Nancy's Notes From Florida

Getting Back into the Groove

February 18, 2021

The Muse has returned! Now that things are settling on the home front, I am back to writing. I’ve hit page 50 in my WIP that is tentatively titled Styled for Murder. It’s book #17 in the Bad Hair Day mystery series.


What helped was taking my notes and writing a synopsis to put the story into a cohesive whole. Also I wrote out my Cast of Characters, assigning names and finding photos on a royalty-free site to represent my suspects. This was a fun exercise and helped to gel the story in my mind. Here’s one of the suspects. The other shows Marla’s mother Anita and her stepfather Reed.

Construction Worker


Anita Reed
Anita and Reed

Now I go to the computer first thing in the morning. Instead of wrestling with decisions involving the house, I can focus on writing. I get up very early to do this before dawn because once I am distracted, it’s over. If I can get a few pages done, that’s enough to satisfy me. Marketing might not be my priority right now but I need to write the next book.

Then for the rest of the day, I can tackle the other chores on my to-do list, such as dealing with the propane gas company, the gutter people and the tree trimmers. We’re still finding doctors to replace the ones we left behind and that takes time-consuming research. It means tempering our annoyance when the PA shows up for our appointment and says the specialist isn’t there. But the list is getting shorter. Then maybe we can branch out and enjoy our surroundings like described in our farm trip below.

It’s a good feeling to be writing again. Marla is back in my head and the setting is familiar. Now I only have to channel the story and see where it takes me. I’d much rather be visualizing Marla’s antics than making decisions on which vendor to hire.


Last Day! Enter Here to win 7 free cozy mysteries from Booklover’s Bench in our February anniversary celebration! 

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Oak Haven Farms

February 4, 2021

We took a break from isolation to visit Oak Haven Farms & Winery to pick our own strawberries and roast hot dogs over a fire. It was a fun excursion, about a forty-minute ride from our new house. We parked in the dirt field then poked our heads inside the gift shop, café and wine tasting room. A staff member told us to go out in the field and someone would give us a crate to fill with fresh picked berries.

Sorrento Florida    Oak Haven Farm

We stooped to pluck the strawberries off the stems. When tired of bending, we gave up and headed into the shop to have our bounty weighed so we could pay.

u-pick strawberries    Nancy in field    fresh-picked strawberries

Then we bought hot dogs that came with rolls and a forked tool. We wove the meats onto the tines and went outdoors to cook the hot dogs in an open fire. I loved the charred taste.

  roasting hot dogs    charred hot dog

Then we went back inside to order a strawberry shortcake with whipped cream for dessert. It was a treat and enough for two to split.

We skipped the wine tasting that cost extra as we are not fond of fruit wines or the Florida grape varietal. But if you’re interested, you can indulge.


If you wish to visit, check online to see their schedule first. Strawberry season is limited.
Oak Haven Farms, 32430 Avington Rd, Sorrento, FL 32776 or

Excursion to Oak Haven Farms #Florida #strawberries Click To Tweet

I’m looking forward to warmer weather so we can get out more and explore the many sights of Central Florida. Suggestions are welcome!


Enter Here to win all 7 free cozy mysteries from Booklover’s Bench in our February Anniversary Celebration! 




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The Muse is on Vacation

January 29, 2021

After any life change, you have to access your situation and adjust to the new reality. My writing muse is taking time off. I was afraid that in moving, I’d lose my identity as a writer. Indeed, I’ve had a hard time mustering enthusiasm for my next book and other related projects on my 2021 goal list. Is it because my research involves hours of online searches for bathroom shelves, bookcases, towel racks, and other household necessities? If not items, I’m looking up reviews on local service people. Or maybe it’s the clutter around the house that keeps diverting my attention.

Is it possible to clear the mental fog to focus on writing? Or is it the book itself that’s holding me back? Could it be I haven’t yet found the “spark” to inspire me for this story? I have done the synopsis, which will act as a story guideline. But maybe I’d rather write a new series centered in this location instead of the one we’ve left. I have already written the first book in that regard. It merely needs revision to get in shape.

But I do feel an obligation to fans of my current series. This, if anything, may give me the kick in the pants I need to start writing again. What advice do you have to offer? I know some of my writer friends have dealt with these issues. How do you revive your interest in writing, especially if you’re indie published, after a drastic life change? How did you get back in the groove?


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Settling In

January 26, 2021

Moving into a new house requires lots of hard work. Our home improvements are slowly raising our comfort level day-by-day. The window treatments, most of which have been installed, greatly help our sense of privacy. My office is shaping up, although I had to order another bookcase to replace the built-in shelving I’d lost from the other house. It’s taking a long time to reorganize my papers but that’s essential to feeling in control.

My husband’s office space is great. He has his own computer desk and has put his music equipment in there. Adjacent to it is a guest bedroom with a Jack and Jill bathroom in between. Upstairs is another guest bedroom that will be a great boy’s room when our grandson stays over. We’re putting all the toys and kid’s books up there and have made the other upstairs bedroom into a media room with our CDs and DVDs. I don’t plan to go upstairs too often, but the kids will like it.

We have a list of projects for the handyman. We’ll need him to hang our mirrors and paintings among many other items. And these are only the inside issues. Outside are three towering trees we want to get removed plus landscaping, gutter cleaning and sprinkler repairs to do. Once we clear the garage of all our packing boxes, that space needs fixing up. So we won’t be done for quite a while.

Our new location is great. We are close to shopping with most of our favorite stores and restaurants nearby. We’ve had our first Covid vaccines and met our friendly neighbors. We even made an excursion one day to a strawberry farm. And of course, the best reason to be here of all is that we’re near our family. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I just wish we could be there sooner rather than later.

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Plumbing Problems

January 22, 2021

We had remodeled our former house to our specifications, including all new comfort-level toilets and bathroom vanities. This current house shows its twenty-year-old age. Two of the toilets needed “rebuilds” as the plumber expressed it. Other plumbing problems included hose-like contraptions in two showers that we had him replace with single-function fixed showerheads. We replaced old-fashioned knob handles with lever handles, redid the tub/shower trim and replaced three sink faucets. It’s amazing how much better this makes things look.

Next the medicine cabinets need replacement. They are missing shelves. I’m waiting for the handyman to tackle that problem. We bought a new mirror at Home Goods for one guest bathroom where we had the old purple one taken down.

The bathrooms have other issues. Our master bathroom faces the front of the house. Its only window has frosted glass and a tree shading it so very little sunlight comes inside. In cold weather, this cavernous space is freezing. The a/c unit is on the other side of the house, and the heat doesn’t reach in here. It’s freezing cold at night. We’ve applied to the HOA for tree removal, but that’s another issue. There’s a lack of shelves to hold room sprays and such, so I’ve ordered a bathroom cabinet. It’s here but has to be assembled and hung. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent searching online for these items.

In addition, the kitchen and bath storage space were poorly designed. We’ve hired a company that can redesign these interior spaces using the same doors and cabinets. For example, they’ll add drawers and pull-outs and other features. Meanwhile, our bathroom items are strewn everywhere as we have no place to put them. It’s one big empty space inside these cabinets.

These are a few of the multitude of things we have to deal with in a new house. It’s also why I can’t concentrate to write. I’m still waiting on a handyman and landscaper. Yesterday we spent getting estimates on new a/c units. And so each day goes, moving us closer to our goal of settling into a routine.

If you read my last post, here are pictures of the creepy attic. Does it stimulate your imagination? More moving adventures next time.


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