Thursday, July 3, 2014


I’ve been living in the desert for ten years now. (OMG, how time flies.) The Coachella Valley is--depending on traffic--one to two hours east of Los Angeles by car. During the winter season, October to March, Hollywood stars spend time here, many in their own second homes, and then go back to L.A. when the temperature rises. The benefit of their presence for the rest of us is that actors, singers and other performers appear on stage in local productions, so we enjoy great entertainment.

In summer, non-celebrities either return to their summer homes in whatever area of the country they originally lived in, such as Boston, Fargo, Minneapolis or Boise. The other choice is to stay in town but take vacations to visit relatives who live in a different climate. Thanks to a family graduation and a family wedding, we escaped some 100-degree days recently by doing that. And might do more of it before the summer is over.

Many residents use the long hiatus to vacation in other places in the country or the world. Pictures in our local Newsletter show visitors to China, Italy, Indonesia, Alaska, Australia, etc. One especially popular state to visit is Hawaii, where the temperature varies little from December to July.

We spent a week in Hawaii a few years ago, and I’m ready to return. Especially since I consider the island of Maui my second home. When my husband and I married, we spent our honeymoon in Honolulu on Oahu, but later we bought a condo, then a second one, on Maui. For the next twenty years, we rented them out for periods ranging from four days to two months, but returned twice a year for a week or two to do maintenance and ensure our guests lacked nothing in the way of amenities.

Besides the income from the rentals, which helped our bottom line, I learned a lot about the islands, much of which shows up in my romance novel, STRANGER IN PARADISE. There’s nothing like being with the one you love in a beautiful, romantic setting, to inspire writing about swimming, surfing, and snorkeling in the fabulously blue Pacific Ocean. To say nothing of passionate kisses on sandy beaches under swaying palm trees. (Wow! I almost swooned just thinking about it.)

Wherever you go, or whatever you do, take along a book or your Kindle and read a romantic novel. I recommend it.


  1. Hi Phyllis,

    Have you ever tried to write under the wafting palms? I think if i had a deadline, I could get into it.


    1. Bob:
      Actually yes. One year we were on Maui for two weeks to do some major maintenance to the condo and I wrote ten pages a day on my WIP. Added to the 30 I'd written before the trip, I had an almost complete novel. Not about Hawaii though. NORTH BY NORTHEAST was about our train trip from New Orleans to Washington, and it won the 2001 San Diego Book Award. I highly recommend the process.


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