Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’


Posted on January 1, 2020 - by

Christmas in Key West

Key West at Christmastime is wonderfully festive–which is probably why I’ve set THE KEY LIME CRIME (coming July 7 from Crooked Lane Books) between Christmas and New Year’s. One of our favorite events is taking a Conch Train tour around the island to look at the best of the lighted displays. There is a contest that our mayor’s home won last year. Here’s what it looks like:

And here’s the house two doors down:

And this is the home of our friends Kathy and Michael, whom I think are giving the mayor a run for her money:

Blow-up figurines are always popular too:

Last year, I was searching for plot ideas for what has become THE KEY LIME CRIME. Now that I’m working on the final edits, of course I know what’s going to happen and how. Here’s the smallest snippet to show you how I used the lights:

We drove by small concrete block houses decked out with lights of all colors, blow-up Christmas figures from The Grinch, Charlie Brown, The Polar Express. We saw fake-snow machines, homeowners having cocktails in lawn chairs and enjoying our enjoyment, and finally the first-place home, which we’d heard through the grapevine belonged to our brand-new mayor. She and her wife had decorated the front of the house as the North Pole, with enough lights to power every home on the Keys all the way up to Miami.


And one more snippet:
“Only in Key West,” the driver sang out as he navigated down a small one-way street near the cemetery. “Santa may be a little late this year,” he announced, pointing to a blow-up Santa Claus splayed out on the front porch of a small home. Santa had an empty bottle of booze clutched in his right hand. “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus” thrumming in the background completed the tacky picture.

In the new book, you may see a body buried in one of these photos…you can probably guess which one it is…

THE KEY LIME CRIME (July 2020) is available for pre-order!

You can order it at an independent bookstoreBarnes and Noble, Amazon, and anywhere books are sold!


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 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.)



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