I’ve lived most of my life in a small town on the south shore of Eastern Long Island, along with four generations of my family. My grandfather owned a deli in town, where I started working stocking shelves and sweeping floors when I was twelve years old. When I was a little older, I started working the breakfast shift, the inspiration for the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series.
I’ve always loved the small-town feel, the way everyone knows everyone, especially the families who have lived here for generation after generation as mine has. When I married a man from the neighboring town, it seemed natural to settle down where we’d grown up and start our family.
Then my husband got a job offer in Florida, and he accepted. We moved down right after my daughter finished kindergarten. I had only ever been to Florida once, when my daughter was three and we spent three days in Disney World, so I had no clue what to expect.
Just like Gia Morelli in Scone Cold Killer, I was in for a few surprises.
I was used to deer crossing signs, since Long Island is home to a large deer population, but the first time I drove my daughter to school and saw a bear crossing sign, I actually turned around and went back to see it again. I thought I was mistaken, but nope, it was a bear crossing sign. Until that moment, I had no clue there were bears in Florida.
Then there were the love bugs, and they were everywhere. And lizards, which I’d never even seen in real life before I moved, and snakes, sometimes poisonous ones.
Aside from the critters, the weather brought a few surprises as well. On the rare occasions Long Island gets tornadoes, they are small F-1s that do very little damage. One night, about six months after we moved to Florida, I had just gotten into bed and turned on the TV, and the weather report came on. A line of damaging storms were coming through. The reporter said if you live on my road, “take cover now,” and I freaked out, to put it mildly, woke my daughter and stuffed her and my dog into the tub, even tried to wrestle a mattress into the tiny bathroom. (That was so not happening.)
Like Gia, whenever I got homesick, I spent a lot of time checking off the positives and negatives of living in Florida and New York.
Because there were also amazing things about living in Florida. The natural springs, with their crystal-clear water, gorgeous blue skies—even in the winter when the skies in New York are permanently gray. And who could complain when everyone in New York was shoveling out from under a foot of snow, and I was lying by the pool?
In the end, my decision was made for me when my husband and I both got job opportunities in New York. We ended up moving back to New York and visiting Florida every year, because we missed it so much. And now, here we are again, finally living back in Central Florida and loving every minute of it.
All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery: Book 5
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Ex-New Yorker and local diner owner Gia Morelli is still getting used to the sweltering Florida sun. But this summer she’ll have to deal with a more dangerous kind of heat—when she’s hot on the trail of another murderer . . .
Summer in Boggy Creek has arrived, and Gia’s best friend, successful real estate agent Savannah, is getting hitched. Now she’s enlisted Gia’s sleuthing talents in a desperate search for the perfect wedding dress. But when Savannah mysteriously vanishes after showing a mansion to a bigwig client, Gia investigates the house Savannah was trying to sell. The first clue she finds is Savannah’s car in the driveway. Inside the house, they stumble on Savannah’s potential buyer—dead. Someone had apparently closed the deal—with a two by four full of nails to the client’s head. Soon afterward, a woman’s body is fished from the lake near the same house. The townsfolk are now sweating bullets over the murders, and the heat comes down on poor Gia to find her missing friend, and track down the killer . . .
Lena Gregory is the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which take place on a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, and the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, which are set on the outskirts of Florida’s Ocala National Forest.
Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.
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