The Advance Scout
My longtime friend Melina, born and raised in Maryland like me, went to the beach last weekend with a friend and a trunk full of Ocean City Lowdown paperbacks. What a sport! She chronicled her day's adventures, and hit me hard with a wave of Maryland nostalgia! Here's what Melina was up to last Saturday.
It was a sunny, gorgeous day on the back roads of 404. There were watermelon stands and fresh corn signs all along the way. We stopped at Ocean Downs Casino. WHEEL of FORTUNE! My dear friend Lesley won a heavy pour of Sauvignon Blanc. It was Sicily bonus day and every half hour a name would be announced and someone squealed across the room.
Anyway ... time to boogie over to Rehoboth! We drove the 26 miles up Rt. 1 through the Fenwick, Bethany stretch. That area has become a haven for gated communities and Mercedes. Dewey, on the other hand, was like a frat house. Traffic slowed to a crawl as parties from bars on both sides of the street spilled into the road. There were sloppy drunks, t-shirts, cut off shorts and couples of every combination.
Once in Rehoboth, we parked on Baltimore Ave. and found Proud Books. Jacques was behind the cashier bar surrounded by products like "Gun Oil" and tchotchkes both fabulous and inappropriate ( I would have loved to see the look on my sweet sister Terri's face). He had mischievous eyes and a curly, wicked smile.
He called us “advance scouts.” OMG. We just thought we were friends supporting a great author/book. He asked a lot of questions about the book and what we liked about it. Wanted specifics on the dirty parts. I focused on the salacious strip tease, but realized I should read the book again to really know it better because you never know what folks will ask! The lesbian question came up. Er…. “She will appeal to the Iesbian audience,” is what I went with. He really softened when we said it was your first novel in the series and took six copies. He sent us over to Cats Meow and Browseabout Books.
We went through the adorable alley that connects Baltimore Ave. to the main Rehoboth thoroughfare. The alley has a couple of shops in it with jewelry and coffee. Then we turned right and spoke to the folks at Browseabout. The Cats Meow is adjacent, with older customers picking up fancy beach wares. The book side was neat, with an even bigger book selection than Proud.
We moseyed down to a beach glass and jewelry store called Scandanavian Occasion. Picked up some silver earrings and spoke to the young lesbian folks who seemed to be running the place. They do sell books and other decorations for your beach house and pretty trinkets and things. I left them a book.
Then we went into Jake’s for some amazing salads, fish tacos and stuffed mushrooms. Decor was meh..but great food and service. We parked ourselves on the beach for a while to feel the salt air and listen to the waves. The beach was crowded with Latin and African American families—way more diversity here than I see in Ocean city. Most moms had magazines to read. I didn't see many tablets or books among the heat and sand and water.
Then back down Route 1 to OC.
Ocean City in July is a wonderful, hot mess. There are folks everywhere. Apparently we import Jersey families now. Dogs, boats, kids, classic cars and skateboard dudes. We passed a tattooed longhair golden god with dubious career goals. I could see Jaime with him. Muscle shirts still big. Sunsation has an array of them, plus shorts with “Ocean City, MD” on the bum and neon lace cover up tanks and matching micro mini skirts to go over your bikini. I can only imagine the spiderweb sunburn that could result.
We didn't have luck with bookstores in OC. Where are they? There was one mentioned on Yelp called Mel’s New and Used Books on 101st, but we couldn't find it. We ended up leaving a copy at the OC Chamber of Commerce, the OC Library and the Carousel gift shop.
Liquor stores were filled with po-po. I don't know if there was a crackdown on underage drinking or what.
So we went to Fager's Island for dinner and to watch the sun go down to the 1812 Overture. It was such a gorgeous night. The dark, cloudy water goes silvery blue on the bayside at sundown. The sky was pink and coral. Just breathtaking. Dinner there was not as good as lunch at Jake’s, but their margaritas never disappoint.
OC is funny. I haven't hit on their literary underground. I wonder if Sunsations or other stores that sell beach bags would sell your book?
The Convention Center always has something going on ... this was Greek weekend, for instance.
Had a great time! At your service and hope to sell the remaining books! Love you. Keep writing. Jamie forever!