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The Buzz: Insider

A Novel Approach

AFTER PRACTICING DIVORCE AND CRIMINAL LAW for more than 25 years, John D. Mills has heard almost everything. From the conniving and salacious to the sad and stupid, he could fill a book with such anecdotes. Well, actually, he has—seven of them.

His latest novel, titled The Hooker, the Dancer & the Nun, is a murder mystery (his chosen genre) about three former University of Florida roommates who, at age 40 and recently divorced, decide to gather for a “girl’s weekend.”

The characters are: Hooker, so called because she could always hook men in college; the Dancer, know for her moves; and the Nun, because she was a virgin while attending UF.

The women, who had remained in touch over the years, rent a houseboat and anchor behind Cabbage Key. During the outing, one dies, another goes missing and the third is charged with murder.

When the case goes to trial, damning evidence consisting of Facebook entries and social media posts are presented by prosecutors to the jury.

Mills, who is self-published, says his book ideas are a third inspired by cases, a third by stories from other lawyers and a third from his imagination. And, no, real names are not used. “I have fun with it,” says the Fort Myers attorney.

Since his first book in 2000, his following has grown.

“When I first started self publishing in 2000 it was a new concept. Now more and more people are doing it,” he says. “With each one I get more exposure.”

Artistic Lens

HUSBAND-AND-WIFE PHOTOGRAPHERS Gareth Rockliffe and Jan Soderquist are gearing up for the second leg of their Great American Coastline project, beginning in June, this time focusing on the East Coast from Maine to Maryland. The first installment, which included a coffee-table book full of spectacular photos and an accompanying video, captured the West Coast shoreline and some interesting characters along the way. Thus far, the video component has been featured at the Fort Myers Film Festival, and an edited version will make its way to the Latow Audio Visual Festival April 16 and 17 in Burlington, Ontario. The couple will eventually cover the rest of the coastline.

40 Under 40: Where Are They Now?

THE FIRST NAME TO APPEAR in our inaugural 40-under-40 story in September 2003 was that of Jennifer Abetz. At the time, she served as the community relations director at the Education Foundation of Collier County. These days, she’s Jennifer Varoski (she’s married to Albie Varoski, also a 40-under-40 alum) and has since moved on from the foundation, now called Champions for Learning, although she’s still in the marketing profession. Varoski runs her own firm, JRV Communications in Naples, which serves for-profit and nonprofit clients. She’s also the mother of a son, 10, and daughter, 5, and enjoys 5k races that serve the community.

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