Grace's Mosaic Moments


Saturday, May 8, 2021

Squirrel Humor

 An emphasis on humor this week . . .

Below is one of those unattributed gems that pop up on Facebook. It was titled: "The Best Argument for the Oxford Comma." 

 

 

BAND CONCERT - LIVE!

To my great joy, on Thursday evening the Lake Mary High School Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble performed in their first concert since the beginning of the Pandemic. It was truly soul-stirring to hear even the 9th and 10th graders playing with all the aplomb of professionals. And the performance of a select group of mostly 11th and 12th graders was even more amazing. (Our Riley, a 10th grader, was part of this elite ensemble.) There were also three stunning performances by soloists on the marimba. The applause, shouts, and standing ovation were well deserved. And all but one percent ( perhaps less) of the audience accepted the responsibility of wearing masks. Here's looking forward to many more concerts, including the revival of Jazz Band.

The Wind Ensemble (not just wind instruments despite the name)



 

 And now . . . a bit of humor found on Facebook (also unattributed)

Squirrel Tale

The Presbyterian church called a meeting to decide what to do about their squirrel infestation.  After much prayer and consideration, they concluded that the squirrels were predestined to be there, and they should not interfere with God’s divine will.

At the Baptist church, the squirrels had taken an interest in the baptistry.  The deacons met and decided to put a water-slide on the baptistry and let the squirrels drown themselves.  The squirrels liked the slide and, unfortunately, knew instinctively how to swim, so twice as many squirrels showed up the following week.

The Lutheran church decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God’s creatures.  So, they humanely trapped their squirrels and set them free near the Baptist church.  Two weeks later, the squirrels were back when the Baptists took down the water-slide.


The Episcopalians tried a much more unique path by setting out pans of whiskey around their church in an effort to kill the squirrels with alcohol poisoning.  They sadly learned how much damage a band of drunk squirrels can do.


But the Catholic church came up with a more creative strategy!  They baptized all the squirrels and made them members of the church.  Now they only see them at Christmas and Easter.


Not much was heard from the Jewish synagogue.  They took the first squirrel and circumcised him.  They haven’t seen a squirrel since.

~ * ~

 I'd like to recommend a real "buy," particularly if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited (where all four books are FREE). I'm really fond of my SciFi/Fantasy/Paranormal series, Blue Moon Rising. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.



Rebel Princess, Sorcerer's Bride, The Bastard Prince, and Royal Rebellion - all in one neat little package. For a link to Amazon, click here.

~ * ~

 

For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here.

 For Blair's website, click here.

 Thanks for stopping by,

Grace/Blair Bancroft 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Part 2 of Grace's First Blog

 

 My two all-time Best-Sellers


A war widow, a second chance & a resounding surprise


 

A bride's new home has a host of unexpected residents

  

Runners-up

 

Can a marriage of convenience triumph over a deadly curse?

 

A young woman encounters misogyny, smugglers, a ghost cat, & an earl

 

 

How Not to Drive the Grandchildren Home 
from the Singing Christmas Trees - Part 2


At the end of Part 1, you may recall, all seemed to be well.  The three little girls and I had finally arrived home (one hour after leaving the church - usually not more than a 30-minute drive). We ate supper and were watching a movie when . . .

Mommy turned her phone back on and called to say that the concert was running longer than expected and could I please take the children home and put them to bed.  I was still nerve-wracked to the bone, but food had helped, so I only twinged slightly at the thought of putting the girls back in the car and driving three blocks.

I loaded everyone back into the SUV and arrived at their gated community a few minutes later. I reached for the gate clicker I assumed was on the visor, and . . . oh-oh.   No, the girls didn’t know where mama stashed the clicker, but they assured me I could punch in a code.  Alas, I had to tell them that the code only worked until six p.m.  After that, you have to have a clicker or someone has to be at the house to buzz you in.  ( I recalled one memorable evening when my son-in-law climbed the gate, all eight feet of it, at 1:00 a.m.)

“We can go in your car, Gramma,” said the girls. (They knew I had a clicker to get into their development.) So we turned around and headed back to my house.  But as I drove toward my house, it occurred to me that if I drove my car, we wouldn’t have the built-in garage-door opener on the SUV.  Without which I’d need a key to my daughter’s house.  And it seemed I no sooner had a key made than my daughter sends someone to borrow it.  So if I drove the girls  home in my car, we could get through the gate but might not be able to get into the house.  

Believe me, at this point if I hadn’t already decided I had a few thousands words to say to my daughter when she got home, this would have been the final straw. (And since I was on the verge of brain-dead, it took a 6-year-old to find a solution.)

As we pulled into my driveway, my middle grandgirl said, “Gramma, why don’t you get the clicker out of your car?” I sat there behind the wheel and gaped.  Out of the mouths of babes!  I told the girls to stay put, unlocked my front door (as, of course, I couldn't open my garage door as I was driving my daughter's SUV), pulled the gate clicker off my visor, and back we went to my daughter’s house.  As it turned out, we didn’t use the garage opener, after all, as the 7-year-old was gung-ho to try every key on my ring to see if she could open the front door.  Which she did while the rest of us stayed in the car and watched.  

She yelled for us to come in, and then proceeded to turn on the Christmas tree and the many other Christmas lights throughout the house.  A very special moment after all we’d been through.

When my daughter and her husband finally got home, the girls were in bed, their halos still shiny, and I laid out the whole tale, woe by woe.  My daughter looked at me and said, “Oh, I’ve been using the hand brake because the car keeps getting stuck in Park.”  Not that she’d told me that any more than she mentioned there was no gas.  I had, of course, been putting the car in Park all night.  Sigh.    

I’m not sure I’m going to the Singing Trees next year.  The memories of 2010 may haunt me forever.

 ~ * ~

For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here.

 For Blair's website, click here.

 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace/Blair Bancroft 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

My Very First Blog (2011)

 The credit for the amazing pic below could be a little off as my Cyrillic is definitely rusty. But since the photographer's name was in Russian, I named the photo "Russian Reflections."  Credit:  Yordanka Marinova



Ganesh, the ceiling walker


Ganesh's First Birthday Portrait

 

Lo, these many years ago—January 2011—I wrote my very first blog, the tale of attempting to drive my grandchildren from one side of Orlando to the other in someone else's car. It was a long enough—and hair-raising enough—tale to require two parts. A nightmare that is funny only in retrospect. It is also a tale that deserves repetition every once in a while—if for no other reason than to advise:  Do Not Attempt This in Your Family! So below, please find Part I.

Grace note:  Many of you have seen photos of my currently teenage grandchildren. At the time of this story, Hailey, the oldest, was seven.

 

A HARROWING TALE FROM DECEMBER 2010

My daughter is a blonde.  She is also CEO of a Real Estate Investment company.  This does not mean she does not have blonde moments.  

Each Christmas my daughter and her husband take the extended family (about fifteen relatives and employees) to First Baptist Orlando’s Singing Christmas Trees, a truly superb presentation in a church that seats about 5000.  This year, my son-in-law also bought tickets on the same night for a concert in downtown Orlando.  So it was arranged that I would drive their three girls, ages 4, 6 & 7, home.  Sounds simple, right?  I even had help from others in the group to get all three little ones into my daughter’s SUV through the crush of 5000 people attempting to leave at the same time.  So far, so good.  

By the time the girls were settled into their seat belts, there weren’t many cars left in the lot.  I buckled up, started the engine . . . and the car didn’t move.  I tried again.  No movement.  My daughter had set the hand brake in flat-as-a-pancake Florida?  I looked where the hand brake is on my car.  Nothing.  I looked where the brake was on my old car.  Nothing.  It was, by the way, nearly pitch black in the parking lot.  The 7-year-old put on the overhead light for me, but I still couldn’t see any hand brake.  

I got out of the car and called to the one couple still walking toward their car.  They kindly came over, but they too could not find the hand brake.  By this time people were getting into the car in front of me.  We had a five-way consultation, the two couples and I, and the husband of the new couple gave it a try.  Took him about ten seconds, while the rest of us stood by, red-faced.  I like to think he was more familiar with Hyundai SUVs than I was.  With profuse thanks to all, I climbed in.  At last we could go home.

Figuring the couple who had been parked in front of me knew the way out better than I did, I followed them.   Which took us out a different way than we’d come in.  (Oops.)  No problem, just turn right and right and . . . except in all the traffic I ended up in a Left Turn Only lane.  (Double oops.)  After two or three blocks I figured I’d better make another right and right and hopefully end up on the road I should have been on in the first place.  Except . . .

We were instantly in a residential area, and that’s when I had time to glance at the dashboard and notice the Gas Light was on.  Houses, houses everywhere, and not a sign of a thoroughfare with a gas station.  And at that dire point, the 7-year-old said, “Gramma, do you know where we are?”

Uh, no.  But of course I didn’t say so.  I just kept doubling back until I saw—oh, joy—a stoplight.  And at the intersection, a GAS STATION.  Before pulling up to the pump, I tried calling both my daughter and my son-in-law.  I was not happy!  Lucky them, their phones were off.  They were enjoying their concert at the new Amway Arena.

The children, fortunately, knew which side the gas tank was on, so we managed to pull up with the pump on the correct side.  I popped out, stuck in my credit card, and the silly machine wanted to know if it was a debit card.  When I said no, it cancelled the transaction.  I tried again.  Same result.  To say my blood pressure was soaring would be putting it mildly.  There I was with three small children in the car, and I had to go INSIDE.  Fortunately, we were right in front of the door.  I told the children to stay put and dashed inside, where the attendant managed the transaction while I kept looking out the glass door.  

Put ten dollars worth of gas in my daughter’s car and headed out, the children completely angelic or I might have lost myself along with the car.  We did a couple more turns, looking for lots of lights signaling a major road.  And there it was.  Kirkman, the road that runs past Universal Studios.  I was so turned around by this time that I simply chose a direction, knowing either north or south would lead me to a major east-west road that would take us home.  And, sure enough, in less than a mile there it was, the 408, Orlando’s East-West Expressway.  Yay, hurray!

But, no, this isn’t the end of the story.  The night’s “annoyances” will be continued in my next post on Friday, January 21, 2011.

 ~ * ~

 

Comedy & adventure in the hops fields of Kent


A young man (possibly royal) encounters adventures in Regency London


Coming soon:  Matthew Wolfe - Revelations

 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Florida Mystery/Suspense by Blair

 

A spectacular pic from Iceland


Stealing the Moon.
Credit for the remarkable bit of creativity above:  Lyn McNutt -  Canadian Things

 

Would you believe? Ganesh is learning to read.

 



Blair's Books of Mystery and Suspense

 I was living on Florida's Gulf Coast when I began my writing career with two historical novels, The Sometime Bride and Tarleton's Wife. After that, I spent several years writing Mystery and Suspense, set primarily in the area where I lived (Sarasota County). After I started writing traditional Regencies for Signet, I became branded as a Regency author, but every once in a while I remind readers that I've written a number of books with a contemporary setting. And yes, most are set entirely in Florida, and almost always in the "out back of beyond" that few visitors ever get to see. (Even the books that wander the world have significant Florida scenes.) I am delighted that so many enjoy my Regency Historicals, Gothics, Traditionals, "Darkside," and Matthew Wolfe books, but hey, I'd love it if you'd also take a peek at my "Florida" books. Here they are: 

 

A New England widow, a Florida "cowboy" & a serial killer

 


A tale of wildfire, human trafficking & lost love

 


Exotic weddings, a female "fixer," & the Russian mob

 

A Gulf Coast costume designer turns detective
 


A recuperating female FBI agent is drawn into 
a series of bizarre murders

 


 Action, adventure & romance in Florida's "back of beyond."

 

Two Tales of Suspense on a more International scale:

 


 
Cultures clash as a New England businesswoman & a tough
Hispanic entrepreneur combat agricultural espionage. 
 

 
A female FBI agent & a Russian mystery man
chase a wayward nuclear bomb.
 
~ * ~
 

For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here. 

For Blair's website, click here. 

 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)   

Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Character Who Wouldn't Go Away

  

Next New Blog - April 17, 2021 

 

PHOTO GALLERY

Found on Facebook

Also from Facebook, two spectacular photos from the far north and south of North America - Florida and the Canadian Yukon.

The Everglades

Sunset over the Yukon

And . . .

For a video of Hailey opening a fun 18th birthday gift - which obviously cost someone a lot of time to put together - click here.


THE CHARACTER WHO WOULDN'T GO AWAY

 Way, way back - somewhere in the late 90s - I wrote my second Regency historical, a gleam born of a dramatic scene in my first book, the 140,000-word The Sometime Bride.  The new book was easier to name. I called it Tarleton's Wife, as Julia Tarleton was very much the star of the show. Widowed before she had a chance to be a wife, Julia returns from the grand debacle at Coruña (a comparable event not seen again until the dark days of Dunkirk) and is faced with myriad problems at the estate she inherited from Major Nicholas Tarleton. High on the list, a rogue who is terrorizing the countryside as he leads a fight against the drastic changes of the Industrial Revolution. A criminal? Or a nineteenth century version of Robin Hood?

And thus was born Jack Harding, an adventurer, and perhaps, just perhaps, the right man for the widowed Julia Tarleton. Except nothing about Julia's life, or Jack's, has run smoothly, and both are destined for a major surprise. In the end, Jack is saved from likely hanging by a Deus ex machina in the form of another long-running character in my Regency Warrior series, Terence O'Rourke. And the two of them stride, side by side, into O'Rourke's Heiress

And then, out of the blue, I received an offer of New York publication in the Signet Regency line, and both Jack and Terence were left by the wayside. Until somewhere around twenty years after Jack first appeared - yes, twenty - I realized he was still an also-ran, never getting the girl. But who on earth would be good enough for Jack? What female would accept that he was a bastard, albeit the bastard of an earl? Who would be willing to deal with Jack's strong streak of adventure, rather than attempt to change him? 

A girl from the wilds of Canada, of course. And at long last, in Rogue's Destiny, Jack gets the girl. 

But what is this? Jack got his Happily Ever After, yet he's still poking his nose into my books, his Harding's Hellions coming to the rescue of members of the Royal 10th Hussars who have beaten their swords into plowshares and are attempting to becoming hops farmers in Kent (The Lady Takes a Risk). In the follow-up novel, The Abominable Major, Jack keeps a low profile, but his influence is there, as are some of his men from Harding's Hellions. And then, because you can't keep a good man down, Jack comes roaring back in the three books of the Matthew Wolfe series, becoming Matthew's mentor and partner, as he returns to the role of heroic do-gooder he filled in Tarleton's Wife

Tarleton's Wife, by the way, has gone through numerous incarnations, both print and e, since it first appeared in December 1999. Amazingly, it continues to sell even after all these years. And, as I've said before, I still consider those first two books the best of the forty-plus that were to come. (The ones I wrote before I learned all the "rules.") 

If you haven't yet met Jack Harding, I think you'll like him. (Obviously, he holds a very special place in my heart.)

~ * ~

 

 

 

 

 

The first Regency Warrior 

book – no Jack Harding,

but mention of Coruña

inspired the idea that

spawned Tarleton's Wife.



 

 

 

The book that introduced 

Jack Harding to the

Regency Warrior series

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Terence gets the girl.

Jack doesn't.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

At long last . . .

Jack gets the girl.

(And keeps on going

for five more books)

 

 

 

All books are available from a variety of online vendors, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. (20% free read available on Smashwords)

The Regency Warrior series (in order)

The Sometime Bride
Tarleton's Wife
O'Rourke's Heiress
Rogue's Destiny
The Lady Takes a Risk
The Abominable Major

The Matthew Wolfe series

The Making of Matthew Wolfe
Matthew Wolfe - The Adventures Begin
Matthew Wolfe - Revelations (June 2021)
 
~ * ~
 
Thanks for stopping by,
Grace (Blair Bancroft)