Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A Ghost in Cannon Beach, Oregon?

I'm intrigued. Charley Descoteaux is a Contemporary Romance writer and her new book, Directing Traffic, has just been published. But what's all this about ghosts? You'd better reveal all Charley!

Hi Antonia, thanks so much for having me! I love your blog—you always have the coolest posts about history and supernatural things. As soon as I knew I’d be visiting I started searching for something supernatural to bring and share. Maybe I should’ve focused on history . . .

Directing Traffic is a Contemporary Romance without a hint of the supernatural, set in my fictionalized version of Cannon Beach, Oregon. That stretch of the Oregon coast has been inhabited for centuries—first by the Chinook and the Salish (and probably others I don’t mean to leave out). William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) stopped there with a few friends in 1806, to buy whale blubber from the locals. I figured it shouldn’t be any problem to find an interesting ghost story. And I found one, but he’s not what I expected.

My sleepy beach town, known as a romantic getaway (and rightly so), has 'The Cannon Beach Bandage Man'—not the ghost of an actor who played King Lear like they have in Ashland, or even the disappointed bride who annoys the staff at the Oregon Caves Lodge in Cave Junction. No, the location I chose to set my angsty, yet hopeful, Romance has a ghost who likes to clear the local makeout spot by jumping into the backs of pickup trucks and smelling up the place with his horrid bloody bandages. (Eugh!!! AvZ)


One of the perks of being a writer is making up our own worlds and the legends to go with them. It’s like Scoop Nisker used to say (wow, showing my age here!): If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own. I don’t like the Bandage Man, so I’m going to make up a haunting of my own. I did that for one of my fictional towns in Northern California and that worked out pretty well, so here goes:

The ghost of a young woman left at the altar has been seen trying to climb Haystack Rock in her wedding dress. She’d planned to throw herself from the top in grand fashion—at least that’s what she told everyone at the Driftwood, while she drank through what should have... er...

I think I’ll stick to Contemporary Romance for now—so far I haven’t had much on-page death and blood to deal with, but tormenting my characters is fun so I make no promises about the future. 

Since I tortured you and your lovely readers, Antonia, I’ll share my long excerpt that includes a little spice (just a little, it’s Rated PG-13). I hope it’ll make up for my horrible half-baked ghost story! (Actually,  you may be onto something with it, Charley. Just add a vampire or two, Meatloaf singing 'I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)' and maybe Johnny Depp. You have to includeJohnny Depp...AvZ)

Another peace offering is happening on my blog. I’m participating in the Dirty Birdies Flock Hop with a boatload of authors who are sharing their eye candy and prizes with all the wonderful readers out there! My prize is a “Read on the Beach” swag and more pack.  And for all my international friends—on June 27th I’m visiting the Cup O’ Porn blog and will have a gift certificate to Dreamspinner Press just for you! The US prize is a fancy-schmancy bookmark—something for everyone! Hope to see you all there!

Now, here's the blurb for Directing Traffic,:
Neil Sedwick expects to spend his vacation in a sleepy tourist trap mourning his late partner’s death. Instead, he puts his recently acquired CPR certificate to use and saves an elderly resident’s life. But it’s the survivor’s nephew, sexy middle-school teacher Ty Bigelow, who causes Neil to reevaluate his routine and consider reopening his heart.  

Though the electricity between them is undeniable, Ty is struggling with his own feelings of inadequacy, and Neil is moored to the past. Even the healing peace of an old man’s garden and the ever-changing waters of the Oregon coast may not be enough to prepare Neil to overcome a crisis of the heart.


Neil stood outside the little cafe and read the sign advertising burgers, beer, and fun. He thought that to be an overly optimistic—possibly even arrogant—claim, but went in anyway. Ty sat at a table in the far corner on the other side of a pool table. Two boys, who looked barely legal, did more laughing than shooting as Neil went to sit across from Ty.

“I didn’t know this place had a pool table,” said Neil after they’d said their hellos and thank-you-for-comings.

“Do you play?” Ty sat up a little straighter and smiled wider.

“Not for a while. And I never was very good.”

“Neither am I. We should play after lunch.”

The waitress came and took their orders. They chatted about the beach and how much the little town had changed over the past few years. It turned out they’d both taken their vacations there since well before the gentrification started and agreed the project had robbed the town of much of its charm.

“But we keep coming back anyway,” said Ty, dragging his last fry through the mixed ketchup and grease on his plate.

Neil wondered how he stayed so slender if he ate like that. He finished the last few bites of his Caesar salad and thought how unhappy Julius would be to see what this dive had done to his namesake entrée.

“Um, yeah, I guess. The beach is nice, though, and clears out pretty quickly once the kids go back to school.”

“How about a game?” Ty jumped up and started racking the table.

Neil wondered if he’d really seen a shadow pass across Ty’s face at the mention of kids and school. He was probably—straight, married, or both—worried about his uncle.

“I don’t want to keep you if—”

“You’d be doing me a favor. Once I leave here, I have no plans. Idle hands and all that.” Ty grinned and sauntered over to the rack on the wall.

Neil literally shook his head to remind himself where he was and that he really shouldn’t stare at this kid he’d just met, especially not his ass, and then forced himself across the little room to choose a cue. If that perfect round bottom had been created by burgers and fries, maybe he should reconsider his own eating habits. He was a little uncomfortable bending over the table with Ty standing right there watching, but his break probably wouldn’t have been any better had he been standing anywhere else.

Neil had felt a static tension in the room as soon as he reached the table, and as they played it only got worse. And all that bending over and thoughtful lining-up of shots that were missed by miles didn’t help.

They each had two balls left on the table, and Ty asked if Neil wanted to make it more interesting.

Neil laughed. “Not sure I can handle more interesting. But what do you have in mind?”

“Loser buys dinner.”

Ty bent over to line up his shot and his tank top draped over the table, giving Neil a prime view of Ty’s tanned chest and a tease of muscular stomach. Ty missed an easy bank shot.

“Or I can get it after I win.” Neil sank the two ball in the side, and then bumped a stripe in for Ty along with the six ball. As he lined up the eight ball, Neil realized what he’d done. He’d just asked this young guy out to dinner. He’d never asked anyone out before, not once, and this seemed as though he’d done it behind his own back. His hands shook enough to ensure the cue ball followed the eight straight into the pocket.

Ty laughed. His laugh made Neil grin, even through the burning blush he was sure encompassed his entire face, neck, and most of his chest.

“I warned you I wasn’t very good.”

Ty shook his head. “You weren’t kidding.” He replaced his cue in the rack, and maybe he was a little pale when he turned back around. “You don’t have to—”

“You’re suggesting I welch?”

Ty’s grin returned fast, forcing Neil to wonder again about his age. When he grinned like that, he looked almost as old as Neil himself, who wasn’t quite ready to admit he was pushing forty. But when he turned away from the cue rack, he seemed barely old enough to be in the bar. Ty raised an eyebrow, and Neil realized he’d been staring.

“Where would you like to eat?”

“You’re buying, so you decide.”

“My hotel has a restaurant next door. I’m not sure if it’s any good….”

“Sounds fine to me.”

Neil smiled and nodded, and they agreed on a time. When Neil left the cafe, Ty walked alongside him. They continued in a companionable silence to the end of the main drag. Neil expected him to drop away at any time, stunned by the realization he didn’t want that to happen. Ty kept walking with him, his flip-flops matching every step of Neil’s canvas deck shoes.

They reached the hotel, and Ty said softly, “Food’s good here.”

Neil glanced at Ty and then started up the weathered wood staircase to his room, holding his breath. He slowly let it out when he heard the slap of Ty’s flip-flops behind him. Neil’s hand shook the tiniest bit as he swiped his key card and opened the door. He hesitated, and Ty brushed past him into the room. Neil flinched away from the jolt he got when their arms touched.

Neil closed and locked the door and Ty was right there, his auburn curls shivering with his quiet laughter. Close up, his hazel-green eyes were even more beautiful than from across the table, and before Neil was able to think past them, Ty’s hands were on his chest and one snaked up into his hair.

Just before Ty’s mouth found Neil’s, he whispered one word that made Neil smile too. “Electricity.”

About the Author:

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough.  In exchange, they let her sleep once in a while. Charley’s a firm believer that everyone deserves a beautiful love story even, or maybe especially, the folks who would usually be in the supporting cast. Home is Portland, Oregon, where the weather is like your favorite hard-case writing buddy who won’t let you get away with taking too many days off, and in some places you can be as weird as you are without fear.  As an out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o, she thinks that last part is pretty cool.
Buy Directing Traffic, Dreamspinner Press 
Rattle Charley’s cages:


  1. Charley, love the touch of the supernatural, you surprising woman. Great post. Antonia, thank you for this hosting too.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Shey! Hopefully next time I try something supernatural it'll be better -- and have an ending! :)

    And thanks again, Antonia, for having me! *hugs*


    1. Thanks Shehanne. Charley, youre very welcome. Good luck with the book. I'm looking forward to reading it!

  3. Charley, I was just getting into the hapless bride story when you stopped! :-) I don't know much about Oregon, but you obviously love it. I love the sound of Directing Traffic, the men sound to me like the sort of people I'd like to hang around with - honest and genuine. Thanks for sharing this, and Antonia, thanks for another great post.

  4. So was I & then the well just ran dry! I'm a contemporary writer at heart, but may try my hand at PNR someday.

    Thanks for reading & leaving a comment! :)

    1. Thanks Noelle and Charley, I think you should!

  5. You've done a splendid job in capturing intimacy in the atmosphere of place and people. Looking forward to your releases with much anticipation.

  6. Great excerpt Charley! Congrats :)

  7. Susan & Anne -- Thanks so much! *group hug*