Guest Fox: Heather Gray

By Jeff Salter

            Delighted to have Heather Gray visiting today.  I’d asked her to bail me out this week because I know nearly nothing about flowers — which is our scheduled topic.  So Heather wrote her way through the back door, with a quirky, tongue-in-cheek approach that I find quite refreshing.  Hope y’all enjoy it as much as I did.

A Classical Love-Hate Relationship
By Heather Gray

Were you an amazingly gifted child who could do extraordinary things with little to no effort at all?  I was!  I could draw anything and make it look like a complete disaster.  Of course, I wasn’t actually trying to make my pictures look that bad.  That’s where the “no effort at all” comes in.  I could completely and utterly ruin any artistic endeavor without breaking a sweat.  I didn’t study.  There was no homework.  I didn’t have to recite the gobbledegook tenants of drawing.  I was simply that good, a natural you might even say.

I know, I know.  It’s hard, but I want you to try to control your envy.  I’m sure you, too, are quite good at doing certain things.  Perhaps you can perform higher mathematics in your mind.  Or create architectural masterpieces with toothpicks.  Maybe you can grow amazing flowers in your garden.  Or walk on your hands while drinking orange juice.   Whatever it is, I’m sure you, too, have something at which you excel beyond mortal comprehension.  Hard as it may be, try to celebrate your own strengths rather than give in to jealousy over mine.

Alas, I had one nemesis as an artistically disastrous child.  There was one thing which, no matter how many times I drew it, people always seemed to know what it was.  It was my kryptonite, my one glaring weakness.  Normally when I drew something, there would be a lot of hemming and hawing while the teacher tried to guess what it was.  In the end, she would always give up and ask me what the picture was supposed to be.  That is, until that one fateful day when I drew a picture and, without any of her usual avoidance techniques, my teacher said, “Nice picture.”  I, of course, could not leave it at that and demanded she tell me what I’d drawn.  Her response?  She had the gall to say, “Why, it’s a tulip, of course, and a lovely one, too.”

Thus began my lifelong love-hate relationship with tulips.  They ruined my perfect record of effortlessly turning the simplest piece of artwork into the stuff of nightmares.  Despite that, though, I was enchanted with them.  As I got older, I began planting bulbs and waiting for my tulips to show up each spring.  I would buy different colors and varieties, sometimes even ordering my bulbs online and getting them shipped all the way from Holland.  Yet to this day, if someone asks me to draw a picture of a tulip, I break out in a cold sweat and have flashbacks to the day in grade school when I drew something and…people could tell what it was.  I shudder now just thinking about it.

Freebie of the Day:  While most people believe tulips originally come from Holland, they were actually introduced to Europe via Turkey sometime before 1559 and then popularized by Holland in the later 1500s.

MailOrderMan_200x300Book Blurb
Some people get a mail order bride.  She got a mail order man.
A well-meaning friend places an ad to find a mail order husband for Sarah, the proprietress of Larkspur’s stage and mail office.  Sarah, who is generally quiet and reserved, doesn’t know about the ad and has no idea what to do with all the people showing up in her community.  Before long, the town is overrun with men and mail alike.  Sarah is trying to avoid some men who have accosted her on the street when she stumbles into Samuel.  Through long days spent together at the stage office, some very adventurous pots of coffee and a shared faith, the two become friends.  Sarah knows that Samuel is hiding something from her, something important, but that doesn’t stop her heart from leaping wildly into love.  Lacking the confidence to trust her heart, Sarah wars with herself over the feelings she can no longer deny.  When some of the men who have come to town show their true intentions, a shootout follows.  Sarah finally gets answers to many of the questions circling through her mind.  One question remains, though.  Where will her mail order bride go when the dust settles?

Author Bio
Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing.  Years ago she decided it would be better to laugh than yell.  Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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23 Responses to Guest Fox: Heather Gray

  1. Thank you for inviting me to join you today Jeff! I had a blast writing this post and hope your readers enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂


  2. jeff7salter says:

    Always delighted to have a Guest Fox, Heather.
    I’m a bit late this morning … it took two cups of coffee to get this far into my study.


  3. Wonderful post, Heather! I guess I don’t have to be jealous of your “talent” because I, too, excel at making a complete hash of something near and dear to my husband’s heart – keeping a clean house. I can take a neat and tidy room and trash it in no time flat. Never thought of it as a talent until you enlightened me. Thank you!


  4. I love tulips too. I blogged about them not too long ago myself and the fact that they are from Turkey. LOL AND I sure would like to see one of your drawings.


  5. Welcome, Heather…and what a delightful name for this week’s topic,(along with our Iris, and a Lilly dropped in, too,I believe!)
    I am also one of the world’s worst draw-ers and was a horror at it in school.One time we did a drawing with a traveling art teacher, step-by-step,( based on an hourglass), of a Pilgrim lady for Thanksgiving.I finally made a decent-looking picture, but my never-supportive teacher said,”She likes her own cooking! Do you know what that means?” Apparently, my hour-glass shape wasn’t nipped-in enough for my teacher.I was thoroughly depressed.
    Just before I read this I had polished tomorrow’s post which also talks about the flowers of Holland.Great mind think alike! Nice to have you with us.


    • Thank you Tonette! My grandmother once bought me some heather potpourri. I have to admit to not being enthralled with the fragrance. I felt guilty for not liking it and kept the potpourri in a glass dish in my bedroom for years out of a sense of obligation (and love for my grandmother).
      As for teachers…I suppose we’ve all fantastic ones as well as unpleasant ones. The remark about your Pilgrim lady liking her own cooking would have gone right over my head, and I would have remained blissfully ignorant of the criticism. There’s something to be said for living in one’s own world now and then. 🙂
      I look forward to reading your post!


    • jeff7salter says:

      Tonette, you had the misfortune of sev. ham-handed teachers, it seems.
      Thank goodness, I was blessed (mostly) with very supportive teachers, who encouraged — rather than discouraged — nearly everything I attempted.


  6. Thanks,Jeff, but with friends like you and others,(esp. here) ,I am getting encouragement now.
    The teacher had to explain what ‘liking her own cooking’ meant to me, too, Heather. I hope you do drop in and read the rest of our posts here; we have a lot of fun.
    BTW,I like your book premise AND your email address!


    • jeff7salter says:

      It makes me angry when I hear stories about how teachers not only missed opportunities to encourage students … but about some teachers (hopefully in a minority) who actively tamped down any creativity or seeking.


  7. Shari Schroeder says:

    I was just great at socializing as a kid, but my teachers didn’t see my “talent” as a positive for the classroom ‘environment’ – go figure. My “talent” actually earned me a negative grade! But little do they know, it HAS served me well in life. I liked this post, an amusing look at our own worst flaws, as judged by others. You’re obviously very creative and quite artistic, just might want to Exchange the crayons for the keyboard now 🙂


    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks for visiting, Shari. It’s amazing how qualities of personality and/or creative expression can be viewed dimly in the classroom … yet be instrumental in business, sales, research, etc.


    • Thank you for stopping by! I think that one of the biggest lessons we can learn in life is finding out how to accurately assess our own assets and then figure out the best way to use them. Some of us have nontraditional minds and mindsets, and that’s okay! It may have taken me until I was 30 to figure that one out…but I sure am glad I finally got it! 😉


  8. Iris B says:

    Hey, I like the fact about tulips coming from Turkey … wait til I tell that our Dutch radio presenter … LOL. Love tulips … red or black.
    What am I good at …. making my girls laugh when they’re upset (that is when I wasn’t the cause for it 😉 ), but I’m also good at living every day in second language, take everything in my stride, whinge before thinking and and and.
    Love the blurb … another one on the TBR list!


  9. Thank you for stopping by Iris! I was working on a blog post just this past week about creative ways to handle stress and frustration. I mentioned a song I used to sing when my kids would get just a little too much on my nerves. Keep in mind I can’t hold a tune for anything and the song was about the “adventures” of a rusty pitch fork…I can even joke myself out of a bad mood. 😉 Have a great day!


  10. jeff7salter says:

    Well, Heather, the official Hound Day has passed — and I want to thank you again for being Guest Fox here.
    I hope you’ll continue to check back in over the next couple of days since some people arrive late.


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