Although I've been living in Massachusetts for several years now, a part of me will also be a Marylander and, more specifically, a Baltimorean. I grew up in a small, blue-collar neighborhood in the northwestern section of Baltimore, and when I was a kid, we used to walk to the old Memorial Stadium to see the Baltimore Orioles play. When they announced that the Orioles would build a new stadium in the Inner Harbor area, I was nervous that the spirit of the old place would be lost. The architects did a great job, and the new facility—Oriole Park at Camden Yards—turned out better than I had hoped, with the look and feel of an old-fashioned ballpark.
My stories—both my solo creations and the collaborations with my partner, Reno MacLeod—have locations that range from small towns in Massachusetts to the exotic man-made islands of Dubai. We have managed to squeeze my hometown into a few of our stories though, and I have to admit they were a real treat for me to write. "Firecracker" features the downtown neighborhood of Mount Vernon, which is central to the gay community in Baltimore. In our "Let Them Try" series of paranormal novellas, our heroes are a Baltimore City police officer (who lives and works in the neighborhood in which I grew up) and his demon lover. While it can be fun to research new places and write about exotic locations that I'll never see in person, there's something equally as satisfying in writing about a place I know so well.
As the seventh state admitted to the Union, Maryland has a long, rich history, and some of the more interesting places to visit have paranormal elements. Ghosts have long been reported to haunt the grounds of Fort McHenry, the bombardment of which during the War of 1812 inspired Francis Scott Key to compose "The Star-Spangled Banner." In September of 1862, the North and the South waged one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War outside of the picturesque town of Sharpsburg, Maryland, called the Battle of Antietam. Angry apparitions reportedly haunt the so-called Bloody Lane there. And of course, how could a house once occupied by Edgar Allan Poe not be haunted?
Although Maryland is the ninth smallest state in area, one of the state's nicknames is "America in Miniature" due to the wide range of topography. Sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, oak forests on the Piedmont Plateau, wetlands and marshes on the Chesapeake Bay, and dense pine groves in the Appalachian Mountains to the west are just some of the myriad features of the state. The weather also runs the gamut, from hot, humid summers to cold winters with a fair amount of snow. A lot going on for such a small state, and I hope to revisit Maryland in future stories.
Jaye Valentine lives in a small New England town with his partner, Reno MacLeod, and their menagerie of cats, freshwater fish, and dust mice. Jaye enjoys writing, watching movies, and is shamefully fond of competitive reality shows.
In addition to the gritty, not-for-the-faint-of-heart urban fantasy, horror, and sci-fi novels Jaye co-writes with Reno, Jaye also writes short stories under the pen name of Acer Adamson.