Monday, August 10, 2009

Signed firsts and summer in Asbury

For those who've asked about signed copies of my first two novels - THE BARBED-WIRE KISS and THE HEARTBREAK LOUNGE (both of which have slipped out of print in recent months) - I'm told that Don Stine at Antic Hay Books still has some in stock, in both hardcover and paperback editions. I signed all of Don's stock back when he still had a physical store on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park, the site of one of my favorite signings ever, as part of a late night Asbury Park "Art After Dark" festival in 2005.

Though Antic Hay no longer has an actual storefront, Don continues to stock books on Shore authors and topics though, and has an extensive collection of memorabilia from the city's glory days (he'll probably have some signed firsts of GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER come January as well).

If you haven't been to Asbury lately, it's definitely worth the visit. The revitalization that has taken place, on the beachfront at least, is amazing. Where the boardwalk area was once a ghost town of ruined buildings and empty storefronts that brought to mind CARNIVAL OF SOULS, it's now lined with restaurants, shops, food stands and a water park.

Because of the stunted economy, not everything has come to fruition (an unfinished condo building on Ocean Avenue stands on the site of a previous unfinished condo building), but this has been the most concerted effort to bring Asbury Park around in decades. You can find hundreds of people on the boardwalk and beach any given day this summer. There's even talk of reopening the legendary Upstage coffehouse at Cookman and Bond, which should have been named some sort of musical landmark years ago if nothing else. Instead it sat empty and deserted for more than three decades.

So, to quote another Shore resident, here's one for Asbury, hoping that the best may be yet to come.

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