For Rehoboth Beach Reads writers, a winning experience
Multiple authors have been recognized by the Delaware Press Association for "Beach Life," the fifth book in the Rehoboth Beach Reads series published by Cat & Mouse Press.
The book, comprised of 25 short stories, won two first-place awards in the 2018 Communications Contest in the categories of editing and short story collection.
"Beach Life" will be on display at the 2018 DPA Awards Banquet on Thursday, May 3, at the University & Whist Club in Wilmington, and will be competing for national honors in the National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest.
The book is available at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach and other locations.
Three authors featured in "Beach Life" — Amber Tamosaitis, John Edmonds and Tony Houck — share their experience.
Congratulations on two first-place awards by the Delaware Press Association for Beach Life. As a writer, how has this award made an impact on you?
Tamosaitis: It is excellent that "Beach Life" is getting this kind of recognition. While it is exciting personally to have been able to contribute to "Beach Life," I think the award also reinforces the diverse group of authors and stories, as well as the hard work Cat and Mouse Press did on pulling this anthology together.
Edmonds: The awards have had a huge impact. Not only did Rehoboth Beach Reads give me the opportunity to be published for the first time, but as a bonus, my work is included in an award-winning publication.
Cat and Mouse Press and Nancy Sakaduski do a remarkable job with this publication. She is very supportive of the local authors and has worked hard to make this series the success that it is.
Houck: I, like so many writers, am plagued with self-doubt. When the Rehoboth Beach Reads contest judges chose my story for "Beach Life," a bit of that self-doubt forever gave way to self-confidence.
Having failed to make it into "The Beach House" in 2013, "The Boardwalk" in 2014, "Beach Days" in 2015, and "Beach Nights" in 2016, being published in an award-winning short story collection is further proof of the importance of persevering through rejection.
Can you provide a synopsis of your contribution to one of the short-stories in the fifth edition of the Rehoboth Beach Reads series?
Tamosaitis: My story, “Secrets” is about a young woman returning to the Rehoboth Beach scene after a long absence, only to learn that an aquatic observer isn’t content to let her leave the past behind.
Edmonds: My story, “A Beautifully Disturbing Day at the Beach” is a kind of local “Twilight Zone” episode. Simon, the main character, is relaxing on the beach and sees a small plane pulling a banner advertising Grotto Pizza. Suddenly, the plane loses power and crashes into the ocean. But, strangely, he is the only one on the crowded beach that takes notice of the crash.
He quickly decides to swim out to the plane in an attempt to save the pilot. The story has some local historical references and a twist. I won’t give away any more of the story. Hopefully, your readers will purchase a copy of “Beach Life” to find out what happens. Mine is just one of many enjoyable reads in the book.
Houck: I am the author of “Lefty and the Empty Bucket of Fries,” which is a revision of an unsuccessful submission from the 2014 contest. The synopsis is: A spoiled little girl’s pet hermit crab escapes its “crabitat” and burrows itself into a new life on and in Rehoboth Beach.
The entire Rehoboth Beach Reads series has been a fan favorite to locals and visitors alike. What do you believe makes it appealing or unique to audiences?
Tamosaitis: I think Rehoboth is so unique. Delaware is small in general, but also somewhat geographically diverse.
You have resort town living and Sussex County small town living kind of coming together and I think it creates an interesting backdrop for a variety of stories and characters. That, coupled with the different theme in each volume, offers readers something new with every anthology.
Edmonds: The Rehoboth Beach Reads series is appealing to the locals as well as anyone who has visited or vacationed here over the years because many of the stories have local themes and settings.
Readers are familiar with many of the places and experiences and they serve to bring back fond memories of the beach. Also appealing is the highlighting of some very talented local writers.
I was a Beach Read fan before I decided to enter the contest. What made it appealing to read also made it very appealing to write and enter the contest.
Houck: The Rehoboth Beach Reads series is like a good beach vacation — engaging but relaxing and easy-breezy. The quality of the writing is such that the stories, not the words, are the star, allowing the reader to escape in place.
How did you pursue your dream of writing? What was your main inspiration to get started and what has kept you motivated to continue?
Tamosaitis: I’ve always loved telling stories. I’ve loved reading, writing and learning languages. I’ve never stopped writing, but it was actually getting involved in professional translation that prompted me to actually pursue writing as a career.
And opportunities like "Beach Life" have been instrumental, both in helping me to grow as a writer and to introduce me to other local authors.
Edmonds: In 2010, I almost lost my leg in a motorcycle accident. Being an avid reader and having much time on my hands, I decided to put some of my story ideas on paper. I shared them with my wife, family and friends who thought they were pretty good which encouraged me to write more.
I have written many short stories and am working on a novel, also with a local theme. Being published in Rehoboth Beach Reads series has given me even more confidence to continue writing. I am excited about entering the 2018 Short Story Contest.
Houck: I began writing 20 years ago, and when I did, I had only one goal in mind: to write something I wanted to read. I never intended to write for anyone else, and I wrote about what I knew, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (from which I have suffered my entire life) and the Spanish language (having lived in Spain after graduating from high school).
My first novel, which is set for public release this summer, grew out of a personal challenge to see if I could write something someone else wanted to read. Having achieved that goal (so says my publisher), what keeps me motivated is trying to repeat my success while growing as a writer.