Witchcraft by the Sea

In April, I flew from Texas to Boston, then took the shuttle up to Salem. Living in so far inland, I miss the ocean, and there she was! Big. Gray and Blue. Salty. Really wanted to live in one of the houses fronting the beach road, really wanted to be cozy in one while a storm raged. Instead, the sky was blue, the wind mild, and the temperature perfect. Can’t complain about that.

In Salem, every block seems to have an on-site visionary who will tell your future or take you on a ghost tour. Paranormal paraphernalia dominates the souvenir shops. I skipped that stuff, but as I wandered around town, I happened up on a cemetery dating back to 1637. Wow. Among the folks buried there is Judge Hathorne, famously judgmental in the 1692 witch trials. Ironic and sad that an incident of such profound tragedy should now be the fuel for the city’s economy.

My other tourist find was the ship Friendship wharved at the waterfront. She was built in the 1790s, sailed the world as a cargo ship, and made her owners rich rich rich. The vessel I toured was recreated in the 1990s to be as authentic as possible, with the addition of Garmin GPS and diesel engines. Really good tour by a National Park Ranger.

I was in Salem to give a presentation at the New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America. It’s a small conference, but we had Donald Maas as a speaker. He’s a high-powered literary agent and an excellent teacher. Hannah Howell of the Highlander novels was there to sign books. Anne Stuart, who writes romance about the rakehell society of the Regency, gave an irreverent, funny speech.

My talk was titled The Most Villainous of All: How to use the traits of psychopaths to create your own compelling villains. Every time I’ve given this talk, the q and a at the end is heartrending. Inevitably someone tells us about her life being shattered by a psychopath. Sometimes by a psychopathic child. Their stories are haunting, all of them full of pain.

Oh! One more thing happened. Kate and William got married that weekend. I watched them and the rest of the royals come onto the balcony at Buckingham Palace to wave to the crowd and share a couple of kisses. Seem like a really nice couple.

Came home, revved up, and got to work on my Work In Progress. Good trip.

About glcraig

Gretchen Craig’s lush, sweeping tales deliver edgy, compelling characters who test the boundaries of integrity, strength, and love. Told with sensitivity, the novels realistically portray the raw suffering of people in times of great upheaval. Gretchen was born and raised in Florida. She’s lived in climates and terrain as diverse as the white beaches of the Gulf Coast, the rocky shores of Maine, and the dusty plains of Texas. Her awareness of place imbues every page with the smell of the bayous of Louisiana, the taste of gumbo in New Orleans, or the grit of a desert storm. Rich in compelling characters and historical detail, Always and Forever is a sweeping saga of Josie and Cleo, mistress and slave. Amid Cajuns and Creoles, the bonds between these two remarkable women are tested by prejudice, tragedy, and passion for one extraordinary man. Gretchen’s first novel won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence for Mainstream with Romantic Elements and was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in the Historical Novel Society reviews. Ever My Love, winner of the Booksellers Best Award from the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, continues the story of Cleo and Josie’s families, of their struggle for principle, justice, and love in a world where the underpinnings of the plantation culture are crumbling. Crimson Sky, inspired by the pueblos, mountains, and deserts of New Mexico, evokes the lives of people facing neighboring marauders and drought. Now the march of Spanish Conquistadors up the Rio Grande threatens their homeland, their culture, and their entire belief system.
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