Florida LitLife | December Edition

December 28, 2016 by DAVID MORRIS | LITERATURE
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This month, I thought we’d expand our coverage of writing and reading in Florida a bit, because, well, there are things other than local books that deserve your attention.

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For instance, Orlando writer John King’s podcast, The Drunken Odyssey, has become a destination for nationally prominent and up-and-coming authors looking to talk about the writing world and its travails. The show’s archive is now 233 episodes deep, and visitors to King’s bungalow have included Cory Doctorow, Greg Proops, and Edwidge Danticat, along with special episodes focusing on ghost stories, Donald Duck, and everything in between.

This month, Creative Loafing also released its annual Books Issue, which included great profiles of Times columnist Jeff Klinkenberg and tips on finding good self-published books.

CL also wrote about Ridley Pearson’s Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark, a series of Young Adult fantasy/thriller/adventures set at Walt Disney World. The story has teenagers going toe to toe with Disney villains, and it’s been a hit – the series, which debuted in 2005, now has ten installments.

For those who live after dark, I’ve also recently been reminded of a great dive into the underbelly of Florida. Ace Adkins’ bestselling books are now mostly set in New Orleans or environs, but his 2009 White Shadow, is set in Tampa in the 1950s, and based on the real-life killing of a gang kingpin.

Football fans are sure to enjoy a more recent release chronicling the awful early years of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when the team set a still-untouched record by losing twenty-six games in a row. The Yucks: Two Years in Tampa With the Losingest Team in NFL History was released in August of this year, and critics from Sports Illustrated and the Christian Science Monitor have praised it. Author Jason Vuic grew up in Punta Gorda.

Finally, it’s time for what I’ll call my Conflict of Interest section. This month I released a horror novella, in night we coax things out of hidden shapes. I’ve been humbled by some very kind reviewers, who have called it “vividly disturbing” and “beautiful.” Take that “disturbing” part seriously, though – it’s not for the faint of heart.

I also helped St. Petersburg-based author Sydney Knox edit the first volume of her Blood Empire series of Roman historical fiction, so I can tell you firsthand that it’s a propulsive, painstakingly researched bid to put flesh on the bones of an ancient culture. Her characters, based on real figures, have motives and feelings that often get lost in the archives.

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