• Category Archives Suamalie Islands
  • 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 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


    “https://promosimple.com/ps/275d4/room-for-love-amanda” data-campaign=”275d4″ class=”promosimple”>

  • 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!