Thursday, April 28, 2011

Aromas Garden Joyce Oroz

The annual Aromas Garden Tour is ready to steal your heart in so many ways. In the way of lovely fragrant flowers, unusual and interesting plants, well planned gardens and fabulous gardening connoisseurs and master gardeners. Final preparations are being made for the May 7th tour of ten gardens. There will be surprises at every turn of the dappled path. Aromas Hills Artisans will be positioned in each garden, among the flowers, ferns, trees and ponds. There will be a wide variety of original art such as paintings, etchings, pottery, ceramic sculpture, fused glass, jewelry and novels by local authors.
Pick up a tour-guide pamphlet at the Aromas Grange between ….10:00 and 4:00 ……just a ten dollar donation. I’ll post the particulars shortly, but first I want to introduce you to Sally Diggory, master gardener, active member of the Aromas Hills Artisans and ceramic sculptress extraordinaire……………………………………

Meet Sally Diggory, Master Gardener-Sculptor

Sat. May 7th, don’t miss Sally Diggory’s lovely eclectic garden and backyard cottage-studio, located in down town Aromas. Let the old fashioned ambiance draw you in, smell the sweet Jasmine and enjoy the lush green flowering garden. Follow the path to the citrus garden along the lime-hedge, past the gorilla hiding behind the honey bush, to the back lawn by the fruit trees and vegetables. That’s where you’ll find Sally’s cottage-studio. This is not an ordinary cottage and Sally is not an ordinary woman. She is the co-founder of the Garden Tour, a master gardener and an artist who creates fantastic ceramic sculptures and arranges them as accents throughout her garden. You will see dozens of life-size heads of well known people and unknown characters, plus colorful fish and birds. The sculptures are glazed and fired. She usually plants a succulent, fern or flower in the top of their heads, substituting as hair. She will be demonstrating her sculpting techniques’ and I will be signing my mystery novel, Secure the Ranch, in Sally’s backyard, May 7th, 10:00 to 4:00. Hope to see you there…………….by Joyce Oroz

Aromas garden Tour 2011

Annual Aromas Garden Tour 2011

May 7th, you are invited to roam the beautiful green countryside of Aromas where you will find special gardens on display. This year’s event will be the Saturday before Mother’s Day, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. We invite you and your friends or family to join us at the Aromas Grange, corner of Rose Ave. and Bardue Ave., where tickets are just a $10.00 donation, (tax-deductable) per person. You will be given a booklet with a map of the gardens in it.

4-H will be on hand at the Aromas Community Grange to sell plants and boxed lunches. Representatives from the Aromas Water District will answer questions and offer a list of the best plants for water-wise planting. Master Gardeners will be available to answer your gardening questions and give advice.

This year there are ten lovely properties ranging from cottage gardens to acreages, iris and orchids to organic veggie and herb starts. Each garden will host various Aromas artisans displaying a huge variety of art including etchings, watercolors, beaded jewelry, stained glass, published novels, pottery, quilting, unique 3-d gift cards, mosaics, lapidary jewelry and more! Every mother loves a garden, so bring Mom and Grandma to the lovely hills of Aromas. Enjoy the gardens, the people and the original art, and you might happen upon a last minute Mother’s Day gift.
Aromas sits at the corners of three counties (Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito). In 1999 local artisans, headed by a poet, formed the guild known as the Aromas Hills Artisans, or AHA’s, which now boasts more than seventy members. The artists meet on the first Wednesday of each month from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the Aromas Grange. The guild plans events, supports and inspires fellow artists and shares new ideas and techniques. Membership is only $25.00 per year.
The “Aromas Hills Artisans” is now a non-profit philanthropic organization which promotes art education through scholarships to members, enabling them to attend workshops. AHA has provided artists to teach art sessions at the elementary school and has paid for art education during the summer for talented high school students. They have donated art pieces for school fundraisers as well as money to pay for school art supplies.
Now that you know all about this wonderful garden event, put it on your calendar. See you there! I'll be signing copies of Secure the Ranch.
Joyce Oroz, Aromas, CA

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Muraling.....Part Five

Muraling Part Five
Part of the creative process is problem solving, such as incorporating the niche, mail slot, light switch, vent, thermostat or faucet into your design. Remember to take into account the condition of the wall. Allow extra time to plaster holes, prime and paint.
Never paint your mural over primer. The total area should be flawless and painted with acrylic low-sheen paint……...

……….. ….Supplies you will need for an average 10ft x 12ft mural……………….
1. …….Acrylic (water-base) semi-gloss or low-sheen paint…. 6 to 12 oz size bottles of each color paint and quart size for white. (more paint for very large murals)
2. …….A variety of brushes made for acrylic paint in sizes 00 up to two or three inches wide. You don’t need every size in between. You might try sizes 2, 4, 8, and 12 (which tend to be expensive) plus a two-inch natural-bristle brush. ( 2 dollars or less at the hardware store)
3. ……..Tarps, masking tape, sandpaper and a two-foot measuring level.
4. ……..Clean recycled food containers and lids. (yogurt, baby food, tv dinner trays, deli containers, peanut butter jars, etc.)
5. ……..Newspaper, pencils or colored chalk.
6. ……..Cotton rags, paper towels, a bottle of rubbing alcohol and some Goof-off in case of spilled paint.
7. ……..Camera for before and after pictures and a small hand-mirror? Stay tuned and I will explain.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sandy wearing designer bunny ears

Easter was lip-smackin good

Sandy wore her designer bunny ears as she welcomed two Easter guests, Coral and Buddy. Being experienced party-goers, she and her guests took care of all ham trinnings, dropped Easter eggs and leftover pie. They took their naps in high-traffic hallways where the crowd could admire their coats. One more holiday party of food, friends and frolic for three weary partiers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sowing...........a poem by Joyce Riley

When I plant a seed I see
whatever the seed is meant to be
and, when I plant a thought I find
each thought becomes a state of mind
Every thought and every seed
becomes a flower or a weed
so I watch what I am sowing,
that I may see bright flowers growing.

by Joyce Riley

Monday, April 18, 2011

Read My Lipstick, by Joyce Oroz

Second novel in the
Josephine Stuart Mystery Series
By Joyce Oroz

Now available on Kindle

An accountant working at the new
Thornton Therapy Center dies from
a fall down the stairs. Josephine Stuart
is hired to paint murals at the Center,
and is the first person on the scene.
The dying man indicates he was struck
from behind. The ever-curious
Josephine finds an email convincing
her that a woman she knows is
the murderer. The woman realizes Josephine
knows the truth, lures her to a cabin in
Tahoe and is prepared to shut her up for

Friday, April 15, 2011

Interview with Crime Fiction Author & Criminologist Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is the first member of the Aromas Hills Artisans to be interviewed by Joyce Oroz. Stay tuned for more AHA interviews in the future!

Are you trying to scare the whole world with your stories, or just me? (shiver)

I approach my stories like an amusement park ride, buy a ticket, take a ride, and have fun in the process, with ups and downs… until the grand finale. Hopefully, you’ll want to take that ride again!

Who is Sarge and why is he so special? Does he inspire dog participation in your stories?

Sarge is my one year old, black Labrador retriever. He is very special. A wonderful dog companion that acts sometimes as my creative consultant. My latest crime fiction story, Silent Partner, was loosely inspired by my previous black Lab. It’s a story about a police K9 officer who is on the trail of a serial killer.

Are you and Emily related?

This question makes me giggle. I wish I was like Emily, but she’s a lot tougher and smarter than I am. Emily Stone is my heroine in my thriller series, Compulsion and Dead Game. I created this character to anonymously hunt down serial killers and child predators, while secretly emailing the cops in charge with the documented information.

If you could live and write anywhere, where would you live and why?

I love where I live in California right now. But, if I had to choose my second favorite place, it would be in Kauai. I love the beautiful island atmosphere and it sparks a lot of creative inspiration for me.

Are you a fair-weather writer, or do you like to write when it rains?

I love to write when it’s raining, storming in fact. I find it more difficult to write when it’s sunny and warm outside because I want to be out enjoying the weather.

When you finally take a day or two off from writing, what do you like to do?

I write 5-6 days a week. When I’m not writing, I find myself getting out to enjoy a hike, the beach with my dogs, or focusing my creativity on photography.

Do policemen read your books?

Yes, they do! I’m very fortunate to have met police officers through my research that I can now call them friends. I’ve had police K9 officers give the thumbs up on Silent Partner and other officers are fans of Emily Stone.

Thank you, Jennifer for all the nightmares, I mean, thrills. Do you have another story planned to keep me awake all night?

Thank you so much for the opportunity to chat today. Yes, I’m currently working on a fiction/thriller (Emily Stone Series #3) and it should be available before the end of the year.

About the author:

Jennifer Chase holds a bachelor's degree in police forensics and a master's degree in criminology. Her intense curiosity in the psychological aspect of crime is what drives her to write crime fiction/. She is the author of Compulsion, Dead Game, and Silent Partner. She lives in California, where she's currently at work on her next book in the series.

For more information about Author Jennifer Chase, please click here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Interview With Mike Angley - Part Two

Colonel, how did you develop the character of your protagonist? ................................... Patrick O’Donnell has specks of Mike Angley in him. He’s Irish-Catholic, a devoted father and husband, and he’s a USAF Special Agent! His faith becomes his foundation as he faces life-and-death decisions, and even when he simply battles his own human frailties. Although his faith is a large part of the story, I use it as a character development device. My stories are not Christian fiction in the traditional sense of the genre, although they have found a following among readers of Christian fiction. One big boost I received came with the first novel. When it launched in June 2009, the Library Journal put it on its Summer Reads List for Christian fiction................................................
What are your hero’s strengths and weaknesses? ...............................Pat’s strengths are his faith and family. He’s got a strong moral compass, and while he faces temptations like most people do, he has to occasionally re-ground himself and get on the right path at times. His greatest flaw is an inability to tell lies – most people would find that a strength, but as a government agent, the occasional white lie to cover an operation effectively is a necessity. He finds that hard to do, and his inquisitive wife is constantly in the background questioning what he is doing during late night missions and far away trips. ............................................ What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind? ............................................ Each book has its own bad guys. There are no recurring ones in the series. In the first story, the bad guys are all internal to the government. People he works with are motivated by personal ambitions and their own flaws, and he must grapple all that as he tries to run his operations. In Resurrection, the antagonist is external to the secret program. Pat works with good people this time around, but the bad guy is someone on the outside. In Revelation, the antagonists are external and obvious – North Korean terrorists and the leader of the regime: Kim, Jong-il. But, Pat senses there’s something mysterious going on with this mission, and he has reason to wonder why the President and the Pope are involved. Are their intentions pure? Is the obvious collaboration he sees borne of good or bad intent? ................................................. Did any of your real-life experiences factor in to the plot at all? ................................................ Yes, but in a general sense. I certainly experienced plenty of investigations involving children as victims of crime, and each one touched my heart and helped inspire the series. I never had any involvement with a psychic, but I have had several walk in to my office over the years claiming an ability to solve crimes. Sadly, not one ever panned out. I am a genuine skeptic of the paranormal, but you would never know that from my stories! .................................................. Beyond this novel(s) what are your future writing plans? ................................................. To be the next James Patterson! I have no WIPs right now, but I have some loose ideas for future standalone stories. I think I’ve got the trilogy bug out of my system, and I loved the journey, but I want to focus future books on new characters and plots. I like the idea of protagonists who are unlikely heroes: school teachers, scientists, stay-at-home moms, even…so stay tuned! ............................................... Will you continue to feature the same protagonist in future stories? Will any other characters migrate over to future books? ............................................... No and no – but I won’t rule out the possibility of one or two of them popping up in bit roles in a future story. ............................................... Is there anything else you might want to add? Like your beagle named Brynn? .............................................. Working from home (both writing and my consulting work) enables me to take care of the family dog. Brynn is our American Beagle whom I’ve raised from a pup the last three years. I walk her daily, house broke her early, and in return she has kept me company. She usually sits by my feet when I write, and gives me someone to talk to. I bounce ideas off her for plot and dialogue, but she hasn’t responded yet. I take her head gestures for what they are worth: approval! ....................................................... Thanks for having me on your blog! I’d love for your readers to swing by mine and show some love: ...................................................... Thank you Mike, for the insight into you and your marvelous books!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Open Studio Tour takes you to the heart of art

The annual San Benito Open Studios Tour is happening April 16 and 17...10:00 to 4:00. It is one of my favorite events because it's free, fun and full of fantastic artwork..........paintings, stained glass, fused glass, ceramics, jewelry, photography, etc..................... Taking the self-guided tour of Hollister, San Juan Batista and Aromas is very simple once you have a map. The little town of Aromas sits at the corners of three counties (Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito) and can be reached from Highway 1 or 101 by taking Highway 129. The turnoff at Rogge Lane will bring you right into town. Look for the Open Studio signs and remember, maps of the tour will be available at 331 Carpenteria........................ In 1999 local artisans formed a guild known as the Aromas Hills Artisans, or AHA’s, which now boasts over seventy members. Artists meet on the first Wednesday of each month from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Aromas Grange. The guild plans events, supports and inspires artists and shares new ideas and techniques. Membership is only $25.00 per year and it is now possible to join as “Friend of AHA” to support the work of AHA enriching the lives of our community. The Aromas Hills Artisans guild has developed into a philanthropic non-profit organization which promotes art education through scholarships to members, enabling them to attend workshops. ‘AHA’ has provided artists to teach art sessions at the elementary school and has paid for art education during the summer for talented high school students. They have donated art pieces for school fundraisers as well as money to pay for school art supplies. Every year, at Autumn Art, member artisans give free workshops to the community so that children and adults can try their hand at the artistic process. The Aromas Hills Artisans also bring professional artists to Aromas for workshops open to all........................... April 4th through 18th the Blak Sage Gallery at 727 San Benito Street, Hollister will have a preview exhibit, and will host an artist’s reception Saturday, April 4, 2009 – 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the gallery. To preview each artist at home, go to or call Sharlene for more information at 831-636-2787.

San Benito Open Studios.....why you should go

Maybe you're looking for something out of the ordinary to entertain you next weekend, or at least to keep you away from the cookies, popcorn and 1972 TV re-runs. In any case, the free, self-guided Open Studios Tour should get your blood running, put a smile on your face and stimulate your imagination. Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17 are your opportunity to vist artist's studios in Aromas, San Juan Batista and Hollister. 24 artists are preparing their work places for your vist . They will be demonstrating materials, tools and techniques, plus answering your questions. Original art pieces will be for sale both days, 10:00 am-4:00pm. The Aromas Hills Artisans will be happy to see you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Muraling Part Four

If you want to paint on a child’s bedroom wall, choose a subject that will not be out-grown in a year or two. Nature scenes last many, many years. How about an ocean with a galleon sailing in the distance or a meadow ringed with trees and forest animals? A garden with Peter Rabbit? Sports symbols or a castle on a hill? So many choices, so little time....................... Think of a mural as a make-over for your wall and for the entire room. Let color enhance and rejuvenate the area, warm it or cool it and connect it to your special treasures on display. Think about how you typically use the room. Is it used for quiet purposes like reading, or is it party central … or somewhere in between? A foggy seashore scene will feel cool and quiet while a tourquise bay in the Bahamas will add warmth and vitality. Have an over-active child, paint a simple meadow, blue sky and lazy clouds watching over him....................... Ideally, murals should be positioned ……........ 1. opposite from walls with windows…….. 2. at the end of a hallway, not in the hallway……. 3. on smooth, untextured or lightly textured walls……. 4. away from possible graffiti activity…….. But it’s not a perfect world and we will work around all that. If you have room to step back six feet or more from the picture, if the wall isn’t horribly textured, you’re good to go. It’s only paint, and the mural can always be repaired. You might want to put a “graffiti coat” on your outdoor mural if it’s open to the public. Remember to label extra samples of paint colors in sealed containers (baby food jars) for future touch-ups.

Muraling Part Four

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Fascinating Interview with Author Mike Angley

Welcome, Colonel, please tell us about your very impressive background in the military. ...................I don’t know how impressive it was, but I sure know how much fun I had. I served for almost 26 years as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. It’s called OSI for short, and its mission is identical to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS. I consider myself blessed to have enjoyed the experiences I had..... From running criminal investigations, to conducting counterintelligence operations – especially during the Cold War against Soviet agents, to counterterrorism operations throughout the Middle East and north Africa…it was all a bunch of fun............. One nice thing about the US Air Force is its heavy use of technology, all of which required protection and unique approaches to security. I was privy to some of the most advanced technologies and secrets our government maintains. At times, it was very strange and esoteric. In my last assignment, I commanded the OSI operation in support of Air Force Space Command, and one of my major responsibilities was to conduct counterintelligence operations. Basically, if it entered or exited our atmosphere, it was mine. You can use your imagination on that one. I ain’t talkin’! ...............................................Have you always been a writer at heart? What put you on the path you’re on?.......................... I’ve always LOVED to write, ever since I learned to read. I wrote poetry early on, followed by short stories in high school and college. My high school poetry was more about impressing girls than it was about trying to be a good poet, I must confess! I had always wanted to write novel-length fiction, but that pesky Air Force career stood in front of me and kept me busy. It was not until I retired in 2007 that I pursued that passion. In a way, having had the career I did gave me a rich set of experiences from which to draw to craft my thrillers. Command, and one of my major responsibilities was to conduct counterintelligence operations. Basically, if it entered or exited our atmosphere, it was mine........................... Please tell us about the three book series you have written. How much truth? How much fiction?.............................. A dabble of truth, and a whole lot of fiction … I think sums it up best. The truth lies in how I structured elements of the law enforcement and intelligence communities in my stories. I use real agencies (from the alphabet soup of the Washington, DC Beltway: OSI, FBI, CIA, etc). I worked with them all during my career, so I use that interaction to build genuine types of relationships in my books. There’s a classified program that I crafted for my Child Finder Trilogy (CRYSTAL ROUNDUP) that doesn’t exist for real, but if it did, it would operate the way I lay it out in the books. But I don’t reveal any state secrets in my plots...... My third book, Child Finder: Revelation, has stirred some “consternation” to put it mildly, among some senior Department of Defense people. I run the plot along a sharp edge of reality that has made some folks uncomfortable…I kind of like that! It doesn’t push beyond the boundaries of fiction. I may be the mouse being chased by the cat, and not the other way around............... The final book in the trilogy, Child Finder: Revelation, pulls O’Donnell to North Korea to rescue an Ambassador’s twin daughters. Throughout the preparation for his dangerous journey, he is surrounded by a mystery. There is something very special about these girls that a handful of important people seem to know, and they aren’t sharing it with him. His mentor, the President of the United States, and the Pope are all involved…directly and personally. Rescuing the preteens at any cost is his mandate. Will he come home alive? Will he learn their secrets? If he does, will he regret knowing what he comes to know? This book is set for a release date (tentatively) circa Sep/Oct 2011.. Mike Angley Special Agent (USAF, ret) Colonel (USAF, ret) Award-winning Author of the Child Finder Trilogy