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The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable, Some Bright Morning, I'll Fly Away by Alice Anderson, The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams, The Wardrobe Mistress by Meghan Masterson, The Idea of You by Robinne Lee, The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka, The Inevitable Collision of Birdie&Bash by Candace Ganger, According to A Source by Abby Stern, Stars Over Clear Lake by Loretta Ellsworth.
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About the Author
New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment, MICHELLE GABLE graduated from The College of William&Mary. When not dreaming up fiction on the sly, she currently resides in Cardiff by the Sea, California, with her husband, two daughters, and one lazy cat.
ALICE ANDERSON’s work has appeared in literary journals including Agni and New Letters and is featured in anthologies such as American Poetry and On The Verge. Her second collection of poetry, The Watermark, contains three Pushcart Prize–nominated poems; her first, Human Nature, was published to critical acclaim. The recipient of The Plum Review Prize, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Prize, and The Great Lakes Colleges Best First Book Prize, she also received the Haven Foundation Grant from Stephen King.
JENNY D. WILLIAMS has lived in the U.S., Uganda, and Germany. She holds an MFA from Brooklyn College and a BA from UC Berkeley. Her award-winning fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and illustrations have been published in The Sun Magazine, Vela, and Ethical Traveler, as well as several anthologies. A former Teachers&Writers Collaborative fellow and recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation grant for emerging writers, she currently lives in Seattle with her husband and dog. The Atlas of Forgotten Places is her first novel.
MEGHAN MASTERSON graduated from the University of Calgary and has worked several unrelated jobs while writing on the side. As a child, she gave her parents a flowery story about horses every year for Christmas. She is drawn to strong historical figures and situations which present unexpected opportunities for her characters. Meghan loves reading at all hours, cooking, and going for walks with her dog. She and her husband live in Calgary. Meghan is the author of The Wardrobe Mistress.
ROBINNE LEE is an actor, writer and producer. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Robinne was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. Robinne has numerous acting credits in both television and film, most notably opposite Will Smith in both Hitch and Seven Pounds. She recently completed shooting Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, playing Ros Bailey. Robinne currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. The Idea of You is her first novel.
KRISTEN LEPIONKA is the Shamus Award-winning and Anthony and Mcavity Award-nominated author of The Last Place You Look and What You Want to See. She grew up mostly in her local public library, where she could be found with a big stack of adult mysteries before she was out of middle school. She is a co-founder of the feminist podcast Unlikeable Female Characters, and she lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats.
CANDACE GANGER is the author of The Inevitable Collision of Birdie&Bash as well as a contributing writer for Hello Giggles and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. Candace—aka—Candyland—has a severe Milky Way latter addiction + eats way too many donuts/doughnuts but all things in excess, amiright? FYI: She’s TOTALLY awkward in person (#sorrynotsorry). She lives in Ohio with her family.
ABBY STERN has been a Hollywood insider and freelance celebrity reporter for over seven years. She has covered red carpets and interviewed A-list celebrities for People Magazine among other places. Her fascination with the entertainment industry will never tire. She resides in Los Angeles with her dignity (mostly) intact and shattered dreams of a stand-up comedy career.
Loretta Ellsworth grew up in Mason City, IA. A former teacher and a graduate of Hamline University with a Master’s Degree in Writing for Children, she is the award-winning author of four young adult novels. She has four children and six grandchildren and lives in Lakeville, MN. Stars Over Clear Lake is her first novel for adults.
Read an Excerpt
Spring/Summer 2017 St. Martin's First Sampler
By Michelle Gable, Alice Anderson, Jenny D. Williams, Meghan Masterson, Robinne Lee, Kristen Lepionka, Abby Stern, Loretta Ellsworth
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Michelle Gable
All rights reserved.
Island ACKtion CLIFF HOUSE A GONER? May 15, 2013
Rumor has it the quintessential Nantucket manse known as Cliff House is days away from falling into the ocean. A heartbreak to be sure. It's the only original and complete pre-1978 building left on the northernmost half of Baxter Road.
For anyone living under a seashell, the home is all the way over in Sconset, atop a bluff and a few hops from the Sankaty Head lighthouse and the famous golf course where you can find a certain hoodied NFL coach swinging his clubs.
Cliff House is a lovely old place that has been besieged by decades of erosion, Mother Nature really kicking it up a notch as of late. The old broad unleashed Hurricane Sandy last fall, followed by that nasty blizzard in February, and a nor'easter in March with winds exceeding 90 MPH. In a scant eight months, Cliff House has lost over fifty feet of bluff. That's half a football field y'all. The guy in the hoodie could tell you that.
As most know, town shaker Cissy Codman owns Cliff House. Girlfriend claims to have a few tricks up her sleeve, sand recycling and barricades and whatnot. Lord knows Cissy is never short of sleeves. But whatever grand plans she's devised must first be okayed by various local interests and animosity runs deep between the humble Nantucketers and the wealthy summer folk. Cissy Codman views herself as both, living mostly year 'round as she does but with loads of duckets in her coffers.
They say hope is lost but we at Island ACKtion find that a hard pill to choke down. If anyone can save the bluff, it's Cissy C. No doubt, she'll move heaven and earth to get what she wants. Let's pray the earth doesn't move first.
Stay tuned Nantucketers. This fight ain't over. Personally, I'll put my money on a spunky sexagenarian who never seems to sleep.
Corkie Tarbox, lifelong Nantucketer, steadfast flibbertigibbet. Married with one ankle-biter. Views expressed on the Island ACKtion blog (Twitter feed, Facebook, Instagram, et. al.) are hers alone. Usually.CHAPTER 2
Only Cissy Codman would pick someone up at the airport on a bike.
"Bess!" she hollers, pedaling up. "Elisabeth!"
Cissy is in her standard uniform: khaki shorts, denim button-down, beaten-up Keds. Her hair is tucked into a Red Sox baseball cap.
"Oh, Bess, you are beautiful!" she says and then annihilates her daughter with a Cissy-like hug. Vigorous. Aggressive. Almost punishing. "I expected so much worse, given the divorce."
"Uh, thanks. And Mom? A bike?"
Bess is far too flummoxed by the mode of transportation to grouse about any backhanded compliments, a Cissy Codman specialty. Bess is used to them by now, and the bike as well. None of it should come as a surprise yet Cissy always catches her daughter off guard.
"Do I need to rent a car?" Bess asks and wheels her suitcase out into the sunshine.
She shades her eyes with one hand.
"Don't be ridiculous," Cissy says. "This is Nantucket, not L.A."
"Okay, but I live in San Francisco, which is practically like living in an entirely different state. Also, you realize we're at least five miles from Cliff House?"
"Just over seven," Cissy says. "I have a basket on my bike, though!"
Bess glances down at her suitcase. It fits in an overhead compartment, but definitely not the weather-beaten wicker box dangling from Cissy's handlebars. Not to mention, Milestone Road is one boring, interminable shot out to Sconset. Bess doesn't enjoy biking it without luggage in tow.
"Cis, do you really think I can fit this ..." Bess gestures toward her suitcase. "Into that?"
She points to the basket which, come to think of it, is so lacking that even the Easter Bunny would complain.
"I didn't expect you to bring so much," Cissy says.
Bess leans in for a second hug. The first one came at her so fast she didn't have a chance to hold on.
"It's great to see you," she says. "I'm glad to find a few things never change."
Bess pulls back.
"And I love that you think you can drive the entire world on those scrawny legs of yours," she says. "But, seriously, we need to explore other options."
"Who raised you to be such a princess?" Cissy asks with a grin. "Sheesh. Too much time spent in California. Someone needs to remind you how New Englanders get things done."
She latches onto Bess's suitcase and tromps out toward the street — guiding the luggage with one hand, her bike with the other.
"I can carry that!" Bess calls.
Cissy quickens her pace, the curly, salty blonde ponytail bobbing through the hole of her hat. Bess flattens her dark, straight bangs, as if in response.
"I'm not sure why you're here," Cissy calls over her shoulder. "So far in advance of your cousin's wedding. Don't get me wrong. It's great to see you. But aren't you supposed to be working?"
Yes. Working. That's exactly what she should be doing. It's the same argument Bess made when her father called.
"Well, Dad says ..." Bess starts.
"Oh please." Cissy makes a snort-puff sound. "Your father exaggerates as a rule. He probably did his best raise your hackles, make the situation seem irreparably dire."
Bess shakes her head. Dire is one word for it. Catastrophic is another.
"Elisabeth, you have to drag your mother out of that house," he'd implored only seventy-two hours before. "I've tried but she stopped listening to me years ago. You're the only one who can help."
An observer might take this as a compliment, but it's not that Dudley believes his middle child possesses magical powers over one very stubborn and immovable matriarch. No, his faith is more practical, rooted mostly in Bess's ability to show up on short notice. Clay works a gajillion hours a week at their Dad's hedge fund, and he has two young kids plus a demanding, nine-months-pregnant wife who makes a full time job of issuing summons and demands. Meanwhile, last-born Julia is in the Sudan helping refugees because baby sisters with privileged upbringings can do that sort of thing. Especially when they graduated from Harvard.
"I can't just ditch my job and fly cross-country," Bess had told her dad. "I have to work. To get all of my shifts covered would inconvenience multiple people."
Not to mention her personal life is in a state of bedlam, though Bess did not mention that to him.
"I'd love to help," she lied. "But it's not feasible. Have you tried Clay or Lala?"
"Absolutely not. I'd never ask either one."
"Of course you wouldn't ..."
"Aren't you going to be on-island at the end of the month anyway?" he asked. "For Felicia's wedding? Leave earlier."
"Dad, I'm a physician. I can't just bail."
"Don't you work like three days a week?"
"Three shifts," she said. "Which actually are longer than an average workday."
"You work in the E.R."
"The E.D. It's really more of a department than a room."
Her dad was getting frustrated, a Dudley Codman hallmark, particularly when things weren't going his way. He was loud, exacting, and skilled at intimidation, like a dictator or the head of a drug cartel. But it all unraveled whenever somebody crossed him.
"Elisabeth," he said with a beleaguered sigh. "Just get some other doctor to cover for you. No one plans to see you specifically. Random people just show up with a stab wound or whatnot looking for anyone with a pulse."
"Also probably a medical degree. And we have precious few stab wounds. But I get what you're saying."
On some level, her father was right. It is rather simple to trade shifts and unlike her colleagues, Bess isn't opposed to working holidays. In fact, she prefers it. She likes doing people favors, plus emergencies tend to be better during times of celebration. There are less drug-seekers and paranoid moms.
"I'm already taking off for Memorial Day weekend," Bess had told him, counting backward in her head.
Ten days earlier than planned. That was no kind of option.
"And finagling the time for Flick's wedding was a major coup in the first place," she said. "They sort of expect me to work holidays."
"Why? Because you're a divorcee?"
"It's not quite that blatant. But, yes."
"Listen, I don't have time to argue," he'd said. "You'll go to Nantucket, help your mother pack, and drag her out of that crapshack she calls a home. Now, if you'll excuse me, one of my companies is about to release earnings and I'm positive they're going to post a miss."
"Dad, I'll talk to her when I'm there. I'll call her tonight! Surely nothing will happen between now and —"
"Listen Bess," he snapped. "If you don't get out to Sconset and deal with this, your mother is going to end up in a pile of rubble on the beach. You'll spend months trying to sort out which pieces are bones, and which are rocks."
And then the line went dead.
So, "dire"? Yes, he made it seem quite dire, right down to the shards of bone.
"I don't know, Cissy," Bess says now, once she catches up to her mom, a sixty-five-year-old lady who can run faster than any of them. "Dad made it sound pretty treacherous."
"If it were that bad, don't you think he'd be here?"
"He says the house is going to fall over the bluff."
"As if I'd let that happen."
Cissy jams two fingers into her mouth and emits a sharp whistle. A pair of terrified seagulls flap away from their telephone pole nest. She whistles again, then juts her thumb out toward the road.
"WE'RE HITCHHIKING?!" Bess yelps.
"Don't be such a pansy."
Bess stands open-mouthed, a droplet of sweat crawling down her back. One car passes, and then some time later another. Nantucket airport and environs is not exactly a hotbed for through-traffic. But, fortunately or unfortunately (Bess cannot decide), a large, white, wood-paneled truck appears in the distance. It approaches and then rolls to a stop.
"Is that ..." Bess starts.
"Just friggin' fabulous."
Cissy drops the bike, and then the suitcase.
"Go to hell Chappy!" she screams and raises both middle fingers.
"Polished as ever," the man says and leans across the passenger seat to leer at them through the open window. "What a mess, eh? Well, Bess. Welcome home."
"Thanks," she mumbles.
"Here, hop in."
"This is fucking perfect," Cissy grouses but throws the luggage and bike into the back nonetheless. "I guess you're the only option, on account of my daughter's baggage situation."
Baggage situation, Bess thinks with a smirk. How painfully appropriate.
"Are you even allowed to drive this thing?" her mother asks the man, their neighbor Chappy Mayhew, as they rumble away from the airport. "Don't you still have that DUI conviction on your record?"
Chappy laughs and shakes his head. Bess can't help but smile. Yep, it feels like Nantucket all right. Or, as Cissy would say, it's "just fucking perfect." Welcome home indeed.CHAPTER 3
"So, how ya been, doc?" Chappy asks as they splutter along toward Baxter Road, Bess wedged between him and her mother.
Cissy has her eyes closed and head pressed against the frame of the car. She keeps emitting small burps, as if she might be sick.
"Fine," Bess answers curtly. "I'm just dandy."
"So what brings you to our lovely island all the way from California? Far as I can remember, you haven't been 'round since your wedding. And that was, what? Two years ago?"
"Four," she says.
"Wow. That's a long time away from your mom."
"Give it a rest, Mayhew," Cissy says. "She visits us in Boston and I go to San Francisco at least once a month."
"You do?" Bess says.
"Anyway, mind your own damned business."
"Wouldn't that be a treat?" he says with a snort.
It would be tough for Chappy to mind his own damned business, given he lives in the gray saltbox directly across the road from Cliff House, or within shooting distance as Cissy would say, with some degree of cheer. Chappy's been their neighbor since before Bess was born and even if she didn't live so close, Cissy Codman is impossible to ignore what with all her incessant biking, town meeting intrusions, and the general propensity to raise hell.
In short, the two are natural enemies. He: a grotty local, the last commercial fisherman on the island. She: an indulged off-islander trying to screw with the ecosystem and therefore his livelihood. Though Cissy has actually lived in Sconset (mostly) full time for over twenty years, she considers herself a local through-andthrough, much to the vexation of Chappy and a few dozen others, probably more.
Cissy doesn't help her cause, absconding to Boston at the first snowflake, not to mention the millions she collects in bluff restoration dollars amongst her Summer People friends. They are saving the shoreline, dontcha know? Benefitting residents and visitors alike. Why they're downright heroic!
True Sconseters aren't buying that claptrap, though. In their view, off-islanders don't care about Nantucket, they care about their fancy summer homes. It's their own stupid fault anyway. Locals never would've been so idiotic as to build directly on a bluff.
"Minding my own business," Chappy says. "Would be a dream come true. Ya know, you two are pretty feisty for a couple of hitchhikers. I'm only gonna pick up dirty hippies from here on out."
"Sounds like a plan," Cissy grumbles.
As they drive along in achy silence, Bess considers that maybe they should've biked after all. She has no real beef against Chappy, other than his salty demeanor, but engaging him in pleasant fashion feels like a betrayal of Cissy. Plus, his truck seems to lack shock absorbers. Bess swears she can feel her bones clinking together.
"I assume you're here to pack up your mom," Chappy says at last. "Yank her out of that house."
"Something along those lines."
"The fight's not over," Cissy reminds them. "If I have to go down, it'll be swinging."
"Oh brother. Lady, I know you see this as a battle royale, an us-versus-them smack down ..."
"How many times do I have to tell you? There's no us or them. It's we! I'm one of you. I live here! We all want the same thing: a better Nantucket."
"A better Nantucket?" Chappy says and rolls his eyes. "Better for you, maybe. Using your golf ball money to keep property values sky-high and screw with the environment along the way. I mean, really. Just buy another damned house, why don't you. Or better yet, go back to America."
Bess smirks. Ah yes. The hallmark of a true Nantucketer. He views Boston as "America" and the island as something else entirely.
"First of all," Cissy says. "That is my home. I don't want another one, any more than you would. Secondly, we sold that business long ago, as you are well aware. Thirdly, my grandfather started his 'golf ball' company by reconstituting rubber scraps into useable material. In other words: recycling. Before it was fashionable to do so."
"Meanwhile, he had a factory on the riverbank, spewing god-knows-what into the Acushnet."
"That's quite enough."
"So this is fun," Bess pipes in.
"Bottom line, lady," Chappy says. "I don't much care if your family got their wealth saving orphans or trading them on the black market or in some other way. I don't care and God doesn't care. Not even ballsy Cissy Codman and her sacks of cash can fight the hands of time."
"Ballsy. I appreciate the compliment, really I do. But you already gave this not-particularly-compelling speech two nights ago and I remain unimpressed. We have a plan. Come hell or high water or fire or brimstone, I'm going to get it done."
"There'll be high water all right."
"In conclusion, as I've said so many times before: fuck off."
"Well all right then. You keep your plans. I'll stay on the side of Mother Nature and of God."
Chappy cranks the wheel hard left and steers them into his driveway. Bess can almost feel the strength and size of Cliff House at her back. She realizes then that she didn't even glance its way as they passed. Four years. Chappy is right. It's way too long.
"Here we are," he announces, unnecessarily.
Bess takes in a sharp breath.
"Well, thanks," Cissy says as she leaps out of the cab. "I suppose."
She yanks her bike from the truck bed. Meanwhile, Bess takes her time to disembark, first scooting across the crackled leather seat, before ultimately sliding down onto the ground.
"Stop dawdling!" Cissy yips.
Bess can hear the bike's wheels crunching on the gravel.
"Good grief, you've turned into a bona fide Californian, haven't you? Heaven help me. Hang loose brah."
"I have literally never heard anyone say that."
Dr. Bess Codman is indeed dawdling. What she's afraid to see, not even Bess understands. Perhaps the house will be as wrecked and keening as her dad described. Or maybe it'll be the same old place, the house even she lived in year-round, for a while, after her life had gone to shit. In other words, the glory days. It's funny what amounted to problems back then.
Alas, Bess can stall no longer, especially if Cissy has anything to say about it, which of course she always does. And so with both eyes squinched closed, Bess shuts the car door. She inhales, then twists her torso, once to the right, once to the left, and then back to straight again. At last Bess opens her eyes again. She pauses to let her mind swallow the scene.
And there it stands: the inveterate Cliff House. Large. Gray. Shingled. Surrounded by a massive privet hedge. Looking almost like it had before.
"Oh," she says aloud.
Maybe this isn't so bad.
Excerpted from Spring/Summer 2017 St. Martin's First Sampler by Michelle Gable, Alice Anderson, Jenny D. Williams, Meghan Masterson, Robinne Lee, Kristen Lepionka, Abby Stern, Loretta Ellsworth. Copyright © 2017 Michelle Gable. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
The Book of Summer Michelle Gable,
Some Bright Morning, I'll Fly Away Alice Anderson,
The Atlas of Forgotten Places Jenny D. Williams,
The Wardrobe Mistress Meghan Masterson,
The Idea of You Robinne Lee,
The Last Place You Look Kristen Lepionka,
The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash Candace Ganger,
According to A Source Abby Stern,
Stars Over Clear Lake Loretta Ellsworth,
About the Authors,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
St. Martin's First Sampler Spring / Summer 2017 is a list of nine books that are coming very soon! Books like this one give you chance to get a peek of what is to come this summer without having to wonder what the book is really like since all nine books included have chapters so you can get a feel for what it's gonna read like! I can't wait for these books to come out later this year and I think y'all would feel the same!! Thank You to St. Martin's Press for making my TBR grow by nine more! I received this book from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.