Grace's Mosaic Moments

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.



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 



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.


 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)