Book, Chapter, and Vows release week of fun

It could have gone wrong

Something many don’t know,  or maybe you do, I used to be a bridal consultant.  I have planned at least a hundred weddings in the decade I worked as a consultant. Several situations went wrong, and I had to sit with the couple to brainstorm so that the calamity that fell on their special day had little effect. But I learned to effectively plan for every situation possible because of my own wedding. 

First, we were supposed to have a horse and carriage. When some of my attendants didn’t pay my mom, who was making all my bridesmaid dresses, the full amount, they prevented that dream from happening. I was heartbroken, but by the wedding day, it was all forgotten because my best guy friend let us drive his 1997 Firebird (and though it was fun, my ball gown with a long train consumed me in the passenger seat).

Then, there was the guest list. When we first wrote every family down and the number of people in that household, the list was at four hundred and fifty. Our church only held three hundred and the hall held three fifty. Now, we had to do some quick thinking here because the only solution was to have an adult-only event. We didn’t want to, but with over one hundred of those on the list being children under sixteen we had to make that stipulation. However, many of those families would be coming from out of town and had no one to watch their children. Well, God provided a way out. Some dear friends of ours lived two houses down from the reception hall and they were sweet enough to open their home to us so that we could hire a couple of people we trusted to babysit. We provided the food, fun, and clean-up. I was unsure if those families wouldn’t take advantage of the offer, but they did and we all had a great time as well as the kids. 

Our last major  hiccup came the day of the wedding. My mom had told me throughtout the planning process that I wouldn’t be as stressed that day–yeah, right. I felt like a chicken with its head cut off for the first half of the day. So much so that I forgot the most important thing to me –my vows. Of all the things that had needed to be taken to the church on the day of the wedding, my folder with my vows in them had been left behind on the kitchen table. The fun part, I didn’t know it until the minister, my uncle, came in the room five minutes before the wedding was to start and said, “Well, kid, you ready to do this?”  That’s when it hit me that I hadn’t seen my folder anywhere at the church. We looked everywhere. My bridesmaids and mothers-in-law were searching all over the church with no luck. My brother walked into the dressing room and said, “Oh, it’s on the table at home.” I started to lose my stuff and my bridesmaids panicked with me. My mom, on the other hand, went into bridal consultant mode (she was a consultant for twenty years – yes, we were once both consultants) and kicked everyone but myself out of the dressing room while sending my dad home to get the folder. With only her and I in the room, the waterworks began to fall–always early Missy was going to be late for her won wedding. MY mom looked at me and said, “The wedding can’t happen without you and you will still be sleeping beside your husband tonight and not in your childhood bedroom. It will be okay.” She was right, there was no reason to cry because, at the end of the day, I was still going to be Mrs. Wardwell and that was all that really mattered.

That is what I tell every bride who begins to panic because things don’t go according to plan–Breathe because, at the end of the day, you’ll be his MRS.

Interview with Chautona Havig

I have asked each of the Independence Islands authors to share some of their thoughts about their time on the islands. Enjoy!


Melissa: What has been your greatest joy writing this series?

Chautona: I think watching all these great characters come together. You’ll find everyone’s characters mingling in each others’ books. My character couldn’t afford Kari’s. Carolyn’s didn’t have time for mine’s project. My folks spent tons of time eating Beth’s food… all the things. It’s a beautiful picture of how all the authors came together to create this community. The series itself is a picture of the author community, and that was something I wouldn’t want to have missed.

Melissa: What was your hardest struggle writing those series?

Chautona: I’m going to say keeping Benjamin’s secret was probably my biggest struggle. Laying down all the clues through all the books.  Keeping his secret in the BACK of folks’ minds instead of the foreground so that when it finally came out it wasn’t out of left field nor was it heavy in the story all the time–that was tough.  I think I did it.  I hope I did it!

Melissa: Who was your favorite character(s)?

Chautona: Bud. There’s no two beans about it. Melissa had her Gram. Mallory had Bud, and he permeated the ink on every page. By the end of the series, you can even see how much he influenced who Ben became.  I suspected that would happen, and it did.

Melissa: What are you working on now that it is time to leave the Independence Islands?

Chautona: Well, which one?  I’ve got the first Suamalie Islands book coming in November, I’m working on my next Ever After Mystery, and I have a couple of Christmas castle novellas, not to mention the Christmas Lights Collection one.  Yeah. It’s a thing, folks!


Chautona, you are a force of nature. Thank you for all your guidance, encouragement, and brainstorming sessions during this series. It is a pleasure working with you. 


P.S. See you in Suamalie!

Book, Chapter, and Vows

Book, Chapter & VowsBook Chapter, & Vows

Falling in love with Benjamin wasn’t in the plan, but Mallory finds she’s all but lost her head and her heart after two and a half years of banter, memories, and now shared books.

But when her ex-fiance (does it count if it was just for a few hours?) shows up right in the middle of a writing project with Benjamin, the guy manages to ruin her happiness… again.

Benjamin has been keeping one tiny part of him back from Mallory–just the one thing that’ll repel her for good.
So when the ex-boyfriend-slash-fiance shows up, and things look serious again, he takes a giant step back and prays he can keep his heart intact in the process.

They’re clearly meant for each other. God obviously has a plan. So what’s it going to take for Mallory and Benjamin to work things out and get those vows made?

This Breakers Head novel is Chautona Havig’s final book in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

NOTE!:  You can preorder/release order the paperback at 30% off with FREE shipping from Celebrate Lit Publishing. Just scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and fill out the form!

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