MARCO ISLAND, FL

If you’d like to escape for several days to a beach haven away from it all, visit Marco Island. There’s as much or as little as you want to do here, with expansive sandy beaches, boat rides, fine dining, shopping, water sports, and more. Driving onto the island, a two hour drive west from Fort Lauderdale and just south of Naples, we stopped at the Snook Inn for lunch. Located on a waterway, this rustic restaurant offers a scenic view along with outdoor dining. I had Baked Stuffed Shrimp while my husband had Conch Chowder and Crab Cake Sliders. Then we went for cocktails later to Quinn’s on the Beach at the Marriott. Again, we chose outdoor seating so we could watch the sun descend on the horizon.

Snook Inn
Snook Inn

We spent two nights at the Hilton with its lovely pool area, big wide beach, three dining places, plus a lounge. The food in Sandpipers and the Paradise Café was excellent, better than many other restaurants we’ve experienced, with an artistic presentation worthy of the best worldwide establishments. For dinner in the Paradise Café, I ordered Coconut Crusted Tilapia that was absolutely delish. My husband ordered Salmon Oscar, and we shared a Key Lime Pie for dessert. Here you have a choice of eating outside on a screened patio with a view of the sunset and beach or inside in the air-cooled restaurant.

The last night found us at Capri Fish House where we ate outside under the chickee hut facing a waterway. While we waited for our food (I ordered grilled grouper), a thunderstorm struck and lightning flashed all around. Rain poured down, necessitating our moving to another table to avoid getting wet.        

Snook Inn
View from Snook Inn

Other than the food, we enjoyed the beach. The lounge chairs and towels are free at the Hilton. If you want an umbrella, it costs $19 per day. We hunted for seashells, splashed in the sea foam, sniffed the salty sea air, and floated in the bathtub warm water. This mini-vacation came with its comedic moments, such as when the spouse spilled ketchup all over himself or got lost walking on the beach looking for the hotel entrance. I tried to unlock someone else’s room until I realized I was at the wrong door. Good thing our daughter came along to laugh at our mishaps. Family vacations, however short, are treasures to be stored away with memories and photos.

Quinn's on the Beach
Quinn's on the Beach
Hilton Hotel view
Hilton Hotel view
Marco Island Beach
Marco Island Beach
Nancy in the ocean
Nancy in the ocean
Capri Fish House
Capri Fish House
Capri Fish House
Capri Fish House
Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie
Nancy at Capri Fish House
Nancy at Capri Fish House
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset

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MOONLIGHT RHAPSODY

MOONLIGHT RHAPSODY is now available in digital format from Belgrave House.

I love the cover!  The colors are perfect and so is the couple.Moonlight Rhapsody

This story is book number two in my Light-Years futuristic series.

What is this paranormal romance about?

Disguised as a trader, Lord Rolf Cam’brii goes to the slave planet Souk on a secret mission to establish contact with the resistance. But his ship crashes during a storm and he’s taken prisoner. Maintaining his cover, he’s thrown into a slave labor camp where he catches the eye of the beautiful human female overseer, Ilyssa.

Ilyssa sees in him the chance to obtain her freedom. She possesses the gift of siren song wherein any male who hears her sing becomes mindwashed. The pasha Ruel uses her to tame his enemies, and he holds her parents hostage against her cooperation. She pleads with Rolf, a pilot, to help her. Entranced by her beauty and charm, he agrees, and they begin a trek to freedom. It’s a journey frought with perils, not in the least of which is their forbidden passion for each other. Ilyssa’s gift comes with a curse, and to follow her heart means to lose her lifelong dream.

The original edition of this book, published by Dorchester, was featured as a prop in the movie, View From The Top, starring Gwyneth Paltrow.  How cool is that?

 

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BRITTANY MURPHY

As a mystery writer, I’m often asked where I get my ideas. Well, here’s one for you: how about the local newspaper? Consider this story: Celebrity actress found dead at home; no signs of foul play; pneumonia following flu-like symptoms suspected as cause of death. Within months, husband dies from possible heart attack. Strange coincidence or not?

My mystery mind goes into high gear. If I were writing this story, how would it play out? Naturally, the celebrity (and it doesn’t have to be a movie actress. It can be anybody like a famous chef or athlete or stage star) leaves a substantial estate. If someone knocks the husband out of the way, who stands to inherit? I’m not familiar with all the hangers-on of the rich and famous, so I’ll have to make up my own list of fictional suspects. Disclaimer: This is totally fiction and made up from my own devious creative mind:

The Crooked Manager, who wants to cover up that he’s been pilfering from the celebrity’s funds.

The Greedy Relative, who inherits the estate because the celebrity couple is childless.

The Jealous Best Friend, who discovered the celebrity was having an affair with her husband.

The Financial Advisor, who’s in cahoots with the manager, and who needs money to feed his gambling habit or to pay for his insurmountable medical bills for the illness he’s been hiding.

The Makeup Artist, whom no one would suspect but who was always around the couple. She hates the celebrity and is getting revenge for a past wrong.

You get the idea? Who would you add to the list and why?

We have the Motives. Now we need Means and Opportunity. How would someone kill these two to make it look like natural deaths? Poison comes to mind. It would have to be something not detectable in toxicology texts, perhaps a substance that dissipates in the body. It cannot be injected so has to be absorbed either through ingestion or the skin or even eyedrops.

I like this! If my new mystery series gets picked up, you’re looking at book number four.

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LAKE CO. FESTIVAL OF READING

The Lake County Library System holds a week-long reading festival each year. It must be the best attended library event in the state.  Friday night, March 19, found my husband and I along with 20 other authors at a delightful Author’s Reception in Leesburg Library. Leesburg doesn’t seem like a big town but the library is a two-story modern building with a café. While waiters circulated with canapes, we met library patrons, readers, staff members, and fellow writers. We had the opportunity to shmooze and hand out promo materials. It was a great event for mingling and getting to know everyone. I knew many faces: Agent and author Lucienne Diver from the Knight Agency, Authors Cynthia Thomason, Julie Compton, Dara Edmonson, Catherine Kean, Michelle Young, Dolores Wilson, Elizabeth Sinclair, Elaine Viets, Mark Schweizer, and more.                                                 
Nancy Cohen & Lucienne Diver
Nancy Cohen & Lucienne Diver
 
 
 

Nancy Cohen
Nancy at Reception

Cynthia Thomason, Elizabeth Sinclair, Delores Wilson
Cynthia Thomason, Elizabeth Sinclair, Delores Wilson
Dara Edmonson & Nancy Cohen
Dara Edmonson & Nancy Cohen
Elaine Viets
Mystery Author Elaine Viets

 

Julie Compton & Dara Edmonson
Julie Compton & Dara Edmonson

We crashed later that evening at the Holiday Inn Express in Tavares located on the tranquil Dead River. A quaint seafood restaurant, Fin’s, is nearby. It was about fifteen minutes away on 441 which was good, because my workshop started in the morning at nine o’clock back in Leesburg.

I spoke on How to Get Published: The Business of Writing. My talk covered the basics on manuscript preparation, query letters, synopsis, how to get an agent, the value of networking, contests and critique groups, self-editing, and more. We had about forty people in the audience and they asked good questions. I enjoyed speaking to such an enthusiastic crowd.

Nancy presents workshop
Nancy presents workshop

For a lunch break, my husband and I cruised 441 and settled on the Red Lobster. Then we headed back to the library for my afternoon session, a panel entitled “Murder, Love, and Laughter” with mystery authors Elaine Viets, Mark Schweizer, Elizabeth Sinclair, Delores Wilson, and Nancy J. Cohen.

Panel
Nancy, Mark, Elizabeth, Elaine, Delores
Nancy enjoys speaking to group

 

Kudos to Judy Buckland, Lake Co. Library System’s Program Coordinator, for a terrific turnout and a great event.  Thanks, also, to Raintree Books for selling our work.

And now for the plug: Support your local libraries! Take out books and DVDs, join Friends of the Libraries, attend their events. I can’t tell you how many readers have written to me to say they first discovered my mysteries on the library shelves. Libraries are more like media centers these days with videos, computers, even digital downloads. Take advantage of this public service and visit your local library. Hugs to all librarians!