THE FIRST SNOW BIRDS

In the 1870s, before Miami became Miami, hardy folk hacked away at the jungle, planted oranges and pineapples, made charcoal, and dug roots to make conti starch. Most of all, they fished. Up the coast at Jupiter Cove, tarpon raced and leapt, so many of them that they’d nudge against the boats. Lured by the deep-sea fishing and yearning to escape the snow and ice, the first Snow Birds boarded their mahogany-trimmed yachts, sailed down the East Coast, and set anchor in Biscayne Bay to enjoy the balmy breezes.

Not much there, near the mouth of the Miami River. Just Brickell’s store, Lemon City, a small fishing village, and the Peacock Inn. The Inn catered to the tourists, and here is where I slip into the fiction of the forthcoming novel, Theena’s Landing. Jack Spode hires on as a guide for two gentlemen who want to brave the Everglades and hunt gators. Says one, “I hope we’ll have no trouble finding these famous creatures.” Jack hides a smirk. Finding the gators won’t be the problem. Keeping them from snacking on his charges will be the challenge.

We lived in South Florida more than a decade. I’ve trolled in the Everglades – though with great unease because I’m scared stupid by snakes. I’ve felt the sun, the humidity, the mosquitoes, and, also stupidly, cut myself on saw grass. I’ve seen a scarlet ibis in a green tree, a flock of flamingos winging overhead, snowy egret feathers littering the ground. And of course, I’ve seen muddy ol’ gators. When I write Jack and his hunters in the Glades, I swear my lovely apricot-painted office smells like swamp muck.

THEENA’S LANDING is the next novel, set in the 1870s on the strip of land between the Glades and Biscayne Bay where eventually Miami arises. I think you’ll like Theena and Jack Spode.

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About glcraig

Gretchen Craig’s lush, sweeping tales deliver edgy, compelling characters who test the boundaries of integrity, strength, and love. Told with sensitivity, the novels realistically portray the raw suffering of people in times of great upheaval. Gretchen was born and raised in Florida. She’s lived in climates and terrain as diverse as the white beaches of the Gulf Coast, the rocky shores of Maine, and the dusty plains of Texas. Her awareness of place imbues every page with the smell of the bayous of Louisiana, the taste of gumbo in New Orleans, or the grit of a desert storm. Rich in compelling characters and historical detail, Always and Forever is a sweeping saga of Josie and Cleo, mistress and slave. Amid Cajuns and Creoles, the bonds between these two remarkable women are tested by prejudice, tragedy, and passion for one extraordinary man. Gretchen’s first novel won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence for Mainstream with Romantic Elements and was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in the Historical Novel Society reviews. Ever My Love, winner of the Booksellers Best Award from the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, continues the story of Cleo and Josie’s families, of their struggle for principle, justice, and love in a world where the underpinnings of the plantation culture are crumbling. Crimson Sky, inspired by the pueblos, mountains, and deserts of New Mexico, evokes the lives of people facing neighboring marauders and drought. Now the march of Spanish Conquistadors up the Rio Grande threatens their homeland, their culture, and their entire belief system.
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