Can the man who once left Caroline behind now be trusted to rescue her? Caroline and Chad Gregory are happy on their island home at Painter Place. But an old vendetta against them puts Caroline in terrible danger. Her enemies are closing in, and the future of Painter Place is at stake. Her only hope of escape is a man known as the Jaguar, a legendary international operative—and the ex-boyfriend who once left Caroline behind. Even if he and a miracle can save her, Caroline will never be the same sheltered woman who has been groomed from childhood to inherit the island.
Could you act out a role to disguise your identity in a life or death situation? In my novel "Jaguar," a legendary intelligence operative rescues a kidnapped American woman whose mission code name is the "Princess." She is married to a powerful man who wants her home, but the first plan to get her out of the Amazon jungle fails. The Jaguar is forced on a jungle trek disguised as an American oil company representative, pretending the Princess is his wife. He's concerned about the stakes if she's not convincing in her role, but then finds that he's the awkward one.
The world of personal interactions has been shrunk to a text box or social media posts. Do you have fingers left over after counting your real friends on one hand? Some timeless and universal tips for how to gain and keep personal friends are: be genuine, pay close attention, be helpful, and be unforgettable. People ache for the healing that can be found in sharing a need or weakness, and they are waiting on someone they can trust to listen. Technology will never replace the human need for face-to-face interaction and touch.
Everyone has a time when they were either victims in an impossible situation, or they've had nightmares about it, or they were gripped with dread and urgency as they watched rescuers struggle against the odds in a news story. Where did you turn for hope of your deliverance? I believe every person born knows there is a power higher than themselves. Those who have chosen to walk with Christ can call on His omnipotence in their fear, asking for intervention to be rescued if it is His will, or praising Him for being trustworthy in the outcome of their circumstances. Those who don't have this assurance must rely on themselves.
Have you ever tried to flee a "calling" in your life? We all have one (or more), but the most challenging will force us to leave behind dreams we made on our own. Everything in our lives prepared us for the calling, and if we refuse, we open a void that will leave us restless and discontent. Jonah, an historic Biblical character, found there is always a ship out of the port of Joppa, but fleeing his call would never lead where he hoped.
How often do you incorporate what you experience via the movie or television screen into your real life? Many people do, for better or worse. When a small band of guerrillas is employed by an infamous drug cartel to capture a rare blonde-haired gringa who was kidnapped and taken to the Amazon jungle, it's a life or death matter for the Jaguar to be convincing as the husband of the woman he has rescued. He draws on interactions he recalls from movies, praying his enemies aren't perceptive. Fortunately, the Princess is quick-thinking and natural in her role as his wife. Once again, she's the one who saves the day - and their lives.
Many people envy those who achieve greatness, but they seldom consider the personal cost such a status requires. Few would choose to pay the price, and there's a reason for the old saying, "It's lonely at the top." Greatness is also found in talented people who are working in places we won't go, doing things we don't want to know about, for our good. They leave their families, close relationships, comforts, and safety behind as they follow a calling. They pay the price rather than live with the regret of being less than they were meant to be.
Some artists have a vision for cast-off broken glass, creating mosaic scenes to adorn items that bring fresh joy to new collectors. Another art form called "kintsugi" ("golden joinery") makes a broken ceramic item more valuable by mending it with precious metal mixed into lacquer, showcasing the repair. It's popular these days to up-cycle cast off art and furnishings into unique pieces. These art forms are visual reminders of treating breakage and repair as a vital part of the history of an object. Insightful people will apply this to overcoming inevitable brokenness and failure in our lives.
Several decades ago, a rural driver might pass a homemade sign or barn painted with the message "Jesus Saves." Some included the scripture "John 3:16." The words are simple and the meaning is profound, yet largely lost on people in today. The need for a Savior means we're living in a way that will bring judgement. But in many dark places in the world, accounts abound of supernatural intervention for people who hear this message. Caroline Painter will be moved to pass it on to a tribe in the Amazon jungle. But she never imagined what God would do with the simple offering from her sketchbook.
A daydream. A dance. A dangerous rendezvous. After graduating college and arriving home to Painter Place in the summer of 1960, a young bachelor named Wyeth Painter dreams of living a quiet life. But his father sends him to London to teach an art class where he meets and falls for model Chrissy Carnet, an American from D.C. By the time he discovers the stunning young lady's father is a fearsome international spy who brought them together, Wyeth's heart is in chaos. But Chrissy is determined to follow him and daydreams of creating a home on his island. With the Island Summer Dance looming ahead, Wyeth tries to protect Painter Place from any danger her presence might bring. Will Wyeth force himself to get over her, or can both their dreams intertwine and come true?
I've always been fascinated by music boxes, but I rarely wind one that has a melody I don't know. I honestly had no plan in mind for adding a music box to my fourth novel, Landmark, but a truly unusual one "showed up" for the story as I was writing and I instantly knew it belonged. Readers who enjoy the lure of a music box melody will love discovering what Wyeth Painter and Chrissy Carnet found together in a coastal antique shop.
The Sunflower Room was a joy to write into my fourth novel in the Painter Place Saga! The details came to me during the writing process. The profoundness of artist Wyeth Painter's insightful vision for the room struck me as a wonderful peek into his character. The rich history of Painter Place is embedded in his heart as the next heir and guardian of the island. He salvaged what he could from a cottage that didn't survive a storm, then he waited on the inspiration he knew would follow. When he poured himself into an artistic portrayal of the personality of the cottage, he had no idea how meaningful it would be to a special person who would come into his life.
How many times have you been focused on a task or problem when suddenly a door opens for you to help someone else? It takes discernment to recognize an opportunity from a waste of time and resources. In this excerpt, Wyeth's heart aches in prayer as he paints a view of the old Painter Chapel. Inside, a young lady prays for her own trouble. Neither come away with the guidance and answers they sought, but she is jarred by seeing Jesus' presence depicted in Wyeth's painting after "bothering" him to see it. Both have been moved to the same surrender - Jesus heard them, and they will trust Him in the outcomes.
Life is full of storms - and glorious days full of sunbeams. When well-lived, the days of sunbeams can prepare us for the next ferocious summer squall that may overpower us. But in our own might, we will never be the master of the difficulties that besiege us. That's when we need a "life ring." In your own life, who or what is the Life Ring that saves you?
September 21, 1989: Some monsters in the dark are real. Can Painter Place survive? Hurricane Hugo came in the dead of night, slamming Category 4 power into Charleston, South Carolina at the worst possible time—high tide. Painter Place is scoured by the writhing Atlantic storm surge, forcing Caroline Painter Gregory to say goodbye to a life she loves and face a future that may hold the worst that can possibly happen. On the devastated South Carolina coastline of 1989 and then in Arles, France during the centennial of Van Gogh’s life there, Hugo continues the saga of Painter Place.
Inspired by true accounts of survival and devastation in the wake of historic Hurricane Hugo on September 21, 1989, this novel explores human reactions as the survivors try to accept their new reality and move on to pick up the pieces. Nothing can ever be the same for those whose memories embrace what has been ripped from their lives, But moving on is a turning point, even a purging point. In the novel Hugo, this scene ends abruptly before a confrontation in which two former best friends will "spit out the poison" that's been between them for 8 years. The future of Painter Place rests on their shoulders. If they can work together on a vision for updating the battered island and mansion, it will accomodate a growing generation and a new era of guests who will be impacted by Painter Place.
"The Old Curiousity Shop" by Charles Dickens (1841) inspired a poignant scene in the turmoil of a hurricane in my novel, "Hugo." While soothing her toddler nephew, Caroline Painter's estranged relationship with her maternal grandfather was startlingly emphasized when she uses the Dicken's book as a drawing support. Dicken's story is a sad one, packed with a circus of characters and extremes in morality. At it's core is the lesson of how a man with a gambling addiction ruined his life and that of his sweet 14-year old granddaughter. Just as Nell is destroyed in trying to care for and protect the old man, many loved ones today are heartbroken and ruined by addicts within their own families.
In September of 1989, historic Hurricane Hugo left a horrific trail of devastation in the Atlantic before renewing its vigor to maul the Carolinas like a monster in the middle of the night. Rescuers on the British island of Montserrat raced the clock, risking their lives to find survivors while the storm sped to America. The aftermath of natural disasters seem to bring out the best and worst in humanity, and Hurricane Hugo was no different. Character is revealed in a person's actions, and in this scene, the aid worker is unaware he's being observed. As it turns out, his demeanor saved his life and secured his future as the Jaguar, who will be a main character in Book 3 of the Painter Place Saga.
As a child, our monsters came in the dark, when we were defenseless in our beds. So it was with the historic Hurricane Hugo in 1989, whose arrival at high tide created an epic catastrophe in the Charleston, SC area. In the middle of the night and without power, residents battled a storm that they couldn't see or hide from. If they survived, nothing would ever be the same.
In 1989, Historic Hurricane Hugo was a storm out of control, and it permanently changed the future for American artist Caroline Painter. She's forced to live with her uncle as he films a movie in Arles, France while her home is repaired. In the Roman Amphitheater in Arles, a matador enters her life using the controlled storm in his fiery persona to manage a difficult career. As the lead role in the movie that Caroline's uncle is directing, the matador actor demands a dramatic change in a key scene. If she's going to help her uncle, she must stop comparing the matador to the hurricane that destroyed her island home and trust his true identity.
An island. An artist. A secret. In June of 1985, Caroline Painter's uncle whisks her away from her island home at Painter Place to film an art video in the harbor village of Mevaggisey. But instead of clearing her head, the young artist becomes entangled in adventure on the English Channel when she influences a rock star’s contract and the media launches her into fame. When she returns home, she discovers a shattering secret that makes her question everything in her life. Can she trust the only one who says he understands?
Have you ever heard someone explain that some things can't be won by being close, as in a game of horseshoes, where being within 6 inches of the stake scores a point? Yet in casual dating relationships, many people act as if casting a wide net of kisses might perhaps catch a spouse, since they instinctively know that there should be something special about a shared romantic kiss. For those who are thoughtful about goals for having a future with only one lasting relationship, that incredible moment for their first kiss is saved to be shared with "the one" when he or she comes along in life, rather than played in numerous romantic games that don't win their prize. For Chad Gregory, he's waited for one woman to be his first kiss - and hopes she's waited for him.
Art and craft supply stores thrive because creativity is a calming activity. For some people, stress relief and fulfillment come from sewing, crochet, or knitting; for others, it may come from making jewelry, building models, or woodcrafts; and for others, it may be coloring, sketching, or painting. Creativity provides a safe place to vent our feelings and gain a measure of control in our lives, as the main character in Painter Place knows. Like me, Caroline Painter has often found refuge in art. Painting or coloring a beautiful view or design ministers to our spirit. We can be part of the solution to the negativity of life by creating something that makes a positive contribution to the world.
Have you ever longed for a do-over, a chance to make a better decision or to avoid an unexpected event that you believe changed your life for the worst? My novel Painter Place is set in the summer of 1985, when the movie "Back to the Future" was released. The characters go to the theater to see it on the day when Caroline learns a secret that shatters the way she sees her inheritance and her relationships with beloved people that she feels have betrayed her. But seeing the movie also gave her a perspective of the future, and how critical her role in it was. The pain she faced was a defining moment when she understood that her experience made her life priceless. Without it, Painter Place could never mean so much.
Passing along the legacy of hard-earned wisdom is vital to what we contribute to future generations. In the novels in the Painter Place Saga, the older generation plays a key role in raising the new generations to carry on the 300-year-old inheritance of (fictional) White Island, SC. No one wears that mantle as well as than the grand lady Savanna Painter. Like Gran Vanna, we can consider creative ways to pose questions that force another person to do some soul-searching, then patiently give them room to grope around in their hearts for answers. They may need time to grapple with something they've faced and the space not to be judged as right or wrong. More likely than not, we've struck a match to a flame that will illuminate that young person's journey. We've contributed significantly to their lives and enriched the lives of everyone they will interact with in the future, much as the ripple effect in a body of water.
I once overheard a long-time artist advise another one to always sell her work rather than hold onto a favorite for sentimental reasons. She said, “You can always paint another one.” But that was bad advice, because you’ll never be the same person when you "paint another one." In fact, if you painted the original with a passion that released emotions inside of you which encouraged personal growth, nothing of it remains to infuse into a copy. You moved on. In this scene from my novel Painter Place, a young artist named Caroline Painter illustrates my point about the change that prevents an artist from painting "another one." She's traveled to the English harbor town of Mevagissey in 1985 to help her uncle with filming an art video. The trip was supposed to help her get past a painful life change, but as an artist, it opened her emotions to try something bold and different.
A young American artist named Caroline Painter picked up her paint brushes. Painting was the therapy she needed to work through the emotions that crashed around inside her like the waves in the English Channel against the steep cliffs of Mevaggisey. Those cliffs were the view from her balcony in a bed and breakfast in the quaint harbor town. When a young man greeted her and asked to purchase the wildly experimental painting, she had no idea who he was or how both their lives would be impacted by this encounter.
Before Painter Place became inhabited, legends arose about the White Spirits that lived there. Long ago, in a time so far past that the names of the people in this story have been forgotten, the Wind Songs came to sing on White Island. At the time of this story, some still lived who claimed to have seen the spirits. Some claimed to have heard their songs, and everyone knew that once people heard the spirits sing, they were never the same. What change would come over the hunting party once they'd seen the White Wing and heard the Wind Songs?
Has anything profound ever happened in your life to change your spirit so utterly that you knew you'd never be the same? You saw the world in a new way, and your "heartsong" transitioned to embrace your new experience. If so, you'll love this legend! The fictional island of Painter Place has been inhabited by a dynasty of fine artists for over 300 years, so it was fitting to create folklore about how the setting has always been associated with sharing creativity and opening hearts. This moving story is dedicated affectionately and with admiration for all the many artists, authors, craftsmen, inventors, and hobbyists who've bestowed their dreams and talents to bring joy into the world.
A Shipwreck. A Faithful Dog. A legend. Superstitious crew members shouted to one another that Poseidon himself must be outraged, perhaps unhappy with the mythological god-influenced outcome between warring ships. Sixty sailors on the Aquarius worked desperately to get the sloop up to windward, but they were losing in a race ahead of the storm and running out of sea room. To come to shore too quickly would be the worst that could happen, for that's where ships wrecked and lives were lost. Smaller, stronger storm canvases strained against the roaring wind, spectral against wicked fingers of lightning. The salty black Atlantic doused the ten guns. It was impossible for the crew to hear their captain's shouted commands, but they all recoiled at a shivering crack that rent through all other sounds and sent despair to the core of their souls. King was a great swimmer and might survive if the unthinkable happened. But would the well-trained retriever leave his station of guarding an ominous old chest to save himself?
Who can resist listening to heartwarming accounts of dogs who accomplish remarkable deeds? Countless lives have been saved by the feats of pets and service breeds who sacrificed themselves, and many bring happiness and healing as therapy animals.to hurting people. In my legend "King's Ransom," the golden retriever named King is a symbol of dogs as heroes over the ages.
The greatest treasure that washed ashore wasn't the gold. Fleeting moonlight revealed the ghostly outline of a pirate flagship riding distant waves. Then all was dark again under scurrying clouds before a mermaid rose from the sea, shimmering under a moonbeam. The man who called himself Castaway stood spellbound as she promised treasure and a message to the master of the island. But the treasure she offered was lashed to small powder kegs that formed a makeshift raft. Could he trust a woman bearing pirate plunder?
Sadly, so many people are chained to jealousy and greed, They mistakenly believe they deserve the blessings someone else has and that people with wealth are evil - not those who covet it. Some even believe they are justified to demean the more fortunate and take what they have. I created a scene in my story that portrays what I see in the news today. Many people crave what wealth will buy, but hate those who have it. Yet, if they were the ones with wealth, they would feel persecuted for their American Dream - hard work and sacrifice to earn a better way of life.
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