When they lived 1,100 miles apart, Eileen Bennett, of Mauricetown in Commercial Township, and Nelson Trout, then living in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., got to know each other online.

Trout, a singer and songwriter whose “New Jersey USA” has been proposed as the official state ballad, was a fan of Bennett’s second, nonfiction book, “Amanda’s Story,” a story of healing after a domestic violence tragedy in Bennett’s family.

A few years later, after writing a memoir of addiction and recovery called “Blood on the Ceiling,” Trout moved to the Laurel Lake section of Commercial Township. Now the two live about two miles apart and are writing coaches for each other. Fireside Publications just published their new novels, and they are doing book signings together.

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Bennett’s book, “Silver Strands,” is about a woman who experiences the metaphysical connections between all people. Trout’s book,  “Raven April,” is a psychological thriller about an intellectually gifted serial killer.

“I always wanted to write a novel, but was consumed with coaching baseball, softball, two kids, working full time, writing music and performing with a band,” said Trout, 60, the uncle of Major League Baseball star and Millville native Mike Trout.

“Our books could not be more different,” said Bennett, a retired newspaper editor. “If someone doesn’t like one, they will probably like the other.”

Ties to Miss Ohio

Beverly Vaughn, professor of music at Richard Stockton College who conducts the Stockton College Chorus, will be rooting for one 2014 Miss America contestant —  her cousin’s daughter, Miss Ohio Heather Wells.

Wells’ mother, Andrea, also won local and statewide pageants, Vaughn said, and the contestant’s maternal grandmother, Doris Watkins, was another local beauty. Watkins and Vaughn’s mother, Marion Vaughn, are sisters, she said.

Wells, 23, graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. Her talent is lyrical dance, and her platform is divorce recovery for youth.

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