Thank you for your patience. It wasn’t easy to go back to “normal” after our dear Chiqui left us in April. I just couldn’t find the magic button to stop the pain or lessen it. Not that I’ve found it, but I can only accept it and carry him in my heart…
Last week, my hubby and I attended the Romance Writers of America Conference in San Diego, which has infused me with energy, ideas and inspiration to keep writing, finish The News Girl and share a few things with you. We arrived in San Diego three days before the conference started, so we could spend two wonderful days in my beloved Coronado Island, where Juli and Eric (The Postgirl) said hi to all of you, and Alex and Mia (The News Girl) can’t wait to make you fall in love with the island just a little bit more. Have I told you I fell in love with Coronado four years ago, after just a few minutes there? It was love at first sight, awakening my creative juices so the idea of a series started forming in my mind.
On this trip I’ve had the honor, the pleasure and the thrill of visiting The Coronado Eagle & Journal—a family business newspaper in a historical house built in 1889—and meeting Dean K. Eckenroth, who has been helping me in my research for The News Girl. I first contacted Dean in January of 2016 with a modest request for information during the research process. Dean responded, not only giving me permission to use the name of the Coronado newspaper in my novel, but he also offered a physical description of the office and was happy to answer any questions I had as the novel developed. Dean is the editor, IT guy and production manager, a man who loves his profession, his workplace and its wonderful staff he calls family. I have no words to describe the feeling of finally being there in person, meeting him and his adorable big puppy, Jax. I also had the chance to chat with some staff members, such as the copyeditor, Susie, and the advertising team, Tracy, Brandy, Trisha and Daniel. They were all kind, fun to talk to and happy, just the way I pictured them and the office with Dean’s help.
Then we visited the legendary Hotel del Coronado—known by the locals as “The Del.” The hotel was built in 1888, becoming the most luxurious and elegant Victorian seaside resort in the country—a national historic landmark visited by eleven US presidents and royalty from Europe.
There I was lucky to meet Brook Berryhill, a lovely and welcoming concierge, who feels proud of being part of The Del and was so kind to open the Crown Room for me—so I could get a physical feel of the setting for one of the scenes in The News Girl. The Crown Room offers the famous Sunday brunch, with seven different stations in a lovely setting. The crown chandeliers you can see in the picture below were designed by Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz. What luck to be in there on a Tuesday!
I got to talk to other hotel staff at the shops, and did some research in situ, including the story of the famous ghost, known as The Beautiful Stranger, who’s been living there since November 1892.
I love The Del. Just being there makes me want to write a whole book about this absolutely mesmerizing, charming and mysterious resort. Maybe next time I’ll enjoy the experience of staying there.
One of the first people I met on the island was Debbie Otto, The Coronado Flower Lady, the place where Mia Carrera loves to buy her flowers at Rotary Park —on Orange Ave. and Isabella. I told her about The News Girl and how I mention her business in both books. It took less than a minute to see all the love and pride she feels for her flowers, and how much she cares about what she does. After so many years, she’s still there and always happy, like everybody I’ve met on the island.
On day two we visited Bay Books, a locally own bookstore that keeps the charm and the beautiful smell of the classic bookstores—a place where the staff knows where everything is without having to check a computer.
Erna Lockhart and Barbara Chambers were very sweet, chatting with us about the book signings and readings they do regularly for authors. How exciting! I’d love to do a book signing there in the future, maybe after book three of my series…
It shouldn’t be a surprise that we went to the beach and enjoyed a long walk on the white sand by The Del while indulging on a scrumptious ice cream from the Mootime Creamery.Wait a minute! I don’t think the ice cream made it to the beach. I devoured it before that.
Dinner at Island Pasta on Orange Avenue was casual and delicious, with friendly staff and cozy tables by the window. This time we had pizza and Caesar salad. Yummy!
The evening ended with a fun and refreshing ride on the Coronado Ferry that took less than ten minutes to the San Diego Marina by the Convention Center.
I feel so happy and grateful to have met such wonderful people—in a place that already feels like home— that I can’t wait to go back to Coronado!