Vacations should be fun and relaxing. Sometimes…they aren’t.

light on path

When I was four and my sister was two, our parents took us camping in Sequoia National Forest in California. We had fun at first, feeding deer, and expressing awe and amazement at the sight of the enormous towering trees. Then we saw a dog, its muzzle completely covered by porcupine quills. We raced after dog, wanting to help. Fortunately for us, our parents called us back and let the dog take its anguish to its owner.

Fast forward to bedtime. Mom had forgotten to pack blankets. There were patches of snow outside our tent and the inside temperature plummeted after dark. Simply put, we were freezing. My sister cried incessantly, and I think I probably cried along with her. When we finally got to sleep, we were awakened by horrified screaming. A bear was licking my father’s feet. We left at daylight the next morning.

Later, when we were older and had been joined by the rest of our siblings, our vacations transferred to Florida in the summertime with mosquitoes and sunburn, terrifying lightening storms, flooded tents, alligators—and even a car wreck.


Remembering those vacation calamities inspired me to write my newest book, a cozy Christian mystery-romance-suspense set in Scotland. Scotland has been voted the most beautiful country in the world and vacations in Scotland should be fun and relaxing. But are they? The answer to that is in “Lamps of Doom.”


Childhood vacations for landscape artist Nicky Randall were traumatic enough. But she returns as an adult to face valuable antique lamps disappearing from a locked house and a skull in the garden. Her attempt to solve the 12-year-old mystery faces her with dangers—both to her life and to her heart.