Christmas was a lovely day, relaxing and everything. I got some work done in the early afternoon, and then retired to the reclining chair to watch television. We started watching a couple of movies but tired of them quickly, but we did watch Spotlight, which we enjoyed, and got caught up on a couple of TV shows we watch as well. I started reading Dennis Lehane’s Edgar Award winning Live by Night, which I was reminded of last night when seeing a preview for the film version coming out in January, and it was yet another one of those books in the TBR pile forever that I thought oh, I’ll get around to this at some point. I’d forgotten it was set in Ybor City and Tampa, both of which I am more than a little familiar with from living there in the early 1990’s.
Tampa is vastly different now than it was when I lived there; when I went to GCLS conference in Orlando (I started to write a couple of years ago before realizing it was more like eight or nine years ago; yikes!) I drove over to Tampa to have dinner with a friend, and in the ten years or so at that time since I’d moved away the city was completely different. I only had dinner, and then drove back to Orlando, but I remember driving in and being completely surprised by how different it was. (I used to drive back and forth between Orlando and Tampa a lot; my friends and I had tired of the Tampa gay bars and on the weekends we couldn’t make it to Miami–or I wasn’t going somewhere, thanks to my airline job–we often would drive over to Orlando to go to clubs there)
I wasn’t happy when I lived in Tampa, but Tampa was where I grew up, for wont of a better phrase. It was while I was living there that my life came together, where I decided that I wanted to be more than just an airline employee, and made the changes needed in my life and my mentality that made it possible for me to have the life I have now. I also kind of liked Tampa; I always thought there was something about the town that would make it a good setting for crime novels. I’ve used Tampa in some of my books, but fictionalized it as “Bay City.” I have an idea for a noir that would use “Bay City” as its setting; it’s one of the books I want to write in 2017.
And, of course, Bouchercon is in St. Petersburg in 2018. Maybe I’ll take a week and explore first. There’s a big cat sanctuary just north of Tampa I’d like to visit, because I also have a book idea actually set in a big cat sanctuary; I’ve been meaning to come over to explore and investigate that for quite some time now.
I could also take a long weekend and let Paul sit on the beach while I explore and research, too. We also spent that long weekend at Saddlebrook, the tennis resort, just north of Tampa as well. (It was what actually gave me the idea for the big cat book; of course there’s also a book in the tennis resort as well.)
But I need to get the one I am writing now written, and so on that note, it’s back to the spice mines.
Here’s a post-Christmas hunk for you, Constant Reader: