Laguna Beach Photo

A Getaway When You Can’t Get Away

by Sparkle Abbey

Travel and a change of place impart new vigor to the mind.  – Seneca

Laguna BeachIt’s exciting that travel is opening up and people are once again beginning to plan trips. For some of us that means a road trip to visit family for the holidays or a short vacation to warmer climes. For others it means something bigger. Perhaps booking that trip to a far-away destination that you’ve always wanted to visit.  The wonderful thing about travel is that it not only gives us new perspectives, but it can also offer a much-needed break from the day-to-day routine. Given that, we hope you’ve got some travel plans in your future.

In the meantime, some of us are exploring different locales without leaving home. Books hold a wide variety of places and spaces between their covers. Just among The Stiletto Gang authors we have upstate New York, the San Juan Islands, and Canada. Our books also include New England, the Gulf Coast, the California coast and tons of other places in between. We have big cities and small towns. Real places and others that are completely the product of our imaginations.

What we always hope to do as writers is make the setting an integral part of the story. So that it’s not just “where” the story happens but that it’s part of “why” the story happens. And why it couldn’t happen (at least not in this particular way) somewhere else. Even if the setting for our story is fictional or even in a different time period, we want it to feel real to the reader. As if you’ve traveled there with us. And we hope it’s a place you’d want to spend time if you could.

New England coast photo


As readers, we have locations from the books we’ve read that we love and want to visit again and again. Some we’ve been lucky enough to visit in real life and others not yet.

What about you? Is there a particular place you’ve read about and then visited? Or maybe there’s a place you’ve traveled to only in the pages of a book, but you’d love to visit in real life.

If we could gift you with an all-expense paid trip, where would you go?




Sparkle Abbey books

Sparkle Abbey Pampered Pets Series

Sparkle Abbey is actually two people, Mary Lee Ashford and Anita Carter, who write the national best-selling Pampered Pets cozy mystery series. They are friends as well as neighbors so they often get together and plot ways to commit murder. (But don’t tell the other neighbors.)

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11 replies
  1. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    After being cooped up for so long, the wanderlust is strong at our house. Wanting to return to favorite spots in the country, like Big Bend in Texas and Glacier Park in Montana. And overseas? Portugal, Spain, or all of the above!

  2. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    I love to travel, but have been limited the past few years. My first travels would be back to the conferences that I have missed. My next dream would probably be a return to Australia to see the parts I didn’t have time to visit during a short trip several years ago.

  3. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Tying one handed so bear with me! So many places. We canceled our trip to Ireland in 2020. Love reading about places and if the author writes spectacular settings, all the better. My daughter rented a plane and took us to the San Juan Islands. Amazing. Lovely blog, you two!!!

    • Sparkle Abbey
      Sparkle Abbey says:

      Donnell, hugs. When does that cast get to come off?
      The San Juan Islands look spectacular! Hopefully you’ll get a chance to reschedule that trip to Ireland one of these days…

  4. Lynn McPherson
    Lynn McPherson says:

    There are so much places, it’s hard to choose. I think right now I’d go for the French Alps. Snowboarding and enjoying the beautiful mountain views. A double win!

  5. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    Like Debra, I’d like to attend conferences I’ve missed! Interestingly, we canceled a trip to Singapore, Hong Kong, and Vietnam a couple of months ago since China is having such issues (again!) with Covid. We would have left two days ago, but alas, it’s wiser to stay home than risk getting sick overseas when their hospitals are already overflowing!
    One of the places I visited (and absolutely loved) was the Isle d’If with Chateau d’If near Marseille, France – the prison where Edmond Dantes, the fictional count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, was imprisoned. I read the Count of Monte Cristo as a teen and vowed that someday I’d visit where he was imprisoned. That dream came true in 2019 when I went to Marseille, France.

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