Thursday, April 28, 2022

Is the Middle in the Cards? @LucyBurdette #whatwerewriting

 LUCY BURDETTE: I’m grinding along in the muddled middle of Key West mystery #13. Before we made our trip from Key West to Connecticut, I screeched to a halt at a scene where Hayley has lunch with her tarot-card-reading pal, Lorenzo. What would he tell her that could help her solve the mystery or sort out some questions in her own life? 



Believe it or not, it always helps me move the plot along if *I* have lunch with my real friend, Ron, the model for Lorenzo. So I did. Here we are, when I ran across him at Mallory Square.


And here's a bit of the scene featuring Hayley with her Lorenzo, from about Chapter 16 or so. I don't have it all worked out, but it's slowly coming together. (The sentence in caps reminds me later to somehow use this more expertly. Suggestions always welcome, of course!) 



I stopped speaking and slumped into my chair. “Are you having any messages from the universe about this mess?” 

I didn’t really expect him to be able to deliver an answer to that. That’s not how his gift worked. But he sometimes had sparks, bits of light that illuminated the path later on. I leaned forward to absorb whatever he said.

My friend cocked his head like a curious bird. “From what you’ve told me, I would want to know who had access to their knife. And who had a previous relationship with the man who died. And who stood to gain the most from his death. Or who became enraged by something he did when he was alive.” LATER REMEMBER A HINT THAT COMES FROM THIS READING

I sat back in my chair again and crumpled my napkin. “Those are excellent questions.” 

“Did you ever watch that cooking show called Rat in the Kitchen? One of the performing chefs is a saboteur, but nobody knows who it is. The person oversalts a competitor’s sauce or exchanges rotten ingredients for fresh, things like that. This reminds me of that. Although no one gets murdered on the show.” Now he looked a little sad. “It’s not only in Key West where those with the most money run the world.”

“You always come through. How are you doing by the way? I didn’t ask you anything about your life.” Belatedly, I noticed the dark circles under his blue eyes.

Those eyes blinked closed and then back open. “You know that Uranus is in my house, and that means a rocky stretch, a lot of disruption. But I’m coming out of it, I am fine.” He paused. “I will be fine.”

Lorenzo believed deeply in the meaning of astrological charts, and what he saw there, reflected his truth. It was often spot on. This reminded me of what my friend Eric the psychologist always told me. The caretakers in this world could appear to be all together emotionally, but the weight of carrying other peoples’ problems could begin to create tiny fissures in their hearts. Emotional stress fractures, to say it another way. It was important for a caretaker to reach out so that someone could care for them, too. Otherwise, the heart might shatter along the lines of those hairline cracks. Lorenzo, like Eric, was a kind person with a big heart whose first impulse was to carry other people forward when they couldn’t move themselves. 




If you’re interested in other posts about Lorenzo, here’s one from Fatal Reservations.


This one was written as Fatal Reservations was published and it follows the development of Lorenzo (and me and Hayley) across the series. 


I'd love to ask you what else you think Lorenzo might tell Hayley, but seeing as you don't know the story, it's hardly a fair question!


Meanwhile, #12, A DISH TO DIE FOR will be out on August 9, but you can certainly pre-order it now


62 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Lucy . . . Lorenzo is one of my favorite characters, and I always enjoy it when he shows up in the story . . . .

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  2. Lucy, I always love the Lorenzo scenes. He and Hayley have developed such an interesting friendship. I must admit my meeting with Lorenzo was a bit less cozy. Because of your series, I had to meet him and get a reading. I was rather scared of getting a reading, but I took the plunge. Lorenzo was very business-like, and I think I wanted him to be a little friendlier to put my mind at ease. He wasn't unfriendly, just not chatty. I'm sure he tries to maintain a seriousness so people won't confuse his work as frivolous. My reading was a bit obscure, but was about some problems I would get through. I think I actually did have a rough patch, but nothing major. I was really hoping for a tip about how to wisely spend the lottery money I would win. Hahaha! He does have great hair and beautiful eyes.

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    1. Next time you come down Kathy, I'll go over with you and introduce you. He is very serious while he's working!

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  3. I'll be interested to see how this develops for the story overall. Looking forward to #12!

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    1. Just to be clear, yes, I know this snippet was from book 13. But I've got my eARC of 12 ready to read closer to release date.

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  4. We all know Lorenzo's hint will help Haley, Lucy! I often sit my character down to think through the case somewhere during the middle - mostly because it helps THIS plotter think through it. And if she gets help or a sounding board from a friend, so much the better. Looking forward to #12.

    Also, what a beautiful bit you wrote about caregivers. So true.

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    1. Edith, Bubbila, feeling better? Let us know!

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    2. Thanks for caregiver compliment Edith--I do appreciate that! And I had the same question, how are you feeling?

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    3. I am possibly feeling slightly less crappy than I have since Sunday, so there is hope!

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    4. Edith, when I had it in January the crappiness lasted four solid days, plus one where I felt half as bad. Hope that is your trajectory, too.

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  5. "Are you having any messages from the universe about this mess?" What a great line! What a perfect Hayley line! I love this scene! Lorenzo is an endearing character and I always expect him to joke with Hayley and tell her he sees a delicious dinner in her future! But he is a kind of serious guy.

    I pre-ordered your book from Barnes and Noble during their great pre-order sale last week. It better arrive by the time we meet in Milford for the book signing or I'll have to buy another one. Yep. That date is on my calendar and only a surprise trip to the space station will send me elsewhere that day! XXOO

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    1. Oh Judy, you're the best! You're right, he is serious, there's a lot of weight on his shoulders. Looking forward to seeing you and other Reds in June!

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    2. My calendar has you at Milford B&N in late August. What should I look forward to in June?

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  6. Hallie here - he’s such a great character Lucy - feels so genuine and caring. And how clever of you to mark the spot where there’s a clue among the red herrings

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  7. Lucy, I have to laugh because I occasionally leave myself notes like this. All caps, "MAKE THIS COME UP LATER."
    All writers have similar tricks, huh? I hope Hayley remembers what she needs to know!

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    1. Exactly. Or I'll write something that should have happened earlier but I hadn't realized it at the same, so I'll add MAKE IT SO as a reminder.

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  8. Always love this week--so great to see the writing process from each of you! Lorenzo is a treasure of a character and yes, we need to take care of the caregivers. So #12 to look forward to and #13 chugging along! Yay!

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  9. Your lovely friendship with Ron notwithstanding, using "Lorenzo" to further the plot in Hayley's books is nothing short of brilliant, Lucy/Roberta. So clever, and he's such an appealing character.

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    1. Thanks Karen! I am never quite sure how his character will be received, because not everyone can get behind tarot, astrology, etc. For me it doesn't matter whether I buy in fully--I know that he is a deeply intuitive and thoughtful man who senses things about people. Like a psychologist, really!

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  10. I love Lorenzo! I can’t wait to read the next Key West mystery. And I really love the description of stress fractures on the heart for those who are caregivers - so well said.

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  11. Emotional stress fractures. That is brilliant! Wow.

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  12. It is so enjoyable and inspiring, these peeks behind the curtain, seeing how you figure things out to best move the story along. I'm not sure we readers can totally appreciate all that goes into the finished product we hold in our hands. You make it seem so effortless when we are reading it. Really looking forward to reading all of the next Hayley books!

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    1. Thanks Judi. I about burst out laughing when you describe any writing as effortless:)

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  13. Love the description of Lorenzo and the emotional stress fractures caretakers can develop. Psychological insight always intrigues me. Adds such depth to a story.

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  14. Great snippet. I trying to remember if Haley has had a meal with Lorenzo, not at a party, just a simple meal. I like the stress fractures comparison. You never know when one of those will give way.

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    1. Thanks Deana. I know she had him over for breakfast on Miss Gloria's houseboat. I bet there were other times...

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  15. I really enjoy Lorenzo's character and I'm always happy when I see him in Mallory Square. Looking forward to reading 12 and 13.

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  16. Lorenzo is one of my favorite characters. Next time I'm in Key West, I'll see if I can connect with the original. Interesting setting he is using for the cards.

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  17. I'm a big fan of the Key West Food Critic series! This post has me itching for a tarot reading ... AND book #12. Can't wait.

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  18. Like others, I really enjoy Lorenzo, and I love knowing that he's based on a real person. That pic of you and Ron is lovely, Lucy. (Tangent: I would think that a fundraising event with a reading by Ron as the main prize would be a big draw. Question: Can Tarot readings be done via Zoom or must they be in person?)

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    1. Amanda, he was so cute--he came to an event at the Key West Island Bookstore when I had invited all my characters. The reading idea is very interesting. I know he'll talk to people on the phone, but not sure about Zoom?

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  19. Excellent point, we need to care for the caretakers. At our school, that included passing along positive comments we heard students say about other colleagues (because teens don't always tell a person directly) and offering comfort and support on difficult days. I ran into a former colleague who still remembers the day she was upset and our dept. chair said, "Go see Mary." Tea and conversation, and she held on for much better days. Good reminder for later. I sometimes put ** by something I want to get back to (very "findable" in a search). (not anonymous -- Storyteller Mary Garrett)

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  20. Coincidentally, FB memories showed me a post my niece wrote at the height of COVID, exhausted nurses. Now we face a shortage of nurses . . . care for the caretakers.

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  21. Lucy, I love this scene with Lorenzo! It's such a great way of laying out the problem, giving Hayley a chance to think things through. LOVE the picture of you and Ron, too. I wish I hadn't been so tired and frazzled (end of book tour) when he did my reading. It went by in a blur. Love the care for the caregivers, too.

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    1. thanks Debs, next book you'll come down again and we can have lunch with him:)

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  22. "stress fractures of the heart" is a perfect description. Caregivers and their compassion are as often undervalued as they are overworked.

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  23. Your books are why I visited Key West. Met Ron at Sunset Beach and had the most wonderful conversation with him. Thank you, for golden memories of KW.

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    1. Oh gosh, that's great to hear! Hope you enjoyed the island.

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  24. LUCY:
    Sorry I am a day late! The tarot reader in your photos look more like a Banker or a Professor than a tarot reader. Somehow I imagined a man who looks more like John Lennon rather than a James Bond type.
    Diana

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    1. funny, he used to dress in eye make-up and a turban, but people treated him like a sideshow and it was too distracting from his work, which he takes very seriously.

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  25. AH Lucy- I too am late although I was able to read and re-read your excerpt. I love that you included the photo of your friend Eric aka Lorenzo because it solidifies everything I’ve read in that they become more believable/ real . Your friend has intelligent eyes and a kind face - he is someone that I would be drawn to because he presents as someone I would trust and be interested in his gifts of insight. Thank You and Eric for sharing with us- it offers so much and if possible, I am even more of a fan of your books than before ! ❤️

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    1. Mary, thank you so much for your kind comments! He is such a kind and thoughtful person and would be thrilled to read your assessment. I so appreciate you reading the books, and all of the Reds are grateful to have you here on the blog!

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  26. I didn’t mean to be Anonymous- I am Mary Eubanks a fan from the beginning of your published books and ‘ The Jungle Red Writers’ for many years !

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  27. I have pre-ordered A Dish to Die For. You mention it is book #13. I am wondering which book is #12 in the series? A Scone of Contention was #11. Also does your newest Hayley Snow book include a visit from the two Scottish women vacationing in Key West?

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