Author Monica McCabe Shares her Latest Adventure!
Ever have a yearning to visit a distant land? I do, all the time. My latest was a trip to Australia and Tasmania. Our world is vast and spectacular, with no end of places to explore. Time and money is the only thing holding me back.
To get my fix, I do what any casual adventurer does with gypsy blood in her veins. I write about those places. Currently I’m working on the Jewel Intrigue Novels for Kensington’s Lyrical Press. One thing they all have in common is each book takes place in an exotic locale, a faraway place that I’ve never been. Take DIAMOND LEGACY – its set in Botswana, Africa. A place I’ve never been, but would dearly love to visit one day. Yet reviews consistently remark on the vivid scenery and sensory detail, the way location takes on a life of its own, some swear I’ve been there.
The question is – how can one set a book in Botswana if you’ve never prowled the savannah or drifted the Okavango Delta? I’ll let you in on the secret – global satellite imagery. Using my keyboard, I can magically zoom in on virtually any corner of the planet, measure distance, determine geographical lay of the land, scope out cities, find street names in Paris, New York, or Istanbul. I can get directions, note landmarks, it’s the next best thing to traveling there yourself.
My favorite site is Google Earth because it has 3D capability, street views, and historical data. But it’s not alone in the market. Here’s a sampling of some sites I’ve used.
Now we’re rolling, but more is needed to give a story location an intimacy that feels genuine. One important factor is weather. My book is set in Africa and I’ve painted a beautiful sunny day, only to discover the timeline puts my characters there during monsoon season. There are sites that offer atmospheric data, weather patterns, average temperatures, ocean currents, even shipping lanes.
www.NOAA.gov (limited to USA’s side of the planet)
www.weather.com (both sides of the planet)
Which leads us to Greenwich Meantime (GMT). Wonder what time it is in Botswana? Its eight hours ahead of USA’s Central Time Zone. Check out these sites for your desired story location.
Want to dive deeper into what makes a country tick, the dry and factual of profiles and statistics? What does their flag look like? What’s the current political climate? Any hot zones? Need to research population demographics? Languages and religions? How about the country’s natural resources, currency, maritime claims, economies, or historical data? It’s all here at this one highly informative site hosted by USA’s own Central Intelligence Agency.
Let’s not forget tourism sites. There is a wealth of information that highlights the best a country has to offer. It’s a great perspective on local flavor and color, flora and fauna, culture and diversity. The list here can be endless, but here are two that I’ve used for my stories as an example.
And guess what? At your request they will mail brochures, catalogs, photos, and other paraphernalia. But I should warn you – this practice can be dangerous. Because having all that temptation in your hand will fire up those travel-induced endorphins and before you know it, you’ll be on Expedia checking the price of airline tickets.
Lastly, I’ll mention one more online resource for detailed information. Lots of people write trip critiques or publish small journals of their travels that are chock full of tips, hints, things to look for or avoid. And sometimes, they spark ideas.
Also, go to your favorite search engine and type in your story location next to words like critique or journal. Or experiment with words like beware, fantasy, adventure, or some other descriptive. You’ll be surprised at some of the stuff that pops up.
Once you’ve hit all the sites and printed enough material to burn an ink cartridge, you should have enough ammunition at your fingertips to successfully paint a world you’ve never actually visited.
I’m fairly certain my next book will be set on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Because look at it…
Who wouldn’t want to go there? I hear the coastal road to get there is an adventure all its own. I’m so in…
Phantom Pearl …………..
Riki Maddox is not your average tomb-raiding treasure hunter. Her targets are carefully chosen to wound her father’s killers, the Japanese Yakuza. To thwart their quest to recapture World War II loot initially stolen by Japanese forces, she puts herself in constant danger–and in the sights of a man as driven and as daring as she is.
Working for the Department of Homeland Security, Special Agent Dallas Landry is a rare breed: an academic with an unmatched lust for adventure. He had a perfect success rate recovering stolen art and antiquities–until he came up against an intriguing menace known as Riki Maddox. She’s placed his reputation on the line, and stopping her becomes his number one priority.
Now the two will cross paths once again in Australia–on a quest for the legendary Phantom Pearl, a priceless mammoth tusk carved by 15th century monks. Barely one step ahead of the Yakuza, it’s a three-way race to recover the long lost treasure. One Riki is hell-bent to win. But playing games against a federal agent like Dallas will cost more than her freedom. The chase will demand she risk her life and her thirst for revenge–but it just might offer something more to live for…
You can purchase PHANTOM PEARL at:
Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/vEBK30c9MUe
About the Author:
Adventuring is in Monica McCabe’s blood. She’s explored glaciers and ancient Mayan pyramids, dived shipwrecks and reef caves, camped in Sasquatch country, and drove across the USA three times. Her latest craze is collecting as many official stamps in her National Park Passport as she can. When not traveling she’s writing romantic suspense novels and is currently under contract with Lyrical Press, the digital line for Kensington Publishing.