Sunday, January 25, 2015

Barbara Jean and the Cuckoo........Barbara Jean Coast

  • Product Details
    Dear blog friends, today I plan to stay in my basement, working on my seventh book in the Josephine Stuart Mystery Series while author Barbara Jean Coast tells you what she thinks of book number five, Cuckoo Clock Caper. Here is the lovely lady herself--take it away Barbara Jean:Amazon.combarbarajeancoast

    Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff. While Andrea and Heather reside in Kelowna, BC, Canada, she is a resident of Santa Lucia, California, which is eerily similar to Santa Barbara. 

Hey there Guys and Dolls,
Let me introduce to you two laid back California gals of the current era: first is the main character of this fabulous tale Josephine Stuart who is a talented mural artist and amateur sleuth. Second, her creator, also a talented artist and author, Joyce Oroz. The Cuckoo Clock Caper is a suspenseful story that is explosive from the very first page!

The morning after the explosion of a house down the street, Jo has a surprise guest sleeping on her couch -- a ninety year old man whose sister died as a result of the night’s events. Something suspicious is going on and Josephine means to get to the bottom of the whole darn mess. There’s plenty of work to be getting on with as she has a mural to paint at a gallery, the old man Emmett who needs consoling and protection, a murderer on the loose, Solow the dog and other people in Jo’s life that need her attention. This gal has a romantic partner that’s a keeper as far as yours truly is concerned and he wants to keep her out of danger, but the fact is folks, Jo likes to help people and has a very inquisitive nature, making it a challenge for David. With every twist and turn in the plot you will be on the edge of your seat wondering if Josephine is putting herself, Emmett and the people they love in more danger or getting closer to solving the mystery of the explosion and catching a killer.

So make yourself a nice cool beverage and curl up with this fantastic tale of crime, capers, and cuckoo clocks! Aromas and other beautiful destinations described in Josephine’s investigative adventures await your arrival.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bead Tina Baine

 Tina Baine writes a column for the Santa Cruz Sentinel and very sweetly shared her hard work with me and now you can read it too. Check out her blog......The Passionate Maker,
Tina is maker-supreme and her blog is fascinating!
artist who has spent many years redefining and intensifying the creative possibilities of beads, is jewelry-maker Diedra Kmetovic. She was first attracted to beads when her grandmother gave her a box of beads when she was eight. Back then, she used macramé cord to make jewelry for her friends. These days, she makes intricately woven necklaces and bracelets using tiny glass beads and thread. Often forgoing the incorporation of traditional metal findings, she cleverly uses beads to make all parts of a necklace, including clasps, bales and bezels.
“I like versatile jewelry,” says Diedra, holding up a necklace that can be easily disconnected to be become three bracelets. Another necklace she has designed has a clasp with a large bead, so that if the clasp/bead combination is worn in front instead of the back, it looks like a pendant—essentially giving you two necklaces for the price of one. “My goal,” she says, “is never having someone say, ‘Oh, your clasp is in the front,’” as if it were a mistake. She makes her clasp designs worthy of being the focal point.
Undoubtedly some of Diedra’s most spectacular pieces of jewelry are her butterfly necklaces, inspired by the Monarchs which cling to branches in the eucalyptus grove at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, beginning each year in October. Her butterfly wings—made from hundreds of tiny orange, white and black seed beads—are every bit as beautiful as the real thing. Her most ambitious Monarch-inspired necklace is made from thousands of beads. “It took me 15 years to figure out how to do it,” she says, “and then three months to actually do it.”
Diedra’s turquoise bracelet shows how she uses beads
 instead of metal findings, to make the toggle clasp.
 Diedra taught beading until her all her teaching supplies
 were recently stolen from her car. “My summer beading
 classes were instantly full,” she says. Currently she
 teaches metal working at the Mountain Arts Center
 in Ben Lomond and in an after school program at San
 Lorenzo Valley Middle School in Felton.
There are many ways to use beads in jewelry making, including stringing (the most common), bead crochet, loom weaving and macramé. Diedra’s Monarchs are a good example of off-loom beadweaving, a family of beadwork techniques in which tiny glass seed beads are woven together into a flat fabric or a three-dimensional object. Each bead is just an element in the larger pattern and the overall design, and no single bead stands out. There are a number of different stitches used in beadweaving and each stitch produces a piece with a distinct texture, shape and pattern. People all over the world have created these complex woven patterns for centuries using only beads and thread.
Diedra says she is largely self-taught, although she uses magazines and books at times when she can find new techniques she doesn’t yet know. She describes herself as a tactile learner and her inspiration comes from the world around her. “Whenever I go on a trip I have to make something when I come back that captures that trip,” he says. “I have to come back and “sketch” it into beads.”

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Weber and Gerber Perform..........Joyce Oroz

Some days I talk about me, me, me and some days I talk about You. Today I am passing on something You might want to do for fun and for the Aromas Grange, in Aromas of all places. The Grange committee rents out the building for receptions, meetings, classes and fundraisers. They allow the Aromas Hills Artisans, Eagles and other non-profits to meet in the lovely old building--even more lovely with it's new kitchen. It is the hub of civilization if you live in or around Aromas. That's why we need to support the Grange whenever we can, and have fun doing it! Here is a letter from Jan Saxon:

To My Dear Friends,
We have two fantastic women performing at the Aromas Grange on Sunday, February 8th. Chris Webster and Nina Gerber are two of my favorite performers and they are both even better when they play together.                                     

The Grange Concert Series has become one of our most successful fundraising events, helping to fund our shiny new kitchen. I need your help to get the word out and sell those tickets! If we can sell out this show, we’ll be able to pay the performers more than we ever have before and make several thousand dollars toward our solar system and new heaters.
I’m attaching a flyer for the event. Please, please forward it to all your friends who love music, or love the Aromas Grange, or both. Encourage them to buy their tickets ahead of time (they’ll save a couple bucks per ticket if they do) and plan to come early for the fabulous roast chicken dinner (don’t worry, we also have a delicious vegetarian option).
Thanks, and I’ll see you there!

Jan Saxton
VP, Aromas Community Grange

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Big Jim Williams Jim Williams

I am so proud of my friend, Author Jim Williams--actually he goes by "Big Jim Williams" and the crook in my neck should tell you why. He's a bigger than life kinda guy with a powerful voice, and the published author of wonderful western stories and books. Look him up on Amazon! You'll feel the hard saddle, smell the sweaty horse and breath prairie dust when you open one of his books.
Here is an article Jim wrote for : Center For Successful Aging in Santa Barbara: published in the Winter 2015 issue available at

B-Westerns Made My A-List by Jim Williams

To pick a movie, book or painting that impacted me the most in my life is not easy. However, something does come to mind that has had a strong influence on my life. When I was a Depression-era kid growing up in Ojai, California, there was no greater joy than scraping together (finding or begging) 12 cents to attend the Ojai Theater and watch a B-Western movie. Five cents more and I could buy enough penny candy from the Ojai Sweet Shop to get my sticky hands and smiling face through the newsreel, cartoon, previews, B-Western and the main feature.
It was really the Western I wanted to see. Why?
Because I loved the action and never had trouble separating  the good guys from the bad, and always knew justice and goodwill would triumph by the end of the movie. The outlaws might win for a time, from robbing banks, rustling cattle or holding the wealthy ranch owner’s lovely daughter for ransom; but by the end of the third reel, the cowboys with the white hats would win, capture the outlaws, return the cattle, and save the beautiful damsel from a terrible fate.

Those movies were like morality plays.
I still believe that justice will prevail and we’ll head’em off at the pass. However, at my age and with my life experiences, I know justice may stumble and fall before it gets up and staggers across the finish line. Good that eventually comes out of evil seems now to take much longer than I remember as a kid.
Movie and morals have changed, or haven’t you noticed? And it doesn’t make me happy. In today’s movies, the good guy or gal, doesn’t always win. Sometimes it’s the bad guys, from horse thieves to gangsters and crooked polititions.
Those old B-Westerns still influence my life at age 82 because I continue to believe that eventually good people will win. Those black-and-white action westerns , from Hopalong Cassidy and John Wayne to Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, influenced me to the point that I’m now a published author of western yarns and books. And, because I write them, I can twist the story to make sure the good guys always win.

And something else that was good about those old times and movies; the popcorn, candy bars, and soft drinks cost only five cents.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Arthur Oroz

Today I will toot my husband’s horn for him because I can, and because he won’t do it himself. Author Arthur Oroz has written an historical fiction novel, Okinawa Moon, about the Korean War—OK, “incident.” But if you were there dodging bullets, it was a War. Art has also written short stories and poems. Today I will share one of his short stories with you. He wrote it years ago when we lived at the edge of a lake. In his own words:

I didn’t want to move here, but she, a Santa Cruzean, did and I had promised to move later, after I retired. Now it was later. There’s no doubt that the lake, a large pond really, surrounded by trees with the Santa Cruz Mountain backdrop, was striking with it’s changing and intricate hues and patterns brought about by the changeable wind and slow moving sun. The ducks, egrets and a widowed honky goose made patterns in the blue-green water. And there was that busy muskrat pushing bits of leaves and twigs from one part of the lake over to his ever increasing home in the copse under the softly covering willow trees.

My artist-wife would wax loquacious over the beauty of the lake and surroundings. “Look Hon, come see how the fog has covered the middle of the mountains like a fluffy white comforter. The lake magically disappears into it…and look at the vibrant yellow-green of the mountain to our left caused by that ray if sunlight peeking through the clouds.”

I would dutifully look and nod. “Yes, I see.” But I saw something else. Transylvania. Through the white mist I could see the faint outline of a tall forbidding castle nestled in the Carpathian Mountains and I knew who lived there. Of course, I never told her of my misgivings and now my worse fear had come to pass—flood.

Slowly the pond increased in size under the hard-driving rain and run-off from the nearby Carpathian Mountains. Every morning I would wake and quickly walk to the second floor kitchen window. What was once a perch to look at an idyllic scene was now an opening to a huge, cold overflowing lake. The water had turned to a cesspool of ugly grey-brown, lapping ever higher on my house. A herd of mallards, coots and miscegenized ducks were floating in over two feet of water in my back yard bobbing deeply, incessantly to feed on the tender green grass that I had looked after so carefully. The honky goose sat on the old rotting dock jutting up from the flooded lake noisily calling for its long departed mate. I don’t know why she did so, the mate was long gone. The goose previously believed she was a duck and ran with the flock. This was a bad sign.

This morning I surveyed the garage and lower workroom and found water nearly two feet deep and rising. Maybe it was time to get out before the water reached the electrical junction boxes and joined the forces trying to do me in. I went upstairs and through my wet porthole looked at the menacing lake. Now I could see it through the rain, mist and fog: a clear outline of a dark castle with crenulated walls and high towers jutting from the center. From afar, coming from the castle towards me, were two huge men slowly rowing a large strangely shaped boat. I knew I didn’t belong here with these strange coastal people and now I would probably be abducted and used for experiments. I thought I better prepare myself and put on my raincoat and new knee-high rubber boots. Might as well get some use out of them.

I startled when I felt my wife’s hand on my shoulder. “You’re still staring out that window. Oh, it looks like our neighbor Daryl rowing over to see us.” She added happily, “Well, it took El Nino to bring the lake up. Isn’t it just the most impressive sight you’ve ever seen? This is one of the most beautiful places to live in the world.”

I stared at her for awhile, looked back at the castle and only saw the honky goose staring glumly at me. I knew I had to head east over the mountains to sanity amongst the nerds.