Sunday, February 23, 2014

Today's Special - - Marilyn Baron

We had server problems Thursday when this was originally posted and several people were not able to access the site. Because of that we are re-posting Marilyn's blog post today. The comments from both posts will be combined to randomly choose the winner of Marilyn's giveaway.  

It's always a pleasure to host award-winning novelist Marilyn Baron here at The Romance Dish.  I've had the pleasure of getting to know Marilyn at conferences over the years.  She's a lovely lady who just happens to write wonderful books!  A native of Miami, Florida and a graduate of the University of Florida, Marilyn currently lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area.  You can find more information about Marilyn and her books at her website and connect online at the following locations. 

Web site at

Thank you for joining us today, Marilyn.  The floor is yours!

Write “Where” You Know
By Marilyn Baron

We’ve all heard the expression, “Write what you know.” But how many authors write “where” they know? If you’re writing fantasy or historical you’re most likely using your imagination because your “real” world doesn’t exist or it existed centuries earlier. Chances are the same is true if you’re writing paranormal.  I went back and reviewed my books to see where I stood on the “Write Where You Know-O-Meter.”

Turns out that in every one of my eight books, my setting was a place I’d either lived or had visited. That wasn’t intentional. It just worked out that way. Am I the type who likes to stick close to home? Not really. I love to travel and I tend to set my novels in places where I’ve been.  

The only exception was my WW II historical, Under the Moon Gate, where the story was set in contemporary and WW II Bermuda. I have been to Bermuda 10 times but never to 1940s Bermuda, so I had to do research for that part of the novel. However, it still counts, since I am pretty familiar with the setting. The prequel, Destiny: A Bermuda Love Story, was set at the time of Bermuda’s discovery in the 17th century, so I had to do research on that book, but it was still a location I had been to, even if at a much later date.

The Edger, the humorous women’s fiction I wrote with my artist sister, was set in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, her hometown. Murder at the Outlet Mall, a shopping suspense tale, was set in St. Augustine, Florida, a place I’m very familiar with. Memory Lane, the musical about Alzheimer’s I co-wrote with my sister, is set in South Beach and since I’m from Miami, I’m also familiar with that location.

Significant Others, a humorous women’s fiction set in a retirement community in Boca Raton Florida, was really patterned after a retirement community where my mother lives in Pembroke Pines, Florida, so, other than interview some of her contemporaries about finding love a second time around, I didn’t have to do much research.

Sixth Sense, Book One in my Psychic Crystal Mystery series, takes place in Atlanta, Sydney, Australia, and a fictional seaside community called Casa Spirito. However, it was patterned after a real psychic community in Florida, which I’ve visited. I live in Atlanta, and I got the idea for this book when I sat next to a psychic on the long plane ride to Sydney.

Book Two in the series, Homecoming Homicides, my latest book, a dark romantic suspense with a humorous twist,  is set in a small college town in North Florida I called Graysville, but it was patterned after the city where I went to college—Gainesville, Florida.

Book Three in the series, Murder on the Repositioning Cruise, will take place on a cruise ship on a transatlantic voyage. I’ve been on many cruises. In fact, last year when my husband and I took a Mediterranean cruise, I took a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship specifically to do research for the book.

The book I just sold to The Wild Rose Press, Stones, perhaps most exemplifies the “Write Where You Know,” axiom.  It starts out in Atlanta and goes to Palm Coast, Florida, where I own a beach condo; alternates to Miami and Coral Gables; and flashes back to Florence, Italy, where I studied for six months in my junior year of college.

Another book I’m working on, a humorous women’s fiction, also starts on a cruise ship and is set in a small island community in Florida, much like Palm Coast.

One anthology to which I contributed a short story, was called Aspen ExposĂ©. At the time I wrote the story, I had never been to Aspen, but because I had a story in that anthology, and I had researched Aspen, I decided to visit and really enjoyed it.   

I’ve also written four short stories (about angels and demons) for TWB Press, and although I did have to use my imagination when crafting the paranormal elements of the story, they were all set in places I’d either lived or visited: the Atlanta area; Palm Coast, Florida, and New York City; Las Vegas and Roswell, Georgia. 

So I guess I’m a hometown girl at heart. I’m going to have to think about where I set my next book. Maybe I should break tradition and set it somewhere I’ve never been.

What about you? If you’re a writer, do you set your books in familiar locations? If you’re a reader, do you like to read about places you’ve been or travel to new worlds?

Marilyn is giving away one PDF copy of her new book, Homecoming Homicides, to a randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on today’s post.

Homecoming Homicides: Psycho Meets Miss Congeniality
Professional crisis manager Philippa Tannenbaum is spokesperson for the law enforcement task force charged with solving a high-profile case. She never dreams her position as Homecoming Pageant Director and her second-place finish in the previous year’s competition has placed her on a serial killer’s hit list. Always a runner-up in life, she wants to finally come in first at finding the killer targeting the current crop of beauties.

Her friend Luke Slaughter, a Graysville city cop, shows up at Philippa’s office, assigned to partner with her in solving the case and to protect her 24/7 for the duration. Unfortunately, he’s also the man she hooked up with for a one-night stand when she broke up with her fiancĂ©. Working with her is going to be less than easy, for a number of reasons...


  1. I like to read about both new locations and places I have been, although most of the books I read about are in different lands such as Scotland, England, cities or states I have never been to, etc. The locations don't really make any difference to me as long as the story is a great one. Homecoming Homicides sounds like a good story.

  2. Cathy,
    Thank you for your comment. I agree that story is the most important element. I love reading stories set in Scotland. I've never been there but I would love to visit one day.


  3. I sometimes visit places simply because they are locations for a favourite book.

    If I were a writer I would be travelling all over the planet and probably into space given the chance ..... as research for a future book of course!

    The human mind remains one of the great mysteries that scientists still struggle to unravel. I definitely like to visit places, both dark and beautiful, in the minds of interesting characters. 'Psychic Crystal Mysteries' sounds a fascinating series!

    Marilyn, do you also use psychic case histories as places to visit?

    1. Quantum, That is a neat idea, to visit the places you read about in a favorite book. I also like the idea of traveling all over and above the plant, to do research. I usually visit a place because I think I'd like it and end up setting a book there but visiting just to do research would be even better. Thanks for your kind words about the series. No, I haven't used psychic case histories as places to visit but I did get interest in the field after reading some case histories.

  4. My goodness, Marilyn, you have quite the eclectic writing capabilities! The book about the retirement village sounds like it would be a fun read.

    I like reading about different locales, especially England, Scotland, Australia, or New Zealand. I have read a few stories/books set in Iowa, where I live, and I couldn't enjoy the story much because the author didn't do enough research or just gave the story an Iowa setting because I found that I picked apart the setting and found things to be untrue or not real. Whew, long-winded sentence that basically says, "You're wrong, were never here, or don't know much about Iowa."

    HOWEVER, I agree, the story and the elements of the story are the most important part of a book.

    I'm glad TRD ran this again because I was one of the persons who could see the post, but not comment.

    1. Deb,
      Thanks so much for trying again and reading the blog. I think you would like the book about the retirement village. It has characters from three generations, a grandmother, mother and daughter and it is very funny. I interviewed a lot of the residents at my mom's condo to find out about love the second time around. So Significant Others has a WW II love story revisited, and a story about appreciating the love you have. I had fun writing that and it is one of my favorite books. The characters are a mother-daughter realtor team.

  5. Hi, Marilyn! I'm intrigued by your books and looking forward to reading them. Since I live in Fort Myers, Florida, I've been to many of the locations you mentioned in your interview. I have traveled a lot over the years and highly recommend it. Those of us who have a bit of gypsy in us, have a lot of fun! Keep on keeping on!

    1. Connie,
      I love to travel. I would do it full time if I could. I think I must be part gypsy. Since I'm from Florida and have lived in several places in the state, I like to write about it. Especially locations on the ocean. Well really Florida is a pretty intriguing state. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Such a great post, Marilyn. :)
    -R.T. Wolfe

  7. Thanks RT. I'm glad you could stop by.

  8. I like to set my stories in fictional places that resemble places I've lived or visited. Sometimes, I set them in real places but they are almost always places I've been, and in many cases, my books take place in my home state of Oklahoma. Great post, you've been to some exciting places! I already have your book, so no need to put me in the drawing.

  9. Alicia,
    Thanks for commenting. I've actually never been to Oklahoma. Yes, sometimes my places are fictional but they are only thinly disguised as the real thing. For example, Graysville instead of Gainesville. I hope you enjoy the book.