Muskoka: Eat, Play, Love

“We’re going to the cottage.” Magic words in my childhood.

I was very fortunate to have grandparents who owned a waterfront summer home in one of the most scenic, ruggedly beautiful lake districts in the world – Muskoka, Ontario Canada, where generations of families have vacationed for over a hundred years.

Two hour drive north of Toronto, Canada
Two hour drive north of Toronto, Canada

The National Geographic Traveler magazine chose Muskoka as one of Best of The World – Must-see places for 2012.To my knowledge, no other romance author has set her books in Muskoka. To much of the world it’s a hidden gem. Therefore I decided to locate my new series of contemporary romance novellas in the cottage country I love so much.

As a child and teen, I enjoyed nineteen summers at my grandparents’ sprawling cottage near Honey Harbour on Georgian Bay. My three sisters and friends spent lazy sunny days water skiing, reading, swimming and sunning… until we were old enough to obtain summer jobs, that is. Then the fun took on a whole new dimension!

Summer jobs in a vacation destination are THE BEST. Let’s just say the fun involved boys! And late night parties! And trysts in boathouses… but you can read about that in my upcoming novellas.

Sadly the cottage had to be sold after my grandfather’s death. Muskoka prices skyrocketed well out of the affordable-to-ordinary-people range, and no one in the family could buy it. My relations have since spread across Ontario, but Muskoka is still where we gather. My sisters and I jointly rent a large cottage for a family week in July or August.

Cottages in Muskoka range from bare bones (no electricity or running water on a rocky island)…

…. to palatial four season homes owned by the fabulously wealthy, including many Hollywood celebrities who value their privacy far from the paparazzi.
Below is a boathouse with guest quarters above. The main cottage is hidden in the trees!
Muskoka Boathouse -
Muskoka Boathouse –

The first in my Muskoka series, Caught on Camera, is a romantic comedy with a Cinderella trope.

To fulfill her dream of working on Hollywood film sets, star struck chambermaid Rachel Lehmann needs $35,000 for film school tuition by the end of the summer. When she’s asked to fill in for a missing bridesmaid at a movie star’s wedding, it’s her big chance to take candid photos of celebrities and sell them to the gossip magazines. Then groomsman Mickey McNichol, agent to the stars, sweeps her off her feet.

Mickey’s bitter experience is that everyone in show business fakes emotions. When he falls for the stand-in bridesmaid, he thinks he’s finally met a beautiful woman he can trust. But if Rachel betrays his friends’ privacy, Mickey will ensure she never works in Hollywood.

My first summer job was – you guessed it – as a chambermaid at the Delawana Inn in Honey Harbour.

Delawana Inn 2012
Delawana Inn, Summer 2010
Not that I can afford to stay here myself, but the exclusive Windermere House in Muskoka is the inspiration for the fictional Sterling Inn and Spa where the wedding takes place.
Windermere House -
Windermere House –
Over the years the extended family has loved many dogs, and their personalities will live on in my Muskoka books!
Rudy at Peninsula Lake, Muskoka
Rudy at Peninsula Lake, Muskoka

View more Muskoka pics on my Muskoka Pinterest board.

I’m hard at work writing the Muskoka series, and aim to release the first two —Caught on Camera and Sex and the Screenwriter—in 2015.

Stay tuned!


This post was first published on the blog Romancing the Genres on April 8, 2014.


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