Beaches, Friendship, & Fiction

By Janet Ferguson

Aren’t beaches great? And even more fun with friends?

Not long ago, Shelia featured my friend Jackie Layton’s book, Christmastide at Bald Head Island.

Jackie and I critique for each other, and we both share a great love for Christian fiction and the beach. I was excited to read about Bald Head Island, a coastal are that I’ve never had the opportunity to visit. It just so happened while she was writing that story, I had set the fourth novel of my Southern Hearts Series at a beach, as well! Go figure, ha!

Blown Together is set in Mobile and Fort Morgan, Alabama. Both areas are coastal areas, but Mobile is a lovely port city in Alabama. It boasts the battleship tour of the USS Alabama, beautiful botanical gardens, and historic homes. Did you know that American Mardi Gras began in Mobile? They celebrate with parades and balls and even have the Carnival Museum which highlights the history of Mardi Gras. It’s a fun city I’ve had the privilege of visiting many times.

But where the idea for Blown Together all started was at my happy place on my annual friend trip to Fort Morgan, Alabama, aka the beach. Fort Morgan is named for the historic fort on the end of the Peninsula where the Gulf of Mexico and the mouth of the Mobile River Bay meet.

Away from the touristy areas, my girlfriends and I typically leave our families make our “mental health trip” in October for “beach therapy.” The area is much less crowded in the fall and typically still warm enough to sit in the sand and just stare at the waves or read Christian fiction. This year we were blessed to witness the migration of the butterflies, too!

We don’t leave to go shopping or even go out to eat. One stop at the store on the way onto the peninsula and we’re in for the duration. I think the beach is meant for friends, reading books, and soaking in God’s amazing artistry. Did I mention I have a sunset obsession?

I’m thankful for the beauty that God has created and our ability to share it with friends. Not everyone’s happy place is the beach, though. Where is your happy place?

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Blown Together
Southern Hearts Series ~ Book 4

When love storms in…
Wealth manager Sam Conrad is accustomed to his domineering father ordering him around, especially at the bank where they both work. But when his father demands that Sam manage the inheritance of his bossy ex-fiancée, Sam has finally had enough. He leaves in search of a new life, and attorney Big Roy Bosarge from Mobile, Alabama agrees to mentor Sam on his quest for direction. Sam didn’t expect to be thrown together with Big Roy’s eccentric and opinionated daughter.

Storm damage forces lonely romance writer Elinor Bosarge and her hairless cat, Mr. Darcy, out of her Fort Morgan Beach cottage. She plans to take refuge in the boathouse on her parents’ estate, but finds the place already occupied by one of her father’s “projects.” She’s shocked her father would allow another young man onto the property after his last mentee robbed her family and broke her heart. And from the moment she meets Sam Conrad, they disagree about everything from her cat to how to best renovate a local nursing home.

Between her mother’s health issues and the hurricane brewing in the Gulf, Elinor feels like her life is being ripped apart. It doesn’t help that she’s falling for the man she’s determined not to trust. Sam finds himself drawn to Elinor, wanting to help her and this new family he’s grown to love. But can he overcome the barrier she’s built to keep him out? When the storm rages and the two of them are blown together, can Elinor find the faith to open her heart again?

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Shelia Stovall is a Southern, small-town librarian, and has an understanding of what women like to read. She is a member of ACFW and is currently the Treasurer of the Middle Tennessee ACFW Chapter. Shelia is a member of the Ky. Public Library Association and the American Library Association. Her short story, The Barber’s Sanctuary, won the fiction division of Kentucky Monthly’s sixth annual Writer’s Showcase in the November 2013 issue. Shelia is a weekly columnist for the Citizen-Times, based in Scottsville, Ky. Shelia’s Southern, small-town roots have given her an understanding of community and women's friendships. Her writing deals with difficult contemporary issues, but there’s always a thread of hope amid the calamity. Shelia is passionate about African missions and has traveled to Africa annually for the past four years. Community service is also important to Shelia, and she has volunteered as a crew chief for five years at Camp Habitat, (a Christian youth service camp that partners with Habitat for Humanity).

10 thoughts on “Beaches, Friendship, & Fiction

  1. Jackie Smith

    Janet, I am an avid reader, but just made a new author friend..have not read your books! I plan to correct that…your book sounds great. Enjoyed your post; great thoughts!
    My happy place is a retreat of sort with girlfriends. however, we are older/less healthy now but we have some wonderful memories.

    1. Janet Ferguson

      Hi Jackie! It’s so great to meet you, too! I hope you enjoy the Southern Hearts Series! Yes, ladies retreats have give me many rich and happy memories. Praying your health improves.

  2. Connie Saunders

    I don’t often get to vacation but my happy place is my yard and my garden. Considered work by most but a joy for me!

  3. JJ

    Your beach getaway place looks grand. I love your style–reading by the beach sounds like an awesome way to relax. My happy place is anywhere my husband is, but he would not be able to sit still long enough for anything. Always has to be doing something. Not me. I excel at doing nothing!


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