I've always said that Florida is the ideal home base for a mystery writers--there are just so many interesting ways to plan a murder.
This point was reinforced last year when I attended a fun exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History called Wicked Plants, based on the amazing book by Amy Stewart. While perusing some of Mother Nature's nastier botanical creations, I couldn't help notice that many of the plants could be found in my home state of Florida--a few are even in my garden.
Along with the usual suspects such as deadly nightshade and water hemlock, I discovered a wonderful new villain called the rosary pea, so-named for its beautiful, but highly toxic seeds that resemble rosary beads. Rosary peas have long been used in jewelry making, but many a careless person has died after pricking a finger while handling one of the seeds.
Inspired, I created a little video about not only the wicked plants, but all the reptiles and critters that make up the darker side of the Sunshine State, the place I call Wicked Florida.
Some of the creatures/poison plants are Florida natives, but many--like the rosary pea--are invasive, hitchhikers from all over the globe who've made their home in Florida and now thrive. So far I've used three of the wicked species from the video in my novels, though I've not yet been able to work a snake into one of my murderous plots, which is regrettable because snakes are such a vital part of the wild Florida that I love.
|Last December, this pretty garter snake came in|
through the doggie door and make itself comfortable in the guest bedroom.
The guest was not amused.
So imagine my surprise when last month one of my discarded plot points became reality when a deadly cobra escaped its cage in a quiet Ocala neighborhood!
I followed the case closely, providing updates on my Facebook page. On April 1, I posted this video, which details the twists and turns of the harrowing case of the Ocala Cobra.