or the magic of it to end.  As she slowly walks, she unties her ribbon, plays with it a bit, and it loosely falls from her fingers without notice or care that it has dropped.  Her dress has in that instant gone from formal to romantically casual and flowing. ... Oh man ... am I a hopeless romantic, or what?
[The shorter glove]could easily be a man's formal dress glove.  That's what I thought.  The gloves are one of the first things they shed when they reached that beach, and without meaning to, they dropped them one on top of the other in a gesture of everlasting oneness.
I hadn't quite figured out the jewel coffin, but the flowers were from the wedding [in the story], and of course they were symbolic too.  Perhaps the jewel symbolized the treasure they had both finally uncovered together (their admitted love for each other).
(Reprinted from 

September 26, 2013

The Great Uncovering

Due to my Bunko party, I had the annual Great Uncovering.  It was so grand an event, it made our little parlor appear twice the size!  Whatever could this be?  If a cat or dog belongs to you--let me rephrase that--If you belong to a cat or dog, then you will understand the necessity for swathing your furniture in sheets, towels or blankets to protect it from the ravages of stinky, biting, shedding, clawing, but loving, animals.  We have tattered burgundy towels pinned to the back of our recliners overlaid by matching burgundy sheets.  That, dear readers, was what was removed, hence, the Great Uncovering.
note attractive shreds
The naked easy chairs left such a positive impression, the room could have been photographed for Good Housekeeping magazine. With the towels and sheets, I think Kennel and Flea magazine would be more fitting.  “Let’s give it a try and leave the chairs uncovered,” I said to Bruce. “Button (aka Little Naughty) will be a good girl.  She’s a year older and won’t shred the furniture.”
“Go for it,” Bruce replied, laughing in my face.
And so I did—for about 17 minutes.  Ignoring the extra tall scratching post which I read was good because it would draw her attention like a tree outside, she eyeballed the furniture and pounced.  I heard the tearing before I saw it.
“No!” I commanded.  To her mind, no means: I’ve got their attention now and atta girl. More claws, sharper claws.  Oh, you missed a spot.  Be sure to include every square inch now.
After I lifted her from her hang-ten position on the back of Bruce’s chair, I thought to try the water bottle.  Sitting in my still naked chair when she attacked, I sprayed her with water.  On the chin, the side, the hip, I squirted her.  She retreated to lick and clean herself, only to  return for more and more and more.  When she started smelling the water bottle I placed on the floor beside me for easy access, I realized she was clawing the furniture to get me to spray her!  She was training me! And, too, I remembered that she loves water. ( As a kitten, we found her peeking out, yes out, of the toilet bowl.  It seemed reasonable she would like water because someone once told me if a cat has any orange fur, Button is a calico with orange, black and white fur, they are related to tigers and tigers swim. Believe it or don't.)  
Well now, the room, once again, appears smaller since I’ve returned the freshly laundered sheets and towels to their permanent positions.  Bruce suggested I add a white hand towel where the head rests.  We wouldn’t want to soil those ripped sheets, now would we?  Besides, a raggedy old white towel will be a standout against the rich dark burgundy—an interior designer's delight, to be sure.  Sigh… 

September 22, 2013

Chuck Hall's One Man Show

Chuck and "the band"
Fall into more Fernandina fancy with my newly designed Blog, Blog, Blog in autumn colors!
And how better to start this season than with local celebrity and funny man, Chuck  Hall. Last night we attended Chuck's Old Time Family Hour held at our Amelia Community Theatre with donations going toward their beautiful new building. Well, I'll tell you a little secret. Mr. Chuck is way more talented than I thought. Yes, he's a wood carver and I knew he picked at the banjo but heck, folks, he is quite the lively all-around entertainer! The audience clapped and sang along, as Chuck strummed that banjo, belting out a dozen tunes from I've Been Workin' on the Railroad to You are My Sunshine to O Brother, Where Art Thou? - I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow. Accompanied by an electronic band, produced with the push of a button on a small contraption attached to the mike stand, Family Hour lasted a good ninety minutes and there was never a lull.

One of my favorite jokes he told was about the man who went to a revival meeting and the preacher asked him what his trouble was. The man said it was his hearing. Well, the preacher prayed over him mightily and then asked, "So how's your hearing now?"  The man answered, "I don't know. My hearing isn't until next Wednesday."  With material like that, you know we had a good time!

  Chuck "joking" around!
Thanks, Chuck.  American can use more good, clean, wholesome family entertainment like your show.  Keep it coming!
Chuck Hall and Bruce Malcolm AFTER the show. (The hour was up,
 so there was no time for Bruce and HIS railroad song.
That's why they call it a one man show, Brucey.)

September 19, 2013

This Time, I'm Innocent

In the interest of truth and self-worth, this is a disclaimer from Gracious Jane Marie aka Jane Marie Malcolm aka ME.  I was looking at Nook's sample pages of my Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow. To my horror, at the end of the first chapter, I discovered they, the Nook people, made a typo.  They split the word anything, not at any-thing but an-ything!  While they say the average book has at least nine typos in it, I can boldly tell you I am more than capable of making my quota of mistakes without anyone's help.  I hope this does not deter readers from meeting my fictional Dunnigan family and joining their Amelia Island, Florida adventures and romance in the 1880s.  I just want folks to understand that I KNOW an-ything is incorrect.  I feel better now.  PS  I checked Kindle's sample pages and we're good. Whew!  I'll check the paperback next and then The Goodbye Lie...

Nook's Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow -

Kindle's Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow -

Goodbye Lie paperback -

September 14, 2013

Mark of a Man- Unique Utensil

Grammy Camp Outing- Granddaughter Ava and I spent three hours at Fort Clinch on Amelia Island, Florida.  The military reenactors made the year, 1864, come to life for us.  Of particular interest was the hospital, located on the second floor where the white painted walls and open windows resulted in a good breeze, great ventilation and a cheery atmosphere, all of which helped in a speedy recovery. Many of the medical instruments were unrecognizable to most of us as was the item below.  Can you guess what it is? 

This is an eating utensil for a one armed man.  While holding the wooden or antler handle, he rocked the curved blade back and forth, cutting his meat and then stabbed it with the fork on the end.  Very sad for the need of such a took, but very clever.

Because I thought it was so interesting, I worked a short passage about this utensil into my upcoming novel, Mark of  Man, part of the Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie Trilogy. Watch for it.

September 10, 2013

Traveling Book Club from Georgia

I was recently honored by a visit from The Traveling Book Club from north Georgia.  Read the article below and hear how it happened!

Reprinted from September 4, 2013 Fernandina Beach News-Leader.

Book Club Travels Through Time

 The Traveling Book Club members shown
 standing in the back row, left to right,
are Melissa Camp and Billie Carlock.
Seating in the front row, left to right, is Cheryl Parham,
author Jane Marie Malcolm and Amy Chambers.
One phone call from Maggie DeVries, owner of Books Plus, 107 Centre Street in Fernandina Beach, to local author Jane Marie Malcolm, resulted in a two-and-a-half hour laugh-filled jaunt around historic downtown Amelia Island, Florida. 

As is the custom on their annual vacation, members of the seven person Traveling Book Club from Ringgold, Georgia, just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, pick a place to visit and then an author from that area.  This time, four in their group drove some seven hours to spend time on Amelia Island.  Member Melissa Camp did an internet search of historical fiction on Amelia Island and Malcolm’s name and her Goodbye Lie trilogy appeared.     

Camp, along with Billie Carlock, Cheryl Parham and Amy Chambers, all teachers at Heritage Middle School in Ringgold, had read The Goodbye Lie by the time Malcolm met them at the bookstore two days later.  What was requested to be a book discussion ended up in an expedition of many of the historical places described in the novel set in 1882, with an occasional reading of a descriptive paragraph from the book.  

From the docks to The Florida House, up Centre Street and on to St. Michael Catholic Church, Amelia Island Lighthouse, Fort Clinch and Amelia Beach, plus much more in between, they ended their journey in the dark in Old Town.  

“About all we could see up in Old Fernandina was the outline of the Pippi Longstocking house," Malcolm explained, "but it was enough for them to realize the distance between old and new Fernandina, as I wanted."

Questions and opinions regarding their common interest, The Goodbye Lie, filled the time, making the hour hand seemingly whip around the clock.  “As a writer, it is so wonderful when readers get it and enter my world.  I hope these ladies are hooked for life because there is more to come!”  As a reminder of their time on Amelia Island, Malcolm left each of the women with one of her hand painted "Secret Pebbles", featured in her Amelia Island’s Velvet Undertow, the second novel in the series. 

“The secret in the pebble is what is shared,” the author said.  “May their love of reading about the escapades of my fictional Dunnigan family and my love of writing about this close Irish clan bring The Traveling Book Club back to see new friends and old places here on our island.”

For information about Amelia Island’s Goodbye Lie Trilogy (where Little House on the Prairie meets Gone With The Wind in Fernandina, Florida), visit Malcolm's website at,  her family friendly blog at http://www.http/  and read her free and silly online Martha Bear stories at  The Goodbye Lie and Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow are available online and where books are sold.                    


Jane Marie,

I wanted to thank you for how "gracious" you were in meeting us and sharing a great evening of fun.  We are meeting Friday with the rest of the "girls" who were not able to make it on the trip.  They will be so jealous!  It is true that we are officially "Good-bye Liars" since I know we will be back and not able to say good-bye to such a peaceful, relaxing place so full of history and stories that are waiting to be told.  Now you just have to publish those stories, so we can read them!  Thanks again for a wonderful step back into history. 


September 8, 2013

Happy Gran Day!

Like any good grammy, I proudly share my little Ava's refrigerator art.  A true talent.  She gets it from me.  Oh, okay, from her other grandmother and great grandmother, too.
Happy Grandparents' Day!

September 2, 2013

Goodbye Lie Diaries - Aunt Noreen & Labor Day

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida
Aunt Noreen
*Aunt Noreen writes:  I, for one, am concerned what this holiday, called Labor Day, will bring.  It is so difficult to get good help these days and now with this extra day for the hired hands and servants to just lay about... Well, I can endure if I must.  I can make my own tea and draw my own bath, but to have to make an extra three meals for my family?  Granted, they praise me for my cooking, still-- Yes, I already do these things when Winnie American has her regular day off during the week.  But to encourage idleness like this?  What will be next? Pet Your Rabbit Day or perhaps National Shine Your Door Knocker Day?  My word!  We live in absurd times. 


Jane Marie writes: You can rest easy, Aunt Noreen. In your future, my time, studies show that rewarding hard work with a day off enlivens the spirit of workers and makes them happier and more productive.  So bake a peach cobbler for your family and save a piece for Winnie.  She'll appreciate your efforts.  Oh, and remember to take it out of the oven this time.  Happy Labor Day everyone!

*Noreen Dunnigan Duffy is a featured player in Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie Trilogy and lives next door to her brother, Michael Dunnigan, just southwest of the Amelia Light (lighthouse), on the west side of the marsh.  Aunt Noreen is not known for her cooking but rather her difficult personality and is in constant battle with Grandmother Peeper.  Their squabbles make for interesting times at Dunnigan family gatherings or any time Aunt Noreen struggles her way across the cropped field for a visit.  Pepper makes sure her stay in never long.  

September 1, 2013

Year of Living Graciously - September / Goodbye Lie Diaries - Breelan

Write a paragraph or two about an every day event in newspaper style including who, what, when, where, why and how.  Once identified, be sure and refer to all persons in the story by their last names, adding a quotation if possible. 

Fernandina, Florida

*Breelan Dunnigan: "Writing articles for our Florida Mirror  is something I used to do quite often when I was a cub reporter.  I believe, in your time,  you now call our local paper The News-Leader. I'm currently working advertising for our family business, Aqua Verdi Passenger Line, but still submit a story to the Mirror when I can.  The last article they printed was about my brother, Pat Dunnigan, and the other boys in our family who have gone off to fight for our country in the Spanish American War.  We pray for them every day.  Jane Marie will tell you all about their trials in her next book, Mark of a Man.  Until that time, know we keep a candle in our window at Dunnigan Manor in hopes Pat, Warren Lowell and Mickey will be safe and home soon." 

* Breelan Dunnigan is featured in The Goodbye Lie, the title novel in Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie Trilogy set in Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida in 1882.  Mark of a Man  follows Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow in he series.