Rebecca York

About Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.  View website

Zoo Time

I love watching animals, which is why I’ve always been thrilled by a trip to the zoo. Because I grew up in Washington, DC, my first memories are of the National Zoo. But even back then, I wondered why the poor bears were in such small cages.

In recent years, there have been major improvements in zoo management. One recent trend is for zoos to have fewer species while providing better habitats for the ones they have. On a recent trip to the National Zoo, I found that—wait for it—the only animals in the elephant house are elephants. Previously there were also pigmy hippos and giraffes. Those have been sent to other zoos, and the building has been expanded so that the elephants have a much bigger indoor area and a fabulous outdoor playground complete with a pool.

The best example of zoo management I’ve seen recently is the Bronx Zoo, which we visited with friends after the Thrillerfest Conference last month. I wanted to see it because of “The Zoo” on Animal Planet which is filmed there.

It’s amazing to find this large space in the middle of New York City. If you’re planning to go, get tickets online beforehand, and be sure to include the package of special attractions so you don’t have to pay for them on an individual basis. And be prepared for a lot of walking. If you don’t want to hoof it, you can rent an electric cart as our friends did, but you will get to places where there are a lot of stairs, and you will have to backtrack and circle around. We loved the bears, seals, gorillas and baboons, especially the young baboons who were having a wonderful time playing.

There are many great animal enclosures, but some are obscured by shrubbery which limits your viewing opportunities. There are a number of things that we wished they’d handled better for the human visitors. For example, we decided to have lunch at the Asia area where there are plenty of outside tables (some with umbrellas) but no real roof. Unfortunately, it was raining off and on, and we got pretty wet while we ate. Luckily it was a very warm day, and we did dry out. Definitely take the monorail through Asia, where you will see an elephant and mostly hoofed animals. (Yes, there’s a tiger, but he was hiding.) We also walked to Tiger Mountain, where we saw only one tiger lying in the grass behind a tree. As my friend said, next time we’ll try to see the big cats early before they take their afternoon naps. The zoo is big, and you probably can’t see everything in one day, so use the map and make a plan. If I’d known there wasn’t much to see on Tiger Mountain, I would have skipped it and visited the petting zoo instead. Yeah, I’m a sucker for petting cuddly animals.

Do you like zoos? Why or why not?

Lions Relaxing

Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.
 View website

Wonders of the Ancient World

There’s no way to see everything in the British Museum in one day.  But on a recent trip to London I got to wander through some of the displays, marveling at art and artifacts collected from around the world. I always gravitate to the antiquities, and I usually start with the Rosetta Stone. When I first saw it, it was sitting right out in the open. Now it’s protected by a glass case.

This object, discovered by a French soldier in the town of Rashid (Rosetta) in 1799, was carved in black granodiorite during the Hellenistic period. It sets forth a decree issued in Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC and is written in three languages: ancient Greek, Demotic script, and Egyptian hieroglyphics. Each text says approximately the same thing, and by comparing them, scholars were finally able to translate hieroglyphics—although it took them more than twenty years to do it.

Next, I usually wander over to the mummies in their elaborate sarcophaguses. But the ancient Egyptians didn’t just embalm people. They also preserved cats for a trip into the afterlife.

I also have a fondness for Roman mosaics, which are displayed mainly on stairwell walls, although in ancient Roman civilization they were used on the floor, not on walls.

By studying a list of “must see” exhibits, I also found some treasures that I had not seen before. Here’s a beautiful Aztec two-headed snake.

And did you ever wonder where Wedgwood got the idea for his Jasperware?  He saw this Portland Vase, produced in Italy—probably in the Etruscan period, and determined to create something similar. It’s jaw-droppingly beautiful. And even more amazing, it was painstakingly put back together after a crazed museum patron smashed it in the early 1800’s.

I’m home now, but I can’t stop myself from thinking—when can I get back there and wander through some of those fabulous galleries?

Do you like to travel?  What are some of your favorite places to visit?

Rebecca York’s latest Decorah Security novella is Hollow Moon, about a werewolf who almost loses his mind when he gets caught sniffing out a drug lab in the Maryland wilds.

Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.
 View website

Using What You Know

Often when I’m preparing to write a book, I go into research mode, looking up traits of the Greek gods or directions for making a pipe bomb. Other times, the information I need is right at my fingertips.

Although I’ve been writing novels for more than thirty years, I didn’t start out inventing plots and characters. At first I was a nonfiction writer, selling feature articles to a local newspaper—always on the lookout for interesting topics I could pitch to my editor. Which is how I stumbled on a woman in my community who was working as a sexual therapist.

Yes, the editor was interested in an article about her. And after that piece was successfully published, I began thinking bigger. Could I expand the story and sell it to a national magazine? I also got a positive response to that query. After publication, the editor had an interesting request: Would the therapist like to write a monthly sexual advice column in the magazine? Since she was not a writer, she asked me to help. And there I was, with a steady job sitting down with the therapist every month, going through letter from the magazine’s subscribers. We’d find good questions. She’d tell me the answers. And I’d write them up. The arrangement lasted two years, until the therapist got tired of sifting through the same problems over and over. And meanwhile I was switching my focus from nonfiction to fiction.

I’ve used the information I learned from those sessions many times in my romance writing. Where else could you get better insights into man-woman relationships? But eventually I decided the experience would make a great setting for a novel, which I called Bedroom Therapy. As the book opens, my heroine, Amanda O’Neal, has taken over writing a sexual advice column because the original author was killed in a hit and run accident. Enter private detective Zachary Grant who’s been hired to find out if the incident was really murder. Quickly he realizes he’s dealing with a killer who has switched his focus to Amanda. Zach is also focused on Amanda, only his thoughts are centered in the bedroom. And he has an interesting sexual problem that he’s hoping she can solve—if he gets up the nerve to talk about it. Meanwhile, he entices her into all kinds of interesting fantasy situations that she finds hard to resist. And when he has trouble communicating verbally, he writes her letters asking for advice and leaves them on her desk.

It’s a fun premise for a novel. And the cat and mouse game with the killer ups the tension of the story. Zach ends up having to save Amanda’s life and then surrender to some hands-on therapy.

Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.
 View website

Iguazu Falls

Are you going to use that in a book? I don’t know, but I can say that seeing Iguazu Falls, located between Brazil and Argentina, was a peak life experience

It’s easy to understand why these falls are one of the natural wonders of the modern world. If you’ve visited Niagara Falls and thought they were awesome, the only way to compare Iguazu is to say it’s “unbelievably awesome.” They are so wide that you can’t possibly see the whole expanse at once.

Probably the best way to see them is to start with the Brazilian side, where you walk along a 3/4-mile paved path across the river from the cascading water, coming to one jaw-dropping view after another, until you end up very close to a major deluge. If you want, you can take steps down closer to this cataract where you can indulge in an outdoor shower. We skipped the shower and took the elevator up to the top where we watched the water cascading down. Along the path we encountered vast numbers of interesting butterflies and some coatis (related to raccoons) who are hoping for food from visitors. After taking in this view from across the river, we crossed to the Argentinean side where we spent another day much closer to lots of the individual falls.

The Argentinean national park is a popular destination. If you go, stay nearby and try to get there early in the morning to beat the crowds. We took the first train to Devil’s Gorge, where you walk out on metal walkways over the river to get close to the rushing water. By the time we finished, the area was crowding up. We saw several people with umbrellas, and that looked like a good idea. We had rain jackets but kept just far enough away from the water to avoid getting drenched. Next we went on to the trails of the lower falls, then had lunch at the small plaza where there’s a choice of several different restaurants and an ice cream parlor. (With more coatis running around outside hoping to get tourists’ food.) Then on to the upper falls and back to the train. To see the whole thing, prepare for a long walk—like five miles including the walk to the train—but you get so many gorgeous views, and you can take it at your own pace.

If you get down to Brazil and Argentina, don’t skip this expedition. This is truly a look at the power of nature.

Rebecca York’s latest Decorah Security novella is Hollow Moon.

Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.
 View website