Garden Inspiration from The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family

People always ask me as a writer where I find my ideas for a book or a character or a scene. Here is how part of the inspiration for Kristina’s character in The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family evolved, stemming from an incident when I lived on the ESVA.

I love flowers. But I’m a big city girl and most people where I live get flowers from a florist. Yet one day that long ago summer on the ESVA, I went with Jean Davis to gather flowers from an elderly lady’s garden to make an arrangement for the altar for the Sunday service. This real life, seemingly innocuous outing, would spark my imagination into the scene between Kristina and Jade in the book.

Here are some of the flowers—which I now grow in my own garden—that Kristina would use in her Lenten-inspired altar arrangements. These flowers are sure-fire harbingers in the cold of winter that spring is indeed on its way.



Daphnes-Such a sweet fragrance.

Daffodils—My mother calls them jonquils.

Lenten roses—Given to me by my dear friend and fellow writer, Sue Stout.


For more behind the scene inspiration from The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family, visit Pinterest.


Reader Nook Envy

Book lover dreams are made of these—

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Which one is your favorite?

What is your favorite spot to curl up with a book?

For more behind the scenes photos from The Deputy’s Perfect Match, visit Pinterest.

A Book Lover’s Dream Library

Some of my favorite public libraries—


The Library of Congress


New York City Public Library

Drool worthy private libraries—


I love a library with a winding staircase. Notice the small ladder—an architectural feature in itself.

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What’s your favorite library?

For more behind the scenes photos from The Deputy’s Perfect Match, visit Pinterest.


Gone from My Sight

While writing Falling for the Single Dad, this poem by Henry Van Dyke was especially poignant to me when my father passed.

Gone From My Sight

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”gone1

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voicesship
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…


Let’s Go Hawaiian—The Honu Sea Turtle Quilt

6.11.03 HA 32Legend says that the honu, green sea turtles, watch over the children of Hawaii.

The Honu Sea Turtle Quilt pattern is available—$10 plus s/h.Honu Sea Turtle Quilt Finished

Email to purchase.

For more quilts and behind the scene photos of Aloha Rose, visit


Let’s Go Hawaiian–Making a Breadfruit Quilt


Traditionally, the breadfruit pattern was the first tackled by would-be Hawaiian quilters. To those who complete this quilt, legend says, will be a fruitful life, filled with wisdom and knowledge.

Visit this site for free breadfruit quilt pattern—Be sure to observe all terms and conditions.

For more quilts and behind the scene photos of Aloha Rose, visit


Let’s Go Hawaiian—Quilts Shopping

My favorite quilt shops that specialize in Hawaiian fabrics and quilt patterns—

delicate-beauty-300Pacific Rim Quilt Company—Janice Lee Baehr was a great help to me in researching the Lokelani Rose quilt featured in Aloha Rose. Lots of great info on their website—

Maui Quilt Companymauiquiltshop—thanks, ladies, for your kindness to this traveling haole quilter. Visit their website at

For more quilts and behind the scene photos of Aloha Rose, visit


Let’s Go Hawaiian—Quilting

Lokelani quilt1Hawaii is famous for its distinctive quilt tradition in which a large stencil-like pattern is appliqued onto a base fabric of contrasting color to form the quilt top. Designs are inspired by the native flowers, leaves, marine life, or by symbols of Hawaiian royalty. Each island is associated with a particular blossom. I designed the Lokelani quilt after the Lokelani rose, the island flower of Maui.

Four methods of creation and construction of a quilt, when combined, give Hawaiian quilts its distinctive quality. Traditional quilts are designed with only two color fabric choices. The applique fabric is folded and cut in a “snowflake” method reminiscent of the paper snowflakes many of us remember from our schooldays. This fabric is then hand-appliqued onto a white, background fabric. The quilt sandwich is constructed using an echo or outline style of hand-quilting that follows the contour of the applied design. To me, the echoes resemble the rippling waves of the ocean surrounding their Hawaiian homeland or the rainbows that arch above the island sky.


Historically, Hawaiians made bedcovers from kapa, a tree bark that had been beaten, felted and dyed. Western missionaries introduced Hawaiians to American quilting methods and fabrics in the 1820s, resulting in the bold, symmetric botanical motifs of the Hawaiian quilting we know today. Hawaiian tradition teaches if quilters begin with the breadfruit pattern, they will lead a fruitful life, filled with wisdom and knowledge. And Hawaiian quilters were quick to recognize the making of a quilt, as Laney discovers in Aloha Rose, is itself a spiritual journey.

For more behind the scene photos of Aloha Rose, visit


Let’s Go Hawaiian—Imiloa

imiloaImiloa—seeker of knowledge or profound truth, truth-seeker




Like the Magi—Matthew 2:1-2 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

000011623557This Christmas, may you find in Him all you seek. He is The Way, The Truth, The Life.

Mele Kalikimaka from Aloha Rose.


Let’s Go Hawaiian—Malasada Donut #Recipe

The donut of choice in the Hawaiian islands—most recipes are family favorites, handed down from Portuguese ancestors who made Hawaii home.
malasadasIngredients: Makes 1 dozen
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup water
1 cup evaporated milk
6 eggs
2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
Extra white sugar
  1. Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/4 cup warm water; set aside.
  2. In small bowl, beat eggs until fluffy.
  3. Put flour and salt in large bowl, making a well in the center. Into the well add yeast mixture, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, milk, 1 cup water, and salt. Beat thoroughly to form a soft, smooth dough. Cover, let dough rise until doubled.
  4. Do not punch down. Turn dough over and let rise again.
  5. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Drop dough by big teaspoonfuls into oil, fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, shake in a brown bag containing extra sugar to coat, and serve hot.
  6. If malasada centers are too doughy, turn down heat on fryer and allow donuts to cook longer before removing from oil.

Enjoy. Remember—Kai Barnes says only haoles add nutmeg or cinnamon to sugar mix used to coat hot donuts.

For more recipe and behind the scene photos of Aloha Rose, visit