Friday, March 24, 2017

American Adventurer/Painter Jim Gray

 Jim Gray.  Ever heard of him?  No?  Well, you should have.  I was first drawn to the art of Jim Gray by his ship paintings.  I've always loved the ocean and lighthouses, so that love naturally evolved to include sailing ships, though the only sailing ships I have ever been aboard, besides our little eight-foot Sunflower, were anchored firmly and securely in the harbor.

Jim Gray is a special kind of artist.  He is first and foremost an American adventurer, who records his experiences, not with the camera or a tape recorder, but with the canvas.  For over fifty years, he has allowed us to join him on  his adventures through his paintings.

Jim's first job was not the typical grocery store stocker or  newspaper delivery boy, but an illustrator for a loan company.  His good-natured humorous drawings drew in the customers.

During the Korean War, Jim was an electronics instructor and later a technical illustrator in the Air Force.  Afterward he moved back to Mobile, Alabama, where he worked at an illustrator for an ad agency.  In 1962, he and two partners opened their own ad agency.

In 1966, Jim and his family visited the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee and it was a life changing experience.  He moved to Tennessee, leaving behind a very successful business, allowing his creative spirit to explore and paint the beautiful countryside surrounding the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

In 1968, Jim was featured in National Geographic, and the writer from NG was taken with Jim's enthusiasm and immense talent.  This article led to nationwide coverage in other magazines like American Artist and Southern Living.

When Carl Sagan was picking photos to be included on CD for the Voyager I and II missions, he chose one of Jim in his studio, painting a scene from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

I claim no rights to anything here.  None of this is my own.  

The list to the right is where I got my information on the talented Mr. Jim Gray, and I am including it for those who want to know more about him and view more of his works. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life by Carol Ann Kauffman

Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life
by Carol Ann Kauffman

Dear Gentle Readers,

Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life is a short story written in the form of a letter, or journal, from an ill mother to her unborn daughter. It has advice on love and life, as well as delicious recipes, like Spinach Cream Cheese Foldovers, Pineapple Squares, Chicken Parmesan, Italian Turkey Stuffing, and Ricotta Pies (chocolate, lemon, and cinnamon) to name of few.  These were my mother's recipes. 

Now, my mother was one of those old Italian ladies who never wrote down a recipe in her life. She never gave her recipes to anyone, not even my sister and me. When we would ask, she would say, "I'll make it for you. Come and get it tomorrow." 

She was an outstanding cook and baker.  Everything she made was outstanding. She made it all look effortless.  She was her happiest in the kitchen. Our home was always filled with hungry friends and relatives.

When she was in her nineties, very ill, and not expected to live much longer, she finally agreed to give me her recipes, provided I waited until she passed away before sharing them with anyone.

Then I would go home and make them, returning the following day with the results, which were never like my mother's. She would taste it and say, "you cooked it too long,"  "you rushed it", "too much flour", and my very favorite, "why the hell weren't you interested when I wanted to show you?", so I went back and fixed the recipe.

It wasn't an easy experience. It involved hours and hours of wringing these recipes from her, when the last thing she wanted to think about was food, or anything else pleasant. But it was a way for me to pass the time while I stayed with her and tried to get her mind off the road ahead of her.
My mother passed in March of 2006. The following Christmas I made a recipe photo album for each member of my family. On Dec. 25, 2013. I published Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life to share these recipes with you. I know you'll love them. Many of my readers have made some of these recipes part of their Christmas tradition.


Amazon Link: 

Recipe List:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SPORE by Christopher Weed

This gorgeous, eye-catching powder-coated steel beauty called Spore is the work of the very talented American metal sculptor, Christopher Weed.  His work is very well-known in the American West, with pieces on display in Denver and throughout Colorado.  

I had the privilege of viewing this spectacular piece in person at the Museum of Art in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the spring.  This giant purple orb draws you to it, bringing to mind some fascinating scientific object... or maybe a squishy toy... or a kidney stone... or an alien spacecraft from Doctor Who, all at the same time.  Once you see a "Weed" in person, you never forget it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dying Thoughts - Fifth Secret by Joey Paul

Join Tara in the fifth Dying Thoughts book...

Tara has an admirer, someone who thinks the world revolves around her. The problem is, they won’t reveal their identity and the notes they’re sending her are getting weirder and creepier.

Then there’s the fact that she thinks she’s being watched. And the notes seem to be coming from someone she knows. Now she’s getting scared.

Can she find out who they are before their behaviour escalates and Tara pays the price?

Links are:

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Madison Rand Books by Carol Ann Kauffman

Madison's Christmas tells the story of Madison Rand, a young woman dealing with grief during the holiday season, and is afraid to get involved with a handsome, new man at work who wiggles his way into her life. Although the Christmas season is a backdrop for the book, I wouldn't call it a Christmas book.  

Madison Rand's story continues in Christmas at Star Lake, which takes place the following December. Madison discovers the death of her father and Bob Turner, her best friend/sometimes boyfriend, were not natural causes. Someone is targeting Madison's highly specialized employees and eliminating them. She closes down her business, sends her people into hiding, and heads to a cabin in the woods on the lake in upstate New York. What could POSSIBLY go wrong? This one is a madcap adventure you don't want to miss.

There is a third and final installment in the Madison Rand book series. I'm working on it now. It should be out this coming holiday season. The Madison Rand short stories are published by Books To Go Now Publishers.


Amazon Links:
Madison's Christmas
Christmas at Star Lake

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Schedule for March 20 - 24, 2017

Schedule for March 20 - 24, 2017
Happy Spring, My Dears!

Mon., Mar. 20 - The Madison Rand Books
by Carol Ann Kauffman
Tues., Mar. 21 - Joey Paul's Cover Reveal for
Dying Thoughts, Fifth Secret
Wed., Mar. 22 - American Metal Sculptor
Christopher Weed
Thurs., Mar. 23 - Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life
by Carol Ann Kauffman
Fri., Mar. 24 - American Adventurer/Artist
Jim Gray

Friday, March 17, 2017

Elspeth McLean, the Dot Queen

Look at what this woman does with stones and paint!

These gorgeous painted stones are by Elspeth McLean, an Australian artist born in Gooseberry Hill, a small suburb in western Australia. She showed her artistic tendencies at a very early age.

She moved to the East Coast of Australia at the age of nineteen to follow her dream of becoming  a full time artist.

Elspeth now lives in Canada.

Elspeth creates breathtaking masterpieces of tiny, colorful dots in beautiful patterns on round ocean stones.  Each one is more beautiful than the next. 

Follow Elspeth McLean on Facebook by visiting her beautiful page at:

None of these photos are mine. I got them online or at website.  Her work is available for sale at 
etsy. com