Wish you were here…The World?

Mobile living at its finest. The World

For today’s travel, I thought I would feature “The World” which I saw on the travel channel this past week.

For anyone who is not familiar with this ship, it is not your ordinary cruise liner. It is a living community where those with wanderlust and the ability to afford the finest mobile lifestyle can live in luxury while traveling the globe. While enjoying the convenience of your own home, you can still enjoy the perks of all luxury cruises, fine dining in excellent restaurants or dinners to bring back to your own room and enjoy with friends.

Aboard you will find a cinema with first run movies, a fully stocked library, and lectures offering insights into regions the ship visits. There is an onboard medical center, a shopping center, a night club, casino, art gallery, and business center with internet café. Finally no ship is complete without the sports deck, residents share a pool, a golf club, jogging track that encircles the ship and tennis courts, complete with pros to improve your game.

Unlike a run of the mill cruise ship with upward of 1,000 or more cabins and sometimes twice that in passengers aboard the ship while sailing, aboard The World there are only 165 residences spread over 12 decks designed for permanent, extravagant living or the unusual vacation home around.

Imagine spending your evening on your private balcony overlooking the city of Liverpool only to wake the next morning in your own bed to the sights of Glasgow. The ship travels take the residents to exotic ports of call and to some of the most famous events on every continent.

If you were living on The World in 2011, you would have started your new year in Ushuaia, the southernmost city on the globe and end the year spending the last week of December in Cape Town. You can find a map of the 2011 Itinerary at the following link  http://www.aboardtheworld.com/our-journey/map/

Five leading interior designers were commissioned to decorate the living spaces, each with a unique and distinctive idea. In addition, every residence can be modified to accommodate the needs and lifestyles of the occupant. 

Until next week, wish you were here.

Wish you were here…Snowdonia

Panaorama view of the mountain range around Mt. Snowdon

For today’s destination, I chose a spot I came across while researching settings for one of my fantasy/paranormal stories. I have several tied together by reoccurring characters of a fae line. In one the young heroine of the story happens to meet the legendary Welsh goddess Rhiannon, most of us probably know thanks to Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks.

While reading about Wales, I found the beautiful location of Snowdonia, (Eryri in Welsh). Just the names alone are almost mystical enough to be inspiration. 

The English name comes from Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales and in the middle ages rulers in the region used the title of Prince of Wales and Lord on Snowdonia together. One person to use this title was a lad by the name of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, personally, I am glad today’s Prince of Wales is named Charles, because I would hate to try spelling the other name, let alone pronounce it. I’m quite sure reporters across the world feel the same.

national park

One of the most visited places in Snowdonia is the Snowdonia National Park. One article describes the park as Lakes, castles, waterfalls, and steam railways create a surreal experience right out of Lord of the Rings. More than 26,000 people live within the park and over six million more visit annually.  While the park itself would be enough of a draw, there are many other sites that offer something to stir the creative mind.

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle and medieval town walls are some of the best preserved in Europe. The walls are a little over ¾ of a mile in length with twenty two towers to explore while weaving a tale of a prince cheated out of his throne or a princess masquerading as a maid to escape an unwanted arranged marriage.

Stone walls in Conwy

Another villiage in Snowdonia with a name that just begs to be in a story is Rhos on Sea. There is a legend which states  Madog, son of the Welsh Prince Owain Gwynedd, sailed from Rhos on Sea to discover America in 1170, over three hundred years before Christopher Columbus. If your heroine finds her true love while visiting here, the couple might elect to say their vows in the Chapel of St. Trillo, believed to be the smallest church on the British Isles. It would need to be a very small, intimate ceremony however; the church only seats six people.

St. Trillo Chapel

Inside view of the chapel

Before we leave, there is one place left to visit. The Snowdonia Society is a registered charity and is ran by a group of volunteers devoted to the protection of this spectacular region. If you need directions to their headquarters, just ask a local to direct you to the “ugly house” for that is the name of the house used as office and showcase for visitors. According to legend, it is a crude house built in the 15th century by two outlaw brothers as a ‘Ty Un Nos’ – or house built overnight. Under ancient law, he who built a house between sunset and sunrise, with walls, roof and smoking chimney, could claim the freehold. The house has been restored over the centuries by subsequent tenants, and is far from ugly.

This concludes this week’s travel into a magical land across the ocean. Sorry it is late, I really hate shopping for Christmas however when you take on the role of parent and now grandparent it is an evil requirement. I hope Shoe Station, TJ Max, Sears and J.C. Pennys are happy.

Until next week, wish you were here…

Snow in Snowdonia

Wish you were here…nights of shooting stars

Meteor over a marina

Hoping that this will get my butt in gear to start some serious work on my floundering NaNo story, I am devoting today’s post to not a place but an event…or several events.

A whole new meaning to April Showers

2001 Leonid shower

In the story, two teens with nothing in common start to realize they have feelings for each other while watching a meteor shower, hence the title Misty….with a chance of shooting stars.

Perseids shower over Stonehenge

I never realized there were quite so many annual showers until I needed to make sure one would coincide with a late October date. 

Orionid shower highlighted in my story

For my story, I settled on the Orionids meteor shower which occurs mid to late October each year. This one worked out perfect since it stems from remnants of Halley’s Comet so it offered lots of information to drive the conversation in the story.

Even as an adult, what could be more romantic than sitting on a blanket under a clear night sky and watching shooting stars with someone you love? I hope everyone enjoys the pictures of previous showers and below you will find a list of annual meteor showers along with the month they usually occur just in case the writer inside you wants to take the hand of a special someone and create your own love story under shooting stars.

romance and shooting stars


Meteor Shower Month            Constellation to
  look towards
Approx sightingsPer hour Originates From
Quadrantids January     Bootes 120 not known
Lyrids April   Lyra 18 Comet Thatcher
Pi-Puppids April     Puppis variable not known
Eta-Aquarid May   Aquarius 60 Halley’s Comet
June Bootids Late June         Bootes variable not known
South.Delta-Aquarids Late July     Aquarius 20 not known
Perseids August     Perseus 100 Comet Swift-Tuttle
Aurigids Aug/Sept   Auriga variable not known
Draconids October     Draco variable not known
Orionids October     Orion 23 Halley’s Comet
S. Taurid November         Taurus 10 not known
N. Taurid November     Taurus 29 not known
Leonids November     Leo 15+ Comet Temple-Tuttle
Alpha-Monocerotids November     Monoceros variable not known
Dec Phoenicids December     Phoenix variable not known
Puppid/Velids December     Puppis 10 not known
Geminids December     Gemini 120 Asteroid 3200 Phaethon
Ursid December   Ursa Minor 10 not known


Until next week…wish you were here.

Wish You Were Here…Playa Koralia Columbia

Playa Koralia

Once again I took to the internet to find a location for today’s post. On the MSN site there was a photo spread named Best Places You’ve Never Heard Of. I came across this photo of a bed on the shore of a beach and figured it was a place sure to inspire some romance, especially during this cool snap we’re experiencing at the moment.

Playa Koralia is a private resort in Columbia.

Statue in Koralia gardens

Using the country notorious for drug cartels as well as other criminal activities as a back drop for your story, it is easy to imagine a strong Latin hero or a tough American soldier for a woman to fall in love with before he whisks her away for a passion filled night in one of these dreamy resort rooms.

romantic bedroom suite

Playa Koralia is only one hour away from Santa Marta and has everything in nature to make it a perfect romantic destination or private getaway for a writer looking to finish November’s 50,000 word count goal.

waterfall in the garden

A place that combines sand, sea, lush gardens, fresh water, wildlife, light and shade where elements come together with rivers flowing from the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada flow into the blue Caribbean. It’s hard to imagine relaxing in a tropical beach while looking over mountains capped with snow in the distance, but here it is possible.

snow covered mountains


This is a place where pictures speak louder than words so I leave you with these images hopefully to give my fellow novelists inspiration and motivation for a current or future storyline plot.

exotic bird

Beautiful setting for a wedding


Wish you were here….

A breathtaking sunset to end the day

Wish you were here…Happy Samhain

Salem Mass. ghostly pictureI thought today I would try to find romance with some paranormal creature.  Of course, to do this I need to travel to places that are a little spooky. I hope on the eve of nanowritmo everyone can find a touch of inspiration, even if they aren’t planning on a paranormal novel.

Bannerman's Island Arsenal on the Hudson River

First let’s visit about 50 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River. The mysterious Pollepel Island, or Bannerman’s Island as some people call it, was believed to be so haunted that some Indian tribes refused to set foot on it.

Castle on Bannerman's Island

 It was originally settled by Dutch settlers, but bought by a Scotsman named Francis Bannerman to use as a storage facility for military surplus items. On the island, he built a huge castle.  This should serve as inspiration for at least one of the sizzler ladies. A Scotsman with a castle here in American!

A spooky view of the castle

Today the castle has decayed to the point that it is easy to see why it would be considered haunted. So maybe I can find romance with the ghost of this Scotsman in his castle. Perhaps he left a treasure trove of ancient military surplus worth millions of dollars and I can restore the castle to its original beauty and together we will live with the rest of the spirits.

Clapham Woods. Do UFOs or satanic cults have anything to do with the colorful trees?

Next I might visit Clapham Wood in the U.K. There are many stories of the strange happenings in this area ranging from a mist that can evolve into the form of a bear or foxlike creature to UFO sightings.

Scary trees in Clapham woods

Romance with an alien…worked out for Karen Allen in Starman and Gena Davis in Earth Girls are Easy.

Hopefully any alien I meet will be as handsome as Jeff Bridges or built like the younger Jeff Goldblum (are all aliens named Jeff?)

Jeff Bridges


Yes, I know this is actually from The Fly, but look at that body

. If I fail to find romance with the mist or an alien,

Ideal of satanic image

I might take a walk on the darker side and hook up with the satanic cult Friends of Hecate.

Sculpture of Hecate

Possible fairy ring in Ireland


If I make a stop to celebrate Samhain in Ireland on my way back home, I hope not to run into a fae known as Gan Ceanach. Not that he is evil, but he is rumored to be a love talker who will seduce young maidens then disappear and leave them forever pinning for him.

Artist's rendition of Gan Ceanach

While this may be good inspiration for sad poetry, it is hardly the way to end a romance novel. If you run across a smooth talker in a forest glen smoking a clay pipe, don’t fall under his spell.

My final stop will be Salem Massachusetts, legendary home of all things witches. While the Salem witch trials mostly spoke of the executed women, there are male witches as well.

Banner for Witch School in Salem

A visit to the physical campus of Witch’s School International or the Salem Witches’ Academy is sure to be perfect places to find one.

Young male witches from The Covenant

Think the boys of The Covenant all grown up.

That is enough traveling and romancing for this weekend. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Halloween/Samhain. Until next week…a wicked wish you were here.

The old Salem jail....ghosts of witches might be found here

Wish you were here….there’s a bad moon on the rising

Harvest moon

While I tried to stay with real pictures...I just love kitties and couldn't resist

Since next week is Halloween, I will save the spook factor until then.

Full moon over Antartica

But this weekend the night sky has been filled with the light of a full moon. Since I like the night, I find the sight of a black sky with a bright white sphere hypnotizing.

Logo for Full Moon Productions...love the wolves

Throughout history, painters, writers, musicians and poets have been inspired by the mystic of the moon as well.

Lighthouse Kampen

There are so many myths associated with a full moon; to list all of them could fill a whole book alone. Of course the most well-known are those associated with shifters and werewolves. There are also deities of the moon….Luna and Selene are probably the most famous. However, there are other lesser known such as Soma, the Hindu god and Tecciztecati, an Aztec god. The Inuit people of Alaska have a legend of a moon god by the name of Anningan. I won’t list the details of this myth here, it is one better left to those curious enough to research it to do so on their own; however I must warn you it is not a pleasant one. For a happier story there is the love story of Mawu, a moon god and Liza, a sun goddess from Africa.

Moon over water in Cambodia

According to the Farmer’s Almanac each full moon has a name and meaning. I won’t list the meanings, but will list the names in month order. January –Full Wolf Moon, February – Full Snow Moon, March – Full Worm (eww) Moon, April – Full Pink Moon, May – Full Flower Moon, June – Full Strawberry Moon, July – Full Buck Moon, August – Full Sturgeon Moon, September – Full Corn Moon, October – Full Harvest Moon, November – Full Beaver Moon, December – Full Cold Moon. And of course, I would hope as romance writers we all know the meaning of the Blue Moon.

For Jenn....a cowboy in the moonlight

I tried to find a picture for everyone here at Southern Sizzlers to go with their genre of interest. However for our historical regency fan, well…let’s just say it’s hard to go back to an era when digital cameras weren’t around to capture the beauty of the night sky while riding in a coach with Mr. Darcy. I guess you will have to use your imagination.

Until next week, between dodging the spirits on all hallows eve and the trick-or-treaters, enjoy what’s left of the full moon and

St. Alban's Cathedral by moonlight

How many rituals were perfomed here under a full moon I wonder?

wish you were here.

Wish you were here….in, umm?…oh never mind!

So, as I have sat most of this week having great ideas that just don’t seem to want to find the way onto the page I was also drawing a blank on where to go for this week’s feature. Seriously nothing appealed to me and I resorted to closing my eyes and typing random letters in a search engine to see if anything would appear. Then one thing led to another and now I decided to travel a little bit.

New Zealand--Taumatawha... yea, that place!

First stop…Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand which is said to translate to: “the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as ‘landeater,’ played his flute to his loved one.” Now how romantic is that, huh? Several websites say this is one of the most visited places in New Zealand, however either that is an exaggeration or this place is so small that other than this sign and a reported hill, there is nothing else pictureworthy. (I did find on one person’s travel blog the picture of a person standing next to the sign remarking they drove hours off track to find this place and the only thing there was the f**king sign!)

I guess it could be worse and visit Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya Hill which translates to “where the devil urinates”.

The devil urinates here?

 So quickly moving on…

Nowhere Else

Second stop…Nowhere Else Tasmania. As the name might indicate, there isn’t a whole lot going on here. Why? Because it’s happening somewhere else, duh!         

Road to Nowhere?

                                The main road through town is aptly named Nowhere Else Road.

 When I leave Nowhere Else, I decide to travel over to the Edge of the World Tasmania. The sea west of Tasmania is the longest uninterrupted expanse of ocean.

Looking over the water, it’s easy to get the feeling you are indeed standing on the edge of the world.

Standing at The Edge of the World

City of Angles (not Los Angles)

Next stop…Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. Local school children are taught this name although few can explain its meaning. (I don’t think I would have made it out of first grade if I had to learn this before I moved on.) Basically it is translated to: The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarma”.

To everyone else in the world, it is known better as   —wait for it—

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

One night in Bangkok!

Distance from New York to Imalone

Last stop…or starting point for every single woman looking for some romance, Imalone WI. Imalone is a small, unincorporated town located in Rusk County Wisconsin.

Again, given the name, not much happening here.

At least it will be a beautiful walk in Rusk County while Imalone.

Guess I know what awaits me at home on the end of this road.

One thing I did learn traveling today is the world is full of the strange and unusual. This was just a small journey through this odd world. I hope you will join me when I decide to go off the beaten path.

Till next week?

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