Dreaming of Key West

fantasy-fest
During one of the Fantasy Fest parades in Key West, 2012. I’m laughing at something epic the pink haired girl just said. Or maybe just checking out their body paint. Wish like hell I could remember which it was.

Yesterday, yet another of my facebook friends posted that they were vacationing in Key West. For jealousy inducing proof, they included a beach themed photo with their announcement. That’s my 3rd friend to visit the keys since early December. As winter has moved into Northern Wisconsin, I’ve been treated, via my Facebook newsfeed, to tanned bodies lazin’ on the beach, romantic boat rides at sunset, and happy people getting their drink on.

And it’s killing me. Seriously.

You see, from 2012-2014 Key West was my stomping grounds. Thanks to my husband’s job, we were renting a little house on Raccoon Key (aka Key Haven) just a mile and a half from Duval Street and living life completely in the moment. At least, when he was in town. Though the perks of his job were great, he was out of the country more than he was in. Six weeks gone, 4 weeks home, lather, rinse, repeat. When he wasn’t around, all the lazy bike rides, magical sunsets and getting my drink on didn’t make up for…wait, where was I going with this? Just kidding. Being alone all the time gets old really fast. After two years, we’d had enough. He retired and we headed to Northern Wisconsin to spend some time near family. Yeah, I got a lot of ribbing from folks reminding me that we were heading in the wrong direction.

But despite all the sour grapes I’ve been drinking watching happy friends in my former playground, it’s been nice reconnecting with my not so distant past. If you’re headed that way and looking for things to do, spend a little time on the blog that Mark and I wrote while we lived there, A Twist of Key Lime. (It was easier to blog than to have to repeat the same stories over and over and over and…) The last entry posted in July of 2014, but according to friends still there, not much has changed. If you’re stuck at home or bored at work, check out some of the island’s more eccentric offerings.

NSFW  Fantasy Fest is a week long party where everybody lets down their hair. And most of their clothes. There’s so much nudity, that after a few hours, you don’t even realize you’re surrounded by naked people. In part that’s because everybody is covered in elaborate body paint. The photo at the top of this post is from one of the parades in 2012. I forget what the theme was that year but most people did their own thing. Don’t worry about painting yourself or your best friend. You’ll find stalls up and down Duval Street with artists charging a variety of prices. Check out several for the best deal. For 2016, the week long party is set for Oct 21-30th. And the theme is one I will be sorry to miss: Political Voodoo and Ballot Box Barbarians. With a national election so close to Fantasy Fest, it’s the logical choice. If you plan on going, remember – leave the kids at home. The place gets pretty raunchy as parties let out and the streets fill up with revelers. Though, we’ve seen nakedidity as early as 8 am. And remember, if you take your unclothed self outside of the nudity zone, you will end up in jail.

SFW – If you need to get your drink on, here’s a list of 18 of our favorite bars. Check out the one on the World’s Smallest Bar. We had a friend come all the way down to the keys just so she could have a drink there! (I think they were closed that day. Pretty sad, right? But don’t worry, as I remember, we found some pretty good alternatives)

SFW – Critters. There’s lots to choose from. Feral cats, Iguanas, sea life, chickens. Oh those chickens. Back in the old days, cock fighting was a thing. The story goes that after it was outlawed, everybody just set their birds free. Nowadays, you’ll find the feral fowl strutting their stuff all over the island. Restaurants, (I’ve seen them wandering around inside), outdoor patios (where they rule) and even at the beach. The locals hate them. The goofy things never seem to shut up. Even after they fly up into the trees at night. We’ve been downtown at 3 am and heard roosters still crowing madly away. Oh and for your own safety, don’t pick them up. They have spurs on their legs and they will hurt you. Nothing makes the locals snicker louder than the look of terror on the face of that silly tourist who’s holding a wiggling chicken and wondering, okay, now what do I do?

SFW – Ah, sunsets. They happen almost every night. Thanks to Key West’s tiny size, you can catch one from pretty much anywhere on the island. For craziness, head to Mallory Square. For a zen like experience, you need to be on the pier at Southernmost Beach Cafe.

There’s lots more but I’ll leave the rest of the discoveries up to you.

While Key West is my idea of paradise, I have a friend who thinks that the promised land is frosted with snow. Bless her heart. 

What makes your paradise work for you? Leave a comment and Write On,

Melissa

ps

the girls in the photo at the top were sporting full frontal body paint. You’ll find their photo on the Fantasy Fest page listed above.

pps

No. I didn’t partake in the body painting. It was much more fun wandering with my camera and recording the madness.

7-20-15 Sunday Word Count

golf cart art
Interesting water damage on one of the golf carts.

I know. It’s Monday. Oh well.

No bear sightings since the last post. Things like that make my husband sad while things like that make me breathe a little easier.

287 laps at the gym last night just to get to 13.1 miles for a practice half marathon. Today, I’m still leaning to the left. On to the word count.

How to Sex Your Snake

Genre – Mystery
New this week –  1435 words
Total Count – 29,145 words
Release date:  late Summer 2015

Goals from last week: A rough draft of 12-14. Well, I didn’t get much done until company of ten days, left. I have most of 12 done, but I realized I needed to do a better job of showing June’s inability to remember names. So, I spent most of my time, going back through and editing. That led to more editing. Blast you editing. You’re a time stealer. Yesterday, I was back on track. I wrote most of the new words while hanging out in the course clubhouse. (if you’re just joining us, I work as a bartender at a golf course owned by a family member) I’ll be hanging out there as much as I can for the next week or so to see if that helps. I’ve never been one to write at home, not that I’ve ever mentioned how home is too quiet and too close to the tv remote and the bounty of netflix and pitifully droned on about how I’m weak. Oh so weak. When I lived in civilization, I wrote at public places. Coffee houses, Denny’s, the library. I could knock off a 22 page script, for my webseries, in an afternoon and my feature in 6 weeks. (If I hadn’t shot it, I could have used the time to write 2 or three more before moving to Key West and being distracted by a whole new set of obstacles) Here there’s not really any place to loose yourself in the writing without someone wanting you to order something or get the hell out. Parking myself at a back table at the clubhouse might work. Yes, I will shut up about this and get over there. In 90 minutes. We really need to try to set in the bones of the closet so I can hang everything back up. I’m getting tired of going into the guest room to work my way through a tangle of clothes wearing hangers tossed on the guestbed. Did I mention we’re redoing our highly disfunctional walk-in closet?

Back to the word count. Some headway was also made on the book cover. Another reason I need to fnish these last chapters and get the book to my editor. My fingers are crossed that I can post a cover in the next couple of weeks.

Goals for next week: Geez. Let’s see. How about 12 done and to the editor and a rough of 13. I won’t aim too high cause, you know, of how weak I am.

Look out for bears and write on,

Melissa

 

4-19-15 Sunday Word Count

chicken in key west cafe
A chicken strolls through a cafe in Key West

Most of this week was delightfully lost to chats with mom. I only get to see her twice a year, because of how far apart we live, so I’m okay with that. And the best part is that I’ve now got notes tucked away for a novel based on one of her early careers in ’48. (mom did a lot of cool stuff including working for the FBI in DC when she was 17) Thanks to all the stories I’ve heard this past month, there is potential for a regular series. I will pencil this one in to start researching this summer.

On to the Sunday Word Count.

How to Sex Your Snake, June Nash 1:
Genre – Mystery
New this week – 1814 words
Total Count – 24,531 words
Release date: Late Spring 2015 – still on track

Goals from last week: Finish 9, 10 and 11. Get the beats done for 12.  Well, I finished ch 9 and that went to my editor, Lisa. Ch 10 is about half done and I didn’t get to 11. I did however, get all the beats down for the rest of the book. That took me two days and none of it is included in the total word count. At this point in time, it all clocks out to 17 chapters. That could change as I do the actual writing. Sometimes, a chapter will morph into several. Ch 5 became chs 5-8.  I am running out of time though. I really wanted to finish by April 26th. I’m back on the road again for 3 weeks starting the 27th and I wanted to just relax. Especially after May 4th cause I’ll finally see my husband again after 2 months apart. I kinda forget what he looks like. 

For now, I will keep the release date as still on track until next Sunday. Then I will adjust, depending on how much of the book I have left to write.  I have not checked in with the cover artist recently. I need to do that at the end of the week. And that’s it. 

Goals for Next Week: finish the book. I still have a lot to write but my outline is extremely detailed so that will make things go faster.

Have a good week and write on,

Melissa

p.s.

The photo is from a cafe in Key West. Chickens are feral on the island. The tourists love them. The locals hate them. Now that I’m away from my happy place, I miss the chickens. If we move back, I’m sure I’ll hate them after a week or so.