Sunday, January 24, 2016

Back to Halcyon Beach

As I am waiting for the final edits on The Legend, I have gone back to work on a story I started last summer with plans to finish it by Halloween. I seem to be defective when it comes to making schedules these days. I missed a Halloween release, I missed a Christmas release, and I'm still trying to get the Winter Warmth Contest going. All I can say in my defense is that I've had a few unanticipated challenges in the last couple months. Not the least of these was pulling a muscle in a place where I did not know it was possible to do that. But I digress.
New Bedford Mariner's Home, now closed

So I have gone back to work on the third book in the Halcyon Beach series. This one is called Ghost of a Dancer By Moonlight and in it we meet Cleo Blair, a young journalist and writer who comes to Halcyon Beach to follow up on stories she has heard about the ghosts there. Cleo was working on a story about the historic buildings on New Bedford's Johnny Cake Hill when she met a man named Micah Kane who has just purchased a building on the Promenade in Halcyon Beach that he plans to turn into a coffee shop and wifi cafe.

So far this has been fun to work on. Some of the characters from past Halcyon Beach stories are in it—the Geezers and Darby McMahon. Also, Fleur Laighton, the haunted artist from Ghosts of a Lighthouse in Autumn, is part of the story. But most of all there is Halcyon Beach itself, in all its weird, dilapidated, trashy glory. I love this town—especially in the off-season.

My idea for Halcyon Beach—and the Geezers—all began many years ago when I first moved to Massachusetts. It was a cold and dreary November day and I was still living in Marblehead. I drove up to the outlet malls in Kittery and was on my way back when I decided to stop somewhere for lunch. I was driving Route 1A along the coast through all the beach towns that were pretty much closed up for the season and it took me awhile to find a place that was open.

Eventually I saw a little coffee shop with an Open sign in the window. I parked and went in and the only other customers were four older guys sitting at a table gabbing over coffee. As I waited for my lunch to be served I couldn't help but eaves drop. One of the men in the group had owned a local business which he had sold for a handsome profit a couple years earlier. He had decided to retire and move to Florida but after his first summer there, he hated it and moved back. As I listened, trying not to smile, his buddies gave him a merciless teasing over this. Then they had a long discussion about how the town had changed over the years, crazy things they had done growing up there, and their respective businesses. One of them owned a tattoo parlor and another a bar. I loved all four of those guys and they stayed with me for years. Now they have been reborn as the Geezers in these stories.

When I started writing about Halcyon Beach, I drove back up to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border and spent a day wandering around photographing some of the businesses and buildings that I wanted to use in my stories. I created a gallery of them on Pinterest and a few of them are here in this post.

So I am happy to be back in Halcyon Beach for awhile. I've found some new legends to build into my story—and ghosts. It wouldn't be Halcyon Beach without some ghosts.


Thanks for reading.

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