Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cuckoo Clock Caper.......by Joyce Oroz

If you haven't read Cuckoo Clock Caper yet, here is a sampling.
It's not Shakespeare, Binchy or Evonovich, but it is a fun read.
Fasten your seat belt and enjoy the ride.


Solow and I pounded the pavement around three turns in the road, made a left at the Hooley mailbox and trudged up Emmett’s long blacktopped driveway. We stopped beside the only standing remnant of his house, a giant river rock fireplace, and stood for a moment of complete silence. Various chunks of blackened walls leaned against each other on top of burnt timbers sprinkled with broken glass and melted hardware. The foul air was still, no birds sang, no sound came from the ridge where a long row of eucalyptus trees usually whispered in the breeze. Silently, turkey buzzards cut circles in the overly blue sky.
The string of eucalyptus trees behind my house stretched along the ridge, cutting through several properties including the Hooley backyard. The trees formed a line about two-hundred feet up the hill from the burnt homestead. Halfway between the ashes and the very tall eucalyptus was a scattering of oak trees, half a dozen young redwoods and a few Monterey pines. I hurried to keep up with Solow as he sniffed his way up the hill and howled when he came to an area of thick vegetation, mostly wild lilac, bottlebrush and Laurel. He circled the area, and then disappeared through a break in the matted foliage.
“Solow, come on boy, let’s go home.” There was no sign of him, so I squeezed through a narrow space between the bushes into an open area surrounding a cottage covered in grey shingles. The door was wide open and Solow had already entered the little cabin.
I stood in the doorway and called Solow. The place had a piney smell, like Mr. Hooley. Two multi-paned windows in the roof served as skylights, sending sunlight to a floor littered with cut logs. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I realized I was looking at a mixture of firewood for the potbellied stove, and wood that had been carved and painted. There were carved birds and animals as well as figures of people with smiling faces wearing colorful, old-world clothing.

“Solow, look at this mess! Looks like a giant cuckoo clock explosion.” Not wishing to fall on my face, I stood still in a sea of broken wood carvings––painted and unpainted. There were mallets, knives, chisels and clock parts scattered here and there. Two unscathed cuckoo clocks hung at a tilt on the opposite wall surrounded by dozens of empty hooks. I could only imagine how scary the explosion had been. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Pacific Wellness Center......Joyce Oroz

Dear friends, 
If you know anything about Josephine, 
you know that she frequently fires up 
her red pickup truck and drives twenty 
minutes to a forty-five minute yoga 
class in order to relax, climbs back in 
the truck and twenty minutes later she 
is home. That is the extent of our yoga 
knowledge. But my friend, Jill can tell 
you much more about it. And she really 
knows her way around herbs for good 
health.

Holistic Family Nutrition & Jill Troderman Present
Swami Nitya:
Yoga as the Call to Awaken to One World
Wednesday
August 28th, 2013
7pm-9pm
Pacific Wellness Center Soquel, CA
The original meaning of the Word Yoga is union, which means if everything is united, then there are no differences, between religions, people, races rich and poor etc.
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.There is but One Humanity, and even beyond that One World, One Existence. Which means we do not exist as separate beings but are embedded in the entirety. When aware of this total connectedness we live in YOGA, this state makes us totally responsible; how we live, eat, dream, talk effects everything else.
To reach such aware state of existence in harmony and peace is the goal of the path of Yoga. Awakening to this truth is awakening to a full life! “
Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati (Christa-Maria Herrmann, Ph.D.), is a scholar of theology, psychology, philosophy, and is the author of numerous books. In 1997 she was awarded the World Peace Prize. Her animated and engaging teaching style is backed up with real life experience and wisdom from many years teaching, studying and traveling. For more information regarding Swami Nitya please visit her website at www.athayoga.info


Please RSVP!!
Jill @ 831-476-2303 x 103
$15-$25 donation suggested
Pacific Wellness Center ~ Annex
4841 Soquel Dr. Soquel, CA 95073
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author Blanch Day Manos........by Joyce Oroz

Today I would like to introduce you to an author who knows her way around the written word, Blanche Day Manos. She writes for children and she writes for adults, and she does it very well. I like her style and you will too. Here is Blanch in her own words.

How did you decide to be a writer?

I remember when I was around 9 or 10 years old, writing my own stories and Nancy Drew probably got me started. I devoured all the books in that series I could find.

What do you like about writing and what bugs you?

Writing just seems to be who I am. The only thing that bugs me is when an editor or publisher doesn't seem aware of the wonderful opportunity I'm offering her/him in buying my manuscript!!

Do you write things other than novels?

Through the years, many of my poems and children's stories have been published by Christian and children's magazines, Turtle, Cricket, Humpty Dumpty, Guide, The Gem, many others.

Is your protagonist anything like you?

Darcy Campbell is a lot like me because she has a mother she is close to, she likes coffee, she is naturally curious, and she tends to see the positive side of things but sometimes she should keep her mouth shut and doesn't.

Blanch, what do you like to do when you are not writing?

When I'm not writing, I love being with my grandchildren (well, this is neat even if I am writing.) I also like to play the piano and paint. I like watercolors and oils but Prismacolor pencils are my favorite medium. Just for fun, I like to paint gourds, using acrylic.

Where can we find tour wonderful books?

You can find my books, and I think also the Etta Bend books at Amazon.com. Names of books are: The Heritage of Etta Bend, Remembering Etta Bend, The Cemetery Club, Grave Shift.
You can also find me on my website and daily blog: blanchedaymanos.com. Come and visit. The latch string is always out! 


About "Grave Shift"                                                      

 A strange letter from a desperate mother begging Oklahoma natives Darcy and Flora to help find her missing daughter sets the mother/daughter duo off on what appears to be an exciting adventure. But their mission suddenly turns dangerous when they discover that the missing woman is at the heart of some local criminal shenanigans. That and, not one, but two earthquakes that unearth more than just a little dirt. It's quite an adventure for these two ladies and even the local sheriff who pines for Darcy is powerless to discourage her from her quest.


Thank you, Blanch for sharing your story with us.
Happy writing!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Painting the Town.........Darlene Boyd

Darlene has some news for us, actually she is the "news gal" with her artsy column in the San Juan Star every month. Pay attention, there might be a quiz.

Painting San Juan Bautista: City of History
            The Monterey Bay Area Plein Air Painters Association is heading into San Juan Bautista from August 28 to September 1st to “paint the town.”  The artists will be distributing themselves throughout this historical town, pallets in hand and easels positioned, to create plein air paintings of various local scenes.  By September 1st these paintings will be gathered and juried by local artist, Gayle Sleznick.  
On September 2nd, Labor Day, there will be a pre-view sale of these paintings at CafĂ© 15, 322 Third Street, where some of them will be on view until November 10.  The rest of the paintings will be posted at www.cafe15.com.  
An opening reception to meet the artists will be held on Friday, September 6 from 4 to 7 pm, during the monthly First Friday Art Walk.  This is a benefit to support the educational objectives of the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association, a non-profit organization that works to foster the understanding and appreciation of plein air painting and its place in the history and current culture of our communities. Such events help support the professional development of local plein air artists.
  
One can contact the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association at www.mbpapa.org.  

Darlene Boyd
Artist/Writer/Educator          
www.darleneboyd.com
831-
801-2518  FAX: 408-624-9007
Blog  Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   LinkedIn

Thank you, Darlene




Thursday, August 15, 2013

Author B J Gilbertson.......by Joyce Oroz




 Today it is my great pleasure to introduce
 Author Bart J Gilbertson, who has written a cozy mystery called "Deathbed and Breakfast"
I asked B J several questions about his writing career and these are his candid answers. I think Mr. Gilbertson's smile alone will sell his wonderful "small town, west coast book.

                                     Author Bart J Gilbertson
1. Was there someone, something or an event in your life that set you on the road to being an author?

About the time I was 10 years old, I gravitated towards YA fantasy books, particularly the Chronicles of Prydain, a 5 book series by Lloyd Alexander. For the first time in my life, I was whisked away to a world written down on paper but created within my own mind. Never before had I been so enamored and it just fueled my own fire, even at such a young age, to be a writer myself. So I began to write stories of all types. I will still get out those books and read them to this day.

2. What do you like about writing and what bugs you about it?

What I like about writing is what I like about reading. It takes me away to another world. It's like visiting old friends again, and when a manuscript or story is completed, I often feel sad. Like I am saying "goodbye". That is why I like writing in a series. Because then I can revisit my old friends over and over again and embark on new adventures with them. The only thing that bugs me about writing is that I never seem to have enough time for it. I wish I had more time to devote to my writing.

3. How long have you been writing books and what other writing do you do?

Truth be known, I have been writing books since High School. My writing goes further back than that though, as I have always been writing poems and short stories since I can remember. But writing books and having your books published are two different things entirely. My first published book is through Cozy Cat Press, a cozy mystery titled 'Deathbed & Breakfast'. It was released in July and has garnered some very nice reviews. I still continue to write in other genres, as well as short stories.

 4. Tell us about your protagonist. Is she--he a lot like you? What are his--her assets and weaknesses?


I have two actually. The Pookotz Sisters, Edna and Mildred. Together they run a landmark Bed & Breakfast in a small, Oregon mountain town in the trees called Pleasant Lake. They juggle those responsibilities with solving murder mysteries using amateur sleuthing and comedic antics. Edna is the "no nonsense" and organized one. She is the 'heavy'. Whereas Mildred, is the warm, caring and large hearted one. She is the 'softy'. I feel that, to a degree, I have some of the qualities of Edna, but I am probably more like Mildred. I am a softy too. Haha! As far as their assets and weaknesses...Edna is very discerning, tactful and to the point. She doesn't miss much. Mildred can make you open up to her and talk, and feel comfortable. She has the ability to draw out information in a more subtle way. They are both 60-something seniors, so they don't get around quite as well as they used to. They have to rely more on their mental prowess than their physical prowess.

5. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I enjoy a good movie, reading books, and playing keyboards.

6. Where can we find your books?

You can find Deathbed & Breakfast in paperback at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Deathbed & Breakfast is also available for your kindle at Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Deathbed-Breakfast-Pookotz-Sisters-ebook/dp/B00DUGZHYK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373409813&sr=1-1
I also have a website I am working on and you are welcome to come visit me here: http://bjgilbertson2.wix.com/bartjgilbertson

Thank you BJ--can't wait for your next book!



Saturday, August 10, 2013

News From the Bat Cave.........by Joyce Oroz




Today I have a mural update from the bat cave. There were no bats, but I saw the strangest things, a horse poking his head in the window, a chicken marching up the steps and a little critter hiding under a rug. 


     Joann perseveres 
Louise painting with her eyes closed

Amazingly, the two murals are coming to life, one brush stroke at a time by a team of earnest AHA elves. Linda magically produced a batch of glorious sunflowers, Joann patiently shaded the stone formations and Louise created a southwest style rug while Kathy painted an educated horse who likes to read. The Old Firehouse will never be the same!

Speaking of the Old Firehouse, did you know that it was built to be a school house in 1925. The old Aromas school was razed and a new structure built using community volunteers and hired carpenters. The building was designed by William H. Weeks, an architect who built his home in the hills, over-looking the school. The new school building was designed in the Spanish Revival style which Weeks had become known for as early as 1912. Week's reputation for school design was firmly enhanced by the Santa Barbara Earthquake of 1925, when his school survived virtually undamaged, while others completely collapsed.
Our school house, firehouse, water company, library, grocery store has served the community well, always looking lovely with its low-pitched, red fired clay tile roof, truncated eaves, decorative arches, cast and inlaid tile ornamentation and decorative urns. Ok, some of those features don't exist any more, but the murals are coming!

Thank you, Alan Kemp, for the wonderful research you have done concerning Aromas and the Old Firehouse.

Stay tuned for more news from the bat cave.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Author Patricia Rockwell.......by Joyce oroz



Patricia Rockwell is our wonderful guest writer today. She is the owner of Cozy Cat Press, a small publishing company specializing in and limited to Cozy mysteries. (Mysteries in the old tradition--nice clean murder, not too bloody and sex and bad language are out.) She has corralled 27 writers into her cozy coral, including me. We are a happy bunch, since Patricia knows how to get our books into the market place quickly and lookin' good!          
Patricia is a fabulous and proficient writer. I recently ask her a few questions about her life's story, and now I will share her answers with you.                                      

Was there someone, something or an event in your life that set you on the road to being an author?
Patricia, "No one particular event. I've always loved reading--and mostly murder mysteries. Agatha Christie was always a favorite. I liked the convoluted but gentle plots (which I now know are cozies). I often thought that once I retired I might try my hand at writing a cozy and when I did, I discovered that I loved it!"

What do you like about writing and what bugs you about it?
2. I love the creative part about writing. I'm a very organized person so I like to prepare my outline in advance and then just let it flow once I actually start writing. There's not much that bugs me. Maybe with as many books as I have in each of my two series, one problem is keeping track of all of my characters. For instance, if I have one of my minor characters die in book #3, then he can't pop up again in book #4.

How long have you been writing books and what other writing do you do?
 I've been writing cozy mysteries since I retired--about three years ago. My first book SOUNDS OF MURDER was published in 2010. However, before that, in my career as a Communication professor and researcher, I wrote a LOT--mostly research papers that were published in academic journals and a few scholarly books.

Please tell us about your protagonist. Is she--he a lot like you? What are his--her assets and weaknesses?
I have two series, so I have two protagonists. Pamela Barnes is my amateur sleuth in my acoustic mystery series. She is a Psychology professor at a small southern university (she is actually me) and solves murders using sound clues which was my own research area. My other protagonist is Essie Cobb in my senior sleuth mystery series. She is a ninety-year-old resident of the Happy Haven Assisted Living Facility and she and her fellow residents solve mysteries there. She is based on my own mother who was quite a gal.

What do you like to do when you are not writing? 
 When not writing, I love to travel--especially by car, train, and ship. I hate planes and will not fly. I like to read (obviously) and exercise (especially walking). However, running my company Cozy Cat Press takes up most of my time.

Patricia, where can we find your books?
 All of the books in both of my series are available at Amazon in both print and ebook and at Smashwords, CreateSpace, and Barnes and Noble. My blog is www.PatriciaRockwellAuthor.com and my FB page is: www.facebook.com/PatriciaRockwellAuthor and I also have an author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003MR9BMG


Thank you Patricia--happy writing!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Artist of the Month for August..........by Joyce Oroz


The Dragonfly Gallery “Artist of the Month” for August is Joyce Oroz, muralist and author. Usually it’s my friends on the hot seat. Since I am on the hot seat this time, I will share a former interview with you.
      

At age twelve, I was painting in oils and writing poems while normal children socialized with each other. I was a female nerd full of pre-teen feelings of inferiority. A bazillion years later, after raising a family, working at my commercial art/mural business and taking creative writing classes on the side, I finally wrote and illustrated my first children’s book. And then I wrote twenty-six more stories, but my dream was to write a novel. After watching my husband write a book, I decided to give it my best shot. Now that I’m practically ready for the rocking chair, I am busier than ever, writing mystery novels, and enjoying country life in Aromas with my husband and golden lab.

Going back to twelve years old, I loved reading Nancy Drew Mysteries and read every one the library had. The Nancy Drew seed was planted, but the seed didn’t sprout until I read my first Janet Evanovich mystery ten years ago. I tried to write like Janet, but only she can pull it off. Only she can blow up Stephanie’s vehicles every other day and make it seem normal. But she had set me to writing, and because I love to read mysteries, I decided to write one of my own.

For me, the middle of the book is always the most difficult to write. I generally know how the story begins and how it ends, but there are a couple hundred pages in the middle I know nothing about. I try to let the story pull me along and take me to surprising places. If I relax and shake-off my writer’s block, the story will usually go where it needs to go.

One day I had an epiphany. If I could write one page a day, in one year I would have a complete novel. Secure the Ranch was born nine months after that idea was conceived. But the rewrites lasted two years! I average two hours of writing, six days a week, forever and ever. I look forward to it, even though it’s sometimes frustrating. But when a workable idea makes it way into my brain, it’s all worth it.


As a former mural artist, I enjoy designing and orchestrating the creation of murals in every corner of Aromas. Two new murals will be coming to town very soon!

I hope you enjoy my first four books, Secure the Ranch, Read My Lipstick, Shaking in Her Flip Flops and my newest book, Cuckoo Clock Caper, published by Cozy Cat Press.
I will be signing books at the Dragonfly Gallery, 380 Blohm Ave. Aromas on Aromas Day, Sunday, August 25th  
12:00 to 4:00.