Almost as an afterthought

Designed somewhat in the appearance of a 19th century mill, a second multiuse tower has been rising on the north bank of the Cocheco River downtown. What has popped up rather expectedly, or so it would seem, is the two small buildings at the water’s edge.

At first I thought they might be boathouses, like those along the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, many of them for university crew teams. It would make sense here and be a charming touch.

But I was wrong. These two structures, almost dollhouses next to the larger development, are being touted as “the Cottages at Rivers Mark.” Five apartments for rent, in all. I suppose you could fish from your tiny porch.

Down by the riverside.
Next to the Chestnut Street bridge.

All the renovation going on in town

Followers of this blog have seen the ongoing transformation of my small city’s downtown into a residential mecca.

We’re fortunate to be in a part of the country that has appeal based in part on its proximity to the ocean and mountains as well as the big-city attractions of Boston an hour away, without the crowding and cost of living.

The elimination of the bottlenecks between us and Interstate 95 ten miles away has also made Dover a more affordable real estate alternative compared to Portsmouth’s bloated high prices – even though I’m still in sticker-shock-land when I see what the purchases and rentals are going for. (Who can afford this?)

I had wondered, too, what the impact of all the new luxury apartments downtown would have on the older apartments. Would rental prices fall as a result? Some of the places were what you might call sketchy. And some, even only a few blocks from our place, are distinctly slummy.

What’s surprising me is the number of older rentals that are undergoing upgrades. Plumbing, windows, drywall, kitchens, flooring, even the wiring. It seems to be happening everywhere, though largely out of sight unless you start knocking on doors.

I’m still nervous about the economy in general, but it seems Dover’s in a good place to bounce back after Covid.

Maybe this is backwards, but the cover can change the story

This self-publishing field means an author is typically deeply involved in all parts of the project rather than just the writing itself.

In my Smashwords releases, I initially hired a book designer to do the covers, but my current releases have all been created by me. (Someday, I really would like to have an artist design the front, but for now, I’m sticking to photos or existing stock artwork. We’re on a strict budget.)

Still, finding an appropriate image can be a challenge.

Has anyone else had this experience? You come across a picture that clicks and select it – and then you go back into your manuscript to make the visual fit better with the text?

For me, that happened with the portrait I settled on for Promise – the model gave me a clearer vision of my character Jaya. (That novel’s now part of Nearly Canaan.)

More recently, with Yoga Bootcamp, the handstand dog reminded me to keep the story lighthearted and humorous in my final revision. Did my decision to nickname the swami Big Pumpkin and Elvis come after the pooch was on board? I don’t recall now, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.

Do tell me about your favorite book cover. Does it influence how you see the story? If you’re a writer, has the art on your book led to revisions?

~*~

By the way, I do hate it when the character on the cover is shown, say, as a blonde but is described in the story as a brunette. That sort of thing.

And don’t forget: You better be good to toads!

On one of the frames

Inside the hive, our honeybees build up honeycomb on frames for their queen to fill with eggs, and then seal it with nutrients and a protective covering. There are 20 of these deep frames in the hive. Our honey will come from another 10 short ones atop the hive. (Photo by Rachel Williams)

 

Now, for some balconies

As construction continues on the renovation of the former Fosters Daily Democrat building downtown, fresh details appear. Here we can see actual balconies added to some of the units. They stand in contrast to the recessed balconies in the adjacent units or the flat wall further on.

 

Adding two floors to what had been the back of the former newspaper building, much of it windowless concrete block around the printing press, offered several challenges. The first was to open up the existing building to entry from busy Henry Law Avenue and the park and river just beyond. The other was to avoid creating a monotonous expanse while keeping to the tradition brick appearance of the downtown. The design tries to look like a series of independent neighboring buildings, as often happened in New England.