The Coast Weekend, which is the “go-to” supplement of both the Chinook Observer and The Daily Astorian, comes out on the peninsula on Wednesdays, and in the greater north coast Oregon area on Thursdays. It’s a delightful, and quite handy, compilation of local arts and entertainment available each week.
Last June, Muriel Jensen, the prolific writer of 88 Harlequin romance novels, wrote the first chapter of an “Interactive Mystery Romance,” in which Julie, a young woman who is writing a guide book on Astoria, has discovered a gun in her purse which has been used to commit a murder at the Astoria Column gift shop.
Readers of the Coast Weekend were invited to write the next chapters, one per month, for the following year. The chapters must be written in no more than a thousand words, and naturally, each submission must pick up and carry on with the storyline and characters thus far. Additionally, a pre-determined Astoria area setting must be included in the story.
In July, the second chapter, which takes us to the Flavel House, was written by a local man, and in August, a woman from New Mexico, who has written a novel set in Astoria, wrote Chapter 3, which included Hotel Elliot and leaves off at the Columbia Maritime Museum.
In July and early August, I was very busy editing my own mystery novel, and then polishing up the compilation of my new 226-page Christmas collection. But by the end of August I had the time and opportunity to write and submit Chapter 4. The Goonie House was the required inclusion for this installment.
Chapter 4, written by Yours Truly, comes out this week! I received a call from Coast Weekend Editor Kathleen Strecker last Friday with the news that I had won this month’s contest. I’ve been jumping up and down like a pogo stick ever since.
I am tickled to my toes that my writing has been selected for this honor. My author’s picture and short writing bio will be displayed for all who read the paper, or check it out online. Who’d have thought it? Me, at 57, a newspaper supplement centerfold!