What makes you unique? I was asked a variation of that very broad, daunting question as my prompt for a recent guest post. After much soul searching, I listed as many creative influences about my life as I could. Soon, I noticed a pattern, not only in my life, but in my personality. I’m quite the study in contracts. A delicate balance of Yin Yang, if you will. For my post, I chose to write about 5 unique life lessons among those that shaped me most.
Here’s the beginning…
Professional worrywart. Dedicated dreamer. Introvert. Adventurer. Stickler for details. Dancer to her own tune. Basically, if Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood had a love child, she’d be me.
5 Unique Life Lessons
Baby of the Family/First-Born: I’m the baby girl in a family with five children, five-and-a-half years younger than my parents’ third child and the older of two youngest children by two-and-a-half years. In effect, I was bossed around and cared for by older siblings, while I alternately envied and ignored my little brother. The dynamics changed when I was twelve. With the older ones off at college, I grew into his responsible, caring older sister.
Loving Family/Mean Girls: As the fourth kid in a large family surrounded by oodles of aunts, uncles, and cousins in a ten minute radius, I grew up with love and built-in friendships. Then there was my school life, a haven when my family encountered a rough patch. At other times, thirteen years in class with the same thirty kids could spell trouble…
There’s more to the story over on Eri Nelson’s blog. Hop on over to “What Makes Me Unique as an Author,” where you can read the article in its entirety. Then be sure to stop back here and tell me what you think.
What’s one life event you feel plays a significant role in what and how you (or others) may choose to create?
NCC BOOK SIGNING What a fun evening at Nassau Community College Foundation’s annual Ladies’ Night Out, “Cocktails and Couture.” I enjoyed meeting so many great people and chatting books, chocolate, writing, and relationships (ha!) as one of the event’s vendors providing exclusive shopping opportunities.
For those of you visiting here now for the first time–either because you met me at the event or elsewhere, feel free to take a look around the site. On my books page, you can read sample chapters, listen to readings of selected excerpts, and locate buy links.
I love to connect with readers online as well as in person, so don’t hesitate to find me over on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. In addition to my passion for writing, I’m a voracious reader. Please connect with me on Goodreads if you’re there!
VLOGGING FUN Here’s a scene from ONE MORE TOUCH where Willow makes good on her vow to shed her inhibitions. Figuring it’s now or never, she wears the itty bitty thong bikini bottom she finds inside her magic suitcase…and nothing else. Before she can change her mind, she steps outside her resort suite and onto the Wild Side Beach. Watch this short video to discover what happens when she realizes the hottie billionaire she’s fantasized about the past few months back home and just kissed earlier that morning is one of the people welcoming her into the Wild Side hot tub…
“Women Love Smartphones More Than They Love Their Man” and similar headlines are scattered across the internet as I type this article. No doubt, they’re effective at grabbing readers’ attention.
A new study published Sunday showed a significant disparity between how much leisure time women spend on their Smartphone compared to time with their romantic partners. This relationship study’s findings tap into our innate curiosity about gender differences and our desire to learn secrets for successful romantic relationships in spite of modern distractions.
Previous studies on this topic showed that men use their Smartphone more hours per week, and that men are slightly more likely to sleep with their Smartphone in bed than women. However, this newest one focused not only on tech usage comparisons between the sexes, but tech usage versus connection with each other. The conclusion was that women, on average, “…spend twelve hours more a week interacting with their Smartphone than with their partner.”
Most articles related to this study slammed home the same message. Women who choose to spend more free time with a Smartphone than a partner must either be avoiding or neglecting him. Hmm. I assume the intent is to warn women their Smartphone leisure use has the potential to endanger a long-term romantic relationship.
Online men’s magazine articles add fuel to the fire, too, proposing that men affected by this kind of “harmful” behavior better act fast, or risk losing their relationship altogether.
Are Study Findings The Tip of the Iceberg?
Curious about the strongly implied warnings regarding the concern women love Smartphones to the detriment of their romance, and the validity of the same over-simplified causal relation presented in article after article on the topic, I knew I had to dig deeper. As expected, I discovered plenty of studies to support my belief there are a variety of factors equally likely at play. For example, studies have shown that men, on average:
spend an hour more per day on leisure activities that often exclude their partner’s participation (TV watching, activities with friends, sports-related events)
So, if a man isn’t at home or available to engage in leisure activities with his partner, couldn’t that account for a woman’s amount of Smartphone use during her free time? Maybe I’m naïve, but I choose to think more optimistically about the majority of couple’s affection for each other. We don’t have to keep a tally of how many minutes we spend together versus being apart. Many of us women (and men, for that matter) might love how our Smartphones enrich our lives, but we’re not in love with them.
The REAL Reasons We Women Love Smartphones
This informal list is based on my experience and observations of my girlfriends who also happen to love their Smartphones. It’s not comprehensive, by any means. Nor are the items in order of importance. I’m simply sharing my thoughts because I want to know whether you agree, disagree, or have other reasons you feel should be included on the list.
Better than running errands after a long workday or crammed into activity-filled weekends
Easier, quicker comparison shopping to stretch our hard-earned family dollars further
Conserves gasoline, our car’s life-span, and precious time
Avoids stressful driving in crazy traffic, being exposed to that nasty stomach bug going around town, waiting in long lines, and the hassle of fighting for a parking spot on big sale days
More selection (My Pinterest Board – Love My Heels – can serve as Exhibit A) and cool online-only opportunities (Can you say, LulaRue?)
Can be accomplished while squished between other patients in the doctor’s waiting room, while beautifying at the nail/hair salon, and between numerous trips chauffeuring our kids to-from school, sports, church, and other important functions
Social Media Friendships
To catch up on news of our friends and family who live far away, or connect outside of work with coworkers in a relaxed, fun setting
To develop and nurture friendships with like-minded people we’ve met and connected with online (Yes, these can become REAL friendships!)
To reach out to others in times of grief or loss or stress for comfort and support, and to provide the same in return
To B.S. with the girls via texts (Yeah, we do it, too.)
Books, movies, art, travel, cooking, or any hobby or topic we’re interested in
Helpful tips for our daily life–housecleaning, laundry, pets, sewing, health, exercise, travel, etc.
Planning for the future
But in the end, does it really matter if we women love Smartphones or not, or how we choose to spend our leisure time, as long as we’re not harming anyone or breaking any laws?
And they all lived happily ever after…
Years before I became a novelist or felt the need for a Smartphone in my life, I recall my shock upon overhearing two coworkers discussing their attachment to the device, and how one of them actually took it to bed with her.
Fast forward to a few months ago. I woke up one morning to discover my Smartphone lying on the bed between my Honey and me. I paused to reflect on that for a moment. But I didn’t feel any less attached to my Honey because the phone happened to be there. When he glanced meaningfully at the Smartphone, I smiled as I reached for it. Setting it on the nightstand to keep it nice and safe, I then rolled back over and snuggled closer to my husband.
It’s your turn. Do you love your Smartphone? If so, please take a moment and share why!
10+ of the most unique tropical plants you’ll ever see just might be located all in one place. As much as I enjoyed learning the history of the famous Old Town home, I was even more fascinated about the Audubon House’s surrounding flora. (If you missed my last blog post, you can check it out at Audubon House: 3 Surprising Facts About This Popular Attraction.) I’m so excited to finally share these beauties with you!
Tropical Plants: The Flowers
Tropical Plants: Two Cool Trees
If you’ve ever wondered where limes grow, look no further. The Audubon House grounds have two types of lime trees. There’s the Spanish Lime and the Key Lime. The fruit above is the same kind used to make one of Key West’s famous Key Lime Pie. Yum!
I thought it was cool to see this banana tree plant, too. Us northern types don’t often get to see a plant like this in person.
So, that’s the end of my little tour of some of the most unique tropical flora you’ll likely ever find in one locale. I hope you enjoyed. Feel free to share your pretty flower and plant photos in the comments section.
A Few More Audubon Tropical Garden Photos
If you love photos of pretty flowers and want more, follow me on Instagram where I post all my best pics from my outdoor explorations near and far. All photos are taken with my Samsung Galaxy 6 Phone Camera. And in case you’re curious, most are cropped but few are filtered. Nature is beautiful enough without me messing with it. 😉
Before You Go!
In book news, I’m thrilled to announce that Book 1 in my Mystic Escapes series has re-released as of today, a light romantic suspense with a dash of magic. Check out One More Sunset, this Key West-set short novel, or any of my contemporary romance books at my Books Page.
John Audubon never lived at the Audubon House. In fact, none of his relatives ever resided there, either. It turns out that the home was built by John H. Geiger. He lived in it with his family, and it was handed down through the generations to their descendants until the mid-1900s. At that time, the house was sold to a Key West native, and it was they who decided to convert it into a museum honoring the famed bird naturalist.
Flamingo tongue was a delicacy served to the Geiger’s house guestsupon their visits. However, the black cormorant was likely the meat they feasted on the most, since it was said to be “the best bird to eat, much like the black duck of the north” according to Henry A Patterson’s diary. I found that historical tidbit a tad ironic, considering the Audubon Society’s mission has always focused on the protection of waterfowl populations. But I can’t be too upset with the Geigers for that particular transgression. After all, they did serve their guests wine from a really cool wine chest.
Women who lived at the Audubon house enjoyed a life of luxury. According to a letter written by Ellen Anderson in 1849 and later published in Echoes From a Distant Frontier, she woke up between 6-7 AM, ate a leisurely breakfast made by her servants, then taught the children for about an hour before she sewed. Dinner was at 2 PM. After her meal, she would go out and return at 6 PM for the family’s last meal of the day. Of course, her day wasn’t complete without another stroll around the piazzas.
Perhaps Mrs. Anderson’s description shouldn’t have caught me by surprise, but it did. Key West was isolated during the 1800s, but apparently the wealthy family managed to create a pampered lifestyle. Of course, their servants’ lives were a harsh contrast, and it struck me that Key West hasn’t always been known as a proponent of their present-day “One Human Family” motto. Then, too, I was reminded of Hemingway’s novel, To Have and Have Not, which featured prominently in my heroine’s adventures in One More Sunset. (Scroll down for One More Sunset‘s big cover reveal in anticipation of its re-release October 3rd.)
Next time we’ll trek outside the property and explore the flora of the Audubon House’s Tropical Gardens, my absolute favorite part of the grounds.
Final Winner of Summer of Love Giveaway
Congratulations to Denise H.! You’re the winner of my fourth and final Summer of Love Giveaway. Contact me to receive your autographed copy of Jennifer Gracen’s paperback book, Someone Like You and assorted Jolyse Barnett swag. Thanks again to everyone who entered. I enjoyed spreading a little summer love and I wish you all a wonderful autumn.
One More Sunset Big Cover Reveal!
I’m so excited to share the first piece of my romantic suspense’s brand new, beautiful cover! What do you think? Eager to see more? I promise there are more pieces to reveal throughout the day. See you later!
“She drank him in like the first sip of caffeine on a groggy morning, sunshine filling her soul. If she were greedy when it came to Dylan, then so be it. She wanted him. “
“I’m here for you Abby. You’re not going to scare me away.”
Was that a catch she heard in his voice? She opened the truck door, plopped onto the leather seat, and promptly burst into tears. Great, he’d totally ruined everything. He was too damned sweet. With her luck, she’d fall for him like she had from that infernal machine. Hard.
“The elevator stopped, and the doors slid open. She stared at a man running down the hall toward her. Her hair stood on end, and she held her breath, unable to think, unable to look away. Was it him? She jabbed the elevator button again and again, each press of her finger using more force than the last. Close. Close. Close. Should she have walked the three flights instead? She shuddered, recalling another stairwell in another building not long ago… No, the stairs weren’t any safer.”
Abby trailed her hand down his tan, muscled back. Manual labor agreed with him. Dylan was even more gorgeous in the early morning light, his hair mussed and face scruffy. She gazed at his peaceful expression, tempted to kiss the freckles on the bridge of his nose but unwilling to wake him.
Now it’s your turn. Did you experience any surprises during your travels this past summer?
Stunning flower photos? Well, I’ll let you be the judge when it comes to mine. I’m not a professional photog, but I’ve always been the family shutterbug on vacation and during holidays. And once we began our annual trek to Orlando each spring starting in 2005–which just so happened to overlap with EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival–I also become known in my little world for my flower photo obsession.
Unlike the other how-to articles about taking flower photos, I don’t know much about fancy cameras and can’t teach you about perspective. I switched out my trusty Canon a few years ago in favor of a Smartphone camera, and I’d never so much as read a how-to article related to photography until today, when I read a few to ensure I was bringing you a fresh take on the subject.
A decade of trial-and-error and literally hundreds upon hundreds of flower photos in the name of fun have helped me master a few tricks for capturing images that, at times, might just rival some of those stunning flower photos taken by professionals.
So, whether you want to take pictures for art’s sake or memory-keeping, or you simply enjoy looking at pretty flowers, here are my three easy steps to help you see the subject through a different, stunning lens.
Stunning Flower Photos STEP 1: COLOR
Does the flower’s color pop out at you?
Is the flower itself an unusual shade or hue that draws you in, surprises you, or fills you with happiness?
If you respond yes to any of the above questions, then you likely have an excellent candidate for a memorable photo.
My most popular flower photos are those with fuchsia, orange, purple, and yellow.
If you respond no to all of these questions, your flower might still be a good candidate if it possesses other qualities listed in Steps 2 or 3.
Stunning Flower Photos STEP 2: CONTRAST
Is there one angle or distance from the flower that allows more of a contrast in color, lighting, or texture than others? Be sure to try eye-level, bird’s-eye view, off-kilter, zoomed in, or skyward, etc.
Does the same flower look prettier to you at certain times of the day, or in special weather conditions?
Is there an interesting backdrop to accentuate its beauty? (Remember to look at the flower from different vantage points.)
Stunning Flower Photos STEP 3: CHARACTER
Once I let go of my Virgo approach to photography, I began to consider a flower’s character. I know it might sound silly, but one of the greatest surprises for me as an amateur photog was the realization that locating the perfect angle with the perfect, pristine flower wouldn’t necessarily equate to the most stunning flower photo. Turns out, some of my best flower photos are of imperfect or past-their-prime flowers.
I can still remember my Honey teasing me about choosing to post a photo of our white hydrangea whose petals had begun to decay. But I thought they deserved one last shot and was amazed by the result. (Scroll back up to see the Decaying White Hydrangea…)
Perhaps it’s the flower’s unique shape, texture, or arrangement that encourages the human eye to explore it further. Whatever the reason, my Golden Hydrangea experience has encouraged me to think outside the box when it comes which flowers are the “perfect” ones.
What about the Audubon Tropical Gardens?
No, I haven’t forgotten that I’d teased you all about sharing more photos from our recent getaway to Key West’s Audubon House & Tropical Gardens. But this little tutorial turned out to be way chattier than I’d planned, and I’ve yet to announce the Summer of Love Giveaway winner for this week. Besides, the history buff in me insists I also include a few shocking facts I learned about the house’s history to go along with the purty pics.
I hope you’ll join me then!
Winner of the Summer of Love Giveaway #3
Congratulations to Janine! You’re the random winner of my third Summer of Love Giveaway, featuring Jeannie Moon’s autographed copy of Until You, a Jeannie Moon canvas tote bag, and assorted Jolyse Barnett swag. Please contact me with your mailing address.
This is Jeannie’s release week for her contemporary romance novella, Truly, Madly, Deeply, too! If you’re a fan of Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay series, you’ll definitely want to check out Jeannie’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World books. (I was lucky enough to read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book, and I adored it. Just saying…)
Enter to Win the Summer of Love Giveaway #4
This week’s giveaway features the fab Jennifer Gracen, a woman referred to as “a hot new voice…definitely one to watch!” by RT Book Reviews. She generously donated a signed paperback of Someone Like You, the second book in her Harrisons series. Talk about hawt heroes and family dynamics! Each of her novels are stand-alones, so it’s not a concern if you haven’t read the first Harrison one yet. The lucky winner will also receive assorted Jolyse Barnett swag. (I love surprises like that, don’t you?)
Here’s an excerpt from Jen’s contemporary romance to whet your appetite:
The HARRISONS series -SOMEONE LIKE YOU – Book Two
Pierce Harrison–yes, that Pierce Harrison, black sheep of the wealthy Harrison clan–has come home to his family’s luxurious Long Island compound. The big question is why the dangerously sexy soccer star agreed to coach a kids’ soccer team. His co-coach Abby McCord should be grateful. Instead she’s fending off some seriously smoldering advances from the scandal-ridden athlete. Good thing bad boys are so not her type . . .
Abby is definitely not lacking in passion, but the sweet-faced beauty needs to learn a thing or two about taking a team to the championship–and a whole lot about how to let a man into her once-broken heart. Pierce definitely knows how to make the moves, but will Abby trust that the bachelor the world has condemned as a scoundrel can settle down with the one woman who has taken hold of his heart?
Now it’s your turn..
What’s one of your hobbies that you could teach to others? Or is there a hobby you’d like to start, but for whatever reason you haven’t begun yet?
So…before you go, leave a comment, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the fourth of my Summer of Love giveaways! Good luck, and check back to see if you’ve won this cool prize courtesy of Jennifer Gracen! I’m excited to do my small part spreading a little summer love…
One winner will be selected at random from the comments and announced in the next blog post (Generally on Mondays, but subject to change due to life’s ups-and-downs…). The winner will have seven days after announcement to contact me via my website contact page and supply a valid US mailing address for the package to be mailed. Otherwise, a new winner will be selected. Thanks so much for playing!
Release week fun for Text Me, Maybe, my first romantic comedy with Entangled’s Lovestruck imprint, is chock-ful of teasers, excerpts, behind-the-book trivia, and cool giveaways. In case you’ve missed any of the exciting news, here’s a recap of the highlights.
Harlequin Junkies Spotlight & Giveaway — An acrostic poem using the title of my new release, TMM trivia, and an excerpt from the “Hot Yoga” scene that dared give me all that trouble during the drafting stage.
Jaunty Quills Guest Author Post — I share my Ultimate Fan Experience and invite you to share yours. (So far, there appears to be a tie between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fans. Just sayin.) There’s a giveaway, too, separate from the one listed just below.
Release Week Fun Giveaway…
Indiesage PR Blog Tour, August 8 – 26th — Enter my giveaway for a chance to win my NYC-themed gift package…souvenir pens, stationery, journal, bracelet, art, Broadway merchandise, an autographed paperback copy of Text Me, Maybe, Jolyse Barnett homemade lavender sugar scrub, and more!!!!!
Remember to check back Monday, when I’ll be blogging about:
The Audubon House and Tropical Gardens of Key West (OMG, wait till you see all the flower photos!)
The winner of my Summer of Love Giveaway #3 (Will it be you??)
Details for entering my Summer of Love Giveaway #4 — featuring the fab Jennifer Gracen this go-round, a woman referred to as “a hot new voice…definitely one to watch!” by RT Book Reviews. So don’t miss out. Check back here Monday to learn more!
Good, luck and hope you have a wonderful weekend doing whatever you love! oxo Jolyse
Pamplona Room sounds so exotic, doesn’t it? Maybe the name added to my fascination when I first read about it on Trip Advisor. We were traveling to Key West for Hemingway Days, one of Hemingway’s books featured prominently in my storyline for One More Sunset, and I was looking for a new B&B home-away-from-home to call our own. This one seemed worth a try, almost kismet!
When I wanted to book it back in November 2015, however, all Andrew Inn’s rooms were booked. Disappointed to be shut out, I reserved a room at another B&B. It was a little more expensive, but within our price point, and close to Southern Beach. I couldn’t complain.
But still…I secretly pined away for that Pamplona Room experience.
A month out from our trip, I checked the vacancy status at Andrew’s–just in case–and was pleasantly surprised to see that the Pamplona Room I’d yearned to acquire for our four-night/five-day trip was available. We called immediately to verify what I’d seen online, had a lovely talk with the manager Lisa, and promptly switched over our reservations.
The day of our couple getaway arrived. Our flight from Long Island to Fort Lauderdale wasn’t picture-perfect (not by a long shot), but when we finally managed to land in Florida about twelve hours after our originally scheduled time, and drove our rental car through the Keys to arrive at our B&B in the middle of the night. The Pamplona Room at Andrew’s Inn was everything I’d envisioned, though, and eased my frustration with our bad luck prior to that. And as always, the rest of our getaway was fantastic!
Pamplona Room at Andrew’s Inn HIGHLIGHTS:
Cozy yet clean queen size room w/AC
Plenty of storage in room and bath
balcony overlooking Ernest Hemingway’s backyard–Wow!
Intimate setting — only six rooms on-site
happy hour with the other guests 4:30 – 5:30 DAILY, with wine/beer/light snacks
excellent, personalized customer service provided by Lisa and Christine
dipping pool and quiet lounge area
Quiet and private, yet steps away from Upper Duval Street
Andrew’s Inn Tips from Jolyse:
Take advantage of the recommended laundry service around the corner
Rent a bike on-site in hot weather–much more comfortable/quicker traveling with a breeze on your face
Take advantage of the breakfast and happy hour
Great Places to Check Out Nearby:
Hemingway House and Museum
Six-Toed Cat Café — great key lime pie
Lighthouse & Museum
End of US 1 Photo Opp
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach/Cafe
Truman’s Little White House
Green Parrot – open-air bar/restaurant
Upper Duval Street
Southernmost Beach & Café
Fourth Book Release
My fourth book hit the Amazon charts today. The first in my Single in the City series, TEXT ME, MAYBE is a romantic comedy set in NYC. Writing this one was a roller-coaster ride–but I’m very pleased with the final version. I wanted to give the world–so often filled with sadness and hate–a ray of optimistic sunshine. Lexie and Matthew aren’t perfect, but I hope you find them to be perfect for each other. Reviews like this one give me the courage to continue pouring my heart and soul into my stories day after day. oxo Jolyse
“It was a true pleasure to meet Lexie & Matt, the undeniable chemistry between these two was like a magnet that pulled me right into their world and had me hanging intently onto their every word. Their unique, and oh so, charming story was brimming with romantic comedy, laced heartfelt emotion, and packed with some heated moments that had me in dire need of a fan! This one turned out to be a very enjoyable first read for me, and left me looking forward to reading more from this author in the very near future, and I highly recommend you give it a try, these two are sure to win you over!!” ~ Reds Romance Reviews
Winner of Summer of Love Giveaway #2
Congratulations to Katherine Martell, you’re the winner of Maggie Van Well’s signed copy of RUBY’S LETTERS along with some Jolyse Barnett swag! (Please contact me within seven days of this notice and provide a valid US mailing addy.) Thanks to everyone for playing along and to Maggie for donating her lovely read.
Enter Summer of Love Giveaway #3
This week’s Summer of Love Giveaway features the fabulous Jeannie Moon! I’ve adored every one of her contemporary romances that I’ve read, and I’m so excited to offer this giveaway, which includes as signed copy of Until You, a Jeannie Moon canvas tote bag, and related author swag.
Here’s a blurb from this wonderful blend of women’s fiction/romance:
When newly divorced Kate Adams is approached on the sunny deck of a California hotel by hockey star David Burke, and he invites her to dinner, she almost says no. He’s obviously younger than her. And charming. And drop dead gorgeous. But there’s also something sweet about David, so Kate—who hasn’t done anything spontaneous in a very long time—accepts his invitation.
It is, after all, her fortieth birthday.
However, a real romance with thirty-year-old David, whose picture is in the gossip pages as often as it’s in the sports pages, is out of the question. No matter how much she wants him, it’s just too risky.
But meeting Kate has been David’s lightning strike. She’s the one for him, and he has no intention of giving up on her.
So while Kate guards her fragile heart, David sets out to win her over with the same determination that drives him on the ice.
And he’ll break every rule in the book if he has to.
Now it’s your turn..
Share a special getaway moment, or tell us about a time everything seemed to go wrong at the beginning of a long-awaited vacation, but ended up fine in the end. Or, respond to any other part of today’s Monday Mash-Up Post! 🙂
So…before you go, leave a comment, you’ll be entered for a chance to win the third of my Summer of Love giveaways! Good luck, and check back next Monday to see if you’ve won this cool prize courtesy from Jeannie Moon! I’m excited to do my small part in spreading a little summer love…
One winner will be selected at random from the comments and announced in next Monday’s blog post. Winner will have one week to contact me via my website contact page and supply a valid US mailing address for the package to be mailed. Otherwise, a new winner will be selected. Thanks for playing!
Wedding idea needed for you or a loved one? If you’re thinking about a destination wedding, and the bride adores books and cats, then Key West might be a great option. There are many pros about choosing the Conch Republic for this special event, such as:
it’s within US
it’s known for its embracing, inclusive view toward marriage
it has a variety of venues, lodgings, and activities for guests
it’s also a great honeymoon destination–saving on travel expenses and time
Wedding venues galore!
Over our many getaways to the westernmost Florida Key, my Honey and I have met many newlyweds who married on the island. Most planned to celebrate their entire honeymoon there, too. I always tease my husband that I want to get married to him again, but say that this time we’d do it in Key West. I even promise, er, threaten, to wear my original wedding dress. I know my daughter wouldn’t consider wearing it in a million years. So, why not?
Wedding in Key West
We’ve observed sunset weddings on the Southernmost Beach while we lounged in our swimsuits, and witnessed brides and their entourages as they gathered at the Key West Historic Seaport. Later, we’d see the festive groups depart on a rented yacht while we dined in our T-shirts and shorts nearby at Turtle Kraals.
We’ve been celebrating the sunset and enjoying the free entertainment at Mallory Square with the rest of the crowed while a couple tied the knot at one of the waterside resorts. Their celebration would be separated from non-guests by a satin rope.
Perhaps that explains why I half-expected to hear a couple reciting their vows at the legendary property while we were touring Hemingway’s house. I mean, it could happen. Right? Well, apparently not. According to our tour guide, weddings and other special events only occur there in the evening hours, AFTER the museum tours are done for the day. It’s such a tropical and tranquil spot, secluded from the noise of Duval Street and filled with legend, history, and happy cats. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the concept. What a great wedding idea!
Hmm. Now I might not be able to convince my husband to marry me again, but perhaps he’d agree to a book release party there someday, and I’d invite all my reader friends to join us. Wouldn’t that be cool?
In addition to the wedding pagoda, you will also find forty-five or so well-cared-for cats that roam the tropical-landscaped property, a gorgeous backyard pool I told you all about in Pool at 907 Whitehead (maybe that’s when they make use of the pool?), and an on-site pet cemetery. The last isn’t such a happy thought, but I figured I’d mention it since it highlights the love Hemingway and his descendants had for their feline pets.
Wedding idea chat…
It’s your turn. Let’s chat weddings. Mine was in the Adirondacks on a chilly April afternoon–complete with snow flurries! You might want to share:
Congratulations to TERESA FORDICE! You’re the lucky winner of Patty Blount’s YA romance, TMI, and assorted Patty Blount and Jolyse Barnett swag! Contact me via my website contact page to confirm your mailing address. (I used List Randomizer at random.org to select the winning entry.) Thanks to everyone who participated. I enjoy blogging, but enjoy reading your comments even more. <3
Enter the Summer of Love Giveaway #2
You never know what you’ll find behind the wall of a closed up fireplace.
Emma Hopkins is a recently divorced chimney sweep trying to make it in a man’s world. When she wins a huge job in Brooklyn Heights , she finds more than she bargains for; a sexy general contractor who makes her blood boil and an evil spirit who wants her dead.
Ryan Atkinson struggles to keep his once-successful general contracting business alive, but horrors in his past have made him a shell of the man he once was. Now he has to face those fears to save Emma from a murderous ghost hell-bent on revenge.
Together, Ryan and Emma become ghost hunting partners, hoping to solve the mystery behind Ruby’s letters. What they uncover is a one-hundred year old murder and a budding love that can’t be denied.
This is truly one of the sweetest romances I’ve ever read. A real gem!
Maggie Van Well is another blessing in my life since I began writing professionally six years ago, one of my Long Island Romance Writers pals, and a great personal friend, as well. If you’re not into ghost story romances (although I think you’d love this one, too), she also writes contemporary romances. Learn more at Maggie Van Well.com.
So…before you go, leave a comment about today’s final Hemingway House post and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the second of my Summer of Love giveaways! This week’s prize for one USA resident who leaves a blog comment features an autographed copy of Maggie Van Well’s RUBY’S LETTERS. The gift package will also include a few surprises, including Jolyse Barnett swag. I’m excited to do my small part in spreading a little summer love!
One winner will be selected at random from the comments and announced in next Monday’s blog post. Winner will have one week to contact me via my website contact page and supply a valid US mailing address for the package to be mailed. Otherwise, a new winner will be selected. Thanks for playing and have a wonderful week!
Pool time? The swimming pool at 907 Whitehead Street in Key West, Florida was the first in-ground one built on the island. Sixty-four feet long and twenty-four feet wide, it was an engineering feat for its time.
But that isn’t the most fascinating aspect of this pool…
Like most stories related to Ernest Hemingway, who lived there with his second wife, Pauline, and their children from 1931-1940, there’s an air of mystery surrounding how the pool came to be. And as the tour guide spoke about it, many of the phrases he used to describe the structure reminded me of the writer, too.
Over-the-top. Unique. Extravagant. Innovative.
But interestingly, as much as it reflects the late author’s persona, a swimming pool wasn’t Ernest’s first choice for his tropical backyard. Apparently a boxing ring was his idea of fun, because shortly after they moved into the house, he installed one so he could practice his amateur boxing skills on a regular basis. Of course, he invited his friends to watch.
Can you imagine looking out your window into what you’d envisioned would be your tranquil, tropical-set backyard and seeing a bunch of rough, sweaty guys cheering on your husband as he exchanges punches? From my research about Pauline, I don’t think she would sit byou and say nothing. It had been her uncle’s money that had allowed them to acquire the property in the first place, and she had two impressionable young boys. Would she want them exposed to the language and violence that went along with the sport?
I doubt it.
So, while the tour guide expounded on the history of the pool, I could hear Ernest pleading his case with Pauline while she complained about her yard being used as a boxing venue. He’d cite his hard work and need for a place to kick back with the guys. She wasn’t happy about when he left for the bar. Wasn’t it better he hung out at home? Pauline would point out that he went to the bar every afternoon anyway, and that he had the writing studio hogging a sizable chunk of the family backyard. Why not make the rest of it a place where they all could entertain their friends?
As I forced myself back to the present, the tour guide told us the pool had been Ernest’s idea and not Pauline’s. Hmm. Perhaps that’s true, but I still wonder whether her input might’ve been the impetus for his decision to replace that eyesore of a boxing ring with an elegant pool. Or, maybe it was Ernest’s idea. He did suggest it just prior to heading off to Europe as a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War. Maybe he figured that overseeing the enormous project would keep her occupied and happy. Whatever the case, the boxing ring was moved off the property to make way for the new backyard focal point at 907 Whitehead.
Interesting facts about the year-long construction:
An initial estimated cost of eight thousand dollars
Intensive manual labor to dig the massive 64 feet by 24 feet hole through solid coral
intensive manual labor to dig and thread a pipe to the depth of the island’s water table
Actual cost was twenty thousand dollars
When Ernest returned home after the war, the guide said that the writer was angry to learn how much money Pauline had ended up paying for the swimming pool construction. And that since she seemed to be intent on spending every last penny he had, she might as well have it right then. In response, Pauline had the penny cemented into the patio. I looked down and saw see there was, in fact, an old coin in the pathway. Whether it was put there by Hemingway or his wife for that reason, or by someone else to perpetuate the legend, I suppose we’ll never know. But, it was an interesting detail of our tour.
Twenty thousand dollars is a lot of money, even in 2016, and I’m hopeful the Hemingway family got plenty of use out of their investment. I was happy to see many photos throughout the house that showed them swimming in it or entertaining friends while they lounged beside it. I should’ve asked the guide if anyone ever swims in the pool now. It’s gorgeous, and with Key West’s balmy weather, I feel like it ought to be.
I plan to learn the answer to that question when we return to Key West later this summer, since our balcony of our bed & breakfast king suite just happens to overlook the famous Hemingway pool. I kid you not. So, if you’re curious like me, stay tuned for the update.
Summer of Love Giveaway #1
I hope you enjoyed the very belated–but written with love–third installment about the Hemingway house in Key West, and that you’ll visit next week for the fourth and final one. If you missed the first two posts, or it has been so long that you’ve forgotten whether or not you read them, feel free to hop on over to Hemingway’s Key West Studio and Hemingway House’s Fun Facts and Six-Toed Cats.
Before you go, leave a comment about today’s Hemingway post so you’re entered for a chance to win the first of my Summer of Love paperback and romance author swag giveaways.
This week’s prize for one USA resident who leaves a comment features an autographed copy of award-winning author, Patty Blount’s YA novel, TMI! The gift package will also include a few surprises, including Patty Blount and Jolyse Barnett swag. I’m excited to do my small part to spread a little summer love!
One winner will be selected at random from the comments and announced in next Monday’s blog post. Winner will have one week to contact me via my website contact page or via my email address at firstname.lastname@example.org and supply a valid US snail mail address for the package to be mailed. Otherwise, a new winner will be selected.