Marsha A. Moore–Sarasota, home of the American Circus

Welcome, welcome. Thanks for reading. Let me introduce our fguest. Fantasy author Marsha A. Moore kicks things off this Christmas season with a look at the history behind her latest release, Le Cirque De Magie.

Sarasota, Florida: Home of the American Circus

by Marsha A. Moore

My story, Le Cirque De Magie, is an historical fantasy set in Sarasota, Florida during the spring of 1925. The circus has its winter home in the seaside resort community, much like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. That company made the city its winter quarters until 1960, when it moved twenty-five miles south to Venice.

I live south of Tampa and often visit Sarasota, an easy forty-five minute drive. When we first moved to the area three years ago, we toured the Ringling Museum—a fascinating trip back into the magic of the circus. The spirit of the circus pervades the community, adding to the local cultural heritage. I was fascinated by the local history, which inspired me to write this story.

As a hub of circus activity for over seventy-five years, the city has earned the title, “Home of the American Circus.” No other area in the country has served as homebase to as many circuses as Sarasota.

John and Charles Ringling established a 200-acre camp to provide an annual respite for the performers and allow opportunities, in the mild winter climate, to create new shows for the coming season.

In addition to that well-known circus, several smaller ones have based in Sarasota. One of the most recent and most dynamic is Circus Sarasota. It was established in 1997 by aerialist Dolly Jacobs, daughter of famed clown Lou Jacobs and aerialist Pedro Reis from South Africa. Circus Sarasota is a non-profit circus committed to “broadening the artistic contribution of the circus while raising the level and perception of the American circus.” Known for its highly artistic performance, the hometown circus features outstanding circus artists from around the world during its annual three-week performance schedule.

With all this local inspiration, it’s easy to see how my story originated. Come join me on my journey back when the magic of the big-top circus enthralled thousands.

The circus is a blur of commotion with last minute preparations for the spring tour. Ravi, the high-wire heart throb, becomes jittery when he meets the company’s newly-hired female dwarf. Hours before departure, his magical perceptions are on fire as he witnesses her involvement in a gory bump off.

The circus manager can’t be found. Ravi is desperate to protect his sweetheart and performing partner, Alice. The train creaks away, beginning the long journey with danger stowed on board. Nicknamed the Great Birdman, Ravi steps forward and exposes his true identity—a real risk during edgy, vigilante times of prohibition. A brave move—but will his Suparna abilities be enough to snuff out this fierce demon?

Book links:
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Author Marsha A. Moore
Author Marsha A. Moore

Author Bio:
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Her creativity also spills into watercolor painting and drawing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transforming into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Crazy about cycling, she usually passes the 1,000 mile mark yearly. She is learning kayaking and already addicted. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and that spiritual quest helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at new stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical! She is the author of the novel, TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE, the first in a trilogy available through MuseItUp Publishing. Part two, TORTUGA TREASURE is scheduled for release in January, 2012. Look for the first of her epic fantasy romance series, SEEKING A SCRIBE: ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS ONE, to be available in March, 2012.

Links to Marsha:

Independent Author Network Page

Le Cirque De Magie, Excerpt:
Before the evening show, he dressed early and patrolled the grounds. Nothing appeared suspicious outside, so he stood between sets of bleachers, watching for trouble during the performances. Again, Sadie missed her cue. It seemed too easy for her to give up at his warning—demons liked to fight.
Clowns, trained dogs, unicyclists, and fire-eaters all came and went without issue. Alice was in his sight, in the watchful company of her brother and the manager. Aromas of buttered popcorn and spun cotton candy mixed with animal odors—the typical circus smell. Nothing odd. He looked through the crowd for the dwarf. Instead of finding her, the number of children in the audience impressed him. All those smiling, young faces he must keep safe.
After a deep breath, he refocused, looking for any strange happening in the rings. Clown acts took the right and left rings. In the center, the snake charmer and his assistant wheeled out carts of large rush baskets. Three would contain his Naga friends. Upon the sweet notes of the charmer’s wooden flute, lids of the baskets opened and ropes danced up in response to his calls. Henry, Walter, and Gladys actually controlled those ropes, using their magic to extend them above their bodies. Ravi seldom watched the shows anymore. In full costume, the act came off well, a crowd-pleaser earning lots of cheers.
Tigers growled and pawed the wagon bed of their holding cage as it rolled in behind where Ravi stood. Sensing his magic, they clawed the bars nearest him, creating a spectacle.
Blocked from leaving by the animal wagon and not wanting to walk in front of the crowd, he climbed into the stands. When at last he found a seat, chaos ensued in the center ring.
The Nagas crawled in all directions, writhing and coiling. Above them a white bird with a forked, black tail swooped—a kite. It struck the snake people with both its talons and beak. The charmer, his assistant, and half a dozen other men ran around frantically. Some waved large nets on poles to catch the bird, and others yelled in various languages. How did the raptor get into the ring?
Ravi jumped to his feet, again wrestling to control his outward appearance.
Soon everyone around him stood, craning to see the ruckus.
The snakes hissed and struck, but the bird soared out of reach. In one ill-fated attempt, Henry missed and bit the shoulder of his trainer.
The men dropped their nets and kneeled beside the wounded man. They slapped his hands and cheeks. It was too late. Few knew the snake people possessed real, deadly venom.
The kite continued to torment Gladys, despite her attempts to slither under a cart. Her snake tail hung limp, wounded. Was that bird another form of the dwarf?
The tigers roared and flung themselves at their cage walls. Spectators screamed and rushed down the steps to leave. The rickety bleachers swayed with the frenzy of motion.
Ravi’s wing tips burst out of the slits in his costume at his shoulder blades. The tangle of people stopped him from getting to the ring, so he climbed atop the handrail and lifted into flight.
Someone high in the stands cried out, “Birdman!”

Wow. Cool! Thank you, Marsha. I confess, I’ve been down there a time or two in my long life, but I’d never known all that about the famous circus. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the interesting local history lesson! Wasn’t it interesting, folks? Please feel free to leave Marsha a comment or question. Marsha, good luck with this tale, and all you do.