06-18 Sarah Raplee – WHY PSYCHIC AGENTS?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Muskoka: Canada’s Premiere Summer Playground

by Madelle Morgan

"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

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 - HouseandHome.com

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.

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.


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

View more Muskoka pics on my Pinterest Board.

I'm hard at work writing the Muskoka series, and aim to release the first two  Caught on Camera & Sex and the Screenwrite in fall 2014. 

Stay tuned!




Diana McCollum said...

Wow, what a beautiful place to spend your vacation! The cottages are fabulous. The stories you must have from spending summers there and working at the Inn. Your book sounds great. Good luck on sales.

Madelle Morgan said...

When I was growing up I did not know how lucky I was to spend summers in Muskoka.

Then as an adult I traveled across Canada literally from coast to coast to Arctic coast. Canadians love visiting or owning cottages (aka cabins, depending on where you live). While Canada has many regional "cottage cultures", Muskoka is very special.

Descriptors like "Muskoka Chairs" and Muskoka Rooms" (screened porches) are as iconic in Canada as "Adirondack" is in the U.S.

Judith Ashley said...

Definitely staying tuned, Madelle. Rudy looks like he belongs on a cottage porch by a lake!

Did any ideas for this series come from your experience with the interest in your Diamond Lust story?

Madelle Morgan said...

Hi Judith,
Diamond Lust, a romantic suspense, was set in the Arctic, and (since this is romance, after all) I'm locating the new series where the heroine can wear a bikini and not freeze to death!

Seriously, I thought I'd try romantic comedy. Readers enjoyed the humor in Diamond Lust. It's easier to write funny lines when the heroine's life isn't in danger!!!

Robin Kramme said...

Hi, Madelle,
Delayed on my comments due to attending Desert Dreams Writers Conf where I got to see Judith and meet Sarah! My family cottage remains east of Toronto in the 1000 Islands section of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Boy, did I relate to your post!! If these 100 year old cottage walls could talk. And, my summer jobs ended up impacting my entire working career not to mention my ability to dock a good sized boat in a small amount of space but still not manage to parallel park my car! We just received a form letter from Hydo One (the power company for Ontario for those not familiar) stating they hope to restore power soon to customers impacted by the December 21, 2013 ice storm - even us hard to access cottagers!! Glad you are turning out stories based on this special setting. Eventually, I hope to follow your example.