WINTER GARDEN, FL

While researching book two for my proposed new mystery series, I came across the delightful town of Winter Garden, FL.  This town, located west of Orlando, may be considered part of the greater metropolitan area, but its quaint historical buildings and small town atmosphere remain intact. While W. Plant Street, the main avenue, doesn’t last for long, you can visit the historic Edgewater Hotel originally opened in 1927 (and now a viable B&B), the Garden Theater dating from 1935, the Central Florida Railroad Museum, the Winter Garden Heritage Museum, and the   West Orange Trail. If dining interests you, stop in at the French bakery on W. Plant Street for crepes and croissants, or stay for dinner at Thai Blossom or the elegant The Chef’s Table in the Edgewater Hotel. 

Edgewater Hotel
Edgewater Hotel

The Garden Theater itself is worth a visit. Designed inside in Mediterranean Revival style like a scene out of Romeo and Juliet, it boasts a dark ceiling full of “stars” and plush seats with cup holders like a movie theater. We saw the hilarious play, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Need I say that my second mystery takes place in an old theater? It’s a murder mystery involving the cast and crew of a community theater production and this restored theater serves as a model for my fictional creation. So if you get tired of the theme parks, take a drive to this historic small town for a taste of old Florida.

 

Edgewater Hotel
Love the old typewriter!
Railroad museum
Railroad Museum
      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Theatre

 

Theatre Interior

 

Mediterranean Revival style

 

COMING NEXT: Author Allison Chase will offer “10 Tips forSuccessful Blog Touring.”

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!

HARRY P. LEU GARDENS

Harry P. Leu Gardens is one of my favorite haunts in Orlando. I modeled a location after it in my tenth Bad Hair Day mystery (yet to come), so I count a visit as part of my research.

There’s so much more to do in Greater Orlando than the theme parks. When you have a day to spare, consider spending it at Winter Park. Stroll Leu Gardens in the morning then drive over to Park Avenue and park on one of the side streets. Have lunch in one of the many cafes lining the popular thoroughfare. Shop in the boutiques. Visit a museum, or take an escorted boat ride on the lake. I like this little city so much that I centered my proposed new mystery series there.

Enjoy these photos from Leu Gardens and plan a visit next time you’re in Orlando. Founded by the Mizells in 1858, the park hosts a family cemetery among its attractions. The park covers fifty acres with over forty plant collections and is a favorite site for weddings. Besides a butterfly garden, vegetable garden, herb garden, and citrus grove, there are sections with flowering camellias, cycads, bamboo, camphor trees, and more. An indoor gift shop and catering hall are in the main building but there’s a bride’s cottage on the grounds for outdoor weddings.

Spanish Moss covered tree
Shady paths
Shady paths
Lake Rowena
Fish in Lake
Turtles by Lake
Can you spot the alligator?
Camillia Tree
Camillia
Fountain
Sundial
Floral Clock
Leu House Museum
Vegetable Garden
Family Cemetery