mimi-cross danny sanchezIf it seems just a few months ago that the Shore singer-songwriter turned author Mimi Cross was in town promoting a newly published novel — well, you’re correct. As reported here on redbankgreen in January, the two-time Asbury Music Award winner was looking forward to a personal appearance at Fair Haven’s River Road Books — a launch party for her debut as a published novelist, in celebration of the young adult title Before Goodbye.

Even as she geared up for that milestone occasion, however, the veteran of several self-released albums revealed to us that she had a second completed novel in the publication pipeline — and on Thursday, Cross returns to River Road for another book launch party; this one keyed to her latest full-lengther, Shining Sea.

Described by the author as featuring “a fantasy element, with both feet in the world… but paranormal,” the new title from the Amazon-affiliated Skyscape imprint is offered as the first volume in what is intended to be an ongoing series — in contrast to its “stand-alone” predecessor. Having studied YA fiction — not only with an eye toward entering that market, but as an unabashed fan and avid reader of the genre — Cross is poised to meet the fast-paced requirements of a dedicated readership that makes pop-cultural sensations of its favorite sequential story arcs.

As in the earlier novel by the musician who’s shared stages with Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Sting, music plays an crucial healing role in Shining Sea, representing the “only solace” and “solid ground” for its 17-year old protagonist, Arion Rush. Having lived her life in the shadow of her “flashy femme fatale” older sister Lilah, Arion begins to come into her own when she and her father relocate to his tiny hometown on Maine’s Atlantic coastline, in the wake of “a mysterious boating accident” that leaves Lilah a silent, traumatized stranger.

Even with the arrival of new friendships and the attentions of a local heartthrob, things take a dark turn for Arion in her new milieu — as her sister’s deteriorating condition, a string of local fatalities, and her own brushes with death seem linked to the “otherworldy family” of an “alluring but aloof” surfer named Bo Summers. “As Arion’s feelings for Bo intensify and his affections turn possessive,” asks the publisher, “How will Arion learn to listen to her own voice when Bo’s siren song won’t stop ringing in her ears?”

And, as fans of the author’s previous work might ask, how could the certified Kripalu instructor of Two River Yoga (and spirit guide behind the mental/physical exercise program Body of Writing) resist sharing her own celebrated musical talents with attendees at Thursday’s 7 p.m. event? Count on Cross (a performer who’s infinitely easier on the senses than many a Rock Bottom Remainder) to regale her audience with words both spoken and sung. Call (732) 747-9455 or email riverroadbooks@verizon.net to reserve a signing copy of Shining Sea.