30 Oct 2014

Review of “Native Lands” by P.C. Zick guest post from the author “Florida Fiction Origins”

6 Comments Book Reviews, News
Native Lands by P.C. Zick

Today I have the honour of  sharing  my review of “Native Lands” by P.C. Zick , a guest post by the author, an excerpt and a rafflecopter. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find details of the giveaway and read the excerpt.

The book is a wonderful novel and a gripping thriller at the same time. Handling several plotlines and many characters with ease Zick has a story rich in plot and full of fabulous characters.

One narrative focuses on members of a native tribe in Florida from 1760 onwards. The instantly likable characters strive to preserve their heritage against the forces of the English and Spanish intruders. The peaceful and nature loving characters form a wonderful thread through the rest of the book that deals with more contemporary issues.

Journalists, politicians and business men crowd the stage in a cleverly plotted and excellently told thriller. Exploitation of nature, affairs, family secrets and murder are just some of the many spicy ingredients that make this novel so entertaining. I was warned that there would be a lot of characters in this book and that is true, but the narratives focus thoroughly on each party in turn and are easily discerned , the characters evolved and memorable enough to make it very easy to keep track.

 Florida Setting 2There are some surprising connections and twist within the political plot which focuses on a controversial housing project and the outrageous plan which lies behind it, poachers, environmentalists and an election. As people are being bumped off the plot thickens and keeps the pace fast and captivating.

I loved the way in which the past and present story lines turn out to be connected and I loved the well planted parallels between the two narratives and the warm feel of the book. This was an excellent and uplifting moral tale to me that did not lecture or patronise, a gripping and entertaining thriller with depth and wonderful characters. 

Native Lands is a gripping and entertaining thriller with depth, wonderful characters and well-planted parallels between the two engaging narratives. There is a beautiful and warm feel of Native Lands and an excellent and uplifting moral that won’t lecture or patronize. A truly great read.

Here is a guest post from P.C. Zick:

Florida Fiction Origins

By P.C. Zick 

With the publication of Native Lands, my Florida Fiction Series, which also includes Tortoise Stew and Trails in the Sand, is complete. They all contain complicated love stories, with ecological threads running through all three.

 Florida Setting 1

Why have I chosen Florida as my setting? The answer is simple—I fell in love with the landscapes, wildlife, and people when I moved there thirty years ago. This excerpt from Native Lands expresses that love:


When he finished, Locka stood and looked east to the estuary and the river beyond. The sun was higher now, and the water was receding from the mud flats. On the opposite bank of the river, Locka could see the dunes thick with the orange sunflowers and yellow daisies of spring. Tall and spindly sea oats waved in the wind. He couldn’t see the ocean beyond because the land was so flat and the dunes were taller than his six-foot four-inch height, but he could hear the waves.

He watched as the egrets and ibis pecked in the mud for food. A lone great blue heron stood on the edge of the water, patiently waiting for a fish to appear. A pelican flew close over his head spying to see if he had any fish he was willing to sacrifice. His village lay to the west in a low-lying canopy of live oak trees weathered by the constant salt breezes. He surveyed the river immediately in front of him and let his gaze wander south to the settlement of St. Augustine.


At first, I was reluctant to move to Florida from my childhood home in Michigan. Not because I loved winter—because I didn’t—but because I imagined Florida as Miami with turquoise and pink motels and Disney-fake landscapes. When I did move there with my first husband and young daughter, I was scared of the wilderness of north Florida where we settled.


Wilderness? Florida? Yes, when I moved there in 1980, remnants of lonely beaches and unfettered roadsides still existed. Woods thick with deer, bobcats, and gopher tortoises made up my backyard.


Slowly, I watched portions of it disappear quickly as the population exploded beyond 15 million. In the meantime, I slowly fell in love with my new home.

Florida Setting 5 (1) 

I’ve survived hurricanes, the Storm of the Century, droughts, and floods. I even survived a “snowstorm” with a sprinkling of the white stuff on the road and southern drivers who either slammed on the brakes or hit the accelerator when they hit ice. I learned to accept the bugs and snakes, as I gloried in the shorebirds and lizards.


I found the people fascinating. The stories of Florida’s refugees, miscreants, and renegades made me cry and laugh. When I began working as a reporter in 2001, those characters cropped up in almost everything I wrote. Once I started covering small town politics in a state known for its urban sprawl and devious good old boys, I began to see elected officials, activists, and ordinary citizens as characters in a novel.


I wrote Tortoise Stew, published in 2006, during contentious Commission meetings when Wal-Mart hoped to build both a super center and a distribution warehouse on the outskirts of a small town near the University of Florida. Some of the most outrageous things were said and done at those meetings that I started recording them in my laptop. The novel became a treatise against corrupted officials and the wholesale destruction of the environment. Here’s an excerpt from the novel that shows a scene in which I used my notes from the meeting to create dialogue.


Junior banged the gavel. “No noise from the audience. Now, Luddy, we didn’t break any laws, and that should answer your question. We aren’t going to do anything about it.”

“Then you all need to go to jail.”

“Luddy, you’ve gone too far this time. I’m going to have the Chief escort you out if you continue.”

“You’re going to have the Chief escort me out? What have I done?”

“You’re making slanderous statements and personal attacks against elected commissioners,” the mayor told her as he signaled for the chief of police with his head.

“I don’t need Chief Thomas Jefferson here to escort me out of my city commission chambers. I changed his diapers so he doesn’t know anything I didn’t help teach him. This place belongs to all of us not just you and your cronies.”


Trails in the Sand, published in 2013, again visited the environmental issues facing the state when BP’s oil spill in 2010 threatened the sea turtle nests on Florida’s beaches. I’d moved my focus from rural politics onto the national stage as big energy companies put profit ahead of safety and human and animal life.


I began writing Native Lands in between the publication of the first two, but life interrupted, and I put it aside until 2014. I remembered why I wanted to write this book when I dusted off the pages. My reporting had shifted from local politics to writing environmental pieces for state and national publications, and I looked to the bigger picture. I wrote articles about the wholesale destruction of mangrove forests in south Florida, the near decimation of the Florida panther, and the extinction of north Florida’s native people, the Timucuans. All of these stories fascinated and saddened me, and I wanted to write a novel that showed how the destruction of one thing diminishes us all. That’s the basic premise behind Native Lands, where the Timucuans do not go extinct. They merely go underground, and through their story, I wove the stories of the mangrove and the panther.


However, I am a romantic deep inside—albeit one with a cynical side—and love always stands at the forefront of all my stories. I don’t know how to write any other way. In Native Lands, there are several love triangles adding to the excitement of the novel.


However, the biggest love story is the one I have with Florida—beauty, warts, and all. While I’ve said Native Lands is the final book in this series that does not rule out another series. I certainly have enough stories to tell.

Native Lands is a gripping and entertaining thriller with depth, wonderful characters and well-planted parallels between the two engaging narratives. There is a beautiful and warm feel of Native Lands and an excellent and uplifting moral that won’t lecture or patronize. A truly great read. –Christoph Fischer, Author

Native Lands is a novel rich in intrigue and history as a tribe of Native Americans, thought to be extinct, fight to save their beloved heritage. They join with others willing to sacrifice everything to save further destruction of the Everglades and St. Augustine.
Forbidden loves, deceptions, and murder threaten to destroy nature and families in a saga stretching from the 1760s to the present day.
Join Locka and Mali as they lead their tribe of Timucuans away from the Spanish near St. Augustine in 1760 and settle into a new life in the Everglades alongside the Calusa Indians. Their progeny grow up in the Everglades, attempting to keep their bloodlines pure.
By 2010, Mangrove Mike, Joey Cosmos, and Rob Zodiac live among the white people and learn that the human connection transcends the fear of extinction of their people. Barbara Evans in the Everglades and Emily Booth in St. Augustine are the glue as the different cultures combine forces to fight a conglomerate of international interests.
It’s a dangerous journey as this oddly matched group attempts to halt the destruction of the natural world they treasure. Cultural boundaries established centuries ago are erased as love and nature seek the balance lost during the battle for power and control of the last of the Florida frontier.
P.C. Zick is the author of several contemporary novels. Native Lands is the third book in her Florida Fiction Series, which also includes Tortoise Stew and Trails in the Sand. She may be contacted through her website at www.pczick.com.

Barbara Evans sat in the living room of her house on the western edge of Chokoloskee Island, leafing through past issues of Sierra magazine, searching for an idea for her next column. She listened to the news from the television, only looking up when the local weather presented NOAA’s prediction for an active hurricane season. Then the newscaster began a report that caused Barbara to put down the magazine and devote her full attention to the screen.

“Yesterday, wood storks in Big Cypress Wildlife Management Area attacked a young boy as his mother shot this video of the assault,” the announcer said.

Barbara watched as a boy, approximately ten years old, was crying as a wood stork’s beak poked at the Mickey Mouse portrait stamped on the front of his T-shirt. Another stork approached and began nudging the foam snout of the alligator hat on the boy’s head. A man ran into the frame of the video, yelling and scaring off the wood storks as the boy howled.

“Officers from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission are handling the situation. Here to talk with us is the agency’s spokesperson, Larry Castle. Larry, what’s your agency doing to make sure the tourists are safe in the Everglades?”

“Along with the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we’re asking residents and visitors to our great state to keep their distance from wildlife,” Larry said, wearing a green shirt and hat with the logo from the state’s fish and wildlife agency. “They shouldn’t feed wildlife or make any attempts to capture or touch them.”

“The parents say the wood storks just came up and attacked their child,” the newscaster said.

“Wildlife usually keeps to itself unless tempted by food. We’re investigating, but the safest thing anyone can do is to enjoy wildlife from a distance with a zoom lens on the camera.

“Thank you, Larry. The family told us they are cutting short their vacation because of this unwarranted aviary violence. Governor Rick Scott offered the family a week’s stay in Miami to make up for the attack, but the family declined the offer.”

“My son may never get over this attack.” The mother, wearing a white visor with a Minnie Mouse label on the front, appeared on the screen. “His favorite hat is now in shreds in the swamp. It has been one horrible experience.”

The newscaster came back on the screen. “The video of the attack was recorded by the mother on her cell phone.”

Barbara ran her fingers through her short curly red hair, and with the other hand reached for her phone to call Stan Hogan, her editor at The Miami Herald.

“Stan, I’ve got to write the story about the wood stork attacking the family at Big Cypress,” Barbara said. “You’ve got to let me do it.”

“If I let you write the article, it’s off limits for your column,” Stan said. “You write an objective piece, but no editorializing. Agreed?”

“Then I can write a column about it in a few weeks.”

“No. You’ve been hired as a columnist. If you want to go back to reporting, then we’ll start you on covering the commission meetings in the communities around Lake Okeechobee.”

“Come on, Stan. You know I can write a good piece. I don’t know why you won’t let me.”

“That’s my final say on the subject. You write your column or you start working the Glades County beat.”

“All right, all right.” Barbara knew being assigned the rural beat near the shores of Lake Okeechobee amounted to a death sentence for a writer. “The column is better because I can ask, ‘why the hell was the mother recording the attack instead of protecting her child?’ The kid deserved getting attacked just for wearing that stupid alligator hat. Tell them to pull the column I wrote for this week. I’ll have the new one to you later this afternoon.”

“No ‘those tourists deserved it’ crap. You got me into a load of trouble with that last piece about the pigeons and doves at that wedding in Disney World. One of the copy editors should have caught the line ‘anyone who chooses to get married in the land of Mickey Mouse deserves dead doves floating down during the vows.’”

“I can’t help it if nature keeps biting back,” Barbara said. “Just be sure they pull my old column.”


P.C. Zick began her writing career in 1998 as a journalist. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction. She describes herself as a “storyteller” no matter the genre.
She was born in Michigan and moved to Florida in 1980. Even though she now resides in western Pennsylvania with her husband Robert, she finds the stories of Florida and its people and environment a rich base for her storytelling platform. Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife—both human and animal—supply her fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable.
She writes two blogs, P.C. Zick and Living Lightly. She has published three nonfiction books and six novels.
Her writing contains the elements most dear to her heart, ranging from love to the environment. In her novels, she advances the cause for wildlife conservation and energy conservation. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion.

Works by P.C. Zick

Florida Fiction Series
Tortoise Stew (Florida Fiction Series, Book 1) – Politics, murder, and chaos in rural Florida reign supreme in a story where love triumphs over it all.
Trails in the Sand (Florida Fiction Series, Book 2) – Family secrets, an oil spill, and redemption create a roller coaster ride for journalist Caroline Carlisle.
Native Lands (Florida Fiction Series, Book 3) – A novel rich in intrigue and history as a tribe of Native Americans, thought to be extinct, fight to save their beloved heritage.
Other Fiction:

A Lethal Legacy (Psychological Suspense) – A fascinating study of human expectations, failings, and redemption filled with lust and forbidden lovers.

Live from the Road (Fiction takes the reader on an often humorous, yet harrowing, journey as Meg Newton and Sally Sutton seek a change in the mundane routine of their lives. Joined by their daughters, they set off on a journey of salvation enhanced by the glories of the Mother Road.
Behind the Altar (Romance – Behind the Love Trilogy, Book 1) – All seems perfect in Leah’s life until tattoo artist Dean rides his Harley into her heart in this story of forbidden love.
From Seed to Table (Blog posts) Gardening techniques, organic gardening, canning vegetables, and recipes galore
Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier (Memoir nonfiction) – My great grandfather’s journal from his days as a soldier. It’s a personal account of war and all its sundry causes and effects from the eyes of a man who fought it.
Odyssey to Myself (Essays nonfiction): The people of Morocco, Italy, Panama, and Chile come to life through the experiences of the author as she absorbs the cultures so different from her own.
























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Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.
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6 Responses to “Review of “Native Lands” by P.C. Zick guest post from the author “Florida Fiction Origins””

  1. Joy Glanzer says:

    Greet review! Can’t wait to read Native Lands.

  2. David Lawlor says:

    Great post, and a great book. Congratulations Pat

  3. P. C. Zick says:

    Thank you, Christoph. Your review is beautiful and very much appreciated.

    • CBook5901 says:

      The review is well deserved. You’ve written a wonderful book Pat! A true labour of love 😉


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