Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore Novels
Software developer Honor Macklin believes she’s equal business partners with her philandering ex-husband, but when family responsibilities take her to Florida, she discovers her ex may have cheated her in more ways than one. Spirits at the Belleview Biltmore hotel try to help Honor by invading her dreams to share memories from the life of Darcy Loughman, a young Victorian woman with big problems of her own. When the two worlds collide, Honor and her new lover, Josh, along with his clairvoyant four-year-old son, try to figure out how Honor can use lessons from the past to change her destiny.
Lilyanna Thorne still suffers from serious injuries she received in the car accident that took the life of her son three years ago, but when she learns her grandmother has only a few days to live, she grabs the first flight to Florida and checks into the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, near Morton Plant Hospital. Her marriage is in ruins and she’s plagued with horrific nightmares of the accident and ghoulish visions of her late son, so the last thing she needs is spirits at the Belleview Biltmore invading her dreams to share their memories from the Roaring Twenties. But soon the spirits teach her that death is not as black and white as she believed it to be… and neither is love or marriage.
Summer Tyme’s eidetic memory and computer hacking skills made her the ideal con artist, until she ran afoul of the mob. She thought she managed to escape their clutches, but now her murderous enemies are forcing her to participate in a high-stakes robbery at the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, where the annual McNeal Foundation Art Auction is to be held. If she fails, Summer and her twin brother will be killed. Things go from bad to worse when spirits of soldiers who occupied the hotel during WWII invade her dreams, unintentionally putting Summer in even more danger. She’s forced to make life and death choices at every turn but, as the spirit of Margaret Plant says, “Life is all about making choices. The Afterlife is about earning Redemption for the choices you made.”
The Setting for the Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore Novel Series
The series, “Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore,” is set in the historic Belleview Biltmore Hotel, located in Belleair, FL. One of Florida’s founding fathers, Henry B. Plant, first opened the posh Belleview Hotel on January 6, 1897, to serve as a luxury winter hotel for elite travelers. Over the next 120 years, the hotel grew into a resort, changed hands a dozen times, changed names a few times, and hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world. Its long list of notable guests included: Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Babe Ruth, Al Capone, the Duke of Windsor, Joe DiMaggio, Lana Turner, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Margaret Thatcher, and four US Presidents (Carter, Ford, Bush Sr, and Obama.)
Back in 1904, Morton Plant (Henry’s son,) added a guest wing at the East end of the Belleview Hotel, almost doubling its size, and after the hotel was sold to the Biltmore Hotel chain in 1920, the South Wing was added. Over the next several decades, other additions and improvements increased the size of the hotel to a whopping 820,000 sq. ft. (plus, a full basement) – arguably making it the largest occupied wooden structure in the world.
The Belleview Biltmore Resort closed on the last day of May in 2009 for a total renovation, but due to the collapse of the real estate market and subsequent financial crisis in the USA, the owners lost their funding and the renovation fell apart. Despite valiant efforts to save the iconic hotel from demolition, the battle was lost. The developer who purchased the hotel demolished the vast majority of the hotel in 2015, however, the original lobby entrance and the rooms directly above it were preserved and incorporated into a small, 33-room inn, thereby preserving a tiny bit of history within the new condo and townhome community.
The series, “Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore,” seeks to entertain, while at the same time, help preserve the glorious history of the Belleview Biltmore Resort, recognize the incredible influence it had on the surrounding community for more than a century, and pay tribute to the treasured memories of countless individuals who spent time there, including encounters with spirits and ghosts that many claim still remain!
Belleview Biltmore Hotel Photo Galleries
Best Selling Author
After taking a private tour of the historic Belleview Biltmore Resort, including several sections of the hotel that were “off limits” to visitors, I was so awed by its historic ambiance that I was inspired to write about it. I wanted to tell a story that would encompass some of my passions in life, including romance, the afterlife, local history, and of course, the resort itself.
I began developing ideas for a novel that would focus on the lives of a few people who had stayed the hotel, and perhaps, who still haunted its halls. I also hit upon the idea that many of the hotel guests probably overcame serious problems during their lifetimes, regarding such things as: overcoming obstacles, dealing with injustice, and handling matters of the heart… problems that were not so different in the present. I lamented, “If only they could share their wisdom with us!”
Then I realized that if I told two stories in the book… a tale of a hotel guest in the past and a guest with similar problems in the near present, I could demonstrate how lessons learned might transcend time. Almost immediately, I knew there was not one, but several, stories to be told and my novel became a series, under the collection title, “Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore.”
I found I was able to draw upon a rich and unique assortment of life experiences to create wonderfully complex characters and situations that span time and social strata. I hope my readers will be able to identify with characters from all of the time periods represented in my books and also enjoy learning about the rich history of this incredible hotel.
Although 95.6% of the Belleview Biltmore was demolished in 2015, her legacy will live on in the Belleview Inn (constructed in part, from the remaining 4.4% of the hotel,) as well as in the minds of thousands of people who took photographs and made special memories there and, of course, in these novels.
I sincerely hope you enjoy taking a step back in time at the Belleview Biltmore as you read what became the four-part series, “Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore.”
Where Do You Live, Exactly?
Where Do You Live, Exactly?
An interactive, educational project and personalized keepsake rolled into one, “Where Do You Live, Exactly?” uses the principle of Russian nesting dolls to reduce the size of the universe one page at a time. At the beginning of the story, when Tommy Turtle asks the child where he lives, the child responds, “I live in the Universe”. Tommy Turtle replies, “But the universe is very big! Where do you live, exactly?” Each additional response becomes more precise until the book ends in the child’s own bedroom. Through the use of repetition and personalization, the child has fun ‘filling in the blanks’ and gluing-in or coloring pictures to put themselves at ‘the center of the story’, while at the same time, learning the basic design of the universe and personal address information. Depending upon the child’s age and literacy level, the personalized portions of the story can be completed entirely by an adult; by an adult and child working together; or by the child working independently. When the child outgrows the book, tuck it away with childhood memorabilia to preserve a precious sample of their handwriting and drawings.
Coal For Christmas
When Gordon finds out he’s on Santa’s naughty list, he steals Santa’s Time-Stopper-House-Hopper and tries to ruin Christmas for all the nice children. It’s up to Marcus to help save the day, even though he is certain Santa is only bringing him Coal for Christmas, too.
My Writing Blog
BonSue's New Website I hope you will enjoy taking a stroll through my new website, which includes added content about the historic Belleview Biltmore Hotel. Please contact me with any questions or comments you might have, at BonSue@BonSueBooks.com
NEXT NOVEL IN SERIES: "NAILS" SETTING: This book takes place in two time periods, 1895 and 2015: 1895: The sleepy fishing village of Clear Water Harbor is about to be transformed by the arrival of a small army of workers, hired by railroad tycoon, Henry B. Plant, to...
When I began writing the “Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore” series, I established my first author’s website to document my experiences as a novice novelist and the renovation of the famed historic hotel. Even though I was clear that my books would be works of...