If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews

10/07 M.E. Browning, Shadow Ridge

10/14 Alexia Gordon

10/21 Adam Meyer

10/28 Barbara Ross, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door

October Guest Bloggers

10/03 Kathleen Kalb

10/17 S. Lee Manning

10/31 Sharon Dean

WWK Weekend Bloggers

10/10 Jennifer J. Chow

10/24 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Six-Toed Cats, A Studio and a $20,000 Swimming Pool by Nancy Eady

This summer, my family and I got a chance to revisit Key West, where one of our favorite places is the Hemingway house. Ernest Hemingway lived there with his wife Pauline for about 9 years in the 1930’s. (All of the facts listed in here came from the tour guide. I hope I am remembering them correctly.)  This is the approach to the house from the side.

Side Wall of the Hemingway House Grounds
The first time Mark and I saw the Hemingway House, we parked about four blocks away and walked, but this time, with Kayla, we took the Key West Trolley which stops only a block away. 

Cat in the Ticket Booth

This friendly feline was helping to greet visitors in the ticket booth. Ernest Hemingway liked cats and was particularly fond of those cats with a mutation that gives them six toes. The more scientific name is a “polydactyl” cat. He had somewhere between 40 and 60 living on the grounds of the house while he was there, and the people who take care of the house now keep the population also around 40 to 50 cats. Interestingly, each cat’s birth is recorded, so each of the cats currently residing at the house has its own genealogical record. The cats are everywhere on the grounds and the house and the staff works hard to keep them happy so the cats will stay there. (This was the one spot in Key West where we didn’t see any roosters; the roosters in Key West are ubiquitous, but not stupid!)

The European Chandelier
This chandelier came from Europe and includes Venetian glass. Pauline shipped it from Europe to use as a centerpiece of the house, and apparently it was the talk of the town once it was installed. The house was originally built by a doctor, who paid to have the limestone coral base rock excavated to provide the only full basement in the city of Key West. It sits on a full acre of land, which also makes it one of, if not the, largest homesteads in Key West.

A Cat Asleep in the Master Bedroom
In the master bedroom, it is not unusual to find a cat comfortably curled up on the pillows at the top of the bed.

Second Floor Bookshelves
The upstairs hallway, although a little narrow, is lined with bookshelves on one side. These books are not necessarily the ones that were in the house when Ernest Hemingway lived there, but they are books he owned and used or had given to him as gifts. He had an estate in Cuba after he left Key West around 1939, and he kept most of his books there. Unfortunately, the estate was confiscated by Castro after the Bay of Pigs invasion. 

View from the Upper Veranda
There is a huge veranda that wraps around the outside of the house on the second floor. Mark took this picture for me. On the front side of the veranda, you get a wonderful view of the Key West lighthouse through the branches of the African Tulip Tree on the house grounds. The African Tulip Tree, as you might tell from the name, is not native to the Keys, and in the city of Key West they are rare. The flowers on it are striking.

The Writing Studio

Behind the house is what used to be a coach house and barn. When the Hemingways moved into the house, they converted the top floor into a writer’s studio, the first one Ernest Hemingway had. He was a very disciplined writer and would go out there every morning to write.

One of Hemingway's Typewriters
I just had to take a close-up picture of the typewriter in the studio that he used to write on. From a writing standpoint, I felt that I was standing on hallowed ground and I admit I was hoping that somehow wafts of inspiration and writing talent would descend upon me while I was standing there.  The most important thing I learned from the tour was to write every day. Period. Of course, it helps to have something to say, too!

Cat in the Writing Studio

 One of the cats had found its way into the writer’s studio (human visitors can only view the studio through a piece of clear plastic, but the estate owners left an opening large enough in the bottom of the barrier for the cats to get in.)  He or she looked quite comfortable.

Cat Feeding Area
The estate has several areas where food is put out for the cats, and this was one of them. It is between the house, and the writer’s studio and pool. None of the cats were around it at the time we were there, but I am sure it is a frequent haunt of theirs!

Since I was there as a tourist, and not as a blogger, I forgot to take a picture of the pool, but it is a beautiful salt water pool put on the grounds by Pauline. It cost $20,000 to build in the 1930’s. The dollar equivalent today I cannot even begin to calculate. The reason it was so expensive is the hard coral bedrock of the island. It took an extraordinary amount of manpower to excavate the bedrock out in order to put the pool in. According to the tour guide, Pauline put the pool in while Ernest Hemingway was off on a trip somewhere. When he came back, he tossed a penny in the pool, telling her that she might as well have his last cent, too. The same penny now is covered by plexiglass on the pool deck.

The Hemingway House is not the only famous residence in Key West, but it is a unique memorial to a giant of American literature.  If you get the chance, be sure to stop by!


Kait said...

One of my favorite spots in Key West! Thank you for taking me there again. Did you notice how the temperature seemed cooler on the grounds? Don't know why, but that always seems to be the case.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

fascinating! Key West is on my list of places to visit.

E. B. Davis said...

I'd like to tour the house and see Key West, but then I also thought Key West would have wonderful beaches and I'm told that is not the case. If it doesn't have a beach, I'm less likely to go. Glad you brought it to us, Nancy.

Kait said...

Key West has lost much of its beaches over the years. When I was a kid I was there during the missile crisis, I remember barbed wire on Smathers Beach and what looked to me like rocket launchers and the beach looked as if it stretched for miles. Even in college, there was a good sized shingle. By the 1990s not too much was left. Locals will tell you the best beach in the Keys is Sombrero on Vaca Key (Marathon). Many resorts truck sand in to cover natural Keys beaches. The reason is that hard coral bedrock that cost Pauline so much to dig a pool. It's known as oolite. Keys beaches are made up of ground oolite - great for a natural pedicure!

KM Rockwood said...

What a fun vacation!

We had a friend (a Cuban refugee) who, as a child, lived across the road from Hemingway's estate, and he had a few stories to tell.

Warren Bull said...

This is a place I'd like to visit.

carla said...

I'd love to go there. I'm with you on that typewriter--imagine his fingers hard at work on that machine!

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Gloria Alden said...

I've never been that far south to see Key West. I'm hoping I'm able to go there some day because I think it would be a fabulous thing to see Ernest Hemingway's home.