I'm just back from a quick trip halfway around the world to Miami, Florida to attend and present at the Readers' Favorite Book Awards ceremony and accompanying events. Thank you to James Ventrillo and Debra Gaynor for their kind invitation! Debra also presented me with the gold medal won for Being Anti-Social at the 2012 awards program (Chick Lit category).
Although it was a long trip, it was well worth it and I came away having met some wonderful people and new friends including Dete Meserve, gold medalist for Good Sam (coming soon) and President, Wind Dancer Films, and Eriq La Salle of ER fame (Dr Peter Benton) however his creative genius also extends to writing—check out Laws of Depravity, gold medalist, and Laws of Wrath coming soon. And to balance all the authors on the panel, we had Mark Wayne Adams renowned for his picture book illustrations.
For a lot of people, Miami means Don Johnson in his white suits fighting crime in Miami Vice, which is obviously not very practical. For whatever reason, I didn't watch the show during its heyday, 1984-1989 and I'm not sure why—possibly too busy with sport and fitness at that time. Another show we don't watch is CSI Miami—those opening 'poignant' remarks from Horatio, with sunglasses poised in anticipation, aren't.
For me, an absolute must in visiting Miami was the art deco district near South Beach. This is the largest concentration of art deco buildings in the world. Birdcage, a fantastic movie with Robin Williams, Gene Hackman and Nathan Lane was filmed at The Carlyle Hotel on Ocean Drive. This is one of my favourite scenes with Robin Williams.
On my first day in Miami, I set out for the Miami Book Fair International with no appreciation of how far it was from our hotel—we walk everywhere in Singapore so I was ready for the trek for the sights along the way. In the end, a bus came along headed in the right direction (and no taxis in sight) so I hopped on. It didn't matter where I ended up; I had a map…which is pretty useless in my hands with my sense of direction. In the end, the bus stopped right in front of the book fair. My only regret, once again, was that we only did one level of Spanish back in 1997. Being able to count to 10, hola, buenos días, buenas noches, gracias and adiós only get you so far.
Thanks to my trip to Miami, I've also now had Key Lime Pie at its point of origin (although I did not make it all the way to Key West) and this of course is an important aspect of my travels.