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 Cover of Tenant from Hell
The Tenant from Hell
Book 1 in the Realtor Mystery Series
Casey Clark, property manager, is just trying to evict a bad tenant. Instead she is over her head in murder and mayhem

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Double Duplicity
Book 2 in the Realtor Mystery Series
Trouble  follows Casey like a raging fire.

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Missing-- Gone but not Forgotten

Based on the unsolved abduction of a little girl in a rural  Florida Community.

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Under a Bloody Flag

Kansas and Missouri were a "no man's land" in the days before the War between the States.

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Under a Black Flag
Kansas and Missouri heated to the boiling point during the War between the States. 

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For Want of a Ship
John Roy came to New Orleans looking  for peace instead he found war.

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Last Step
Last Step will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you gasping in surprise at the ending

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Kudzu shows you a different part of the South, past and present. Mystery with a touch of romance and a smidgen of paranormal.

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Wild about Florida: South FL
The Everglades swarm with wildlife from birds,  to mammals, to reptiles.

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Wild about Florida: Central FL
Central Florida has the ocean and gulf beaches much like other parts of Florida but in many other ways it is distinct and unique. 

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Wild About Florida: North FL
Come explore caves, hills, whitewater falls and lots of other fun things you didn't expect to find in Florida.

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Georgia's Ghostly Getaways 

Who is not fascinated by mysterious things that go bump in the night? Are there some places where departed souls still linger?

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Hosts With Ghosts
The South has long been famous for its Southern Hospitality. Hotels throughout Dixie vie with one another to offer their guests more service and more amenities. Many have guests that never depart.

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Finding Florida's Phantoms
Florida! The land of sunshine and wide-open beaches. But even the Sunshine State has its dark secrets. Places where centuries old spirits remain tied to earth. Beneath the facade of fun and make believe lurks the real Florida.

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Color Saint Augustine
This is a way to virtually visit Saint Augustine. It's a coloring book for grown ups (but kids will love it too.)  with an actual photo of the attractions in Saint Augustine. The opposite page is the same photo converted into a black and white line image for you to to color. It's 64 pages with 30 photos and 30 pages for you to color. On each photo and each color page there is a little about the story of the image . 

Anna Maria Island: An Amazing Piece of History

Story and photos
by Kathleen Walls

beach a anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island’s history goes way back. The first record of European explorers here dated to the 1530s. They claimed Anna Maria for Spain. Of course, they weren’t the first people here. The Tocobagans, Calusa’s and other native tribes using the island as a base for fishing and hunting.

Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum

Anna Maria Historical musuem

The Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum tells the story of Anna Maria Island from the early Native American period to later days. After the U.S. acquired Florida in 1819. The first homesteader, George Emerson Bean came in in 1893. There’s an exhibit in the museum showing how these settlers lived.

outside history museum a skiff

Another exhibit tells the two versions of how Anna Maria Island got its name. One story says that in the 1840s, a US survey team was charting the islands along Florida’s west coast. The team stayed at the home of Madison Post, a Scottish emigrant, and his family in Tampa and named the island for his wife, Maria, and her sister, Anna.

exhibit in history musuem

Another version tells of a 19th century Spanish map showing the island named “Ana Maria Cay.” The Spanish often used saints’ names for places they “discovered,” Maria is the Spanish for Mary, and Mary’s mother is Anna, spelled with just one “n” in Spanish.

exhibit in musuem showing lifestyo of early settlers

The museum has over 120 years of photos and documents, and lots of artifacts donated by islanders. It tells of the island’s early tourism days and its fishing history. One interesting story is how Fig Newtons and Anna Maria Island are connected. George Wilhelm Bean, son of the first settler, and a few partners formed a corporation in 1911 to create a resort on the island.

exhibir ibn museum shiwing lifde of early settlers

One of the partners, Charles M. Roser, earned a large portion of the corporation’s capital when he sold his Fig Newton cookie recipe to Nabisco for a million dollars in 1910. The Nabisco Fig Newton sale helped finance the island’s infrastructure, a dock for steamships at the end of Pine Avenue, and a bathing pavilion.

old jail

It’s actually three attractions in one. The Old City Jail that was built in 1927 is on the property. At that time, a bar had opened and was causing a lot of drunks to be arrested. They built the jail with bars on the windows, but no screen or glass. Anybody who has had encounters with Florida Mosquitoes understands that after one night in this jail, drunks were careful not to repeat the same mistake again.

Belle Haven cottage

Belle Haven is another part of the museum. It’s a reminder that hurricanes are nothing new. In the early 1900s, boats delivering mail and necessities from the mainland docked at the local pier. They built Belle Haven and a larger home called Lotus Cottage on the pier in 1920. The homes functioned as a fish packing plant, rental cottage, and bait shop combination. In 1926, a hurricane destroyed the pilings and threw the homes into Tampa Bay.

interior of belle haven

Lotus Cottage was destroyed. Belle Haven survived and was found intact and floating in the water. Residents salvaged it, and it functioned as a family home for many years. As it deteriorated, it was set to be demolished but was rescued in 2001. Historians renovated it and moved to the Historical Park in 2006. You can tour Belle Haven and see an average home of the 1900s with heirlooms and antiques.

Florida’s Maritime Museum

Florida Maritme Musuem

Another museum that tells the history of Anna Maria Island is Florida’s Maritime Museum, in the village of Cortez. It has a display of early fishing boats and motors. Captain Banks’ collection of shells. Is more than I’ve ever seen in one place.

Hurricane disply

One room in the museum really hits home after the hurricanes we’ve had this year. It’s called “Caught in the Storm: 100 Years of Florida Hurricanes” and gives details of all the major hurricanes that have impacted Florida over the last hundred years.

old general store

Outside, there are more signs telling about the effects of the various hurricanes. A path leads to the 1890 Braxton Store, which was once a general store, the local post office, and a steamship wharf.

chickee hut

Behind the museum there is a Seminole Chickee, typical of the type of shelters the native Seminoles used.

Cortez Cultural Center

interior cortez cultrual center

A small waterway divides the museum from the Cortez Cultural Center. If you want to do a deep dive into the community history, this is the place to visit.

Dining, and Lodging

Anna Maria Island is filled with beautiful beaches, unique shops, and many delicious restaurants. There is a free trolley that lets you access most of the island.

ginny and jane e's

Some of the restaurants I loved are Ginny and Jane E’s’ Café for a blend of local art and collectables combined with basic food like salads, sandwiches, and bakery items all cooked fresh.

anna maria island beach cafe

Anna Maria Island Beach Café is a breakfast favorite. Their All-You-Can-Eat-Pancakes are a tradition here.

sowrdfish grill

Swordfish Grill and Tiki Bar located in Cortez Fishing Village is a locals’ favorite for seafood.

courtyard at mar vista

Mar Vista, on Longboat Key, is a cross between a waterfront fish house and fine dining.

anna maria oyster bar

Anna Maria Oyster Bar on Anna Maria Island’s Historic Bridge Street Pier specializes in oysters.

Floridays patio

Floriday’s Woodfire Grill and Bar is at the entranceway to the island. It overlooks Anna Maria Sound and has a real Key West feel.

lobby of compass hotel with dog

Just next door is a great place to stay, Compass Hotel on Anna Maria Sound