Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Brunchery in "Obedient Heart"

The Brunchery Restaurant & Catering, owned and operated by Greg Elliott, is located at 3225 S. MacDill Avenue in South Tampa.

Another snapshot from my novel "Obedient Heart."

...the waitress approached with their beverages. She pulled out her pad to take their orders.
"I'll have the chicken quiche and salad, please." Jennifer smiled and handed her the menu.
"And you, sir?"
Jack's gaze remained focused on Jennifer. "I'll have the same, please."
Jennifer grinned at Jack. "Do real men eat quiche?"
"Of course." He brandished his fork like sword. "But with a manly fork." He set the utensil down and rested his forearms on the table. "So, they caught only one of the men?"
"Yes. He won't give up his partner, so it means the battle isn't over yet." She stroked the glass of tea with her fingers before picking it up. "Surveillance will continue. It's so frustrating having this hanging over my head all the time."
The Brunchery is a perfect setting for this lunch scene. My Professional Women's Bible study meets here every Friday morning from 6:45 - 7:45. Yes, that's in the A.M.! Twelve to fourteen of us gather together for a study in the Word before work as guests of owner Greg Elliot. He graciously opens his doors for us, and even provides the coffee. I wanted to reward his kindness by mentioning his restaurant in my novel, and the characters were happy to accommodate me. According to the restaurant website, (http://www.brunchery.com/) South Tampa News (a regional section of the Tampa Tribune) voted The Brunchery as a top choice of best place for breakfast/brunch. No surprise there. The outstanding service and eclectic fare keep locals (and out-of-towners) coming back for more. Even the President of the United States ordered a catered lunch from The Brunchery on a visit to Tampa. Greg provided more than 1,000 sandwiches in a day's notice. I bet he did it without breaking a sweat, too!
Jack and Jennifer will visit the Brunchery again in the novel's sequel (still in its cocoon). In the meantime, you can find me there Friday morning at 6:45 with my Bible open. I'll be the one with the mug of decaf.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tampa Theatre in "Obedient Heart"

A snapshot from my novel, Obedient Heart:
"What's wrong, Maggie?" Jennifer asked. "You look sad."

"Oh, I'm not sad, dear." She picked at her food with her plastic fork. "Well, maybe I am, just a little. The paper said The Inn of the Sixth Happiness is coming to Tampa Theatre in a couple of weeks. That's my favorite Ingrid Bergman film." She put down her fork and slapped the arm of her wheelchair. "And I'm stuck in this place and in this thing." "Oh, I wish I could--"
"You wish you could take me. I know. But I've seen your car. My wheelchair won't fit, so let's not think about it."
(Later, when Jack McGowan asks Jennifer is she'd like to go to a movie, she declines.) Jack reached for the doorknob and paused. "You know, Tampa Theatre has a special screening of a classic Ingrid Bergman movie this week. Maybe we could do that Thursday evening."
(Of course, Jennifer mentions Maggie's desire to see that film. And Jack, being the gentleman who knows the road to Jennifer's heart is through her compassion for those less fortunate, offers to take Maggie with them.) TAMPA THEATRE is another local landmark I use to bring my characters to life.
This historical theatre, which opened in Tampa on October 15, 1926, is one of our city's finest jewels. Housed across Franklin Street from the TECO plaza, one would never guess its opulence from it's near-ordinary facade. But once inside, you walk on mosaic tiled floors, climb marble steps to the balcony, and gaze up at 99 faux stars in the ceiling. The theatre has 1446 seats in the auditorium and, aside from airing independent films, is famous for its Summer and Winter Classic Series.
My husband and I have made it an annual ritual to attend the July showing of Casa Blanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. We own a DVD of this cult movie, but there's nothing like watching it on the big screen. And during these events, the theatre offers Bugs Bunny cartoons before each movie.
And we must not forget the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ! The massive instrument rises through the stage floor as the organist plays a medley of show tunes, usually followed by the film's theme song, and finishes with Phantom of the Opera. Words cannot do this presentation justice. You simply must experience it. The late Rosa Rio played the Wurlitzer for silent movie events. She was beyond her hundredth birthday when she played her last performance.

This summer, the theatre will bring back one of my favorites, Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemon, and Tony Curtis. The last time they aired this film, Tony Curtis made a rare appearance. He was still as handsome as ever with white hair! His gracious treatment of fans endeared me to him even more. And, yes, I have this on DVD, too. It's so much more fun to attend the screening at the theatre.
A sampling of the films offered this summer are:
A Place in the Sun
Elizabeth Taylor and
Montgomery Cliff
The African Queen
Humphrey Bogart
Katherine Hepburn

Gone With the Wind
Clark Gable
Vivian Leigh

They'll also host a sing-along showing of The Wizard of Oz.

You can see why I simply had to include one of Tampa's finest historical features in my award-winning yet-to-be-published novel.

(As a PS, Blogger still hasn't resolved the spacing issues that have plagued me in my recent posts. I apologize for the huge gaps between my paragraphs & photos. I correct it six or seven times, but it goes right back to the gaps when I publish the post)