The Beach Read

There is something magical about summer. It’s the season we most typically associate with break time and when we give ourselves permission to relax. We even choose our books because they are perfect ‘beach reads.’ As a novelist of the ‘beach read’ genre I think the whole point of the perfect beach read is the escape it offers us and the permission we give ourselves to just read for the enjoyment of it.

Oddly enough, despite how common the phrase is or how often we ask for them, ‘beach read’ isn’t a real genre. I suppose that’s because the ‘beach read’ is so cool it’s almost spiritually above genre categories. 🙂 Beach reads help us escape our every day and let us dive into another world where we can vacation.

I hope that this summer you find several opportunities to recharge, relax, and take a break from the daily grind. Hopefully you’ll see fireflies darting across a dark field, smell the smoke of a camp fire, and dip your toes into an ocean or a lake, embracing the many small joys of summer. And, if you are still looking for a good beach read, escape to the ‘The Magic of Cape Disappoinment!’ This photo is from one of the many beaches around Cape Disappointment, where you can imagine the characters go in the summer to read and relax themselves. Happy summer, everyone – and, please, don’t forget the sunscreen!

Sense of Place

Picture of Astoria-Megler Bridge. Photo by Julie Manthey

I love to travel. Some places are destination locations to check off the list, others are places one must drive through to get somewhere else, and then there are the places that pull you back for return trips. For me, Cape Disappointment became the latter. This picture is from Astoria, Oregon, looking across the Columbia River toward Cape Disappointment. My first trip to the cape was a weekend camping trip that turned out to be more adventurous than I had expected due to our camp neighbors deciding, rather irresponsibly, to feed marshmallows to a family of raccoons.

Of course, those raccoons then decided that our camp likely would be another stop on their buffet and they paced around the tent while I sat, rather freaked out, inside hoping they would move along soon. I’m happy to report that they eventually moved along without much other fuss. Since that first visit I’ve been back to Cape Disappointment many times and published my novel (The Magic of Cape Disappointment) that takes place there.

Recently I had returned to Cape Disappointment and the surrounding towns on a terrific vacation. Spending time checking out the coffee shops, watching the ships in the river, sitting on the beach by the ocean, and hiking to the lighthouse were simple pleasures that make me smile to remember them.

I hope that this summer you find places that speak to you and they become destinations you also quickly plan to return. If your travels send you anywhere near Seattle or Portland, I recommend a trip to Cape Disappointment. Who knows? You might just stumble upon some magic there yourself. Or at least maybe that same raccoon (remember, please don’t feed the wildlife).

Small Miracles

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that author blogs are often a mixed bag. They aren’t novels, they aren’t essays, and for me at least, they are uncharted territory. I hope this one doesn’t disappoint, but odds are, it will take me a while to make it really awesome.

I’ve enjoyed the feedback from the readers, regardless of whether or not they loved the novel or they didn’t. Somehow these readers who weren’t related to me and didn’t know me stumbled upon ‘The Magic of Cape Disappointment‘ and took a chance.

They spent hours of their time with my characters and what a great, tremendous honor that is for me. And, let’s face it, a bit of a miracle considering the very large book market available today. Not only did they read it, but they wrote a review! Again, people not related to me read my novel. Thanks, guys – it really does mean the world to me.

Every comment helps me learn how to improve and how to make the next novel even more awesome. So, at the end of the day, I’m okay that there wasn’t a team of people to approve the launch of my novel. Of course, wouldn’t it be great to have that type of support at the beginning of any project? Still, I’ve learned so much and have been really inspired. So inspired that I’m writing the follow-up novel!

Friends, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the novel and characters. I hope that if you are working on a creative project that you push on through the fear and panic, because it’s not as scary as you might think once you’re on the other side.