On this guest post, New York Times bestselling novelist, Eileen Goudge, shows us where she goes for inspiration, and takes us on a little journey around Santa Cruz, California, the setting for her new book, Bones and Roses.

Where do I go for inspiration? Where else but the beach? It’s where I get my best ideas. My writing career began here, in Santa Cruz, California, where I lived from the early 1970’s to 1983, when I moved to New York City to seek my fortune. I go back there for a month each year to write at my sister’s beach house. It was during a recent visit, while strolling along the shore, that I got the idea for my new Cypress Bay mystery series. The first book in the series, Bones and Roses, came out on August 5th, roughly a year since inspiration struck. My fictional town of Cypress Bay, California, is modeled after Santa Cruz, in fact.

What a year it’s been! I’ve been back to my hometown twice, both times with my trusty laptop to get in some serious writing time. Five of my author pals came for a long weekend in January of this year, and I confess I didn’t get any writing done those four days. Most of the time we sat around, drinking wine and gossiping, when we weren’t taking long walks on the beach or sightseeing. But mainly what I do when I’m at the beach is write, and when I’m not at my computer, woolgather to the sound of the surf.

The beach at Manresa State Park where I take my daily strolls.

Manresa State Park Beach Santa Cruz California

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Even on a cloudy day, the first views of San Sebastian from the Camino del Norte were amazing. I had long anticipated visiting the Basque city and couldn’t wait to descend the mountain and walk along the beaches, check out the historic buildings, and have a closer look at the hill of Urgall. My time would be limited, but I was going to enjoy my afternoon and evening in San Sebastian.

I left my last post, Coastal Views Along The Camino del Norte in Spain, Pasajes de San Pedro to San Sebastian, here, after walking along one of the most scenic stretches of the Camino de Santiago. It had been a tiring day, but also one that was memorable for I had met a group of friendly, interesting women, and we would stay together for another day.

San Sebastian Zurriola Beach

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One of my recent fond memories was a Mother’s Day about six years ago that I spent with my late mother at the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada. I always enjoy visiting gardens in Springtime, but on that particular day, we witnessed something that we both had never seen — the beautiful Laburnum Walk with the Golden Chain Trees in full bloom. My mother and I were fascinated as we had only seen individual trees, and, although beautiful on their own, nothing could come close to what we saw that day.

With the onset of Spring and the odd Golden Chain Tree coming alive with their bright yellow blooms along the streets of Vancouver, a few weeks ago, I made another visit to the VanDusen Botanical Garden. I had returned since the aforementioned visit in the summer, but mid-Spring is still my favourite with the Rhododendron, Azaleas, Alliums, late tulips, early roses, and many other plants providing a vast array of colours.

A little warning: if you don’t like yellow flowers then you probably won’t enjoy this post. Now let’s visit the Laburnum Walk in the VanDusen Botanical Garden. Golden Chain is the common name for Laburnum, a genus of the pea family.

Golden Chain Trees Flowers VanDusen Garden Vancouver Canada

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The greatest thrill while experiencing nature often comes when you least expect it. That’s exactly what happened to me as I began my descent of Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park on a summer’s evening. After spending hours on the ridge, I had barley descended when a family of Ptarmigan came to visit. To be more precise, since it was their home, I was visiting them.

I have written a few posts featuring one of my favourite places, Garibaldi Provincial Park, north of Vancouver, Canada, including Views From Panorama Ridge On A Clear Summer’s Day. Now let’s visit the Ptarmigan.

This is the Rock Ptarmigan of Garibaldi Park.

Ptarmigan Garibaldi provincial Park Canada

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After a tough morning on my first day on the Camino del Norte, I was glad to arrive at the crest of the hill just before the villages of Pasajes de San Juan & Pasajes de San Pedro. Walking had been difficult, not only from the rain, but because I was so out of shape. The two ascents to begin the day nearly wore me out. I was happy to see the brilliant blue of the ocean and anticipated visiting the picturesque seaside villages.

I left my last post On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Guadalupe to Pasajes de San Juan, just a little east of this spot, overlooking the city of Pasaia which is a suburb of San Sebastian. Walking through the city is an option but didn’t interest me. I wanted to see the villages, smell and touch the ocean, and was excited when I arrived here, just above Pasajes de San Juan.


Pasajes de San Pedro Basque Region, Camino Del Norte Spain

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When I was given the opportunity to talk about Avenza’s PDF Maps app, I immediately thought how it would benefit not only traveling, but my main passion of hiking and trekking. Avenza’s PDF Maps app is free for both Apple and Android devices. There are literally thousands of maps, many of which are free, while others have prices set by the publishers. One of the best features about Avenza’s PDF Maps app is that it runs strictly on the GPS of your smartphone without the need for data. You download the maps prior to your trip or when you have WIFI, and use them offline while your phone is on airplane mode.


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