Nancy's Notes From Florida

Preparing for a Hurricane

August 1, 2020

Preparing for a hurricane should start on June 1st at the beginning of the season. But once a storm is headed your way, it’s time to gear up for action. We are expecting a tropical storm from Isaias here in Broward County later today, but other areas might be more impacted. Then again, storms have been known to suddenly strengthen and change direction. Even if you’re in the forecast track and not expecting much, it’s better to be somewhat prepared than none at all.

Preparing for a Hurricane

HURRICANE PREP LIST

1. Buy bags of ice. Put on lower shelves in freezer, and later in fridge if power is out, so melting ice doesn’t flood the interior. Or freeze water in plastic containers to help keep food cool. You can also use empty water bottles instead of discarding them. Turn fridge to coldest setting ahead of storm.
2. Buy bottled water, fruit juices, sports drinks, and caffeinated beverages that you can drink cold or at room temperature. Fill plastic pitchers, thermos bottles, and other containers with tap water and refrigerate for drinking.
3. Have enough food in stock. Fruits that keeps well: grapes, apples, bananas. Applesauce and other packaged fruits are good buys. Get bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can buy peanut butter in individual portions. Get snack packs with hard cheeses, crackers, peanut butter, dried fruits, apple slices, or grapes. Canned chicken, baked beans, and nuts are good sources of protein. Canned tuna or salmon tend to smell more if there’s no garbage pickup. Or buy the tuna in a pouch. Maybe make a sandwich ahead of time so you have a grab-and-go lunch.
4. Cook and eat the perishable foods in your freezer and refrigerator. Hard boil your eggs, and make sure you cook dinner early as the storm approaches in case the power goes out. If you wish, have a cooler handy. When the power goes out, put a block of ice inside along with the refrigerated foods you’re likely to eat first. This will save you from opening the refrigerator door too often.
5. Consider boarding your pet at a kennel or make plans to secure your pet with enough supplies.
6. Back up important computer files. Send an email to yourself at another online address with your most recent files. Back up to a flash drive that you can carry around.
7. Bring in all loose objects from outside.
8. Do the laundry.
9. Perform personal grooming essentials. It’s hard to shave and wash hair with no lights, and the water might get contaminated.
10. Fill gas tank in car.
11. Get extra cash to have on hand. ATMs won’t work in a power failure.
12. Pay bills due or coming due.
13. Charge cell phone, tablet, and other portable electronics. Get a portable charger.
14. Prepare a list of repairmen and tree trimmers who might be needed.
16. Buy hand sanitizer and moist wipes in case the water is contaminated.
17. Have paper plates and cups on hand along with plastic utensils and paper towels. Also invest in duct tape and plastic sheeting to use if a window breaks.
18. Stock up on trash bags to clear away debris.
19. Place a flashlight or battery-run lantern in each room or in a central location. Keep extra batteries in stock. Candles can be a fire hazard, and they don’t provide enough light to read by in the dark. Carry a flashlight with you wherever you go in the house in case the power blinks out. For any solar-powered devices, make sure they’re well exposed to light beforehand.
20. Put insurance papers and other important documents, including copies of recent utility bills, into a plastic bag for quick departure, or store copies in a separate location. Scan them into your computer files and backup to the Cloud. Put other important papers into a plastic container. Some folks suggest putting these papers into your dishwasher or washing machine, as they are waterproof inside, and closing it tight.
21. Buy an emergency hand-crank radio that also comes with a light and a cell phone charger. I like the Eton brand, which is sold on Amazon. Make sure the one you get has a USB port for charging your devices.
22. Learn how to open your garage on manual in case power goes out. Keep instructions handy. Also know how to turn off the low battery alert on your security system if you have one.
23. Get a Kindle or other e-reader with a backlight to use when the power goes out. Keep it fully charged.
24. If you think water might get into the house, put some clothes into a large plastic garbage bag and seal it.
25. Prepare your safe room. Put blankets on the floor unless it’s carpeted. Add a portable radio, lantern, e-reader, snacks, water bottles, and emergency papers in a plastic bag. Put your purse in there. Also have a go-bag with portable electronics, chargers and other emergency items.
26. Keep the air-conditioning temperature very low so when the power goes, it’ll stay cooler a little longer.
27. Add a first aid kit to the supplies you might need.
28. Have a place you can call outside your area that every member of your household knows about in case you get separated. Then you can call this number and let everyone in your household know where you are and that you’re okay.
29. Take photos of your furniture, prized possessions, and appliances. If you can, fill out a spreadsheet with dates and place of purchase as well as cost. Store these in the cloud for insurance purposes.

Preparing for a Hurricane #tropicalstorm #hurricane Click To Tweet

What else would you add?

GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench at https://bookloversbench.com/win-a-free-book-august-2020/

Booklover's Bench Monthly Contest



• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , |  6 Comments


A Writer’s Job is Never Done

July 28, 2020

Authors have all sorts of administrative tasks, from answering emails, to fielding workshop requests, to creating book ads, to keeping up with social media and writing blogs. These behind-the-scenes duties can keep us busy from morning to night.

A Writers's Job is Never Done

When I’m in a creative phase, the writing comes first. But right now, I am taking a moratorium from writing to get these other jobs done. Yesterday, I spent the morning updating all the buy links on my website. This was necessary since I’ve added my full-length Bad Hair Day mysteries to Ingram. Readers should be able to order the entire set in print at their local indie bookstore. The paperback editions are also available at Barnes and Noble, but they have to be ordered online because they’re coming from another distributor.

Meanwhile, I finished the final proofing for my first futuristic romance trilogy that required substantial editing. I’d written these traditionally published books years ago and needed to bring them up to my current standards. These will need new covers and reformatting. Hiring a cover designer is next on my agenda. If I have to help search for images, that could take hours. At least I already have a concept in mind for each series. I’ve also asked ACX for my audiobooks to go non-exclusive so I can put them “wide” in terms of distribution. Once I get the rights cleared, I’ll kick this project into gear.

Price promotions and box sets are on the horizon also, but these will involve a learning curve. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but had to get all my books uploaded first.

A Writer's Job is Never Done #amwriting #writingcommunity Click To Tweet

As you can see, these are full-time tasks. Once they are completed, I can move on to new works. Or maybe by then, this virus will be gone and I’ll want to enjoy life and being a grandma. Who knows? At the moment, we have to take things day-by-day.

Thankfully, as a writer, this doesn’t mean much in the way of adjustment. Our normal routine is to stay home in front of the computer. Since we are in forced isolation, we can get even more done if we focus on our work and not the daily news. So batten down your hatches. Make a list of all these nagging tasks you’ve been meaning to do as a writer. And get to work! Use this time to your advantage. What will be the first item on your list?



• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , , |  4 Comments


Florida Writers Organizations

July 22, 2020

I’ve compiled a list of Florida writers organizations for those of you seeking like-minded individuals in the state. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to add to it or adapt it for your needs. But if you’re new to our semi-tropical paradise and are looking to get connected with other writers, I hope this group list will help.

Florida Chapter of MWA (Mystery Writers of America)
http://www.mwaflorida.org/
SleuthFest (annual conference)

Sisters in Crime Chapters
https://www.sistersincrime.org/

Citrus Crime Writers
Central Florida Chapter
https://citruscrimewriters.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/citruscrimewriters/

Florida Gulf Coast Sisters in Crime
Sarasota
http://flgcsinc.com
https://www.facebook.com/FloridaGulfCoastSistersinCrim/

Florida Treasure Coast Chapter
https://www.facebook.com/FTCCSinC

Northeast Florida Sisters in Crime
Jacksonville
https://nefloridasistersincrime.org/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/756160537854016/

Florida Chapters of RWA (Romance Writers of America)
https://www.rwa.org/

Central Florida Romance Writers
Orlando
https://www.cfrwa.com/

First Coast Romance Writers
Jacksonville
https://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/

Florida Romance Writers, Inc.
Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach
http://www.frwriters.org

Southwest Florida Romance Writers
Naples/Fort Myers
http://www.swfrw.org

SpacecoasT Authors Of Romance
Melbourne
http://www.authorsofromance.com/

Other Florida Writers Groups

Florida Authors and Publishers Association
http://www.myFAPA.org
FAPA Conference; President’s Book Awards

Florida Writers Association
http://www.floridawriters.net/
Satellite Groupshttps://floridawriters.net/membership/writers-groups/
Florida Writers Conference; Royal Palm Literary Awards

Florida West Coast Writers, Inc. (formerly Tampa Area Romance Writers)
Tampa
https://www.fwcwriters.com/

Gulf Coast Writers Association, Inc.
Fort Myers
http://www.gulfwriters.org

Orlando Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers
Orlando
https://www.meetup.com/Orlando-Science-Fiction-and-Fantasy-Writers/

Pine Island Writers
St. James City
http://www.pineislandwriters.org/

Sarasota Creative Writers Meet-up Group
Sarasota
http://www.meetup.com/The-Sarasota-Creative-Writers-Meetup-Group/

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Group of JX
Jacksonville
https://www.meetup.com/SFFJAX/

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Florida Region
https://florida.scbwi.org/

South Florida Writer’s Association
Miami
http://southfloridawritersassn.org/

Space Coast Writers Guild
Melbourne
http://www.scwg.org/

Writers Groups by Location
http://writersrelief.com/writing-groups-for-writers/#florida

List of Florida Writers Organizations #writingcommunity #Floridawriters Click To Tweet


• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , |  4 Comments


Facials Can Be Fatal Guest Post

July 21, 2020

Hi, today I have a guest post “The Story Behind the Story – Facials Can Be Fatal” at Suite T, and I urge you to take a look. I discuss part of the plotting process for Facials Can Be Fatal and the research that helped me write the book. So go on over to https://southernwritersmagazine.blogspot.com/2020/07/facials-can-be-fatal-story-behind-story.html for a behind-the-scenes glimpse and leave a comment to let me know you were there.

 

 



• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , , , , |  Be The First To Reply!


Facials Can Be Fatal

July 14, 2020

I am excited to announce the reissue of Facials Can Be Fatal, #13 in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries. 

Facials Can Be Fatal

Copyright © 2017 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-04-1
Print ISBN: 978-1-952886-05-8
Cover Design by Boulevard Photografica
Digital Layout by www.formatting4U.com
Cover Copy by BlurbWriter.com

Salon sleuth Marla Vail determines to peel back the truth when a wealthy socialite has a fatal facial at her day spa in this stylish cozy mystery.

During the frenzy of the December holidays, the last thing salon owner Marla Vail needs is a dead body slathered in a green facial mask at her new day spa. The victim, Valerie Weston, had been a major donor for Friends of Old Florida, a nonprofit historic building preservation society. Marla’s stylists are scheduled to work backstage at their upcoming gala fashion show, but Val’s demise might put a crimp in their plans.

Hoping to salvage her reputation, Marla determines to track down the killer. Although Val had been well liked by most people, she may have stumbled onto secrets that others would kill to keep. Soon Marla is unraveling clues involving historic buildings, family journals, pirates, and shipwrecks off the Florida coast. She’d better prepare for a body count that has nothing to do with hot stone massages and everything to do with murder.

Readers Favorite Gold Medal Winner    Royal Palm Literary Award Finalist

“Take a twisty mystery, add a cast of amiable characters, a dash of family drama, and a pinch of South Florida during the holiday season—they all add up to the recipe for a delightful cozy!” —Lucy Burdette, bestselling author of the Key West Food Critic Mysteries

Facials Can Be Fatal was originally published Five Star (Gale/Cengage). This Author’s Edition has been updated with added bonus materials.

Get Your Copy Here:

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print
Apple Books
BN Nook
BN Print
Kobo 
BookBub
Goodreads
Books2Read

Booksellers & Librarians – This title is available at Ingram

“The death of a philanthropist has Florida salon owner Marla Vail tearing her hair out… Marla needs Valerie’s death solved pronto so she can go back to planning her blended family’s joint Christmas-Hanukkah party and fending off their inquiries about when she and her new husband plan to have a baby.” Kirkus Reviews

“Pirates, hidden treasures, secret identities, murder… Book 13 in Nancy J. Cohen’s Bad Hair Day Mystery series has that and a whole lot more! This is the first cozy mystery I’ve read where the main character is married to the sexy detective on the case and I love that! The Bad Hair Day Mystery series books are captivating and exciting. It only took reading one book for me to become a fan.” Missi S., Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

“If Cut ’N Dye hair salon owner Marla Vail was hoping for a quiet holiday season, she’s in for a disappointment. Instead, it’s going to be a Hanukkah and Christmas season of murder, secrets, a hidden treasure, and family expectations. The fast pace will have readers swiftly turning the pages of this compelling holiday mystery.” Cynthia Chow, Kings River Life Magazine

“The story had more twists and turns than a pretzel. And I ate them all up! It is really fast-paced and kept me thoroughly engaged to the end. I especially liked Marla and her detective husband as a sleuthing duo and Marla’s relationship with her step-daughter. The combination gives a relatable real-world feel to the story.” Mayor Sonni, Readerpolis

FACIALS CAN BE FATAL - Hairstylist Marla Vail hits a snag when a client has a fatal facial at her day spa in this humorous #cozymystery Click To Tweet

GIVEAWAY

Enter Now to win a free book from Booklovers Bench in our July monthly contest. https://bookloversbench.com/win-a-free-book-july-2020/ ‎

Booklovers Bench July Contest Book Giveaway

 



• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , , , |  Be The First To Reply!