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Local authors featured at Present Tense Coffee and Books

Posted 4/4/24

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Present Tense Coffee and Books is a cultural focal point. It's a welcoming home for bookworms and local authors. Last Saturday, the coffee house invited a dozen local …

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Local authors featured at Present Tense Coffee and Books


GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Present Tense Coffee and Books is a cultural focal point. It's a welcoming home for bookworms and local authors.

On March 30, the coffee house invited a dozen local authors to sign books and share their stories. 

  • "Two Shoes" is written by Heather Duke from Orange Park. 

The children's book is written in rhyme and is described as fairy-tale-like. It's about a magical statue missing its shoe and stirring to life in a quiet town. It offers themes of compassion, friendship and sharing. And encourages children to think deeply about those topics. 

Part psychology and part philosophy, Kuyinu's book encourages us to think about our thinking – metacognition – by exploring our emotions and preconceived notions. He provides research and offers philosophical arguments, stating, "You are not what you think you are."

The children's book is about two sisters who love to play in the dirt and watch things grow. They decide to use their green thumbs to help their community by creating a magical garden. Ultimately, it shows that gardening is a superpower that we all have the power to wield. Each book comes with a pack of seeds, encouraging children to grow their gardens and eat healthy. 

  • "Birdwild" is also written by Bobbi J. Simmons.

In her debut novel, Simmons explores themes of family secrets, trauma and loyalty. When Bree becomes an adult,  she discovers a troubling family secret that kickstarts a literary rollercoaster ride.  "Birdwild" is a heartwarming story about the true meaning of family and togetherness, and a screenplay is being adapted from the novel in Simmons' hometown in South Carolina. 

The first book is nonfiction and scrapbooks, and it presents students' and teachers' perspectives during the Great Depression. The second is an interactive coloring book, inspired by her collection of published newspaper articles about Florida's history. It's a learning opportunity for children and a bucket list for adults. The third is a unique story all about her beloved cat, Maggie, which is short for Magnolia Blossom.

  • "What next?" is written by Christine Michelle Figueroa, who is from Middleburg. 

The mystery novel is the first in a series and was inspired by Figueroa's own childhood experiences growing up by the woods in Middleburg. In the novel, Peter and Janey explore their small town and discover something disturbing in an abandoned house in the woods. 

As a financial counselor, Harris said that many of her clients wished they knew more about money, especially when growing up. The "Mommy, Can You Teach Me" series is a journey about the value of money, saving, investing, and the importance of making prudent financial decisions. Harris' goal is to make talking about money more comfortable and understandable. 

When Sage was in college, she started getting into Dungeons and Dragons. One of her Dungeon Masters was so impressed by her character they encouraged her to write a complete backstory. She thought it would be a fun idea to take the concepts and turn them into an original fantasy and romance novel. This is book one in a planned trilogy. 

In her memoir, Ochoa chronicles her family's history and escape from communist Cuba after one of her family members was executed by the government. Subsequently, anyone with "Ochoa" had a target on their back. In an unflinching true story accompanied by photographs, Ochoa shares the struggle of her early life when her father built a raft, ventured out into the ocean and risked everything for a better future. 

Valentine is a lover of love stories. She loves writing contemporary romance novels. Finding love is undoubtedly a major theme, but so is exploring mental health and the influence of family dynamics. Set in the fictional Larkspur, a haunted island off the coast of Florida, Sage Murray encounters a "ghost," which is to say, an old love. Also, Larkspur may actually be haunted as well.