Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Singapore Gallery

Why the Reale family & crew is in Singapore: Setting up & doing tech for a big conference.

While Daddy works . . .

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For video of the truly spectacular light show presented each night along hotel row in Singapore harbor, click here.

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Infinity pool on the 57th floor

Not quite as scary as it looks

Culture Contrast

Inside a temple

An entire store with nothing but gold jewelry
Koi Pond

Note the "leaning" building in the background

And where else would the Director and two members of The Citrus Singers go but to the Singapore Girl Guides? Where they had a very gracious reception from their counterparts on the far side of the world. Susie bought three boxes of Girl Guide cookies to share with The Citrus Singers - not the flavors found at home.

Singapore Garden

Singapore Garden Whimsy

Cassidy, Riley, Hailey
Getting ready for the 25-hour flight home

Unexpected "Extra" - back in Dubai, capital of the United Arab Emirates
An "oops" in the ride home - plane from Singapore was late, missed connection. Result:  25 hours in Dubai at Emirates Airlines' expense. 

And a final farewell from the grandgirls, 2009.

Cassidy, Hailey, Riley, 2009

What a difference ten years makes!
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Blair's Regency Gothics (in order)

Brides of Falconfell
The Mists of Moorhead Manor
The Demons of Fenley Marsh
The Welshman's Bride
Tangled Destinies
The Blackthorne Curse
The Ghosts of Rushton Court
Shadows Over Greystoke Grange (WIP)

Available from Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, &
other online vendors

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For a link to Blair's website, click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Travelogue - Dubai & Singapore


I posted this story to Facebook last night but thought my blog readers might enjoy it as well. Unless you live in the Far East, it isn't every day you know someone who's traveling to Dubai and Singapore, particularly not members of your very own family. The background to this tale:  my son-in-law is doing tech for a conference in Singapore, flying over with both crew and equipment, as he did two years ago (and last year, in London). But this time the whole family, including my three grandgirls, went with him. (Even their schools thought the experience worth a bit of catching up when they got back.)

App - Life360

About six months ago, my daughter put an app on my phone called Life360. She called it, and rightly so, a "stalker app." Seven families members are listed, and when I touch the app, it tells me where each of them is (including me). It's been particularly handy when meeting Cassidy's bus. Is it still on its way, or did it arrive early and Cassidy is already trudging the mile home from the bus stop to her house? I tried it out when Susie & Mike were in NYC in June, and to my surprise, it told me Mike was "moving" near such and such street, while Susie had been stationery for two hours near Times Square. (I figured she was at the theater.) Amazing, right? 

Well, tonight I tested the system to the max. With the family on the far side of the world, 12 time zones from home, I pressed Life360 and waited to see what would happen. It seemed to be hung up, sent me a "Not Responding, do you want to wait?" I said yes. And then . . . it informed me that all five Reales were at the Marina Bay Sands (Singapore). Wow! I tried again about 20 minutes later and was told, "Moving near Bayfront Ave., Singapore." Frankly, I find that totally amazing - that kind of tracking seems like something government agents have in spy movies, not an app anyone can download for family use. So if you want to keep track of where your loved ones are . . .

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A few weeks ago, while Susie and I were sitting in the doctor's office, waiting on X-rays of my broken foot, she chortled and revealed she was texting Dubai, arranging for camel rides in the desert! Huh? And sure enough, the entire group ended up enjoying camel rides and a visit to the world's tallest building during a 9-hour layover in Dubai before going on to Singapore. So not surprisingly, this week's blog is a gallery of photos from both cities.

Mike, Cassidy, Hailey, Riley, Susie

Tech crew + (hamming it up in the desert)

More camel than Cassidy

View from hotel room

Food Court in mall adjacent to hotel

I absolutely LOVE this bench.

Grace note:  The family has another week in Singapore, so I suspect there will be more photos to come.

 ~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

For a link to The Abominable Major on Amazon,  click here.

For a link to The Abominable Major on Smashwords,  click here.  

Background information on The Abominable Major can be found on my Facebook Author Page. To read it, click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, October 13, 2019

New Approach to Mystery?

Found on Facebook - Children in Kentucky rejoicing!


Not long ago I ranted about a mystery where I felt the author had gone overboard on points of view, giving almost every character, even the most minor, a point of view. And yet the book was so well written that despite all those POVs, it never lost track of the protagonist (a detective). I chalked up the "too many points of view" to a newbie's mistake and looked forward to what I hoped would be fewer POVs in the next book in the series.

This week, however, I realized I had stumbled across a whole new style of mystery (or at least to me). And from an experienced author who, I suspect, was eager to try a new approach. When I read the author's first book in this new series, I merely frowned over it, not taking the time to analyze why it was a bit of a disappointment from a favorite author. When the second book in the series gave me the same vibe, however, I realized I had to figure out what was causing me problems.

Brief Review of Mystery Styles

Grace note:  In general, with the exception of # 1 below, there is more Author POV in Mysteries than in Romance.

1.  Mysteries told solely in First Person. (One POV)
     Example:  Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series

2.  Mysteries told in First & Third Person (Protagonist POV + Limited Third Person POVs)
     Examples:  James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series, Linda Castillo's Amish series

3.  Mysteries in Limited Multiple POV (showing both Public & Law Enforcement)
     Example: the mysteries of P. D. James

4.  Cozy Mysteries in the Agatha Christie style (First Person and/or Third)

5.  Mysteries with Unlimited Multiple POV (but emphasis still on the protagonist)
     Example:  the mystery mentioned Paragraph One above.

And now the new one:

6.  A Mystery told from nearly every view point except that of the person who solves the mystery. (Yes, the protagonist has a POV, but it's relatively minor.)

Okay, first of all . . . 

1.  Kudos to the author for wanting to try something new.

2. Kudos to the author for carrying out the intricate puzzle so well.

BUT . . .

As much as I admire the challenge to an author of writing in a style that reveals the details of what each character does leading up to the obligatory murder—including red herrings, of course—and still not give away "who dun it," I found it frustrating that the protagonist stands by, an onlooker with nothing more than a few moments of POV here and there, and yet somehow, miraculously, ends up explaining what no one else can figure out. Too "in your face" for my taste. 

In other words, in most mysteries at least one murder comes early in the book, and the details of what happened are revealed after the fact. In this mystery style I'm describing as new, the murder comes much later than normal, with a whole slew of minute details about what a multitude of characters were doing prior to the murder. So many characters, in fact, that I had difficulty keeping them straight—yet another disappointment with this particular style.

So . . . is it just me? I would appreciate hearing from others, both authors and readers, about your opinion of mysteries with the "protagonist" (the one who solves the mystery) as a minor character. 

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A peek at a few of Blair's "oldies but goodies" (from 15-20 years ago):

A simple "category" romance set in one of my most favorite places on earth - Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We moved there when I was four (my father's first job after getting his Masters in Education from Harvard). And even after moving away, we visited the Cape every summer. Many years later, my parents retired there. So the Cape is dear to my heart. I also lived in both Boston and New Haven, so naturally they are included in this, my very first print book (for Kensington, August 2000).

Can a homicide detective and a defense attorney, both hovering on the edge of burnout, find happiness with each other?


My only Steampunk/Alternative History - but I really enjoyed putting it together. The research took me into a whole new realm of the imagination.

Our heroine helps a sheltered young woman named Victoria assume the throne after it has been usurped by that great British hero, the Duke of Wellington.


Intended for the Young Adult market, this is a meticulously researched Medieval that should be interesting for any age (unless you only like your Historicals rife with hot sex). Many of the characters and incidents are real. (Henry II, his wife Eleanore of Aquitaine, some of their many children, including those princes of legend, Richard and John. Also, William Marshall, whom most historians consider the greatest knight who ever lived.) 

One of my all-time favorite covers
A very young heiress has an opportunity to peek into the lives of Henry II and his contentious family, while falling in love with a young squire too poor to purchase the horse and armor necessary for becoming a knight.

~ * ~

 For a link to Blair's website, click here.

For a link to The Abominable Major on Amazon,  click here.

For a link to The Abominable Major on Smashwords,  click here.  

Background information on The Abominable Major can be found on my Facebook Author Page. To read it, click here.

Thanks for stopping by,



Saturday, October 5, 2019

Index to Grace's Blog Book

Found on Facebook
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As regular readers of this blog know, I have been struggling for nearly two years to organize all my blog posts on Writing and Editing into book form. The purpose? It has simply become too difficult to find a specific topic in the deluge of posts from January 2011 until now. And I hope putting all my "down to earth" advice and frequently frank comments—admittedly, some repetitive over the course of nearly nine years!—will make it easier for authors, particularly struggling "newbies," to find the advice they need.

So below, please find the Index to Making Magic With Words. When it finally makes it online, each post in the Index will be linked to the proper page. Today, without dates, finding any one post still requires a search through the Archives, but hopefully I'm down to the final stretch and the book will be available before the end of the year.


Writing, Editing, & Random Thoughts
from Grace's Mosaic Moments

So You Want to Write a Book . . .


On Being a Writer
Writing Workshop 1 - Getting Started
Writing Workshop 2 - Next Steps
Writing Workshop 3 - Hook
Writing Workshop 4 - Plot
Writing Workshop 5 - Other “Musts”
Writing Workshop 6 - Characters+
Writing Workshop 7 - Narration
Writing Workshop 8 - Dialogue
Writing Workshop 9 - Transitions
The Routine of Writing
Know Your Genre
Where Do You Get Your Ideas? - 1
Where Do You Get Your Ideas? - 2
Birth of a Book
More on Birth of a Book
Adding Color to Your Work
Advice for Newbie Authors
Advice - What’s Next?
Too Many Characters, Too Much Plot
When Suspended Disbelief Doesn’t Work

Vital Puzzle Pieces
How to Develop Characters - Names
How to Develop Characters - Creating Personalties
How to Develop Characters - Showing Personalities
Character Development - Character Changes 1
Character Development - Character Changes 2
Character Development - Character Changes 3
Character Development - Character Changes 4
Character Development - The Unexpected 1
Character Development - The Unexpected 2
What’s in a Name?
Nitty Gritty of Names
Creating a Hero
Creating a Heroine
Creating Secondary Characters 1
Creating Secondary Characters 2
More on Characterization & POV
Point of View
Third Person vs. First 1
Third Person vs. First 2
Intricacies of Point of View
Attitudes Toward POV
Multiple POVs
More on POV
Approaches to POV
Show vs. Tell 1
Show vs. Tell 2
Show vs. Tell - Warning Words
Show vs. Tell - Examples
Notes on Writing Dialogue
Organizing the Out of the Mist Author
Out of the Mist Oops
Out of the Mist Again
Transforming Truth into Fiction
Setting - Examples
The Difference a Word Makes (2016)
The Sound of Silence


Writing No-No’s
How to Write a Bad Book
How to Write a Mediocre Book
Running Off at the Keyboard - Bad Book
Signs of Amateur Writing
How Not to Write a Book - Mistakes 1
How Not to Write a Book - Mistakes 2
Rant - Lack of Punctuation
Ranting on Subtleties
Rants - Old & New
Writing Mistakes
Misused Words 1
Misused Words 2

Nuts & Bolts
Writing 101 - Formatting
Writing 101 - Punctuation 1
Writing 101 - Punctuation 2
Writing 101 - Tab Conversion
Writing 101 - Self-Editing 1
Writing 101 - Self-Editing 2
Varying Sentence Structure
Writing Fragments
To Be or Not to Be
Don’t Be a Rule Slave (Adverbs)
Adverbs Are Not Anathema
How to Punctuate Dialogue 1
How to Punctuate Dialogue 2
Dangling Participles
Modern Punctuation
The Colon is Down but not Out
Playing with Tags
Capitals 1
Capitals 2
Italics 1
Italics 2
The Difference a Word Makes (2013)
Treacherous Words
Shortcut Codes - ASCII
Shortcut Cods - Microsoft

Writing a Series
Why Write a Series?
Cliff-hanger Series
Single-title Series
Mixed Approach Series
Series Summary
Series Update

World Building Series
World Building 1- Setting
World Building 2 - World from Scratch
World Building 3 - Adding Details
World Building 4 - More on Details

Women’s Fiction
What is Women’s Fiction?
Women’s Fiction Update
More on Women’s Fiction

Dictionary for Writers
     (not alphabetical)
Dictionary for Writers 1
Dictionary for Writers 2
Dictionary for Writers 3
Dictionary for Writers 4
Dictionary for Writers 5

Rules & Rule-Breaking

Rules for Romance 1
Rules for Romance 2
Rule-Breaking 101 - 1
Rule-Breaking 101 - 2
Rule-Breaking 101 - 3



Introduction to Editing
I Ran Spell Check, I’m Done, Right?
Questions Authors Should Ask
The Routine of Writing
Tackling Major Edits (2014)
Dealing With Major Edits (2019)
Editing Basics
Layering - a Writing Technique
More on Layering
Working With an Editor
Making Changes to Published Works
Author Oops
Trick to Track Changes
Taming Word 2016 Track Changes

Edit the Blasted Book

Handbook for Indie Authors
Editor or Copy Editor?
Manuscript Format for the 21st Century
Writing No-No’s
Point of View
Anatomy of an Edit 1
Anatomy of an Edit 2

Copyediting Challenges
 (grammar & punctuation)
Copyediting Challenges - 1
Copyediting Challenges - 2
Copyediting Challenges - 3
Copyediting Challenges - 4
Copyediting Challenges - 5
Copyediting Challenges - 6
Copyediting Challenges - 7

Editing Scold
Tale of Three Books
Old Bugaboo - Editing
Cultural Confusion

Editing Again
More on Editing
Editing Examples - 1
Editing Examples - 2
Editing Examples - 3
The Agony of Final Edits - 1
The Agony of Final Edits  - 2
Editing Examples 2019 - 1
Editing Examples 2019 - 2


Why Read Romance?
Pen Power
Guideposts to Critiquing
How Does Your Novel Grow?
What’s the Fasination with Fairy Tales?
Fairy Tales & Romance
Mystery vs. Gothic
Word Perfect to Indie Pub
Twisted Times
Reminiscences of Controversies 1
Reminiscences of Controversies 2
Why Writers Must Read
Writing Mistakes - Personal
Creating an ARC


~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

For a link to The Abominable Major on Amazon,  click here.

For a link to The Abominable Major on Smashwords,  click here.   

Thanks for stopping by,