I guess when you live at the beach, a case can be made for being always on vacation. Of course, when you have two full-time jobs it may not feel that way. LOL. But i do know that writing my town into my books has made every part of living here more fun.
I live, as you know, in beautiful Laguna Beach, CA, the town in which i set many of my novels. In the summer, Laguna is tourist heaven and the traffic is AWFUL, but still the town is fun. We have three art festivals — the up-scale Festival of Arts which is a juried show for major artists, the fun and funky Sawdust Festival that shows only Laguna artists, and the Art- a Fair which i will admit is a bit of a stepchild but still has some great arts. The Festival of Arts plays significantly in Fire Balls. My hero, Rodney, is a renowned artist, and a number of scenes including the famous fight scene take place at the Festival. On the same grounds as the Festival of Arts is the famous Pageant of the Masters where tableau of great works of art are created using real people. (If you read Volley Balls, you’ll see several scenes set at the Pageant where my hero David poses as, of course, Michelangelo’s David.)
In the summer, Laguna offers free transportation all over the town on the wonderful Laguna trolleys. Ding ding. In Golden Dancer, two of my heroes ride the trolley to get to a popular Laguna Mexican restaurant. One of the characters is a gorgeous ballet dancer with flowing golden hair and all the people on the trolley stare at him.
The beautiful beaches play an important role in Golden Dancer and an even more central part in Beach Balls. My heroes meet underwater off Laguna Beach, make love on the beach, fight on the beach. They also spend time at a unique Laguna landmark, Crystal Cove, a beautiful beach tucked away from everything around it, where a lot of artists paint.
At the beginning of the art festivals around July 4th, i buy a season pass. It only costs about twenty dollars and, if i make the trip two or three times during the summer it is a bargain. I live at the other end of Laguna — about a three mile walk from the festivals–and i use the hike as my exercise for the day. I browse the jewelry at the Sawdust, oooh over my favorite artists at the Festival of Arts, grab a Starbucks and have a very vacation-like day.
I’m currently writing a story set in Laguna Beach in the winter. It’s called Snow Balls. I have a reader who came to the US from Norway this year and visited Laguna Beach just because she loved the description in my books. Whether you live here, visit, or just read about Laguna, it’s a great vacation.