West Palm Beach Conclusion to the Tour

Today I conclude our six-day journey through West Palm Beach and the surrounding areas of Florida’s east coast. Over these past days, I have enjoyed sharing details about my upcoming novel, Shrink Me, and the beauty of Florida.

Since returning to Michigan, I have been reworking my manuscript with a fresh set of eyes. Nothing shines light on a story setting like being immersed in the real one.

Thank you for joining me, and I hope you’ll stay tuned for more updates to follow. If you haven’t already, you can sign up for email notifications on this blog that will keep you posted on the launch dates for Shrink Me. Click the Follow button on the right side of the page.

Trust me…my heroine, Jolene, will keep you on your toes. She continues to amaze me as I’m writing her story.

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Downtown Stuart
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My husband, Jonathan, and myself

 

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A view from the river looking at downtown Stuart

 

West Palm Beach Tour: Fifth Stop…The Ocean

The magnitude of the ocean, and the endless roll of waves is beautiful. Florida has majestic beaches. Gray and white sand mixes with shards of sea shells, and the water looks like tiers of aqua. The warm breeze carries the smell of salt and seaweed, and the waves rev up to a loud roar before dissipating upon the shore.

My sister-in-law told me that her favorite sound at the beach is when waves wash over clusters of shells, making them tinkle like chimes. It amazes me how nature makes its own music, and it reminds me of how genius God is.

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West Palm Beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

The moment I stepped barefoot on the sand, I felt my soles instantly tingle and a second later, the burn set in. Yes, flip-flops are a must on the Florida sand.

When we arrived at the beach, we checked to see what flag was flying. Based on the level of water danger/hazards, a certain color flag will be hoisted on a pole to tell the swimmers what to expect. Red is high level of hazards, yellow is medium or moderate, and green represents a low degree of dangers. On the days we visited the beach, the flag was yellow. The hazards listed on the park’s board were shore break waves, rip currents, and seaweed. We didn’t mind a little bit of roughness. The waves were fun, and we even managed to snorkel!

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Bathtub Beach in Stuart, FL

 

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West Palm Beach Blog Tour : Fourth Stop…Bridal Belles Boutique

In my novel, Shrink Me, Jolene’s sister is preparing to get married. And what is the one thing every bride needs…a wedding dress!

I scoured the West Palm Beach area for the perfect bridal shop to feature inside my book. After lots of searching, I found Bridal Belles. This boutique has the essence of antiquarian charm and elegance. The owner of the shop is Joyce Maloney. She has owned and operated Bridal Belles since 1982.

Joyce welcomed me into her boutique and shared her heart behind her store. While many bridal shops have become big conglomerates, Joyce has clung to her vision for a private, personal bridal experience tailored to each individual bride. Joyce is a lovely woman with a lovely store. She said that she perhaps should retire, but she just can’t let go. She’s passionate about what she does. In order to give each bride her full attention, Joyce meets by appointment only.

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Joyce Maloney and Myself

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The dressing room
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This ivory victorian soutache will be featured in the novel.

I would like to say a special thank you to Joyce Maloney for allowing me to feature her boutique in my novel and for showing me an example of dedication and determination to see her dream through.

I truly enjoyed my visit to Bridal Belles. I wasn’t even a bride, and I still felt special.

If you are a bride in Florida, make sure to check out Bridal Belles.
2800 N. Military Trail #109
West Palm Beach, Fl 33409
http://www.bridalbelles.com

West Palm Beach Tour: Third Stop…Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar

Every good story has conflict, and conflict thrives on “crazy” characters. That is why Jolene breeds a great story…she’s quite crazy. In a good way. Fact is…we all have little bit of crazy.

One such wild night in my story takes place on Clematis Street inside a happening restaurant and tequila bar. It’s called Rocco’s Tacos, and the restaurant certainly does rock! The food was drenched in flavor and the guacamole dip made me want to kiss an avocado.

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Rocco’s had a great atmosphere and service. I enjoyed the accordion doors that opened up the restaurant to the outside and let the sunshine in. Sorry folks…I can’t report on the tequila but I did love the tacos. If you’re ever in the area, check it out! Delicious. Delicious.

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Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar
224 Clematis St, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
https://www.roccostacos.com

 

West Palm Beach Tour: Second Stop…Clematis Street and Liberty Book Store

West Palm Beach has a lively downtown area known as the historic arts and entertainment district. The heart of this district is Clematis Street. This area is known for its indigenous flavor for arts, music, food, boutiques, specialty shops, and nightclubs. Thursday nights from 5:30-9pm come alive when Clematis Street transforms into Clematis By Night.

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In my upcoming novel, Shrink Me, which is a romance mystery, I contemplated the perfect location for Jolene (my heroine) to have her “meet-cute.” The meet-cute is that special scene where the hero and heroine meet for the first time and a spark is ignited between them. Oftentimes, that original spark is squelched by a clash of interests or personalities only to be rekindled later in the book.

Oh how I love a sweet love story!

It wasn’t long into my search for the meet-cute location that I found the perfect store on Clematis Street. It’s a charming little shop called Liberty Book Store.

Prior to my flight into Florida, I contacted the store owner, Thorne, via email and asked him if I could highlight his store in my story. He generously agreed and when I was in town, Thorne personally showed my husband and I around his shop. It was a splendid adventure.

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I learned a lot from Thorne about his knowledge of literature and pricing vintage books. He says, “Condition is everything.” Wear and tear. Stains. Complete pages. Smell. The spine. All these things factor into the worth of a book.

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A view inside the antiquarian book room

In the back of the store is a special room that will make a book collector’s dream come true.  The antiquarian book room contains hundreds of association copies, first edition, signed and rare books. Locked glass display cases hold prized collections of Charles Dickens and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The Nonesuch Dickens 24 Volumes are a limited edition and includes the steel plate for the image “Mr. Noodle is led to the contemplation of his destiny,” proof print, and letter of authenticity. The price: $6,500.00.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald Set: The Great Gatsby,The Last Tycoon, All The Sad Young Men, The Vegetable, This Side of Paradise, Flappers and Philosophers, The Beautiful and Damned. New York: Scribner’s, 1920-1941. First Edition. Hardcover. Price: $7,250.00

In a glass case, near the front of the store was an item I found worn and beautiful. It was a copy of the Holy Bible printed in 1811. Price: $1,350.00.

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On the door of the rare book room is a sign that says, “I cannot live without books,” by Thomas Jefferson. That quote says it perfectly.

I am in love with books. I am in love with writing them, reading them, studying them, and collecting them. I need books. I’m drawn to book stores like a kid to a candy shop. Perhaps that is why I needed my heroine, Jolene to love books as well.

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If you are ever on the east coast of Florida, make it a point to visit Liberty Book Store located on Clematis St., Ste. 117
, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.

References:

http://www.westpalmbeach.com/clematis

http://www.libertybookstore.com

 

West Palm Beach Blog Tour: First Stop…CityPlace

Throw on your flip-flops and a pair of sunglasses, we’re going on a tour to West Palm Beach, Florida!

I spent the last five days absorbing the beauty of Florida’s east coast for the setting of my newest contemporary novel: Shrink Me. This novel explores the life of a therapist named Jolene, an eccentric gal who takes her profession to the extreme.

In order to capture my book in a vivid and real way, I wanted to see everything through Jolene’s eyes. So I went to the places Jolene would go. Since she lives in West Palm Beach, I spent a lot of time scouring the area.

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One of the hot spots of downtown West Palm Beach is CityPlace. It’s a shopping oasis filled with sunlight and palm trees. There is a large community of sparrows that inhabit the flowering shrubs around the plaza. Their chirps mixed nicely with the sound of fountains.

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My husband and I mainly window-shopped the huge selection of stores, but one store beckoned us to come inside: Tommy Bahama. Their candles smell like Hawaii, and I desired to wrap myself like a baby in their beautifully soft and expensive clothing. I managed to refrain from snuggling the garments, but I did buy a candle.

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Along the main stretch of CityPlace is a grocery store called Publix Supermarket. In my book, I have a special opening scene in this particular Publix between Jolene and her soon-to-be boss, Adrian. Adrian always goes to this store for his groceries, since it’s within walking distance of his apartment.

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Stouffer’s are a staple in Adrian’s freezer. He’s a bachelor.
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Busy taking notes

Tomorrow, I’ll be taking you to the historic district on Clematis Street (well that name just sounds exciting).