Author of OUTBACK LOVE a contemporary romance novel set in Australia, JETTING AWAY a short story prequel to OUTBACK LOVE, MOON OVER MADNESS a paranormal romantic comedy and BAYOU BLUES AND OTHER SORROWS a collection of short stories and poems about life and love. All are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel and Kobo. On Twitter @TeriHeyer

Monday, July 15, 2013

Beachin' in Florida - Where are you, Travis McGee?

Coffee and John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee Novels.

Years before moving to Florida I read every one of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee Novels, twenty-one of them in all. I fell in love with Florida, sight-unseen, and knew that I had to live there. A couple years later I stepped off a plane in Daytona Beach, Florida and instantly knew I'd found my tropical paradise.

Now here I am, thirty-one years later, and still in love with Florida. Only now I live on the Florida Panhandle on the beautiful Gulf Coast. It's one of those mornings where I'm remembering the Florida from all those years ago compared to the Florida I see today.

There are definitely lots of changes. The cities and towns have all expanded until they run into each other. So much of the Florida I remember from years past is now paved over.  Millions more people have taken up residence here. Tourists flock here from around the country and around the world. Florida is still beautiful, but gone are the sleepy, slower-paced, sultry days of yore.

I'm sitting on my trellis-covered patio sipping coffee from a Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay, Florida coffee mug and reading John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee Novel, A Deadly Shade of Gold. Now I ask, where are you, Travis McGee?

In the 1960s fictional Travis McGee lived on his houseboat, the Busted Flush, docked at slip F-18 at Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale. Travis McGee was a one-man, super-hero, crime-fighter, living a laid back life in paradise. He took down drug runners, thieves and thugs. On top of that, he was an environmentalist fighting to save the Everglades, the Keys and the rest of south Florida from corrupt developers.

After John D. MacDonald passed away, Travis McGee slowly disappeared. These days it's difficult to find anyone who has even heard of John D. MacDonald or Travis McGee, let alone read the books. How can that be? My local library doesn't have a single one of the books. They're difficult to find in a bookstore and only now and then does one appear in a used bookstore or garage sale.

I used to own all the Travis McGee Novels, but when I moved from southern California to Florida, those books mistakenly got left behind. Not too long ago I was able to buy three of the books at a used book sale at my local library. Someone donated a few of the novels to the library. I bought three and another lady bought three. I scanned every single book at the sale and couldn't find any others.

So I'm now the proud owner of A Deadly Shade of Gold, Pale Gray for Guilt and The Empty Copper Sea. I'll keep looking at used book sales and will eventually collect all the books once again. This morning I started rereading A Deadly Shade of Gold. Ahh, Travis McGee, I've missed you so.

The world was a simpler place back in Travis McGee's time. Maybe the bad guys were easier to spot? And maybe one guy could make a difference? But then Travis McGee was just a fictional character and the real world was more complicated than that.

Well, I've missed Travis McGee and now I've found him again. I intend to savor every minute as I reread these books. Travis McGee does exist in my mind. He's still sitting on the Busted Flush sipping a cold one and enjoying another spectacular Florida sunset. I'm sitting there with Travis McGee and we're talking about going fishing tomorrow. Or maybe we'll be fighting some bad guys? You just never know.

For those interested in reading the Travis McGee Novels, they can be ordered online from your favorite online bookstore and are also now available as eBooks. Here's the series, in order, but don't hesitate to pick up any of the books and read them in or out of order. I guarantee you too will fall in love with Florida and Travis McGee.

The Travis McGee Novels by John D. MacDonald:

The Deep Blue Good-by
Nightmare in Pink
A Purple Place for Dying
The Quick Red Fox
A Deadly Shade of Gold
Bright Orange for the Shroud
Darker than Amber
One Fearful Yellow Eye
Pale Gray for Guilt
The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper
Dress Her in Indigo
The Long Lavender Look
A Tan and Sandy Silence
The Scarlet Ruse
The Turquoise Lament
The Dreadful Lemon Sky
The Empty Copper Sea
The Green Ripper
Free Fall in Crimson
Cinnamon Skin
The Lonely Silver Rain

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