Are you confused? Wondering why I’m talking about Christmas when it’s only October? Well, here’s why! Last Tuesday, Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams, a novella collection, released, including one of my stories. And every one of the five stories is about Christmas … on the beach.
What? The beach isn’t usually what you think about when you think about Christmas, is it?
I completely agree. That being said, when I was invited to collaborate in this collection, it took me a minute to figure out which beach I wanted to set my story on. But only a minute. Because I have a favorite beach.
So, my story, Mistletoe Make-Believe, is set on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Know where that is? Way south Georgia off the coast of Brunswick. With gorgeous old oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, interesting old historical sites, white sand beaches, dolphins, and a lighthouse. Know why it’s so special to me? It’s where I honeymooned. ;-)
But since my story isn’t the only one in this collection, I wanted to let the other authors included also share their beaches and why they chose them. Read on, because each is different and the stories are fun, too!
Hope Toler Dougherty — A Hatteras Surprise
My novella, A Hatteras Surprise, is set on Hatteras Island, part of the beautiful Outer Banks in North Carolina. When Linda Fulkerson invited me to be a part of this Christmas collection set on beaches, she asked, “Don’t you live near the Outer Banks?” She provided the sign I needed to rejoin six other authors on Hatteras for a retreat. COVID still raged during the fall of 2020, and my dad had entered the final stages of dementia. I wondered if the annual Hatteras writing week was a good idea. Turns out, the idea was great because the trip reconnected me to some special authors and taught me again about obedience and God’s faithfulness in helping me write this story.
Linda Fulkerson — A Pennie for Your Thoughts
I chose the windward coast of Oahu for my novella’s setting because I was blessed to live in that tropical paradise for nearly four years. When I first moved to Oahu, I lived on the opposite side of the island, so each morning I drove across the Likelike Highway to work. When I popped out of the tunnel, I was welcomed by the stunning view of the Pacific Ocean easing into Kaneohe Bay, surrounded by the lush mountains that frame Windward Coast. The scene literally took my breath away. Every single morning.
Christmas in Hawaii is unique. Because nearly everything is shipped from long distances, finding a Christmas tree or ingredients for baking favorite holiday dishes can be challenging. Christmas cards display Santa sunning himself on the beach or testing the waves on a surfboard, and Christmas music typically includes a ukulele strumming in the background. The locals have their own stories of Santa’s origin, and instead of arriving on a reindeer-driven sleigh, he arrives on a catamaran pulled by dolphins.
Regina Rudd Merrick — Mr. Sandman
The Pawleys Island area of South Carolina is one of those places that I visited and immediately knew it was special. We (My family, my sister’s family, our parents) rented a 2nd-row beach house in 2003, for my parents’ 40th anniversary, and I’ve been twice since then. It’s never far out of my mind. This region is part of the “Grand Strand” of beaches that includes the area north of Myrtle Beach, SC to Georgetown, SC, just south of Pawleys Island. The first time I went, the first thing I noticed was the air–it felt “soft,” if that’s possible. It’s an area that mixes historic homes, beach resorts, and family homes, all residents, both temporary and full-time, coming together on the beach and at the grocery store. As I’ve often said, I’d move there in a heartbeat.
Shannon Taylor Vannatter — Coastal Christmas Charade
Since we have family in Texas, I’ve been to the beach in Galveston and Corpus Christi. It would have been smart to pick one of those for my setting. But no, I went with Surfside Beach, with the plan of visiting before the book release. And then life happened. It’s still on my bucket list to go because when I googled best shelling in Texas, Surfside Beach was at the top of the list. I don’t swim unless there’s chlorine involved. All I do at the beach is wade the shore and pick up shells. My office has them everywhere. To me, seashells are proof of God, the creator. Who else would design such intricate homes for seemingly insignificant sea life?
Well, are you ready to pack your bags and visit a beach or two this Christmas? If you’re a US reader and would like a chance to win a paperback copy of this lovely and festive collection, let me know by October 6th. How do you feel about going to the beach for Christmas? Where’s a beach you would like to visit that maybe didn’t make our list?