Vineland author starts new year with three new books

Patricia A. Martinelli, of Vineland, has written books on local history and a fantasy adventure.

Patricia A. Martinelli, administrator of the Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society, achieved the dream trifecta for any writer. She will have three books released by three different publishers during the next three months.

Martinelli, of Vineland, has already seen The History Press issue "The Fantastic Castle of Vineland" this month. Martinelli's first published novel of a trilogy, "Rim Road: Book I, The Lost and Found," comes out through Solstice Publishing on Jan. 23. Stackpole Books puts her third work, "The Big Book of New Jersey Ghost Stories," out Feb. 1. The book was co-written by Charles A. Stansfield Jr.

"This is probably one of the most exciting moments of my life to have three books coming out at the same time. As a writer, it doesn't get any better than this," said Martinelli, 59.

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People interested in local history can buy "The Fantastic Castle of Vineland" now.

The books tells the true story of George Daynor and the Cumberland County landmark he built, referred to as The Palace Depression. Created out of bits of stone, car parts, trash and anything else Daynor could find, it was a tourist attraction people could walk through. As many as 100,000 people visited the place between its opening in 1932 and its demolition in the 1960s. A building representing the palace can be seen in the 1983 film "Eddie and the Cruisers."

A recreation of The Palace Depression, spearheaded by Vineland native Kevin Kirchner, is expected to open in Vineland next year.

"The Palace was just one of those subjects that peaked my curiosity during the time that I've been (with the Historical Society), and with all the hard work that Kevin was doing to create the new one, I just thought it was kind of important to document that history at this point in time," Martinelli said.

Nancy Steelman is one of eight members on the Vineland Historical Society's board of trustees. She has been on the board for 14 years. She graduated high school in 1955 and visited the original The Palace Depression. She said Martinelli's book is important. The historical society has a Daynor mailbox, trunk and coat at its museum, Steelman said.

"Other things have been written about Mr. Daynor and The Palace Depression many times This is the first time someone put all of the pieces, as much as we know, together," Steelman said.

"Rim Road" is a fantasy adventure set partly in New Orleans and partly in an alternative reality. Martinelli wrote "Rim Road" in 2009 and submitted it to leading science-fiction and fantasy publisher, DAW Books. The publishing company held onto to her manuscript and didn't publish it. Solstice was the second publisher she sent it to. She will start writing the second part of the trilogy next month.

"There is nothing like creating your own reality," Martinelli said.

The third book, "The Big Book of New Jersey Ghost Stories," was finished this year as Martinelli worked on "The Fantastic Castle of Vineland." The book was co-written with her former writing partner Stansfield, a retired professor of geography from Rowan University.

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"The Fantastic Castle of Vineland" by Patricia A. Martinelli is $19.99 in paperback and $9.99 for the ebook. "The Big Book of New Jersey Ghost Stories" by Martinelli and Charles A. Stansfield Jr. will be available in hardcover for $24.95 on Feb. 1. For information on Martinelli's "Rim Road" visit or


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