Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, April 27, 2024


 On the day of Big Eclipse—far more fuss over this one than any other I can recall!—I played Couch Potato, viewing total eclipses across the continent via CNN, while outside, the Florida sun did not noticeably diminish. My son-in-law, however, managed an excellent photo of the eclipse over Central Florida, for which I'm grateful as I'd find it hard to believe, otherwise.

Eclipse, Sanford, FL - photo by Mike Reale

Cassidy - Military Ball, April 2024   

Below, Riley moonlighting with the Citrus Singers, singing the National Anthem before a Women's Pro Volleyball game at UCF. (She "aged out" of the CS last year.)

Riley & Mom

It's been a while since we featured an English blooper—this one's a doozy!


 A few reminder notes:  I make it a practice to edit after every chapter, and again at the end of each five chapters:  1-5, 6-10, etc. And, yes, I edit hardcopy because that's what works for me. (This is not a "rule." To each his own method, as long as you buckle down and DO it.)

When I reach the end of a manuscript, I edit from Top to Bottom, not once but twice. And there will inevitably be a few more revisions as I format the manuscript for upload to Amazon and Draft2Digital (formerly Smashwords). Repeat:  a few gifted people get it right the first time round. Most of us don't. So accept you're not omnipotent, and EDIT THE BLASTED BOOK!


Below, for your amusement, one of my more heavily edited pages and the inserts written for it.



The viscount chewed his last bite of bacon—a good deal more thoroughly than necessary, Isabelle thought as the temper she thought well-dampened flickered to life. "The constabulary is appalled," he offered at last. "The mayor and every ranking nobleman in Bath is in full cry, an emissary from the Archbishop expected at any moment. There are whispers of sending for a Bow Street Runner, but pride is a devilish thing, Miss Bainbridge. No one wishes to admit help from London is needed."


The viscount remained silent, chewing a bite of bacon a good deal more thoroughly than Isabelle thought necessary. After what seemed like enough time to have masticated an entire side of bacon, he leaned back in his chair, looked her in the eye, and answered more candidly than Isabelle expected. “The constabulary is appalled, the mayor and every ranking nobleman in Bath  in full cry, an emissary from the Archbishop  expected at any moment. There are whispers of sending for a Bow Street Runner, but pride is devilish thing, Miss Bainbridge. No one wishes to admit help from London is needed.”


It should have worked. The miserable girl should be dead, or wounded beyond saving. And there was a lesson to him. Never hire someone to do a task you should have done yourself. For now he was not only faced with carrying out the reckoning—an inevitability, hit or miss—but the necessity of devising another, more successful approach to the problem of Isabelle Bainbridge.


It should have worked. The miserable chit should be dead, or wounded beyond saving. And there was a lesson to him. Never hire someone to do a task you should have done yourself. For now he was not only faced with the necessity of ridding himself of the bacon-brained blackguard who knew too much, but he must devise another, more successful approach to the problem of Isabelle Bainbridge.


Beginning a new chapter

I frequently slave over the opening of a new chapter. It really helps to get it right—to make sure you've made a smooth transition from the end of the last chapter, as well as an attention-grabbing introduction to the new chapter. While not forgetting to let the reader know how much time has passed since the end of the last chapter. Below is an example of how I revised the opening of Chapter 20 of The Abandoned Daughter.


The problem with being so firmly put in her place,  Isabelle grumbled to herself as she crept down the stairs the next morning, was that her infernal Bainbridge pride was balking at the thought of the humble pie she must eat in order to discover the answer to the question she should have asked last night. Instead of attacking him about the planned excursion to Sydney Gardens. . . .


Isabelle's laggard feet crept down the stairs the next morning, her infernal Bainbridge pride balking at the thought of eating humble pie before Lord High and Mighty Ashton. And all because she needed an answer to the question she should have asked last night, instead of attacking him about the inappropriate frivolity of an excursion to Sydney Gardens. . . .  



Never hesitate to play with your manuscript. See it as a reader, new to the story, might—someone looking for a touch of something you might not have thought important but which adds a note a great many readers may be looking for.

I tend to be more interested in the Action in my books than in the Romance. Therefore, if the interaction between my hero and heroine seems solely related to the Gothic plot, I sometimes have to catch myself, slow down, and write a scene that hints at a possible Happily Ever After ending (despite the fact that I've been doing my best to throw roadblocks in the poor couple's way for hundred pages or more). This can result in inserting a page or more into a chapter that was too heavily weighted with looming disaster. (Or in the case of other authors, the opposite might be true.) Keep in mind that you're not writing a Liam Neeson Thriller but the kind of story that needs contrasting moments, giving readers time to breathe. Moments of both Light & Dark, Action & Romance.



At the end of Chapter 24, I felt something was missing, a bit more intrigue needed. It should be noted that I never hesitate to use multiple POVs, something once considered a heinous crime by New York romance publishers, even though it was common to the works of one of Regency-writing's greatest shining lights, Georgette Heyer.

So I added a scene from an entirely new Point of View—from a well-known character, but one previously seen only through other people's eyes. Why did I do this so far into the book?

To answer that, I would have to give away the plot. Suffice it to say, that this character is important enough to be have his POV set down for readers to ponder. Is he a hero, a Red Herring, or . . . ?

I have a whole stack of Editing Examples at hand, but that's enough for now.

~ * ~

Hmm . . . the above calls for a Regency Gothic as this week's featured book. And I choose Shadows Over Greystoke Grange, a tale that has its own special way of inserting the hero's Point of View.

At eighteen, Adria Lovett can think only of making her come-out and finding the love of her life. Until, scant weeks before leaving for London, her world crumbles around her, pitching her into a situation shockingly contrary to anything she has ever known. And yet, far from London, Adria finds herself surrounded by a bevy of young men—though none of them what she envisioned when dreaming of her future. There is Dudley Greystoke, who should be Sir Dudley but is not; Chandler Satterthwaite, who has strayed far from the fold of his father, the vicar; the supposedly reliable Ned Steadman, son of the local squire; Garth Maddox, son of a gamekeeper, who calls himself Myrddin, the Welsh name for Merlin. And Drake Kincade, son of a wealthy merchant—the Drake Kincade, known to many as "the Devil's Spawn," who has fled to the country to escape a bride selected by his father. And then there is Dudley Greystoke's twin sister, Daphne, a young woman as willful as she is beautiful, who plunges Adria into the world of witchcraft—a world already complicated by a barrage of evil deeds ranging from nasty pranks to murder.

Grimoires, spells, devil-worship, rape, and murder—not at all the Season Adria dreamed of.

~ * ~

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

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)       


Saturday, April 20, 2024

Gallery - Mosaic Moments

 Here, for your enjoyment are all the random pics I've been accumulating over the last three weeks, beginning with one that's been making the rounds for years but so beautifully illustrates, "A Picture is worth a thousand words."


I've titled it, "Egg Lesson."


Friends recently visited one of my favorite places, the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, where I was a volunteer tram driver for umpteen years.

Ringling courtyard, watched over by DaVinci's David*

 *A reproduction, of course, with fig leaf. The original is in the Uffizi in Florence (sans fig leaf). 


The Milky Way roiling behind Devil's Tower (WY)

 Sorry - no credit given for this remarkable shot when posted to Facebook. Photoshopped? It's still strikingly beautiful and awe-inspiring. I've always lived too close to cities to see the Milky Way like that.


Susie, Riley & friends - first shark's
-tooth expedition of 2024*

 *I presume this is a tributary of the Peace River and 30-35 miles inland, reminding us that all Florida was once covered by the ocean.


And now some of the "Creature" photos I've accumulated over the last three weeks . . .

Close-up of one of Susan Coventry's many deer friends

And then Ms Coventry took a trip to Florida, continuing her nature photos with an egret.


And now the inevitable—feline photos.

Cat Bloom

The grammar may be off, but you can't argue with the concept.

~ * ~

This week's Featured book is chosen because of the Ringling photo above. The Ringling complex in the book is BEFORE the construction of the modern Circus Museum, the fancy new restaurant, and a number of new galleries. It's the Ringling I knew when I was a volunteer tram driver, one of the best volunteer jobs anyone could have. I also acted as "Roving Information" (in costume & carrying brochures in a flower-bedecked wicker basket) for the Medieval Fairs that were held on the grounds each year - which ceased forever when the new construction got under way. So, if you'd like to read a mystery set on the grounds of the Ringling Museum and get a peek at the way it once was . . . [Including before the State of Florida, evidently considering the Satyr statue inappropriate, whisked it away for "cleaning," never to be seen again. (Maybe he didn't have a fig leaf.)]



 Someone is killing people at the Bellman Museum, staging the deaths as bizarre works of art scattered over the museum's sixty-six tropical acres. FBI Special Agent Aurora "Rory" Travis, broken in body and spirit, shuns the world as a tram driver at the museum, until a friend becomes a suspect in one of the deaths. Rory's self-appointed investigation is complicated by the appearance of a mystery man who hops onto her tram in the midst of a thunder storm and the arrival on site of a determined Sarasota PD detective. In the end, only one of the new men in her life is watching her back when Rory is forced to confront her worst fears as she goes one-on-one with the villain.


"This is an engaging Florida investigative thriller starring a likable cast to include eccentric seniors especially Aunt Hy, polar opposite sleuths with an in-common interest in Rory, and a terrific heroine struggling to regain her sea legs. . . ."
Harriet Klausner 

~ * ~

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

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)       


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Family Gallery

 A huge accumulation of pics over the last two weeks, so many Mosaic Moments, in fact, that some will have to wait for my next post. One of the "funnest" - Cassidy flying over her family's home in Sanford, which could be described as "across the street (& some woods)" from Sanford International Airport. For a link to her mother's video of Cassidy's fly-by, click here.

Below, Cadet Major Cassidy Reale (now promoted to Lt. Colonel) with her mother, Susie, at the Awards Ceremony for the Air Force Junior ROTC at Seminole High School, Sanford, FL.

Cassidy's Award from the DAR

Reale girls - Easter 2013

Reale Family - Easter, 2024


Hailey is an April Fool's baby - we celebrated her 21st birthday the day before, along with all the Easter festivities. Mom even made a Treasure Hunt with 24 clues, as I used to do for the girls' birthdays back in the day. Except instead of one prize at the end, the girls got a prize at each station! (A huge undertaking for Mom.) In addition, each year, Micheal Reale's cousin Lionel, draws a maze for the birthday girl to solve. This one—for a 21-yr-old majoring in Astro engineering . . . As I recall, Hailey went through it in under three minutes - or was it only two? - with her sisters counting down.

Hailey went thru it like a knife thru butter. Wow!

 Speaking of Lionel . . .

Lionel is the creative genius behind the family's Capital Room Bar in downtown Sanford, which this week hosted a unique event:  a wedding. Yes, a wedding with all the trimmings, including an array of small children in their wedding best - and on their best behavior. And after the wedding, a feast of tapas prepared by Reale family members, with Hailey serving drinks and Riley passing trays of goodies. A unique family moment for us all to treasure. (Why a wedding in a bar? The happy couple said they met in a bar; they wanted to be married in a bar. And yes, they're fans of the Capital Room.) Below, my photo of the procession, hampered by Florida sun shining through the broad windows and no flash. FYI, I kept my seat on the last barstool, while everyone else waited to greet the happy couple in the dance floor area at the back. (That's Lionel in the cap, hovering in the background.)

I did not intend for this week's blog to be "family only," but this seems a good place to stop, leaving cats, deer, sharks, sharks' teeth, etc., for the next Gallery.


The news in general is so depressing, 
we are in dire need of a burst of spring cheer.

~ * ~

This week's featured book is chosen for the "weather" connection, something that is an important part of the plot in this spin-off of the SciFi Fantasy series, Blue Moon Rising.

In this spin-off of the Blue Moon Rising series, the Crucible Kingdom, an obscure planet far, far away, is suffering from an ancient curse—periodic bouts of violent storms, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and wildfire. To break the curse, a widowed duchess and a starship captain from the disintegrating Regulon Empire (which her ancestors fled centuries earlier) are forced to work together. Although the duchess grudgingly accepts that the captain in highly capable in emergencies, she scorns the idea that a hard-headed Reg who does not believe in the power of sorcery can be helpful in breaking a curse. And then the captain comes up with an idea no one thought of, setting off a quest that turns out to be more dangerous than the curse itself.
Grace note:  The description of the volcanic eruption is based on the explosion of Mount St. Helen's in 1980.

~ * ~

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

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)