About jeanstonemv

Author. Writer. Adventurer. (LOL)

Coming Soon . . .

IMG_7054Welcome to Chappaquiddick, indeed! It’s summer now . . . there are lots of folks hiking, biking, and sunning on Chappy now, but soon . . . yes, SOON it will be—gasp!—Christmas . . . and, even better, A VINEYARD CHRISTMAS!

I am, of course, referring to my latest novel, which will be released Sept. 24th from Kensington Books. The first in a new Vineyard series, the story takes place on Chappaquiddick because I wanted to set it not only on the Vineyard but also in a place where my characters might get stranded if a fierce nor’easter rolled in, and where cell service and power might more readily crash.

But I’ve said too much. For now, here’s a photo of the sign on the front of, yes, you guessed it, the Chappy Community Center. This is the place where an awesome book group (that I whole-heartedly attend) meets in summers (and where tons of other fun stuff happens), and where the fabulous potlucks take place (where I love to go on Wednesday nights in winter).

So watch this sign . . . soon all will be revealed!

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Crossing into Summer

Last night I was coming home from the Cape on the 7:45 p.m. boat, the Governor—the small, open freight ferry. The sun was starting to set, the water was calm, the night cool but not cold as there was hardly a breeze. In short, it was a perfect crossing. Until . . .
Just before we entered Vineyard Haven Harbor, we stopped. Dead. Dead Calm, I thought, remembering an old horror film that I hadn’t been able to watch that was based on an even older book that I couldn’t read, what with my over-active imagination and terror of things that go bump in the night. Or, in this case, the sea. It probably didn’t help that the Fourth of July is approaching so yet another anniversary for the film, JAWS, is looming.
I didn’t know why we were sitting there what seemed like too long. (I do know I wanted no reminders that the boats had undergone their own brand of horror stories over the winter.) Rather than obsessing, I decided to study the coastline ahead, the curve of West Chop with its lighthouse that steadily blinked its welcome. It felt . . . peaceful. Not JAWS-like at all.
By then it was well past 8:00 p.m., and the orange sunset was fading into darkness. That’s when I noticed the lights. From West Chop to the harbor, lights appeared in countless windows of the waterfront homes—homes large and small, old and new, most gray-shingled and sitting high on the bluff, perhaps watching the water as I was watching them.
That’s when I knew that it really is summer again. Off season, most of those homes were dark, their windows boarded against winter’s nor’easters, their owners elsewhere, perhaps counting the weeks until they returned; off season, if I’d been on the Governor at that time of night, I’d be wrapped in a down coat and warm blanket to keep from freezing to death.
Yes, it is summer. The rhythm has changed; the island is alive again, vibrant with chattering voices and a palette of colors and the welcome sounds of music and laughter and the occasional bark of a black dog. And yes, with lights glowing in windows again. Through the bicycles and the mopeds and the long lines at restaurants, tranquility somehow remains, like the meadows up island, like the calm sea.
The Governor’s old engine finally rumbled back to life, like the rest of us who live here year-round, I supposed. Within only a few minutes, we glided into the harbor, pausing as one of the big ferries—the Martha’s Vineyard—passed. Up ahead, I saw another ferry docked in one of the two slips: apparently our delay had simply been to allow time for the Martha’s Vineyard to load up and leave.
It is summer, after all. Let the party begin!

Meanwhile, back on the Vineyard…

jean stone 2017Spring has sprung…sort of. The boats are running again…sort of.

But there is happy news: I have been hard at work on a new Vineyard series…women’s fiction with a dash of mystery. The first book, A VINEYARD CHRISTMAS, will be released by Kensington Books in September 2018 (my website will be updated soon with more info). It all begins at the fabulous Christmas in Edgartown, so mark your calendars!

In the meantime, here’s the new promo pic of me to prove that, yes, I really do live here now year round. I suppose to really have proved it this should have been taken in January, but it was too cold to stand up by the cliffs. And in February it was too windy. And in March I was too busy trying to meet the deadline for book #2 in the series.

Whatever…stay tuned…and Happy Spring!

Sweet Potato Beats the Yarrow Root

IMG_5382I’ve never been much of a gardener. And I haven’t been to the car races since 1973. But when the list of events at the Ag Fair read: VEGGIE CAR RACES, I really wanted to see this. Perhaps, I thought, Veggie Cars would be a wave of the future.

I had no idea what to expect, but I think it might have been something . . . grander.

Here’s the deal: You got to pick your vegetable. Corn (still in the cob), sweet potato, radish, white potato, and something else that I do not believe I have even eaten (or missed out on). There were also bananas for contestants who preferred fruit.

IMG_5384Then you picked your wooden wheels. The nice woman attendant stuck metal rods into your corn/sweet potato/radish, etc. at appropriate intervals, then screwed on the wheels. A wooden ramp was propped up to about a 45º angle and had three “lanes.” Once you had a competitor (or two) and his or her veggies (or bananas) were ready, the cars lined up at the top. When I watched, there was a yarrow root vs. a sweet potato.

Ready, set, go.

It was not exactly the Daytona 500 or even the old Riverside Park Speedway (can’t believe I IMG_5383remembered the name of that old one in Agawam), but . . .

The race was on. It only took a few seconds, but it was Sweet Potato all the way. No prize was awarded to the winner; then again, there hadn’t been an entry fee, either.

And you know what? It was terrific. Soon, more kids liked up. The veggies raced, laughter rose, competitive natures between brothers, sisters, friends blossomed—all without the use of electronic devices. They had a blast.

Such was my introduction to the Ag Fair on the IMG_5385Vineyard. I really liked the sheep shearing, but, best of all, I think I liked the miniature horse that stood motionless in one of the barns. I think he would have loved the Veggie Car Race, too. He might have liked to have some wheels screwed into a homegrown carrot or a big, juicy apple.

Yup, I love this island.

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I meant to post this a week ago . . . but got busy! Sorry!

Thurs. Sept. 1st, 7:00pm

Here I go again with a little shameless PR.

If you are on-island this Thursday at 7:00pm, please join me at the Edgartown Library! I will talk about my latestJeanStone Photo book, VINEYARD MAGIC, and, of course, I’ll toss in a few anecdotes about my old ones, and then we will eat cookies. Sound good?

So join me! Please! The library has an big, beautiful events room to fill now.

Oh, and here’s my new pic, to help you find me.

This Place Rocks.

The other day I needed to do some reading—research for a new book I’m writing. It was hot inside my little house, yet I didn’t like the thought of closing myself into an air-conditioned space at the library on such a gorgeous day.

IMG_5377And then I thought about the Harbor View Hotel on North Water Street, or rather, I thought about its porch. Something about that porch intrigues me. It is nearly endless, with its iconic chairs that move gently in the breeze, beckoning their guests (and sometimes passers-by like me) to take a seat and enjoy the picture-postcard view of the lighthouse and the harbor and the serenity all around. (Actually, the porch and the whole hotel became a highly visible character in my latest book, VINEYARD MAGIC, but that’s a different story.)

I decided that, yes, the Harbor View was a perfect place to work. I gathered my research materials and meandered across town. I parked in front (A parking space! In Edgartown! In August!!!). I climbed onto the porch, slipped into one of the amazing rocking chairs, and acted as if I belonged there.

Oddly, as you can see in the photo here, no one was around. I would not have minded company, but it seemed that everyone was at the beach (or perhaps they were stuck in traffic at the Triangle or Stop ‘n Shop). The only folks I saw were those who pattered in and out of the front door of the hotel, juggling their coolers, kids, shovels, pails, and blankets, their happy laughter bouncing in the air. They didn’t stop to chat, though . . . they kept their eyes fixed across the water on the long shoreline of Chappaquiddick that awaited.

So I sat there, rocking and reading, for nearly two hours. I accomplished more than I had hoped. And when I was between chapters I realized that in my next life, or in this one at a later time, I would very much like to be a concierge at the hotel. Maybe next week I’ll stop by Human Resources and fill out an application.

In the meantime, I’ll be glad to just do my work while sitting on the porch. Hopefully, they won’t find out and want to charge me rent.

www.jeanstone.com

They’re Here!

The fabulous new MV license plates have arrived, and I couldn’t be happier! With an early bird opportunity to select my favorite number (yup, this one is mine, no doubt about it), and a small donation to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (the place that keeps the island ticking), over 1,000 applications had been received, which was more than enough for the special state-issued plates.

IMG_5378Hooray!

But this is not an ordinary RMV story. (Surprise!)

This morning was my day to go to the registry and get my new plates. I pulled myself together early and packed a few essentials: ice water, a book I’m reading for the Edgartown Library book group, a notebook, pen, much-needed glasses. I was, after all heading off to the island RMV and, well, sometimes there’s a wait. ☺

I arrived around 9:30, gathered my daypack, and headed inside. I stood in the middle of the open room and surveyed my surroundings. Aside from one young woman who stood on the opposite side of the front door, no one was around. Not a soul. It seemed she was sorting license plates.

I stopped, turned back to the door, and rechecked the HOURS. I thought the office might not open until 10:00, and that someone had left the door unlocked. Either that, or it was a holiday. Where were the lines? Where were the people parked on the long benches? Where was the click-click of the Take-A-Number machine?

The young woman turned to me. “May I help you?” she called from across the room.

“Um,” I replied. “Yes. I’m here to pick up my Vineyard plate?” I said it as a question because I had begun to wonder if, instead of the RMV, I had wandered into the Twilight Zone.

The young woman, whose middle name, as is happens, is Jean, smiled. “I can take care of you.”

Three and one half minutes later I was out of there with my new plates. Wow.

But not so fast. When I got home and put on the new plates, I noticed a small flaw in the front one: someone at Walpole State Penitentiary, or wherever it is that license plates are IMG_5379now made, had failed to paint the “J” in “JUN,” which I guessed stood for “June,” the month the plates were actually made. It was a small glitch, but it made me smile to think that I will renew the registration in UN of next year.

Well, nobody’s perfect, I suppose. Not even the RMV. But kudos to the Vineyard office!