Tag Archives: Florida

Thankfully the complaints have been few, but regular readers of this blog have no doubt noticed that a certain someone hasn’t been here for quite some time. And that certain someone is me.

Sorry about that.

For several months now I’ve been wrapped up, engaged, excited, distracted, and almost totally focused on one of the three main passions in my life. No, not writing. Flying. As it happens I’ve stumbled into an amazing opportunity to do one of the things I truly, honestly, absolutely love to do – fly around the glorious Sunshine State in a cute little two-seat airplane, talking to people about aviation as a career or a hobby, and generally having a fantastic time of it all day every day.

Seriously, when your real life approximates your fondest dreams, you can’t complain. It’s not like I’m buried under three feet of snow. That’s not me. That’s Boston. One of the many, many places I would prefer to visit only during warm weather months.

Of course the downside of all this is that I haven’t had much time for writing fiction lately. Non-fiction, sure. I put out one or two non-fiction pieces every week. But fiction is where my heart is, even when my fingertips aren’t actively engaged in writing it.

Have no fear. Don’t lose hope. There’s another installment of the Abiaka County storyline coming along. It’s untitled at this point, but I’m liking it quite a bit. I hope you will too. It’s a bit dark, as the Abiaka County stories are. This one, like Deep in the Grove, is loosely based on real events that have actually happened. As with the previous release, the storyline alludes to an event that occurred in a rural corner of American’s vacation capital. That incident is not the central focus of the story, but it is the scenario that led my imagination to a story that incorporates my own reality into the fictional realm of Abiaka County, Florida – a place that doesn’t really exist, even if the events that occur there have indeed occurred here in the real world.

You can count on me continuing to whittle away at that story, perfecting it bit by bit until I have something I feel good about putting out into the public marketplace. Until then you might look skyward when you hear an engine overhead. It just might be me headed off on another adventure. If everything works out, I may even write about it. Maybe in General Aviation News, or perhaps in an AOPA Membership Publication, or possibly for a more regional non-aviation oriented publication like 863 Magazine. One way or another, you can be sure I’m doing something. It just may not be immediately identifiable as something the average person would consider to be, work.

Now if you’ll be so good as to excuse me, I’ve got to plan my next flight. I’m off to Titusville next, in the shadow of the space center on Florida’s east coast.

This ought to be fun. It might even become a story. You can just never tell.

Cover_SmallIt’s short, only 36 pages from start to finish. It’s called, Deep in the Grove, and it’s priced at a rock-bottom $0.99. One penny short of a dollar. I’m actually kind of proud about that.

The story is based on a real event, although it departs from reality early. In real life, I was present when two skeletons were removed from a sandy gravesite, hastily dug under cover of darkness deep in a citrus grove. That experience has lingered in my mind for several years. Visually compelling, emotionally wrenching, even olfaction comes into play when you stand beside a hole in the ground where bodies have recently been decaying. It’s impossible to forget. And so I decided to write about it in a highly fictionalized manner.

To be truthful, I initially thought about writing a non-fiction magazine piece detailing the actual killings. But the more I thought about it, the less appealing the idea become. I couldn’t find a way to write the story that didn’t feel slimy, sensationalist, and ultimately disrespectful of the two murdered girls. So I dispensed with the notion. Yet the experience of standing beside that hole in the ground, watching as their bones were recovered, witnessing the professionalism and care the crime scene investigators put into their grisly work – the memory kept nagging at me and nagging at me. Clearly the memory wasn’t going to go away easily.  Read More →

Screen shot 2013-11-04 at 7.45.00 AM863 Magazine is the brainchild of a husband and wife team who have, if nothing else, a deep and abiding love of their community. And by community I don’t mean their immediate neighborhood. They view the world through a different prism. A good prism that gathers all the quirky, interesting, casual, comforting, and unexpected bits of life from this corner of the world. They gather these details and share them in print and on line. They’re the good guys. To their credit, they’re doing something about their dreams. Specifically, they’re living them. And thanks to their generous spirit of sharing, you get to life them too. At least you can live them vicariously through the pages of the magazine. Why not? I do.

The plot of land 863 Magazine represents is probably different than the one you live on. For one thing, it doesn’t snow here, there are no mountains, and white water is only seen coming directly from the tap. 863 is an area code in central Florida, where the sun is strong, the sand is plentiful, and the landscape is as flat as a pancake. Well, a lumpy pancake, but still, pretty darned flat.

Sergio and Andrea are the captains of the ship. As they guide their readers through voyage after voyage through the area, they grow even as they help their readers grow. I like this magazine. I like writing for it. I enjoy the other writers I find there, too. Most of them are people I have shared a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with. But not all. I have something to learn about the world around me, and 863 Magazine helps fill in a few of those gaps with each new issue. So grab a copy, flip through the pages, see if there isn’t something in the 863 area code that grabs your attention. And if there is, why not plan on stopping by to see whatever that is for yourself?

We love company.

Sarahs Speedwing lo res Sarahs Speedwing w:Madison lo resIt’s been a busy Wednesday. But then every day is busy when Sun ‘n Fun is in town. This massive aviation oriented circus of activity rolls into Lakeland, Florida every Spring – filling  restaurants and hotel rooms even as it empties the rental car lots. Something on the order of 200,000 people will wander through the gates of the International Fly-In an Expo hoping to see something spectacular, to meet a new friend, to run into an old acquaintance, or to learn something they never knew before. Few if any go away disappointed.

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