Books


Posted on September 7, 2014 - by

Deadly Advice #ebook #mystery #RobertaIsleib

LUCY BURDETTE: I have often wondered whether the mystery series I wrote before the food critic mysteries might have gotten more traction if it had been published in the era of ebooks and social media. No way to tell, of course, but the happy news is that the first book in the series, DEADLY ADVICE (written as Roberta Isleib), is now available for Kindle.

The book stars Dr. Rebecca Butterman, a clinical psychologist and advice columnist living in Connecticut. She works out of an office in New Haven (in the same building where I had my private practice,) and she explores many of the places on the Connecticut shoreline that I’ve grown to know and love.

Although this series is a little edgier than the food critic mysteries, the books are close to my heart because they draw so much from my previous career as a psychologist. In a poignant coincidence, given the terrible news two weeks ago about Robin Williams, DEADLY ADVICE opens with the mysterious suicide of Dr. Butterman’s neighbor. She feels doubly troubled about this death, thinking she should have noticed something was wrong–both as a professional and as a neighbor.

In addition to my sleuth’s background, that opening scene is also rooted in my graduate school days. During my final year, newly separated, I lived in an anonymous apartment complex with only a nodding acquaintance of the other residents. Each morning, my taciturn next-door neighbor left for work at 7:30, returning by six. Some nights she’d cook one hamburger on the grill outside her door. Medium well, I’d think, considering the time it sat on the coals. How sad, I’d think. Is that me? I’d wonder next.

One evening, I came home from the library and noticed a small U-Haul parked in front of her apartment. An older couple was loading the contents of her place into the van. Over coffee the next morning, I skimmed the newspaper as usual, and noticed a small article near the bottom of an interior page. Based on this paragraph, I realized that my neighbor had shot herself several days earlier. Her body had lain in the apartment next to mine for over forty-eight hours before someone found her.

I felt shocked and sad. Isn’t this every single woman’s worst nightmare—dead two days and no one even notices you’re gone? As you can imagine, this incident has always haunted me.

Years later, that’s where DEADLY ADVICE began. When Dr. Rebecca Butterman returns home to find her neighbor an apparent suicide, she’s wracked with guilt.  As a psychologist and advice columnist, she’s an expert! She should have been able to help the young woman. But the neighbor’s mother suspects foul play, and soon persuades Rebecca to investigate the possibility of murder.

When Rebecca Butterman is troubled, she cooks. Like Hayley Snow in the Key West mysteries, she loves to cook, to eat, and to share meals with her best women friends. But she doesn’t think so much about the meaning of food the way food critic Hayley does. She’s too busy puzzling over what makes people tick…

In honor of the launch of DEADLY ADVICE as e-book, I’m happy to share one of Dr. Butterman’s favorite recipes, beef carbonnade. She would tell you to start the dish the day before you plan to eat it so it can sit in the refrigerator overnight, allowing the flavors to blend. She would also tell you that serving this meal to sad people might make their world a tiny bit brighter.

We hope you enjoy the book and the stew!


Posted on August 4, 2014 - by

Christmas in July @LucyBurdette

 

LUCY BURDETTE: What do you think of the Christmas in July trend? To be honest, I’ve always considered it a hokey idea. Shouldn’t a normal person get on with enjoying summer and not try to trump up interest in a holiday that’s still six months away?

But, for two reasons, Christmas really has arrived in July this year. Last week I had the gift  of rereading DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, the fifth Key West food critic mystery coming December 2. And the gift of copy edits. Wanna hear good news or bad first? Bad, of course…

For those of you who don’t know, copy edits are–I should put this politely, because it’s a public blog and who knows who might be reading–necessary but maddening. These are not the editing notes from my editor, who is smart and laser-eyed and chock full of good ideas for making a story better. This stage consists of nit-picking.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m happy when they find things like misspellings, and missed capitalization, and incorrect geography–mistakes that I would much rather hear about before the book is published. For example, someone noticed that I’d written AZURIASTAN as the name of a country whose flag is flown on the grounds of the Truman Little White House in Key West. There is no such country! The flag in question is from AZERBAIJAN. Where did I even find that made up name? Whew, embarrassment averted. Better still, I managed to turn that error into a blooper made by Hayley’s ex–pure fun.

And I learn things during the copyediting stage, too, like “brunet” is the correct spelling for a man with brown hair, “brunette” for a woman. And Bloody Mary has  both words capitalized.

But there are also hundreds of changes in things like dashes, and commas, and hyphens. Which sometimes seem utterly random. And the enemy of individual writing style.

And also queries such as: AU: Repetition OK? (Of course it’s not okay, unless I intended it, as in some kind of artistic writing rhythm, which doesn’t happen all that often.)

Even the recipes at the back of the book are not immune from the copy editor’s eagle eye… AU: Shouldn’t it read fold rather than stir since it’s easy to over-beat whipped cream?

Sigh.
My job is to remember that though it may feel like I’m being tormented, the copyeditor’s job is to make the book better.

And that brings me to the second gift–that of rereading DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS after resting from it for several months.

This stage is so much more pleasant than the one Hallie described on Tuesday–that awkward beginning, when you have no words on the page and can’t imagine where you’ll find them.

So Bloody Marys all around–Merry Christmas dear Readers!

Chapter One: DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS

My cell phone bleated from the deck outside, where I’d left it to avoid procrastinating via text messages, Facebook updates, or simply lounging in the glorious December sunshine with our resident cats, watching the world go by. The biggest interview of my career as a food critic was scheduled for this afternoon and I wanted—no, needed—to be ready.

Miss Gloria, my senior citizen houseboat mate, hollered from her rocking chair overlooking the water. “It’s your mother. Shall I answer?”

“Mind telling her I’ll call back in an hour?”

Miss Gloria would relish the opportunity to chat with her anyway, and maybe her intercession would slash my time on the phone with Mom in half when I returned the call. I am crazy about my mother, honest. But it had still been a shock when she announced she’d rented a place in Key West for the winter season. Wouldn’t it be so much fun to spend Christmas in paradise together? And New Year’s . . . and Martin Luther King Day . . . and Valentine’s Day? You get the picture. Mom had followed Diana Nyad’s attempts to swim from Cuba to Key West with rapt attention. When Diana overcame sharks, jellyfish, rough water, and advancing age to complete her 110-mile swim on her fifth try, at age sixty-four, Mom took it personally.

“Diana says we should never give up,” she announced on the phone a couple of months ago. “Why not ‘be bold, be fiercely bold and go out and chase your dreams’?”

My mother had been a little down since the summer because her fledgling catering company had not taken off the way she’d hoped. Although she’s an amazing and inventive cook, the business part of owning a business eluded her. For her first five catering events, cooking with only the highest-quality ingredients, she’d lost money rather than making it. A lot of money. Even her newish boyfriend, Sam, who was supportive beyond any reasonable expectation and categorically opposed to meddling, had suggested she take a few steps back and reconsider her plan.

“Why not? You should go for your dream, too,” I remember saying. “That’s exactly what you told me when I lost my bearings: Keep putting yourself out in the universe, and eventually the wind will fill your sails.” I stopped myself from trotting out more metaphysical tropes. I hadn’t wanted to hear too much advice when I was feeling down; Mom probably didn’t want mine, either. “What do you have in mind?”

“I’m thinking of coming to Key West for the winter!”

Whoa. If that was her dream, who was I to stop her? But my big solo adventure on this island was about to turn into How I Met Your Mother.

(Blog post first published on Jungle Red Writers)


Posted on February 20, 2014 - by

Press on Murder with Ganache

 Thrilled to death with the reviews that have been coming in for MURDER WITH GANACHE:

Polar Vortex be damned!  Reading Murder with Ganache by Lucy Burdette is like reaching into a pre-heated oven for a dish that is seasoned with all the correct ingredients – mystery, romance, family conflict and food.  Readers just know that each morsel is going to taste scrumptious and they will soon be back at the buffet longing for another helping. BOLO books

Lucy Burdette gives depth to this book by dissecting the modern family in all its divorce, remarry, reshape, share kids, make nice, stay enraged, give up, try again glory and gloom. Hayley’s caring yet determined nature often provides the healing salve that lowers the anxiety level and heals torn relationships. The author’s background as a clinical psychologist clearly enriches her handling of this material.

The constant charms in the Key West Food Critic Mystery books are, as one might expect, the attention to Key West and the attention to food — as nourishment, me delight, art, business and social lubricant.

Phil Jason, Florida Weekly,

So, in conclusion, a book escape to add to your weekend rotation, among other titles, that is as good as it looks and twice as sweet.  The story line will make you care what happens to our cast of characters and their furry friends help lighten the mood along the way.  A perfect read for teen readers and beyond; it’s clean, it’s fun, it’s as the name implies, cozy….so cozy on up to it and enjoy a reading experience chock full of fun and spirit that can’t be ignored.  Insatiable Readers

It really helped that the characters were strong.  I had no trouble keeping any of the cast and their relationships straight as I progressed through the book.  They all felt real, and I truly cared about the outcome.

The plot was also strong.  I was enjoying things even before Rory disappeared, and once that happened, I had a hard time putting the book down.  The twists were great, and the fact that I liked the characters truly made it even harder to put down. Carstairs considers

In this compelling mystery Burdette successfully balances the serious topics of homeless youth and divided families with bad tourist cuisine, excellent cooking, and a mother’s quest to find true love for her daughter. Hayley may lose her mind, her job, and possibly her life, but she will always have her family’s love. Not to mention an appreciation of excellent food. Kings River Life

But Hayley Snow is beyond easy to root for. In Murder with Ganache, Burdette once again shows that she’s as skillful at spinning a yarn as her protagonist is at baking pastries. And unmasking killers.  Florida Book Review

I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced, fun mystery, the tropical setting, and the completely calorie-free guilty pleasure of reading about some amazing food (recipes are included in the back of the book) and, of course, the cats. If you can’t afford to go away for spring break, this book is the second-best thing.  Ingrid at the Conscious Cat

Lucy Burdette skillfully brings all those elements together in a strong mystery that manages to showcase Key West and food while bemoaning the tragic loss of a young girl. Lesa’s Book Critiques

This page-turner kept me up half the night – I had to finish reading this book. Lucy Burdette does not disappoint. This has to be my favorite book in the series. The author has also provided some very yummy recipes. So, if you like your mystery with a little Key West Style, then you should be reading Murder with Ganache. Myshelf.com


Posted on January 2, 2014 - by

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to all my friends and friendly readers. I hope the year finds you healthy, warm, and close to friends and family. And with a teetering pile of books to be read nearby!

 

 

 

 

 

Our year ended with a bang in Key West at the dachshund parade. I’ll spare you all the details, but Tonka and John were very good sports about impersonating lunch meat–and I had a blast. I think our visiting family did too (though they are sure I’m certifiable…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s back to getting ready for the launch of Murder with Ganache–coming February 4 to a bookstore near you–and forging ahead on the fifth book. Please feel free to pre-order Ganache from wherever you like to buy your books. (Strong early sales help keep the series alive…)

Barnes and Noble,

Amazon,

your local indie

–or call the Key West Island Bookstore at 305-294-2904 and I’ll stop over to sign them for you. And happy 2014!  xoxo Lucy


Posted on December 29, 2013 - by

Book Group Discussion Questions: MURDER WITH GANACHE

I can hardly wait for MURDER WITH GANACHE to hit bookshelves. And I am thrilled to talk to book groups, whether it’s in person or online. If your group might like a book discussion with me, Lucy, on board, please send an email to LucyBurdette at gmail dot com. Meanwhile, here are a few questions that might get your group’s discussion off to a good start!

1. Hayley’s mother says that “life develops around the kitchen table” and that “kids need to understand how food connects the people in their lives.” Hayley’s stepmom insists that life develops at work–who cares whether a mother uses a cake mix or serves macaroni from a box? Where would you stand in this argument?

2. Hayley’s parents have a disagreement about social justice on the way to the marina. How do you feel about the homeless people as presented in the book? Have you had any personal experience with homeless folks?

3. When Hayley’s brother Rory gets into trouble, the family struggles with how much to tell the police. They wonder whose side the cops are on. How do you think you might react in a similar situation? Would you trust the police to have your interests at heart?

4. Hayley says “Food meant comfort and love and even peace in my family.” If you had to sum it up, what would you say food meant to your family?

5. Hayley tells Rory “I’ve discovered that family has less to do with biology than it does with who cares enough to make the effort.” Does this statement ring true for you? Talk about a person who isn’t a blood relation in your life who feels like family.

6. When spirits are low, Hayley and her mom make comfort food for the extended family–spanakopita and Greek salad and strawberry whipped cream pie. What menu would you design to cheer up a troubled family member or friend?


Posted on December 23, 2013 - by

Merry Christmas from Key West

While Hayley, and Evinrude, and Miss Gloria and all the gang are finishing up their Christmas preparations, they asked me to wish all of you the merriest of holidays! We’re all getting adjusted to Christmas in paradise–though we miss the snow and the snappy cold air and our friends most of all, there’s something pretty magical about lights on a palm tree. 

 

 

Here’s a Christmas tree made of lobster pots on the old harbor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lighted house seen in Old Town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our favorite holiday events, the lighted boat parade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The house that took second place in the lights Key West contest–you can’t see it here, but there’s a fishing Santa, and a string of fish each overtaking the next in line…

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Hayley’s specialty this year–sugar cookies in the shape of palm trees, sunglasses, and roosters!

 

We send our love to everyone, wherever you may be spending the holidays. We are grateful for each reader and fan of the Key West mysteries! We can’t wait for the adventures to come in 2014; don’t forget, MURDER WITH GANACHE will be out on February 4. (Of course, you can preorder it now.)


Posted on November 26, 2013 - by

Murder with Ganache–a new kid coming to town!

If I haven’t told you already, you’ll hear it now: MURDER WITH GANACHE will be released on February 4. I love this new installment in Hayley’s Key West adventures. Her extended family is barreling down on the island like a category 3 hurricane for her friend Connie’s wedding. By extended I mean Janet, her mom, Janet’s new boyfriend, her father, his wife, and more stressful than all of that, her 15 year old stepbrother. There’s a murder, of course, and amazing food, and all the glories of springtime in Key West. And Hemingway cats…and chocolate…

I never know when I start out what the theme of the new book might turn out to be. This time it’s something near to my heart, and Hayley says it best when she’s talking to her brother: This may sound dumb, but I’ve discovered that family has less to do with biology than it does with who cares enough to make the effort.

Here’s my post over at Jungle Red Writers with more about MWG, and a little bit about the fifth book, and an excerpt. (sorry the contest is over!)

Oh, but speaking of contests, there are two running through the middle of December! First there’s a giveaway on Goodreads for 3 galleys of MURDER WITH GANACHE. And the other’s on Facebook--it’s called a FEAST OF READING–first prize is a gift basket from Salt and Pepper Books, including foodie mysteries from Julie Hyzy, Krista Davis, and Daryl Wood Gerber.

To make sure you receive your copy of the new book on release day, you can pre-order it now:

From RJ Julia, my hometown CT bookseller

From Barnes and Noble

From Amazon

That’s all for now–have a wonderful holiday season! love from Lucy


Posted on July 2, 2013 - by

Press on Topped Chef

So the book tour is history, the press is in; in fact, the draft of book four is in too! More on that soon…Meanwhile, here’s everything you always wanted to know about TOPPED CHEF! Thanks for all your support–please help me spread the word that Key West mysteries make great summer reading!

 

“Burdette fills “Topped Chef” with a fine plot, a delightful heroine, a wealth of food — and all the charm and craziness of Key West. You’ll wish you could read it while sipping a mojito on the porch of a conch cottage in mainland America’s southernmost community.” Jay Strafford, Richmond Times Dispatch

 

“What’s most fun with this loony crew is Ms. Burdette’s perfect-pitch parody of food talk as made familiar on “Chopped” and other popular food programs where judges and competitors try to top each in their descriptions of preparations, styles, successes and failures.

Sweet and savory, “Topped Chef” captures Key West’s sensory enchantment, and Ms. Burdette’s bubbly protagonist is once again the main ingredient in a sure-fire recipe.” Phil Jason, Florida Weekly

 

“As she has done in the previous books in the series, Burdette cleverly disguises the identity of the killer. Even an avid and jaded reader/reviewer of mysteries such as myself was stumped until the final reveal. Hayley’s sense of humor…returns with a hearty guffaw in Topped Chef.

Topped Chef is three courses of cozy—romance, humor, and mystery—that will leave you satisfied, yet looking forward to another serving.” Ed Irvin, Florida Book Review

 

The third entry into this series, Topped Chef not only remains fresh, but may be the best book in the series so far. The characters remain as fresh as the breeze off the ocean, as does the plot. Jennifer Winberry, The Mystery Reader

 

“A clinical psychologist and blogger for the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, the author shares her love of food while crafting sympathetic characters and a mystery filled with multiple motivations for the murder. The descriptions of the coastal cuisine, snappish and temperamental cheftestants, and drag queens, all combine to make this a very well-written and tasty mystery, sure to please fans of food, reality shows, and mysteries.” Cindy Chow at KINGS RIVER LIFE

 

Burdette is such a strong writer and creates really lively characters and puts them in spectacular situations. The plots are tight and the twists are plenty. Escape with Dollycas

 

“Topped Chef is a  fabulous addition to this charming series!” YABookNerd

 

“I really enjoy the Key West Food Critic series. Adore Hayley (how can you not ADORE Hayley?) She’s a great character- someone who looks like she could be your BFF. Plus, her tendency to have her tarot cards read when facing an issue- that’s just great. I would love to have my tarot cards read with Hayley! Good plot, some romantic entanglements, and a mystery that was fun- with enough red-herrings to not guess the villain.” Traveling with T

 

And here Topped Chef is featured (along with the now famous Lime Cupcakes) in an article on foodie fiction.

 

Here’s Lucy’s INTERVIEW at Mysteristas

 

And I’ll leave you with a few recipes from Mystery Lovers Kitchen, while I go off to ponder plot points for Book Five (as yet untitled.)

I’ve gotten rave reviews on the lime cupcakes with lime cream cheese frosting–they will also make an appearance in MURDER WITH GANACHE. AND to continue the lime theme through dinner, here’s Vickie’s Key Lime chicken--quick and easy!


Posted on May 9, 2013 - by

TOPPED CHEF is off!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A book launch is soooo much fun and this week was no exception! Here’s the famous celebratory cake that we served at RJ Julia last night–I so appreciate all the friends who turned out. And I’m very pleased with the press so far. Here’s a snippet from Phil Jason at the Florida Weekly:

“What’s most fun with this loony crew is Ms. Burdette’s perfect-pitch parody of food talk as made familiar on “Chopped” and other popular food programs where judges and competitors try to top each in their descriptions of preparations, styles, successes and failures.
Sweet and savory, “Topped Chef” captures Key West’s sensory enchantment, and Ms. Burdette’s bubbly protagonist is once again the main ingredient in a sure-fire recipe.”

Please let your mystery and foodie friends know that TOPPED CHEF can be ordered wherever books are sold.

And one last thing, if you haven’t been over to Mystery Lovers Kitchen in a while, the lime cupcakes and killer shrimp and grits recipes are there!


Posted on April 20, 2013 - by

TOPPED CHEF tour coming soon

I received my author copies of TOPPED CHEF last week which means the book’s launch is barreling down at us! I’ll be making quite a few tour stops, both online and in person and would love to visit with you at one or more.

Today, by the way, I’m talking about reality in fiction at TYPE M FOR MURDER.

 

 

 

 

 

Visit me on the Cozy Mystery tour at these stops:
May 1, 2013 – Socrates Book Review
May 2, 2013 – Book Lady’s Book Notes
May 3, 2013 – Traveling with T
May 4, 2013 – YA Book Nerd
May 5, 2013 – Cozy Up with Kathy
May 6, 2013 – Read Your Writes
May 7, 2013 – Mochas, Mysteries & More
May 8, 2013 - Girl Lost in a Book
May 9, 2013 – Vixen is Reading
May 10, 2013 – Melina the ReaderShelley Reads & Reviews & Dru’s Book Musings

And on May 2 and May 9, recipes from TOPPED CHEF will be featured on Mystery Lovers Kitchen.

And we’ll be throwing a big book launch party on May 7 at Jungle Red Writers.

As for real places, you can find me here:

May 2 SALT AND PEPPER BOOKS, Occoquan, VA

May 3-4 MALICE DOMESTIC, Bethesda MD

May 8 RJ JULIA BOOKSELLERS, Madison CT

North Carolina Mini-Tour…

The Unusual Suspects — Hallie Ephron, Lucy Burdette, and Jennifer McMahon tour Raleigh-Durham with Molly Weston
5/15, 2:00 East Regional Library, Knightdale, NC
5/15, 7:00 North Regional Library, Raleigh
5/16, 11:30, Carolina Club, UNC-Chapel Hill (luncheon)
5/16, 7:30, Southeast Regional Library, Garner
5/17 , 10:30 Cameron Village Library, Raleigh
5/17, 2:00 West Regional Library, Cary
5/18, 2:00 McIntyre’s, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro
5/19, 2:00 Halle Cultural Arts Center, Apex
5/20, 2:00 Eva Perry Library, Apex
5/20, 7:00 Page-Walker Cultural Arts Center, Cary

May 29 WILBRAHAM, MA Library panel for Sisters in Crime with Steve Ulfelder and Edith Maxwell

More to come after that–stay tuned!



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