• A Hairy Mishap

    The newest Suamalie Islands book is here! My friend Chautona Havig just released Trust Fall. To celebrate, we are doing a series of blog posts on a theme Chautona chose, Accompanying the posts is a giveaway! Here’s Chautona’s prompt:

    Life is full of hairy experiences, and then you have just “hair” ones. In Trust Fall, Kensi ends up cutting her hair in a rash move and regrets it… at first. Share a story about a hair mishap or how a hairy experience turned out good in the end. Bonus points if it’s both!

    One of my earliest memories is of a “hairy experience.” I think I was only three—maybe four—at the time, but I remember it vividly. I was playing with my friend, Stacy, who lived a couple of houses down from mine. We were playing in her front yard when we decided to play “wedding.” We pretended that I was getting married. Of course, everyone knows that before you get married, you need a haircut. Stacy went inside the house and retrieved a pair of scissors. Then she proceeded to chop off my healthy fringe of 80’s bangs almost to my scalp. I must have looked so beautiful.

    Then, with a squeak of the screen door, Stacy’s mom came out to the front porch. She looked at me and said, “I think you need to go home now.” Somehow, she didn’t sound too happy about my new look.

    I said goodbye to Stacy and hurried to my house. My mom was horrified. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot she could do to fix a head of hair with just the bangs chopped. She couldn’t cut the rest of my hair to match, and there was nothing left to cut! Soon after that incident, my family moved, and I don’t think I ever played with Stacy ever again. But to this day, I remember that haircut and the rationale behind it.

    And I think some good came out of it. My hair grew back, though I eventually opted out of the bangs look. More importantly, when it came time for me to get married in real life, I’d learned my lesson. I didn’t get a haircut.

    Trust Fall by Chautona Havig

    Protecting her without her knowledge might get them both killed.

    Grief has held Eve “Kensi” Kensington captive long enough. Determined to move on after the death of her fiancé six years ago, Kensi moves to St. Alyn to help Ezra with the new boat book business. That there’s a great therapist on the island is just a bonus.

    When the West Coast Agency learns that the former fiancée of a deceased informant is under the radar, Simon Garver is tasked to protect her—without her knowledge, if possible. Great. Listening in on her therapy sessions might be the worst thing he’s ever had to do as an agent.

    Nope… scrap that. Falling for his client takes the cake.

    When Kensi learns Simon has been keeping secrets from her, she’s done. Too bad the arrival of a guy sent to “take care of her” means she needs him. She’ll cooperate until she’s safe, toss the trust exercises her therapist has insisted on in the trash, and get back to her job on Ezra’s boat.

    If only her heart would listen to the plan…

    Take a trip to the Suamalie Islands where palm trees sway, the sand and sea pulse with life, and the people will steal your heart.

    Check out some of the other “hairy experiences” from the other Suamalie authors:

    Chautona Havig: April 30

    Heidi Gray McGill: May 1

    Amanda Tru: May 2

    Rachel Skatvold: May 3

    Jennifer Pierce: May 4

    Susan K. Beatty: May 5


  • Lions and Tigers and…… Oh My!

    dark forest

    Lions and Tigers and… a new book!

    Yay! It’s finally here! We’ve arrived at Year 2 in the Suamalie Islands series! First up is my book, Seashells Tell No Tales! To celebrate, I got to choose the topic for a series of blog posts that the other Suamalie authors get to contribute to. Accompanying the posts is a giveaway! Here’s my question:

    In Seashells Tell No Tales, Faith has a fear of heights—and with good reason. Do you have any fears or phobias? Is there a story behind your fear?

    Thankfully, I don’t have any outright phobias. I don’t like heights. I don’t like spiders. But I wouldn’t classify those as phobias. They are definitely not paralyzing like my sister’s phobia of snakes. And they don’t cause me a significant amount of fear and anxiety, like Faith’s fear of heights in Seashells Tell No Tales.

    However, I do have a very strange, very strong aversion to something. It’s not a fear. But it is a shuddering, nails-on-a chalkboard aversion. I know it’s weird. All of you will laugh. And you should.

    I can’t stand anything made of… wood.

    Wooden pencils (cringe). Give me a plastic mechanical one.

    Wooden kitchen utensils. I would rather stir something with my bare hand rather than a wooden spoon.

    And possibly the worst… popsicle sticks. Nothing is worth eating a popsicle attached to a wooden stick.

    The aversion also extends to cardboard. I know, super weird. I can’t stand the feel of any rough wood. If something has a good coat of lacquer, I can manage. But I can’t handle the rough feel of unfinished wood.

    What’s even more weird is that within the past few years, I’ve discovered that my sisters share the same bizarre aversion. Then I found out that my dad is fine with wood, but not at all fine with cardboard. If he needs to pick up a cardboard box, he immediately feels the need to wash his hands.

    Yes, you may think we’re strange. And we are. But even more strange is the knowledge that we are not the only ones with a wood aversion. It’s a thing. A quick google shows multitudes of others with the same bizarre quirk. Not a phobia, but a definite, completely irrational aversion to the feel of wooden objects.

    Technically, it could be called xylophobia. According to my good friend Google, if you have xylophobia, you may have a strong, irrational fear or be completely repulsed at the idea of touching, licking or running your teeth along a wooden object. And just that description makes my skin crawl.

    So there you go. I can hike along the rim of a deep canyon without a problem. I can dispose of a spider if out of necessity. I was also brave enough one to take care of a rattlesnake that had made it into my garage. I may be a superhero to some, but shhhh… my kryptonite is a popsicle stick.

    Lions and Tigers and… Popsicle Sticks, Oh my!

    Seashells Tell No Tales by Amanda Tru

    A remote island with secrets that the waves and seashells don’t even dare whisper about.

    Faith Marlowe never breaks a promise. Especially not a promise she made to her dying brother. Easier said than done when the promi

    se includes taking care of an injured and embittered war vet. Not to mention having to hide who she truly is 

    in order to keep her vow.

    Army Ranger Vet, Gideon Sundquist (Sunny) doesn’t want help. He’s exiled on an island in the middle of the South Pacific and hiding from the world for a reason. However, losing both his legs forces him to accept care from a nurse. But if she—or anyone else for that matter—finds out about the black ops mission where he was injured, it could put all their lives at risk.

    On a beautiful, remote island in the Pacific, Faith will try to teach Sunny to live again. But if the tales of their secrets are told, neither will see the sun rise in the Suamalie Islands again.

    Take a trip to the Suamalie Islands where palm trees sway, the sand and sea pulse with life, and the people will steal your heart.

    Check out some of the other fun dad jokes from the other Suamalie authors!

    Amanda Tru: February 27
    February 28: Susan K. Beatty
    February 29: Chautona Havig
    March 1: Melissa Wardwell
    March 2: Tabitha Bouldin
    March 3: Marguerite Martin Gray


  • The Magic of Laughter

    We finally made it to the very last book in Year One of the Suamalie Islands series! Heidi Gray McGill brings us the book in the caboose position! To celebrate, we are doing a series of blog posts on a theme Heidi chose, Accmpanying the posts is a giveaway! Here’s Heidi’s question:

    In A Deeper Love, Alicia is determined to be a successful business owner, even at the expense of the one thing she desires most—a family. Her father’s best friend helps her stay grounded, usually with a humorous quip. What’s the best dad joke you’ve heard recently that has a family theme?

    I’m sorry. I can’t just answer this question with a one-liner and call it good. I need to tell astory!

    I have three sons, and my daughter is the caboose of our family. My middle son, Elijah, is a unique guy. He’s very intelligent, serious, and intense. If something is worth doing, it gets his entire focus. He’s also quiet and introverted. He keeps his emotions hidden. He’s not easy to get to know because he doesn’t let just anybody into his circle. But if you’re lucky enough to make it in and get to know the real him, you’re blessed to find a caring, fun, and hilarious person who is intensely loyal.

    His unique personality has presented some challenges as he’s grown up. He’s so quiet and reserved, that even the best, most amazing teachers have had difficulty drawing him out of his shell. I’ve received multiple calls from dedicated teachers basically asking for suggestions on how to get to know Elijah better. He’s never struggled academically or socially, but a good teacher desires to connect with her students. Elijah has been blessed to have teachers who have gone the extra mile and make that personal connection with him.

    I’ve always given the same advice to anyone wanting to get to know Elijah: Tell him a joke. He has the most amazing, dry, understated sense of humor. He is hilarious. If you can get him to laugh, he just might give you the keys to his inner circle. And it’s worked. Some of his teachers have specifically worked to make that connection, and the result was a great relationship. Elijah was able to relax and be comfortable, and his teachers have gotten to know what an amazing individual he is.

    To answer this question, it seemed fitting to ask 14-year-old Elijah for his best dad jokes. And he didn’t disappoint. He’s a dad joke encyclopedia sure to have the hardest hearts rolling in the aisles.

    So here is my advice, if you really need to break the ice with someone, give one of these jokes a test drive. Hopefully, you’ll be treated to getting to know someone amazing who will truly make your life better simply by knowing him.


    *** Elijah’s top pick:

    Does an apple a day keep the doctor away?

    Yes. If you aim it well.


    *** In honor of Elijah’s older brother who just finished his golf season:

    Why should you take an extra pair of socks when you go golfing?

    In case you get a hole in one.


    *** Elijah (rather embarrassed), “I’m not sure if this one would be appropriate or not.” Yes, I have to include it because I’m a mom, and he was adorable in the telling of the joke. For those who don’t appreciate potty humor, please skip this one!

    Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl when he’s in the restroom?

    Because the p is silent.


    *** Family themed—since that was the original request:

    Good moms let you lick the beaters.

    Great moms turn them off first.


    *** Tis the season:

    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

    Summer wasn’t too bad either.


    *** The grand finale. A writer’s joke:

    Dad jokes are the best and now I’m gonna write why…



    May you all have a great fall. May your inner circle be blessed with beautiful, unique people who both catch your tears and tell you the best jokes.

    A Deeper Love by Heidi Gray McGill

    What was that movie line about relationships built on intense experiences? Oh, yeah. They never work.

    I get paid to do my

    dream job, usually by wealthy men who thrive on adventure. But when their adrenaline rush is gone and vacation is over, I’m still here, on

    a tropical island, with people who mostly leave me alone. And I like it that way.

    Except for this guy. Seriously, Dan is the last man I want to get involved with. If he got Decompression Illness, the doctors would likely call it Mercedes Bends. He’s privileged and entitled and would never leave his city life behind for the challenges of living on a remote island. Which is a total relief, I’m telling you.

    Don’t get me wrong—he’s prime shark bait, but I’m not ready to fall deeply in love with someone who won’t stay. There’s no such thing as going “too deep” where spiritual things are concerned. But when it comes to relationships, I’ll stay at the surface and snorkel rather than dive into the depths.

    Take a trip to the Suamalie Islands where palm trees sway, the sand and sea pulse with life, and the people will steal your heart.

    Check out some of the other fun dad jokes from the other Suamalie authors!

  • The Gift of an Unexpected If…

    Yay! A new Suamalie Islands book is now available! Congratulations to author Melissa Wardwell! To celebrate its release, the Suamalie authors are doing a series of blog posts along with a giveaway. Melissa got to pose the question, and this is what she said:

    In an Unexpected Gift, Kiana is a closet video gamer on the internet. It is how she decompresses at the end of a long day. What is something you do to relax or decompress after a long day? Bonus points if it is completely uncharacteristic of you!

    Before I respond to this question, I need to ask for the definition of two terms—relax and decompress. By contrast, I fully understand the phrase “long day.” I started my morning today at 6:00 am. I ran about 3 miles on my treadmill, and I haven’t stopped running since. There’s been so much to do, and so much still needing doing. It’s now almost midnight, and I’m writing this blog post, which doesn’t feel like it should count as relaxing or decompressing either!

    The sad reality is that I don’t relax and decompress right now. It’s a problem. But I don’t have time in my schedule. I recently started a new part-time job, and I’m trying to manage that with my author work, with being a very-involved mom to four busy children. I honestly feel like time must go slower for others than it does for me. I don’t know how some of my amazing author friends manage to get everything done. I’m thoroughly convinced they must have a magical device that slows time down so they can accomplish more. I think my magical device puts time on fast forward!

    I go to bed each night with a long list of what I should have accomplished today. I get up in the morning and put out fires all day. Then I end the day again only adding more to my list. I hope that life will eventually settle down. I’d love to get a few minutes to relax and do something simply because I enjoy it and not because I’m trying to get something done for someone else.

    In the meantime, let’s play the “if game.” If I had time to relax and decompress, what would I do? Growing up, my relaxation was reading. Oh, how I loved reading! I still do! But since I started writing my own books, it’s more difficult for me to turn off my brain when reading. While I still love to read, now it takes a lot of effort for me to settle down and relax into it. So my first choice for my elusive fantasy moments of relaxation would not be reading.

    Here’s my confession: I actually know exactly what I’d do if I had time at the end of a long day. I would watch a low-budget princess movie on TV.

    On a rare evening after the kids are in bed, my husband may flip on the TV in our bedroom. Then he may start scrolling through all the shows on Amazon. We even have a subscription to one of the channels that shows a lot of Hallmark movies—a subscription I haven’t looked at in months. He’ll ask me what I want to watch. I’ll idly watch the screen flipping through pictures and movie titles, not really caring what we should watch. Then I’ll spy a movie about royalty. The Princess Something or The Royal Whatever.
    “That one. Let’s do that one,” I’ll say.

    Unfortunately, there are a decentnumber of cringe-worthy royalty movies. We may wince through the cheesy plot and trite dialogue. The movie may not include an actual plot at all. There may be a few smiles and a tad bit of sweet romance. But there’s nothing at all similar to what I experience every day and very little resemblance to anything I write. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that princess movies are bad. Quite the opposite. I like them. A lot. So much so that it really doesn’t matter if they are good or bad.

    For an hour and a half, I don’t have to think. I don’t need to live in reality. For the space of just a bit, it provides a meaningless escape from everything. And somehow, it’s exactly what I need.

    So if I had time to relax and decompress, I would watch the cheesiest princess movie I could find and enjoy every minute. Even better, my sweet husband would watch it with me (with very minimal teasing about my cinematic taste).

    However, instead of indulging in relaxing, my usual nightly activities involve fighting sleep as I stay up late, trying to make headway on my to-do list. Those activities invariably involve writing—as they did tonight. In the exercise of creating words that look back at me from a screen, I find a bit of release. I feel a sense of accomplishment as I see the neatly organized rows of words. There’s an emotional release in the feeling that I’ve transferred some of my tumultuous thoughts onto an organized page, and I can leave them there.

    For now, that little taste of relaxation and decompression gained through writing is just enough for me to finally shut my computer, go to sleep, and wake up to brave it all again tomorrow when my alarm clock strikes 6:00am.

    An Unexpected Gift by Melissa Wardwell

    Something’s up in Suamalie, and it’s looking like love!

    When Kiana, Lulu, and Meilani decide it’s time for the islands to
    have affordable wedding options, Something Suamalie becomes the
    marriage of skills, friendship, and wedding splendor on the islands.

    Cruising around the island on a Moped in a business suit may seem
    incongruous, but Kiana knows how to blend practicality and
    professionalism, a strong work ethic and relaxation. With no time for
    mistakes or changes in plans, she’s also decided to forgo romance
    (for herself). There just isn’t enough time in the day. That is until the
    early arrival of one of the groomsmen of Something Suamalie’s first
    booking throws everything off balance, including her thoughts on
    long distance dating.

    Beau was perfectly content with his job and the growing attraction to
    a girl back home; however, he hadn’t figured in the sassy and
    sometimes unprofessional wedding planner. Seeing her world begin
    to unravel while she and her partners fumble with their first weddings
    tugs at his heart strings and leaves him second guessing his choices in
    the romance department.

    She’s a study in opposites. He’s attracted. So now what do they do?

    Take a trip to the Suamalie Islands where palm trees sway, the sand and sea pulse with life, and the
    people will steal your heart.

    Check out some of the other stories of fun getaway experiences by the other Suamalie Islands authors!


  • Room For A Tie-Dyed Fishing Story

    You can now get your hands on the newest book in the Suamalie Islands series! To celebrate its release, the Suamalie authors are doing a series of blog posts along with a giveaway. Marguerite Gray chose the topic, and this is what she said:

    In Room for Love, Amy runs a bed and breakfast on Alexandre Island. She pours herself into making the experience memorable for her guests through her delicious recipes and comfortable, inviting accommodations. Do you have a positive (or funny) B&B or Airbnb (a cabin in the woods or a condo on the beach) experience to share? What made it special?

    I’m really sorry to disappoint you, but I’m really not cool. Yes, I write exciting stories filled with romance, adventure, inspiration, and suspense, but I’m actually quite dull. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I have never stayed in an actual B&B or Airbnb. On second thought, that’s technically not quite true. I stayed in a beach house rental once, but it was for a funeral. Not exactly something to enjoy remembering.

    My family didn’t have much money growing up. The few vacations we had were to visit my grandparents or to go camping in a tent in the mountains—both of which we loved. As an adult, my husband and I have been so busy raising kids that we not taken the time for those weekend getaways. In fact, this past spring was the first time in about 16.5 years that we went away for a weekend just the two of us.

    However, just because my memories don’t fit the classic categories doesn’t mean that I don’t have some pretty amazing stories and memories! When I was about nineteen, my mom, my two younger sisters, and I decided to go camping. We hadn’t gotten to go at all that summer, so we decided to go ourselves, even though our dad couldn’t go with us. To date, it is the only “girls trip” I’ve even been on. And it didn’t go well.

    When we got there, we found out tConvert to blockshat the tent we’d grabbed had gotten wet, shrunk, and mildewed. The colors had bled together, and it now resembled a ‘70s tie-dye disaster. Worse, it no longer fit with the tent poles. We had no other option for a tent and were 2.5 hours from home. So we tried to put it up anyway. It took us a long time. I remember forcing the tent pole into the tent canvas by sheer strength and stubbornness, finally fitting it in and getting it upright.

    Then we entered the tent and found out that the water damage had left another souvenir. The tent stunk. Really stunk. Then I found out that I’d apparently done a lousy job of packing and had forgotten something essential. Pants.

    I wore my middle sister’s sweatpants. She wore our younger sister’s pants. And our youngest sister wore pajama pants.

    Eventually, we made it through the night in the stinky tent. In the morning, we woke to find that it had collapsed around us.

    We also tried to get some fishing in. I’ve always loved to fish and was very familiar with the stream that ran through the campground. We hiked upstream and spent several hours fishing. Unfortunately, the stream was notorious for getting your line snagged and devouring your fishing hooks. Also unfortunate, we had a limited supply. After I’d lost several, I was not about to let another one go.

    Sure enough, my line got snagged and I couldn’t get it to release. I announced to my mom and my sisters that I was not losing another hook. I cautiously checked to make sure we were completely alone in the forest. Then I stripped off my borrowed pants and waded into the water. Realistically, I wasn’t being immodest. I was wearing a large shirt that covered any areas of concern.

    However, the water was deeper than I’d anticipated. Soon the bottom edge of the shirt was dipping in the stream, and I was steadily raising it up. I’d come this far, though. I couldn’t turn back now. But I couldn’t let my shirt get wet. I had a very limited supply of clothing.

    So I did the only logical thing. I looked around once more to make sure my sisters and my mom owned the only eyes around. Then I shrugged out of my shirt and tossed it to the shore.

    The only problem was that it didn’t quite have the aerodynamics I expected. Instead of sailing through the air to land dry and safe, it only offered a meager hop from my hand, landing in the water with a plop. By this point, I could no longer pretend that I had any shred of modesty left, and my mom and my sisters were laughing hysterically on the shore. I think that is also the only time I can say I went swimming in a bikini… sort of.

    Still determined to complete my task, I reached down into the cold water and extracted my fishing hook. Then I marched back to shore with my prize in all my glory. That was a good fishing hook for me. I caught multiple fish on it after that. Until it got caught again sometime later and I refused to perform an encore.

    To clarify, there is no evidence that this event occurred, except in the memories of my mom and my sisters. But there it is still alive and well, and they make sure to keep me humble. Not that I need a lot of humbling. After all, I was asked to tell about a charming stay at a B&B, and all I could come up with was an embarrassing tale that could earn me a T-shirt saying “I Strip For Fishing Hooks.”

    All that to say, check out Marguerite Gray’s Room for Love. I’m sure she has a much more appropriate, modest tale involving no hint of a tie-dyed stinky tent and missing clothing.

    Room For Love by Marguerite Gray

    God gave her peace then; maybe He’ll do it again.

    When Amy Lee’s son heads off to college, the bed and breakfast owner finds life even lonelier and emptier than she had after losing her husband. She needs something to occupy her mind and heart while she reinvents her life again. What more could she ask for than an after-school program for local children and a renewed interest in painting?

    Then the arrival of a professor of archeology shakes her world and makes her yearn for the way things were only a few short months ago.

    Still grieving the loss of his beloved wife, and ignoring the warnings and protests of his grown children, Professor Walker Standish escapes on a six-month sabbatical. His heart, barely beating these past months, jerks to life again when he finds more than a room at a B & B.

    Where an ocean meets the shore, love has room for one more.

    Take a trip to the Suamalie Islands where palm trees sway, the sand and sea pulse with life, and the people will steal your heart.

    Check out some of the other stories of fun getaway experiences by the other Suamalie Islands authors!

    Marguerite Gray: July 25

    Chautona Havig: July 26

    Rachel Skatvold: July 27

    Susan K. Beatty: July 28

    Tabitha Bouldin: July 29

    Amanda Tru: July 30


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  • You Say Fun, I Say Misery

    The newest book in the Suamalie Islands series in now available! To celebrate its release, the Suamalie authors are doing a series of blog posts along with a giveaway. Susan Beatty got to pick the topic, and this is what she said:

    In A Heart for News, Margo shies away from experiences she calls “dangerous pursuits.” Steve is a race car driver seeking thrills to get him back to the track. How can these two ever get together? Do you and your spouse of significant other have opposing interests or ideas of what’s fun?

    I am very fortunate in that my husband and I share the same interests. I know some couples who don’t enjoy the same things, and it can cause some friction when you don’t want to do something your spouse enjoys, or vice versa.

    My husband, Brian, and I recently went on a weekend getaway to Arizona. It was the first time ever that we’d taken a trip that didn’t include the kids, and our oldest is 16.5! We stayed at a fancy hotel that had spa services available as well as a upscale restaurant and club. We didn’t take advantage of any of the spa services and never ate in the club or restaurant. I instead, we went adventuring on two long, beautiful hikes and also went to a baseball game. It’s such a blessing that we enjoy the same things and enjoy doing those things together.

    However, there is one thing that Brian likes that I hate. He has always enjoyed listening to talk radio. He has a Master’s degree in Music, and yet he almost never listens to music. Instead, he listens to people talking. The talk can be sermons, sports, news, or finances—but it’s still people talking.

    I hate listening to people talk on the radio. It’s stressful to me because I can’t not listen. Whereas it relaxes Brian, it grates on my nerves. I prefer to read words rather than listen to them. You will never find me listening to a podcast or any form of talk radio by choice. I prefer to text or email someone rather than to call them. The written word trumps the spoken word for me!

    However, Brian learns through hearing. He often has talk radio on when he is working or in the car whenever we drive somewhere. Even if we are conversing, the talk radio is on the background. Sometimes I can’t take it and ask if I can just turn it off. With a push of a button, the beautiful silence is such a relief!

    I am blessed to be married to the most wonderful husband, and it’s a small price to pay to occasionally being forced to listen to his talk radio, at least that’s the mantra I tell myself over and over in the 3.5 seconds before I ask if I can turn it off.

    And now you get to see how Susan Beatty’s characters are alike and different in A Heart for News!

    A Heart for News by Susan K Beatty

    Will a heartfor news get a scoop on love?

    Though Margo Durand invests her whole heart into working for her family’s newspaper, her father refuses to modernize, and she harbors a secret fear of approaching interviewees and all things dangerous—except riding her Vespa everywhere. But when Margo follows evidence that two government officials are corrupt, Margo discovers danger, intrigue, and a legal sort of blackmail.

    Professional race car driver, Steve Grayson, arrives to finish recuperating and overcome his fear of getting back on the track while pursuing his desire to open a race car driving school on Le Cadeau Île. If he can find the money and convince the owner to sell.

    When Margo’s best friend sets Margo up with Steve as a tour guide, conveniently forgetting to tell him Margo is a reporter, they tour the islands until Steve is willingly dragged into the investigation. The investigation only opens new questions, creates new trials, and has the potential to destroy their budding romance.

    Does pursuing a relationship just before he leaves to take part in one last racing season even make sense?

    Take a trip to the Suamalie Islands where palm trees sway, the sand and sea pulse with life, and the people will steal your heart.

    Check out some of the other stories of opposing interests by the other Suamalie Islands authors!


  • Rekindled Friendships–or Lack Therof

    Yay! Chautona Havig’s new book is officially available! To celebrate its release, we are doing a series of blog posts along with a giveaway. Chautona got to pick the topic, and this is what she said:

    In The Title Wave, Ezra and Henri were friends for a long time (each actually really cared about the other but never said anything). But after eight years apart, they have to rediscover each other and their friendship… or more.

    So… have you ever rekindled an old friendship after several years?

    When I first saw this question, I thought I was really in trouble. I couldn’t think of one friendship I had rekindled. You always run into friends or spend time catching up, but I wouldn’t classify it as a rekindling. Usually, lives change, you’re not in the same place you once were, and it’s just not the same or better than it once was. Honestly, I couldn’t claim a lot of friendships that are worth rekindling simply because I couldn’t claim many friends!

    I was painfully shy growing up. Like next-level, please-don’t-even-look-at-me shy. The few friends I had as a child ended up deciding they didn’t like me and moved on. My friends in high school were very few, and I wasn’t outgoing enough to pursue doing social activities outside of studying by myself. In college, I had one friend—the same friend from high school who became my roommate.

    As I’ve gotten older, I’ve changed. I’m still introverted, and the shy little girl is still in there. But being a mom helped me come out of my shell and pursue friendships. At some point, I realized that I couldn’t expect anyone to be friendly to me if I wasn’t willing to be friendly first. Today, I have a few friends I consider close. And I have my sisters who I am blessed to have as forever friends. A sister doesn’t need rekindling. She’s always there. I have other friendships that have come and gone, and I’ve realized that God often brings friends into your life for a season. They serve a purpose in your life, and you have a purpose in theirs. Then life moves on, and you drift apart. And that’s okay. Your paths come together and you walk side-by-side for a time, but eventually, those paths take you in different directions. I have been very blessed by such friendships, but I acknowledge they served a purpose, but not a forever purpose.

    So I thought of all that, and then I remembered one friend, Hannah.  We first met on my way home from my parents’ house one day. It was one of those unexpected friendships. She was a little younger than me and was going through a lot in her life. She kind of carried me along with her. She wasn’t perfect. At times, she aggravated me. But I’d just had my second baby. So many times she’d be there spilling her guts to me late at night when the rest of the house slept, or didn’t sleep, as is more accurate in the case of my babies!

    Then life moved on. My writing career took off. We lost touch. I wanted to keep the friendship, but it was difficult when other friendships and the business of life crowded it out. I intended to reconnect, and eventually I did. Not quite in the same way. This time around, I connected more with her daughter, Noelle. She, too had an amazing story, just like her mom.

    And just like her mom’s story, I wrote it.

    You see, Hannah and Noelle were my imaginary friends. Every time I write a book, the characters become very real to me. They become my friends. Hannah was my first friend that I wrote an entire book about. I got the idea for the story when driving down the road on my way home from my parents’ house. What started as a short story about Hannah turned into six books. I knew there were two more books in my head, but after six books, I was tired. Hannah’s story was complete, and I had a long list of other books that needed to be done. So I put my friendship with Hannah on hold and made some new character friends. But I had a lot of requests for those last two books in the series. Though I told myself I didn’t have to write them, I wanted to. As difficult as it is to write a series, it’s even more difficult to stop a series and then pick it up again, especially when that series involves an intricate time-travel plot. I literally reread all six of my previous books and took notes. Then I made friends again with Hannah and her daughter, Noelle, and wrote the amazing story that existed in my head—the one I was never quite sure I could pull off.

    So there you go—I rekindled a friendship with a fictional character. 🙂 (Sorry, Chautona. That’s probably not what you intended! You know I like to draw ever-so-slightly out of the lines!)

    Interestingly enough, even those fictional kinds of friendships tend to be only for a season. I’ve had a lot of fictional friends come and go. Just like the real friends, they served a purpose in my life and, hopefully, the lives of my readers. However, there is one area where fictional friends cannot compare to the real ones. There is no two-way purpose in make-believe friends. They can impact my life, but I can’t impact theirs. Maybe that’s one reason I refer to my readers as my “reader friends,” which are far better than fictional friends. With a reader, again, it’s a friendship that goes both ways. Readers bless me by reading my words, leaving reviews, sending messages, and letting me into their lives. Hopefully, in turn, my words bless readers, give them joy, and cause them to see the world from a slightly different perspective. So every time you pick up an author’s books, you are rekindling a friendship more valuable than the friendships with fictional characters.

    Just so you know, I’m always hoping for more friends and wouldn’t mind rekindling friendships with a few more readers!

    And now you get to make friends with Chautona and a few of her fictional friends in her new book! Happy reading, and happy “friend-ing!”

    The Title Wave by Chautona Havig

    Protecting her without her knowledge might get them both killed.

    Grief has held Eve “Kensi” Kensington captive long enough. Determined to move on after the death of her fiancé six years ago, Kensi moves to St. Alyn to help Ezra with the new boat book business. That there’s a great therapist on the island is just a bonus.

    When the West Coast Agency learns that the former fiancée of a deceased informant is under the radar, Simon Garver is tasked to protect her—without her knowledge if possible. Great. Listening in on her therapy sessions might be the worst thing he’s ever had to do as an agent

    Nope… scrap that. Falling for his client takes the cake.

    When Kensi learns Simon has been keeping secrets from her, she’s done.  Too bad the arrival of a guy sent to “take care of her” means she needs him. She’ll cooperate until she’s safe, toss the trust exercises her therapist has insisted on in the trash, and get back to her job on Ezra’s boat.

    If only her heart would listen to the plan…

    Take a trip to the Suamalie Islands where palm trees sway, the sand and sea pulse with life, and the people will steal your heart.

    Check out some of the other stories of rekindled friendships by the other Suamalie Islands authors!




  • Travel Woes and Treasure Troves

    Today is release day! I’m so excited that everyone can finally read Where Treasure Lies! This is the start of a new series, but the story itself is still very much my style. You’ll find a page-turning story with a deep message. You’ll also find suspense, romance, and humor. Of course, watch out for some plot twists!

    However, one of the unique things about this book is that the story is told in split time. It is essentially two stories told thirty years apart, but they have a shared ending. The main characters arrive in the Suamlie Islands thirty years apart, but they both have especially lousy first days in the island paradise. Nothing goes according to plan. But sometimes, even the worst travel woes can end in our greatest blessings.

    I have notoriously bad travel luck. It would take more pages the War and Peace to recount the real-life travel woes my family has experienced, and no one would believe them. The running joke among family and friends is to watch out when Amanda and Brian try to go on vacation. Honestly, my tales don’t always have obviously happy endings. There was the time on our honeymoon in Hawaii when our public transportation went out of service, and we missed our nonrefundable dinner cruise. There was the other time years later when our vehicle died somewhere in the middle of Wyoming and left us stranded for a couple of days. There was the time we had everything loaded up in our trailer and set out on a trip to Yellowstone when an hour from our house, our vehicle died (as in really died and could not ever be recesitated). The details on all of those are super entertaining, and if I tried, I’m sure I could think about all of the what if scenarios God surely protected us from through our canceled or imperfect vacations. But last summer, I experienced the perfect example of God bringing good out of some serious travel woes.

    Every summer, we try to take a family RV trip. We take along my parents and in-laws who travel with us in their own RVs. Last summer, our travels took us to the national parks in Washington state. We had spent an amazing day in North Cascades National Park and had just returned to our RV site for the night when my mom realized she didn’t have her cell phone. She didn’t know where she’d parted ways with it, but our last stop before driving about 1.5 hours home had been about a four-mile hike to a beautiful glacial lake. It was evening now and the sun would soon make its departure for the day. It seemed there was no way to even search for the phone, let alone find it. My mom was devastated. All her pictures, all her contacts—everything was gone. She was so upset that she determined that she and my dad would head home and cut their vacation short so she could figure out what to do.

    Even though it was late in the day and there seemed little hope, I talked to my husband, Brian, and we decided we would drive back to look for it. We knew there was a very slim chance of finding it. It could have been at the parking lot, somewhere along the trail, or at the lake a two-mile hike from the parking lot. Or by now, someone could have picked it up. But we had to try.

    I didn’t tell my mom because I knew she’d not want us to go. We left the kids with my in-laws and headed out. I prayed the whole way, asking God to please help us find the phone. It took us about an hour and twenty minutes to get there, and light was fading fast.

    We looked near where my parents had parked. No phone. Then we rushed to the outhouse. If it wasn’t there, we would jog the two miles on tired legs to the lake and hope we made it there with enough light left to see if the phone was there on the ground. I checked the outhouse I knew my mom had used, but I didn’t see it. Frantically, I went around to recheck the other side Brian had already checked. My heart sank. We weren’t going to find it. The outhouses were completely empty.  I walked back around to the front, knowing we’d need to head to the lake.

    Then Brian walked out holding something in his hand. I recognized my mom’s sunflower phone case. He’d found it!

    What relief! No 2-mile run to the lake! Truthfully, it hadn’t seemed likely that we’d find it, and it wasn’t… except God. It had been hours since we left, and yet God had kept the phone safe until we returned for it.

    It sounds funny, but that lost cell phone ended up being such a blessing, and I’m so thankful Brian and I went to find it. Going to and from, we spent three hours driving through a national park just the two of us. It ended up being the only time the entire trip where it was just us. Yes, strange kind of date, but we loved being together. On the way back, we stopped for a picture of the sunset over Diablo Lake, and we stopped to see the lights in the water at Ladder Falls. I filed that crazy drive under the category of one of my favorite memories, and there it will stay. Isn’t it wonderful how God can take the most unfortunate circumstances and turn them into something good? I love finding the ray of sunshine in the dark, knowing that He put it there just for me.

    It reminded me a little of the story of Joseph and how he told his brothers, “you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…” Losing a phone is a lousy thing to happen, but God intended it for good.

    Likewise, the characters in this book have some pretty lousy things happen to them, starting with their arrival on the island of Oli Oli. But we also get to see how those things progress and impact parallel stories thirty years apart. Add some romance, mystery, adventure, suspense, and a splash of humor, and you have a pretty fantastic read!

    If you’re curious about this book, I suggest you at least check out the sneak preview on Amazon. In it, you’ll read about Scott and Tavia’s rotten first day in paradise. Maybe you’ll have a little empathy from your own traveling experiences, and maybe you’ll want to stick around to find out what happens after those memorable beginnings!


    Where Treasure Lies

    Two stories…thirty years apart. Will solving the mystery of the past provide the key to the present?

    Scott Connelly arrives in the Suamalie Islands determined to acquire property for his father and leave as soon as possible. But he doesn’t count on the animosity of the residents, the fascinating local legend of a sunken Spanish treasure ship, or the highly unavailable waitress who comes to his rescue. The fabled treasure promises to buy his freedom, but even seeking it may be a dangerous risk.

    News of her father’s death precedes Tavia Connelly’s arrival in the Suamalie Islands. Despite the hatred of the island residents, Tavia’s determined to settle her father’s affairs and return immediately to assume her role as head of the family company. But her father’s wishes require her to find out what happened long ago, given only Scott’s mumbled clues, crazy rumors, and a centuries-old fable.

    Tavia should be safe after all those years, but her presence attracts a lot of resentment, and the ghosts of Scott’s enemies may still lie in wait for someone to come searching for a treasure that may have never existed.

    But what if it did?

    Take a trip to the Suamalie Islands where palm trees sway, the sand and sea pulse with life, and the people will steal your heart.


    Don’t miss other authors travel stories and chances to enter the giveaway! Check out these blog posts as we celebrate the release of Where Treasure Lies.

    What about you? Have you ever experienced any ridiculous, hilarious, or just plain bad travel luck. Did your story have a silver lining?

    Check out some of the other travel stories from the other Suamalie authors!

    Susan K. Beatty: March 1

    Chautona Havig: March 2

    Melissa McKay Wardwell: March 3

    Tabitha Bouldin: March 4

    Marguerite Gray: March 5



  • To Be Seen…

    So I haven’t written a blog post in a very long time. I intended to… just like I have intended to use Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Bookbub, Facebook ads, Amazon Ads and a few others authors swear by. But I have very limited time, and usually, all my best writer-y intentions go out the window when teaching a little girl to tie her shoes is my most important task for the day. I have been sending out a monthly newsletter, and I’m super proud of myself for that. I can’t brag that I have the best (or any) advertising for my books, but every month, people around the world get a real-life, encouraging, and hopefully inspiring email from me. That’s where a lot of my potential “blog posts “have gone. My newsletters are personal, and I guess I feel more comfortable writing my personal experiences and thoughts to be read by my “reader friends” rather than an open letter for all the internet to read.

    However, something happened this week. I intended to write about it in my newsletter. Knowing what to write is a huge relief just about every month. But then I felt the strong conviction that what I wanted to write needed to be shared in a blog post, and I needed to do it sooner rather than later. I feel the Lord saying that someone needs to hear the words I need to write. So I’m putting aside my long-to-do list and all of my “shoulds.” I’ll have to figure out my newsletter topic later. If you’re a subscriber, we can be surprised together by what I will write. For now, I’m sitting on the floor of a basketball gym with my laptop while my son practices, and I’m listening to the insistent whisper urging me to tell the story you need to hear.

    Earlier this week, I dropped my son off at basketball practice at his school and was driving home around 4:30 in the afternoon. The elementary school had released about forty minutes prior. As I drove down the road, I noticed a group of students walking down the sidewalk. That’s pretty typical. A lengthy sidewalk extends from the elementary school, past fields, eventually leads into town. Though it’s definitely not a short walk, students often walk home this direction. However, I noticed that a small girl trailed behind the other kids. As I passed her, I saw her tiny frame and estimated that she was a kindergartener, probably around five years old.

    And I saw she was crying.

    After I passed, I literally said aloud, “Nope, I can’t do that.” I couldn’t go on my way and pretend I hadn’t seen her. It’s almost like I had a conversation with God right there. “I guess you want me to turn around, God, because You know I can’t unsee that.” God knew that I couldn’t ignore a child.  If God asked the question of who would pass by a crying child and turn around, I’d raise my hand and say, “Me. It’s me.” I couldn’t continue home without making sure that little girl was okay. You see, I once wrote a book called A Cinderella Christmas, and its message convicts me on almost a daily basis. I try to notice those on the sidelines of my life. And if I see someone in need, I try to never walk away. Especially a child.

    Of course, the doubts immediately attacked. There was no place along the road to pull off. How could I check on her? I didn’t know her. Even if I managed to stop and approach her, would she freak out that I was a stranger? Would my efforts make it worse? Would it be considered creepy to stop my car and address a child I didn’t know?

    But I couldn’t walk away. I went to the next street and turned around, still doubting myself and having no idea what to do. I made another pass, wondering what to do. As I passed this time, I saw one of the older kids walking back to her, and I was so relieved. There! The other boy was going to help her. Everything would be okay, and I wouldn’t need to do anything after all. I went down the road and turned around again. Now I was worried that the kids would notice my minivan passing them multiple times and freak out!

    But I told myself this would be my last pass on my way home. Unfortunately, I saw that the older boy was still a ways away from the little girl. My gaze fell to her face one last time. And I saw her tears still drawing her features in heart-wrenching sadness.

    “Nope. Can’t do it.”

    I went back to my previous turn around spot and swung around once again. This time, I drove back down the road with determination. I found a slightly wide section of dirt on the right, and I pulled my minivan off the road as far as I could. Without hesitation, I hopped out of my car and crossed the street.

    “Is she your sister?” I asked the boy.

    “Yes,” he answered.

    “She is crying. Is she okay?”

    “She just doesn’t want to walk anymore,” he explained. “She wants me to give her a piggyback ride, but I can’t because I have my backpack.”

    I approached the little girl and spoke gently. “I saw you were sad, and I want to make sure you’re okay.”

    She looked up at me. My goodness, she was adorable! Her teary dark eyes blinked up at me. Her downturned mouth curved up. She tipped her head back and looked up at me, her face transforming with wonder. It was like seeing the sun come out from behind the clouds when you’d just experienced a storm so bad you doubted its existence.

    “You saw I was sad?” she asked, her little voice mixing with wonder and profound relief.

    “Yes. Are you okay?”

    I looked down and saw that snow boots encased her little feet. No wonder she couldn’t walk! I bent down and tried to adjust the boots, but there was nothing I could do. They weren’t going to fit her better, and there was no way I could fix them to be more comfortable.

    I brainstormed with the kids, trying to figure out what to do. I found out that they lived in the subdivision at the end of the road. Looking down the long sidewalk still ahead, I knew it was way too far away. The little girl’s feet must be hurting so bad. I knew she was telling the complete truth when she said she couldn’t walk anymore. It wasn’t practical for the boy to give her a piggyback ride for that distance either. I asked if they knew their mom’s phone number and I could give her a call. But they didn’t.

    I felt that the only option was to give them a ride. But in this day and age, I had no idea if that would be considered okay and if they would be comfortable with that.

    “I’m a mom, and I help out at the school,” I began.

    “I know you,” the boy said proudly. “You’re Levi’s mom!”

    Such relief. “Yes, I am!” I finally looked at him enough to recognized him as being in my son’s fifth grade class. I’m a regular volunteer in the classroom and the school. I’m probably a familiar face to many students. “So you know me. Do you think it would be okay with your mom if I give you a ride home? I’m not sure how else to help your sister. I don’t think she can walk anymore.”

    The boy eagerly agreed. “Oh, we’ve gotten rides before.”

    Right then, the few other kids who were ahead finally came running back to see what was going on. Turns out, one of them was another sister. And I recognized her immediately.

    “I know you!” she said with a toothless grin. “You’re Brielle’s mom!”

    I also volunteer frequently in my daughter’s class as well, and this little girl was in that class too!

    They were all eager and comfortable with me giving them a ride home. So I loaded them carefully in my minivan, made sure all seatbelts were properly clicked, and we set off.

    The boy directed me to his house, and they soon happily hopped out. I talked to the mom very briefly, explaining that I saw her daughter crying because she couldn’t walk anymore, and since the kids knew me from school, I gave them a ride home. She didn’t say much, but I did get an enthusiastic hug from one of the little girls.

    I finally made it home myself, but I couldn’t get the kids off my mind. I’d helped today, but what about tomorrow? Did the little girl even have shoes to walk? What if the snow boots were all she had? I sent a message to one of my teacher friends, explained the situation, and asked her if she could check to make sure the girl had shoes. Thankfully, she assured me she’d take care of it.

    I’m not sure how long the little girl would have had to try to walk home if I hadn’t come along. I’m so glad I didn’t look away and mind my own business. I’m glad I was able to help. But that little girl gave me something of greater value in return.

    I will forever remember the look on her face when I said, “I saw you were sad, and I want to make sure you’re okay.” She didn’t know who I was. She didn’t know how I saw her. To her, it probably seemed like I had just appeared. But in that moment, she truly felt seen. Someone saw and cared. Someone cared that she was sad and wanted to help, and that was wondrous. I think that she would have followed me anywhere simply because I had seen her, recognized she was sad, and cared enough to ask her about it.

    Just a few days before, I had read the Biblical passage in John when Jesus calls Nathanael. Jesus told Nathanael, “Before Phillip talked to you, I saw you under the fig tree.”  (John 1:48) I think we often gloss over that, thinking of it as the equivalent of, “Hey, I saw you standing over there on the street corner.” But I don’t think that was it. It had to be more than that. Others hadn’t seen Nathanael, otherwise it wouldn’t have been a significant thing to say. Something about Nathanael and the fig tree couldn’t have been known by others. Maybe Nathanael had been praying, confessing the secrets of his heart to the Lord. Maybe he’d been where no one else could have possibly seen him. Whatever it was, what Jesus told Nathanael was personal to him. It was significant and personal enough that it changed Nathanael’s life. Because of that one phrase, Nathanael followed Jesus, dedicating his life and his work in service to someone he’d just met.

    Nathanael felt seen.

    What I did for that little girl is what the Lord does for us. He sees us—every little insignificant detail, thought and feeling. All of the stuff we think no one else can possibly know? He sees that too. He knows when we are sad and when we can’t walk anymore. And He cares.

    The message came to me at the perfect time. I’ve been wrestling with a few things, often feeling that my prayers were meeting silence. Frustration was my companion on multiple fronts. And I heard the message: Even though it seems like I’m stuck on a very long road and my feet can’t take another step, God sees me. He sees that I’m sad. He sees all the reasons and all the frustrations. And He cares.

    He cares enough to arrange things for me and for you exactly as He did for that little girl. Even before her feet started hurting, he arranged for my son to have a 4:30 practice. He arranged for me to be the one to drive down that road at exactly the right time. He caused me to look and recognize sadness on a little girl’s face while traveling at 35 mph. He created me with a love of children, and He sent me knowing I would notice and not ignore. He gave me the idea for a book that I wrote several years ago—a book that haunts me enough that I turned around even though it would have been easier to mind my own business. He gave me the courage to be a rescuer even though I didn’t know how it would be perceived by others. He sent me to her at exactly that moment, knowing that I would meet her need—arranging things even before the need existed.

    Know that He’s working in that same intricate detail for your needs.

    Whereas I spoke to the girl within the confines of my limitations, the One speaking to you is limitless. He has provided the answers to your prayers even before you knew to pray. Just because you haven’t seen them yet does not mean they aren’t there. When you are exactly at the right spot in the road, your answer will appear even when you never saw it coming.

    This is the message He wants you to hear:

    “I see that you’re sad, and I’m going to make sure you’re okay.”

    May we look up at Him with the same wonder and relief of a five-year old little girl. And may we, in turn, notice those around us, not walk away, and give that same gift of making someone else truly feel seen.

  • 2022 Christmas Scavenger Hunt Round-Robin–The Bells of Christmas

    Merry Christmas! Welcome to my website, and thank you for stopping by and participating in this Christmas Round Robin! At each author’s blog post, you will find a question that can be answered by checking out the free Amazon preview of their book. Provide the answer at this form (add link).

    Note: You must answer the questions for every author in the round -robin to be considered to win the $200 first place, $150 second place or $75 third place Amazon gift cards. [Note: these prizes are USD values. If you are not a U.S. resident, you will get a gift card from the Amazon store for your country; however, it will be valued at these USD amounts.)  At the end of my post is a link to the next blog, who will provide a link to the next blog, etc., to the very end.  

    I’m so excited to tell you about The Bells of Christmas! This book is a Contemporary Inspirational Romance, and is very personal to me. Though it is labeled as book 4 in The Christmas Card series, it is a complete standalone book. It does not share any of the same characters, and the books can be read in any order. Their similar style and inspirational message within a heart-warming Christmas romance make this series one of my most beloved and popular.

    When Tayde Wright lands a job at a distinguished magazine, she knows her dreams of being an investigative reporter are about to come true. But then her boss assigns her an advice column that is the equivalent of the magazine’s complaint box. Though she abhors writing clickbait to fuel the magazine’s online presence, she either follows her boss’s wishes and adopts the Wrongs made Wright column as her own, or she loses her job.

    Her first column unexpectedly goes viral when an anonymous stranger replies, revealing a different side to Tayde’s column and completely humiliating her in the process. Now, Tayde must satisfy her boss’s wishes while also avoiding any further humiliation from the mysterious stranger, dubbed Mr. Bells.

    Tayde’s journey passes alongside the stories of many others as she tries to right the wrongs of the world, but sometimes right and wrong are difficult to determine. Despite her best efforts, Mr. Bells continually paints her as the villain, and the public loves it. Who is Mr. Bells, and what compels him to respond to Tayde’s column? And why does he always ask the same mysterious question at the end of his letters?

    Each story Tayde encounters changes her perspective and provides her more clues. It’s a message that will change the world, but can she lift her voice to speak it?

    This book is one of the most meaningful books I have ever written, which is all the more fulfilling because the story is so personal to me. I include a lot of my own experiences and thoughts, fictionalized, of course! The author’s note in the book explains the story behind the story, revealing the truth in this unique work of fiction. The message of this book has been profound in my own life and in the lives of those who have read it. I’m continually amazed at how God is using it to touch others. I hope you end up being one of those touched, and I pray that you can hear the bells too!

    Now it’s time for you to check it out! Go to the book on Amazon by clicking on this link to The Bells of Christmas. 

    In the Look Inside feature, find the answer to this question:

    At the opening of the book, what holiday was yesterday?

    When you have the answer, FILL OUT THIS FORM and head on to the next blog!

    Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Robin Patchen, who is telling us all about her Christmas book Wreathed in Disgrace. You can find it at this link:


    Remember that the round-robin will end on December 11th at 11:59 PM EST.