Thursday, December 01, 2011

It's that most wonderful time of year ...

You’re standing on a rocky overlook, sea spray landing on your cheeks, sunlight kissing your nose—and the hint of danger in the air. That’s the feeling of standing “this” close to a 5,000 pound elephant seal basking in the sun along California’s central coast. Thankfully, viewing areas, wooden fences, and friendly docents make it easy to stay safe. Ah, but what a view!

I’m a sucker for these animals in the wild. If you get a chance to visit California’s central coast during birthing season—December through March—do! (If you have to wait until spring, however, no worries. May is peak time to see female seals and their “pups” birthed earlier in the year.)

With its dazzling seascapes, rolling hills, and gorgeous wildlife, I’ve been fascinated with this picturesque stretch of California for years—so much so that I set several novels here. In fact, the coastal area from Cambria to San Simeon is the setting (with a bit of poetic license from me) for the Otter Bay Novels.

Oh, and this is fun—when you reach San Simeon from the south, look up the long and winding hill to your right and you'll see the historic Hearst Castle overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The castle has a prominent place in my recent release, Fade to Blue. From there, drive another five miles or so north, and you’ll come upon the Piedras Blancas Rookery. There you’ll find thousands of barking elephant seals swimming, fighting with each other, or simply lying around on soft sand—not unlike your typical, beach-loving family!

I hope the Otter Bay Novels inspire you to take your own trip along California's coast someday. If you do, tell me about your adventure, won’t you? I’d love to hear from you!

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