Morning, Everyone! I'm excited to be attending the Coastal Magic Convention 2020 next February in Daytona Beach, Florida. I've heard great things about this event over the past few years but this will be my first time going, and as a Featured Blogger. Pretty cool, huh? (picture me grinning from ear to ear) Over the next seven months I'll be sharing more information about Coastal Magic, including monthly spotlights on Featured Authors who will be there. First up is Cynthia D'Alba. I once sat next to Cynthia at a dinner in NYC, then shared a taxi back to our conference hotel. I don't think I stopped smiling the entire time. She's warm, friendly, funny, and highly entertaining. Small wonder that she, and her books, are so well liked by readers. Learn more about Cynthia and her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.
Please give her a warm welcome!
Hi ALL!! I’m Cynthia D’Alba, author of all things contemporary. Cowboys? Yep. SEALs? Yep. Doctors, lawyers, university profs and bull riders? Yes, yes, yes and yes!
Heroes and heroines with wings, fangs, scales and drinks blood? Nope. Never say never but that is currently not on my agenda!
A HUGE thank you to PJ for hosting me today in her role as Featured Blogger for Coastal Magic 2020. I’ve been going to Coastal Magic since 2016 or 2015 (Can’t remember. Getting old!!) I keep going back because of one thing…it’s fun. 2020 will be PJ’s first time to attend, but I hope it won’t be her last! It’s a convention that completely reader focused. The authors are there to meet readers and generally play and have a good time (and we do!)
Plus, it’s held on Daytona Beach in February! Who doesn’t want to be on the beach in the winter? In 2019, the daily temps were high 70s with bright sunshine every day. It was incredible. Can't predict 2020 weather, but historically, we’ve been very lucky.
I’m there as a Featured Author, but even I’m impressed by the lineup this year. Click on HERE to take a peek at this impressive group! Or go to https://coastalmagicconvention.com/featured-authors/.
This week of July is a crazy week for me. I have TWO back-to-back releases, which I NEVER do. But you know life. It can through up bumps and potholes that throw your schedule right out the window, right?
I want to talk about Hot SEAL, Alaskan Nights. It’s a book based on a research trip I took to Alaska in 2019. I’ve lined up some pictures for you that will not begin to explain how beautiful the state is nor how much I did while I was there! This post is full of links and pictures as a way to help you see what I got to experience a small portion of my trip.
Hot SEAL, Alaskan Nights takes place in Homer, Alaska, an honest-to-goodness beach town! To say I fell in love with it would be an understatement. My complaint is I didn’t get to spend as much time there as I would have liked. Many of the locations mentioned in the book really exist, but I may have taken a few liberties, such as reservations for a specific table at the Saltry restaurant. I had breakfast at Two Sisters Bakery and OMG! It really is as good as it is rumored to be. No one can go to Homer without stopping there to gain a pound or ten.
In the book, I have the hero’s brothers building a house on Marsha Way off Sterling Road. That road is real. Whether or not there is new construction there, I couldn’t say. But the name jumped out at me because my sister’s first name is Marsha and we so rarely see it spelled that way.
Hot SEAL, Alaskan Nights is about Levi Van der Hayden, a Navy SEAL on Team three home for R, R and R…Rest, Relaxation and Recovery. The squad has been on a six month mission to Northern Africa, with their final charge to rescue a hostage. It doesn’t go exactly as planned and my poor hero gets shot…in the butt. Needless to say, once the team knows he’s going to be fine, the butt and ass jokes come at him hard and fast. He's tired of the pain-in-the-ass jokes, especially his own.
He need a little medical attention once he’s back home in Homer and that care comes in the form of Nurse Practitioner Bailey Brown. Bailey is from Texas and is hiding from an abusive ex-boyfriend. Bailey will only be in Homer four more months and has no interest in having a fling with a local guy. Levi’s home for less than three weeks, and has no interest in starting anything while he’s home. Of course, fate has other plans for these two.
So that’s my story. Let me share a few of my research pictures!
We spent the first three weeks in Anchorage. We did ATV trips, long drives north to glaciers and south along the Turnagain Highway to Gridwood. For three days, we flew to Brooks Camp in the Kaimai National Park to see the bears. I suspect that you have seen pictures of the bears at the fall catching the salmon as the spawn upstream. That’s what we went to see. THOSE falls. THIS is a link for a live camera on the falls. This is bear season, so there’s no telling what you’ll see. Check it out! This was a trip of a lifetime.
Then we flew to Victoria, Canada for a few days and drove over to Vancouver for some sightseeing. We stayed in a fabulous VRBO in Vancouver that was on the ocean inlet. The hosts were beyond welcoming, even taking us out on the ocean on their boat. After a few days, we boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise with author Elle James and her husband and sailed back up to Alaska on the inside passage. Now, I know that sounds nuts, but those stops on the cruise couldn’t be gotten to by car. Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan all require boat or plane to get there. So this gave us totally new places to check out.
While we were cruising, Elle and I took a behind the scenes tour of the boat, including going up on the bridge. That required TSA-type screening, but let me say, it was totally worth it. The view from the bridge was breathtaking. I could have sat up there all day. I did sit in the Captain’s chair!
We spent another week or so in Alaska based in Seward. Did some day cruises, some long drives and watched bald eagles fish.
I want to share just a FEW of the hundreds of pictures we have from the trip. One of these days, I will get these all on my website or maybe Pinterest. I only have to find the time!
My husband and did a daylong ATV trip that took us over some rough terrain, but ended at the base of a glacier.
While we were there, our guide grilled fresh salmon quesadillas. In Hot SEAL, Alaskan Nights, Levi fixes these for Bailey.
We were filthy and grinning when we got back. But that wasn’t our only ATV trip. We got to see a lot of different sights by getting off the main roads.
We are up on a deck, and the bears are right below us. They are more interested in the salmon than us, but if they had wanted to, any of them could have scaled the poles to the deck.
They are magnificent, aren’t they?
Alaska was a magic setting and I hope, when you get to the end of my book, you feel like you’ve been there too.
Thanks for visiting with us today, Cynthia! I'm excited to join you next February in Daytona Beach!
Readers, do any of you have plans to attend Coastal Magic 2020?
Did you gasp, like I did, when you read "met a grizzly face-to-face on the road?" I can't begin to imagine what I would have done!
Have you ever visited Alaska? What was your favorite part of the trip?
Where in the world is your dream vacation destination?
Have you read Cynthia's books yet? Do you have a favorite?
Two randomly chosen people who leave a comment before 11:00 PM, July 11, will receive a Kindle copy of Cynthia's new book, Hot SEAL, Alaskan Nights.