Nearly Beached

IMG_8774This is the sign that greeted us when we arrived in Avalon yesterday. Truer words were never written. After days of laundry and packing (where do we keep the beach chairs?) and driving nearly nine hours through insufferable traffic jams, I always arrive here wondering why I came. It takes a day or two to slough off Reality and enter what we have come to call the Avalon Bubble. Our happy place.

Today, sitting on the hot beach with the flies attacking my ankles, I was reminded of my first impression of Avalon which, I have to admit, was not great. Contrary to the narrator of my novel Avalon, I did not grow up here. I was not a beach person, and I was actually terrified of the ocean (I had been carried out in a rip ride as a toddler.)

My husband grew up spending summers in Stone Harbor. So after we got married, we went to stay with his parents at their rental house (which was in Avalon, even though they always referred to it as Stone Harbor). It was one of the old Cape Cod style, Diller-Fisher houses with no air conditioning. It was so hot and humid the wallpaper was melting off the walls. On the beach the green heads ate me alive. I couldn’t sleep at night. I went fishing in the bay and the only thing I caught was a raging sunburn. I was sticky and miserable and couldn’t wait to leave.

But we came back every year (to my joy, that house was torn down after that summer) and I gradually came to love this beach, and to feel as though I had always been here.

“Avalon” the novel was born of that love. I’ve been here in hurricanes, in floods, in heat waves so bad we had to go to the movies every afternoon to find a cool place to sit for awhile. I’ve been here when colonies of jelly fish would wash up on shore, making it almost impossible to walk, when the seaweed in the water was so thick it was like swimming in salad. And yet there is no place like Avalon.

For those of you who keep asking, yes, I am working on a sequel. I won’t tell you too much, except that it’s called Antillia and it takes place ten years after Avalon ends. And there’s a wedding, LOL.

In the meantime, you can pick up The Prince Warriors, the first in a series for kids which I am writing with the amazing Priscilla Shirer. Book Two will be out in October. I am currently wrapping up work on Book Three.

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