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.
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 confess, I took off from my current work in progress Friday and went to the beach or as we say here in Jersey, down the shore.
I had way too much to do to think I could take off like that, but it was the last day of summer and besides my mind was working so slow I knew I wouldn’t miss much while I was gone.
My beach pal picked me up and off we went, beach chairs , umbrella , cooler. sun screen, books and even a notebook and pen in case inspiration struck. It didn’t, but that was okay.
I spent the day reading someone else’s book, staring at the ocean, or closing my eyes and contemplating the inside of my eyelids. Occasionally I’d take a short walk up the beach and back. There was a handful of people on the beach catching the last rays of tanning weather. A few read. Most just sat back in their chairs, eyes closed trying to soak in enough summer to last through the winter.
We left before rush hour so we wouldn’t get annoyed at traffic on our way home. And there was a rush hour, all those people who didn’t play hooky to go to the beach. Or those who were coming to spend the entire last weekend of summer’s end down the shore.
I got home with no more words written than when I left. But I felt energized and when I stopped to think of it, I had acquired several new characters to incorporate into some book some where at some time if I ever needed them. (The lady at the deli definitely will have a place in a future work.)
So I guess you could call it a working day off. Or a field trip. Or just being receptive.
Since March , I’ve written a Christmas novella , a Thanksgiving novella and I’m now working on a Christmas mystery (Dec 2013). The days grew longer, the plants sent out new shoots, the snow melted, and I was still enjoying the holidays in my office. School let out, graduation came and went, the pool was cleaned and opened. And I was deep in bleak midwinter.
Well not so bleak. I was having a ball following my characters through the snow, tackling their problems as they prepared turkeys, decorated trees and learned the true meaning of the holidays. I was totally engaged.
Then one day I caught myself going to the closet to get my coat to go to the gym. It was 80 degrees outside.
Talk about being lost in a book.
So last week I took a break and went down the shore with friends. We went mid week so the beach wouldn’t be so crowded, the traffic wouldn’t be so gnarled.
At least not so crowded and gnarled as the weekend would be. It was still pretty busy. And hot, oh boy was it hot. And muggy.
Never fear, what time we didn’t spend on the beach, we spent in air conditioning, playing dominos and drinking some excellent wine made by friends. They have over two hundred bottles in their basement. They get as involved in wine making as I do in my characters and their stories.
One thing that I did notice. It’s hard to relax, even when you’re relaxing. Even the folks lying out in the sun, seemed to be tanning with a vengeance. All loaded down with coolers and chairs, and books, and e-readers and boom boxes, and ipods. Phones are constantly in use though the glare of the sun really cuts down on efficient texting.
Still, a good time was had by all. We came home on Friday. I was still in ninety degree beach mode. In domino victory mode. Still thinking about drinks with little umbrellas in them.
But it was time to get back to work. So I booted up the computer, back to my Christmas mystery.
And stuck. I noodled around. Tried to pick up where I left off. Couldn’t get a rhythm going. So I took a break. Made some dinner. Turned on the television, promised to get an early start the next day.
Channel surfed for a bit and landed on the Hallmark Channel. And guess what they were showing. Hallmark Christmas Movie Weekend. In July. Several hours later I was back in the snowy, festive days of December.
Cape May Christmas
Evidently I’m not the only one who needs a little good cheer in July.
And as far as inspiration goes , I’m back in the swing of all things mystery and holiday. And I realize that it helps sometimes to have a little distance on what you’re writing about. Christmas seen from the summer.
What do you think? Do you write or read “in season” or does it matter? Do you find yourself listening to the Beach Boys in December or the Vienna Boys choir on the Fourth of July?