Katniss, the bookstore cat. 

I’ve just returned from Mount Dora, FL, where I spent an evening and morning at Barrel of Books and Games on Fifth Avenue.  The owner/manager there, Crissy, was the hostess with the most!  On Friday evening she hosted a small writing workshop for folks interested in writing. I talked to about twenty folks about how to write, how to assemble the bones of any story, and answered a few questions about the business of writing. I enjoyed meeting everyone, and there’s nothing like small town hospitality to make you feel welcome.

On Saturday morning I did a story book time with the children, reading my book THE TALE OF THREE TREES to a group of wee ones.  🙂  They were adorable, and their mothers were very sweet. After that, I took a break to walk around the charming downtown area and stopped into the cupcake shop (for the second time!) to indulge in a few calories.  🙂  Then back to Barrel of Books and Games for a book signing and the official release of FIVE MILES SOUTH OF PECULIAR.  Signed several books, met a lot of very lovely people, and took a picture of the official bookstore cat, Katniss (see photo).

Crissy explained that Katniss had literally walked through the doorway and into their shop–but she was in a sorry state.  She weighed only four pounds, had lost most of her hair, and had been bitten at the throat by something–who knows what.  But now she has recovered with tender loving care, and greets all the customers at Barrel of Books and Games.  If you’re visiting Mt. Dora, you simply have to stop into this wonderful shop and say hello to Crissy and Katniss.  (Best of all, she discounts new books by 25 percent, so you’ll get a bargain, too!)

Where I taught my writing workshop

On to the book of the month entry:  the writing of Five Miles South.  I wanted to do another sister story, but this one doesn’t have a lot in common with The Fine Art of Insincerity.  The older two sisters are twins who have chosen different paths in life, but a huge secret looms between them even thirty years after their parting. The story is about how they come back together and how old secrets must be revealed and old hurts forgiven.

The writing was fairly straightforward–I decided to do it with three different points of view and three nearly equal protagonists, though in my mind Carlene is the principal character.  I did my five usual drafts, then sent it off for comments from my agent and my editor, Tracie DePree, who did her usual wonderful job of commenting and cleaning up.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Tomorrow–the editing.  🙂



  1. Heather Murphy

    I am so disappointed that I missed you! I didn’t realize that you were in town. I’m sure it was a wonderful evening

  2. Mocha with Linda

    This is such perfect timing because I’m doing my review of the book tomorrow. I realized with the crazy weekend we’ve had that I hadn’t been reading your BOM posts, so I’ve gotten caught up. But when I first clicked on it, I thought “Angie’s gotten her books confused – this post says Mt Dora – did she start talking about Fairlawn?!” LOL Especially since you came up with the title while writing Fairlawn!

    LOVED the relationships (or lack thereof!) between the sisters, especially when the whole secret came out. Another incredible book!

  3. Anonymous

    Looking forward to the book, Angie, and enjoyed the mini-tour of Mt. Dora. I, too, thought of Fairlawn. And please, tell us about this last, intriguing photo. Looks like an architect who was a sculptor did this building. Is it the bookstore?

    Mary Kay
    PS Enjoy Glen Eyrie. Missing again this year. Aim for that to be a temporary state of affairs!

  4. Angela

    Ah, yes, that last photo is actually the building NEXT to the bookstore (I told them I was going to start praying that they’d be able to move into that building soon.) It’s a facade that was added to the building about 20 years ago, I think, when it was another bookstore. It’s really a beautiful facade, and fascinating to study, so it’s perfect for a bookstore. Though there’s not actually a bookstore IN that building right now. But hopefully, we can fix that eventually . . . .


  5. Heather Murphy

    The bookstore that used to be there was named Dickens and Reed. It was a well-known part of Mt. Dora. When they closed, they auctioned off much of the decor, including some of the tiles like the ones in this picture.


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