Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, April 27, 2019

M&M Recipes

The Reale Family, Easter Sunday, 2019

A few pics from Crochet Club, where an amazing variety of crafting can be found:

Lucky the baby who gets this blanket

Crocheted Mandala - destined to be a pillow

Octopus, anyone?

Modeling one of the shawls I make for the church.

 ~ * ~

The weeks before and after Easter are always hard on a choir singer. Last week there was a Mosaic Moments only because all I had to do was paste in the cover and blurb from my Blue Moon Rising boxed set. The week after Easter, singers are recovering—and in my case catching up on three doctors' appointments put off until after Easter. So with time short and my brain on "cruise" this week, I'm offering a couple of M&M recipes. The cookies were a hit at Crochet Club, the cobbler at my daughter's Easter party (for what seemed like thousands, though probably not more than twenty-five, but with at least eight of them small children . . .)

Neither recipe is mine. The cookie recipe was found on the Internet, the cobbler recipe in the Dump Cakes cookbook. 


1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tspn baking powder
½ tspn baking soda
¼ tspn salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 large egg
2 tspns vanilla extract
1½ cups M&Ms*

1.  Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Set aside.
3.  In a separate bowl, beat butter & both sugars for 2 minutes, until light & fluffy. Add egg & vanilla extract, mixing until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. On low speed, add in flour mixture & mix until just combine. (Grace note:  I do all my mixing by hand.)
4.  Gently stir in M&Ms. Original recipe called for 3/4 cup in batter, the rest pressed on top of the cookies before baking. (*As I recall, I just used the 3/4 cup in the batter. It seemed to be more than enough. Your choice.)
5.  Scoop ball of dough (to size preferred). Drop onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 1-2" separation. 
6.  Bake 8-11 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are set but the center is still slightly underdone. (Baking time will vary according to the size of your dough balls.)
7.  Cool on wire racks.


*Although called a cake, it’s more the consistency of a cobbler, requiring “dishing up” with a spoon, not cutting with a knife.

1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, UNDRAINED
1 can (14½ oz.)** tart cherries in water, DRAINED
1 package (about 15 oz.) yellow cake mix
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into thin slices
½ cup M&Ms

**I used a 13½-oz glass jar of cherries, draining & removing the stems. Presumably the cherries could be cut in half, if desired. I left mine whole.

1.  Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 13 x 9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2.  Spread pineapple and cherries in prepared pan. Top with cake mix, spreading evenly. Top with butter in a single layer, covering cake mix as much as possible.

3.  Bake 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
     BIG NOTE: Sprinkle with M&Ms during last 10 minutes of baking. Cool at least 15 minutes before cutting. (Please see * above.)

~ * ~ 

For a link to Blair's Facebook Author page, 
with a whimsical Prequel to the Blue Moon Rising series ,
click here.

For a link to the Blue Moon Rising boxed set on Amazon, click here.

For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Blue Moon Rising boxed set

Update on Falcon Heavy Launch

 Alas, although the center booster landed on its barge at sea, it fell over on the way back to shore and requires repair. So not quite as perfect a launch as we had thought, but close enough no serious delays are expected.

Saturday night update: something went wrong late this afternoon with a test of the crew capsule - major amounts of smoke described as an "anomaly" seen over the Cape. Guess there may be a delay in our return to manned flight, after all. Sigh.

~ * ~ 

I am happy to announce the availability of my Blue Moon Rising series as a boxed set. I also added a somewhat whimsical fairy tale Prequel to my Blair Bancroft Facebook page. To read it, click here.

MAJOR OOPS!  As I uploaded the cover above, I noticed something - not quite as bad as the famed cover where the hero had three hands - but definitely a goof-up.Take a good look - I'm sure you'll spot it. We are in the process of fixing it. (Oddly enough, on an earlier version in PNG, it was perfect. But something went wrong when it was transferred to JPG.)

Below is the blurb for the boxed set:

The Blue Moon Rising boxed set—Rebel Princess, Sorcerer’s Bride, The Bastard Prince & Royal Rebellion—is a classic saga of rebellion against an Evil Empire. There is something for everyone—from dashing spaceship captains and royal princesses to a boy sorcerer who can’t talk and a hardened rebel who just happens to be a werewolf. (Suspended disbelief required.) The four books also feature space battles, paranormal hijinks, and multiple romances (with emphasis on the four children of the King of Psyclid).

The people of the pacifist planet Psyclid have spent a millennium cultivating skills of the mind, while the people of the planet Regula Prime spent an equal amount of time developing their military might. So what happens when the Princess Royal of Psyclid (aka Kass Kiolani) decides to explore the “other side,” becoming a cadet at the Regulon Space Academy, where, in addition to teasing the Regs with her paranormal skills and attracting the interest of a Reg starship captain, she is interned as an enemy when Regulon invades Psyclid, and, oh yes, sparks a rebellion against the Regulon Empire.

Unlike her older sister Kass, the Princess M’lani has no interest in matters beyond Psyclid. No desire to fight the Reg occupation of their homeworld. Yet somehow she ends up the possessor of the most destructive paranormal talent in the realm, and not incidentally, married to Kass’s former fiancĂ©, Jagan Mondragon, the Sorcerer Prime. M’lani and Jagan suffer more than a few dramatic (and very ugly) moments before they send the Regulons fleeing back to their home planet. Toppling the Empire, however, is a far greater challenge. At this point the rebellion stands:  one planet liberated, eleven to go.

What to do with K’kadi Amund, the boy who communicates only through illusions? The boy who happens to be Kass’s and M’lani’s younger brother. Although approaching his twenty-first birthday, K’kadi is still inclined to lose himself in single-minded pursuits—from creating fireworks to stalking his first love, a warrior maiden from the plant Hercula. “Unreliable” and “weird” are among the kinder things said about him. So why does S’sorrokan, leader of the rebellion, consider him one of his most vital assets? Even when K’kadi comes into his own and achieves what was once his greatest desire, he discovers that growing up comes with a price.


In the fourth and final book of the series, the rebels have taken a three-year timeout to plan, prepare, recruit . . . and produce the start of a new generation. All the Psyclid royal children and spouses (including two who are not mentioned above—avoiding a “spoiler”), play important roles when the rebels finally come face to face with Darroch, ruler of the Regulon Empire. Yet when the battle is done, the crisis is still not over. There is the inevitable problem of “What’s Next?” Will there be a new Emperor? Some form of democracy? Who will sit on the Regulon throne—the dashing leader of the rebellion or the “frenemy” rebel, who is Emperor Darroch’s legitimate heir?

For a link to the Blue Moon Rising boxed set on Amazon, click here.

~ * ~ 

In case you didn't spot the mistake that was up on Amazon for almost two days, here's the correct cover:

(Sorry, no photo of my red face available.) 

 ~ * ~
For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, April 13, 2019

New Index - Partial

Wednesday, April 10, c. 6:35 p.m. EDT

 Great excitement in our area this week. Only one previous Falcon Heavy launch - a test flight carrying Elon Musk's Tesla! This, the first launch with a payload, a Saudi communications satellite. In case you missed the significance, this is the rocket that is expected to put U. S. astronauts back into space, and excitement was high. (Though briefly dimmed by a last-minute postponement on Tuesday, leaving huge crowds of disappointed people to return the next night.)

I am content to watch the launches on TV before running outside to see the rockets soar above my neighbor's roof (at a distance of 35-40 miles). Conditions were perfect Wednesday night, both fiery rocket and vapor trail clearly visible for several minutes. Of the photos below, only the first Launch photo is "live" (on TV), as after that I was outside looking at the real thing. The other three photos are from the eleven o'clock news. 

And then the most incredible part of all . . . Although the fascination with rockets never wanes, we've become accustomed to successful launches, but returning the boosters to earth - particularly on land instead of at sea - is still mind-boggling. The cheers and applause were louder for the booster landings than for the launch itself. Pardon the split screen, but that's the way our local channel was showing the launch. Upper left - the two side boosters making perfect simultaneous landings dead center on their landing pads. (The center booster landed successfully on a barge at sea.)

Looks like we're finally on our way back to manned flight - later this year, we're told.
  ~ * ~

MOSAIC MOMENTS - Partial Index (2011-2019)

As previously mentioned, I am plowing my way through organizing all my Writing and Editing blog posts since January 2011 into an ebook. Believe me, it ain’t easy! Today’s blog will be an Index of what I have accomplished so far, although the order of the articles may change in the final edition. Meanwhile, I hope this Updated Index (to be augmented over the coming weeks) will be helpful.

Grace note: The posts at the dates listed here are all “originals.” Any additions, deletions or revisions to the originals will not be available until the compilation of posts is published. The book will have three sections:  Writing, Editing & Miscellaneous. Here is the outline of the Writing section of the book.


1.  General
2.  Vital Puzzle Pieces
3.  No-No’s
4.  Writing a Series
5.  World Building
6.  Women’s Fiction
7.  Nuts & Bolts (mechanics)
8.  Writer’s Dictionary
9.  Rules & Rule-Breaking

Contents by Section

Writing Workshop - 9 articles - 12/6/14 - 6/28/15
Know Your Genre - 1/23/16
Birth of a Book - 2 articles - 12/1/18  & 1/26/19
Advice for Newbie Authors - 2 articles - 10/27/18 & 11/10/18

Vital Puzzle Pieces
Character Development - 9 articles - 10/15/12, 10/29/12, 11/5/12, 11/7/15,    12/5/15, 1/30/16, 2/6/16, 8/20/16, 8/27/16
Creating a Hero - 7/21/18
Creating a Heroine - 7/28/18
Creating Secondary Characters - 2 articles - 9/8/18 & 9/22/18
Point of View - 9 articles - 10/13/18, 12/9/17, 5/31/14, 6/8/14, 2/2016, 8/4/18, 8/25/18/9/1/18
Show vs. Tell - 3 articles - 7/21/13, 7/28/13, 2/2/19
Writing “Out of the Mist” - 4 articles - 7/9/16, 7/16/16, 8/19/17, 11/24/18
Transforming Truth Into Fiction - 9/4/16
The Importance of Names - 2 articles - 3/18/17 & 4/30/17
Examples of “Setting” - 3/7/15
The Difference a Word Makes - 10/15/16
The Sound of Silence - 7/30/16

How to Write a Bad Book - 3/12/17
How to Write a Mediocre Book - 8/26/17
Running Off at the Keyboard - 2/13/16
Signs of Amateur Writing - 10/1/16
How Not to Write a Book - 3 articles - 10/10/12, 4/4/15, 2/2/19
Rant - 6/23/18
Writing Mistakes - 3/4/11
Misused Words - 2 articles - 10/4/14 & 10/25/14

Writing a Series - 6 articles - 1/21/17 - 2/18/17

World Building - 4 articles - 12/18/13 - 2/1/14

Women’s Fiction - 3 articles - 6/15/17 - 11/4/17

Grace note: The index to Nuts & Bolts, Writer’s Dictionary, Rules & Rule-Breaking will be posted at a later date. Even later: the Editing & Miscellaneous sections.

~ * ~

Blair's Regency Warrior Series (in order)
The Sometime Bride
Tarleton's Wife
O'Rourke's Heiress
Rogue's Destiny
The Lady Takes a Risk
(Book 6 coming soon*) 
*Tentative titles: The Defiant Countess, The Abominable Major, Lord Halliwell's Dilemma (Comments on the possible titles are encouraged!)
~ * ~ 
For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

For Blair's Facebook Author Page, with background info on
the writing of Ghosts, click here. 

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Mosaic Reading

Hailey, at her 16th birthday party

Two "new to me" Authors:

I am a voracious reader—preferring stories with mystery, suspense & action, as well as romance. In the Romance genre, I read Historical, Contemporary, SciFi, Fantasy, Paranormal, Steampunk, & Alternative History. I am also particularly fond of classic  Mystery, Suspense & Thriller—though I prefer the stories that offer a strong dash of romance along with "whodunit" and plenty of action. (Sorry, no cozies.)

In the course of my reading, I am excited if I find a new author I really like once in three or four months. Incredibly, just this week, I found two. Neither is a new author—only new to me. In fact, when I saw an Amazon ad for a Mystery that sounded interesting and saw it was NUMBER NINE in a series, I groaned. Who wants to start with # 9? But it did sound intriguing, so I took a chance. I don't think I'd reached Page 5 before I was hitting "Home" on my Kindle, checking the name of the author, and planning to order Book 1 and work my way all the way back to #9. 

What was so special? As any author knows, it is really difficult to come up with a unique plot twist—I mean, absolutely everything has been done and done again, and yet again. But Anne Cleeland in her Acton and Doyle Mystery series actually comes up with some very unusual ideas. Her heroine is a plebian Irish Constable working for a modern-day Scotland Yard; the hero, an aristocratic Detective Inspector, whom Ms Cleeland endows with some highly unusual characteristics for either a hero or a Scotland Yard DI. (Avoiding a "spoiler" here.) In addition to these striking main characters, Ms Cleeland's has created an outstanding supporting cast and has an excellent bent for Mystery, a comfortable knowledge of police procedure, and an attitude that would quite curl the hair of most authors whose main characters are in law enforcement. (Perhaps closer to Barry Eisler than Linda Castillo?) And yes, the overall presentation of the three books I've read so far is clever, stylish, and far superior to the writing found in many mysteries.

The other book I picked up this week was a Victorian Historical with a dash of the Gothic. Frankly, there are a zillion Regency/Victorian/Edwardian Historical Romances out there, including a number of mine (as Blair Bancroft). I have my Tried & True favorites, but I'm constantly looking for a new voice, and constantly disappointed. But wow, not this week. I found the blurb for the first book of Mimi Matthew's Parish Orphan Series in the same place as the Acton and Doyle series—in an Amazon ad. Why I decided to read it when I've had so many disappointments, I have no idea. But again, within the first few pages, I was shaking my head and saying, "Wow, this one's a keeper." Marvelous characters, an ensemble cast, and well-written. Yes, there was a plot twist that made me squirm, and yes, it required a bit of suspended disbelief, but then so many Historical Romances do. Needless to say, I have already pre-ordered the next book in the series.

To repeat:  The Acton and Doyle series by Anne Cleeland
                  Paris Orphan Series by Mimi Matthews

And yes, both series are strong on Romance without straying into graphic sex. Definitely my kind of "read."

~ * ~

For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

For Blair's Facebook Author Page, with background info on
the writing of Ghosts, click here. 

For a brochure for Grace's Editing Service, Best Foot Forward,


Thanks for stopping by,