Oldies but goodies

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Like many authors, I am a member of the Romance Writers of America. They have recently revamped their website and have separate “forums” where various topics can be addressed.

I just learned there is now a romance novel category called “seasoned.” No, this is not about stories set in restaurants. It features heroines and heroes who are, gasp, age 30 or more.

In a world where 60 is the new 40, or whatever the phrase is now, do we really consider 30 to be seasoned? I don’t know about you, but I was barely hitting my stride at age 30.

Have you read any books with “older” protagonists? I haven’t yet and would love some suggestions.

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No business like show business

 

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The island where I live has a thriving community theater group headed by an extremely talented young woman. She directs, builds sets, acts. But the thing I find most impressive is that she is also a playwright.

She has adapted several books into scripts for the group, condensing the number of people in the cast to fit the confines of her space and her pool of actors. Of course, she also uses already published plays if they fit her requirements.

It is fun to see people you know taking on a character in a play. It is also amazing to see the sets, props, and costumes that can be created on a limited budget. I commend their ingenuity.

Before I moved to Florida, I participated in two community theater companies. I performed with one and worked backstage with the other on sets and props.  I have thought about becoming involved with this local playhouse, but I am committed to my singing group and really don’t have the time to devote to both. Maybe some day.

Last fall, I began to write a Christmas-themed book featuring a theater group to add to my Calusa Town Tales series. I’ve tabled it for now until I finish the non-Calusa book I’m working on.

Do you enjoy Christmas books? What scenes do you like to see included?

Keep smiling

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We authors lead such glamorous lives (not).

Here I am ready to sign books at a place called the Shell Factory. It is a large building selling not only shells, but also toys, Christmas ornaments, and other miscellany. It is currently being remodeled, so my fellow romance author Diana Welker and I were seated amid video games, a pool table and a pizza counter.

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Sales-wise, Diana did better than I today. I couldn’t even give away the candy I brought to tempt readers. I did get a few people to sign up for my newsletter.

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Oh, well, Better luck next time.

Book signing

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I’ll be one of seven local SW Florida authors signing our books today.

Book signings are a bit of a gamble. You never know how many people will show up and if they’ll be interested in your books. While I’m there, I hope to get the email addresses of lots of people to add to my newsletter list.

If you live in the area, I’d love to meet you.

You should be dancing

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Have you ever taken a Zumba class? Isabella “Izzie” Ramos, the heroine of the third book on my Calusa Town Tales Island Dream, is a zumba teacher.

I’ve taken two different Zumba classes. The first was at a gym. The teacher was young and extremely energetic. I went twice a week for a while but came home exhausted, dripping with sweat. When I caught a cold, I stopped attending and never went back.

The second “class” (really just a group of women with a DVD similar to this one) was far too easy. I barely had to exert myself. That one didn’t last long.

Some years ago, I used to go to Jazzercise classes. They were by far my favorite. Now, living on an island as I do, I can’t find a class close enough to go to. The nearest one is at least a 45 minute drive. I need the exercise, but not that much.

How about you? What is your favorite form of exercise? Do you participate in Zumba?

If you’d like weekly information about clean romances, please consider signing up for my newsletter. Email me at Fran@RusticatingintheTropics.com and I will send you a link to “Girls of the Month,” a short story I wrote based on my experiences dancing with Calendar Girls Florida.

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Shh!Thievery afoot

 

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If you’ve read the first book in my Calusa Town Tales, The Lady Is a Mayor, you know it features orchids. I admire them but have not had any luck with them. I have only had an orchid myself once, but I just had to try to repot it and killed it. The lady who lives up the street from me has some beautiful orchids nestled in her avocado tree. She would be wise to keep watch.

I have a confession to make. You see, out front of my home, I am coaxing along a few plants I rooted from purloined cuttings. I snapped a stem of Mexican petunia from the landscaping around Carrabba’s Restaurant (don’t judge.) I also have a plant with a small yellow flower whose name I don’t know that I broke off a neighbor’s plant. On my windowsill, I am trying to get roots on a plant with a bigger yellow flower that I got caught breaking off from a different neighbor’s yard. I have been eyeing those showy flowers since Christmas and finally gave in to temptation. Fortunately, he was not angry.

Dotted here and there around my home are pineapple plants that I started from the tops of store-bought fruit. Every once in a while, I get a pineapple and believe me they are the sweetest, most delicious pineapples I have ever tasted.

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I also have a garden in my backyard with plants I actually paid for. In it are mint, oregano rosemary, and thyme. I really like cooking with fresh herbs, and my husband likes a sprig of mint in his morning tea. In addition to the herbs, I have a jalapeno plant that keeps going strong and a cherry tomato plant. The other day, I noticed a new “volunteer” plant that looks like a tomato. Apparently, a seed from last year took off.

 

I also have a key lime tree that has been out back for a number of years and a Meyer lemon tree planted last year that has yet to produce fruit. Oh, and a huge coconut palm out front.

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Are you a gardener? I’d love to hear about the plants in your yard-whether stolen or paid for.

 

 

You can’t make this stuff up

 

Making Time with the Maestro

When I was writing this book, I had to think up a way to put my fictional opera company in jeopardy. What I came up with was making the soprano star so sick that she could not go on.

To my surprise, this happened in real life yesterday.

As I have mentioned before, I sing with the Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida. In the morning at the rehearsal of Verdi’s Requiem, the soprano soloist was singing softly and remained seated instead of standing up. I chalked it up to her trying to conserve her voice for the performance.

That night, our conductor told us a different soprano would be singing. The first one was too ill to perform. In an enormous stroke of good fortune, the symphony located a soprano who had just sung in Naples, FL, right down the road. And she knew the Requiem and had sung it before. She stepped into the role with four hours notice and no orchestra rehearsal, and carried off this difficult music brilliantly.

Here is the curtain call. Sometimes life really does imitate art.

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