Tag Archives: Jeff Dixon

Reading Roadtrip — Florida!

27 Feb

Today I am headed to my home state of Florida. While I haven’t lived in my birth state for a long while, this Florida native has enjoyed visiting via some wonderful books. Hope you find one to pique your interest!

The Sunshine State is home to over 21 million people. The southernmost of the 48 contiguous states, Florida is surrounded by water to its east, west, and south, and is bordered to the north by Georgia and Alabama. Divided into 8 regions, the state is certainly diverse — both ecologically and demographically! And here is a bit of trivia for you — Central Florida (where I grew up) is the lightning capital of the US, having more lightning strikes than anywhere in the country!

This trip, I’ve included books that take place all over the state of Florida and encompass a number of genres — historical, women’s fiction, romance, suspense, and mystery. Enjoy!

Chasing Sunsets by Eva Marie Everson (the Gulf coast)

Kimberly Tucker’s life hasn’t turned out the way she thought it would. A divorced mother of two, Kim resents her ex-husband for moving on with his life and living it up while she struggles to understand what went wrong. When her sons end up spending five weeks of summer vacation with their father, Kim’s own father suggests a respite in the family vacation home on tiny Cedar Key Island. As Kim revisits her childhood memories and loves, she soon discovers that treasures in life are often buried, and mistakes both past and present become redeemable in God’s hand. Readers will be swept away to an island retreat where they walk alongside Kim as she discovers that God’s answers may not come easily, but they do come.

The Discovery by Dan Walsh (Atlantic coast)

Gerard Warner was not only a literary giant whose suspense novels sold in the millions, he was also a man devoted to his family, especially his wife of nearly 60 years. When he dies he leaves his Charleston estate to his grandson, Michael, an aspiring writer himself. Michael settles in to write his own first novel and discovers an unpublished manuscript his grandfather had written, something he’d kept hidden from everyone but clearly intended Michael to find. Michael begins to read an exciting tale about Nazi spies and sabotage, but something about this story is different from all of Gerard Warner’s other books. It’s actually a love story. As Michael delves deeper into the story he discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt (the panhandle)

Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather’s legacy, and she enjoys being a pillar of the community. Sycamores is the kingdom where she reigns as queen . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.

Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that an unsuccessful throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home. She may not be able to sing, but she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to fashion a new life in Peculiar, the little town she left behind.

Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie has never wanted to live anywhere but Sycamores. She spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she’s created on the estate, but when she meets a man haunted by his own tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.

Can these sisters discover who they are meant to be when life takes an unforeseen detour? In a season of destiny, three unique women reunite and take unexpected journeys of the heart.

Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon (south Florida)

Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going — her sense of family responsibility a stepping-stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie.

A single decision can have innumerable consequences — a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart.

Florida, 1816
Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the West shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance?

The Key to The Kingdom by Jeff Dixon (Disney World!)

Grayson Hawkes learns how imaginative and elaborate Walt Disney World is when he accepts an invitation one sunny day from a trusted friend landing him in a world he never knew existed. Barely escaping a late night encounter, he finds himself desperately trying to solve a mysterious disappearance while trying to stay ahead of those who are chasing him. He navigates through the kingdom where knowledge of seemingly unimportant Disney facts and some divine help are the only way he can discover the lock that can only be opened by an ancient key. His world becomes even more complicated when he is captivated by mysterious woman, causing him to make a series of choices that takes his faith to the brink. Within the walls of Walt Disney World is more mystery than one imagination can contain. Here Disney Trivia is not a game; and the ancient key is the only way out!

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir (central Florida)

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game–until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’ s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case — to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth — at any cost.

 

Book Review: Unlocking The Kingdom

29 Jan

756512Uncanny knowledge about Walt Disney and the worlds he created has granted Grayson Hawkes the key to the kingdom. His meteoric rise to the top of the most innovative company on the planet has thrust him into the spotlight—and his future holds unlimited possibilities. In this sequel to The Key to the Kingdom (Deep River Books 2010), author Jeff Dixon intertwines mystery and history. This time, Hawkes must protect the kingdom he has been given from those who desire to have it as their own—because, even in Walt Disney World, there are those who want to take what is not theirs. Navigating tourists, an intriguing reporter, and the spotlight of media attention, Hawkes will uncover more secrets, recall more fascinating Disney trivia, and remember that the art of telling a great story is sometimes found in the details. The stakes are high and the risks are real as Hawkes races against the clock to keep the kingdom safe. It’s a heart-stopping, breathtaking adventure as he unravels the mystery of the man, the myths, and the worlds of Walt Disney.

jeffdugoutJeff Dixon was raised in Florida and has always been fascinated with the man Walt Disney and the theme park he created. Dixon feels that any guest who would take the time to look would discover a story that will never be completed. It is against this canvas that Dixon paints this mystery, adventure, and thriller. The epic drama carries the reader across the state of Florida to discover details that most people have missed. Each discovery and revelation will have the reader wondering if they are reading fact or fiction. In a quickening pace, the characters find themselves on a collision course with an unthinkable outcome! Fans of Walt Disney will love the history and tourists will find a travel guide that takes them on a trip most guests never get to take.

My Impressions:

The adventure that started in The Key to The Kingdom by Jeff Dixon continues in the fast-paced, trivia-packed, mystery novel, Unlocking The Kingdom. (Review of The Key to The Kingdom HERE and interview with Jeff HERE.) Eighteen months after Grayson Hawkes (Hawk) takes over the helm of the Disney empire, things start to go a little haywire at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Pirates appear in unusual places and presidents visit Epcot to enjoy rides. And a mysterious group is threatening Hawk with much worse if he doesn’t turn over the key that controls all things Disney. This time Hawk enlists the help of friends to solve a mystery made just for him and to thwart the plans of the threatening group. But ultimately it is up to him and an attractive journalist to save the kingdom.

Jeff Dixon showcases his seemingly unlimited knowledge of all things Disney. Unlocking The Kingdom is chock full of fun facts behind the building of Walt Disney World as well as the Disney family. The mystery will keep you guessing as Hawk speeds from one clue to the next. This is a non-stop action book. And I venture to say you will never guess who is behind all the mayhem.

A great book for all members of your family. At the end of the book there are trivia questions based on each chapter to test your knowledge and recall — a great way to continue the fun. And the magic won’t end with this book. Looks like Hawk will be back at least one more time for a new mystery to solve. I grew up in Orlando and visited The Magic Kingdom too many times to count during my childhood. The magic never ceases to captivate, and Unlocking The Kingdom brought all that back for me. Now if I can just find time to get back there!

Recommended.

(Thanks to Bring It On! for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

Author, Author! Jeff Dixon

27 Jul

During the ICRS, I sat down with Jeff Dixon to talk to him about his novel The Key To The Kingdom and life in general.  Here are highlights of our interview.

BTB:  Why did you write The Key To The Kingdom?

Jeff:  I have always loved everything Disney and have admired the ability that Disney has to tell a story.  I wanted to know how they did it, so I sat down with one of their Imagineers to find out.  In the story of The Key To The Kingdom, Grayson Hawk is faced with the disappearance of his friend and also a huge mystery surrounding Disney World.  I wanted to explore how far he (or anyone) would go to save someone they love.

BTB:  Have you had any complaints about the story?

Jeff:  So far Disney has not said anything about the use of Disney World as the setting of the story.  The one complaint I hear  most often is from readers who don’t like that the main character, Grayson Hawkes (Hawk), lies in the book. Because he is a pastor, readers feel he should act better.  But pastors are just as flawed as “regular” people and should be portrayed that way.  I don’t mind the criticism in my writing or my ministry because it makes me better.

BTB:  Are there any more novels out there featuring Hawk?

Jeff:  We are in the talking stage for another book.  There is lots of story untold about Hawk’s background and his future endeavors.

BTB:  Tell me about your ministry.

Jeff:  I am the “Transformational Architect” for Covenant Community Church in Lake Mary, Florida.  Our church works hard to partner with communities in our area to be an influencer; to be on the inside of decisions made, not on the outside.  We have also embraced technology, so we are a large free streaming resource for people all over the world.  We have a small local congregation, the church itself seats around 250, but we have a large global audience.

BTB:  What project are you working on now?

Jeff:  We are in the development stage of  Christmas Dreams which will be a fully inclosed, immersive amusement park for terminally ill children and their families.  We have the property in Christmas, Florida and have some funding. When it is finished, “Christmas Dreams” will give children and their families a “last” Christmas to spend together — anytime of the year. One feature will be Santa’s house.  Each child will have the opportunity to spend time with Santa. He will read the child’s favorite book and then with the parents’ permission will tell the child the about the first Christmas.  (For more information, visit the website at christmasdreams.org.)

Jeff has a lot of passion for what he does, whether it is writing, pastoring his church, or working on Christmas Dreams.  A Big Thank You to Jeff for talking with me.