• Category Archives New Release
  • 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



  • Out of the Blue Bouquet

    So the story starts months ago with a multi-author collection I put together for Valentine’s Day. As that collection was ending, another author I had “met” through that set (Chautona Havig) mentioned that it would be fun to do another set of new books. And that got me thinking.  I really don’t do well if someone says something along the lines, “Do you have an idea for _____?” If I don’t, them my mind won’t let me rest until it has come up with something.

    So I went to my best thinking spot. Sometimes I refer to it as my “office.” It’s where I get all of my best ideas and where I go to figure out the toughest scenes.  It’s a magical place and it has never once failed me.

    Aright, it’s the shower.

    So I was in the shower when I got the idea for a multi-author collection where each of the stories was independent but connected in some way. Specifically, the last book in the set (mine) would tie everything together while also spinning its own fabulous story. By the time I stepped out of the shower, I had the idea, the plot, the title, and my hands weren’t even (very) wrinkled.

    Now, I get lots of ideas for books, many of which I forget before I even manage to write them down. For this one, I kept thinking about it for several weeks before I mentioned it to anyone. I was honestly nervous about it because I knew it was big. I would have to be in charge of the set, which included a lot of legwork, financial responsibilities, coordination, and recruiting other authors. The other scary aspect was that the set would largely depend on my writing ability. With my book being the last in the set–the one that ties everything together–I knew I would have to write around the stories of multiple different authors. Needless to say, that would be a challenge.

    From that very first night when I got the idea I prayed about it, telling God that if He wanted this to happen, He was going to need to make it happen. It was too big for me. So I let it marinate a few weeks, but it kept nagging me. I finally mentioned the idea to Chautona when we were chatting one night. And she loved it. Chautona’s excitement is contagious, and I quickly started recruiting other authors to join us. Recruiting an author to write something new and specific is not an easy task. As a general rule, we are a pretty independent lot. I also very much appreciated that they needed to have a large degree of faith in me and the idea. In the end, we had a total of five fantastic authors who were willing and able to go “all-in.”

    I won’t pretend that it’s been entirely easy. We’ve had some bumps along the way. The actual writing and working together was never an issue, and I really enjoyed molding my story to fit theirs. The final product is something amazing–one that I’m extremely proud of. I truly feel that from the idea, to the formatting and cover, to the specific authors and their stories–God did made all the pieces come together to make something even more than I imagined that first night I had a big idea.

    Out of the Blue Bouquet is a collection of five new books by five best-selling Christian authors. Though each story is complete and independent, you have to read the entire set to find out how they are connected. I look forward to hearing what you think of it. My heart seriously takes off every time I think of people reading a product that once only existed in my imagination.

    Finally, I have a few other pieces of good news for you:

    ***  Out of the Blue Bouquet is available for pre-order at all retailers for 99 cents. This is only for a limited time. So if you are one of those who gets her ebooks from somewhere other than Amazon, get it quick. The book will be officially released November 7th. However, it will not be available forever. It is meant to be a limited-time collection. Eventually, it will be unpublished and the individual books will only be able to be purchased as single titles at full price. So again, get it quick!

    The individual retailer links are below.


    Barnes & Nobles




    *** You may notice that the official title of this set includes “Collection 1.” Yes, that does mean what you think it means. I’ve had quite a few more showers since that first where I got the original idea. I am currently working on more  upcoming Crossroads Collections. If you read Out of the Blue Bouquet and love it, make sure you are signed up with my newsletter. I will let subscribers know when another collection is released. Also, please leave a review and help spread the word by telling your friends. Reviews help tremendously, and I still believe that word of mouth is the best compliment and most effective marketing tool!

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