Sunday, October 17, 2021

Jerry's loose, or: The Atherton Vampire is available now.

 Remember when I said last week that I was setting myself an arbitrary deadline for releasing The Atherton Vampire? And that it would be out this coming Thursday?

Strike that. It's available now at Amazon. Here's the cover so that you know what you're looking for.

I've set the price for the Kindle edition at 99 cents and will leave it there through at least the end of this month. 

I'm not planning to release paperback editions for this series, but I could be persuaded to change my mind. If you're interested in a paperback, let me know.


The series is set in Atherton, a fictional town on the fictional Cabell River. Jerry's grandfather founded the town; he chose this site on the Cabell (it's pronounced CAB-ull, not ka-BELL) for his river barge factory and essentially built the town to support the factory. (The remains of the factory figure prominently in the plot for this book.) 

I had a model in mind for the town of Atherton: Huntington, West Virginia. I lived in Huntington for a few years in the early '80s, back when I was a radio news reporter. Like Atherton, Huntington was named for its founder: railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington. He decided the area would be the perfect location for the western terminus of his Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railway, so he bought some land and incorporated the city of Huntington in 1871. Unlike Jerry's grandfather, though, Huntington the railroad man moved on from his namesake city. He became one of the four rich guys who chipped in to build the Central Pacific Railroad -- part of the transcontinental railroad. (There I was, watching a Great Courses course on the American West not long ago, and lo and behold, who should pop up in the lecture about the transcontinental railroad but Collis P. Huntington. Small world, huh?)

The eastern terminus of the C&O was Richmond, VA, but Huntington later extended the line to Hampton Roads, VA. He was also instrumental in building Newport News Shipbuilding. As it happens, my next job after I left Huntington was in Hampton Roads. Who knew I was following in the footsteps of Collis P.?

Anyway, today's Huntington stretches for about fourteen miles along the Ohio River. It's the county seat for Cabell County, and its metro area includes Ashland, KY, and Ironton, OH.

In the series, the Atherton mansion sits on a bluff overlooking the town, the river, and the old shipyard. There's no view equivalent to that in Huntington, although the hills rise behind the town pretty fast. Situated up there is the Huntington Museum of Art, which is a decent museum for its size. I toured it with former Second Lady Joan Mondale when she was in town, stumping for her husband Walter the year he ran for the Democratic nomination for president. She invited reporters along on her tour of a visiting exhibition from the Armand Hammer Collection (speaking of wealthy industrialists). I liked one of the paintings so well -- Salome Dancing Before Herod by Gustave Moreau, a massive work of art -- that I bought a poster of it, had it framed, and hung onto it for many years.

Which has nothing to do with The Atherton Vampire, to be honest, unless I can work in a mention of John the Baptist's head on a platter later in the series. Hmm. Putting a pin in that idea.


Anyway, The Atherton Vampire is available now for Kindle for just 99 cents. Enjoy!


These moments of bloggy reminiscence have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Get vaxxed!

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