Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Guest Post: Mary Kay Andrews & Giveaway

Summary: Greer Hennessy is a struggling movie location scout. Her last location shoot ended in disaster when a film crew destroyed property on an avocado grove. And Greer ended up with the blame.

Now Greer has been given one more chance--a shot at finding the perfect undiscovered beach town for a big budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town. There's one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino--which will be perfect for the film's climax--when the bad guys blow it up in an all-out assault on the townspeople.

Greer slips into town and is ecstatic to find the last unspoilt patch of the Florida gulf coast. She takes a room at the only motel in town, and starts working her charm. However, she finds a formidable obstacle in the town mayor, Eben Thinadeaux. Eben is a born-again environmentalist who's seen huge damage done to the town by a huge paper company. The bay has only recently been re-born, a fishing industry has sprung up, and Eben has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. The only problem is that he finds Greer way too attractive for his own good, and knows that her motivation is in direct conflict with his. 

Will true love find a foothold in this small beach town before it's too late and disaster strikes? Told with Mary Kay Andrews inimitable wit and charm, Beach Town is this year's summer beach read! -- St. Martin's Press

Yesterday, I reviewed the latest novel by Mary Kay Andrews called BEACH TOWN. I thoroughly enjoyed this story about a woman trying to get a movie made in a small Florida beach town, and I liked the cute romantic storyline as well. It was just a fun summer read!

Today, I'm happy to have Mary Kay Andrews stop by with a guest post that's certain to get you in the mood for summer and a beach vacation!

by Mary Kay Andrews
New York Times bestselling author of BEACH TOWN

Let’s face it—just about any day at the beach is pretty near perfect to start with. Unless it’s hurricane season. Assuming you’re not battling gale force winds and killer rip-tides, let’s talk about my idea of the perfect beach day.

Weather, of course, is key to maximum beach enjoyment. I like a sunny day, mid-80s, with a light breeze and low humidity. And as a lifelong Southern girl—let me just say, I don’t do that whole arctic plunge thing. I prefer ambient water temperature equivalent to a hot tub.

Next, let’s talk about who’ll be with you at the beach. Your bff of course, is the ideal beach companion. Unless she’s a dead ringer for Sofia Vergara. Nobody likes a show-off. Or a whiner. Nothing worse than somebody kvetching about sand in her cocktail or expired sunblock. Your perfect beach companion is game for anything, whether it’s strolling for hours picking up seashells, or deconstructing the last episode of MAD MEN. If you simply must take your children to the beach, try to take a friend—or ideally, a babysitter along for them—so the little darlings don’t distract you from important discussions about the best self-tanning products.

Now let’s talk base camp. Proper equipment is vital to maximum beach day enjoyment. Since I can no longer gracefully extract myself from a beach blanket without attracting stares and guffaws from bystanders, I like a sturdy folding chaise lounge.

Last year, for Mother’s Day, my family gifted me with a pair of these amazing Sun in Comfort chairs designed specifically for women, with these built-in slings made of stretchy bathing suit-like material where you can rest your, um, girls, when sunning face-down. The Florida woman who designed these things should, at the very least, get a Nobel Peace Prize. Here’s a link to their website.

An umbrella is nice if you’re planning an extended stay, and of course, a decent cooler is absolutely essential. No Styrofoam, please, unless you’re a college freshman on spring break.

I have a dear friend whose husband claims to have majored in cooler at Georgia Tech. He knows the right amount of crushed ice, has layering down to a science, and never, never skimps on adult beverages. The man is a genius, so we have forgiven his taste in loud bathing attire.

Tunes. No beach day is complete without good tunes. Gone are the days when you toted a suitcase-sized “ghetto blaster” over the dunes. Nowadays, you simply tuck your smart-phone—equipped, of course, with a sand and water-proof case, into your beach bag. I realize music is a matter of generational taste, but that said, at the very least you should include a sampling of the Drifters, and the Beach Boys along with your hipper Kid Rock, Katy Perry and Bananarama. Here’s Rolling Stone magazine’s playlist of best summer beach songs ever. 

Finally, there’s the matter of recreation. Some people like to throw a Frisbee, play paddle-ball or whiffleball, or even Cornhole. Fine. Play away, friends. Me, I like a good book. A beach read, if you’ll forgive the phrase. Nothing too angsty, gory, lurid or terrifying. I want something irresistible, that will keep me turning pages, sort of the literary equivalent of a Beergarita. Dare I suggest, a Mary Kay Andrews title—like my latest? BEACH TOWN???


A former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, under her “real” name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck. Her mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida (and a diplomate of the Maas Bros. Department Store School of Charm), she started her professional journalism career in Savannah, Georgia, where she covered the real-life murder trials which were the basis of MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL.

As a lifelong “junker” the author claims to know the location of every promising thrift store, flea market and junkpile in the Southeastern United States, plus many parts of Ohio.

She has a B.A. in newspaper journalism from The University of Georgia (go Dawgs!), and is a frequent lecturer and writing teacher at workshops including Emory University, The University of Georgia’s Harriet Austin Writer’s Workshop, the Tennessee Mountain Writer’s Workshop and the Antioch Writer’s Workshop.

Married to her high school sweetheart, Tom, she has two adult children and two grandchildren. After a three-year hiatus in Raleigh, NC, she and her husband moved back to their old neighborhood in Atlanta. She also owns two restored beach cottages on Tybee Island, GA, both of which are named for fictional locations in her novels.

Giveaway alert: I have a copy of BEACH TOWN to share with one lucky reader. To enter, just fill out the form below before June 2nd at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!


Beth F said...

What fun guest post. And those chairs look awesome -- a great gift.

bermudaonion said...

Sounds like a perfect day at the beach to me.