A VINEYARD SUMMER…it’s Here!

Who doesn’t want A Vineyard Summer??? The sky is a perfect, cloudless blue; the surf is rolling enough for kayaking and kite-surfing, but gentle enough for swimming and wading; the nights are filled with gourmet food and clambakes on the beach and fun wherever you look. Ahhh…Martha’s Vineyard in the summer: there simply is NO PLACE LIKE IT!!!!!

All of which is why the 2nd book in my new series of Vineyard novels starts the week of July 4th when the action truly begins.

But WAIT!!! Did someone say JULY 4th??? What does JAWS have to do with it? Or why does that lovely Vineyard WEDDING turn into a crime scene? And, good grief, what happens in that lovely Edgartown GARDEN???

Stay tuned…or get your copy today! And don’t forget to read A VINEYARD CHRISTMAS, the first book in this new series. For other Vineyard reads, check out my website at www.jeanstone.com.

COVER ART A Vineyard Summer copy

And a Fine Time was had by All!

Christmas in Edgartown was a blast! Many thanks to Edgartown Books and Edgartown Meat & Fish Market for my wonderfully successful book signings of #AVineyardChristmas, with special thanks to a woman named Fiona who stopped by the porch of the bookstore after the parade and gave me the hand warmers from her gloves! (Next year, I’ll be sure to have my own.) The pic here is of the always exciting, enthusiastic, and entertaining Christmas Parade…which was oddly similar to the one in the first scene of A Vineyard Christmas! www.jeanstone.com

Thanks MV Times!

A lovely review on A VINEYARD CHRISTMAS from MV Times… I especially like the line where she writes: “Not surprisingly, Stone herself lives on the island, and we can feel her love for it throughout.” Enough said!!!!!

http://www.mvtimes.com/2018/10/02/an-island-story/

Did you ever wonder WHY?

Thanks to my friend and fellow writer Marty, I have begun to wonder about things. And now I have something to say when I am blog-topic-less. So…here goes.

Did you ever wonder why a dog who barks incessantly suddenly stops?

It happened to me the other night. For almost an hour, Rover kept woof-woofing. It sounded as if he were somewhere down the street…the sounds weren’t close enough to be next door, but loud enough to be annoying. A German Shepard, perhaps. Or maybe an alto poodle. Left home alone. And unhappy.

Woof, woof. Arf, arf.

Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. Really, I do. Anyone who’d ever seen me with Snuggles (my cocker spaniel—see photoSnuggles copy) knows that’s the truth. But on a warm evening, with the windows open, the woof, woof, arf, arf was, as my friend Bev would say, “working my last nerve.” (I love that saying.)

So I closed the windows. The arfs were muted, but still there. I tried to read. I washed the dishes. I flicked on the TV news, turned it up loud. The woofs evolved into a deep howl.

Then, suddenly, they stopped.

I waited. Nothing. Nadda. Yay.

Then I started to, as Marty would say, wonder why.

My thoughts could have gone to dark places, but, as I said, I love dogs. I decided to deduce that his (or her) owner must have returned home. The sweet dog was happy again, wagging his tail, trotting into his house, crunching Milk Bones and enjoying a few laps of cool water that would no doubt soothe his throat that must have been burning from all those vocals.

I returned to luxuriate in the quiet and stopped wondering why. Until the morning when I had to do errands.

I opened the door to the outside, juggling my keys, my purse, and a trash bag (I was en route to the dump). I stepped out onto the small deck and into the early sunshine. All was lovely until I took my next breath. My throat closed up. My eyes suddenly watered. I tried to mouth-breathe, the way a doctor friend had once taught me.

Unfortunately, nothing helped. I quickly raced to my car, threw the trash bag in the back, jumped into the driver’s seat, and slammed the door. But even inside my hermetically-sealed VW Jetta, the smell was unmistakeable: skunk.

And that’s when I knew. The dog must have stopped barking because he’d had a visit from one of the neighborhood black-and-white critters. He must have forgotten that this is their island, not his. And I suppose, like me, even skunks appreciate silence.

The end. No more wondering needed.

P.S. I have not heard a peep, so I assume that the dog has returned to the mainland with his owners. Unfortunately, the aroma of his visitor still lingers. Not as strong, but still there.

I have no idea if there is a moral to this story. Maybe Marty can come up with one.

Life is a Potluck Dinner

They liked it. :-)

It wasn’t actually dinner. It was the annual St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church picnic (aka Potluck); it would be held at the venue facility in Sailing Camp Park in Oak Bluffs, and would follow a traditional service. Set atop a bluff, the tastefully rustic building offers a spectacular view of Lagoon Pond, the new drawbridge, and Vineyard Haven Harbor in the distance. The day was bright and sunny; while we were there, a couple of ferries came and went, their gleaming white upper decks dotted with passengers, a statement that summer is almost here.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I did not have a clue what to bring. I lost my ability/desire/call it whatever to cook sometime in the late 1980s. And for a Potluck? Argh. I usually resort to brownies. Or sugar cookies, if I can add M & M’s and stash some in the freezer.

But for such a beautiful day, I decided to push the nutritional envelope.

I found my answer on the Internet: Slice of Tomato; Slice of fresh Mozzarella; Sprig of fresh basil. Drizzle olive oil over all. Even I could do that.

But while I was assembling (can’t call it cooking) my “dish,” it occurred to me that these events are really like life: when you join any group, you never know what you’re going to get, but chances are, it won’t all be potato salad.

Starting a new job? Your co-workers will definitely be Potluck. Some sweet ones, some tangy, some who might not seem terrific but turn out amazing.

What about School? When I was a kid, every September was a Potluck: The only time I knew what would be at the table was in high school homeroom when the class was alphabetized. I could be fairly sure that Ray Barafauldi would sit in front of me and Molly Briggs would be behind me. (Back then my name began with a “B,” which you’ve probably figured.) My prediction was usually right unless there was a new kid in town or someone had moved away.

As I sliced the mozzarella, I realized that every time we step out in public we step into a Potluck. At the Post Office, the Library, the Supermarket . . . some people smile, some chat a bit; some hold up the line, others seem content to stay in their own little worlds.

But it all works, doesn’t it? The folks at the office, the kids in school, the people meandering around town: If we all were the same, things would be pretty boring. Especially if everyone was a novelist like me whose head lives in make-believe much of the time.

At the picnic yesterday, someone brought salad, someone brought meatballs, someone brought quiche; several brought desserts. I didn’t see any potato salad, but people seemed to enjoy my Tomato/Mozzarella/Basil/Olive Oil concoction. We all helped ourselves to the seemingly incongruous selections—some sweet, some tangy, most, amazing—and proceeded to revel in the cacophony of life.

But wait! I forgot the best part! At two minutes before the service was to start, the woman in charge of the altar things realized she’d forgotten the communion wine. For one horrified moment there seemed to be no answer. Then Father Chip’s gaze shifted to the assortment of desserts that awaited the after-service celebration. “We have red grapes!” he announced. “Fill up the Chalice!” Perfect. I guess there truly is everything one needs at the Potluck table.

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Hark! I went!

I never cared much IMG_5032for Shakespeare’s works. All the “Lo,” “Behold,” and “Alas” words find me rolling my eyes. Back in high school, I always felt I was reading another language—the kind where you walk into class and the teacher only speaks those words, and the text is only written that way, and you don’t have a clue what’s going on.

But now I’m on the Vineyard and the Edgartown Library is awesome.

In honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s passing, Virginia (our favorite film lady) will show two films of his plays each day Monday through Thursday; live performances Friday and Saturday. The tribute began yesterday with a film screening of Falstaff, the Verdi Opera featuring a top jokester favorite of the Bard.

If there’s anything I know less about than Shakespeare, it’s Opera.

When I was a kid we watched the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday nights. My dad had a wonderful sense of humor. In between the circus acts and comic shticks, Sullivan often featured an opera singer. My dad then employed exaggerated lip sync and dubious sounds that rose up from his toes in order to imitate the vocalist who was usually a soprano. My sister and I doubled over in laughter.

I tried to put that image out of my mind yesterday as I went to view Falstaff. I really enjoyed it! For starters, the new community room is wonderful, the 12-foot screen something to behold (Behold!) and the production that was filmed at the Met was terrific. I really enjoyed it. Thank you, once again, to the Edgartown Library for challenging and expanding my mind.

Tonight I will go watch Othello. I think I read that one in college. As I recall, it wasn’t exactly beach reading, but I suppose some of Shakespeare’s fans might find VINEYARD MAGIC much ado about nothing. Alas! I do tend to be a product of my generation. Though I secretly wish my dad had been with me yesterday. He would have done a great Mistress Quickly.