Let the Beach Reading Begin!

PLACES BY THE SEAThe high-energy Kentucky Derby is over, Edgartown’s fabulous Pink and Green Weekend is done, and if the throngs of people on the boats are any indication, summer has begun! (Somewhere the thermometer will soon agree.)

Summer, of course, means beach reading . . . and what better beach reads than novels that take place on Martha’s Vineyard? Oh, wait! I just happen to have a few!

I highly recommend (as does Random House, I’m sure) that you start with my first Vineyard book, PLACES BY THE SEA. Re-issued by RH in 2015 as an eBook with a brand new cover, Jill and Rita’s story is ready and waiting. They were best friends during their island growing-up years, but after graduation Jill left for fame and fortune while Rita stayed behind. Two decades have passed. Jill reluctantly returns to sell the house that she’s inherited; Rita tries to avoid her. Lots of reasons for that, of course! Then Ben enters the picture—yeah, I remember him—the soft-spoken, hunky, construction guy who Jill hires to get the house in shape.

My editor once said the title should have been: LAUGHTER & TEARS.

So break out the laugh track and the hankies, the blankets, and the coolers (don’t forget the suntan lotion with the right IV index!) . . . then charge up your Kindle, iPad, Nook, or whatever, and go ahead—have a blast. Tell my characters I said hello.

And if you’re heading to the islands, don’t forget to check the boat schedules. Summer, definitely, has arrived.

I Wore a Santa Hat!

FullSizeRenderI first stepped inside the Edgartown Library the day after Thanksgiving 1995. Wow! Twenty years ago! I was there to do research for my 4th novel, PLACES BY THE SEA, which later turned into one of my 6 (almost 7!) books that take place on this magical island.

Back then, I knew no one here. I stayed in an Inn across from the library on North Water Street. Each day, I spent hours in the library’s tiny research room, making notes at the round oak table under the big Boston fern. I did not have a laptop (not sure if they existed yet), but I had lots of pens and a few notebooks. After the third day, the librarians called me by name.

By late afternoon, I walked a block down the street to The Newes, the congenial pub at the Kelley House. I ate lunch by the fireplace, scribbling notes of characters, plots, and the charm of the Vineyard.

Over the years, I came and went from the library (and The Newes!) many times. When I spent the winter of 2010-11 here, I sat nearly every day at that round oak table. By then I wasn’t sure I could write a “Vineyard book” unless I was parked in my favorite spot.

Soon the big, new, beautiful library will open, and it will be magnificent, though a bit bittersweet. But in the meantime, there was the “Christmas in Edgartown” parade to tend to.

When Lisa Sherman, the Library Director, asked if I wanted to walk with them down Main Street alongside their “float” (actually, a decorated dump truck), handing out cards for “Fine-Free” days and tossing candy into the crowd, I jumped at the chance. After all, I owe them. I happily donned the Santa hat and, with every step on the parade route, I was reminded that without the library, I might not have had such a long and wonderful writing career.

I only hope that when they move to the new building, someone remembers to bring the big Boston fern.

Happy Holidays to all!

Prettier than Fiction

No, this is not where I am staying.

But it is an amazing house…right on North Water Street in Edgartown – yes, that’s the harbor peeking on the side of the backyard.

It reminds me of Jill’s house (PLACES BY THE SEA, OFF SEASON), which, of course, I made up.

Or did I?

Anyway, this is indicative of the gorgeous, white, sea captains’ houses in the historic whaling village, complete with a famous widow’s walk on the roof. (Note: I’ve learned that a gloss white, oil-based paint is the norm for the exteriors of the Edgartown houses.)

Now for the good news: this one has a sign in the window reads: For Rent.

So if you’re looking for a great “cottage” for that summer vacation, look no further. This is the real deal.

Question of the Day


The Old Whaling Church seemed packed to me. Turns out, though, they were 20 people short of a quorum.

Imagine, 20 people in an entire town. Probably the number of folks who were having dinner at The Newes. Or those who had huddled into the library for the Tuesday night movie. (Last night it was “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”)

I was ready though…along with about a dozen others who sat in the back, in the designated “Non-Voter” pews. I was eager for the proceedings to get underway. I wanted to see local government at work, to see if it really was as feisty and combative as I’d written in a scene in my PLACES BY THE SEA. (Can’t recall if Ben ever did get that variance for his museum. He really should have! He was one of my favorite guys, er, characters!)

But back to reality. Like I said, they were 20 folks short.  I considered asking my non-voting neighbors if we should register right then and there. Heck, then we could dash to The Newes and pull out a few others. It’s not as if anyone there would be watching the World Series.

Too late.

Someone banged a gavel. The Town Meeting was postponed until next week.

So my question is this: who the heck is going to climb up onto the banner across Main Street and change the date?

P.S. You’ll be glad to know I raced to the library and snuck in the back, only ten minutes late for the movie.