The Distractions of the Season

Kate Flora: I was wondering, a few minutes ago, who was supposed to be blogging for


With Connie Johnson Hambley and Bruce Coffin at New England Mobile Book Fair

Maine Crime Writers today. I quickly checked the schedule and OOPS! T’was me. This is the season when we all get overwhelmed by the demands of our calendars, our shopping lists, and our baking, never mind the needs of a manuscript that is just a few weeks away from “THE END” on a rather bad draft. It does not bode well for adding in the task of writing clever, entertaining, or informative blog posts. And yet here we are…

On Saturday night, we hosted our annual holiday party for our neighbors. Ken and I were trying to recall how long we’ve been giving this party. The clue is a Martha Stewart cookbook called Entertaining, which we learned about at a Zoning Board party in 1983. The food the hostess made was so delicious Ken bought me the book, and the next year, according to our fading memories, we started the tradition of a party using those recipes.

Thirty-three years is a long time to have a regular party. We’ve never missed it. There have been mishaps–like the year the power went off just as I was starting to cook the food–we put out dozens of candles, borrowed a camping lantern, and the party went on. Most of our guests didn’t know that the power was off, and when it was restored at 9:30, begged us to turn off the lights.

What cooking for this party made me realize is that what is really special about this season is that if we can take a deep breath and not worry too much, the biggest distraction is also the best one–getting to spend time with people we care about, catching up on what has happened in the year just past. In the crime writing world, one of those “catching ups” is the annual mystery authors night at New England Mobile Book Fair. This year there were forty authors gathered in their new, tight, space, and a chance to celebrate so much. The debut of several new authors. A new and exciting book from others. The advent of another book after a long delay. And we sympathize with those talented authors who are struggling to keep their careers on track.

The highlight of the night was the presentation of the Robert B. Parker Award to Maine’s own treasure, author Tess Gerritsen. For those who don’t know Tess, even if you know her work, you should know that she exemplifies the very best of the mystery writing world–charming, gracious, generous, and unfailingly supportive of her fellow crime writers.


So yup–I am late with my blog post today, but it is because I’ve been distracted by spending time with people, and celebrating them. It’s the very best kind of distraction.

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3 Responses to The Distractions of the Season

  1. Tina says:

    We didn’t know you were late! When I described your snow pea and shrimp dish, Mom thought I meant one individual pea plus shrimp. She thought that would be difficult.

  2. Totally understand the situation, Kate. Happy holidays to you and Ken!

  3. Lea Wait says:

    I echo Brenda! Happiest of holidays, and a safe and happy and healthy and sane New Year!

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