More than half of the authors published in Beach Nights gathered in Browseabout Books between 2-4PM today to celebrate the release of this fourth annual Rehoboth Beach Reads anthology by Cat and Mouse Press.
To say the turnout was impressive would be an understatement. Many books were signed, much cake and wine consumed, and it was a joy to finally meet editor and publisher Nancy Sakaduski and several of my fellow contributing authors. My heartfelt gratitude to Nancy for all of her hard work on the Rehoboth Beach Reads contest from editing to publishing to arranging the book launch and everything in between!
Special thanks also to writer pal Susanna Reilly for making the trip from PA to show her support and to her dad for buying lunch at the Purple Parrot!
After the signing was over, I took the time to kick off my flip-flops and hit the beach for about 20 minutes before making the journey home with yet more fond memories of this wonderful town that has become my second home.
For those of you within driving distance of Rehoboth Beach, DE next Sunday, November 13, consider stopping by Browseabout Books on Rehoboth Avenue, just two blocks up from the boardwalk. Between 2-4PM, Cat & Mouse Press will be launching their fourth annual Rehoboth Beach short story anthology, BEACH NIGHTS.
In Beach Nights, readers will encounter a ghostly WWII tower (Phil says: Hey, that’s my story!) and a couple with an unusual annual tradition; a girl who finds her voice at a jazz club and a boy who learns the snow cone king has a secret; an old lady who is inspired to get a tattoo, and a despondent man who is resurrected through the tango.
Beach Nights opens with a funny and romantic story involving a high school prom, and continues through tales that involve a mermaid’s moon, a “Vampire Surf Club,” senior disco queens, a seemingly haunted Funland ride, a murder at a Rehoboth hotel, a moonlit sea turtle rescue, and a kid who sneaks into a James Brown concert and meets the man himself.
Many of the authors will be in attendance to sign copies of the book, as well as the editor and judges. Refreshments will be served, and prizes will be given away!
In case you missed my other five or six posts about the Rehoboth Beach Reads short story contest, my paranormal tale, “Tower 16” took second place and will be published in the anthology, Beach Nights, coming in November from Cat and Mouse Press.
In fact, the book launch is scheduled for November 13, 2-4PM, at Browseabout Books on Rehoboth Avenue.
My story focuses on lonely WWII veteran and Rehoboth Beach resident Reggie Prell and his doting granddaughter, Hannah, who is visiting him during summer vacation with her parents. In between regaling Hannah with stories of his army career, Reggie is confronted by the ghosts of his brothers-in-arms, all of whom have passed away over the years leaving Reggie the lone surviving member of his battery. Realizing that his end is near, Reggie reveals to Hannah the legend of Tower 16—which only materializes to claim the souls of those who served in the fire control towers along Delaware’s coast. Will Tower 16 come for Reggie next?
I was told by the editor of the anthology that my story actually made one of the judges cry. I know it certainly moved me as I wrote it.
So What Is This Tower You Keep Referring To?
I’ve been fascinated by the WWII fire control towers along Delaware’s coast for years and always wanted to write a story about them, but it was not until the Beach Nights contest was announced that an idea finally came to me.
After all, tell a paranormal fiction writer that you’re looking for stories that take place at night and whaddaya expect to get?
My connection to Rehoboth Beach seems to strengthen each year. I was married there, and as I write this, I am back in town with my wife as we celebrate our anniversary.
For the past four summers, she and I have rented a house for a week every July with friends, and we take the occasional day trip here as our schedules permit.
When at all possible, I also try to include a visit to Tower 7 in Cape Henlopen. It is the only tower open to the public at present, but there is a growing movement to restore and open some of the others.
This past July, I had the pleasure of visiting Tower 3 near Dewey Beach, which I’d spotted earlier in the day during a parasailing excursion.
Of course, trips to the beach wouldn’t be complete without stimulating the local economy. This time, I finally bought a few tower-themed goodies from the local shops, including a t-shirt and two wooden plaques as pictured here.
Below are several pictures taken not only of the tower in Cape Henlopen, but images of the ocean, the bay, and surrounding park taken by me from the very top of the tower.
The Purpose of the Towers
The Fire Control Towers were constructed by the US Army in the early days of WWII to protect the Delaware Bay from potential incursion by German vessels.
There were 11 total concrete towers built between Cape Henlopen and Bethany Beach. Across the bay in New Jersey, two were built in Cape May and still exist, while the pair in Wildwood have been demolished.
Further north in Delaware, five metal towers were raised in Fort Saulsbury, but only one remains at Big Stone Beach as shown below. Photo credit: http://www.fortsaulsburyde.com
The towers were mostly constructed in pairs in order to triangulate the position of enemy ships. The information would then be transmitted back to the gun crews.
Cape Henlopen was also the location of Fort Miles army base. Today, the base remains as a tourist attraction with many of the large caliber guns on display alongside the buildings as shown below.
Below: From the top of Tower 7, views of Delaware Bay, Atlantic Ocean, and Tower 12 in Cape Henlopen State Park.
Below: Tower 7 in Cape Henlopen State Park on a perfect summer day.
The official word is out!
We will have wine, cake, free raffles, and authors on hand to sign your copy!
My story, “Tower 16” took second place and $250 in the contest at the end of July. It will be among 24 stories published in the collection.
The final layout was sent to the authors earlier this week for review before going to press. Exciting times!