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?

Wish you were here…Rainforest special

Olympic National Park, Washington USA

Morning in the Amazon rainforest

So, first and foremost, I am not a sunshine person. This from someone who has lived almost their whole life in Florida.

Sun? What sun?

Not that I don’t appreciate a beautiful sunrise or sunset, but when it comes to the rest of the time I could just live without a bright, orange orb high in the sky day after day.  And since we have been without rain for longer than I care to mention, with not a great chance of precipitation within the next week either I thought I would devote a day to rain.

Otway National Park, Victoria Australia

Rainforest in Peru

Well at least some lovely pictures of rainforests anyway.

When I think of rainforests, the first thing that comes to my mind is a man in an animal skin loin cloth, a la Tarzan.

Alright, I know Taylor isn't Tarzan, but couldn't resist this picutre of him swinging in a tree

Can you spot the Mossyleaf Tail gecko in this picture?

Unfortunately these lush, beautiful landscapes are endangered; risking the existence of plants, animals and insects that only appear here. Less than a century ago, almost 15% of the earth consisted of rainforests. Today, less than half of that still exist. At this rate of destruction, it is said the Amazon forest could be gone within 50 to 100 years. While the Amazon is only one of many forests that remain, losing even one would be devastating to the world as we know it. Scientists continue to find new medicinal properties of plants that grow only in these tropical paradises, many that treat cancers and other deadly diseases. 

Rainforests across the world are going from this...

Right now, they have only tested one to two percent of the species present in forests across the globe. Think of how much we could fail to

...to this due to man made destruction

discover if the world allows mining, logging and ranching for profit to wipe out the last remaining pure places on earth.

A self sustained village in Finca Bellavista

I may never find my own jungle man hero to swing in on a vine and take me to live in his treetop hideaway. But just so I can temporarilyforget the brilliant, dry, rainless sky outside, I give you some photos of the vivid, colorful, and semi-dim forests across our world.

Flower in Gamboa Rainforest

Harpyeagle from the rainforests in Central and South America

The green areas show where rainforests are still located across the globe

Wish you were here…

Wish you were here…Santo Domingo

In honor of Saturday’s wonderful and informative program by Lois I decided to feature Santo Domingo as today’s wish you were here location. When I came home I took some time to read up on Sanite’ DeDe and her role in history. Like her protégé’ Marie Laveau she brought her skills and knowledge about voodoo from Santo Domingo as a slave and gained her freedom later in New Orleans.

This research then reminded me of a movie I saw many years ago about voodoo and zombies. Long before Bill Pullman stole Sandra Bullock’s heart in While You Were Sleeping, he was a Harvard researcher who travels to Haiti to find a drug that supposedly makes zombies. However, some of The Serpent And The Rainbow was actually filmed in the Dominican Republic and has some beautiful scenery despite the dark subject.

Cemetery on Avenue Independencia

 The Caribbean island was a stopping place for Christopher Columbus in 1492, sharing that year with our own history and is the oldest city in the new world. The culture is a diverse mix of native Taino Indian, European, and African which probably helped introduce the practice of voodoo to the island people.

The historical city is full of wonderful old sites to tour, and most likely run across a departed spirit or two along the way.  While touring the city, visitors can learn all about amber, the stone mentioned by Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park film as well as by Lois in our presentation Saturday.

Amber Musuem

The Amber Museum on Calle Arz. Meriño features exceptional educational exhibits of the semi-precious jewel. Of course this is only one of the many museums and attractions Santo Domingo has to offer.

Renaissance Santo Domingo

I know when it comes to an island getaway, one usually thinks of Bermuda or the Virgin Islands, but after viewing some of the romantic scenery and learning of the rich history, a writer should be able to find some inspiration for any genre.

So until next week, I hope everyone enjoys the pics and wish you were here.

Wish you were here…wish I could upload

I had decided to be really lazy this weekend and take my birthday off. So no real wish you were here this week. Instead I was going to post some pictures from the island of fairies and magic that I have used for inspiration in some of my fantasy stories. However due to technical difficulties, either on my part or the site, I only get a message that none of the photos meet the security requirements. Therefore, my Irish wish you were here will have to wait for another week. Hope all of you ladies have a great week.

Wish you were here…Nova Scotia

View of the Wharf

September 18, 2010 

Dear Sizzle Ladies…

Finally found a minute to drop you a line. You all know how adventurous and outgoing I am, so earlier this week I was watching the old movie If You Could See What I Hear and thought about the beautiful location, hopped into my little sports car, and the next thing I knew I was standing on weather-beaten wharf as a crisp, salty evening breeze caught the brim of my Gator’s ball cap (sorry Arabella-you know my daughter is diehard UF fan) while I watched boats returning to dock filled with fish and tourists alike.

Standing on the Lunenburg Wharf

As much as I wanted to check out some local night life, the long trip drained my tired, old body so I sought rest and relaxation and put exploration on hold until the next day.  One glance at the multitude of local accommodations, I knew there was only one place to call home during my stay. 

The host and hostess at the Greybeard Bed and Breakfast

A Bed and Breakfast called Greybeard’s had to be it!  I found the charming house built in 1887 by a sea captain and now ran by a lovely couple. In true authenticity, the proprietor does sport a hearty grey beard.  There are four guest rooms to choose from, and I was lucky enough to stay in the Captain Hebb room, named after the sea captain who originally owned the manor.

The Captain Hebb room

Just before I retired for the night, I spent time in one of the guest parlors with the only other guest. She was a spunky octogenarian named Helga. Her grandparents emigrated to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia from Germany. Helga regaled me with tales of her courtship long ago with a handsome mariner named Josef, with whom she spent 52 wonderful years with before he passed on just a little over three years ago. Although Helga now lives with her grandson and his family of seven children near Boston, she still returns to Lunenburg every September to celebrate the anniversary of Josef and Helga’s first kiss along the picturesque shores of the tiny town. If I wrote historical romance, Joseh and Helga would make for a charming seaside love story.

Bridgewater Nova Scotia

I woke early this morning, eager to begin my exploration of the area. I had a second or two of shock when the early weather report stated it was a comfortable 15°, until I remembered to convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit. Therefore, at a much more acceptable sixty and sunny, I set out in my t-shirt and jeans. Imagine my surprise to find a salon way up here finding a way to remind me of home. It was by pure chance I wandered into the Sunny Oasis salon in Bridgewater to find that for the past several months they’ve been saving discarded hair and sending it to help with the gulf oil spill.

Staff at Sunny Oasis Salon

If any of you ladies find yourself near this remote north shore town and in need of styling services, be sure to stop in and say hello to stylist Stephanie Williams and thank her for her support.

The Old Fish Factory

By mid afternoon I was starved and stopped by the Old Fish Factory Restaurant and Ice House Bar which is located in a former fish processing plant. While sitting at the bar, I met an elderly man who was quite a character and shared with me some fanciful yarns about his younger days fishing the cold waters of the Atlantic. By the end of my meal, I felt as though I’d known the salty old dog my whole life. Just before I bid him farewell, his handsome son arrived and I had a sudden change in plans for the day.

Mystery surrounds Oak Island

The charming Trevor, a real son of a son of a sailor, took me on a tour of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic before we snuck onto the mysterious Oak Island and tried our hand at treasure hunting. Although we were unsuccessful, it was still an unforgettable experience to see the legendary site.

After returning to town we hit some local hot spots before I called it a night. A true gentleman, Trevor walked me back to the door of Greybeard’s with the promise of new adventures tomorrow after I watch him participate in the Terry Fox charity run.

Perhaps you can see Trevor in this previous Terry Fox charity event

He is sure to be quite striking in his tank top and running shorts.

Until next week ladies…wish you were here!  

(Yes, this is a work of fiction…sadly I haven’t left the south)

Wish you were here…September 11th edition

This photo of Chris and I was taken in the Summer of 2000, just a little over a year before the towers fell.

Pairing a piece of Pensacola history with New York history.

To honor September 11th I thought I would do a short tribute to the World Trade Center.Nightime sky line

The idea to establish a World Trade Center in New York City actually dates all the way back to 1946 but was put on hold in 1949 to concentrate on development of mid-town Manhattan. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that the idea again began to get attention.

Groundbreaking of orignal towers

In September 1962, selection of Minoru Yamasaki as lead architect and Emery Roth & Sons as associate architects was announced to the public. The original plan called for the towers to be 80 stories but to meet the Port Authority’s requirement for 10 million square feet of office space it was determined the buildings would each have to be 110 stories.

Construction early February 1971

Groundbreaking for the construction began on August 5, 1966. The first tower was completed in December 1970 and the second tower was topped out in July 1971. The official ribbon cutting ceremony was April 4, 1973.

Construction Fall 1971


While most of the office space inside the twin towers complex was off limits to the public, the South tower did feature a pubic deck known as the Top of the World Observation Deck. View from the observation deckThe North Tower was home to a restaurant that occupied both the 106 and 107th floors known as the Windows on the World which opened in April 1976. It closed temporarily after the 1993 bombing to reopen again in 1996.

 A few interesting facts about the World Trade Center…five smaller buildings stood around the 16 acres, including 22-floor hotel, which opened in 1981 as the Vista Hotel and in 1995 became the Marriott World Trade Center.  One of the world’s largest gold depositories was stored underneath the World Trade Center, owned by a group of commercial banks.  On a typical weekday 50,000 people worked in the towers with another 200,000 passing through as visitors. The complex was so large that it had its own zip code

There are plans to rebuild on the site, although not without controversy. Time will tell how these plans turn out and what will ultimately rise from the sacred grounds where so many innocent victims and heroes alike paid the ultimate price for democracy.

The sun sets on the towers

So, humbly speaking for all the family, friends, and loved ones of those lost souls, as well as those lost at the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania, on this day after the ninth anniversary….We wish you were still here….

We will never forget. The towers of light

Wish You Were Here…Pikes Peak

One view of Pikes Peak

O Beautiful for spacious skies…for purple mountains majesties…

Welcome to Pikes Peak

Today’s location is a continuation of the patriotic theme for July. What better place to do that than the very spot that inspired “America The Beautiful”. It’s also a tribute to our resident cowgirl. Every year there is the famous Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo to attract the best cowboys on the circuit.

Rider at the Pikes Peak or Bust rodeo

If you appreciate some magnificent western scenery may want to consider a romantic journey to Colorado Springs, home of 14,110-foot Pikes Peak.

Hotel on Pikes Peak

There’s plenty to do on the mountain. Hike 12 miles up the Barr Trail to the summit, hop aboard the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, or drive the 19-mile scenic highway and enjoy the view from the new Summit House.

Pikes Peak Train

Cliff House

Every July 4th, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb attracts top drivers from the motorsports world. Imagine the excitement of riding down the mountain on a bicycle, motorcycle or racecar. There are plenty of bad boys in this sports world to inspire a hero.

At the starting line

In addition to the mythic mountain itself, there’s more to see; The Garden of the Gods Park is known for its massive red sandstone formations, and it has a natural history museum that interprets the surroundings. Royal Gorge is home to the world’s highest suspension bridge. Outdoor adventurers have so many choices that they need to make sure there’s enough time to enjoy all the activities. The majors: river rafting, hiking, play golf, horseback ride, mountain bike, fish, and ski.

Where should you stay? If you believe that a fabulous view is the best setting for an intimate getaway, consider a cabin rental in the Garden of the Gods (http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p212857) , There are also some 30 bed and breakfasts in the area, in addition to lower-priced motels and camping.

When’s the best time to visit? The area boasts a mild, dry climate and sun 300 days a year. The Rockies’ cool and dry mountain air are a great respite to summer humidity elsewhere; temperatures rarely climb above 80 in the summer season. Fall brings a blazing show of foliage, and the best lodging rates. (Off-season is September through May).

Before you book a trip, though, there’s one thing you need to know: Colorado Springs is 6,035 feet above sea level. There’s less oxygen at that elevation. Visitors are advised to give their body time to adjust to the change by drinking lots of fluids, taking it easy the first day, and avoiding alcohol at first (or else you’ll get drunk lots faster, on much less!). Of course, any respectable southern belle wouldn’t miss this excellent excuse to swoon into the arms of one of the bad boys of racing or a chivalrous cowboy.

Driver Micky Dymond

Rider Scott Montague

So on that note, since I’m feeling a little light headed and need to find some strong arms, wish you were here…

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