The kids are back in school, the lawn doesn't need mowing every five minutes, the quarterly taxes are done, and the deadline is at least two months away. What's an author to do? Anne McAllister indulges in a bit of vicarious traveling.
Every time the Sunday paper shows up, if I'm not already packing for a trip, I'm diving into the travel section, daydreaming about all the places in the world I'd like to see.
I get some great ideas there -- both for trips and for books.
But even better than the Sunday travel section are those lovely glossy travel magazines I can't quite resist.
Ever since I was eight and my uncle Tom sent me a subscription to National Geographic, I've been a sucker for magazines that take me away to far off lands and enchant me with places I've never seen. Sometimes, admittedly, they are places I never want to see -- as in wherever it was that there were such gruesome looking bugs that I could barely bring myself to touch the pages of the National Geographic article that month.
But ordinarily, they whetted my appetite for travel. Mostly, they still do.
For years I had a subscription to Islands. With them I traveled vicariously to the Maldives and the Seychelles. I enjoyed jaunts to St Pierre and Miquelon, to Easter Island and the Canaries, to Santorini and Mallorca. I visited Harbour Island in the Bahamas and the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Australia. I visited Fiji and Tahiti and New Caledonia.
When I tired of islands, I borrowed my son's Outside magazine for a little more energetic traveling. I trekked the Himalayas. I climbed Denali. I kayaked. I snorkled. I went deep sea fishing. ( I ogled very nice looking potential heroes.) And I never had to leave my living room.
Even when I do leave my living room -- and actually travel -- I gravitate to the magazine racks in the places I visit. I pick up local magazines that I bring home and read cover to cover again and again. So when my mother stops over and wants to know why I have a four year old copy of NZ Wilderness magazine sitting on my coffee table, I explain that I was just re-visiting my trip. Not only do I get ideas before I go, I bring back the memories that way.
That explains, too, why I have a stack of Cornwall Today magazines covering a lot of yesterdays that I enjoy again every time I dip into them.
As I write mostly for Harlequin Presents -- and Presents books are often set in the more glamourous parts of the world (where I don't live), there is also a research angle to my relaxation.
I may only have traveled to Biarritz or Cannes or Monaco in magazines so far, but I can get a good idea of what it's like there. Someday a heroine of mine may live there. I'll have to learn a lot more about it before she does -- but the magazines are a great starting point. I get all kinds of ideas from my weekend relaxation with a glossy travel mag in my hands.
And sometimes, those ideas lead to trips. Later this month I'm off to Cannes. And then back to Cornwall for a week. See what a little relaxation can get you into?
What are some of your favorite weekend indulgences? And if you, too, read travel magazines, where do they make you want to go next?
Anne McAllister is currently revisiting the SoCal beach scene for an upcoming Presents. Sometimes a girl just has to stay home and work out of the memory bank. But with Cannes in the future, she's not too concerned.
Watch for her next book, Antonides' Forbidden Wife, coming in November as an HM&B Modern in UK, and in January as a Harlequin Presents. It's a New York City book -- another of the places she loves best.