Beachin’ – Inspiration for Some of Long Shadows’ Settings

So here we are at the July 4 holiday weekend, and I’m not at the beach. Those of you who are, well, go ahead and enjoy it. Be sure you wear your sunscreen, and look out for sharks. And hurricanes. And sand fleas. And…

Who am I kidding? I’m insanely jealous of you if you are at the beach. Seriously, I’ve been wanting to go since last year. This desire ended up coming out in my second book Long Shadows, which was in progress at the time. Max, the hero, is from the Caribbean, and of course I had to make him and Lonna end up there. I won’t spoil anything plot-wise for you, but here’s a description from the book:

I focused my attention externally to try and figure out the myriad twists and turns in what seemed to be an island plantation house with white walls, and dark wood windows, baseboards, and molding. The furniture stood large and heavy, and every surface held a small statue or other tchotchke that looked like it could have some sort of magical significance… (Long Shadows, page 207)

I drew my inspiration for the Wizard Headquarters for that region from the Horned Dorset Primavera hotel in Rincon, Puerto Rico. They seem to have a flash website, so apologies to my readers with devices that won’t support it. That’s where Hubby and I honeymooned 10(!) years ago. At the time, they prided themselves in being a true getaway, and the rooms didn’t have televisions or telephones in them. I’ve heard that’s changed now, unfortunately. I guess they bowed to the pressure of our electronics-addicted society. Oh, wait, my books are all electronic only at this point. Hooray for device addiction!

So, back to the inspiration. Here’s a picture of the building where the breakfast room was:

We stayed in one of the villas. At the time I had not yet gotten a digital camera, so my pictures were all with a regular camera with (gasp!) real film. One of my rolls of film got partially exposed between me taking the pictures and developing (thanks, TSA). So no, that’s not a pretentious filter on this one:

So what about inside?

He opened a door near the stairs, and we went through another small hallway that led into a bedroom. On one side, a king-sized bed with cotton bedspread and dark wood headboard dominated the room. On the other, French doors opened to the balcony on the beach side… (Long Shadows, page 209)

Here are a couple of pictures from inside the building we stayed in. First kind of a dark picture of the front hall (with a cameo appearance by Hubby as potentially sinister shadowy figure):


And then our room:

As for the balcony, here’s the one on the main resort building:

 Finally, our room had a delightful little balcony of its own with a wonderful thing called a plunge pool. I still look at this picture when I need to relax:

And finally, here’s a beach picture. Let’s all pretend to be there. If you like, you can even download a copy of Long Shadows to your device and go to a Caribbean island with Lonna and Max. Just watch out for wizards who have their own agenda:


That night I dreamed of a tropical beach with a turquoise ocean at my feet and large-leafed flora all around. Huge fuchsia plants dripped the scent of their purple and pink flowers on the breeze. I leaned back in my beach chair, cold drink in hand, and soaked up the sun… (Long Shadows, Page 12)

For a longer excerpt and buy links for Long Shadows, click here.

So, fellow having to stay at home people, what are your favorite beaches or beach books? I’m partial to Destin, FL, and I’ll read just about anything, even nonfiction, if there’s an ocean in front of me.

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