Written in Red: My Favorite City – Outside of Texas

Not all those who wander are lost. – J. R. R. Tolkien

Yep, it’s true, I have the wander bug. And I’ve been very fortunate in having the opportunity to get out of Texas. Thus far, my favorite city is Rome, with Paris, London, and Oslo not far behind. Naturally, I included Rome in my debut romantic suspense with Crimson Romance, In Hot Pursuit.

Rome is the perfect city for a newly rich thief to ramble around in and feel perfectly safe from any harm that might be brewing in Texas. It is also the perfect city for the two main characters, Quinn and Logan, to fall in love while they chase the thief.

My task was to intertwine the search for the thief with the beauty and tourist sights of Rome. I created their hotel, Albergo Santa Chiara, and its arched red door is a mixture of hotels I’ve visited. Beautiful doors in Italy are a big deal…I took many pictures on my last visit. Also, a hotel with only one bed added to the fun for Logan and the stress for Quinn. I used the Pantheon as “home port” for Quinn. It was a landmark close to their hotel and provided a sense of comfort for her.

The Spanish Steps is popular with Americans and the location of Quinn’s first visual sighting of the thief at the Piazza di Spagna. The piazza is the street below the steps and once Quinn and Logan arrive there, the thief has disappeared. Quinn voices her frustration to Logan at not yet locating the thief and vows to herself that “she’d find that bitch and in Rome.”

 The Trevi Fountain is their next stop on their Roman journey hunting for the thief. Quinn and Logan both throw a US quarter into the water, over their left shoulder, ensuring a return visit to Rome per the urban legend. Quinn’s thoughts on this simple, comforting act: “They had crossed an unspoken boundary. The warmth of his gaze filled her with hope. Hope that what lay ahead wouldn’t bite her in the butt. But at that moment, the planets in her world were in perfect alignment.”

St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica have a special place in the plot as this is where Quinn learns the name of the Rome hotel where the thief is hiding out. It’s their destination the morning after they first make love and where they cross the line of dancing around each other to acknowledging they are happy being in Rome, together. Logan kisses Quinn in the center of the Square and says: “That’s something I’ve wanted to do for twenty years. Thank you for being here with me.”

My final monument to share is the Coliseum, the background for the cover of In Hot Pursuit. I love this elliptical amphitheatre in the center of  Rome. Quinn loved it as well. It was completed in 80 A.D. and is a fabulous testament to the power and intelligence of mankind. It’s a popular tourist attraction and it the beginning of the Pope’s “Way of the Cross” procession each Good Friday. The interior is spooky if you imagine gladiators and battles and dripping blood.

I have many more novel plots based on places I’ve visited. I just need the time to get them all written. In the meantime, I’ll keep wandering and enjoying the beauty that surrounds all of us.



  1. Awesome pics! Thanks for sharing the settings for In Hot Pursuit!

  2. My favorite quote… thanks. Wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love this blog post! It’s so cool how you incorporated the setting of Rome with snippets from your book so that now, when I read it, I’ll feel closer to the places they visit. Awesome idea, and the book sounds fantastic. Best of luck!

  4. I love that quote, Karen! I’m a wanderer, although I do most of my ‘international visiting’ via computer/research.

  5. Loved your post, the quote you chose, and the pics!

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