But Laguna Beach, a place of perpetual blue summer skies, artist enclaves, and lazy sandy shores, has another side fused with scandal, the counterculture and something called Orange Sunshine.
When Maisie tries to help a local homeless man, she uncovers a deadly string of events hidden beneath Laguna Beach's cheerful surface. And someone will kill to keep those secrets buried in the sand.
I wrote this book nearly ten years ago, back when I thought I wanted to be traditionally published and I had to write in the confines of a specific genre. But even then I wasn't very good at it. And this novel is proof of that. Part mystery, part romance...it's not quite sure what it is.
But there were a lot of scenes in it that I really liked so I frequently stole them and used them in a number of my other books. That's because I thought I'd never publish this story that was once called A Pebble in His Pocket. I liked this title because it tied in with a literary device, but an author I really admire told me it made it sound like a children's book, so I changed the title to Shell Charms. But then another author that I also really admire that's in my writers' group titled his story Monkey Charms, and I can't say why this spoiled Shell Charms for me, but it did. Also, Shell Charms sounded too upbeat for a murder mystery, although Shell Charms, like A Pebble in His Pocket, tied in nicely with the story in a way that Seadrift does not. Oh well.
I resurrected this story when it became glaringly obvious that I wasn't going to finish my Miss Maple story in time for it to be included in the Orange County Fictionaires' Murder, Mystery and Mayhem anthology (coming soon.) And I'm glad I did. I do love this story. It needed a little rewriting, though not a lot.
It's darker than most of my other books. I wrote it back when I loved mysteries. And I still love mysteries--I love the puzzle and the who-dun-it of them. But around this time I was made the president of a women's charitable organization, and I saw a lot of ugliness, betrayal, degradation, and the world became a scarier place to me. Suddenly, the horrors in mystery novels became real. I stopped reading them. I stopped watching the crime shows on TV. And I stopped writing them.
What made me go back to mysteries? I'm not quite sure. Just like I'm an eclectic reader, I'm also an eclectic writer, bouncing around genres, picking up the stories that strike my fancy at the time. And this, I suppose, is another reason I could never be traditionally published.