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Friday, July 24, 2015


Remember that movie, Beach Blanket Bingo? I decided to title this article after the movie because it’s a cool title. The July theme is ruby, larkspur and beaches. I live in a beach state, with one of the best beaches in the country, Rehoboth. Growing up, my family always took vacations down the Jersey Shore. My family preferred the New Jersey beaches to the ones in our state. It’s easier to get to the Jersey Shore from where I live than to our own beaches because of the traffic. There are many ways to get to the Jersey Shore from my house, and only one way to get to the Delaware beaches from here. We say we’re going “down the Shore,” meaning New Jersey, and “to the beach,” meaning Delaware. I met my husband at the Jersey Shore in a bar in Margate.  

Thinking about beaches got me musing about all those silly but fun movies with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. No beach I ever went to was anything like the ones where these movie characters frolicked. The movies and the times were so innocent then, unlike the wild, “Animal House” atmosphere at the Jersey Shore in the early 1970’s where I spent many a weekend partying. Snooki and the gang from the TV show Jersey Shore were amateurs compared to my friends and me.

Back on point, here’s Rolling Stones’ list of eight classic beach movies. Agree? Disagree?

Gidget, release date April 10, 1959, starring Sandra Dee, Cliff Robertson, and James Darren. It’s a story about a teenager’s initiation into the California surf culture and her romance with a young surfer. 

Beach Party, August 7, 1963, starring Robert Cummings (I love him, so handsome), Dorothy Malone, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello, in her first feature outside of Disney films. Bob Cummings plays a professor who rents a place at the beach to study the sexual habits of teens. Frankie and Annette are just looking for fun.

Muscle Beach Party, March 25, 1964, also starring Frankie and Annette. This movie marks the screen debut of “Little Stevie Wonder.”

Ride the Wild Surf, August 5, 1964, starring, among others, Barbara Eden, Tab Hunter, and Fabian. Men’s Journal lists this as one of the 15 best surfing movies of all time.

Beach Blanket Bingo, April 14, 1965, starring Annette and Frankie, with, among others, Paul Lynde and Don Rickles. Can you say hilarious?

How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, July 14, 1965, starring Annette again, and Dwayne Hickman. Frankie’s character is supposedly in Tahiti for the Navy in this one. I think the title says it all.

Back to the Beach, August 7, 1987, starring a young Lori Loughlin. They lured Annette and Frankie back for this one, but I think their time was long over.

Psycho Beach Party, August 4, 2000, with a young Amy Adams. Early 60’s values collide with a slasher film in this adaptation of the Broadway hit of the same name.

There you have it. I’ve never been a big fan of the beach party movies, but they are fun.

I’ve set several of my short stories and novellas at the Jersey Shore and the Delaware beaches. Storm of Desire, a sizzling, multi-award-winning novella, is set during a January nor’easter on Fenwick Island, Delaware. Loving or Nothing, a multi-award-winning sensuous novella, is set at a Jersey Shore town I named Loving, which is really a stand-in for Margate.

Storm of Desire:

"The storm outside is nothing compared to the storm of desire and guilt raging between former lovers trapped together." 

Corporate attorney Samantha Greco needs some peace and quiet to come to a decision about her career. Instead, while an icy nor’easter rages outside, she finds herself trapped in a cottage on Fenwick Island with Aiden Rourke, a man she used five years ago when she ran from the heartbreak of her fiancé’s betrayal. 

Aiden Rourke has loved Sam for years. For one glorious night she was his. But then she fled, wounding his ego and his heart. Thrown together again, they soon discover time hasn’t diminished their fiery passion for each other. Only Aiden has ever been able to melt Sam with just a look or a touch. But the fear that she’s like her mother, who used men mercilessly, scares Sam to death. 

The storm outside is nothing compared to the storm of desire, fear, and guilt raging inside Sam. But during their wild weekend together, Sam and Aiden draw closer and realize their all-consuming passion for each other masks deeper needs and desires. 

When the storm ends, will they go their separate ways? Or will they find the courage to face the future together as one? 

2013 Winner, Second Place Novella Category, Gulf Coast Silken Sands Star Contest! 

2013 Winner, Fourth Place Short Contemporary Romance, OKRWA International Digital Awards Contest! 

Loving Or Nothing:

A secret crush. Two wounded hearts. A sizzling tale of love, hope and redemption. 

No stranger to loss, Tami Morrelle is holding on with one satiny thread to the only thing she has left that ties her to her loved ones – the family bridal shop. 

Local bad boy Daniel Ramsey is back in town and on a mission – to turn Tami’s world upside down any way he can. 

Daniel needs Tami’s beachfront home and business to complete his crowning achievement as a successful developer. His latest proposal hinges on buying former high school classmate Tami’s land to make it happen. More importantly, it will show those in Loving who were convinced he’d amount to less than nothing they were dead wrong about him. 

For Daniel, it’s Loving or nothing. For Tami, selling out to Daniel will leave her with nothing. But when the ruthless developer and sentimental bridal shop owner clash, sparks fly. 

A secret crush. Two wounded hearts. Will Daniel and Tami be willing to give up what they think they need and open their hearts to what really matters in Loving? 

2012 Gulf States Silken Sands Star Contest Third Place Winner 

2012 Best Indie Book Award Semi-Finalist

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Melissa Keir said...

I loved How to Stuff A Wild Bikini. Many of the movies on your list I grew up loving. They forgot, Where the Boys Are (both the original and remake). There is something about heading off to the beach. We love our time spent in the Carolinas (which was the beach for us).

Great post!!

Gemma Juliana said...

Storm of Desire sounds like an intense, compelling read. I'm adding it to my TBR list.

I grew up on different types of beaches - sunny Caribbean beaches with warm turquoise waters and stony Irish beaches with gray frigid water. I love the moods of the ocean and miss living near it for the past decade.

Paris said...

The movies were fun when we were kids and looking back, I have to say my dad was a good sport because he took us whenever one came to the drive-in. He was more of a John Wayne fan:) OMG, I forgot about Where the Boys Are, too until Melissa's remark. Thanks for the blast from the past! Loved the post!

jean hart stewart said...

Living near San Diego, I love the beach. It's hard to get near them right now though, with the Del Mar Race track open and hordes of visitors. I prefer the off season when there aren't so unblessed many people. Love your title, sounds like a good read.

stanalei said...

I never watch many beach movie, but I loved Gidget.

Cara Marsi said...

Melissa, thanks for reminding me about Where the Boys Are. Loved that movie, and loved Connie Francis.

Gemma, thanks and I hope you enjoy Storm of Desire. You've led a very interesting life.

Paris, thanks for commenting. I remember hot summer nights at the drive-in with my family.

Jean, San Diego is such a beautiful city. I was there a few years ago. Thanks for commenting.

Stanalei, thanks for commenting. I loved Sandra Dee as Gidget. Those movies were so innocent.

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