September 28, 2015

Hollywood Bunco

Excerpt from The Goodbye Lie, circa 1882, 
on Amelia Island, Florida

Chapter 11

     The following days aboard ship were full of activity. There were picnics on deck, shuffleboard, fishing tournaments, bingo, bunco, board games and card games from euchre to old sledge to poker. Amusement, proper and improper, was available, with one's degree of pleasure regulated only by one's conscience.  
Yes, folks, bunco (sometimes spelled bunko) has been around since Victorian times.  A roll of the dice, actually many rolls of the dice, is all the effort it takes.  It has turned into such a popular game today, there is an app on phones for said score keeping.

I've been playing bunco with the same group of 12 ladies for just about that many years.  Each month, one of us hosts the shindig in her home.  It includes a full dinner and gifts for every person, bought from the $5.00 fee paid by each player the previous month.  My month is always September and the last several years, I have asked the gals to dress in some sort of easy costume.  This year I suggested we dress up like any Hollywood star from any movie, male or female.  

After our cottage was clean for the party, lots of work, but so worth it, the smell of crock pot spaghetti was overpowering the scented plug-ins, the three four-top tables were set for the girls and I was dressed in costume, I realized I had no Hollywood-themed centerpiece!  Yikes!!!  Hmm, thought I.  I went around the room and extracted several Gone With The Wind (GWTW) books, an MGM book, added a few GWTW music boxes, GWTW nail polish and a GWTW bracelet, each decorated with pictures from the famous film,  and you can see the result in the photo above.  It took me all of ten minutes and cost me nothing extra.  (You know, if you step back and look around at the treasures you have in your own house, you would be surprised how easily creative you can be.)

We had one lady show up in jeans, a white blouse, denim jacket and cowboy boots.  Her lovely hair is white.  I couldn't begin to guess who she was supposed to be and was blown away when she told me, "Marilyn Monroe from the Misfits with Clark Gable."  It was the last movie for both of them and I know it well.  Great job, Emmie.  Another, in an wild orange fright wig and big hat, asked me to guess who she was and I said jokingly, "Bozo, the clown."  Yes, I knew she was the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.  I'm not sure she found my remark funny, but I did.  Then there was a mountain climber from a movie I don't know and another who tried on a wig, but it was too small, so she took it back to the store.  I know you're dying to hear who I dressed as.  I have to confess that the only reason I chose the costume I did was because of the black Snow White wig I got on sale the day after Halloween a few years back.  I removed the red bow, put on a white blouse, black pants, painted my nails a bright red, added red lipstick and lots of blush and eyeliner, borrowed a cigarette to hold from a friend,  and I was, wait for it...Uma Thurman from Pulp Fiction.  I freely admit Pulp Fiction is not my kind of movie at all, but I had the wig, so, it worked. By the way, my husband, Bruce, said he would not have recognized me if he'd passed me on the street in the wig. 

So there you have it.  If you've never buncoed, it's mentally easy to play. Add food and chatter and  prizes and it, too, may become a part of your life as it has so many others. 

PS Just Google bunco for details on how to play the game.

September 21, 2015

Naked Ladies Return plus Goodbye Lie Diaries by Aunt Noreen

Present Day -
Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida

Jane Marie writes:
Yes, I thought the title to this particular blog entry might catch your attention.  I was right because here you are! Some will be disappointed to find out the subject matter.  However, the gracious gardeners in the crowd will appreciate the information, if they don't know anything about this particular flower.  Yes, people, we're talking flowers today. 

About 15 years ago, a friend from Arizona gave me half-a-dozen bulbs and told me to "stick them in the dirt."  I did just that, except we have sand on Amelia Island, Florida, as you can see in the pictures. As soon as I planted them in the "back forty," I just as quickly forgot about them.  Did I mention I'm easily distracted?  Sometime later, oh maybe a year or so, I noticed the eruption of large broad leaves in the spring. Those leaves came and went and I didn't have to cut them back because they just disappeared on their own. The next fall, I was was surprised to see tall thin stocks shoot up quickly with no leaves on them, hence Naked Ladies. When the bud on top of each stock opened, there were these delightful red, whispie blossoms! 

I found some folks also call them Surprise Lilies, Lycoris (the real name) or Dancing Farmer Flowers. They are hardy in zones 5 though 10.  Being perennials, my favorite kind of flowers, plant a few bulbs and let these Naked Ladies entertain you for years!

For more info, visit this site:

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Aunt Noreen
Aunt Noreen writes: Jane Marie, being a woman of good character, as you should strive to be, I have read every word of your books through what you call "the magic of electronics." I must say, some of the passages are less than decent.  I freely admit I have told my Orchid Society, my church ladies, Mrs. Ickles and the new librarian in town all about the depths of depravity into which you have descended.  They are all with me on this, so much so, they, too, want to read every word of your books, just to realize how far you've fallen. The final blow is you referring to such lovely floral specimens as Naked Ladies.  It is almost more than I can endure. We call this flower a Resurrection Lily.  In closing, you may be hearing from one or two of my outraged friends by way of this "magic" of yours, so be prepared!
Jane Marie responds: Dear, dear, Aunt Noreen, I mean no disrespect, but my, oh my, how you carry on. I intended no corruption with the use of such a common name in our time as Naked Ladies.  I certainly love the beauty of your name for the flower. With regard to my novels and their, what did you call it, depravity, let me proudly declare that I dedicated The Goodbye Lie to my blessed father.  I did not want to be embarrassed when Daddy read it, meaning, to my mind, I write tastefully romantic stories.  I understand how the years between your generation and mine, sadly, have coarsened.  Rest assured, compared to much of what is written in my time, my stories a like nursery rhymes and I shall continue to keep them wholesome so my children will not be ashamed. 

Aunt Noreen is a featured character, and I do mean character, in The Goodbye Lie series.


September 13, 2015

Apple Butter Recipe w/ Goodbye Lie Excerpt

I was raised to love apple butter, and I still do. Miss Ella Dunnigan is the mother of four in my historical Goodbye Lie Trilogy. With Fall coming, I thought making her apple butter recipe would be perfect.  Her version is easy and your whole house will be a delight with all those wonderful apple cinnamon smells.

Excerpt from Goodbye Lie concerning Apple Butter:

     Turning to leave the barn Miss Ella asked, "How did you happen to come home so early today? It's just now five o'clock. Are things going well in the world of architecture?" Michael knows supper is always served at six, she thought, unless there's a potluck meal at church or some other social event. Then again, it could be his already bulging belly demands an earlier feeding. 
     "What's the use of being the boss, if I can't play a little hooky with my baby here?" His tone was short. This was certainly one of his hungry moods coming on.   
     "I'll see if I can't hurry up your dinner, Michael."
     "What? You mean it'll be a while?"
   "Yes, darling," she responded in as sarcastic a voice as his question deserved. "If you'd listen to your wife occasionally, you'd hear her say she has a few things to do besides following the timetable of her husband's stomach."
     He reacted with a snort.
     "Today, as substitute choir mistress, I was called upon to make last minute changes in this Sunday's schedule of hymns because Miss Bayer is out of town visiting her grandfather and Mrs. Lingenfelter is having her baby."
     Her husband grumbled in disgust. Unable to stay cross with him for long, she offered, "If you'll give me ten minutes, I'll pull some cornbread from the oven and slather it with apple butter for you to nibble on. That should tide you over for a bit until I'm sure the soup is done."
     "You know how I hate it if the beans are the least bit hard," he cautioned.
     "We only hate the devil," Marie announced.
    "Yes, baby girl. That's right. See there, Michael. It's true what they say about little pitchers having big ears and our little pitcher hears everything. Don't think she doesn't."
     Michael replaced his grimace with a smile and kissed his youngest child on the cheek.
     Miss Ella shook her head at her sometimes moody, but very wonderful husband, thinking how lucky she was to have him. Back inside the aromatic kitchen, she checked the steeping jelly kettle of peaches, stirred the pot of salt pork and bean soup, and cleared a spot for the hot cornbread among the fresh radishes and onions. It had been such a peaceful afternoon. Too peaceful, she realized. 
     Where was Jack Patrick? Her only son, age eight, was usually so noisy she knew his whereabouts every minute. She left the kitchen, went down the long hall past the stairs, and entered the front parlor to find her mother, Hettie Eckert, known to all as Grammy. Grammy was swaying in her rocker, intently working on a braided rag rug, and there was Jack Patrick, sneaking up from behind, scissors in hand, about to cut the soft wild-hair wispies from his sainted grandmother's head! 
     "Jack Patrick!" yelped his mother. 
     Calmly placing the shears back in the sewing basket, he stated, "Mama, I hope lightning flies through the window and kills the cat. I'm innocent!" 
     She knew exactly how innocent he was. She allowed the boy to dash out the front door before he caught her laughing.
Apple Butter
You'll need:
  • 4 cups unsweetened applesauce (made from cored apples that have been slowly cooked to reduce them to pulp or purchased applesauce)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Nutmeg to taste (use sparingly)
  • Cloves to taste (use sparingly)                                                   
Combine the ingredients and bring them to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  
Spice to taste.
Serve on warm cornbread, muffies or bread.

September 7, 2015

A Goodbye Lie Quote & Video

       Click on the arrow above to view The Goodbye Lie Video 

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