Crazy busy these days. Two novels coming out June 7.
Forever Beach as Shelley Noble, about a young single woman’s determination to adopt her foster daughter, but her only shot at protecting the child she loves is to enlist the help of her estranged former best friend, who betrayed her when they were both in the foster system and who is now a high profile family lawyer.
Fortunately her friends are there to help her to see her way through with support, love and good times at the beach—their Forever Beach
And A Golden Cage, the second of my Shelley Freydont, Newport Gilded Age Mystery,where headstrong heiress Deanna Randolph must solve another murder among the social elite.
With her mother in Europe, Deanna is staying with the Ballard family, who agree to chaperone her through the summer season and guide her toward an advantageous marriage proposal—or so her mother hopes. Relishing her new freedom, Deanna is more interested in buying one of the fashionable new bathing costumes, joining a ladies’ bicycling club, and befriending an actress named Amabelle Deeks. Mayhem ensues.
Well, Thanksgiving sped by. I moved to the shore of New Jersey one week and went back to Bergen county to celebrate thanksgiving with friends. We do it every year, I guess you wold say, they’re our family, me and the two kid (now adults). Then back to the beach to revisions , copy edits and the boardwalk. Ah. I”m really looking forward to the holidays at the shore. The decorations are going up around me. I’m working but that’s okay. Getting a tree tomorrow. Yep. A real one. Always get a real one, they make s all sneeze and our eyes water but we love the smell, the look the whole nine yards.
Here’s a little excerpt from last year’s Christmas novella about Bri from Beach Colors and her new family, two girls , Mimi and Lily, she adopted from China. It’s on sale at your favorite real and virtual book stores. Enjoy and Happy Holidays.
A CRESCENT COVE CHRISTMAS
It was snowing hard. Brianna Boyce hunched over the steering wheel and squinted through the windshield, trying to keep the car on the road. A road that was quickly disappearing beneath drifts of white. They shouldn’t have stayed at the mall so long. It was only a little after five but already it was pitch black except for the blinding curtain of white.
She glanced at the back seat where her two newly adopted daughters were asleep in their car seats. Ming Li and Li Fan, Mimi and Lily. They’d fallen asleep before Bri had negotiated her new secondhand SUV out of the parking lot.
Bri knew how to shop, but she normally avoided the mall. But today with the weather being so fickle, she’d decided to give the girls a treat. And the trip had never given her so much pleasure. They’d taken in everything, stopped at every window to gaze at the clothes, the appliances, the bath products. At the toy store, they stared open mouthed at a pink plastic fairy castle and Bri decided to go back and buy it for their Christmas.
They didn’t ask for a thing as Bri pointed out things in her pigeon Chinese. They had no toys like this in the orphanage where they’d spent their young lives until a few weeks ago. They had never heard of Disney. Didn’t understand that these things could be bought and taken home. Could be theirs for their very own, not just some fairy tale land to be visited with their new mother.
They were afraid to sit on Santa’s lap, which was a bit of a disappointment. She’d had fantasies of sending out Christmas cards with them smiling, each on one knee. Bri tried to see the mall Santa through their eyes. He was pretty good, a huge man, well padded in his red suit, a white curly beard and a Santa hat with big white pompom that hung over his forehead.
They’d taken one look and cowered against her. His “ho ho ho” scared them. Bri smiled, bittersweet. Maybe next year when they were more accustomed to living here.
When Bri had started adoption proceedings, they’d been three and two. Now Mimi was five and Lily, almost four. It seemed like eons before she was finally allowed to bring them home at the beginning of November. And Bri was thankful. She had a lot to be thankful about.
She looked back at the road, slowed as she came to the curve a quarter mile from their home, an old horse farm she’d bought when she returned to Crescent Cove eight years before.
The SUV took the turn easily. She would never drive too fast again. She’d learned that lesson many years before.
Read more of A Crescent Cove Christmas at a store or app near you
For those of you who follow my blog, or who have read my latest novel, STARGAZEY POINT, you know I love carousels. Carousels of all kinds from the endangered historic antiques to the put in a quarter ones at the mall.
A few weeks ago we lost a favorite. It wasn’t the oldest, or the most famous, it’s known best as the menagerie that replaced the animals that were auctioned off back in the nineties.
But when the music churned up and the the platform jerked to life, you couldn’t help but feel a little thrill.
Today over at my Shelley Freydont Blog I’ve posted some photos I took a few weeks before the fire that destroyed the Seaside Park Boardwalk. Many are of the Funtown Pier carousel, that though newer than the hundred year old Dentze;/Looff carousel a few blocks north (That did survive the fire) still has brought enjoyment to many and will be sorely missed.
We Jerseyans love our shore. We go down the shore for vacations, for holidays, for relaxing, for inspiration, just for the heck of it. Memories are made there. Lives are changed there. And many good times have been had there.
Hurricane Sandy did a lot of damage. It hurt individuals, families, friends, neighbors. But in new Jersey’s indomitable spirit, everybody came out to lend a hand, donated goods, time and financial support, trying to make life a little more comfortable for those who lost their home, business or a loved one.
BUT WE’RE BACK!!!
Seaside Heights back and building
I’ve been busy with a bunch of deadlines and hours of writing, but I took a day off to drive over to Seaside Heights to see how things were going.
And they were going. It was a Tuesday and though the boardwalk wasn’t thronged, it is the very beginning of the season, it was there and looking good. Arcades were open, games and food lined way. Both carousels were up and running.
I’m a big carousel lover. I’m exultant that I finally got to put a carousel in my upcoming book Stargazey Point. The book takes place in a fictional town on the South Carolina shore, and strangely enough , though written well before Sandy, it’s about a town devastated by decades of hurricanes that looks toward its old carousel to lead it back into prosperity.
Yike’s, kind of scary. Little did I know then that I would be getting first hand experience of how my characters were affected and how their lives were changed, and most importantly of all, how they made a comeback, stronger than ever.
Carousels are more than just a ride, a fun few minutes, to me at least. They are symbols of childhood innocence, of hope, of dreams. A lot to ask of a ride that goes around in a circle with none of the high tech thrills and chills of being suspended in air, dropped through space, scared out of your wits. Up and down and round and round, sort of like life, and if you’re lucky there’s a brass ring to take home.
Here’s an excerpt from STARGAZEY POINT
Even when the carousel music slowly wobbled to silence, Cab could still hear it playing inside his head. Sometimes he heard it in his dreams and he and Midnight Lady would gallop over the sand, wild like the wind, his Uncle Ned had read that from a book once, wild like the wind.
His uncle locked up the carousel, stuck the cash box under his arm, and came to stand beside him. “Tired, son?”
“No sir,” Cab said, stifling a yawn.
“It’s a mighty fine night, ain’t it?”
Cab nodded. Stargazey Point was just about the best place in the world. Like living in a carnival.
Uncle Ned said goodnight to the women closing up the community store. They were going home for the night, but out on the pier people played the arcades and ate cotton candy and drank lemonade. If he listened real hard, Cab could hear music coming from the pavilion out at the end, where the grownups would be dancing to a real live band.
Ned put his arm around Cab’s shoulders. “Time we were getting home. Have us some left over barbeque and get to bed.”
They walked away from the beach, the lights, the sounds and into the night. They were half way home when Uncle Ned stopped in the middle of the dark street. “Look up at the sky, Cab.”
Cab did. The sky was black and there more stars than you could ever count. He sighed. School would be starting soon and he’d have to leave his uncle for another year. He didn’t want to go, he didn’t like boarding school, everyone here was nice.
“I wish I could stay in Stargazey Point forever.”
“Maybe you will one day. It’s a magical place, sure enough. It can mend your heart, make you strong, and show you the way to follow your dream. You remember that, Cab. There’s not a better place in the whole world than right here at the Point.”
I was driving home the other day, looking at all the houses lit and decorated and listening to Christmas music on the radio. One of my favorite carols came on, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I started to sing along, thoroughly enjoying myself, feeling a little nostalgic, a little whimsical as I drove, because it reminded me of my friends Lindy and Bill, really great people, and I wondered what had happened to them since I saw them last.
Then my reality-based self took over. Nothing happened to them. They got dropped after book five, dummy. They’re not real, they were characters in a book.
My first mystery series. Lindy was (is) a rehearsal director for a Manhattan-based dance company. Bill was (is) an ex NYPD detective turned criminology professor.
I had forgotten in that moment of reverie that they were figments of my imagination. For five, maybe six years, I lived with them, knew their favorite foods, their innermost thoughts, sent them on adventures, dropped bodies at their feet, put them through an emotional journey as they became close and closer but off limits to each other.
I had great plans for those two, but I left them dancing into an elevator to the strains of, guess what, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Here’s a taste of that final scene. Lindy’s dance company had just performed at an Atlantic City ballroom dance competition, yes, just like Dancing with the Stars, before it became wildly popular. The killer has been caught and everyone is going their separate ways for the holidays.
The elevator came. Bill ignored it. Lindy waited.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come to Connecticut?”
“I can’t. I explained why.”
“I know. I’m just afraid you won’t be there when I come back.”
She touched his arm. “I won’t be. We’ll be on tour. Remember?”
Bill rubbed his forehead. Viennese waltz music blared into the hall and died away.
“But we have a few more days that we can spend together,” said Lindy. “Right?”
From the Pagoda bar, the cabaret singer broke into “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.
“Right,” said Bill. “What do you want to do?”
Lindy looked up at him and frowned. “Do you know how to dance?”
“What? No. Well, I can sway back and forth to the music.”
“Sure,” she said. “Everybody is in the ballroom or the bar. We’re all alone and I love this song.” She held up her hands.
Bill narrowed his eyes, but finally stepped forward and took her hand in his. His other hand went to her waist. Then he pulled her close.
He was right. He could sway to the music. And he could stay on time, too. It was a good sign, she thought. They were comfortable together. Another elevator came and went. The singer sang only for them. “So have yourself . . .”
“Merry Christmas, Bill.”
This time when the elevator came, they danced inside, and the doors closed behind them.
The name of the book? A Merry Little Murder.
Little did I know at the time, that the doors had really shut behind them. But I have rights back to four of those mysteries and I hope some day, I’ll have the time to find out what really did happened to them. I don’t doubt that they will solve a few more murders and live happily ever after.
And I began to think of all the characters that still live in my head and heart. Some were easy to let go of, like people you knew at one job and gradually faded when you moved to a different job. Some stuck with me through thick and thin. And yes, I do know the difference between my living, breathing, stand next to me and hand me a martini friends, my hand you a hankie friends, rush you to the hospital friends. And my fictional friends, who even though they’ve never actually left the page became a big part of my life.
I’m glad I have both and hope I continue to make new friends, both real and fictional. And I hope my characters become real people and maybe friends to my readers.
So as we come to the end of one year and the beginning of the next, I’d like to wish everyone, both real and fictional, a merry little Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or whichever holiday you celebrate and all the best in the year to come.
This is the blog of Shelley Noble, women’s fiction author, but I’m also Shelley Freydont, amateur sleuth mystery author. Next week (September 4th) the first book in my new Celebration Bay mystery series will be on the shelves (real and virtual).
The title is Foul Play at the Fair and it’s about a Manhattan event planner, Liv Montgomery, who moves to a small upstate New York destination town to be its event coordinator.
Because according to the town slogan, Every Day’s a Holiday in Celebration Bay.
I love fish out of water stories. Most of my heroines, women’s fiction and mystery-wise, are usually put into locations and situations that stretch their comfort zone.
I suspect murder anywhere would stretch your comfort zone, but there are even more opportunities to challenge your sleuth when they don’t know a grain silo from a water tower or a rototiller from an apple press. Well, do you?
This is a . . .hmmm
Liv, in Foul Play,has just settled in Celebration Bay and she’s gone all out for life in the country. No more Bloomies or Manolo Blahnik’s. She’s bought a new wardrobe straight from the LL Bean catalogue: corduroys, and plaid jackets, pullover sweaters and hiking boots. She even ordered country winter wear for her Westie terrier, Whiskey. Whiskey unfortunately is not nearly as excited about his sweater and booties as Liv is about hers. Even Liv, never slow on the uptake as they say in Celebration Bay, refuses to be the first person to put on her down parka—even with the threat of frost—especially when everyone else is walking around in shirt sleeves.
Whiskey, the debonair, crime solving Westie
Instead of rushing from Starbuck’s to a taxi on her way to work, Liv and Whiskey walk the two blocks to the town green where she picks up pastries and coffee from the local bakery and coffee bar. She hasn’t stuffed her feet into four inch heels since she left Manhattan.
Life in Celebration Bay does have it challenges, though. The people are friendly, but slightly suspicious of outsiders. Liv’s best friend BeBe has lived there for over ten years and she’s still considered a newcomer. Fortunately she’s the dispenser of the best coffee in town so she gets a dispensation.
The locals are loyal . . .to their own, which Liv discovers in the first mystery where suspicion falls on a well-loved local farmer. And they especially close ranks when the state bypasses the local sheriff and sends in its own investigators.
What’s an event planner to do? In Manhattan Liv had to deal with temperamental caterers who wanted to be actors, demanding mothers-of-the-bride, smarmy mad men, traffic jams and union hours. But she never had to deal with Murder. I mean it was Manhattan after all.
The same can’t be said for Celebration Bay. In the midst of the Fall Harvest Festival and a record number of tourists, Liv knows she has to save her job and the town’s future and she won’t do it by waiting on someone else to solve the murder. And she won’t get much help.
So join Liv and Whiskey as they navigate the waters of country living and country neighbors In Foul Play at the Fair (Berkley Prime Crime, Sept. 4)