Book Tour & Giveaway: Shell House, Mindful Writers Retreat SeriesAugust 3, 2022
A compelling new beach read from the authors of Mindful Writers Retreat. From new love to old love... even the love of a house plays host to generations of special events at Shell House. Beautifully situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Silver Lake, this magnificent home is the perfect setting for inner transformation and life-changing beach memories. From the Roaring '20s to modern times, the shifting sands lend a glorious backdrop to intrigue, bootlegging, a séance, an alien visit, and true love as precious as hidden treasure.
Contributors include: Lorraine Donohue Bonzelet, Gloria Bostic, Deborah Hetrick Catanese, Jennifer D. Diamond, Judy England-McCarthy, Phil Giunta, Kimberly Kurth Gray, Hilary Hauck, Larry Ivkovich, Stephanie Keyes, S. M. Kraftchak, Cindy Moldovan, Amy Morley, Michael Morley, James Robinson, Jr., Larry Schardt, Carol Schoenig, Kathleen Shoop, Demi Stevens, Lisa Valli, Madhu Bazaz Wangu, Denise Weaver, and Michele Zirkle.
Proceeds will benefit the Marine Education, Research, and Rehabilitation Institute of Delaware (MERRinstitute.org). We hope that you love the collection, and that the funds we raise help to preserve the gift that Rehoboth is to all.
Mammanatty's Review: In this fourth installment of the Mindful Writers Retreat Anthology Series you will find a beautiful collection of short stories that circle around the city of Rehoboth and its famous Shell House. The authors include a bit of the history of Rehoboth and share experiences of different types of love. Stories that feature bootlegging, fantasy, science-fiction, architectural conservation, and many more to explore the ways people love. I really enjoyed these stories and the couple of recipes included! A perfect beach theme and read!
Enjoy these book excerpts...
FLORA & GEORGE
June 21, 1925
Flora Daniels and Rachel Platt slept on chaise lounges by the sea, waves crashing in mesmerizing rhythm, salt and jasmine perfuming the air. Flora stirred, the wooden slats digging into her spine. The rising sun warmed her cheeks. Without opening her eyes she groped the sand for her hat and pulled it on. She swallowed anxiety and reminded herself that this would be the last time she took such a risk. The Shell House Soiree would bring enough lettuce for her to buy back her father’s farm, pay for her brother’s attorney, and more. She’d even begun to grow her hair out so she could easily return to boring old farm life without sparking the least curiosity from her old neighbors.
If only the booze had arrived on schedule she would feel as carefree as she needed to appear. Every other non-alcoholic detail for the party had been executed. She cheered herself with reminders that she’d never failed before. Yes, the boozy delivery was delayed. But better safe than stuffed away in the Big House and made an example of how bootlegging could go bad in a quiet, resort town like Rehoboth Beach.
“Morning.” The Shell House cook Molly’s voice and the scent of coffee came from behind Flora. She gestured to a third chaise. “Sit. Have a cup. What’s new?”
“Thank you,” Molly said, “but no. My family reunion.”
Flora swung her legs around and put her feet in the sand, reaching for a mug. “Oh, right. Yes. You leave this morning.”
“The servers you hired are already organizing in the kitchen, fluttering about the house, moving furniture for the band and…” Molly’s knuckles whitened as she gripped the second mug tightly.
Flora understood Molly’s concern. She was the primary caretaker of the mansion nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Silver Lake. “Mrs. Carpenter knows you’re not responsible for anything this weekend. Everything will be all right.”
Molly sighed and set the second mug in the sand near Rachel who sat up.
“You little rosebud, you, Molly,” Rachel said. “You’re saving us with the best Joe I’ve ever smelled in my life.”
Molly nodded. “It was lovely to meet you both. Thank you for promising to be gentle with the house and for, well, I baked something special—not elegant like the foods you’ve selected for the soiree but… I felt the need to make one humble thing. Just some canned fruit and flour.”
Flora smiled, wishing she had more time to spend with Molly, the kind of friend she used to have. “You didn’t have to do that.”
“Well, loooooky there,” Rachel said.
Flora ignored Rachel, wanting to reassure Molly.
Molly continued. “I’ll stow it in the pantry for when you need something different, when, you know, when a need reveals itself. I don’t know. It’s silly.”
“Sounds fabulous.” Flora wasn’t sure what Molly meant, but the lady had been so sweet and hospitable that she took the gesture to heart.
Rachel shook Flora’s arm. “Seriously, look at those jelly beans.”
Flora lifted her hat brim to see what Rachel was harping about.
“I think my heart stopped,” Rachel said.
Flora’s breath hitched. “I think the condition is catching.”
Two men in deliciously immodest bathing costumes sauntered toward them like jungle cats, wet skin glistening.
Flora forced her breath to even out, confused, energized, curious as the gaze of the tall, dark heartthrob turned her inside out.
Celine Vranic stood at the window in the second-floor bedroom of Shell House, the doomed Carpenter mansion. The huge master suite’s luxurious furnishings, including a four-poster canopy bed, hardwood floor, twin bathrooms, and wood-burning fireplace, held no interest for her. She’d studied and sketched all the rooms multiple times in the last three days. Now, only the view of the moonlit coastline between Delaware’s Rehoboth and Dewey beaches riveted her attention.
She turned as soft footfalls behind her broke the spell. “Ready, love?” Julia Boisseau stood at the doorway of the bedroom. “It’s time.”
Time, Celine thought. That’s the irony, isn’t it?
The historic house and its acre of beachfront property had been for sale for over a year with no takers. A shame and a tragedy, everyone said, yet no individual or organization had been able to come to the mansion’s rescue, which was now slated for demolition.
So it was up to Celine and Julia. Celine had come up with a fantastic, unbelievable plan but, with Julia’s mystical help, Celine was sure it could work.
“Not having second thoughts, are you?” Julia said. She and Julia married in 2013 when same-sex marriage became legal in their state. Julia was agelessly beautiful, despite her middle years. Her dark-brown skin was flawless, her youthfully trim, tall figure graceful beneath a long, blue sundress. Black hair tumbled about her shoulders in thin braids.
Second thoughts? Celine ran a hand through short, graying, auburn hair. She glanced at the jeans, sneakers, and T-shirt she wore over her own still-slim body. Her “traveling clothes,” as it were. She dressed for comfort because, as Julia said, no one at the party in the 1941 timeline would even know Celine was present.
She’d be an astral-projected observer out-of-time, an unseen temporal traveler, one not trying to alter the past in order to change the future. Or inhabiting the body of someone in that timeline in order to act. Or trying to find out who really assassinated JFK, stopping 9/11, or discover the identity of Jack the Ripper. As tempting as all that was, they could only perform this ceremony once, the numinous energies being site-specific.
Celine was determined to find something which had been hidden within the labyrinthine depths of Shell House decades earlier. A phone conversation with her grandmother six months earlier had been the spark…
SEE YOU AROUND THE COSMOS,
Dewey Beach, Delaware
In the chill of late autumn, Jenna wriggled her toes in the wet sand while gelid waves soaked the rolled cuffs of her jeans. She had driven to her family’s beach house in Delaware from the University of Maryland and arrived a few hours after sunset. No sooner had she parked her Fiero in the garage than she kicked off her Keds and rushed to the edge of the surf.
“Knew I’d find you out here, garotinha,” a voice called. “Only you would stand barefoot in freezing water to stare at the sky. Just like when you were little.”
Jenna grinned at the familiar Portuguese diminutive for little girl, but her gaze remained fixed on the heavens as her family’s housekeeper, Rosa, trudged toward her with flashlight in hand. “It feels wonderful. You should try it.”
“No, thanks. This old gal can see the stars just fine from back here.”
“I might bring my telescope out to the patio tonight.”
“You’ll have plenty of time for it. Your mother called a few minutes ago. There was some legal problem with that big merger. Your father had to go into the office to help with negotiations.”
Jenna kicked a clump of wet sand into the water. “Always business before family.”
“Your parents and brother won’t get here until after midnight. Want me to stay until they arrive?”
Jenna sauntered up the beach and wrapped her arms around Rosa. “As much as I would love your company, I don’t want to keep you from your family the night before Thanksgiving.”
Rosa shrugged. “I’m only going to Dover to stay with my sister and her husband for the weekend. They’re doing all the cooking. A traditional Portuguese feast.”
“Sounds wonderful, but don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine tonight. I’m a big girl now, you know.”
“You’ll always be garotinha to me. Can I make you something to eat before I leave?”
“I grabbed pizza on the way.”
“I don’t know how you college kids survive on junk food. Look, a shooting star!” Rosa thrust a finger toward the sky where a small white orb streaked through the constellation Pegasus. “Make a wish.”
“I’m not a kid anymore, Rosa.”
“You were a lot more agreeable when you were.”
“That’s moving too slow for a meteor.”
“Maybe it’s a jet or a satel—” The orb turned forty-five degrees west and shot across the sky until it disappeared behind the trees. “Meu Deus!” Rosa gaped at Jenna. “Tell me that was a UFO.”
“Well, it was no jet or satellite and sure as hell wasn’t debris.”
“You can tell your family you saw an alien ship.”
Jenna snickered. “I’m an astronomy major and a sci-fi nerd. They’d never believe me.”
“I’ll back you up.”
“I doubt that’ll help. You’ve been my partner in crime since I was five.”
“True, but what else could it have been?”
“I guess we’ll never know.”
“I can’t wait to tell my sister about it. Anyway, the turkeys are in the fridge and the dining room table is set.”
“And I’m sure the place is immaculate as always. We’ll make sure it stays that way.” The women embraced once more. “Thank you for getting the house ready for us, Rosa. Safe drive to Dover and have a fabulous holiday.”
“You, too. Hose the sand off your feet before you go inside and no wild parties tonight, garotinha.”
“Just me, my telescope, and the stars. I’m sure that UFO was the craziest thing that’ll happen this evening.”
Proceeds from this book will benefit the Marine Education, Research, and Rehabilitation Institute of Delaware, (MERRinstitute.org), a non-profit stranding response and rehabilitation organization dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals and sea turtles. MERR Institute, Inc. is authorized by National Marine Fisheries Service and the State of Delaware to be the official standing respondents for the Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles of Delaware.
Rehoboth’s coastline and its waters provide food, recreation, housing, and opportunities for millions of people, all of this use means we need to take even better care for the environment that lends romance, inspiration, joy, and relaxation.
Also available in the Mindful Writers Retreat Series...
Into the Woods
Short stories, poems, essays, music, and one walking meditation. Each piece is unique in tone and genre and the result is that the collection captures the fascinating, frightening, fun, healing, and fantastical wonder of time spent in the woods.
Proceeds support the research and work of The Children's Heart Foundation.
Featuring: Lorraine Bonzelet, Wende Dikec, Teresa Futrick, Selah Gray, Hilary Hauck, Eileen Enwright Hodgetts, Larry Ivkovich, Lori M. Jones, Kimberly Kurth Gray, Ramona DeFelice Long, Laura Lovic-Lindsay, MaryAlice Meli, Amy Morley, Gail Oare, Sherren Elias Pensiero, Kim Pierson, Cara Reinard, James Robinson, Jr., Larry Schardt, Linda K. Schmitmeyer, Carol Schoenig, Kathleen Shoop, Martha Swiss, Madhu Bazaz Wangu, Denise Weaver, Michele Zirkle.
Over the River and Through the Woods
A holiday pastiche from the authors of Mindful Writers Retreat, sure to light your festive candles! From a Thanksgiving snowstorm that mends old feuds... to the family misunderstandings that fuel new ones... a quirky elf and some romantic stardust will get you ready to go Over the River and Through the Woods on a journey through time!
Love on the Edge
Experience love's emotional gamut from the authors of Mindful Writers Retreat, sure to bring joy and bliss to your heart any time of year. From love in the time of war... to love at first sight and long walks in the snow... to sparks flying because of nosy neighbors... Love on the Edge reveals the essence and evolution of the human need for relationship, written in a time when we're all searching for deeper meaning and connection.
With stories by: Lorraine Donohue Bonzelet, Jennifer D. Diamond, Abigail Drake, Judy England-McCarthy, Phil Giunta, N. J. Hammer, Kimberly Kurth Gray, Hilary Hauck, S. M. Kraftchak, Ramona DeFelice Long, MaryAlice Meli, Amy Morley, Gail Oare, Kim Pierson, James Robinson, Jr., Kathleen Shoop, Demi Stevens, Lisa Valli, Deborah Vita, Madhu Wangu, Denise Weaver, and Michele Zirkle.
Proceeds benefit Allegheny Children's Initiative-Partners For Quality, Inc.
Writing Inspiration Through Mindful Walking
Romancing Your Muse Book 1
Walking is such a simple thing, but its addition to your creative habits is life-changing.
Writing Inspiration Through Mindful Walking was written as an introductory guide to familiarize those attending Mindful Writers Retreats with the walking component of the event. When those ideas helped attendees far beyond the boundaries of the retreat, the content was expanded.
Prompts encourage you to add walking into your current writing practice, and to experience the ways walking can fuel writing volume while also raising its quality.
Poetry by Madhu Bazaz Wangu serves as the perfect accompaniment, a meditative lure to further inspire your writing life.
Take the first step!
Mindful Writers Retreat Authors
The Mindful Writers retreat together several times a year in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. While there, they write books and come up with some wonderful stories. They share these in their anthologies.
Find the Mindful Writers Retreat Series on Facebook HERE
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I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
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