Like several of you, I’m counting down the days until I board that plane headed to Orlando. I invited 2010 Golden Heart® finalist, Abigail Sharpe, a Florida resident, to give us a few pointers about what to expect. And, wow! Am I ever glad I did. This California gal learned that things are a bit different than what I’m used to. I hope you find her fun tips as helpful as I have. ~ Keli
Abigail Sharpe is a current Golden Heart® finalist. Her entry, Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy, earned her a spot in the Contemporary Single Title Romance category. Abigail has been seriously writing for about four years, and this is her first Golden Heart final. She loves to infuse her stories with humor, because, as she says, “Who wants love without laughter?”
Abigail is a displaced Yankee living in North Central Florida and is the only female member of her household. She’s worked as a computer lab operator, a hostess for birthday parties at an arcade, a market researcher, a lingerie saleslady, a secretary, a clerk in a costume shop for Halloween, and a technical writer. See what’s on her mind at Abigail Sharpe, Romance Writer.
The Florida Dictionary
by Abigail Sharpe
Welcome to the state where the air is so thick it’s commonly called soup and any primping you do to your hair is undone within seconds of stepping outside. I’ve put together some terms that you should become familiar with before your stay here.
3:30 pm: When the torrential rains happens, give or take half an hour. Every day. For about ten minutes. The air around you turns heavy, the sky darkens with foreboding clouds, and the temperature drops about ten degrees. Thunder rumbles continuously and loudly, and it’s a little freaky if you’re not used to it. Take cover and wait. It will be over soon.
Bath Water: What the pool feels like after baking in 90+ degree heat all day. A dip is not so cool and refreshing. The Swan and the Dolphin host five heated pools with whirlpools, fountains, and waterfalls.
Downtown Disney: One of the nightlife options. It’s divided into three sections. West Side has a movie theater and a Cirque du Soleil show. Marketplace is a great place to buy Disney merchandise without going to the parks. And Pleasure Island has restaurants and shopping, though some places may be under construction. (Click here for more information.)
Expensive: The cost of everything. But when you’re hot and thirsty, $3 for a bottle of water sounds like a good deal. There are options for getting groceries while at the hotel. One is GardenGrocer, and the other is Goodings, though I haven’t used either one.
Flip-Flops: Footwear of the natives. If you’re trying to figure out if a person lives in the Sunshine State, look at the feet.
Heat Index: What the temperature FEELS like, as opposed to what it actually IS. Average temperatures for late July run in the low 90s. Add in the lovely heat index, and even a balmy 90 degrees can feel like 100.
Humidity: The main ingredient in soup.
Mayhem: What you’ll experience if you venture to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Don’t attempt to go unless you’re OK with a non-stop mob scene.
Nightlife: What you can do after the conference is done for the day, with several options. See Downtown Disney and Universal CityWalk.
Orlando: Where you’re not actually going. Disney is located a few miles south.
Sunscreen: Absolutely vital if you want your skin to remain heroine smooth and creamy. The rays here are brutal. Even if you’re not planning on being outside for very long, wear sunscreen.
Sunshine State: Florida’s nickname. Other nicknames include “Lightening Capital of the World” and “Wow, It’s Really Hot Here.”
Universal CityWalk: A 30-acre entertainment complex with nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping. Among its attractions are Emeril’s, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and a Hard Rock Café. CityWalk is about 15 miles away from Disney property.
The 2010 conference is my first, and I’m thrilled that it’s in my backyard. If you have any other questions, ask in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them for you. See you soon in a city south of Orlando! ~ Abigail