This photo was just posted to Facebook by Rodney Bailey in Westchase, Florida. It appears to be a genuine Florida panther, an animal so rare naturalists have to set up hidden cameras to catch a glimpse of one. Yet this one might as well be posing. What a sight to find on your front porch!
What Grace is Reading
I've read three fascinating sagas this past month, two set in lands "down under" and one in ancient Rome. Walk About by Aaron Fletcher, In the Land of the Long White Cloud by Sarah Lark, and The Daughters of Palatine Hill by Phyllis T. Smith.
Walk About is an amazing tale of a young boy who survives the Australian outback only because he is "adopted" by an aborigine, and also about the boy's family members who spend years searching for him, only to be reunited when he is fully grown. The background rings with authenticity.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about In the Land of the Long White Cloud is that it also rings with authenticity, yet it was written by a German author living in Spain and required translation into English. It is the story of two young woman of very different backgrounds who become friends when they travel from England to New Zealand on the same boat. Their struggles over the next twenty years are epic. (This is Book 1 in a 3-book series.)
The Daughters of the Palatine Hill is the story of the only child of Augustus Caesar and the only surviving daughter of Antony and Cleopatra. Their lives are also the story of the Roman Empire at that time. The research is impeccable, the saga truly riveting. Not the Happily Ever After of Romance but the drama of truth, skillfully embellished for the fiction market.
~ * ~
And while I'm recommending books, I'd like to add one of my own. I consider The Art of Evil my best mystery - after all, I spent three years as a volunteer tram driver at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota before writing this book, so it can also claim a great deal of authenticity. Below are the cover and blurb as they appear on Amazon.
Someone is killing people at the Bellman Museum, staging the deaths as bizarre works of art scattered over the museum's sixty-six tropical acres, the creation of famed circus entrepreneur and art connoisseur, Richard Bellman. FBI Special Agent Aurora "Rory" Travis is visiting her grandmother in Florida while recuperating from a three-story fall that killed her partner and lover. Although broken in spirit as well as body, Rory volunteers as a tram driver on the tranquil museum grounds, ignoring the outside world, until a friend becomes a murder suspect and she feels obligated to do a bit of private sleuthing.
As the first ripples of a possible suicide, compounded by a series of odd pranks, stir the serenity of the Bellman complex, Josh Thomas, a man of mystery, hops onto Rory's tram to a clap of thunder. Josh is dangerous, Josh is ruthless. Josh has not come into her life by accident, of that Rory is certain.
As the pranks at the museum escalate to murder, Detective Ken Parrish is added to Rory's life. Steady, reliable, a good cop—everything a wounded warrior could want. Except when he is forced to add Rory to his suspect list. And only one of the two new men in her life is there, watching her back, when Rory is forced to confront her worst fears as she goes one-on-one with the villain.
Author's Note: Although I have changed the names of certain people and places, the setting of THE ART OF EVIL is an accurate depiction of The John and Mable Ringling Museum complex on Sarasota Bay in the last year before the bulldozers moved in for the great building boom that followed. All events in this book are fiction, but the beauty of the sixty-six acres and buildings on it remain. If you're ever on the West Coast of Florida, don't miss it!
Special Note: THE ART OF EVIL was originally published in hardcover under the pseudonym, Daryn Parke. It is being published as an e-book under my better-known writing name of Blair Bancroft.
"This is an engaging Florida investigative thriller starring a likable cast to include eccentric seniors especially Aunt Hy, polar opposite sleuths with an in-common interest in Rory, and a terrific heroine struggling to regain her sea legs. . . ."
~ * ~
Thanks for stopping by,
For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.