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Florida Flashbacks & How Writing Research is like Gambling

Sunset & palm trees along the Florida Keys (photo by Tui Snider)
Sunset & palm trees along the Florida Keys (photo by Tui Snider)

I’ve got Florida on my mind

Why am I posting a photo essay about Florida all of a sudden? My pal Morgan Dragonwillow recently vacationed there, so now I’m  daydreaming about a road trip down the Intercoastal Highway…

I snapped these shots while dining near Key West. I can’t recall the name of the place, but it was a beachfront restaurant on a pier jutting into the clear, blue water. The joint was jumping, and the servers did a great job keeping up with the frenzy. They didn’t just have humans to wait on, either. Shortly before sunset a school of hungry fish showed up – a group of regulars including a small shark – and they expected to be fed, too!

Sunset & palm trees along the Florida Keys (photo by Tui Snider)
Sunset & palm trees along the Florida Keys (photo by Tui Snider)

Daydreaming about Unexpected Florida

Florida is full of offbeat and overlooked places, and I can hardly wait to return for a vacation/research trip. I’d love to write a quirky travel guide similar to Unexpected Texas, except this one would be called Unexpected Florida. (Bet ya saw that name coming, eh?)

Heck, I’ve already visited the quirky-and-mysterious Coral Castle, the delightfully retro Mai Kai Tiki bar in Miami and a fascinating shipwreck museum. I’ve even had a bona fide polydactyl Hemingway cat follow me through a cemetery in Key West as I searched for the headstone of an infamous hypochondriac which reads, “I told you I was sick!” (I’m gonna have to dig up those photos.)

If you know of any quirky places that should be included in a travel guide to offbeat and overlooked places in Florida, let me know.

I’ll take all the excuses for a Key West road trip I can get!

Sunset & palm trees along the Florida Keys (photo by Tui Snider)
Sunset & palm trees along the Florida Keys (photo by Tui Snider)

My ROW80 Check-in: Writing Research is addictive!

Enough daydreaming! It’s time for a ROW80 check-in.

This is my first check-in this round, and it’s quite overdue. Row80 helps me focus, and that’s exactly what I need to do this week – make clear, definable goals because there is a lot I want to accomplish this summer.

First off, I am working on a new book called Paranormal Texas: Your Guide to Haunted Travel Destinations near Dallas & Fort Worth, which I plan to release in the fall. I’m already having a blast researching it! But I know from experience that writing research is a lot like gambling. I always think I’ll hit the jackpot if I keep at it just a little bit longer. If I’m not careful, I’ll fritter away all my writing time researching things, then find myself scrambling madly to catch up.

So, by next week’s ROW80, I plan to have a clear timeline laid out for the following:

– an ongoing marketing plan for Unexpected Texas

– a detailed timeline for getting the manuscript of Paranormal Texas written, including planning research trips, interviews, and other bits and bobs.

– planning the launch for Paranormal Texas.

– following up with everyone I met at the DFW Writer’s Conference.

– following up with everyone I met at the Granbury Paranormal Expo

– getting my editorial calendar planned for the May, June, and July’s blog posts.

– anything I’ve forgotten to mention at this moment! (Which is probably plenty.)

Sunset & palm trees along the Florida Keys (photo by Tui Snider)
Sunset & palm trees along the Florida Keys (photo by Tui Snider)

What is ROW80? Here’s how you can join in:

ROW80 is an online support group for writers. If you’re a writer, feel free to join in! For details, check out: the official ROW80 website.

ROW80 Linky:

That’s how my writing goals are going. How are yours coming along? Here are links to all the other Row80 writers. Check them out:

Tui Snider
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Published inTravel Photo Essays


  1. Loved your pics of Florida. We were surprised a few years back to be strolling down a pier and encounter the very same boat that was used in that Kepburn/Bogart classic, “The African Queen.” Maybe that could be included. Also, pelicans. Surely there’s a myth somewhere or a pelican bar that needs exploring? We also stumbled on an abandoned dugout canoe that looked suspiciously like it had carried folks from Cuba to an out-of-the-way spot on the Keys. Lovely post, lovely progress. Have a great week!

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Beth! Thank you for all the tidbits for me to track down in Florida. I am craving a research trip there so bad! Maybe this winter… I see that Morgan tagged you for the Writing Process Blog Hop. I look forward to reading yours next week. :D

  2. I’ve only been to Florida twice, and both trips involved Disney. Isn’t that a bit of shame? While I enjoyed my visits, I’d like to see many other areas of Florida too.

    I like your idea of Paranormal Texas. While I’m a skeptic myself, I’d love to check out some presumably haunted places or go on a ghost tour. I’m certainly open-minded enough to check things out. Best wishes with that project! (And I’m also heading over to your link for Unexpected Texas.)

    Have a marvelous round! I skipped DFWCon this year, but I’m sure you met up with some fabulous people!

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Julie! Thank you for dropping by. Disney does tend to dominate the tourist scene in Florida. I wouldn’t mind checking it out again sometime, myself.

      As for being a skeptic, that’s understandable! My hubby doesn’t believe in anything remotely woo-woo, but he enjoys checking all this stuff out with me because, really, on a ghost tour, you’re mainly just hearing really juicy history about a place.

      DFWcon was action-packed, as usual. I am *still* digesting it! :D

  3. So a new “series” of Paranormal states… (I am definitely looking forward to an “Unexpected” for all 50 states one of these days. I mean… don’t you want more reasons to travel, Tui? I mean, those 50 tabs may help get the research process started, but then there is that sense of what the place is actually like in person.

    One can’t rely just on the internet. Right? Hands on is the way to go. :-D

    I’ve never been further south than Tennessee or further west than Indiana. These images of Key West are so… Mmm, I would love to go there. For research, of course. ;-)

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Eden,

      Oh, yeah! I’d love to write up “Unexpected” and “Paranormal” books about lots of places! I have some material already for one about Naples, Italy, as well as a folder full of stuff for an “Unexpected Manhattan.” I just need to do a bunch more research trips!

      I’m with ya on the offline research. As for Key West – oh, it’s absolutely lovely! We have family in Florida, so… who knows? Meanwhile, I hope you get a chance to do some traveling. :)

  4. Beautiful photos, Tui. I’ve been to Florida plenty of times, but never to Key West. Hopefully I’ll make it there one of these days.

    Welcome back to ROW80. Good luck with your goals! :)

  5. Love your Florida pics and I look forward to reading your book Unexpected Florida as it is one of my favorite vacation spots! So happy to be in your circle and I look forward to supporting each other further on this journey of writing!

  6. It’s so easy to get sucked down a rabbit hole while online, I often find that my internet searches begin innocently enough and with good intentions and then I come to four hours later with fifty tabs open, their topics covering everything from abandoned photography to celebrity gossip to recipes for dinner. If I’m lucky there may be one single tab dedicated to my original search. Good on you for making a list and being proactive – although by the looks of your “to-do” list you’re going to be pretty busy this week! :)

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Oh, yeah, Calli! I hear ya on the “50 tabs open” bit! My cute little kitchen timer has become my savior. I set it for 15 minutes and it’s insistent little ding reminds me that time is a-passing. As for my to-do list, I think you are right! Thanks for visiting. :D

  7. I’ve found the same thing with research. It can go on forever unless you put a cap on it. Can you start writing and continue to research as you go?

    I think you should make an “Unexpected” book for every destination. That would be awesome!

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Holli,

      Actually, one way to keep from over-researching (after my initial info-binge) is to start the project, then put XXX in all the spots that I need to research. This makes my research time more focused, since I’m then using it to fill in very specific blanks.

      I’d love to do a passel of Unexpected books… *daydream*

      Always nice to see you here! :D

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