Top 5 Places to Visit in Himmarshee, Fla.
Bella was nice enough to invite my middle daughter Mace to give y'all a tour of our hometown, Himmarshee, Fla. Since Mace is off somewhere solving a mystery, I decided to step in (I do that a lot!). Frankly, you might not want to go to places Mace would recommend. Most of them have require doing sporty things in natural settings, like fishing on Lake Okeechobee or canoeing the Kissimmee River. Between the Florida heat and the mosquitoes, I've never believed the Great Outdoors are as great as Mace thinks they are. Anyhoo, my tour starts in air-conditioned comfort at:
1. Hair Today Dyed Tomorrow. You'll know it by the sign on Main Street: A pair of mechanical scissors, snipping at air. Like almost everything in the beauty parlor, from sinks to smocks, the scissors are purple. Betty Taylor's the owner, and that's her favorite color. Don't tell her I mentioned it, but purple is not Betty's most flattering hue. I should know, because I'm the salon's Color Me Gorgeous consultant, where I tell you what shades to wear if you're a Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall. I'm also an aromatherapist, and my candles and oils impart a heavenly scent. On Mace's rare visits, she complains the salon stinks like a fruit roll-up dunked in a cup of ammonia. Then again, Betty and I complain about her walking around with that snarl-fest she calls hair, so I guess we're even.
2. The Booze 'n' Breeze Drive-thru. Now, I don't frequent this place -- well, maybe occasionally to pick up a box or three of sweet pink wine if company's coming. Our slice of middle Florida is seventy-plus miles and a world away from the state's Atlantic or Gulf coasts. If you've never been here, you may not know drive-thrus are common. You can buy what it takes to get tanked up from the convenience of your driver's seat. I always wait until I get home to open my wine, though. Drinking and driving is plain wrong. I'd never do it, and not just because I've already managed to get into a legal jam involving my vehicle. If Mace were giving this tour, this would be when she'd take you to the Himmarshee Jail. She'd point out the cell I got tossed into after I found a body in my convertible trunk and couldn't explain to a certain detective how it got there. Believe me, that's not a spot you want to tour. Nobody looks good in jailhouse orange.
3. Himmarshee Nature Park. I'm just throwing this one in because I know Mace will be madder than a mule in a briar patch if I don't mention where she works. It's her favorite place in the world. She'd tell you all about the wild orchids growing high in the cypress trees, and the snuffling sounds the Great Blue Herons make when they're nesting. As for me? I don't see how she can complain about Hair Today when she works smack dab in the center of a stinking swamp, and runs a rehab center for wild animals on top of that. You'd know exactly what I mean if you'd ever held your nose when she's mucking out the critters' pens, or feeding raw chicken carcasses to Ollie, the one-legged, one-eyed alligator that almost killed me once.
4. Gladys' Diner. Our favorite place for breakfast. The food is so tasty, your tongue will hop out and slap your forehead. The decor used to be all wagon-wheels-and-ranching-
themed, playing off Himmarshee's position as the buckle in Florida's beef belt. But the owners got kind of fancy, painting the walls light blue and hanging landscape paintings of mountain ranges. I'm not sure what mountains have to do with Florida, which is as flat as a pancake griddle in these parts. But the coffee's still hot, and so are the biscuits, so everyone still goes to Gladys.'
5. Himmarshee Links Golf and Country Club. This is where you'll find old-time Floridians and newcomers from the North rubbing up against each other, and not always in a friendly way. Mace, of course, hates the place since they bulldozed a bunch of trees to build it. I told her we still have plenty of nature left, but we don't have any place as nice to eat dinner out. The Pork Pit barbecue joint is fine, but isn't it a nice change to go to a place with tablecloths, where you don't have to squirt sauce for your meat out of a plastic bottle? In ''Mama Gets Trashed,'' you can read all about Mace discovering a swingers' club at Himmarshee Links. Not one that works on your golf swing, either. I promise you, you'll be blushing 50 shades of pink! The good news is some of those heftier golf clubs come in handy when someone is trying to kill you.
SYNOPSIS: Mama Gets Trashed: After a tipsy Mama tosses out her wedding ring with the trash, she drags daughter Mace to the city dump to search. When they stumble upon the body of librarian Camilla Law, the straitlaced town is scandalized: Not only is a killer on the loose, but prudish Camilla is all done up in sexy black leather. Foul play and fetish wear in little Himmarshee, Fla? Mama's blushing fifty shades of pink!
BIO: A former USA Today reporter, Deborah Sharp traded sad news stories for funny fiction with her Mace Bauer Mysteries, featuring Mace's wacky Mama. Deborah rode a horse across Florida for one book. For another, she was interviewed by Al Roker on the Today show. She was a lot less nervous about the horse. Married to TV reporter Kerry Sanders, she lives in South Florida, where she spends her spare time chasing iguanas out of her hibiscus. Mama Gets Trashed, out Sept. 8 from Midnight Ink, is the series' fifth book. Visit her online at www.DeborahSharp.com or onFacebook at https://www.facebook.com/de
borah.sharp1. You can read an excerpt from TRASHED, here: http://www.mamagetstrashed. com/
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