The joy of travel. I’m off to North Carolina ….

Hi, friends and readers:

It’s my belief that travel is the most enriching activity we can engage in. Travel exposes us to different cultures and different ways of living. It takes us out of our comfort zones and into the unknown. It reminds us that they way we live is not always the best way to go through life. And it exposes us to new people who, more often than not, are kind and welcoming.

This afternoon I’ll board a plane that will take me to Asheville, NC, a place I visited about 18 months ago. Back then I stayed in Boone, NC, but this time I’m staying with a couple at their vacation home about 10 miles outside of Asheville. The husband of the couple was my best friend from middle school all the way through college. We roomed together at the University of Florida. Both of us became lawyers, me in the Tampa Bay area, he in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area.

We’ll do some hiking, visit a few craft breweries and dine on NC barbecue. It’ll be a fun time, and I’m looking forward to some chilly weather, a nice change from the Florida heat.

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Fear of change. We have to fight it ….

Hi, friends and readers:

I came across the photo to the left here, and it made my brain fluids churn for a bit.

About six months ago I broke up with my partner of seven years. The breakup was terribly hard on me. I am not a person who enjoys being single nor do I enjoy living alone, and the prospect of having to re-enter the market in search of a new partner seemed daunting. Even my writing productivity suffered for several months. But it’s amazing how the human mind makes adjustments to change, and I am finally feeling like my old self again.

I don’t know how long it will be before I find a suitable companion to share life with; it could take a couple of years, even. But I intend to persevere. We should never succumb to the fear of change, it’s what life’s all about.

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I’m off to spend six days in beautiful Maine ….

Hi, friends and readers:

Tomorrow around noon I will board an airplane to travel to the great State of Maine for a six-day stay at a friend’s lakefront cottage near Greenville. It’s a beautiful spot and Maine, in my opinion is one of our nation’s most beautiful states, eclipsed only by California.

There will four of us on the trip. We’ll do some hiking and exploring, maybe do some kayaking, most certainly do some drinking, and we’ll make ourselves some tasty meals too, plenty of lobster, haddock and fresh local vegetables.

One of the things I like most about Maine is its people. They are so warm and welcoming and always willing to help you if you need it. They are very unpretentious and they cherish their freedoms.

Look out moose, I’m on my way. 🙂

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My new novel, “On the Way to San Jose”, is released ….

Hi, friends and readers:

I am pleased to announce that my latest novel, On the Way to San Jose, has just been released by NineStar Press. The book will be available in both digital and print formats. Here’s a brief description of the story:

“Terrence, a socially inept clarinetist whose driver’s license is suspended, needs his panel van driven from Orlando to San Jose, where he plans to start a new life. Levi’s a Stanford University student with Asperger’s Syndrome who answers Terrence’s Internet drive-away listing.

“The two start out as strangers, but as their journey westward progresses a friendship is kindled, one that will change both boys’ lives in profound ways.”

This book’s a little different than any I have written before. I had to do a great deal of research on cities and RV parks along I-10 between Florida and California because that’s the route Terrence and Levi follow on their journey westward. But I had a lot of fun writing the book. It has a good dash of humor in it, and I like the main characters very much.

Here’s a buy link for the digital version:

https://ninestarpress.com/product/on-the-way-to-san-jose/

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Hurricane Irma’s gone but not its aftermath ….

Hi, friends and readers:

It has been four days since Hurricane Irma slammed into the Tampa Bay area. Fortunately for us, the storm moved a bit eastward before it reached us, so we received only a “glancing blow”, as one weatherperson called it. My house, which is only about 100 yards from the Gulf of Mexico, was spared any damage, which is pretty miraculous. Aside from a fallen tree limb and a whole bunch of tree and plant debris that made a mess of my patios and yard, I was fine. It took me two days to clean everything up.

The bad part has been a complete loss of electrical power on my island. I spent two days “camping out” in my home, and then I threw in the towel Wednesday afternoon. I packed a few clothing items and toiletries, and then I drove down to Bradenton to stay with my ex-partner, who has electrical service. As I write these words I’m savoring his air conditioning and the quiet of his home while he is at work.

We’re told by the power company that power should be restored to my island by late Friday  night, so I may stay here until Saturday morning. All in all I feel very lucky.

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Hurricane Irma. Will it strike Florida’s Gulf Coast?

Hi, friends and readers:

If you follow this site then you know I live on a small barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, west of St. Petersburg. The Intracoastal Waterway is about 40 yards from my house and the Gulf of Mexico is about 100 yards away. In other words, I’m surrounded by water.

Normally, my location’s quite safe form flooding, but now Hurricane Irma, a Category Five storm, has entered the Caribbean Sea and is headed in Florida’s direction. If it hits here my house is a goner.

Now, I have lived in Florida all my life,  most of it on the Gulf Coast, and I don’t panic over hurricanes. Predictions by the weather people are often inaccurate. It’s quite possible Irma will turn north into the Atlantic or west toward Mexico, and then I’ll be fine. But if it comes here I’ll have to grab my valuables and my insurance policies and then evacuate to a friend’s house who lives on high ground.

Wish me luck ….

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A nice Arctic photo. I’m so tired of hot weather ….

Hi, friends and readers:

I came across this photo a few days ago and it took my breath away, for more reasons than one. First of all it’s a spectacular photo. I don’t know who took it, but he deserves to be commended for his photographic eye.

Secondly, it makes me yearn for a cold weather climate. Where I live in west central Florida the weather in mid-August is downright oppressive. The temperature in the afternoon often reaches the mid-nineties and the humidity is also close to ninety. Conditions are so stifling I don’t even think about going outdoors before dark, except to get inside my car and turn on the air conditioning.

After I retired from practicing law I began renting apartments in Berlin, Germany every summer, to get away from the Florida heat. I’d leave June first and not return until the end of August. Summers in Berlin are delightful: highs in the mid-70s and lows in the mid-50s. But it’s been years since I spent a summer in Berlin.

Maybe I should do that again?

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The “dog days of summer.” What does the term mean?

Hi, friends and readers:

It’s so hot during the day in Florida right now. Most days I don’t even venture outside until the sun sinks low in the west and a breeze starts to blow off the Gulf of Mexico.

Ever heard the term “dog days of summer”? The “dog days,” I always thought, were those summer days so devastatingly hot that even dogs would lie around on the asphalt, panting. But no.

Many people today use the phrase to mean something like that—but originally, the phrase actually had nothing to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer. Instead, it turns out, the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens.

To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe.

You learn something new every day.

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My New Adult novel, “Becoming Andy Hunsinger”, is set for re-publication next month ….

Hi, friends and readers:

In late 2014 Prizm Books released my New Adult novel, Becoming Andy Hunsinger. Here’s the book’s summary:

“It’s 1976, and Anita Bryant’s homophobic ‘Save Our Children’ crusade rages through Florida. When Andy Hunsinger, a closeted gay college student, joins in a demonstration protesting Bryant’s appearance in Tallahassee, his straight boy image is shattered when he is ‘outed’ by a TV news reporter. In the months following, Andy discovers just what it means to be openly gay in a society that condemns love between two men and wonders if his friendship with Travis, a devout Christian who’s fighting his own sexual urges, can develop into something deeper.”

Sadly, Prizm Books went out of business in late 2016, and Becoming Andy Hunsinger was no longer available for purchase. But since I retained the rights to the book, I was able to sell publication rights to NineStar Press, a very fine house that I am really enjoying working with.

Now a new edition of  Becoming Andy Hunsinger will be re-published next month. The book went through a thorough re-editing process, and though the guts of the book are the same, it’s a much better product than the original. I also like the new cover, which you see in this post.

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Four nights at my fishing camp at the Chassahowitzka River. What could be better?

Hi, friends and readers:

It’s hot this time of year in Florida. But this past Friday I drove northward with all my gear to spend four nights at my fishing camp on the Chassahowitzka River, right where the river flows into the Gulf of Mexico. I spent four days harvesting scallops, fishing and doing a bit of drinking. 😉

As a native of west central Florida, I love these sorts of activities. I’m a coastal boy and always have been. When I spent four years in Gainesville at the University of Florida, and then another three in Tallahassee attending FSU law school, I missed the coast terribly. As soon as I finished school I moved back to Pinellas County so I could be near Tampa Bay and the Gulf.

I saw some beautiful sunsets these past four days, and shared some wonderful meals with friends. I snorkeled in crystal clear Gulf waters to harvest scallops. Those are the types of experiences that make me love life.

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