|Breakfast at sea|
The past two years I've been able to merge these two loves into one. I now take writing "vacations" often, going to places I'm going to write about, but many times just to meet colorful characters I can use in my books. And to have a bit of fun. Here's a little excerpt from a blog I did in December. Here's what I mean about fun:
Traveling has also been good for business. Between last December, when we took our Italy to Rio cruise, and now, I went from having 1100 Facebook Author followers to over 11,000, as people followed my travels. (You can do the same by scrolling down from the above link). Christmas and Thanksgiving will never be the same for me again, since I got to see how local people celebrate it in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands, Morocco, the Virgin Islands, Rio and Sao Paolo. I remember one Christmas Eve when we were serenaded by a group of school children in the VI. Such a magical night seeing their bright little faces on the night when Santa would descend upon them and their households. Afterwards we walked on the beach in the warm balmy night.
|A Port of Call|
When I visited Morocco, the black cobras that snake charmers display in the public square in Marrakesh intrigued me. These snakes wound up in my book, Cruisin' For A SEAL, where a group of terrorists take over a cruise ship. They were unsuccessful because 9 Navy SEALs and their wives were also vacationing on the same boat. I found a suitable lifeboat where a love scene could be played out, wrote it while sitting on the bench, as the sea rocked and rolled beside and underneath me.
The multiple languages wash like water over me. On these trips, I am very rarely around English-speaking people, which is like background noise. This happy chatter excites me, as I pretend I know what they're talking about, or make up a story, undistracted from the reality of what they're really saying.
Colors and locations are important. I finished my Guardian Angel book, Underworld Queen, in the angel room, a room set up for playing cards on the cruise ship.
My husband got in a little trouble noodling around on the balcony when our cabin boy surprised us. By that time, the bottle of champagne had gotten to be properly, and I didn't care he saw us necked. And then we fantasized about the animal shapes he was making ever after that on our bed with the towels.
Romance is everywhere. In Italy, the town of Savona became the backdrop for the beginning of my Cruisin' story, where a SEAL meets a lovely young Italian lady in a piazza, sipping cappuccino with her mother. She turns out to be the dance instructor on the cruise. I also walked down the cobblestoned village streets in Genoa, finding the little chapel where my vampire book started, when my heroine says a prayer as her heart is breaking. Of course, her fated mate, a 300-year-old vampire named Marcus Monteleone, overhears this prayer and is mesmerized. I would have not had that scene if I hadn't physically been there, in that chapel, with the chimes and the flutter of pigeons and unfamiliar sirens going off in the background.
|The view at sea|
In Antigua I found the cottage I will rent some day this year, sit on the beach and write. I have a story brewing now. Internet was wonderful. The rum punch fantastic, and the gentle water lapping up on shore almost made me cry. I thought about the people who had sat on that very beach over the centuries, especially Admiral Nelson, as he commanded the Caribbean fleet there in English Bay. I felt the presence of some of those people who were buried there. One soldier, buried with an infant on his chest, no doubt from a love affair with an island girl.
So traveling has turned my world upside down and inside out. Now I look forward to go exploring. Letting my mind wander wherever my muse will take me. After all, we write from our experience. Whether it's real or imagined, traveling just broadens my palette, and makes my soul sing.
And that's when the magic comes.
About the Author
NYT and USA/Today and Amazon Top 100 Bestselling Author Sharon Hamilton's SEAL Brotherhood series have earned her Amazon author rankings of #1 in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love. Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany earned her a #1 Amazon author ranking in Gothic Romance.
A lifelong organic vegetable and flower gardener, Sharon and her husband live in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place.
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