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Thursday, December 26, 2019

MYSTERY AUTHOR HEATHER WEIDNER ON VIRGINIA NEW YEAR'S TRADITIONS

Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager, but because she’s been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew, she now writes mystery novels, novellas, and short stories. Learn more about her and her books at her website

Virginia New Year’s Traditions
Thank you so much for letting me visit today. I write mystery novels, novellas, and short stories. The three novels in the Delanie Fitzgerald series are Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband. My sleuth Delanie is a sassy, redheaded private investigator who owns Falcon Investigations in Central Virginia. Her partner, computer guru (and hacker) Duncan Reynolds, is a whiz at getting computers to cough up information to help them with their investigations.

I write where I know. I have lived in Virginia all of my life (Virginia Beach and Chesterfield County – outside of Richmond) and all of my stories and novels are set in the Commonwealth. The region, with its mix of rural, suburban, and urban neighborhoods, is a great place to live and write novels. I work in downtown Richmond on a hill above the former Tredegar Ironworks with one of the best views in RVA. This region is home to the state capital, but in many ways, it’s still a close-knit community. And I’m excited to share some Virginia traditions for the New Year.

Virginia is full of culinary traditions that tie to its culture and history. Some are standard southern foods and others are used in holiday decorations and festivities.

Oysters have been a part of our menus since the Native Americans introduced them to the colonists at Jamestown. Oyster stew is often a regional tradition for New Year’s Day. Virginia is also famous for its peanuts. These are enjoyed year-round, but they are quite popular as gifts during the holiday and for tailgating parties. The taverns in Colonial Williamsburg are famous for their peanut soup recipes. Peanuts were first grown commercially in the U.S. in Waverly near Suffolk.

The pineapple, imported to the colonial era, is a holiday tradition in Virginia. It is often used in decorations and centerpieces. Through the years, the tropical fruit has become the symbol for “welcome” in Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg and the plantations on Route 5 are known for their traditional decorations. Later you could find representations of the fruit in and on textiles, china, pottery, silver, pewter, and paintings. 

The traditional Virginia New Year’s Day meal usually includes some representation of black-eyed peas, greens, oyster stew, pork, and cornbread.

Virginia cities ring in the New Year with their own traditions. Time Square in New York is famous for its ball drop. Richmond, the capital, has a ball drop. Roanoke, the Star City in the mountains, has a star drop. Fredericksburg drops a lighted pear, while Winchester, has a lighted apple drop. And the Eastern Shore, home of Misty of Chincoteague and the annual pony swim, has a lighted horseshoe drop.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and that you get to enjoy and share your traditions with family and friends. 

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband 
A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery, Book 3

Private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in Glitter, Glam and Contraband. In this fast-paced mystery, the Falcon Investigations team is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. Meanwhile, a mysterious sound in the ceiling of her office vexes Delanie. She uses her sleuthing skills to track down the source and uncover a creepy contraband operation.

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4 comments:

Heather Weidner said...

Thanks so much for letting me visit your blog. Happy holidays!

ANASTASIA POLLACK said...

You're very welcome, Heather! And happy holidays to you, too!

Ellen Byron said...

Great post, Heather! I adore Williamsburg. I went there on several family vacays as a kid and made sure we brought Eliza when she was a kid. Peanut soup is a great memory.

I learned something about pineapples doing research for my Cajun Country Mystery series. Not only were they a sign of welcome, they were a sign of wealth because only the wealthy could afford to import them during colonial times.

Amy M. Reade said...

Loved the post, Heather! I've only been to Williamsburg once, but it made an impression. The decorating was beautiful and I hear it's even better around the holidays, with pineapples and other fruits galore. I've often heard about the foods one is supposed to eat (such as black-eyed peas) on New Year's Day to bring health and wealth during the new year, but I've never tried them. I regret to say that I've tried oysters, and I do not love them. :)

Happy New Year!