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Goodbye, 2017.

IMG_0747Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow. Psalm 144:4

Coming to the end of this year I am grateful for the ordinary things:
My family
Good health
A warm home

Highlights of 2017:

♥ I contracted and wrote an Amish romance for Annie’s Fiction. I’ve contracted for a second book with them and am almost half way through the first draft.
♥ I independently published MIRACLE IN BLACK.
The ONLY way the writing happened: Prayer warriors stood with me and encouraged me. Thank you, one and all.

Lowlights of 2017:

In January, my father-in-law passed away.
In September, my father passed away.
There is so much I want to say about these two wonderful men, but when I sit down to write out my thoughts, the words dry up. They just aren’t there. Some day I’ll be able to do it. In the meantime, I’ll treasure the memories. Daddy Gavitt and Dad Greene will always be in my heart. ♥♥

Looking forward to 2018

The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

After the difficulties of the past two years, I’m hesitant to look forward. Business plan? (Hmmm.) Health goals? (eye-roll) What was once so easy for me to do—plan and follow through—feels almost impossible this year. But doing nothing doesn’t feel right, either.
So my faith journey for the new year begins NOW as I take the first step into the unknown that stretches before me a full 365 days—and beyond. 

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.     Philippians 4:13

I many not know what the new year holds for me, but I do know the God who holds me and all the days of 2018 in His hands.

The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
Isaiah 58:11

Goodbye, 2017   –   Hello, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Woodland Theme Fireplace Mantle – Christmas 2014

Imagine my surprise when I saw that I’d already posted a 2014 mantle–a YEAR ago–and no one called me on it. Does that mean I’m not the only one who’s confused about what year I’m in when one is drawing to a close and a new one is on the very near horizon?

Oh, good. I love being in the same boat with such nice people. For posterity – I corrected last year’s post.

This post is truly the mantle as it looks for Christmas 2014.

Woodland theme - Mantle  2014As usual, I shopped the house, the Christmas tubs and the craft bins to find what I needed. The ‘shopping trip’ included a foray through the gardening shelves in the basement to create this woodland scene. Squint, and the sparkly white garland kinda looks like snow!

The ‘fence’ is an old wood cow stanchion. It’s one of those pieces I love when I find a use for it, but want to get rid of the rest of the year. Thousands of these wood stanchions were burned when the government insisted commercial dairies use steel. I found this stanchion several years ago while yard sale hopping in the boonies of Rhode Island. There was no longer a family cow in the tiny barn so they were selling the stanchion. I snapped it up when ‘prim’ (primitive) was so popular.

Bunny, bird and pine cones 2014

 

As you can see, raccoon and bunny were allowed to come into the house proper. Regulars on the summer deck this will be their first Christmas celebration with the family. If they behave they may be invited back.Racoon and berries 2014

I couldn’t offend Mr. and Mrs. Mouse, so this year they left the Christmas bin and found a spot on the mantle. Don’t they look spiffy dressed in their Christmas outfits?  (My sister says I have a whole world in my head that no one knows about. Yes. Yes, I do!)Best dressed mice 2014

A tatty vintage cardinal looks on from the top fence rail…

Vintage cardinal 2014

… while a gorgeous male cardinal lands center stage in the wreath.

Flying cardinal 2014

So there you have it. Christmas 2014 fireplace mantle.  I’m thinking it will be hard to say goodbye to.

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You won’t want to miss January’s edition. I’m sharing the interview I did with Jack ‘Preach’ Conroy before writing Book 2 of the SeaMount Series, INTO THE DEEP.  Here’s a sneak peek:
Q: What were you like in high school?
Jack: Justice was served with my fists. Everyone knew my father was the town drunk. I was the kid with the patched jeans.

Available on Kindle, Nook and iBooks.

Available on Kindle, Nook and iBooks.

Q: Who is your closest mundane friend?
Jack: I don’t have mundane friends.

Q: What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

Jack: A sunrise in a place I can’t reveal. I was glad to be alive to see the sun come up. It was beautiful and at the same time, a blessing from the Almighty.

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INTO THE DEEP ~ IS NOW AVAILABLE

into-the-deep-web-copyThe second book in the SeaMount Series is now available on:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble 
Apple iBooks

 

Each story I write strengthens my conviction that I do not write alone. After pouring hours of prayer into a story, asking that it not be mine, but His, why am I still surprised when it unfolds in an unexpected way? As I write and plan future stories, I’m discovering that like real life, each man of SeaMount has his own unique faith walk. My prayer is that God will use Jack and Lucinda’s story to encourage you to go deeper with your faith. Don’t be afraid to step ‘into the deep’. It is there that you will find your greatest blessings.

Thank you for being the most amazing readers! I love hearing from you. I’m only a tweet, email, or Facebook message away.

God bless you on your journey,

Anita

He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
Psalms 107:29-30

Update – SeaMount Series Book 2

God is so good, I could POP! But that would be messy so I’ll just happy dance.

The major rewrite of INTO THE DEEP is finally, finally finished. Still bunches to do, like foreshadowing events that happen at the end because Jack and Lucinda hijacked my story and made it so much better. And I have to check that the faith and romance elements are layered into the story. And there is stuff to cut and SENTENCESTHATLOOKLIKETHIS because there is something there I need to figure out. But I’m sitting here praising God!

Jack and Lucinda's story begins on the imaginary island of St. Beatrice in the Caribbean Sea

Jack and Lucinda’s story begins on the imaginary island of St. Beatrice in the Caribbean Sea

After a year of struggle, He has opened up TIME (my word for 2013) in this new year for me to write. My office job moved to Florida leaving me with a chunk of precious time mid day. I’m still on the school bus early morning and in the afternoon where I tie shoe laces, wrestle with stuck zippers and help the little ones safely cross the street. And I’m blessed to have four parents all between the ages of eighty-five and eighty-eight (my folks and Old Roady’s folks) to love through the challenges that come with age. (And a huge shout out to my wonderful sisters. We make a great team!)

I’ve made headway and I want to share that with everyone who is asking and praying and holding me up as I sit at the keyboard and write the story God has given me. Please know that you, my readers, are in my prayers, too. You are precious to me. Thank you for your encouragement. I can’t imagine taking this journey without you.

SeaMount Agency – A Home for the Heros

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1 OCEAN HOUSE

Information not yet on the SeaMount page of my website:

Sam Traven, owner/director of SeaMount Agency, will have his own story.

Originally, his story was to be the first book of the series. About 100 pages into Sam’s story, I came to the conclusion his backstory should unfold throughout several other books in the series before I give him his own happy-ever-after story. (story hint: I love ‘beauty and the beast’ stories.)

Before I realized how deep Sam’s scars went, I rocked along having way to much fun setting up housekeeping for him and his agency in an oceanfront home like those in a local beach community. Because of his physical needs, I gave him a gym and a pool for exercise, a spa area for therapeutic massage, and a greenhouse for his beloved orchids.

To run the place, Sam hired Agatha ‘Aggie’ Livingstone, heart-of-the-home and housekeeper, tough enough to handle a bunch of alpha males. She needed an industrial kitchen but for the sake of story, I couldn’t shut her up in there unable to interact with the guys, so I imagined something more open with an attached dining room. The picture in my head was a little hazy but I figured I’d make it work. I also needed a common area for the men to gather. A campfire kept coming to mind, so a crackling fireplace in a living room, (open and utiltarian) was what I pictured.

That was fun!

Then I set the story aside, telling Sam he’d have to wait for the woman of his dreams.

Amazing things happen when I let God – my creative Creator – lead the way.

Some of it scary stuff. Tough stuff till I got to the amazing part.

I jumped into Gray’s story, landing in the North Woods of Maine. Adventures one after the other until he got OUT OF THE WILDERNESS with Sophie and the girls. Then the fun stopped. The home, that big, beautiful building, I’d created for Sam and the men that worked for him was right there waiting for Gray and Sophie’s return. The foundations had been set in Sam’s unfinished story.

But for some reason, I was wandering in the desert.

Lots of writing drivel, revisiting the plot, praying and crying out to God filled those weeks. Stuff like ‘YOU gave me this story! HELP me!” And, “If you don’t want me to write, show me what I’m supposed to be doing!” And, “YOU promised to never leave me or forsake me! Helloooo. Feeling a little lonely here, God.” (I’m a firm believer in being honest with my heavenly Father. He created me and knows all there is to know about me. If I’m a little upset with how He’s handling things, He knows that, too. I figure I can be honest with Him and He won’t toss me out like last week’s furry leftovers.) My side of the conversation ended with, “Fine. I’m getting nowhere fast and you aren’t helping me. So be it. I’m done banging my head against the keyboard. I’m done. You hear me? No more whining, begging, wheeling and dealing. Stick a fork in me. I’m done! Let me know when it’s time to start up again.”

Facing the Ocean. Multi level decks

Facing the Ocean.
Multi level decks

Spring came and I visited the open house of a reconstructed-from-the-ground-up Victorian-style hotel in the very same  beach community I’d set up housekeeping for Sam. I never attend those things. Never. But this one intrigued me because it was so close to Sam’s story and maybe I’d get an idea or two if I started writing again. (Do you hear me, Lord?) It was also an opportunity to see a high-end resort that I’d never have the $$ to stay at. (Though a girl can dream…. Please. Buy my book.)

I walked through the front doors and stepped into the SeaMount Agency.

Hundreds (it seemed) of folks milling around, taking pictures and talking, and I stood there with my heart pounding and my ears buzzing because inside I was shouting, ‘OH MY GOD!’ Not in blasphemy, but with praise and awe and joy! I was all jittery inside. This hotel lobby was Sam’s ‘livingroom’. Windows on the side, chairs positioned just so in front of the fireplace. But not just any old fireplace. A beach stone fireplace. God out did my puny idea, and even gave me a glimpse of how He cares for the smallest details.

Several minutes of picture-taking later, when my feet were back on the ground, I reluctantly headed for the fancy dining room. I’d already had my ‘God moment’. Everything else would surely disappoint. Besides the whole kitchen/dining room had been a bit of a stickler in my vision. One step inside and once again my heart jolted into overdrive. There before me was my industrial kitchen – with a counter along one side. (Why didn’t I think of that!) Someplace I found out it was called an ‘exhibition kitchen’! I had no idea such a thing existed. But it was perfect for Aggie. And the dining room with windows overlooking the ocean and… and… I turned in circles wishing everyone would leave Sam’s house! And there, in the corner, another glimpse of God’s signature in the details.

Lap Pool

Lap Pool

I practically mowed folks down as I headed for the open staircase and the next floor down. “Please, God. Please, God.” What would I find. I passed more glimpses of Him revealing Himself to me and my heart was bursting as I hurried down the stairs to the lobby below. I believe, help me in my unbelief.

I found:
A beautiful fitness center. (For Sam to exercise in.)
A salon and spa area. (For Sam’s therapeutic massage. And, yes, I took pictures of the men’s locker room. Necessary research.)
An indoor lap pool. (I hadn’t thought of a lap pool for Sam. Duh.)

I was frenetic. Running hither and thither (I’ve always wanted to write that), taking pictures and envisioning the SeaMount men in the beach locker room, in the masculine board room with state-of-the-art technology. (Video conference!)

And everywhere, God’s loving hand revealed with those glimpses of ~ orchids.

In hallway nooks. In every room of the spa. As a centerpiece in the dining room. In the public bathrooms. In the private bathrooms of the hotel rooms. Orchids, Sam’s passion, every where I turned.

Orchid in the locker room

Orchid in the locker room

What an amazing God! How He love’s surprising His children. Yes, even the ones that act like spoiled two-year olds when frustrated and tired. (That would be me.) Why hadn’t I trusted more? How sweet it was to go home and write the rest of Gray’s story, OUT OF THE WILDERNESS, having seen the inside of the Ocean House. Like a cool rain beating down on that dry desert, the words flowed. I continue to work on the series, currently working on Jack Conroy’s story, INTO THE DEEP. When will I learn that God only wants good things for me, but in His time, not mine?

Are you still with me? This has been a looong post. Much longer than the experts recommend blog posts be. (No one has time to read long posts, they say.) But how could I shortchange this story and an awesome, magnificent God.

My favorite Bible verse –
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29: 11-13

He was there all along. Listening. Planning. Preparing the way.

Oh, and Sam’s greenhouse? There’s a place for that, too. Smack dab in the middle of the tournament level croquet lawn.

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Out Of The Wilderness: Mothers, Daughters and Quilts

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Bits and pieces of the author’s life are sprinkled in every book they write. Often the ‘story within the story’ continues even after the book is finished and in the hands of readers.

Mariner's Compass QuiltIn Out Of The Wilderness (SeaMount Series, Book 1), the inspiration for Sophie’s Mariner’s Compass quilt is the Amish Mariner’s Compass quilt Old Roady bought for me in Lancaster, PA. In the novel, this quilt was a gift to Sophie from her mother.

Sophie’s home is also a piece of my life. It’s modeled after my sister’s house. I loved her home. Beautifully decorated and always so welcoming. When she and her husband sold it to follow God’s call into ministry, I was so sad. In my story, Sophie needed a house, I immediately though of my sister’s home.

Sissy's House

I didn’t tell her what I had done. Her tearful surprise was just what I’d hoped for. (I love happy tears!)When she moved into this home, she was a widow (like Sophie). She raised two beautiful daughters here which made it easy for me to picture Sophie’s girls on the tire swing in the front yard and running through the house.

The threads of moms, daughters and quilts weave together continuing the story off the page. My sister’s eldest daughter just gave birth to a beautiful little girl,Owl quilt Fallyn Aurora. This is the adorable Owl Quilt (with a close up of the owl) my sister made for her first grandchild. The love that was fostered in that gray ranch house wraps around the next generation.

Perhaps sometime in the future, the story will come back to the page and Sophie will be a grandmother making a quilt for a tiny grand baby.

If you have read Out Of The Wilderness, which of Sophie’s three girls would make the best match for Davie?

March Madness at CrossReads

March-Madness2

It’s the CrossReads March Madness Sale!

TWO DAYS ONLY — March 27 & 28th, 2013

Free books!

99-Cent books!

A chance to WIN a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Christmas Story Hop

Grand Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Certificate!

Christian Indie Blog HopPlease join Christian Indie Novelists in the celebration of our Savior’s birth. We have a progressive Christmas story hop to share with you, as well as a post about favorite Christmas songs. Each author is having a drawing at their blog and there is an overall Grand Prize.

Here’s what you need to do to enter:

1. Go to each blog in the order that is listed below.

2. Read the section of the story posted. Then follow the link to the next blog where the next section of the story is posted.

3. At each blog, click on the Rafflecopter link to be entered in the Grand Prize drawing ($100 Amazon Gift Card), and leave a comment on the blog to be entered in each author’s individual drawing. Your comments can be about the story. Or you can tell us your favorite Christmas song, movie or book. Be sure to tweet and like us on Facebook to be entered multiple times.

My drawing —

Feather notebook

Comment on this blog for a chance to win a digital copy of OUT OF THE WILDERNESS, my inspirational romantic adventure novel, as well as a small (3.5 x 5.5 inches) moleskin notebook with a hand-embroidered cover created by Bonnie Paper Works (Etsy).

 Be sure to click here for your chance at the $100 gift card!  And join the other blogs for more individual prizes!!

Follow blogs in the order listed below:

Gloria Harchar
Emerald Barnes
Bonnie Blythe
Anita K Greene (you are here!)
Marian Merritt
Rich Bullock
Dawn Turner

A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER : PART 4

Pre-dawn light glowed on the horizon. Meredith checked her watch and stepped away from the window. Time to go.

Hurrying out to her car, she climbed in before a case of nerves caused her to chicken out. She refused to spend another sleepless night wondering why Garth had come back. The scars on his face and his slight limp were evidence that the rumor of a medical discharge was true. But that had happened several months ago. Why show up here now?

The sun was cresting the horizon as she turned her car onto the farm’s driveway. The run-down house loomed ahead with no vehicle in sight. Had he left as quietly as he’d arrived? Last night, she and the children were so caught up in the fun of caroling for someone new in town that she hadn’t questioned the empty parking spot.

Parking her car, Meredith took a deep breath and got out. She climbed the steps and raised her hand to knock. Her knuckles never connected with the wood.

The door opened and a hand shot out, clamped around her forearm and yanked.

“Aahh. Hey!” She stumbled forward and fell to her knees. The door closed behind her with a thump. Her heart thudded against her ribs. In the gloom of the interior, the shadow of a man loomed above her. “Let go of me.” She surged to her feet. Free hand clenched in a fist, she swung at her assailant. A strong hand captured it and held on.

“Merrie, stop.”

Meredith froze. No one called her that name. No one except Garth. And it was his voice that said it now. She tugged against his hold. “You frightened me.” The low light deepened the grooves that slashed across his cheek. He was dressed like a one-man militia.

“You shouldn’t be here.” He glanced out the window then pulled her deeper into the room.

“I had to find out why you decided to come home.” She refused to be cowed by his glare. “For so long I’ve wanted to see you.” Her whispered admission hung in the air between them.

He let go as though scalded. “So now you’ve seen me. It isn’t the face you remember, is it?” He turned away and fiddled with a piece of gear attached to his vest.

The harsh words hit her like a sucker punch. “Is it your scars? Is that why you didn’t come home? You didn’t want me to see you?”

His head came up but he wasn’t looking at her. She glanced toward the window and caught a glimpse of a person in the field before she was shoved against the wall with Garth pressed close against her. “You do exactly what I tell you to do and we may get out of here alive.”

Meredith closed her eyes, desperate to sort out what was happening. She’d known him as a military man, but that knowledge had never prepared her for the hard-shelled warrior pinning her to the wall. Fear warred with the love that had never died for this man standing so close, but still miles away.

“Come on.” Grasping her shoulder, Garth shoved her toward the back of the house. “I want you out of the way.”

“Who is that man out there, Garth, and don’t tell me ‘nobody’.”

His face was set in a hard ruthless mask and, for one moment, Meredith wished she’d stayed home.

“Someone I’ve been expecting.” He pushed her toward the small pantry.

Meredith dragged her feet and grabbed the doorjamb. “You can’t just stuff me away.”

“I can and will. You’ll be safer in here.”

She clung to his arm. “I’m not letting go until you tell me what’s going on.”

His gaze traveled over her face. He lifted her hand and rested it against his cheek. “The man out there did this to me.”

She trembled. Beneath her palm the smooth scar tissue moved with each word he spoke.

“It’s time he paid for what he did.”

Tears pooled in her eyes making it hard to see clearly. “Revenge, Garth? Is that what this is?”

His lips pulled back in a snarl. “Justice. I may be scarred, but what he did left others dead.” He stroked his fingertips across the inside of her wrist.

He moved so quickly, she didn’t have time to react. One moment she stood before him, trying to understand this man she had loved for so long, and the next moment, she was inside a tiny room, the door closed and locked.

For Part 5 and the conclusion of A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER, visit:

Marian Merritt
Rich Bullock
Dawn Turner

Don’t forget to leave a comment below and click on this Rafflecopter link to enter the drawing for the $100 Amazon Gift Certificate!

If you are enjoying the hop, be sure to follow us on The Christian Indie Novelists Blog Hop Site!

The Scary Fun of Self-Publishing!

I feel like that gawky teenager all over again. On a family vacation, standing at the end of the high diving board and looking down. Scary fun! That excited feeling accompanied by a ping of fear. Hoping – praying – I don’t belly-flop.

That’s how I feel as I release the first book of my SeaMount Series, OUT OF THE WILDERNESS. 

I’m excited! I’m scared! I’m a little bit overwhelmed. I love the story. I love the characters. I hope you will, too!

Now available on Amazon. All other venues to follow soon.

Former Navy SEAL Grayson Kerr’s honor has become tarnished working as a soldier for hire. His newfound faith in God has him longing to restore his integrity. His new mission is to qualify for a job with the SeaMount Agency. He wants to be one of the good guys. In the midst of a wilderness survival trial, he discovers a woman and her children lost in the forest. Abandoning his own mission in order to help them could disqualify him for the job.

Sophie Moore has fought to hold heart and home together since her husband’s death. To lose custody of her daughters to his influential parents would be her undoing. Determined to make every moment together count, Sophie plans a weekend away. Almost at their destination, she takes a wrong turn and becomes lost in a labyrinth of logging roads. The scruffy, hard-edged soldier that finds them is their only chance at survival.

From the wilderness of Maine to the SeaMount Agency headquarters on the coast of Rhode Island, Gray works to expose the criminal plot behind Sophie’s custody battle. He jeopardizes getting the job he wants for having the love of the woman he needs. Being a good guy may cost him his one shot at redemption.

Name That Villian

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I’ve begun work on the next book in my SeaMount Series. In all my notes I’ve referred to my villain as Mr. Man. How creative! Time to name that villian!

Since this book takes place in the Caribbean, I wanted a name that would reflect the Spanish culture of ‘my’ island. I had several names in mind and kept mixing and matching then searching on the internet to see if any real person had such a name. Too many people went by the common given names and surnames I chose to put together. So I decided to go for something not so common. Something a little less obvious.

Guess who’s mug shot popped up on my computer screen?

My villain is alive and well and living high on the hog in a Florida prison.

Scratch. That. Name.

Last thing I need is this guy googling himself only to discover I’ve used his name and profession (Bad Guy) in a story. Nope. Don’t need the likes of him contacting me. It’s one thing to have a villain I can control with the tips of my fingers on a keyboard. It’s an entirely different matter having that villain living not only on the same planet but in the same country. Perhaps a little far-fetched but not worth the risk. Even with a disclaimer in the front of the book, I’d rather side-step a potential problem that involves a mug shot. 

Or a police line-up….

Me, Aunt Yvonne, Greg, Candy and Daddy

Me, Aunt Yvonne, Greg, Candy, and Daddy

Recently, have you chosen to change or avoid something rather than take a risk?

The villains in this old Halloween photo are: (from left to right)
Big game hunter – Me with my stuffed tiger won at a carnival. Not sure if the gun was Daddy’s duck hunting gun (how times have changed) or a pop-gun we played with as kids.
Aunt Yvonne – A last minute phone call for an impromptu Halloween party didn’t stop her from coming up with a costume. Miss hearing her laughter.
Greg – Not sure what he was trying to be in that costume, but he was the best little brother.
Candy – Little Bo Peep looks lost without her sheep. Sisters rock!
Daddy – In Mommy’s clothes because that was the closest thing to a costume he and Mommy could come up with. Love that he did this for his teenage daughter.
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