Summer Writing on Florida Novels

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I’m still here even though I’m not posting as much. Summertime and the living is anything but easy around my house. The garden is starting to produce, the boat is in the slip, and the kayaks beckon every time I walk by them.

Saturday we spent a portion of the day doing yard work and then headed out for a cruise down the Ohio River. When we came home we had peas to shuck and blanch before freezing. We finished around midnight.

But somehow during my days I’m finding the time to write my next novel, Native Lands (changed from Safe Harbor). I started writing this novel in 2006 and now I have bits and pieces of a story. I know most of what’s going to happen unless one of the characters forces me to change direction. It happens. Now I’m going through and doing the smoothing of the cement act, chapter by chapter. Even though I left this story in 2007 to pursue other things, I still know the characters. The problem is I have too many of them and some may have to wait for the next novel that’s waiting patiently in a little binder on the floor of my office. Both novels are set in Florida.

I’ve already written two Florida-based novels. Even though I don’t write novel series, my themes tend to follow the same environmental lines. I decided to start a Facebook page – Florida Environmental Novels. If you’re so inclined stop by and “like” the page. I post wildlife photos, articles from environmental groups, and updates on my writing.

One of my favorite characters in Native Lands is Benjamin Palmer, a new age charlatan, who offers aura massages at the local Farmer’s Market in St. Augustine. Even though he’s a part of the antagonist side of this novel, I have loved writing about  him. I wonder if other writers like their antagonists as well as their protagonists. Let me know what you think. For now, here’s a little excerpt.

Benjamin Palmer worked the farmer’s market every Saturday morning as if he was a hawker at the carnival luring people – mostly young women – into his booth for five-minute aura massages.

“I can see your aura, and it is beautiful,” he said to potential recipients of his new age method. “I can make it shine just like silver after a good polish.”

To change a person’s whole entire life essence, he only charged ten dollars – a bargain in a city where new age solutions usually cost much more. However, most of those other methods gave customers something in return, such as relaxed muscles after a deep tissue massage, or a chart outlining the next year’s influence of the stars and planets, or an actual picture showing the colors of the person’s surrounding aura, or even a deep meditative state after a Reiki treatment. The recipient might even walk away with something tangible, such as polished stones. When clients left Benjamin’s booth, they took away an empty spot in their wallet.

Benjamin’s massage consisted of him moving his hands within an inch of a person’s body in the “field of the aura,” he said. He concentrated on the spiritual power centers, known as charkas, on the body, he told his clients. His hands might linger over the heart chakra, if he sensed a heart that needed healing. It also lingered over the chest, if the client happened to be a well-endowed female.

“I can unleash your creativity,” he said to one woman who walked by as Rob watched. “I can see you are a very creative person already, but after my massage you will not be able to stop attracting the creative impulses that will come your way. You have a story locked up inside, and I hold the key.”

The woman continued on her way, giving up the chance to write the next great American novel.

“You’re missing a great opportunity,” Benjamin yelled after the retreating figure.

Other Florida environmentally themed novels by P.C. Zick:

Florida's sea turtles saved from oil spill in Trails in the Sand
Florida’s sea turtles saved from oil spill in Trails in the Sand
Wild and wacky of small town Florida politics explode in Tortoise Stew.
Wild and wacky of small town Florida politics explode in Tortoise Stew.
All three in one box set
All three in one box set

4 responses to “Summer Writing on Florida Novels”

    • I’ve got 30 years of Florida to get out! I did put a reference to Pittsburgh in Trails in the Sand. One of the characters hails from the area and when he went home to visit, his folks took him to a Pirate game. I’m sure one day Pittsburgh will be the star of one of my novels, but I need it to perculate for a few years.


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