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Steve Otto author of The Spirit of the BayThe Spirit of the Bay

Published in 2007, "The Spirit of the Bay" is an outstanding 400-page book providing the reader with a comprehensive visual and narrative story of the people, places, and things making the Tampa Bay area unique. The author Steve Otto writes:

"The Spirit of the Bay is just that, a feeling and a way of life. The history of the people who have come to this special place is a colorful and rich story that goes back thousands of years. Although I try to tell the story of who we are, this book is in no sense a history book. Rather, it attempts to capture the flavor of the villages and cities that circle Tampa Bay and perhaps better understood; why this is such a diverse and changing place.

From the earliest natives to the arrival of Spanish explorers, on down to the more recent refugees from the cold winters in the north, we are a mixed bag. People have come here for different reasons, from looking to build a new home in a new world, to being a part of a famous cigar industry The military has had a powerful presence, from the earliest forts, to today's headquarters of the United States Central Command in Tampa. People looking to get rich quick, or to just retire to a slower life, have all settled here.

A diversity of cultures has meant that the Tampa Bay area is a treasure chest of food and festivals, from the colorful Epiphany cross diving ceremonies in the Greek community of Tarpon Springs, to the many Latin festivals on the old streets of Ybor City We have our own unique events, from the incredible Gasparilla parades, where hundreds of thousands of locals cheer for the invading pirates and hope to get a few strings of beads in return, to the sultrier sounds of the Clearwater Jazz Festival.

In the end, it is the people who are the story Characters like Frederick Weightnovel, the strange Russian who built his own city of Moscow in what is now downtown Tampa, was run out of town along with his Free Love Society. Tampa Bay has been the haunt of everyone from Hernando de Soto and Teddy Roosevelt to Babe Ruth. It is a place to enjoy life, where you can watch or be a part of the spectacle. The Bay's Spirit is here for everyone to share."

Tampa and West Central Florida Postcard Paradise bookTampa and West Central Florida Postcard Paradise (out of print)

Published in 1998 by the Tampa Tribune and University of Tampa Press, this 93 page picture book of Tampa and West central Florida effectively captured places, activities and events that shaped the lives of area citizens.  In the introduction to the book, writer Kathy Feeney states:

"Describing Tampa as beautiful, warm, and friendly, tourists also applaud the realness and the culture and heritage the area offers, according to the the Tampa/Hillsborough Convention and Visitors Association Inc.  Our esteemed visitors are on target with such flattering impressions of the Tampa Bay area .  But residents can relish another truth:  The only experience better than visiting this land of sand, surf, and sunsets is living here."