Cape May Redux (a mother-daughter day-trip post) #flying #NJ

Last week I mentioned that I wanted to experiment with having my older daughter write part of a post. Today’s post is it! Because I’m fond of noms de plume, I encouraged her to pick a pen name. So henceforth, she will be known on this blog as “Penny.” 😀

Back in February, we took a flight to Cape May. It’s a frequent destination for us because it’s quicker to fly there than to the Maryland shore + it’s a charming, beautiful town with only one “ugly mug.” 😉 But don’t take my word for it. Penny’s post is below, as well as a picture gallery. Enjoy!

Cape May, New Jersey:

Five of My Favorite Places

On our recent trip to the Cape, we went to some amazing places. Five of my favorites were:

Ugly Mug Bar & Restaurant: This is my family’s number one restaurant to dine at. As you walk in, there are mugs everywhere — the ceiling, the walls — but they are actually more plain than ugly. They have great food and I really recommend trying it! We love their half & halfs (Arnold Palmers) and I love their burgers.

Great White Shark: This cute and colorful shop has everything — souvenirs, car magnets, t-shirts, jewelery, etc. When we were there, I bought a pair of orange anchor earrings and my sister bought a blue and white, long-sleeved shirt with Cape May written on the front.

The Original Fudge Kitchen: This place is known for its…you guessed it…fudge! Although I am not a big fudge person myself (I know, crazy, right?), I still like theirs. On our last trip, an employee told me that their fudge was made fresh every morning and that you can watch them do it from the front store window.

Cape Atlantic Book Company: I enjoy going to this quaint little bookstore mainly because my mom loves it so much. It’s always fun to check out what’s new. One quirky thing about it is that it’s in a building with an escalator that only goes up. If you want to go back down, you have to take the stairs.

The Beach: Duhhh. This one’s a given. We love to hunt for conch shells, which anyone can do! You just have to look hard enough. We also love to write in the sand and search for coins with my metal detector. The most interesting thing I’ve found is a nickel, lol.


More about Penny

Intrepid Teenage Traveler/Writer/Photographer
  • I enjoy biking and my favorite sport is field hockey.
  • I love flying and, once I’m old enough, I’d love to get a pilot’s license and join The Ninety-Nines.
  • My favorite genre is realistic fiction. I also love historical fiction. My first favorite book was COPPER by Rebecca Lisle.
  • I love taking photos with my Nikon Digital SLR camera and sharing the images I’ve captured.
  • I don’t know what the future holds, but when I grow up, I would love to work in a creative field.

Set in the fictional town of Exbury, inspired by Avebury, Wiltshire
Set in the fictional town of Exbury, inspired by Avebury, Wiltshire

What Penny’s Mom Was Reading

I know I’ve been HORRIBLE about sharing what I’ve been reading and watching lately. Mostly it’s because I haven’t had time to write a post that gives them their due. I may have to break down and just list them already in a future post. 🙂

In any case, during this flight, I was reading Susanna Kearsley’s MARIANA. If you like atmospheric, evocative prose that makes you long for England and a cup of tea (even if you’re a coffee-loving American who’s never been there), you should check her out. In her own words she writes “modern gothic novels that blend historical adventure and modern-day suspense with romance and a touch of something spooky, so they don’t fit neatly into any category.” Hmm… is it any wonder I’ve liked the two I’ve read?

* Photo gallery pics were taken by both Penny and me using iPhones and her DSLR.


Winners: White Heart of Justice Blog Tour Prizes

Today’s post: winners of the prizes I offered as part of my WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE blog tour, a belated Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and some pics from our weekend. (As you no doubt have guessed already, posts/emails from me will slow down a bit this summer. I have lots of writing to catch up on!! But I’ll still be around. I have some guest bloggers lined up and will likely be posting a few interesting day trip posts and hopefully even a book recommendation/review or two.)


$50 Bookseller eGift Certificate


5 copies of White Heart of Justice


Dark Light of Day themed prize pack


Fiery Edge of Steel themed prize pack


White Heart of Justice themed prize pack


All of the winners have been contacted and most of the prizes have already been sent. I will be mailing the themed prize packs this week.

THANK YOU to each and every one of you who tweeted, posted, and shared the links to the blog tour posts!

If you haven’t already, please consider reviewing White Heart of Justice wherever you hang out online. It’s an oft-repeated request of mine simply because reviews matter.



We had a fun Father’s Day weekend and I hope you did too (even if you weren’t celebrating Father’s Day exactly). We flew in to OXB (Ocean City, Maryland) on Saturday and it was bustling! Throughout the weekend, we saw formation flyers, sky writers, banner towers, Daedalus’ modern day descendants and — in my imagination at least — other fierce, awesome winged beasts. Scroll down for more on where I was, what I was thinking, and what I was reading…

Chincoteague Bay
“I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things…” Antoine de Saint-Exupery


“Never regret thy fall, O Icarus of the fearless flight. For the greatest tragedy of them all  Is never to feel the burning light.” Oscar Wilde
“Never regret thy fall, O Icarus of the fearless flight. For the greatest tragedy of them all Is never to feel the burning light.” Oscar Wilde


"It flew in from the west, so that all I truly saw at first was a black silhouette against the fiery sky. Then it caught an updraft and skimmed up the mountain's slope, barely above the trees, and that gave me a better view: the blocky plates of the hide; the close-tucked legs and trailing tail; the enormous expanse of wings dwarfing the body they bore." MARIE BRENNAN
“It flew in from the west, so that all I truly saw at first was a black silhouette against the fiery sky. Then it caught an updraft and skimmed up the mountain’s slope, barely above the trees, and that gave me a better view: the blocky plates of the hide; the close-tucked legs and trailing tail; the enormous expanse of wings dwarfing the body they bore.” Marie Brennan


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And a quick hello from Ginger, the “monster” under my daughter’s bed 🙂


Other links you might enjoy:

How about you? How was your weekend? Did you go anywhere fun or read anything interesting? Have you skydived? Do you want to? Stay tuned… tomorrow I have a terrific guest post by Brynn Chapman, author of recently released YA Historical Romance/Mystery BONESEEKER.

Last Monday in May

Speculative fiction blog, The Qwillery, has a repeating feature called The View From Monday, which lists upcoming releases. This post is my view from Monday, the last Monday of May 2014 — the day before White Heart of Justice’s release. There’s a link to RSVP for my Release Day Party at Bitten by Books tomorrow (early responses get an extra 25 entries for the giveaway), another link to the last post in Bitten by Books Six Year Blogaversary (wherein I give away a $25 Barnes & Noble eGift Certificate), and some fun pics from my Memorial Day/pre-release adventure.

Invite Link to White Heart of Justice


Tomorrow at 12pm Central I will start throwing confetti, blowing noise makers, and popping champagne! Really? Well, no. Actually, I’ll be home alone. But that’s how I’ll feel.

And, because WHOJ doesn’t have any confetti, noise makers, or champagne in it, I’ll be talking about snow globes and greenhouses and London’s 1851 Crystal Palace. I’ll also be sharing an excerpt from the book, which sheds some light on my Sneak Peek tweet involving Rafe:

I heard a rumor that Rafe Sinclair makes a wish and I wanna know if it’s granted. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

I’m also giving away a $50 Amazon eGift Certificate.

So who’s in?!

Click HERE to RSVP. If you RSVP early, you get an extra 25 entries.

* The above link isn’t the actual event link. It’s the RSVP link. I’ll post the event link tomorrow after it goes live.

I hope to see you all there. This may be my third book, but it’s my first Release Day Party! 😀

Link to Bitten by Books Six Year Blogaversary Giveaway

Specifically => me, giving away

one $25 B&N eGC

I mentioned previously that Bitten by Books Six Year Blogaversary celebration was happening this week. Rachel has organized a really fun event and tons of authors have donated great prizes, including a $25 eGift Certificate from Barnes & Noble from me.

Want a chance to win? Of course you do! Click here.

Be Prepared and Make the Most of It

Yesterday, we took a quick flight to Maryland’s eastern shore to meet up with my in-laws for some holiday boating. Ten of us set out from Kent Narrows yesterday — blue skies, relatively calm water, sunny smiles. Unfortunately, we didn’t even get out of the channel before we had to shut off the engine and drop anchor. Two minutes later the poor boat was diagnosed with something truly scary: water in the engine. Luckily, we had more life jackets than people, a cooler full of water and other libations, and a cell phone to call the tow boat operator. Everyone at Red Eye’s dock bar cheered and waved as we were towed back to the dock an hour or two later.

So along with hoping tomorrow’s release goes well, I’m also hoping my FIL gets good news from his boat mechanic. Is there an emoticon for fingers crossed?

I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend. Hope to see you tomorrow at Bitten by Books and later this week at other stops as my White Heart of Justice blog tour continues!

Interested in more “On the Fly” posts?

Silhouettes, Shadows, and Sunsets

Knowing winter storm Janus was on its way (which has dumped a foot of snow on us already), we took advantage of yesterday’s beautiful weather and took a quick flight to Cape May. My older daughter and I decided that silhouettes, shadows, and the sunset would be our impromptu photo theme for the collection below. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Windy walk

Shadow 1

Shadow 2

Shadow 3

Shadow 4


Sunset 1

Sunset 2
Sunset 3

Cape May Mall SignIf you’re a new follower, check out my other Cape May posts:

Tomorrow, something for the fantasy fans… my 5 favorite “winterbeests.” Get ready to share yours! 🙂

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum

NASW, Naval Air Station Wildwood, Cape MayLast week, I visited the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, which is actually in Cape May, New Jersey (very close to Wildwood). If you are an aviation enthusiast, a fan of 1940’s memorabilia, and/or are interested in reading about interesting places that are great for day trips, then read on! This is the second post in a three-part series I’m doing to close out summer. Yesterday’s post was on Ocean City, New Jersey and tomorrow’s post will be on the Cape May brewery. While I was at the museum, I bought some things in their gift shop to support them. One of the items was a Rosie the Riveter tote bag (pictured below; perfect for carrying books!). If you’re interested in entering your name in my Rosie tote bag giveaway (US only due to mailing costs), comment below or just send me an e-mail: archer at jillarcher dot com.

Atlantic Ocean, Ocean City, Cape May, New Jersey
We took off from Ocean City and landed at Cape May. Both airports are small and un-towered. The flight was pretty and the ocean was the flattest I’ve ever seen it. Hard to believe this is the Atlantic, right? It looks like a backyard pond! 😀

The Cape May airport was built in 1943 as a naval air station for training pilots in WWII. It’s original name was the “Naval Air Station Rio Grande” but the story is that all of its mail kept getting delivered to Rio Grande, Texas so they changed the name to the “Naval Air Station Wildwood,” which is actually in Cape May. In October of 1944, the airport hit its peak of take offs and landings with 16,994 in that one month period! (Hard to believe since the airport has a small, almost sleepy feel to it now).

The big hanger is currently a 92,000 square foot “all wood truss hangar/aviation museum” that is listed on the National and State Register of Historic Places. The museum serves as a memorial for the 42 known airmen that lost their lives training there, as well as a site for community events and fundraisers. I flew in with three generations of aviation enthusiasts: my husband, father-in-law, and nephew. After watching an intro video in the old ready room, we started touring the museum.

Cape May, New Jersey, Naval Air Station Wildwood, museum, history, travel, vacation, day trip
The museum has the old Bader Field tower

Bader Field, near Atlantic City, opened in 1910 and was the first U.S. municipal airport to support both sea and land based planes. The Civil Air Patrol was founded there in 1941. In 2006, Bader Field was closed and the air traffic control tower was given to the Cape May aviation museum.

Cape May, New Jersey, Naval Air Station Wildwood, museum, history, travel, vacation, day trip
They have a great Coast Guard exhibit, including an HH-52 helicopter you can climb in
“Drink Coca-Cola”

The museum recently added a “1940’s Room,” which recreates a typical house during WWII. They also have tons of Coca-Cola memorabilia there!

1940's, WWII
Welcome to the 1940’s

My grandfather was a pilot in WWII. He never trained at the Naval Air base in Wildwood. Instead, he trained in California and was later stationed in Okinawa. I had thought the plane below might have been the type of plane he flew in.

1940's pilots, WWII, history, aircraft, aviation
OE-2 Bird Dog

But when I got back home and compared it to pictures I had from my grandfather (below), I don’t think so. The plane at the Cape May museum is an OE-2 Bird Dog, which wasn’t used until the 1950’s. I briefly considered but quickly rejected the low wing North American T-6 Texan, so I need more time to look into it… Anyone else know?

1940's, airplanes, aviation, history, WWII
Picture my grandfather took of the type of planes he used to fly

After our visit, we were hungry! So we had lunch at the Flight Deck Diner. We sat at the counter and ordered cheesesteaks and root beer floats. The waitress who worked there was super friendly and the food was great. I’m a huge fan of airport diners. They’re fun even if you don’t plan on flying anywhere that day.

airport diner, Cape May
Flight Deck Diner
Cape May air museum, aviation, history, 1940's, pilots
Naval Air Station Wildwood

Too soon, our afternoon was over and we were ready to fly back to Ocean City. We had a fantastic time! If you’re in the area, NASW is having its 17th Annual Air Fest THIS WEEKEND (Labor Day 2013). Stop by and check it out!

NASW, Cape May

Other links you may be interested in:

Don’t forget to take my READER SURVEY and tell me what you most like to read here and/or want to see here.

Rosie the RiveterFinally, if you want a chance to win the Rosie the Riviter bag that I bought at the museum, then comment below or send me an e-mail: archer at jillarcher dot com. US only.

Have you ever been to the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum? Have you ever been to Cape May? Are you interested in the 1940’s? WWII? Aviation? Do you even like to fly?!? 😀 Hope everyone is having a terrific Friday!

Ocean City, New Jersey

Ocean City Beach PatrolLast week, I was at the Jersey Shore. I’ve never watched the “Jersey Shore” reality TV show, but I’m betting the Jersey Shore I know and love is very different from the MTV version. If you’re interested in seeing a few pics and reading about a classic Jersey Shore family vacation, then read on! This is the first post in a three-part series I’m doing to close out summer. The next two posts will be on the Cape May Aviation Museum and the Cape May Brewery. While I was at the museum, I bought some things in their gift shop to support them. One of the items was a Rosie the Riveter tote bag (pictured below; perfect for carrying books!). If you’re interested in entering your name in my Rosie tote bag giveaway (US only due to mailing costs), comment below or just send me an e-mail: archer at jillarcher dot com.

Ocean City, New Jersey, travel, beach, east coast, vacation
Ocean City, New Jersey, boardwalk, beach, vacation, travel, east coast

Every year we hit the same places: Manco and Manco’s Pizza (which we still call “Mack and Manco’s” even though all traces of Mack have been scrubbed), Playland’s Castaway Cove (the Hurricane and Double Shot are old favorites but the park recently installed some neat new rides like Air Race), Johnson’s Popcorn and Fralinger’s for salt water taffy. And, of course, my kids take every opportunity to replenish their depleted hoard of plastic shovels and beaded jewelry.

Blue Moon, Ocean City, beach
“The day, water, sun, moon, night…
I do not have to purchase these things with money.”

There was a blue moon while we were there this year. A blue moon is the third of four full moons in a season, although a blue moon can also be the second of two full moons in a month. Blue moons are rare and explains where the “once in a blue moon” phrase originated. Regardless of the scientific or seasonal explanations for the blue moon — seeing a full moon rise over the ocean was pretty spectacular and something I’d never seen before. (I took a lot of pictures, but none of them effectively convey the experience. Walking along the beach in the moonlight is about a lot more than one snapped shot, and besides, my cell phone takes crappy nighttime pics 🙂 ). In any case, we took more evening walks on the beach than usual this year.

Ocean City New Jersey, beach, travel, vacation

The sunsets were almost as neat as the blue moon. Bayside, you can see the sun set over Peck Bay or Great Egg Harbor, but we stay within a few blocks of the Atlantic so it’s easier to lug all our stuff down each morning. So the sun sets over dunes and houses for us. Still pretty though…

Ocean City sunset, sand dunes, beaches, east cost, travel, vacation

We took our little Cessna down so that we could enjoy some afternoon and sunset flights (more on those flights in the next two posts!).Ocean City New Jersey Airport, aviation, flying

New 9th Street Bridge and Visitor's Center OCNJ
Aerial View of New 9th Street Bridge and Visitor’s Center

I drove in on the new 9th street bridge before flying over it. Even though I’ll admit that the new bridge is much improved, I couldn’t help feeling sentimental about all the times I’d crossed the old drawbridge on the way into town. I’m not the only one. Check out this 2011 post by Douglas Bergen in the Ocean City Patch where he bid farewell to the old bridge with a brief bit of wonderfully written nostalgia:

“What child didn’t get goosebumps hearing the telltale hum of car tires rolling over the metal grates of the closed drawbridge? The sound signaled that the beach and Boardwalk were near.

And like record albums, encyclopedias and other quaint notions we have to explain to our children, will they look at us funny when we explain how a little mechanical arm dropped down, and the whole roadway cleaved and lifted up to let boats pass by?”

East Coast Beaches, aviation, travel, flying, vacation, beach

Ghost crab
“Sandy” the ghost crab

Ghost crabs (or sand crabs) aren’t as easy to see and catch on the Jersey Shore as they are in the Outer Banks, but we still managed to capture this little guy (long enough for him to be dubbed “Sandy” — after the hurricane — and then we let him go).

Ghost crab

The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination
Shrimp, clams, and mussels
My husband made this tasty dish and served it with linguine. Other nights, we steamed snow crab legs or fried fish. By the end of the week, even I was ready for some red meat!
When I first attempted to make this drink, it looked like the concoction on the cover of THE MAD SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION (see above). I realize purists will likely scoff at the martini glass but that’s the beauty of *my* Jersey Shore. Presentation is irrelevant. 😀
Ocean City Airport
Ocean City FBO

Rosie the Riveter

Here’s a picture of the tote bag I bought at the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum. I think it looks perfect for carting around books and all sorts of other stuff. Even though summer is over, who can’t use another beach bag? 😀 Leave a comment or send me an e-mail to enter to win it. US only. And stay tuned for parts 2 and 3… the Cape May museum and brewery!

What did you do this summer? What’s your favorite part about going to the shore? Do you like Rosie the Riveter? Have you ever made mojitos? Are you from Ocean City? What do you think of the new 9th street bridge?

Last Flight of 2011

Chesapeake Bay -- Tabula Rasa for 2012

My husband is a recreational pilot who has his Instrument Flight Rating. We have a small Cessna 172 that we keep at Martin State Airport in east Baltimore County. From time to time, we use the little plane for trips into small airports and un-towered runways that give us quick access to places that would otherwise take hours to get to in a car.

Cape May, NJ

Yesterday afternoon we decided to fly down to Cape May, NJ. We only had a few hours, since we were due at a friend’s house later to ring in the New Year, so this short day trip was the perfect way to spend the last remaining daylight hours of 2011. Cape May is one of our favorite places to fly to. It’s close, it’s on the beach, and the quaint little town has all kinds of little shops and restaurants to hang out in.

Yesterday’s weather was windy, slightly cloudy, partially sunny — in other words, beautiful! My husband was able to do the flight visually (without instruments), which is our preferred way to fly. If you can’t see the ground, it’s not as much fun. (Although, like Howard Hughes, I do like some clouds. They add interest. Remember Leonardo DiCaprio’s line from THE AVIATOR? “I want clouds, damn it… Find me some clouds.” I love that line. :-))

Signs That 2012 Will Be A Good Year

In flight, I was struck by two things: how amazingly, unbelievably empty the Chesapeake Bay was. We are used to seeing the bay dotted with countless sailboats and motor boats. Yesterday, I don’t think there was a single boat down there. But instead of looking lonely, it just looked gorgeously pristine. Somehow fitting for a New Year’s trip. It was as if the bay had refreshed itself and was waiting for the new 2012 boaters to make their mark on it. We also saw a fairly large rainbow stretching from sky to ground in an area somewhere over Dover. I don’t know if anyone on the ground would have been able to see it. I always think rainbows are good luck, so I took seeing one on New Year’s Eve Day as a particularly good sign that 2012 will be a good year.

Landing was as uneventful as take off. These are usually the most exciting parts of a flight, but (not to brag or anything ;-)) my husband’s a good pilot and we hardly felt a bump as our tiny plane touched down on Runway 28 at WWD. Our cab was already waiting for us, so we were in town less than five minutes later.

Charming, Romantic, and Sweet



Cape May is a charming town year round, but the Christmas season really shows it off. It was wonderful seeing all of the lights and decorations. The horse-drawn carriages were out, taking couples on romantic rides through the narrow streets. A small boy was playing his guitar at the corner of Jackson and Beach. A cat napped on a rusty old lawn chair somewhere along Perry Street. There was a wedding at Congress Hall. We found ourselves unintentionally trailing after the wedding party as they made their way through town and down to the beach, the photographer snapping pictures the whole way. We stopped at the Cape May Popcorn Factory and bought paper cones full of caramel popcorn and hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows.

East Coast Sunset Over Water

I love that Cape May is one of the few places on the Atlantic where you can see the sun set over water. We strolled down to the beach to enjoy the view, the sound of the waves, and to write in the sand as the sun set on the last day of 2011. With a beach grass stick, I wrote “Happy New Year” and “2011,” in the sand, smiling when the waves came in and washed “2011” away.

We caught a return cab on Beach Street and were soon back in the air. From the cockpit, I tried to capture the last rays of red daylight with my camera, but it was already too dark. Beneath us, the twinkling town lights looked like muted firecrackers. The lulling sound of the plane’s engine and the rhythmic, hypnotic vibration had its effect and my youngest soon fell asleep in the back. It was a good thing… because not two hours later, we were at our neighbor’s house waiting to watch the ball drop, pop some champagne, and ring in the New Year!

So how about you? How are you celebrating the New Year? Did you do anything special on the last day of 2011? If you want to see more pictures of Cape May on December 31, 2011, check out my Facebook album “On The Fly.” BEST WISHES FOR A WONDERFUL 2012!!