rolanni: (Saving world)

So, Book the Next is moving once more.  I had to recuse myself from writing while I got the structure sorted out.  I very rarely have to wrestle a book's structure three falls out of five, so, hey -- new experience.  Yay?

Spell Bound, including two Archers Beach stories by Sharon Lee, is now for sale on Amazon, BN, iBooks, Kobo, as well as Scribd, Tolino, 24Symbols, and Page Foundry.

Pinbeam Books does have a new distributor, and the first batch of five books will be going up in September.  Watch the skies.

Also!  All Pinbeam chapbooks have been taken off-sale at Smashwords and brought over to Draft2Digital.  I'm really glad I didn't know exactly how much work that was going to be when I decided to make the move.

The cats, by which I of course mean the coon cats, have, in a surfeit of love, broken the wicker basket that was for some years the manuscript-in-progress basket.  I suppose it was inevitable.  Wicker can only bear so much.  I'm now of two minds -- should I replace the basket with a sturdier basket?  Or! Should I just remove the remains of the wicker basket and not replace it at all?   It's not like I can use it for manuscripts anymore, after all.  And I Have Faith that cats will use that corner of the desk, whether there's a basket there or not.

Experimentation may be in order.

As I write this, there are 193 reader reviews of Alliance of Equals on Amazon!  We only need seven! more! to hit our goal of 200 reviews.  Thanks to everyone who took the time -- and, if you haven't reviewed, and do have a couple minutes -- that would be so very awesome.

In Cat Garden news, I have arrived at and installed two solar light-sticks -- one green; one blue.  The green one appears to return more sunlight to the garden at night than the blue one -- but it's early days.  The blue may need some extra time to stoke up.  One needs be patient with items bought on clearance.

I think that's all I've got this morning.  It's to the gym, then home and work for me.

How's your Monday shaping up?

Scrabble in her rocker August 11 2016


Saturday, January 30th, 2016 12:52 pm
rolanni: (Carousel Sun)

"Will-o'-the-wisp," by Sharon Lee, the second Archers Beach story of January (this one actually set in Archers Beach), is now up and eager to be read, right here.

In case you missed the first Archers Beach story of January, which is actually set in the Land of the Flowers, it's right here.

Next thing on my plate today is!

Revising a story, this one destined for the Alien Artifacts anthology.

Wait, you didn't know about the Alien Artifacts Anthology?  Lucky for you -- there's still time to get on board.  Here's your info linkAnd here's your ordering link.

rolanni: (Carousel Seas)

"The Wolf's Bride," by Sharon Lee, is now on Splinter Universe, for your reading pleasure.

Here's your link.

"Bride" is about Cael the Wolf, and is set in the Land of the Flowers, some very long while before Kate Archer is born a princess in the line of the Sea Lord Aeronymous.

Feel free to share the link -- and enjoy!

Scrabble Jan 22 2016
rolanni: (The Dragon in Exile)

So we here in the US have an end-of-summer holiday which we call Labor Day, a day devoted to drinking beer, eating grilled food, ritually mowing the lawn, and in general striving to forget that tomorrow, Tuesday, will be the end of a nice three-day-weekend, that summer is, indeed, over, and the next work holiday is Thanksgiving Day.  Unless one works retail, of course.

Steve and I took a strange, fragmented little vacation at Old Orchard Beach -- we went down together for a night, so we could both see the Thursday fireworks; I went home on Friday, returning on Monday, when Steve went home, returning on Thursday so we could both see the Thursday fireworks, and then removing the whole encampment back to Central Maine on Friday.  I read a lot, walked a lot, and in general vegged out.  It was great.

Real work will recommence on the morrow, with such things on the roster as a visit to the vampyres (to determine if the new dosage of my thyroid meds has done the trick); a call to the town to determine its interests and necessities in the matter of siting generators -- and, depending on what we learn there, subsequent phone calls to various contractor-type persons.  We will also be taking up the writing reins again -- at the moment, we have two short stories and a novel on our plates -- and will be winding the week down with a small natal day celebration.

While we were away, Madame the Agent let us know that Dragon in Exile, the eighteenth novel set in the Liaden Universe® created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, is Number 6 on the Locus Bestselling Hardcover List for June 2015 (reported in the September issue).  Number 1 is Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson, and the funny thing about that is that Neal was in Boston doing a tour in support of his book the day before we were in Boston, doing a tour in support of our book.

Small world.


While I was on vacation, Eset decided to Protect Me from posting to my own blog.  I am therefore reproducing here an account of one of my walks, which I would have posted here, but which instead went to Facebook (because Eset thinks Facebook is Totally Safe?).  Anyhow, here's that entry, for those of you who don't Facebook, and for me, so that I actually have some hope of finding it again.

September 2, 2015, reporting from New Temp Headquarters, Old Orchard Beach, Maine

So, this morning's walk. . .

I left New Temp Headquarters and walked up East Grand to Old Orchard Street, took the left at 1st Street and walked through Veteran's Square Memorial Garden, up Heath Street to see if the A-Z Market (in the Old Orchard Beach timeline) had ever really come back after their "temporary" closing, three years ago. The answer to that is...sorta. There's a kind of lunch counter/video rental/wine shop in a much, much smaller space than the old IGA occupied. Happily, in Archers Beach, Ahzie's IGA is doing fine.

Curiosity satisfied, I continued up Heath Street to Portland Avenue, to Walnut Street, took a left on Leavitt Street and walked to the end, to see how far I could walk along the old road to the ustabe Kite Track. Answer -- about 500 feet before the trenvay who cares for that land noticed me and obscured the path with bushes and leaves. I can take a hint, so I turned around and headed back the way I'd come. Just before I hit the asphalt of Leavitt Street, an acorn flew out from one of the surrounding trees and struck the path at my feet. I know a gift when I see one, too. I murmured, "thank you," put the acorn in my pocket and moved on.

Leavitt to Walnut, Walnut to Grande, and so again to New Temp Headquarters, 4,671 steps, or 1.7 miles on the odometer.

I do believe I'll have that third cup of coffee.


Labor Day or no Labor Day, today is the beginning of Week Four in the Do It Like A Delm Challenge!  You can view the challengers -- and the winners! -- for the previous three weeks here (the drop-down link in the menu is your friend).

Want to join in the fun?  Of course you do!  Rules to enter the challenge may be found here.


Sprite being Quietly Pleased that we're home.

Sprite being Quietly Pleased that we're home.

rolanni: (Carousel Sun)

All righty, then.

This is a post about magic.

As some of you may know, I have long, on-going (unrequited) love affair with the Maine resort town Old Orchard Beach.  So great was my love that, against the advice of Practically Everybody, I wrote three books (Carousel Tides, Carousel Sun, Carousel Seas) set in a just-slightly-different Maine resort town -- Archers Beach.  The major differences between the two towns, besides some liberties taken with the coastal geography, and a very little smudging along the edges of history -- one of the differences is that, in Archers Beach, magic works.

Sort of.


For some people.

And for others, who may not be, precisely, people.

The other difference is that, in Archers Beach, things are starting to turn around for the town, as the residents find renewed hope, and the energy to take up their destiny.

In Old Orchard Beach, over the years of our relationship, hope had been lost, and the residents had stopped believing in destiny.  I say this with love, and also with the understanding that love does not blind us to the loved one's faults.

An example. . .One of the centerpieces of the Carousel books is -- surprise! -- a carousel.  An old, hand-carved wooden carousel populated, granted, by some Very Odd animals, but, yes a carousel.  A carousel, in fact, that had been modeled (in the author's head) on the P(hiladelphia) T(obaggon) C(ompany) (#19, I do believe) that had been in place the very first time Steve and I visited Old Orchard Beach, many years ago.

The machine was in need of some upkeep, but old wooden carousels are expensive to keep up, and the sea air is kind to no machinery built by man.  But, it was running, the band organ was playing, and -- oh, it was grand.

The next time Steve and I got down to Old Orchard Beach, maybe a decade after that first visit (stone broke, no gas money, you know the drill), we found a changed scene.  The PTC machine was gone, and in its place was a fiberglass carousel, not as old, obviously, and. . . not very well kept.  You could see the poles shudder when the flying animals went up and down; you could hear the cranks grate.  Worse, oh, far worse!  The band organ, which had been ragged, but working, had been left too long unprotected in the seaside environment.  It was mildewed, it was cracked, it was peeling. . .it was. . .heartbreaking.

Now, the carousel in Old Orchard Beach -- the Chance Menagerie Carousel, is its name -- is part of an amusement park.  And, well. . .let's just say that, as went the carousel, so went the amusement park.  It was a sad, sad place, the last time I had been there at length, in 2012.  It needed -- oh, paint! and maintenance, and. . .hope.

Now. . .back in 2010, right around Halloween, Jeanne Bartolomeo, who at that time owned an art gallery in Old Orchard Beach called Beggars Ride, kindly put together a launch party in the gallery, for Carousel Tides. One of the surprising number of people who attended that party came up to me, excited by the town and the book, which she had already read as an ebook, and said, "I want to see it!"

"See what?" I asked her.

"The carousel!  I've already been to Bob's and the Pier, Tony Lee's and I have to see the carousel!"

Oh.  I cleared my throat.

"I'm so very sorry," I said.  "You can't see it.  It's. . .not there."

She stared at me, and I could see the betrayal creep into her eyes.

"You made it up?" she demanded, and I could see that she was hoping that I'd deny it, but. . .

"Yes," I admitted.  "I did.  I made it up."

In the same way, I made up the. . .revival of Archers Beach.

Or. . .not.

See, this year, Steve and I are doing a weird little split vacation at the ocean.  He and I were down at Old Orchard Beach together Thursday afternoon and evening; I came home to be with the cats, and Steve is doing a bachelor weekend at the ocean.  Monday, we'll swap places; he'll come down on Thursday, and Friday we'll shift all of us back home.  The reason Thursday is important in this is that there are fireworks on the beach every Thursday night during Season, courtesy of the amusement park.

So, anyway, we went to see the fireworks Thursday night, and after that, we wandered 'round the corner to look at the carousel. . .

. . .which has been completely revamped.  The panels were new; the rounding boards were new; the mirrors shone!  The sweeps were lit, and not only that! The lifting poles no longer shuddered; the cranks moved with quiet authority, and!

The band organ.

The band organ had been. . .restored.

And it was playing music.

I burst into tears.  Honest to ghod.  It was. . .it was magic.  See for yourself.


band organ before 1


band organ after 1

Carousel Before:

Hippogriff before

Carousel After:

hippogriff after

We walked through the whole park, and we noticed new paint, and bright new lights, and a feeling of hope amid the crowd.

When we came to the arcade, I said to Steve, "I want to visit Grandma."  I always visit Grandma when I'm in Old Orchard Beach.  If I have a quarter, I'll pay her to read my fortune.

Now, since Forever, Grandma has been shoved in a dark corner next to a service door in the arcade.  I walked right to the place, only to discover that!

She was gone.

I turned around, found Steve some distance behind, shaking his head and pointing.

They'd moved Grandma out into the main corridor.  They'd cleaned off her case, and they'd fixed the light.  Someone had.  I saw this because there seems to be an. . .addition to Grandma's bracelet.  A charm with names on them.  Steve and I are in disagreement.  I say the charm is new; a marker from the people who paid for her restoration.  Steve says there was always a charm.  I don't have a picture after, but here she is, last time I saw her:

grandma before

And so that's it.

Who says there's no magic, any more?

Today's blog post title brought to you by Loreena McKennit, "Beneath A Phrygian Sky".  Here's your link.

rolanni: (ferris wheel)

And the hits just keep on coming!

Old Orchard Beach, Maine is named the Tenth Coolest Small Town in America!

Many thanks to Millie for bringing this to my attention!

rolanni: (Carousel Seas)

Frequent auditors of this blog will perhaps recall that, in addition to my work with Steve in the Liaden Universe®, I've written a contemporary fantasy trilogy* set in a partly fictional Maine beach town called Archers Beach.

Archers Beach is, of course, based on Old Orchard Beach -- a real Maine beach town and one of the state's prime tourist attractions.

For those coming in late, there's an Archers Beach photo album here (I'm told Pinterest has taken to mangling the pictures for non-Pinterest members, which strikes me as. . .rude, and, yes, before anyone says so, I should move the pictures to Some Other, More Inclusive Place, which I'll surely do after I've finished all the things in-queue ahead of it).

Now, the problem with the above album (setting aside Pinterest) is that all the pictures are taken during clement weather:  High Season, Pre-Season, After-Season.  I don't get to the ocean in High Winter, mostly because I'm usually snowed in here in the center of the state, and so that Season has bee unrepresented, until now.

The Portland Press Herald has put together a very nice video of Old Orchard Beach in the winter.  Be sure your speakers are turned on, so you can hear the wind moving against the carousel's storm doors.  Here's your link.


*Carousel Tides, Carousel Sun, Carousel Seas, available at fine bookstores everywhere, including Uncle Hugo's; in ebook editions from Baen, and the Usual Suspects; and as audiobooks, from Audible.

rolanni: (Carousel Seas)

. . .to read it.

So, what're you waiting for?

Oh, a link?

Here it is:

The night don't seem so lonely
rolanni: (Carousel Seas)

Before I ask the question, I shall Issue a Warning.  To wit:


This is the only Warning that will be issued.  Thank you for your attention.

Off in Another Part of the Internet, someone has observed that the Carousel books are to Urban Fantasy as Cozy Mysteries are to Hardboiled Detective.  They further wonder if there is a subgenre of Cozy Fantasy, which I believe there is not, though I'm willing be proved wrong.

Most importantly, however, is the request for More Like This from other authors -- which is to say, now that he has finished the Carousel books he would like to read more books like them -- and asks for titles.

Now, I'm derned if I know of anything just exactly like the Carousel books -- I was trying for a Certain Deliberate Effect, and I think I pretty much hit it (in case there was any doubt, I'm rather proud of the Carousel books).  I could offer a list of anti-Carousel books, by which I mean those books that the Carousel books were written to. . .refute.  But, with the exception of maybe deLint, sorta-sometimes, I'm coming up blank on the "if-you-liked-this-then-you'll-like-that."

So! for those who have read at least two of the Carousel books (those being, in order of publication and event: Carousel Tides, Carousel Sun, and Carousel Seas) -- can you help a fellow reader out with authors/titles/subgenres?


(no subject)

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 02:32 pm
rolanni: (Carousel Sun)
The title says it all: The audio edition of Carousel Sun, the second book in Sharon Lee's Archers Beach trilogy, is now available from Audible. Here's your link.
rolanni: (Mozart Easter 2009)

So, Mozart's triumphant return home from the vet on Thursday segued into a Friday in which he would not eat, and would not drink.  Two tongue-laps of tuna juice was all that we could get into him; he was clearly miserable, and spent a good bit of the morning and early afternoon Under Things.  I called the vet to give the follow-up report, fully expecting to hear; "Bring him in; it's time."

But the vet had one more trick up his sleeve -- prednisone, which, he said, would calm Mozart's stomach, and also increase his appetite.  Asyouknowbob, it's also a steroid and very hard on the kidneys, and Mozart is in kidney failure.  Steve did go into town to pick up the medicine, since the run of treatment is seven days.  He may, says the vet, become seduced back to eating in seven days.

So, we're doing it, but I worry that we may have crossed a line.  We have, when confronted with The Choice in the past, always erred on the side of No Suffering.  We do everything we can during their lives to be sure that our cats live in a place where Nothing Bad Happens To Cats.  We try to be sure that they cross when they are ready; we haven't ever tried to prolong their stay into the place where there's no joy, just because it's hard to say good-bye.  In retrospect, I think we kept Socks with us a little too long.  Had we had the cancer diagnosis sooner. . .but the vets were -- as they should have been -- looking for horses instead of zebras, and we could only do the best we knew how.

Mozart. . .is fading.  We know he's not going to "get better."  I just wish I had a better handle on where he is, and how he feels.

So, that. . .

Writing is happening; and a book is taking form, a surprising book in a number of ways.  It always amazes me how logical my backbrain is, in its own chaotic fashion.

In Archers Beach news:  This is a Distant Early Warning for those folks who want to have a signed or signed-and-personalized copy of Carousel Seas to go with their signed or signed-and-personalized copy of Carousel Sun:  Uncle Hugo will again be taking preorders for signed books.  This is a DISTANT EARLY WARNING, not a Call to Action.  Actual pre-ordering will not open until after Labor Day.  We'll tell you when.

And?  I think that's all the news that's fit to print.

Essay Question

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 11:55 am
rolanni: (Carousel Sun)

I've got a lot to do today, and I thought maybe you'd like something to do, too!

So, here you are -- an essay question.

Who is your favorite character in the Carousel books so far -- and why?

Remember to insert spoiler space, if you need to discuss specific scenes from the books.

See y'all on the flip side.

rolanni: (Illusionist)

So, about a month ago, Eric Williams was kind enough to send me a print of the cover art for Carousel Sun.  I took it to Framemakers to be framed -- and it came back into my possession on Friday.

It looks nice. Really nice.

But here's the thing -- I long ago ran out of space to hang paintings.  In fact, the cover art for Carousel Tides (also created by Eric) is kinda of hanging -- well, see for yourselves:

The wall of All The Things, over in my officeThe wall of All The Things
in my office

...yeah, it's a little crowded.  Clearly, no room to hang the sister painting there, right?  Also?  Not only is there going to be a third Carousel cover, which I also hope to acquire, frame and hang, the cover art for Necessity's Child, which was removed from the living room wall by order of the cats so there was room for their new, primo, cat tree?  Has never been re-hung, so I  -- you see where this is going, right?

Because, so I said to Steve, there's plenty of room to hang pictures over my desk.  All I have to do is shift some things around.

For your information, this is what the wall over my desk looks like:

The uncluttered wall over my desk.The uncluttered wall over my desk

Because, I said to Steve, there's room over the Narbonic strip for all those little things.

Here's the Narbonic strip.  Imagine about 18 inches between the top of the frame and the ceiling:

The wall to the right of my desk.The wall to the right of my desk

So, here's what I want to hang on the wall over my desk:

Three for a-hangin'Three for a-hangin'

. . .plus, I want to keep the Red Birds, and Kevin Dyer's tree, and I have to leave room for the third Carousel picture.

No problem, right?

No, really -- you can laugh; it's fine.  If this show wasn't low-budget, I'd cue the laugh-track myself.

And the bitter irony is?  That Steve, who has very fine spatial understanding, and who very well knows that this whole project can only end in tears, will get pulled into it against his better judgement and wind up making it work.

As he has done, many, many times before.

. . .I'm thinking I'd better make a pre-emptive Devil's food cake.  What d'y'all think?

rolanni: (ferris wheel)

Short answer:

Old Orchard Beach July 24, 2013

Old Orchard Beach
July 24, 2013

. . .longer answer tomorrow.

Sunday Potpourri

Sunday, October 14th, 2012 12:01 pm
rolanni: (tortoro)

Have I mentioned here that Steve and I will be participating in the Bangor Book Festival, Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19 and 20 (that's this coming weekend!)?

We'll be at the Author Reception and Keynote on Friday evening, 6:30, at the Hammond Street Senior Center in Bangor.  Richard Russo will deliver the keynote; you'll remember that he won the Pulitzer in Fiction a couple years back, for his novel Empire Falls.

On Saturday at 12:30, Steve and I will take part in the Mad Group Signing in the gorgeous Bangor Public Library Rotunda (honest, the BPL is a beautiful building; if you haven't visited, you should.  Plus -- books!)

Then!  at 1:30, we'll remove to the Rock and Art Shop at 36 Central Street to talk about the Liaden Universe® with all comers.

In addition to us, there'll be lots more going on, with about a zillion authors and illustrators taking over downtown Bangor, so plan on taking part.

* * *

There's a very thorough explication of the Agent of Change audiobook Sequence, over here.  If you've been wary of the audiobook editions, or unwilling to commit to a long-running series encompassing. . .fifteen (soon to be sixteen) novels, you may find this review of use.

* * *

One of the things I find that I miss terribly from my sojourn at Temp Headquarters is the walks.  I knew this was going to be so, but I hadn't realized how very much I would be jonesing for my nice mile loop up East Grand, through the green at Little Miss Cottages, up Wavelet Street 'til it dead-ends at Sunspray condos, and back down East Grand to Temp Headquarters.  I miss it so much, that I dreamed about it, though Wavelet Street had inexplicably acquired a bakery in the dream. Might've been getting near breakfast time.

* * *

For those keeping track at home, Carousel Sun stands at 63,000 words, and things are starting to heat up nicely.

Someone took me, mildly, to task the other day for having failed to mention that there is an audiobook edition of Carousel Tides, too.  So, here's your mention, and a link, too.

And now?  You're all caught up.

rolanni: (great horned owl)

Tomorrow, there will be packing, and a farewell walk through town, and another down the beach.  Thursday, will be driving, my Triumphant Return™ to the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory -- and unpacking.

So, tonight's writing represents the last that will be done, on location, for Carousel Sun.

My goal for this small writing adventure was to return home with 60,000 words of Carousel Sun in hand, and I will be taking home 60,852; 40,576 written here, for a smoot over 1800 words a day for 28 writing days.

I was just chatting with Steve, and I said that I'd been writing this one based on the "what happens next" school of plotting.  Since the Carousel books are first-person, they lend themselves far more readily to that sort of approach than, say, a Liaden book.

On the other hand, I can head-hop to my heart's content in a Liaden book, and for the Carousels, I'm stuck inside Kate's head.

Each form has its good and its bad...

So, anyway, I'm sad to be going back up-country. . .for a number of reasons -- sidewalks, the ocean, a train station right downtown, less than two miles to the ultramodern grocery story, a half-mile walk to the in-town IGA.

On the other hand, I'll be glad to be back at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory; I missed Steve and the cats, and the sound of semi-automatic rifles, firing in the gravel pit down the road.

OK, the last one, maybe not so much.

I sort of wonder what individual things I'll be glad to return to, that get lost in the gestalt of "home."  I wonder what unexpected things I'll miss from this apartment, which was arranged for the convenience of someone else.  I suspect I'll miss the ceiling fans.  A lot.  The upstairs neighbors or the washing machine from hell?  Maybe not.

But mostly, what I'm going to be when I get home?  Is busy.  Really busy.  So I'm glad I had some down-time, too, along with the general productivity.

For those keeping score:

Progress on Carousel Sun
60,852/100,000  OR 60.85% Complete

"Then I won't cross him," he said, and turned to go just as the first group of five -- four kids and one harassed-looking woman with several ticket books in her hand -- walked under the carousel's cheery roof.

rolanni: (storm at sea by rainbow graphics)

So I bought a book at the Harmon Museum -- yes, yes:  you're shocked.  The title is: The Great Steel Pier:  An Illustrated History of the Old Orchard Ocean Pier, by Peter Dow Bachelder (1998, Breakwater Press, Ellsworth, Maine).

Items of note so far:  the first carousel -- the nameless "German made" carousel -- that burned down in 1923, it says here -- is claimed to have been "the oldest of its kind in existence," having been at Old Orchard Beach since 1892.  I'm pretty sure there were other carousels around in 1892 (Just as a for instance, Gustav Dentzel's dates of production (note:  Gustav Dentzel was a German native) proceed from 1870) so I'm not sure what this "of its kind" business is all about.  O, Good; more research...

The first carousel was, just to clear up my error, replaced by a Dentzel merry-go-round, which subsequently burned in 1969, due to that fuse-box problem we discussed.

Leaving carousels, it seems that Old Orchard has always had trouble pulling together for its own best interest.  The pier idea was first floated by prominent businessman Henry Staples in 1879, but the cost of building such a thing -- the first of its kind -- was more than the rest of the local business people wanted to commit to, and so the idea was put on hold until 1898.  This allowed other ocean resorts -- notably Coney Island and Atlantic City -- to construct their steel piers first.

There were also a couple of false starts.  One guy wanted to build a stone pier -- get this -- over Googins Rocks -- but that got killed by the very business people who didn't want to spend the money on a steel pier, because the stone pier would have been blocks away from their business interests at the core of downtown.

So, anyhow, squabbling and scheming and pearl-clutching aside, the pier did finally get built, and it was a monster -- stretching 1800 feet out into the ocean.  The term at that time was "ocean-going pier."

Cruise ships came down from Portland,  docked at the far end of the pier and unloaded 800 passengers at a go.  There was a little steam train that ran the whole length from the Velvet Hotel, at landside, to the Casino, just short of the cruise ship docking.

And then there's the schooner Grecian Bend, out of Nova Scotia, bearing a load of plaster rocks (no, I don't know why) and headed for Boston (maybe there was no plaster in Boston?)  Coming down coast, the schooner developed a leak and the skipper decided to lay over in Portland for repairs.  But the sight of the newly-constructed casino glimpsed through thick fog convinced him he was further south than he actually was, and - long story short, he came aground at Grand Beach, about three-quarters of a mile north of the pier.  Very near, in fact, Temp Headquarters.

Now, here's the thing about the Grecian Bend:  Her crew had jettisoned cargo in order to try to float her, but she was grounded but good.  The rescue out of Biddeford Pool were able to deploy their surf boat and bring the crew out, but the schooner. . .just sat there.

She was purchased by a junk dealer out of Portland, who determined to refloat her, but that didn't work out, so. . .

. . .he just left her there - a derelict schooner.  On the beach.  Three-quarters of a mile out from the newest Wonder of the Eastern Seaboard.

Grecian Bend grounded in mid-June.  Over the next few months, just, yanno, sitting there in the sand, with the tide coming in and going out every six hours or so, every day, the schooner "hogged badly" (that means that it bent convexly along its length), and, one would imagine, became buried even deeper in the sand.

Along about Thanksgiving, though, there was a storm.  A very, very bad storm.  A killer storm.  Shipwreck buffs will know it as "The Portland Gale," which not only killed the steamer Portland, and all of its 191 passengers and crew, but 200 other ships.

The Grecian Bend broke to bits during this storm.  Pieces of it were flung by the furious waves into the yards of the ocean-facing cottages; and a large section of the hull lodged directly alongside the brand new pretty pier, right at the high tide line.

Before the town could do anything about it, on December 4, there was another storm -- not as bad; "just" a nor'easter.  The wreck rose on the storm tide and ripped the back (or front-most, depending on how you count) section of the pier, where the casino and the cruise ship dock was located.

The casino was smashed clean off the pier, plunged into the ocean and was delivered onto the beach in a state described by one eyewitness as  "...more completely demolished than if it had been blown up with dynamite."

And this, children, is why we ought not to leave derelict ships sitting for months on our beach.

rolanni: (ferris wheel)

Yesterday, it was raining, so I thought, "Perfect day to visit the History House!" and up the hill I went to that place.

I walked in, and immediately bumped into Jean, the curator, who was waiting for a couple who had called ahead to make an appointment, because!  The Harmon Museum and Historical Society closes on Labor Day.  Mind you, the sign doesn't say this, but I am very grateful to the couple who did call ahead for the tour, and graciously allowed me to ride on their coattails.

The Harmon House Museum was given to the Town of Old Orchard Beach by the Harmons, for the use of the Historical Society, so --  it's a 1920's cottage.  The front parlor is where the changing exhibits are housed, and the 2012 exhibit was about Ocean Park.  This is where the interest of my benefactors lay, and Jean started the tour in that room.

Now, a word about the tour.  I didn't want a tour, dernit.  I wanted to look around and ask questions.

By the time we were done, two hours later, I was so very happy to have had the tour.  Not only is the museum a gem of itself, but Jean the curator knows everything.  She came to Old Orchard Beach when she was seven years old; the couple who had made the appointment had summered and then lived in Ocean Park since the early 60s.  Talking to them was like having footnotes to the tour.  It was amazing.

Anyhow, I learned a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff.  I learned that the first carousel to burn down in Old Orchard Beach had been hand-carved by  "a German company" -- one of three at that time in the US (not useful not to have the name, but knowing the names of carousel manufacturers is probably a level of geekitude more focused than the broad knowledge base demanded of the curator of the town museum.)

In any case, the second carousel to burn down was the Herschell-Spillman, and that fire, Jean said, sounding just as corked off as if it had happened last week -- that fire was "completely avoidable."  Those of us who are older'n spit remember the fuse boxes with the glass fuses.  And if a fuse blew, you could kind of hold its place by sticking a penny over the contact?  Well, the carousel keeper had just kept adding pennies, and never remembered, or cared to, replace the actual fuses.  So the fire started in the fuse box, nobody noticed and by the time they did, and the fire department was called, the ride was fully engaged.

Let's see...

I learned that Old Orchard Beach had been favored as a place for planes attempting the transatlantic crossing to take off from because of the nature of the beach, which at that time had been very broad and packed hard with very fine white sand.

I said that I had read of the powdery white sand of the beach, but had considered that PR, because the sand isn't particularly white on Old Orchard Beach, and is noticeably coarse.

"That's because of Camp Ellis," said the woman from Ocean Park. (Camp Ellis is pronounced locally camPELis, just by the way)  Jean agreed.

"Before the Army Corps of Engineers put in the jetty to protect the point, the Saco River and the ocean just sort of. . .met there, and the water action. . .but with the jetty, we get too much sand, and it's like gravel.  the beach isn't even as wide as it was when I was growing up here."

I also learned -- I'm going to knock this off pretty soon, honest, and not make you listen to all the stuff I learned, fascinating as it was -- I also learned about the Dummy Railroad.  And!  for those who were around for the Surfside*/Surf Avenue discussion, I learned -- I love this. . .

There was no Surf Avenue in Old Orchard Beach, but there was, as a convention for the mailman, a "Surf" address.  This was to differentiate the houses that faced onto East/West Grand Avenue, and the houses that faced the beach, or, the surf.  Those houses had sea walls and steps that went down to the beach -- no longer visible because the change in the sand distribution has built up the dunes so much.

*deep breath*

OK, I'm done boring y'all with this.  I had fun; I got so much information that I came back to Temp Headquarters and took a nap so my head wouldn't explode with all the Cool Stuff.

If you're ever in Old Orchard Beach, go to the Harmon Museum.  Really.  You will not regret it.

Here's the webpage

Oh, no, wait!  I have to tell you about the grand pianos...

See, during the Big Fire in 1907, when it looked like the whole town was afire, all the tourists and a lot of the residents ran to their homes/hotels and filled steamer trunks with their valuables.  A couple of the hotels even dragged their grand pianos out -- and everybody put their stuff on the nice wide beach, believing that this was the place that was safest from the fire.

Which it was.

What they had forgotten in their fright was that. . .the tide comes in.

And it did, and it swept all the loot on the beach out to sea.

And much of it -- but not all of it -- came back over a period of weeks, in what condition you may imagine, after having been kissed by the sea...


*Sadly, Jean couldn't help me with the Surfisde question.  All she had in archives were copies of some old penny postcards advertising the Surfside Resort and Cabins, and a copy of the article from the Port Press that was written when the grounds were closed, and sold the the developer of the Sunspray condos.

rolanni: (juggling the moons)

So, I'm still down here at Temp Headquarters.  One of my goals was to walk 5 miles a day -- that comes down to those magic 10,000 steps fitness folk like to talk about.  I've made that much...some days.  Some days I've made more, some less -- say, an average of 4 miles a day, since I've been living someplace with sidewalks and a downtown, and, yes, the Atlantic Ocean, all to hand.

I have noticed that, I do think better when I can walk; that walking helps me work out knotty problems in the work-in-progress in a way that just staring at the screen until the beads of blood form on my forehead just doesn't.

I've also noticed that walking four or five miles a day. . .takes time.  At the pace I walk, about two hours.  Maybe two-and-a-half.  It's not that I begrudge the time -- after all, not only does it help me think, but walking's good for me, physically -- but it is time, there are a limited number of hours in the day, and adding in two hours of something means that two hours of something else needs to be eliminated.

Also, I worry, most sincerely, that I won't be able to keep up my four mile/day habit, once I return to the Cat Farm,.  Log trucks, hunters, drivers texting while blaring down the road at 60+ mph, and similar perils of the natural world make walking perilous in the immediate vicinity, and getting in a car to drive someplace to walk seems like too much effort.


One of my other goals was to go home with most of a book and a good, solid idea for another in hand.  I've been writing 2,000 words/day, which is a pretty good rate. If I can keep it up through the end of my stay, I'll have 3/5ths of Carousel Sun completed.  That's nothing to sneeze at, certainly.

In the meantime, I miss Steve, and the cats,  at the same time I'm a little blue to realize that my working vacation will be over in only 12 more days.

...and that's the news that's fit to print, from Temp Headquarter.

Just a note

Monday, September 17th, 2012 11:57 am
rolanni: (blackcatmoon)
There's a new entry in the Archers Beach Blog, here.  And, some more pictures have been added to the Archers Beach Photo-Diary

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