Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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Marco Island Revisited

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 26, 2014

Marco Island is our favorite beach getaway during the summer months. Located in southwest Florida below Naples, this quiet island holds pristine beaches and tempting seafood restaurants. We stay at the Hilton, enjoying its amenities and the café overlooking the water. I shop at Beachworks for tropical wear in Marco Town Center, a shopping strip with fun gift shops and boutiques. We visit Sunshine Booksellers that has two branches on the island. And we dine in our favorite eateries.

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Our first day, we had lunch at Snook Inn. I like their baked stuffed shrimp with a salad bar.

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That evening, we headed to Café de Marco. I had to get their seafood stuffed mushrooms again. It’s one of the best appetizers ever. We had butterflied shrimp there the last time, so now we tried delicious grouper with mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Crusty rolls and salads accompanied the meal. We enjoy this restaurant’s elegant atmosphere and excellent service.

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The next day, lunch was at the pool bar as we spent the day at the beach.

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For dinner, we returned to Capri Fish House for grilled salmon while overlooking a sandy stretch at a waterway where kids cast fishing lines and boats bobbed at a marina.

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We’d hoped to take the lunch cruise on the Marco Island Princess the following afternoon, but it was cancelled due to lack of patrons. So we visited the Marco Island Historical Museum instead and learned about the early Calusa Indians and the Spaniard explorers who brought disease that wiped them out.

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Lunch was casual at NeNe’s Kitchen and dinner was coconut crusted tilapia at our hotel’s Paradise Café.

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It was another refreshing weekend at the beach and just what I needed to get away from the computer. Here’s the blazing sunset that’s always a celebration on the west coast of Florida, and just a snippet away, an approaching thunderstorm.

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Posted in Florida Musings, That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Hitchhiking Adventure

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 18, 2014

Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller

As August is my father’s birth month, it is appropriate that I announce the publication of his book-length travel journal at this time. Harry I. Heller wrote a 70,000 word account of his adventures in hitchhiking 12,000 miles across the United States in 1929. I’ve edited his work and added a selection of photos from his album. It’s a project dear to my heart. In his waning years, my dad asked me to help him publish his book. As I explain in the foreword, it took me this much time to satisfy his wish. It is with great pride that I announce the publication of Thumbs Up. If you’re a history buff, armchair traveler, or Americana enthusiast, or if you like reading about adventure travel and exploration, this is the book for you.

Thumbs Up

Story Blurb

After taking his exams for the New Jersey Bar, twenty-four year old Harry I. Heller set off on a hitchhiking cross-country adventure. Relying upon his wits and not his wallet, he traveled across the United States without paying a dime for transportation. In the days when a job paid one dollar and seventy five cents per day and seeing a movie cost ten cents, he hitchhiked his way from New Jersey to California. Among his many escapades, he got lost in the Yosemite Mountains, confronted hungry bears, raced downhill in a moving van with burnt-out brakes, jumped on a speeding train, and climbed Pike’s Peak on foot. This true coming-of-age tale shows the courage, fortitude, and determination of a young man following his dream and learning to rely solely on himself.

Excerpt 1

Suddenly, I found myself wide awake. Something had disturbed me. I listened intently but heard only the rustling of the wind through the trees.

I felt certain an unseen presence lurked nearby.To investigate and assure myself of the absence of visitors was the proper course to follow. Although I realized the tent held no protection from danger, it nevertheless gave me a false feeling of security. The prospect of leaving the canvas covering was an uninviting one. I therefore remained stationary and hoped my nervous condition was due to an overactive imagination.

I soon discovered this was not the case. The breaking of a dried twig, as if by the weight of a heavy object; faint sounds resembling the movements of a body through the woods with a minimum of noise as if to avoid detection; and the unmistakable grunts of some animal, abruptly brought me to a sitting position. A short interval of silence followed. My uncertainty regarding the identity of the intruder, the possibility that perhaps a wild animal was sneaking to within striking distance, were not conducive to feeling calm. I became more and more frightened.

The disturbances were repeated but this time, as if the unknown had succeeded in its efforts to gain ground quietly, the sounds emanated from uncomfortably closer quarters. By then, I was not only very thoroughly scared but also paralyzed with fright.

 

Excerpt 2

When I stood between the rails upon which the caboose rested so as to get a better look through its open rear door, it was without realizing the roadbed was a hazardous place on which to stand.

The car contained a young man who, judging from his attire, was a member of the crew who occupied the home on wheels during its travels. He obligingly answered my questions pertaining to his business. Then an unknown duty summoned him to the front, and he disappeared from view behind a partition. Thinking his absence would be temporary, I waited for his return. However, he had forgotten all about me.

As I stood there, no ringing bell or whistle warned me of impending danger. One moment all was quiet and peaceful. The next moment, I was face-to-face with death.

A terrific crash shattered the silence. Simultaneously, the caboose seemed to leap toward me.

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Thumbs Up is an inspirational travel adventure about a hitchhiker’s journey across America that offers a glimpse into our nation’s past. It’ll make readers nostalgic for this era and more appreciative of family, friends and home.

Kindle Edition: http://www.amazon.com/Thumbs-Up-Harry-I-Heller-ebook/dp/B00MR4SFMW/
Print Edition: http://www.amazon.com/Thumbs-Up-Harry-I-Heller/dp/0991465539/

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Excerpt, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nautical Archaeology for Writers

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 14, 2014

Nautical archaeologist Lindsey Hall Thomas (writing as Linsey Hall) spoke at a recent meeting of Florida Romance Writers. She told us about the role of an archaeologist and how we might use this information in a novel. These notes are my interpretation and any errors are my own.

Linsey Hall

The field started with Antiquarianism in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries in Europe. Wealthy Europeans collected artifacts to display in their curio cabinets. Later in the nineteenth century, this turned to Nationalism and treasure hunting for great museums became popular.

William Flinders Petrie was the father of archaeology. He began the study of dirt layers and pottery dating. With his methodology, the field became a scientific discipline.

Women in this field included Harriet Boyd Hawes, who directed a field project in Greece. Look at www.trowelblazers.com for more information on women in archaeology, geology, and paleontology.

The two primary types of archaeology are prehistoric or historic. These can be further divided into underwater and land archaeologists. People involved might be students, avocational hobbyists, government types, professors, private research foundation scientists or contract archaeologists who survey construction sites and often try to underbid each other for a project.

Federally funded archaeologists share their findings with the public.

When to dig depends upon several factors: weather (summer mostly); availability of labor (students and professors are out of school in the summer); money (get more funding in the summer over the winter) and research (goals or grants?).

The Job

The procedure is to choose a site, find the site, create a team, and get funding. Funding can come from the government, private donors, university grants, or documentary filmmakers, who pay for a project so they can film it. Next, you set up a base camp then begin excavating and recording.

To find a wreck, you can ask the locals. Use remote sonar sensing. Dive on the target. Drop a camera. Or use a remote-sensing magnetometer that looks for magnetic signals and picks up iron. Manned submersibles are not often used because they’re too expensive. You can deploy an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle or AUV. You can program the AUV for where you want it to go, plus add sonar and video cameras.

After discovering the site, you go home to plan. You’ll need to acquire funding, permissions and permits, and equipment.

The team consists of archaeologists (1 to 2 for an average of 14 people), volunteers, technical specialists for the sonar, photographers for documentaries and other publicity, a conservator to deal with artifacts, boat skipper, medic, dive master, and film crew.

The objectives are to fully record the construction features of the shipwreck; photograph and record all artifacts; record a film documentary. You might recover a small amount of artifacts, but then you’re responsible for taking care of them.

The depth of the shipwreck makes a difference. It will cost a lot more if you have to go deep. Diving is done from small boats because they don’t attract sharks like larger vessels.

First record and measure the shipwreck and recover artifacts. Draw a diagram or picture of the wreck using underwater paper. Take notes, photos, and sonar. Build 3-D models of the ship online. Shipwreck artifacts must stay in water for preservation purposes.

An example: They excavated a wreck in Spain eighty feet deep. They created a grid with string underwater and recorded where everything was located. Air lift bags and dredges were used to move rocks and clear sediment from the water. They took pictures. Photogrammetry can take measurement images but it is expensive technology. Air bags can help clear water of fish, sludge and seaweed. It’s used on deeper sites and harder to do than dredge. Pottery is put into mesh bags and tagged as to where it is found.

In warmer weather, they can dive two times a day with four hours in between dives. During breaks, they may sunbathe or snorkel. The boat gets crowded and messy with lots of gear. They take all artifacts to the base camp to record the measurements, weigh them and then store them in water. In the evenings, they review their notes and photos. Up to sixteen people might cram into a three bedroom house, so some folks have to sleep outside. The project director has his own room. They’ll hold barbecues, throw parties in the evenings, go to Wi-Fi cafés to use the Internet.

For every hour in the field, you spend about 9 to 10 hours of processing. You’ll create a site plan, which is a record of how the ship looked. Conserve small artifacts, like buttons. For these, you need to get the salt out and stabilize the metal. As a larger example, the speaker showed recovery of a turret from the USS Monitor submersible. It’s stored in a water tank. Archival research can shed light on discoveries. The job includes education and outreach and may involve seeking designation for the site as a historical place.

Keep in mind that air, water temperature and depth limit your dive. You can dive for only forty minutes in a dry suit in cold water. Deep diving doesn’t offer enough time to work and is too costly. The best sites for preservation are the Great Lakes, the Baltic, and the North Atlantic. Wood gets rotted from ship worm. In Florida, you can see piles of rocks that were ballast, which may be indicative of a wreck.

The Dangers

Archaeologists may run into treasure hunters who can spoil a wreck site. In contrast to these salvage types, archaeologists want the artifacts preserved in a museum. Sharks are a danger. Black water diving is muddy water and so black that you can’t see. It’s more common in slow-moving, shallow rivers. You can run into bombs underwater left over from battles. Ferry boats can be a danger, and you must coordinate your activities with them. Or you could become trapped inside a shipwreck. Thieves can be another danger. There might even be one on your team as a volunteer. The dive boat capsizing would be another danger.

Visit the Nautical Archaeological Society for more information.

Also see a book called Submerged: Adventures of America’s Most Elite Underwater Archeology Team

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Lindsey Hall Thomas is a nautical archaeologist with an MA from Texas A&M University who has worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and ProMare, a non-profit nautical archaeology research foundation. She’s studied shipwrecks and submerged settlement sites from Hawaii and the Yukon to the UK and Italy. In Autumn 2014, she will release (as Linsey Hall) three books in a paranormal romance series inspired by her work as an archaeologist.

 

Posted in Fiction Writing, The Writing Life, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »

SleuthFest 2015

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 7, 2014

Early Registration is now open for SleuthFest, the premier mystery writers conference sponsored by Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Feb. 26 – March 1, 2015 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Deerfield Beach, FL

SleuthFest 2015

 

· Keynote Speaker is James Patterson.

· Florida Guest of Honor is James W. Hall.

· Sunday Brunch Guest of Honor is Dave Barry.

· Agent appointments to pitch your work.

· Forensic topics.

· Writing craft, marketing, and hands-on workshops.

· Manuscript critiques by agents and editors.

· Practice your pitch workshops.

· Sunday morning Flamingo Pitch Tank.

· Cocktail Party and More!

Early Bird Registration starts now and goes until September 30, 2014.  Sign up now and save $20 on a three-day registration (MWA members $265, non-members $305).  Included in the three-day registration price are two lunches (Friday and Saturday), two cocktail parties (Friday and Saturday evening), and Sunday Brunch; four tracks with panels, lectures, and workshops; and Agent/Editor appointments. The hotel rate is $159/night, and is available a few days before and after for those attendees who want to combine an exciting conference with a vacation.

Sign up now!  www.sleuthfest.com

For more info about the Florida Chapter: http://www.mwaflorida.org/

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Fiction Writing, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Guest Blog: Symbolism in Fantasy by Nancy J. Cohen, author of Warrior Lord

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 6, 2014

Nancy J. Cohen:

Sometimes you don’t recognize symbolism in your own work until later. See what I discovered in Warrior Lord.

Originally posted on Illuminite Caliginosus- A Spark of Light Within the gloom:

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Symbolism in Fantasy

Symbolically, a set of gates can represent a means to allow people in or to exclude them from your life. So what are the different ways this symbolism might appear in a story?

In the Drift Lords series, theme parks are billed as magical places but they serve a nefarious purpose. All isn’t as it seems at these happy tourist attractions. Some people go through the gates and don’t return. Others go home after their visit but with blank expressions on their faces. These gates don’t lead to a pleasant experience. They lead to treachery, danger, and suspense. You shouldn’t enter unless you wear an invisibility belt, like Lord Magnor in Warrior Lord. Otherwise, you could become a human slogg or mind slave. Trolleks, alien soldiers who have invaded Earth through a dimensional rift, are using theme parks as recruitment centers. There they “confound” humans to do…

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Golden Palm Writing Contest

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 5, 2014

Golden Palm Writing Contest

If you’re writing romance and need feedback on your work, enter the Golden Palm Contest sponsored by Florida Romance Writers. Not only do you get score sheets, but we have a hot lineup of editors and agents as final judges in every category.

Florida Romance Writers

Contemporary Category:
Editor:Leah Hultenschmidt, Grand Central Publishing
Agent: Beth Campbell, Bookends
Editor: Cat Clyne, Sourcebooks

Historical Category:
Editor: Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks
Agent: Jordy Albert, The Booker Albert Literary Agency
Agent: Dawn Dowdle, The Blue Ridge Literary Agency

Young Adult / New Adult Category:
Editor: Lauren Smulski, Harlequin Teen
Editor: Mary Altman, Sourcebooks
Agent: Mandy Hubbard, D4EO Literary Agency
Agent: Laura Zats, Red Sofa Literary

Paranormal Category:
Editor: Peter Senftleben, Kensington Publishing
Agent: Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Associates
Editor: Angela James, Carina Press

Entry is $20 for Florida Romance Writer members and $30 for nonmembers. All entries are read by at least one published judge and the lowest score is dropped. Contest ends August 15th. All information to enter is on http://www.frwriters.org/contest/

 

Posted in Contest, Fiction Writing, The Writing Life, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Blog Tour with Nancy J. Cohen

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 4, 2014

Blog Tour & Giveaway with Author Nancy J. Cohen to celebrate the release of Warrior Lord, #3 in the Drift Lords Series.

August 1 Author Interview
The Big Thrill
http://www.thebigthrill.org/2014/07/warrior-lord-drift-lord-3-by-nancy-j-cohen/

August 2 Guest Blog “Top 10 Advantages of Wedding an Alien”
Magic and Mayhem
http://wizardmagicfantasy.com/top-10-benefits-of-marrying-an-alien-who-is-a-warrior-lord/ 

August 3, Sunday, Spotlight
Alicia Dean
http://aliciadean.com/2014/08/03/new-release-from-the-wild-rose-press-plus-a-fun-fact-2/

August 4-11, Bewitching Blog Tour
Follow along and Enter to win a Warrior Lord T-shirt and a signed print copy of Warrior Prince, #1 in the Drift Lords series. http://www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/2014/08/now-on-tour-warrior-lord-by-nancy-j.html

August 4 Author Interview
Paranormal Romance Fans for Life
http://www.paranormalromancefanforlife.blogspot.com/2014/08/author-interview-nancy-j-cohen-author.html

August 4 Guest Blog “Magic or Science?”
Fang-tastic Books
http://www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com/2014/08/guest-blog-and-giveaway-warrior-lord-by.html 

August 5 Spotlight
Booklover Sue
http://bookloversue.blogspot.com/2014/08/spotlight-giveaway-warrior-lord-drift.html

August 5 Spotlight
Houston Havens
http://houstonhavens.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/warrior-lord-by-nancyjcohen-with-giveaway-bewitchingbooktours/

August 6 Guest Blog “Symbolism in Fantasy Romance”
Illuminite Caliginosus
http://darkwriter67.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/guest-blog-symbolism-in-fantasy-by-nancy-j-cohen-author-of-warrior-lord/

August 6 Spotlight
Angel’s Guilty Pleasures
http://angelsguiltypleasures.com/2014/08/book-spotlight-warrior-lord-drift-lords-3-nancy-j-cohen-excerpt-giveaway/

August 7 Author Interview
Pembroke Sinclair
http://www.pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com/2014/08/warrior-lord-by-nancy-j-cohen.html

August 7 Spotlight
Deal Sharing Aunt
http://www.dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/2014/08/warrior-lord-by-nancy-j-cohen-giveaway.html

August 8 Author Interview
Roxanne’s Realm
http://www.roxannerhoads.com/2014/08/interview-and-giveaway-with-nancy-cohen.html

August 8 Spotlight
Books N Pearls
http://booksnpearls.weebly.com/blog/warrior-lord-by-nancy-j-cohen-with-signedcopy-and-tshirt-giveaway

August 11 Guest Blog “Marriage of Convenience with a Fantasy Twist”
Book-a-holic Fairies, inc
http://bookaholicfairies.blogspot.com/2014/08/blog-tour-warrior-lord-by-nancy-j-cohen.html

August 11 Spotlight
Mythical Books
http://www.mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/2014/08/excerpt-and-giveaway-warrior-lord-drift.html

 

 

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New Release Day!

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 1, 2014

Today is the official launch day for Warrior Lord, book #3 in the Drift Lords series. Join my LAUNCH PARTY today only 10am – 4 pm at https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty   Giveaways all Day!

Warrior Lord

Pottery sculptor Erika Sherwood has no idea her televised wedding in Las Vegas is for real until an official confirms she and the stranger she’s just met are legitimately wed.

A Drift Lord and warrior of the Tsuran, Magnor tricks the redhead into marriage because she’s one of six women prophesied to save Earth. But as he’s forced into her company in their race against the apocalypse, he wonders if he risks his heart more than his life.

Can a free-spirited ceramic artist and a fierce swordsman trust each other enough to prevent disaster?

 

 

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22710040-warrior-lord

Order at Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=831

Amazon Print: http://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Lord-Nancy-J-Cohen/dp/1628304456/

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Drift-Lords-Nancy-Cohen-ebook/dp/B00MAUCB3W

Enter my Contests Here

Follow my Blog Tour and win More Prizes

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction Writing, Marketing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How to Have an Adventure and Survive It

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 31, 2014

How to Have an Adventure and Survive It by Pepper O’Neal

If you’ve read my bio, you’ll know that I’m an adrenalin junkie. Even as a child, I always had the urge to move on and see what was around the next bend in the river or down a lonely country road. I blame that on my nomad Cherokee ancestors. My family moved around a lot when I was growing up as my father was never content to settle down in one place. My mother and sisters hated all the moving. But I loved it. For me it wasn’t being in a new place that excited me. No, it was the “getting there” that was the thrill. Once I was “there” and saw whatever there was to see, it was time—at least as far as I was concerned—to move on. I’m afraid I drove my poor family crazy—everyone except my father who had the same degree of restless feet syndrome that I did. I was never one of those kids asking, “Are we there yet?” Oh no, I had my nose glued to the car window so I could watch the world go by. But after we’d been in a new place for a few weeks, I was asking, “Can we go now?” Even today, driving by a lonely county road makes me yearn to turn the car around and find out where that road goes. Doesn’t matter where I’m going or how late I am, I want to know what’s OUT THERE! Thankfully, I also have the luck of my Irish ancestors, so not only have I had to opportunity to have adventures, few of them have cost me much financially. Of course, there’s all kinds of adventures—some are good, some bad, and some ugly. (Sounds like the title of a spaghetti western, doesn’t it?) But, hey, an adventure is an adventure, right?

So how do you have an adventure yourself without paying a fortune? I’m not talking about going first class here. That’s a vacation, not an adventure. Vacations are fine, as far as they go. And some might even classify as adventures. But if you want an experience to remember—fondly, or not so—for the rest of your life, take a chance and don’t go first class. You’ll have some experiences money could never buy.

Okay then, how do you start? Once upon a time, you could work your way around the world. But that’s no longer easy or even advisable. Too many unscrupulous people out there. And human trafficking is a real problem. In fact, that’s the main plot point of my new book Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Men Don’t, which came out in June. My heroine wasn’t looking for an adventure, but sometimes the best adventures happen when we aren’t looking for them. And anything you survive can be classified as a “good” adventure, which you will someday look back on and laugh about. Of course, this takes time—and with some adventures, it takes more time than with others.

Even if you aren’t lucky enough to have an adventure fall into your lap, there are still inexpensive ways to travel. If you like boats, or think you might, contact the marinas along the closest coast to where you are and/or join the local yacht club. Most communities have a yacht club. Both of these things will put you in contact with boat owners. You’ll usually find at least one or two privately owned pleasure cruisers that are looking for crew. Sometimes, a single person sailing to someplace specific may want some company for the trip, as sailing by yourself is a lonely proposition. If you’re a male, handy with your hands, and willing to work, it’s fairly easy to snag a ride to almost anywhere in the world. If you’re female, it’s a bit harder, not to mention riskier, but it’s still a possibility. Especially if you can cook. While I was working as a researcher in Mexico and the Caribbean, I met a number of people who had hitched a ride on a yacht as a cook or crew member. Something to remember: some yacht owners can’t afford to keep their boats as pleasure yachts all year round. So they hire the boat out and provide the crew, including the cook. And some of them pay you fairly decent wages. You would live aboard the yacht, crew, or cook for the paying customers and get well paid for it. And see some really beautiful places. Just check out the boat owner, or renter, carefully. Talk to other crew or ask for references. Or both.

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Don’t want to get on a boat? No problem. Check ads in adventure magazines for jobs in foreign countries or for people traveling who want a companion. A lot of people still do, especially the elderly. And don’t forget the internet. But check the jobs and/or people out carefully before you commit. And if you’re already visiting in a foreign country, go for the cheaper modes of travel to get around, like trains and buses. One of the most memorable adventures I had was when a friend and I took a train trip across Mexico. (I don’t recommend going there these days as it’s gotten way too dangerous, but there are other places you can go where this information applies.) We paid for first class, which was very cheap. But for the whole three-day trip, we spent most of our time in second class, fascinated by the people and the things they had brought with them on the train: live chickens and pigs, baskets and barrels of exotic fruits, and whatever they’d bought at the market wherever they’d been and were dragging home with them. I remember one guy even had a toilet (new and unused, thankfully) he was taking home. My friend spoke excellent Spanish and translated for me, so we got to know some of our fellow passengers and heard some amazing stories of survival. As a writer, I gleaned a wealth of characters and story material for my novels.

Now whether your idea of an adventure is the same or different than mine, I’ll share the following tips with you that I believe apply to all adventures:

1. Don’t Go Alone. Whether you’re male or female, but especially if you’re female, don’t go off alone. Bad things can happen to people in that situation, and I’m not talking just about getting mugged, though that can happen, too. Plan to take a friend or two with you when you go if at all possible. If not, make some friends going your way and tag along. That way if something happens, you have some help.

2. Make Sure Someone Knows Where You’re Going. People can disappear while traveling, so make sure that someone knows where you are, where you’re going when you leave Point A, and when you’re expected to arrive at Point B. That way, there’s a chance if you get hurt, stranded, or abducted, someone will notify the authorities.

3. Don’t Put All Your Money in Your Wallet. Wallets can get lost or stolen. So have a money belt (or a money pouch you wear under your clothes) to keep your money (and ID) in and transfer it in small bits to your wallet as you need it. Then if your wallet goes missing, you aren’t stranded without any funds or ID.

4. Leave Your Prejudices at Home. Strive to have an open mind about the people and places you encounter. Yes, they’re going to be different than what you’re used to. And they may well seem primitive and crude by your standards. But hey, if you hadn’t wanted to experience something different, why did you go there in the first place? If all you’re willing to experience is what you already know and are comfortable with, you might as well stay home. Give the people and the experiences a chance. You won’t regret it.

5. Know Where the Nearest Consulates and Marinas Are. Whatever your nationality, know where your nation’s consulates are located in whatever country you’re visiting. Shit happens, folks. Believe me, I know. So before you leave, get on the internet and find out what cities have one of your nation’s consulate’s offices. The consulate is your main representative when you are in that country. If you get into trouble (lose your money or passport, unintentionally commit a crime, etc.), they are your best (and sometimes only) source of help. Also find out where the marinas are if you’re going to be on or near the coast. Marinas can collect mail for you and put you in touch with people who can help you out in an emergency. Write this important information down and keep it with you. You may never need it, but at least you have it if you do. And it may not be possible to access the internet if you need the information later. So be prepared.

6. Mix with the Natives. The beauty of immersing yourself in the culture you’re visiting is that you truly get to experience what life is like for the people who live there. If you’re friendly, most people will respond and, when they do, they’ll not only tell you where the real bargains in lodging, food, and entertainment are, they’ll take you to some of the private places that tourists never get to see or experience. If you don’t speak the local language, try to find someone who does to translate for you. Even if you have to pay them a few bucks, it’s worth it.

I’ve had some wonderful adventures following these rules. Of course, I also had some I hadn’t expected. I nearly got mugged in St. Thomas, spent a night in an abandoned motel in the middle of nowhere in southern Mexico, cowered in a hotel bathroom during a fierce tropical storm in St. Martin, broke my leg in Cozumel and my ribs in Tecamachalco, had to climb a mast—at sea in the middle of a hurricane—to repair the misen boom on a boat, took more than one shower with cockroaches the size of small dogs, and was medevac’d by helicopter during a gale after being creamed in the head by flying debris. As a friend once told me, if most people knew what was in store for them when they set off on an adventure, they’d never have the courage to start out on one. But, hey, I survived, so that makes them all “good” adventures. And now I can laugh about them—or at the very least, chuckle.

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Pepper2

A strange man has come to save her…but is he friend or foe?
Anderson Merritt’s been kidnapped, but when a stranger comes to rescue her, she isn’t sure he is who he says he is. He claims to work for her father’s boss. But someone close to Andi set her up, and now she doesn’t know who to trust. Every man she’s ever known has seen her only as a tool to get to her father or his money, so why should this one be any different? As the sparks between them ignite, and the danger escalates, Andi has to choose—go off on her own, or trust that some men really are what they seem.

He doesn’t want to hurt her…but he may have to if she doesn’t come willingly.
Ex-CIA black ops specialist Levi Komakov doesn’t believe in hurting women, but when the place is set to blow and Andi won’t cooperate, he has no choice to but toss her over his shoulder and carry her out of danger, determined to keep her safe in spite of herself. But the beautiful little spitfire doesn’t make it easy for him. With her abductors seemingly always one step ahead of him, Levi suspects there’s a rat in the woodpile, but who? Could it be someone close to Andi’s father, someone in the FBI, or someone in the family Levi works for? When a new threat appears, and even the CIA can’t help him keep Andi safe, Levi puts everything on the line—but will it be enough?

Buy Now: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Ops-Chronicles-Dead-Dont-ebook/dp/B00LAN3B98

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Pepper1

Award-winning author Pepper O’Neal is a researcher, a writer, and an adrenalin junkie. She has a doctorate in education and spent several years in Mexico and the Caribbean working as researcher for an educational resource firm based out of Mexico City. During that time, she met and befriended many adventurers like herself, including former CIA officers and members of organized crime. Her fiction is heavily influenced by the stories they shared with her, as well her own experiences abroad.

O’Neal attributes both her love of adventure and her compulsion to write fiction to her Irish and Cherokee ancestors. When she’s not at her computer, O’Neal spends her time taking long walks in the forests near her home or playing with her three cats. And of course, planning the next adventure.

Website: http://www.pepperoneal.com

Posted in That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Orlando Revisited

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 25, 2014

Besides touring the World of Chocolate (see below) on our recent visit to Orlando, we couldn’t be in town without another trip to Disney on our annual passes. We went to Epcot and met fellow mystery author Ann Meier for lunch at Chefs de France. It was a delightful afternoon spent in company of a friend and surrounded by Disney’s lush landscaping.

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Another day, we shopped at The Florida Mall. Our daughter said Nordstrom there is closing so we wanted to get in for their last sale. A lot of construction is happening as the entire mall is undergoing a remodel. The food court is supposed to be revamped and we noticed Saks is gone.

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We still get lost in this place and have to rely on signs to tell us where to go.

Of course, our main purpose in coming was to celebrate our son’s birthday, and we did so at Hannibal’s on the Square in Winter Park. This restaurant is adjacent to Chez Vincent and owned by their chef, so we enjoyed a French menu with excellent service. The dish below is duck a l’orange. Before dinner, we strolled around central park and watched the Amtrak trains go by. Winter Park has its own ambience and we always enjoy people watching and browsing in the stores. Patrons spill from restaurants into the street at sidewalk tables, the aromas from within making you salivate as you walk past.

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Another night we ate at Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine at restaurant row on West Sand Lake Drive. The lamb sis kebab was delish. So was the special bread and hummus appetizer. Our dining out didn’t end here. The following evening, we met cousins at Bahama Breeze for a leisurely seafood dinner. All in all, we had a great time and gained a few pounds.

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Posted in Disney, Florida Musings, Food, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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