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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

 

 

 

 

 

“Your Son May Never Learn To Read.”

SAOK Blog #2This week, on the Small Acts of Kindness blog, I shared a little about my son’s early struggle with autism and dyslexia. As you peek through the window into his world, I hope you find encouragement for your own faith walk. Click here to read, “The Gift of Reading”.

Blessings.

“He is not here. He has risen.”

“He is not here. He has risen.”

Helping and loving family~
In the community—at work and church~
When I sit at my computer and write~
I serve a risen Savior!

“And if Christ had not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” 1 Corinthians 15:17

But my faith is not useless.
My life is not without meaning,
Nor is my writing an exercise of futility.

I serve a risen Savior!

He is ALIVE!

Hallelujah!

Wishing everyone a blessed Easter. May the Risen Christ shine bright in your heart.
Anita

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

Goodbye, Summer.

Summer and early morning walks on the beach go hand in hand for me. As we say goodbye to summer, come with me for one last stroll along the Rhode Island coastline. We’re walking along a piece of coastline only a mile or two east of where the SeaMount series is set. Breathe deeply. There’s a tang of salt in the air.

 

A calm morning.

A calm morning.

 

 

A flock of sandpipers and one piping plover.

A flock of sandpipers and one piping plover.

 

Blue shell crab.

Blue shell crab.

 

Piping plovers - their nesting areas are protected.

Piping plovers – their nesting areas are protected.

 

Slipper shells clinging to a stone.

Slipper shells clinging to a stone.

 

Wedding cake sand sculpture. Was there a wedding on the beach last night?

Wedding cake sand sculpture. Was there a wedding on the beach last night?

 

Huge horseshoe crab. He's dead.

Huge horseshoe crab. He’s dead.

…but this one is very much alive and carrying freeloading slipper shells…

…but this one is very much alive and carrying freeloading slipper shells…

 

A foggy morning. A train of waves coming ashore.

A foggy morning. A train of waves coming ashore.

 

Seaweed on the beach after a storm.

Seaweed on the beach after a storm.

 

'Summer cottages' against the morning sky.

‘Summer cottages’ against the morning sky.

 

The blue of the Atlantic Ocean meets the blue of the sky.

The blue of the Atlantic Ocean meets the blue of the sky.

 

Slack tide. Where the water coming in from the ocean meets the water leaving the salt pond.

Slack tide. Where the water coming in from the ocean meets the water leaving the salt pond.

 

A beach rose with a visiting bumblebee.

A beach rose with a visiting bumblebee.

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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

Posted on

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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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.

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