Thursday, September 29, 2011

When Readers Make Us Think About Our Writing

The Crazy Old Lady got another encouraging review last night which made a point I found thought-provoking. “Sadie” wrote, “...the more my friends talked about this book the more I wanted to read it. As with all short stories you can't give away too much of the plot or you give away the whole story for the next person. If you like a good psychological horror/ mystery without all the blood and guts, old five story brownstone houses and a family and their servants who have some secrets to hide, then you will like this book. The only problem that I had with it was it was over too soon.”

I very much appreciated the review and I was struck by her wordsa good psychological horror/ mystery without all the blood and guts.” I was very pleased she said that because I'm no fan of blood and guts and have always been of the opinion that the most horrifying stuff is the stuff that creeps up on you gradually – the stuff it takes a few minutes to absorb. I remember when I was young and read Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery” for the first time. When it was over I sat there or a moment thinking, “Well, that was dumb.” But I couldn't stop thinking about it and when the full reality of what was about to happen finally crept up on me I was pretty horrified.

Later, when I was reading Stephen King's book On Writing: A Memoir of theCraft, I was struck by his observation that the most truly horrible things are the things that are every day, common realities – things that could happen to any of us at any time. Most of us pretty much know we are not going to be attacked by zombies, seduced by vampires, or pounced on by werewolves... but an out of control dog? Hmmmm...

Because of Sadie's comment I decided to put two of my best old psychological crime stories into a short, 99 cent e-book and offer it for Kindle and Nook. Both stories were previously published in Level Best Books crime anthologies and also in my love, murder, etc. but I thought some people might like to have just the two without having to buy the whole anthology. So last night I uploaded Home-made Pie and Sausageand Killing Julie Morris.

Both of them were written shortly after I read King's book and both of them started out as exercises in how to make a common, wholesome, every day object become horrifying.

For Home-made Pie and Sausage I started with the idea of pie. What is more common and wholesome than pie? Then how do you make it horrible. My attempt is in my story and I hope you'll read it and let me know what you think.

In Killing Julie Morris I did the same thing with the idea of baseball which transformed into a Little League team – and the story went on from there.

So, if you haven't already read those stories, I hope you'll give them a try. You can buy them for Kindle or Nook and they only cost 99 cents. Give it a try and let me know how I did.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Update: The Eighth Wonder of the World has been spruced up....

This terrific article comes from The Daily Mail. I just wrote about the Kinzua Bridge last week. The Odo Valentine mentioned in the story is my Dad's cousin -- his father Thomas and my grandfather, William, were brothers. He was an amazing pilot - a real daredevil in his day. Thanks to Jim Arnold for sending this.

Railroad bridge named Eighth Wonder of the World when built in 1882 opens as sky walkway over valley 301-feet below


Last updated at 2:27 PM on 17th September 2011


An awe-inspiring bridge billed as the Eighth Wonder of the World when it was completed in 1882 has opened as a pedestrian walkway to visitors.


The historic Kinzua Viaduct in Pennsylvania, originally built from iron, was the highest and longest in the world at the time of construction, measuring 301 feet high and 2,053 feet long.
It was rebuilt using steel in 1900 and stood firm for more than a century before being mostly destroyed by a tornado in 2003.
Walkway in the air: Visitors to Kinzua Viaduct can now walk the 300-foot high track, which once was a pathway for commercial trains
Walkway in the air: Visitors to Kinzua Viaduct can now walk the 300-foot high track, which once was a pathway for commercial trains

But the bridge has been remodelled and now the breath-taking views once reserved for train passengers – who wanted the experience of flying – can be enjoyed by members of the public after the walkway was opened yesterday.

Glass panels have been placed along the wooden flooring to allow walkers vertigo-inducing vistas of the valley below.

'We are excited that visitors can experience in a new way what the bridge once was, and also understand the power of the forces of nature that claimed a portion of it,' said Richard J. Allan, from Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The Kinzua Viaduct was built in Allegheny National Forest, north-west Pennsylvania, in 1882 to speed trains loaded with coal and timber to market.

Thomas L. Kane, president of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railway, had needed to find a route off the main line in Pennsylvania, from Bradford south to the coal fields in Elk County. The fastest way to do so was to build a bridge to cross the Kinzua Valley.
Unique glimpse: A shot of what visitors to the walkway will see when they set off


Unique glimpse: A shot of what visitors to the walkway will see when they set off

Above the trees: Walkers can get incredible views and a sense of history from the walkway


Above the trees: Walkers can get incredible views and a sense of history from the walkway

Edge of the Eighth Wonder of the World: A shot of the Kinzua Bridge, with remains left strewn in the valley, from 2004


Edge of the Eighth Wonder of the World: A shot of the Kinzua Bridge, with remains left strewn in the valley, from 2004

Skywalk: The first visitors to the viaduct, opened yesterday, try out the glass viewing panels


Skywalk: The first visitors to the viaduct, opened yesterday, try out the glass viewing panels
It took a crew of 40 just 94 working days to construct the viaduct between May and August, mainly because trestles coming in kit form were used instead of scaffolding.

At 301 feet above the valley – 24 feet higher than top of the Brooklyn Bridge towers – the bridge traversed a 2,053-foot gulf.

It hummed with commercial railroad traffic six days a week, but on Sundays it was crowded with pleasure riders who came from all over to experience the tracks across the sky.

Excursion trains from as far away as Buffalo, New York, and Pittsburgh would come just to cross the bridge.


'There were no airplanes, so if anyone wanted to experience what it was like to fly, they'd take a Sunday train across Kinzua,' Linda Devlin, executive director of Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau told MSNBC. 'It was world renowned.'

It was rebuilt in 1900 by famed French railroad engineer Octave Chanute, who used steel to cope with heavier trains. He would become better known as the Wright brothers tutor and was eulogised in 1910 as the father of aviation.
Upon completion of the Kinzua restoration, Chanute boasted the bridge would stand 100 years.
His hopes were exceeded by three. A tornado travelling at around 40 mph blew down 11 of the 20 towers on July 21, 2003. Corroded anchor bolts holding the bridge to its foundations had failed.

Fortunately, there were no human deaths or injuries.

Do look down: Reinforced glass panels allow visitors a perspective of the height


Do look down: Reinforced glass panels allow visitors a perspective of the height

Original: This is the wrought iron Kinzua Bridge, before its reconstruction in 1900


Original: This is the wrought iron Kinzua Bridge, before its reconstruction in 1900

Speedy construction: The bridge took 40 workers just 94 days to build because trestles coming in kit form were used instead of scaffolding


Speedy construction: The bridge took 40 workers just 94 days to build because trestles coming in kit form were used instead of scaffolding

Attraction: Excursion steam locomotives, such as this one, travelled the viaduct until as recently as 2002


Attraction: Excursion steam locomotives, such as this one, travelled the viaduct until as recently as 2002

The bridge had stayed in commercial service until 1959 before being sold to the state of Pennsylvania in 1963, becoming the centrepiece of the new 329-acre Kinzua Bridge State Park.

Today, the Kinzua Sky Walk perches atop six now repaired towers and concludes with a reinforced-glass view of the valley below. Built at a cost of $4.3m, visitors can enjoy spectacular landscapes while walking above the treetops in the park that also offers picnic areas, hiking and camping.

One of those in attendance at yesterday’s ribbon-cutting was 96-year-old Odo Valentine, a barnstorming pilot with more than a little history himself.

Fantastic stunt: The picture of Odo Valentine flying through Kinzua Viaduct in a biplane in 1939, which stayed hidden for 70 years


Fantastic stunt: The picture of Odo Valentine flying through Kinzua Viaduct in a biplane in 1939, which stayed hidden for 70 years

'When I was a kid just starting to fly, I told my dad one day I was going to fly through Kinzua bridge,' Mr Valentine told MSNBC. 'And he said, "Son, if you’re going to do it, you’d better have someone take a picture 'cause no one’s ever going to believe it."'

On July 4, 1939, he flew a propeller biplane with a 32-foot wingspan perpendicular between the 64-foot centre spans at 110 mph.

One slip and Mr Valentine would have left a different sort of mark on Kinzua.

He deliberately chose July 4 because he knew everyone would be at a nearby holiday parade but immediately began quashing rumours of the stunt when he learned bridge owners were angry and determined to sue if they ever caught the reckless pilot, who was sure to lose his license.

For 70 years the Mr Valentine kept quiet and swore the cameraman and another witness to secrecy.

No one ever found out, he never lost his license and went on to be a decorated pilot trainer in World War II and the Korean War. He was even friends with famed aviator Eddie Rickenbacker and baseball ace Ted Williams.

'When the bridge came down, I thought I’d see if I could find that picture up in the attic. I was sure my wife had thrown it away.'

As you can see from the picture above, she hadn’t.


My friend Ray Beimel in Pennsylvania added this little bit of information:

There is something additional to Odo's story about flying under it. Tom Ewing, the local photographer in the 30's was flying in Alvin Lombardo's autogyro to take the picture. I never saw anything of Ewings that wasn't taken with anything smaller than an 8x10 view camera so I am so very curious how he would have handled such a monster in that little autogryo. Perhaps he was using a smaller 4x5 press camera, still not something easy to use in that situation.

    I flew around the bridge with several different pilots but none of them attempted to copy Odo's feat.
________________________________________
Great article on Eight Days To Amish Blog

The Mermaid Garden Shawl on the Runway

More pictures of my Mermaid Garden Shawl on the runway at the seARTS Wearable Arts Show at the Bass Rocks Country Club this past Sunday. The pin is made of sea glass and was designed by Jacqueline Ganim-DeFalco of Cape Ann Designs and the photos are by Clark Linehan. The pattern will be available by October 15.






From the looks on the faces of the women watching I think they liked it.


Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Mermaid'S Garden Shawl at seARTS Wearable Arts Show

Yesterday seARTS (The Society for the Encouragement of the Arts) held their annual Waerable Arts Show at Bass Rocks Country Club. I was not there but my new shawl, the Mermaid's Garden Shawl, was. I don't know what that clasp thing is she has it closed with but this is how the shawl looks on one of their models.


I'm working on the pattern now and should have it ready to publish soon. Click here to see other pictures from the show.


Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

#SampleSunday: No. 14 in Horror on Amazon - "The Crazy Old Lady In the Attic"

The Crazy Old Lady In the Attic is now available and is doing great! Current rankings on Amazon:



"Call me Ishmael," my father used to say. At the time I didn't realize that was the opening line of Moby Dick.

I was pretty little when we drove down to New Bedford and he took me to the Seaman's Bethel on Johnny Cake Hill. We sat in the pew with the plaque that identified it as Herman Melville's.


That's one of the few memories I have of my father, that trip to New Bedford. I don't remember my mother being with us though she probably was. Both of them died a year later on a wet and dismal February night as they were driving back from Boston. They'd been to Daddy's thirtieth birthday party at my grandmother's house on Beacon Hill - the house I subsequently went to live in and grow up in. The house my husband and I have come back to now.


"It's huge," Stan says as we walk up Mount Vernon Street. "Five stories? You lived here alone with your grandmother?"

"And Nell," I tell him. "GrammyLou's housekeeper."

"Wow."

It is a beautiful spring day. All the cherry trees in Boston Common are in full bloom and the air is warm and filled with the scent of lilacs and salt water from the harbor. Wisteria drips from the vines twining over the bowed windows which look dark and grubby.

"Three people in a house that size? All twelve of us lived in a place about as big as one floor of it."

"Well," I laugh, "there was the crazy old lady in the attic."

Stan turns and grins at me. "What?"

"It was sort of a joke between GrammyLou and me." I stare up at the six arched windows along the mansard roof at the top of GrammyLou's house. "Actually, there's a ballroom on the top floor. I grew up in the country and when I came to live here I was terrified of all the noise in the city. GrammyLou always told me not to be scared. It was just the crazy old lady in the attic acting up."

"A ballroom?" Stan can't get past that. "You had a ballroom?"
I shrug. "I've only been in it a few times. GrammyLou closed it up after Daddy's accident. They had a birthday party for him up there the night he died. She didn't even take down the decorations. She just locked the door and refused to ever go upstairs again." I take Stan's big arm and snuggle against him. He's my bulwark against a confusing world. "GrammyLou adored Daddy. She never recovered from his death."

 Thanks for reading... The Crazy Old Lady In The Attic

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Still Climbing!!! Excuse My Joy but....

Go, Crazy Old Lady, go!!!


by Kathleen Valentine
  • Product Description

    Novelette (15k words) Psychological horror. - The townhouses on serene, elegant Beacon Hill in Boston are some of the most lavish and expensive in the country. When Stan and Mattie take up residence in the dark and crumbling five-story house that Mattie grew up in, and has just inherited from her grandmother, their plans are to clean it out, fix it up, sell it, and return to their quiet life on Cape Cod. Mattie is overwhelmed by the gowns, furs and jewels in GrammyLou's bedroom. Stan is amazed by the fifth-floor ballroom which has been locked up since the night of Mattie's father's thirtieth birthday party -- the party that ended in the car wreck that killed both of her parents. Now, as they set about sifting through GrammyLou's endless possessions they find mysterious things: a closet full of still-wrapped presents, a marked passage in her grandfather's Bible, and a secret drawer with disturbing content. Mattie soon learns that her entire life has been built on a foundation of lies... that she was raised in a house of horror, by a monster.

    From the Back Cover

    "Call me Ishmael," my father used to say. At the time I didn't realize that was the opening line of Moby Dick.

    I was pretty little when we drove down to New Bedford and he took me to the Seaman's Bethel on Johnny Cake Hill. We sat in the pew with the plaque that identified it as Herman Melville's.


    That's one of the few memories I have of my father, that trip to New Bedford. I don't remember my mother being with us though she probably was. Both of them died a year later on a wet and dismal February night as they were driving back from Boston. They'd been to Daddy's thirtieth birthday party at my grandmother's house on Beacon Hill - the house I subsequently went to live in and grow up in. The house my husband and I have come back to now.


    "It's huge," Stan says as we walk up Mount Vernon Street. "Five stories? You lived here alone with your grandmother?"

    "And Nell," I tell him. "GrammyLou's housekeeper."

    "Wow."

    It is a beautiful spring day. All the cherry trees in Boston Common are in full bloom and the air is warm and filled with the scent of lilacs and salt water from the harbor. Wisteria drips from the vines twining over the bowed windows which look dark and grubby.

    "Three people in a house that size? All twelve of us lived in a place about as big as one floor of it."

    "Well," I laugh, "there was the crazy old lady in the attic."

    Stan turns and grins at me. "What?"

    "It was sort of a joke between GrammyLou and me." I stare up at the six arched windows along the mansard roof at the top of GrammyLou's house. "Actually, there's a ballroom on the top floor. I grew up in the country and when I came to live here I was terrified of all the noise in the city. GrammyLou always told me not to be scared. It was just the crazy old lady in the attic acting up."

    "A ballroom?" Stan can't get past that. "You had a ballroom?"

    I shrug. "I've only been in it a few times. GrammyLou closed it up after Daddy's accident. They had a birthday party for him up there the night he died. She didn't even take down the decorations. She just locked the door and refused to ever go upstairs again." I take Stan's big arm and snuggle against him. He's my bulwark against a confusing world. "GrammyLou adored Daddy. She never recovered from his death."

Friday, September 23, 2011

"A Love Story Like No Other"

Last night a beautiful thing happened – and caused me to have a bizarre reaction. I'm still trying to figure this out. The beautiful thing was a very lovely review that someone posted on Amazon for my book The Old Mermaid's Tale:



5.0 out of 5 stars Love Story Like No Other, September 22, 2011
By 
Wendy Catalano - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Old Mermaid's Tale (Paperback)
This book has to be one of the best love story's I have ever read.

Kathleen Valentine has a magical skill of making her characters real, believable and true. Although fictional, she has the ability to make them reach out of the pages and touch us.

It was beautifully written and it reached out into the depths of my soul.

This book will stay with me for a very long time and I highly recommend it.

The Old Mermaid's Tale has received other lovely reviews and I appreciate all of them but for some reason this one hit me really hard and I wound up in tears to the point where I couldn't fall asleep. It was about Baptiste, I know that, for some reason of all the characters I've ever created, he has the capacity to knock the wind out of me at times – even years after having written the book. I wrote about this a few weeks back and about the man with a disability that I once loved who was much a part of Baptiste when I was creating him but there is another man who was also important in the creation of my Baptiste. His name actually was Baptiste which is how I came to pick that name. I only met him briefly but he has stayed with me all these years.

Like Clair in The Old Mermaid's Tale, I was going to college in Erie, Pennsylvania (Port Presque Isle in my story) and I was working the night shift in a diner. I was young and impressionable and didn't know much about love. There was a football stadium not far from the diner I worked in and every year a circus came to town and set up in that stadium. At night, after the circus closed, all the people who worked there would come piling in to our diner and drive us all crazy. People who tell me how realistically I write now know how I was able to create those scenes in Clair's diner.

One of the men who came with the circus people was an animal trainer named Baptiste. He was from Quebec and had a Quebec accent, long dark hair and lovely blue eyes. For whatever reason men take a shine to a certain girl, he took one to me and he used to flirt with me. He brought me candied apples and invited me to come see the animals he worked with some time. I didn't. On the last night of the circus, when everyone came into the diner he said he wanted to say goodbye and then he said, “Why don't you run away with me?”

I laughed when he said it. I thought he was being funny but there was a part of me that knew he was only half-joking. If I had said I would.... well, who knows what might have happened?

I was 19 then, I'm over 60 now. He was probably about 30 at the time and, if he hasn't gotten eaten by one of his animals by now is well past 70. And still I think of him as he was then, young and strong and sexy with that accent and those blue eyes... Last night I couldn't stop thinking about him. I couldn't stop thinking about what never would have happened but what if? What if, what if, what if?

There is a case to be made that at virtually every moment in our lives we are offered a choice to do something different than what we do. It is up to us to decide which path we take. But last night when I read Wendy Catalano's words, a “love story like no other”, I thought about the original Baptiste and I hoped he was happy and well and had found love.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Confessions of A Catholic Cop: Puzzling Title, Good Story

Thomas Fitzsimmons is a new, independent author who was a New York City cop for ten years and is also a Vietnam veteran. As such he ha plenty of experience with the darker side of human nature and he uses it well in his debut novel. His lead character, Michael Beckett, is a likeable guy, a good cop, a decent human being who was raised in an Irish Catholic family and who works part time as an actor on the television program Law and Order. I thought the latter was an interesting addition to his character because much of the story-telling in Fitzsimmon's novel, Confessions of A Catholic Cop, reads rather like a Law and Order script – one of the few contemporary television programs I have actually watched.

The story is pretty straight-forward. A series of arsons has plagued a neighborhood in the South Bronx and it is pretty obvious somebody is up to no good but who and why? Beckett and his partner Vinnie D'Amato have some clues but pulling all of them together is a daunting task. Especially when they are juggling far more cases than they have time to deal with, non-stop pressure from within the police department, a highly critical public, obnoxiously persistent news reporters, problems at home, and no shortage of inter-personal conflicts between Beckett and D'Amato who is openly jealous of his partner's new-found celebrity.

Fitzsimmons writes well and I liked the shifting POV. Chapters alternated between Beckett's first-person narrative and a third-person POV that gives the reader a different perspective on the action – and there is plenty of action. Fitzsimmons writes with the confidence and authority of experience and it comes through powerfully throughout the story.

He also has a real gift for his secondary and minor characters. Some of them were just perfect. He is accomplished at characterization and eve those characters that might have slipped into cliché had such individual personalities that it made it interesting. He also has a dry sense of humor and he made me chuckle with his political activist Reverend Al Dullard (“dull” being the opposite of “sharp”.)

This is action-packed, gritty, violent, straight-forward story-telling without a lot of suspense or mystery. In fact, to me the biggest mystery was why the book was titled as it was since, other than mentioning that he grew up in an Irish-Catholic family, Beckett doesn't seem to have much connection to his religion. Toward the end of the book, after a particularly violent shoot-out, he goes to his parish priest and asks for Confession (the scene reminded me of a few Law & Order episodes in which Detective Eliot Stabler does the same thing - I'm always happy to have a reason to put his picture on my blog.)

I liked Fitzsimmons style. The violence was tough in places and parts of it were very sad but I couldn't help but care about both Beckett and D'Amato. In fact all of the characters were interesting – I felt a special attachment to D'Amato's long-suffering wife. So, if you are looking for plenty of action, interesting characters and a good story, this will do. I admit I kept waiting for more about the “Catholic” aspect of Beckett's life and felt a little mislead when not much happened there.

I read the Kindle version and there are some serious formatting issues. There is no break or indenting on most of the paragraphs which makes it hard to follow at times. Also, for some reason, the author kept spelling “psycho” as “physco” – not a big deal but it did make me wonder if he'd ever seen the Hitchcock movie..

Thanks for reading.    

Monday, September 19, 2011

Preview: The Mermaid Garden Lace Shawl

Finally! It is on the wires being blocked so it is ready for this weekend's Wearable Arts Festival at Bass Rocks Country Club here in Gloucester. This is the shawl I have been working on all winter. I call it The Mermaid Garden Shawl because there are three distinctive lace patterns that remind me of seaweed, shells and waves. It is knit from 4 skeins of KnitPicks Gloss, a merino silk blend, in the color they call "Mermaid". I will be offering the pattern through my KnitYourTailOff site some time this winter.


This is the whole shawl:


The shell pattern:


The waves pattern:


The seaweed pattern:


A closeup:


I'll post more pictures when it is finished and on a model.


Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

#SampleSunday: A New Story "Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter"

This is a new novelette I am trying to get ready to publish in time for Halloween. It is a ghost/psychological horror story and I think it is going to be even more tantalizing than The Crazy Old Lady In The Attic, which is now in Amazon's Top 100 Horror & Psychological Horror categories. Let me know what you think:


Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter
          They're getting the ferris wheel ready for winter today. I've been standing by the sink watching out the window as a gang of men with enormous arms unbolt the carriages and stack them on the flatbed of a truck to take away for storage. The wheel itself will stay in place until Spring looking like a giant skeleton against the gray sky.
          “We're running low on gin and bourbon,” Joel calls from behind the bar.
          “What?”
          He pushes through the swinging doors and frowns at me. “Gin and bourbon, put them on your list and I'll make a run to Stateline Liquor for more. What are you looking at?”
          I nod toward the window. “They're taking all the seats off of the ferris wheel. It looks naked.”
          He peers over my shoulder as two roustabouts with arms the size of hams hoist another carriage onto the truck.
          “They have to,” Joel says, “if they leave them up and we get a bad storm this winter they could do a lot of damage.”
          “I know.” I lower my eyes and continue unloading beer mugs, Pilsner glasses, rock glasses – all kinds of glasses – from the dishwasher. They are scorching hot and my fingers burn as I touch them. “How are we ever going to get through this?”
          Joel takes a deep breath. “Come on, Layla. How many times have we discussed this? It's only for a few months so I can work on my book. You hated living at St. Basil's. I thought you'd like being somewhere quiet and ...”
          He pauses but I know what he is thinking. He is thinking “someplace like where you're used to,” meaning in a bar among people who are the polar opposite of the faculty and their spouses at St. Basil's Preparatory Academy where Joel teaches literature and composition. When I met Joel he was a horny egghead just past thirty and pathetically ignorant of women like me. I wasn't far from thirty myself but I looked ten years younger, which was a good thing. Working in a casino takes its toll on a woman. I knew my looks were getting harder and harder to maintain. The only reason a guy like Joel was even in a place like Mohegan Sun, where I waitressed, was because his cousin was getting married and all the guys had taken him there for a final fling before tying the knot.
          “... low key,” he concludes. He puts his arms around me and turns me to face him. “Stop worrying, Layla, it'll be fun. Just the two of us. No faculty parties. No high teas. No volunteer projects that drive you crazy.” He nuzzles my neck. “Just the two of us and the Geezers, what could be more romantic?”
          The Geezers are a bunch of local guys who hang out at the pub that we – mostly I – will keep open all winter. Halcyon Beach, probably the most ironically named beach town in the world, is a popular tourist spot for people who like a lot of noise and kitsch and who have a strong sense of nostalgia. During the summer it is loud, bright and busy twenty-four hours a day. By the end of September all the tourists leave and most of the business owners board up their ice cream stands, arcades, souvenir shops, and cocktail lounges and head south for the winter. The families who pack themselves into the little bungalows behind the dunes shutter their windows and lock their doors unless they have managed to find a winter renter. Mostly artists and itinerants, the renters are willing to put up with the drafty windows and poor insulation in exchange for cheap rent and proximity to three sandy miles of beach on the other side of the dunes.
          A few of the locals stay around though, which is why the owner of the Snuggle Inn and Pub, where Joel and I will spend our winter, keeps it open. Halcyon Beach is just a few minutes off of Route 95 North in an area where motels rooms are scarce in the off-season and the owner, who also happens to be Joel's Great-uncle Fitz, never one to pass up the opportunity to make a nickle, has kept the place open through the winter both for the locals looking for a place to get a meal and some company, and for the random travelers in need of food and rest. Which is how I got stuck with this job.__________________


Coming in October.

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