I’m here to tell you that old wives’ tale is simply not true. And I have the deets to prove it. Every August for the last ten years my guy and I take off for somewhere wonderful for the month of August. Given that we live in Phoenix, Arizona, you can understand why we choose that month to beat it out of Arizona. But this year Phoenix outdid itself. The Arizona Republic declared, “It’s official: July in Phoenix was the hottest month ever recorded in a U.S. City.” Yep. Seventeen days in July, Phoenix hit maximum temperatures at or above 115 degrees. And on three days in July we reached 119 degrees.
Okay so you know why we fled Phoenix on August 1.
For the last four years we have gone to extraordinary places in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. I’m in love with the four corners region. My two latest series, ten books in all, take place in one of those gorgeous states. But this year we opted for something different and headed to Sonoma, California in the heart of wine country. To be truthful, I was a tad worried that Sonoma couldn’t possibly compete with thee extraordinary mountains, red rocks and stunning vistas I’m infatuated with. BUT… drum roll please.
Enter Glen Ellan, California. To begin with, Sonoma, particularly Glen Ellan couldn’t be more different form the Four Corners region if it tried. To begin with if I had to choose a single word to describe where we are staying it would be verdant. Seriously after the red rocks and mountainous climbs, I marvel at how green everything is. But it’s more than that. It’s as if everywhere you look something is growing. Lush flourishing vegetation as far as the eye can see. Having grown up in northern Minnesota, I’m accustomed to trees and farmland. But Sonoma is different. Miles after miles of “growing” things. Vineyards of course, but small farms growing every kind of vegetable you can imagine. I’ve obviously seen vineyards before but I’d never driven for mile after mile in wine country. I’m infatuated with the rows of vines that look like they have been painted on the ground they are so perfectly manicured. And trees! I know, I know. How can a Minnesota chick marvel at trees? But after living in the desert for the last twenty years, I’m overcome by the trees. Everywhere you look that isn’t rows and rows of vines there are trees.
In Phoenix, after being forced to drive at least seventy miles an hour or be run off the road by irate drivers who think the seventy-five mile limit is the least acceptable lowest speed one can drive, the roads around Sonoma produce culture shock. Seriously, the two lane roads with no shoulders dare you to drive faster than the 20-30 mile maximum speed. In that my guy was doing all the driving, after the first week of white knuckles and closing my eyes for the most part, I’ve now become accustomed to being terrified but at least now appreciate the gorgeous countryside as we peel down the ads at a rousing 35 mile per hour.
Back to verdant.
The charming village of Glen Ellen (pop. 784) has one grocery store. But given the annual household income of Sonoma County residents of $100,000 K plus plus, it isn’t surprising that the one grocery store competes well with the swankiest upscale markets I love. But then who needs grocery stores when you have Farmers Markets. Honestly I’m a Farmers Markets aficionado but I have never seen anything like the ones in Sonoma County. As a one time vegetarian, I’m in awe of the variety of the fruits and vegetables that fill the rows and rows of vegetables and fruit at the markets. Good grief, I was even introduced to a fruit I had not eaten…. I learned that a “pluot” is a first-generation hybrid between a plum and an apricot parent. Delicious.
And Glen Ellen makes it clear what they think about visitors. The frequent signs stating “homes not hotels” indicates that the long-time residents aren’t enthralled with the hordes of visitors that come their way. An indication that Glen Ellan has warded off the hordes is that our charming VRBO required a minimum of a thirty-one day stay.
We are coming to the last week of our extraordinary vacation. But maybe there is hope for us. According to the weather gurus, when we get back on Sep. 1, it will be a balmy 102°F to 95°F, unlikely to exceed 108 °F. Ahhh, yes! Balmy indeed.
Now, onto books.
After all writing is my life. Be sure to check out the cool collection my author friends and I created! Snippets of great books that you will absolutely pique your interest! And right now, it’s FREE.
Inside this collection you’ll find chapter samples of eleven incredibly exciting books. Our hope is that you’ll be so thrilled, you’ll have to continue reading.
Many of the authors are NYT & USAT bestselling authors who understand that a reader loves to get snippets of a story before clicking that buy link. We’ve gathered these together to make the journey easier for you.
Since this is the perfect way for you to find your next book, we also hope it becomes a trail of discovery to a fresh author and her backlist.
Mimi Barbour – Special Agent Walker
Patricia Rosemoor – Fake ID Wife
Rachelle Ayala – Preying Heart
Dani Haviland – The Midwife’s Son
Rebecca York – At Risk
Denise Devine – Small Town Girl
Susanne Matthews – Sworn to Protect
Calinda B. – Gravestones
Taylor Lee – Forbidden
Cynthis Cooke – Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies
Susan Jean Ricci – Evasion
USA Today Best Selling author Taylor Lee writes Suspenseful Mystery Thrillers – with a heavy dose of Sexy to Sizzling HOT Romance.
In the five years that she has been writing, Taylor has written more than forty books. Her eight, series track her Special Operatives, Covert Agents, Cops, Firefighters and other iconic heroes and heroines, through the harrowing situations that make up their lives. From human trafficking rings to corrupt politicians, Taylor investigates the underbelly of society and the criminals who flourish there.
Taylor says: “From the residue in my personal blender of mixed races, cultures and world views, my characters emerge. It comforts me to know that while evil slinks in the shadows, the “good guys and gals” of the world sniff it out – and snuff it out.
My characters are arrogant alpha males and the feisty women who bring them to their knees – and vice versa… They fight hard, love hard and don’t mince words. They are dangerous men and women in dangerous times. Love, passion and ridding the world of evil? What’s not to like?