Bite Somebody · Bite Somebody Else · Sara Dobie Bauer

The Bite Somebody Else Pilgrimage

I spent last week with my crazy family down in Longboat Key, Florida—the real life setting for my Bite Somebody series. This pilgrimage has been going on in the Dobie-Schwind clan since I was a little kid, although I’ve only partaken in the trip (usually alone with my Aunt Susie) for the past five years.

It is a week filled with decadent drinking and eating, silly stories about sex, tumbles in the waves, and shameless flirting with strange beach boys. For Susie and me, it’s a time to laugh and grow closer. It is a time to unwind and leave worries behind for a bit.

(You can read about my first year on Longboat with Susie HERE. It’s funny to think I had no idea that trip would change my career and my life.)

Something about being in Longboat inspired Bite Somebody years ago. I don’t remember the exact moment of conception, but I assume I was laying on the beach, making up stories in my head (like I always do), and awkward vampires in Florida just sort of happened—along with a cute, black-haired surfer boy named Ian. And Imogene, of course. Imogene, who I closely resemble during the annual visit to Longboat Key.

This year, I spent time on the beach reading over my review copy of Bite Somebody Else, the second and final book in the series. It is Imogene’s love story, although Ian and Celia are obviously still big parts of her story. She couldn’t survive without them, after all.

When not reading, I walked the beach. I wandered past the Little Gull Cottages, the real life basis for the Sleeping Gull Apartments in my books. Each night, I put on a tiny dress and high heels and wandered familiar locales from the Bite Somebody series, like St. Armand’s Circle, the Daiquiri Deck, Café L’Europe, and (perhaps most famously) the Drift Inn.

When I visit these places, I often tell the owners “I wrote a book about Longboat.” At Café L’Europe, the handsome maître d’ offered to buy me a drink. At Drift Inn, I asked about Angry Santa (David) and was saddened to hear he was in the hospital with pneumonia. I miraculously sold three copies of Bite Somebody to people who went on their phones and ordered a copy on the spot.

And yet there was something a bit melancholy hidden along the edges of my alcohol-fueled, sun-spattered euphoria.

For my aunt and my mom, Longboat Key always makes them cry a little because it reminds them of my grandparents, now gone. Susie even once saw something like a ghost on the beach at sunset—my Grandpa Schwind in his big hat, waving at her. When we scattered my grandma’s ashes, a green flash lit the beach as the sun went down and a bagpipe player played “Amazing Grace.”

Susie and me at The Drift Inn.

Although Longboat doesn’t remind me as much of my grandparents, it does remind me of Celia, Ian, Imogene, and now, Nicholas. It reminds me of their adventures and their love. It reminds me of writing two ridiculous, wonderful books about Longboat Key—books that encompass the perpetual joy and hilarity of my trips down south. However, this year, I was also reminded that … the series is over.

As of June 20, 2017, Imogene’s story will be released. Bite Somebody Else will leap into the world, fangs bared, and there won’t be another. This makes me take pause. Makes me want to do it all over, really, start from the beginning, write these characters and fall in love with them again. Go back to the Longboat Key of my vampire pals!

I call my yearly trip to Florida the Bite Somebody Pilgrimage, and I think I always will. Whereas my mom and aunt harbor memories of their parents, I will always walk the beach with memories of my fictional friends and a dream come true: the publication of my first novel, my first series.

In Bite Somebody, Imogene explains love to Celia through the lyrics of a song:

“It was about this guy who was looking for love and then he met this girl—this one girl. And the chorus was something about ‘I never knew it could be this easy.’” She shrugged. “I think that’s what happens when people are supposed to be together.”

It has been so easy (and fun) being the marionette behind the Bite Somebody series. As I move toward promotion and June launch parties for Bite Somebody Else, I realize how lucky I am to have found Celia and Imogene, to have found my editor Trysh and publisher Sarena at World Weaver Press, and how easy it is to lose myself in Longboat Key.

Even though this series might be coming to a close, nothing else is. I’ll keep writing and having fun. Next April, I’ll be in Longboat again, and I’ll drink rum punches with the same panache. I’ll remember my first book and all my colorful characters, because the imagination lives on and great memories stay with us forever.

Pre-order your copy of Bite Somebody Else HERE.

Bite Somebody · Sara Dobie Bauer

Longboat Key: The Real BITE SOMEBODY Location

The Florida locale where all Bite Somebody hijinks go down is referred to in the book as “Admiral Key,” but it’s based on a real place in Florida called Longboat Key.  My family has been vacationing there since long before I was old enough to drink rum punches. Now, every year, my Aunt Susie (and sometimes my mom) head down to Longboat Key for what we call “The Bite Somebody Pilgrimage.” I was just there in April, and I brought back photos of not only the real locations but also … a real character.

Book: The Drift Inn (and Angry Santa)
Real Life: The Drift-In (and Dave)

Much alcohol consumption occurs at this dirty dive bar on  real life Bradenton Beach. We pay homage every year by drinking cheap beer and dancing. We also try not to annoy the perpetually silent bar back, Dave (nicknamed “Angry Santa”), who’s actually super friendly if you get him on his day off.

drift-inn

Me with Angry Santa!! And it's kind of awkward how much that mannequin looks like me.
Me with Angry Santa!! And it’s kind of awkward how much that mannequin looks like me.

Book: The Sleeping Gull Apartments
Real Life: Little Gull Cottages

I’ve ridden my bike (like Ian) past these cottages so many times, and I think they’re adorable. When I started writing Bite Somebody, there was no other option for where Celia and Ian would live. And don’t forget about their crazy landlady, Heidi, who’s based on an actual lady who walks the beaches of Longboat Key in a blonde wig.

sleeping-gull

Book: The Daiquiri Deck
Real Life: Um, The Daiquiri Deck

Imogene plays a rousing game of Marry-Screw-Kill on the balcony of the Daiquiri Deck in real life St. Armands Circle while Celia drinks my favorite beverage: Kryptonite, a mixture of the establishment’s Electric Lemonade & Green Parrot with Grain Alcohol on top. Aunt Susie and I always pay a visit.

dack-deck-collage

Book: Florida’s Gulf Coast
Real Life: Um, Florida’s Gulf Coast

Ready for a night swim? Celia sure does like a good midnight plunge into the ocean, and so do I, much to the horror of my aunt, who had to remind me, “You’re not actually an immortal vampire.” I didn’t drown this year. The water felt warm. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, I felt a bit like a mermaid …

sunset

Book: Poe’s Park
Real Life: Durante Community Park

Some sexy time ensues in a certain foliage-filled park on fictitious Admiral Key. On Longboat Key, this park exists, although under a different name. I’ve never been there at night, but Susie and I often go for bike rides here, where we try to spot dolphins and manatees in the harbor.

poe-park

Book: Rum Punches
Real Life: SEVERAL Rum Punches

Imogene’s favorite drink in Bite Somebody is a rum punch because, quote, “It’s beachy, bitch.” I first discovered these concoctions on my honeymoon in Belize, and I brought the recipe home: a mix of spiced rum, strawberry-banana juice, peach juice, and ice. I’ve mastered the technique, and Imogene’s right: they’re beachy.

rum-punch-collage

One more farewell from The Drift-In. Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Bite Somebody today, coming June 21st from World Weaver Press. Click HERE to order, and a happy splash of rum punch in your general direction!

friends
Aunt Susie with Bite Somebody … and our new friends!