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My Books

Sea-Devil: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 1
Sea-Devil: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 1

You never get over your first love...how about your first murder? When a man is murdered in her bookstore the night before her grand opening, island newcomer, Delilah Duffy, makes a name for herself as prime suspect. If Delilah Duffy hopes to create a life on the island, she must navigate through a vicious family feud, shoddy police work and the mistakes of her past. Will Delilah uncover the truth before her past and her present destroy her?

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Luna-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 2
Luna-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 2

We're all just one pain away from lunacy. A seaside inn. An elegant party. A black dress. What could go wrong? For Delilah Duffy, just about anything. With her bookstore failing, the last thing she needs is a party or another mystery to solve. With nightmares, anxiety, and panic intensifying, Delilah doesn’t know what’s real and what’s in her head. With everything at risk, Delilah discovers what’s worse… becoming a lunatic or facing one.

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Sea-Crossed: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 3
Sea-Crossed: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 3

Some secrets are kept to be kind. Torture, pain, misery - that’s all someone else wants for her. When a dinner party turns deadly, Sam goes missing, and Delilah realizes she's being watched, the “book queen with a thing for crime scenes” must battle to get her life and love back. Can love and determination save them or will dark secrets ruin her chances for a normal life? With mysterious messages taunting her and a killer eluding her, what lines will she cross to get to the truth?

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Pyra-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 4
Pyra-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 4

Everything can change in seconds. Bookstore manager and crime-solver, Delilah Duffy knows that better than anyone. When her Happily Ever After Valentine’s Day Bash ends in fiery destruction, everything she’s worked for burns with it. Pregnant and brokenhearted, Delilah fans the flames of her anger toward what she’s good at: solving crimes. Hot on the trail of an arsonist while her nemesis is on hers, Delilah fights to get her life back. Will she turn ash to treasure before the pyromaniac strikes

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My Vella Story

Water World
Water World

After a tough move with his Mom and sister from his beloved country home, Ethan isn't adjusting well to city life. In trying to escape his problems in this world, he opens another, dropping him and his sister, Abby, into Water World. This trip is no vacation, not with legendary monsters and deadly sea creatures to battle. But teaming up to help the merpeople through their home-related crisis might help Ethan and Abby navigate theirs, if they survive long enough to make it home.

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  • Jessica Sherry

Gift Ideas for the Person who has Everything

Buying the perfect gift is a challenge. Buying the perfect gift for someone who has everything, needs nothing, or is hard to please is like taking on a Labor of Hercules. It feels impossible for a mere mortal. Gifting the hard-to-buy-for requires consideration and creativity. A Walmart candle just won’t get the reaction you want to see—googly-eyed smiles, gasps, and genuine appreciation.


And though they will likely be happy with anything you gift them (if they’re good people who love you, it’s the thought that counts, yada, yada, yada), it’s so much better to evoke that true holiday magic and give them that thing they didn’t know they wanted and really like.


Here’s my list of gift ideas for the person who has everything.


Give an experience.


When faced with a person who’s difficult to buy for (or to recover from bad gifts in the past), consider what the person likes to do. A movie buff would enjoy the movies. A sports fan would love to go to a game. A history nerd would like a tour of a local museum or historical site. Figure out the music they like, and send them to a concert. Going online to buy tickets is easy. And it’s a damn thoughtful gift!


Annie Poster

For a family, give an experience that will deliver all year. A family pass to our local aquarium in North Carolina gives us free access to its sister aquariums and the North Carolina Zoo. A quick online search will reveal similar options near you and your gift’s recipient.


Our local Cameron Art Museum offers a similar deal—a yearly fee for unlimited visits. And since museums change their exhibits a few times a year, a season pass keeps giving.


Plus, your gift supports these local institutions—double whammy.


I promise, this difficult-to-buy-for person will think of you every time they tour the art gallery or shark tank.


Inspire or support a meaningful collection.


One of Gretchen Rubin’s suggestions in her book The Happiness Project was to start a collection. Hers was bluebirds because they symbolize happiness, and collecting them made her happy. My beach-themed ornaments do the same for me—I love the beach. A friend of mine finds joy and comfort in angels and crosses. Another collects cardinals. My mother-in-law loves her Clothtique Santas. My teenage daughter and future daughter-in-law love Squishmallows.


If your gift recipient doesn’t collect anything, inspire a new collection. I know how much you love _______, so I thought you’d like this. Or… I’m giving you this dove figurine because your friendship has always given me peace. Or… I’ve always considered you to be strong and loyal, like this wolf. Then, add to it each holiday. You'll have something to give them each year!


A workaholic might enjoy receiving a collection of desk toys or stress balls. Someone who does a lot of hosting might like to collect salt and pepper shakers—they are so cute.


A gift of crystals for health and well-being could be added to each year, and since each stone means something, you’re wishing those things on the person you’re giving them to.


Or if your friend is a Sheldon-type (that is, anti-crystal), then support something they already collect, like Star Trek or Star Wars memorabilia. A brief bit of recon should give you insight into what they're into.


An Oddball Gift.


When you don’t know what to get for someone, give something totally unexpected. Sure, it may fail, but at least you’ll earn the surprise factor and create a conversation starter. You are so hard to buy for, Bob. At best, your outside-the-box thinking could transform you into Bob’s favorite gifter. You may luck out and give him exactly what he’s always wanted.


What made me think of an oddball gift is that I gave myself one recently—a graphic novel. I read all the time but never comics or graphic novels. I wanted something different while still fitting into the mystery genre I enjoy. So, I asked the store clerk to recommend a modern, realistic story with mystery and speculative elements. Quick to help, he gave me several great choices, and it’s been a fun departure from my long, pictureless novels.

Graphic Novels

An avid reader might enjoy such a departure—something similar to his or her usual likes but different. Like niche board games...


Board Games

A paint-by-numbers kit for someone who likes art but doesn’t think she’s any good (like me) or a jigsaw puzzle for someone who likes to do crosswords, for example. A joke book for someone who rarely cracks a smile. Local art offers a one-of-a-kind gift at reasonable prices—try an area market or festival for hundreds of options.


When I taught high school English, my students gave me paperback romance novels because they said I needed a break from the classics—a funny gift I still treasure many years later. My brother gave me artwork that reminded him of my first novel as a congratulatory gift, which still hangs over my desk. The Murder, She Wrote board game given to me by my son still makes me chuckle—I’m a fan of the show. These oddball gifts have earned epic status in my world.


Evoke childhood nostalgia.


If I do a google search of popular toys and games of the eighties (when I was a kid), I’m reminded of Rubik’s Cubes and Care Bears, which make fun, nostalgic gifts. My husband still loves G.I.Joe and Transformers. My millennial son still treasures Nickelodeon characters and anything Star Wars.


Transformers

What might create a warm and fuzzy moment for your gift recipient? A quick search of their birth decade should give you some ideas, and gifts like these are easy to find at your local antique store or consignment shop. And the gift doesn’t have to be toys. Anything that evokes an ah, I remember these moment makes a good gift.


Go Interactive.


If you don’t know what to give someone, try offering something to do at home. Elaborate jigsaw puzzles (especially of scenes that might mean something to him), adult Legos, adult coloring books, paint-by-number kits, and at-home escape rooms are a few worthy ideas. Activities like these promote well-being and reduce stress, so it’s a gift that gives more than a way to fill the time.


Guided journals like Wreck this Journal or List Your Self are ways for people to engage and reflect. Even plain journals make great gifts (especially for the writers in your life).


Give a “better” Gift Certificate.


Sure, it’s super-easy and useful to hand over another Amazon gift card. Who doesn’t shop at the one place you can get just about anything? But instead of supporting the mega-companies this Christmas, go local. Gift your “difficult” person with a gift certificate to a local bookshop, coffee shop, bakery, pub, brewery, winery, or pet store—whatever place you know they’ll use. By going local with your gift certificate, you’re helping small businesses, and you're giving your person a fun outing. Who doesn’t love a trip to the local bookstore? Or cat café? Or ax-throwing bar?


ax throwing

Subscribe them.


For the gift that really keeps on giving, give your hard-to-buy-for person a subscription. The local paper, magazines, Netflix, the wine of the month club… there are slews of ideas out there. Consumer Reports is a great one for the techy, research-minded folks in your life, and for other magazines, try this list. Kindle Unlimited or Audible is great for readers. Here’s a great list of digital subscriptions. I’d add Acorn and Britbox to that list. Also, here’s a list of monthly subscription boxes—there’s something for everyone, seriously.


Go with “on location” gifts.


This requires forethought, but one way to ensure that you’re giving them something they don’t have is to gift them with trip memorabilia. Whenever you take excursions to other places, visit their gift shops for treats you can use as gifts later, especially for the troublesome people on your list. When we toured the Charleston Tea Garden, we bought teas to give as gifts. My friends and family have brought back beachy ornaments from their trips for my beach tree. Gift shops are aplenty, and most places are known for something—use those somethings as thoughtful gifts.


Beach Christmas Tree


Capture a shared memory.


Since you’re buying this person a gift, you’ve probably spent some time with him or her this year. Did you take pictures? (Helpful hint: Always take pictures). Commemorate your time together by capturing it in a frame or photo gift. 3D Photo displays or shadowboxes are cool treasures. Such a gift evokes memories and tells your person how much your time together means to you.


Or promise a shared memory.


Offer your person an excursion to do together. Picnic in the park (you provide the picnic). A beach day (you provide the towels and sunblock). A once-a-week game night, wine night, movie night, spa day, kickboxing class, bike ride. You get the idea—and don’t just say you’re going to do it. Present the idea creatively, in a can’t-say-no fashion, locking your person into a great time.


Give to Others.


If none of these ideas suits your person who has everything, try a charitable gift in their honor. Heifer International is trying to end poverty and hunger, one goat, chick, or cow at a time—and you can choose one of these or other gifts for your hard-to-buy-for person. St. Jude’s is a family favorite, and they have a catalog of great gifts that support their fight against childhood cancer. A straight donation to any local or national organization your recipient supports will honor them without leaving them with stuff they don't want.



So, have any ideas for the challenging gift recipient in your life? You better! Share your insights or ideas below. I’ll also accept jokes, Christmas cookie recipes, and worst gift ideas.


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