February 27, 2011

Fran Orenstein and the Beauty of Florida

They call Florida the sunshine state. Ponce De Leon must have believed he had found paradise when he landed on Florida’s sunny shores in 1513 and claimed it for Spain. He even chose a name that spoke of the lush tropical flowers and vegetation. Today, tourists flock to the beaches that outline the peninsula along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Siesta Key in Sarasota is one of the most beautiful sugar sand beaches in the country. The Florida Keys has always drawn drama from writers to movies. John MacDonald berthed his character, Travis McGee’s boat in Ft. Lauderdale, and many famous writers live and winter in Florida, particularly in the Sarasota area. Visitors can explore St. Augustine, the oldest permanent city in the US since 1565. Orlando is the home of Disneyworld and Universal Studios. The Kennedy Space Center on the East Coast is always a draw and of course the beautiful Everglades in South West Florida is worth a visit and a boat ride through the swamps. The Tampa Bay area boasts museums, theater, music and the Ringling Museum in Sarasota features a hand crafted miniature circus, as well as a fine arts museum. Finally, the finest citrus fruit, strawberries and tomatoes come from Florida.
I am an author and a poet. The Spice Merchant’s Daughter is my most recent release from Whiskey Creek Press. It’s a young adult historical romance set between 1685 and 1702 in France and Prussia during the reign of King Louis XIV.

Four ‘tween novels are currently published by Sleepytown Press, The Mystery Under Third Base and The Mystery of the Green Goblin are the first two in a mystery series. The Wizard of Balalac and The Gargoyles of Blackthorne are the first pair of books in a fantasy adventure series. In February, Fat Girls From Outer Space, a ‘tween novel of childhood obesity and bullying will be released by Sleepytown Press. I am a prize-winning author of short stories and poetry, which have been published in various anthologies. Currently, I am writing The Centaurs of Spyr, book three in the fantasy series, and seeking an agent for an adult woman’s book of love, loss and redemption set in Tampa Bay.
After living most of my life in New York and New Jersey, then briefly in Arizona and South Carolina, I settled in Florida 3 ½ years ago. These are two poems I wrote about the sunshine state.

Florida Summers
Sticky, wet, hot and humid
Thunderstorms blasting the sky
Darkening the world to gray-black
Sending shards of lightning to earth

Torrents of rain pour from the clouds
In short bursts of life-giving liquid
To the joyous thirsty plants below
Roots rising up to the deluge

Crepe myrtle blossom
In shades of pink and fuchsia
Rising above hibiscus unfolding
Giant blooms of blazing fire

The lake flows in tranquil peace
Blue herons feeding along it's shores
Watching pelicans dive-bomb for fish
Black anhinga spreads her wings to dry

Stately storks and cranes parade
A ballet dance of precision and grace
Brown ducks and white cattle egrets
Skirt the alligator sunning on the grass

This is Florida in summer
A melange of sun and storm
White clouds and black sky
Still water and roiling surf
Fran Orenstein 2009

A Snapshot of Florida
Dancing diamonds sparkle on Mirror Lake
Flitting across the slate-gray surface
Rippling in the late afternoon sun
As the waving shadows of the trees lengthen

A Great White Egret daintily wades along the shoreline
Stopping for snacks as he trolls for tasty tidbits before
Roosting somewhere secret for the night
Watched closely by two territorial wood storks

The world turns and the sun drops to the horizon
Painting the sky in blazing red-orange flames
Sending fiery streaks of color across the water
Where tiny wavelets churn in the wind

The last vestiges of sunset, a dark orange backdrop
For the black silhouettes of twin undulating palm trees
The lake bathed in shades of silver, steel and pewter
A snapshot view of a late Florida afternoon
Fran Orenstein 2010

Visit Fran Orenstein's website for more information on all her work and other purchase information http://franorenstein.weebly.com/ or you can go directly to her publisher as well at http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/


  1. I've been to Florida a number of times and have especially enjoyed Key West - looking forward to going back some day. :)

  2. Your love of place definitely shows, Fran. Enjoyed the read and I've enjoyed some good days in Florida, too.

  3. I have been to Florida, the most northern parts and it is lovely, though it does seem to get whacked with hurricanes more than most. I wonder what the actual stats on hits are? I know when we lived in Louisiana, seemed like all the storms bent toward Florida! Makes for good fictional drama, though.

  4. Fran, I've never visited The Keys but I hope to make it yet. When I think of Florida I see beautiful flowers and catch their rich perfume. The sights and fragrances make me so happy. You're lucky to live in a beautiful state.

  5. FRAN--fellow author from WCP here--coming when? I have no idea.
    Pensacola is as far as I've been in Florida because my husband has many relative there. We've had fantastic family reunions on the beach, in condos and in beach homes.He's from a family of 12, so the reunions have been huge, and the last five days. Cool, huh?
    I'm interested in your children's and tween's books. One of my author's group members just got a contract--through her agent-- with Penquin for a two book series.
    I wish you success, also, on your quest to find an agent for your adult romance story.

  6. I just love your writing style! One of these days I will need get off this island to visit Florida and see the rest of the state. Only have been there once to Disney World!

  7. I like visiting there in the winter when it's gray and rainy in the Pacific NorthWET!

  8. Hi, I once spent 6 weeks in a hotel. iwas there for the Mariel boat lift. I was quite impressed with Miami and who they all repsonded.
    debby236 at att dot net

  9. Thanks for the write-up on Florida. I have friends who live there that love it, and it sounds like a wonderful place to visit. :)

  10. Thanks everyone for your great comments. Come visit if you're down in the Tampa Bay/Sarasota area.

  11. Ah, Florida. Visited once in reality and many times in my mind when I wanted to forget about the snow and cold during the winter. :-) Thanks for the warm trip you took us on today, Fran. It was lovely...

    Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author

  12. Where in Florida do you live... it isn't possible to visit you is it?


Follow 50 Authors from 50 States blog for the latest