Welcome to Magnolia Bay
The Welcome to Magnolia Bay series is the love child of my two passions: animal communication and romance writing. As an animal communicator, I know that our animal companions speak to us in ways we understand on a subliminal level but don’t always recognize intellectually, and I have witnessed first-hand how they work their wiles to nudge us in the right direction.
I hope that the Magnolia Bay love stories will lift people’s hearts the way any romance novel should. But my sinister master plan is that any animal lovers who read these books will recognize the ways in which they are already communicating telepathically with their own animal companions, and maybe decide to study and learn and practice to increase their natural abilities. How might we change the world if enough people take the time to embrace their ability to communicate with the animals they love?
Wedding Bells in Magnolia Bay (A Magnolia Bay Novella featured in Wedding Tails)
If you’ve read Warm Nights in Magnolia Bay (Sourcebooks Casablanca 2021), you’ve met Edna Fitzgerald, the retired schoolteacher who volunteers at Bayside Barn by shepherding busloads of kids through the farm experience on school field trips. Edna enjoys teaching kids of all ages about animals, about respect for all life, and about the gentle power of unconditional love to heal all wounds.
Edna is a staunch advocate for Bayside Barn, who uses her schoolteacher stare and her schoolteacher voice and her schoolteacher pointer-finger to convince the Magnolia Bay city council to preserve Bayside Barn when a greedy developer tries to usurp the bayfront property.
In the novella Wedding Bells in Magnolia Bay, we meet one of Edna’s “favorite” nieces (she has a few, and they’re all her favorite).
Maggie Wright is launching her fledgling wedding-planner / coordinator business with her friend Abby’s wedding to her fiancé Quinn (from the first Welcome to Magnolia Bay book). It’s all going perfectly according to plan. Maggie even manages to manage Abby’s Momzilla, who is determined to have the ceremony before the guests arrive so the bride and groom can say “I do” before the bottom drops out of the storm clouds that are gathering over the bay.
But Edna is still driving back from New Orleans after picking up the rented linens for the guest chairs and the reception dinner tables, when she gets caught up in a multiple car-accident pileup on I-10 between New Orleans and Magnolia Bay. (And anyone who’s ever driven that route knows that once you’re stuck, you’re stuck.)
Edna commandeers Mike Miller, a fellow traveler, to take her and the rented linens back to Bayside Barn in time to prepare for the wedding.
But then, there’s this dog… this stray dog… who got catapulted out of the back of her family’s pickup truck when it swerved to avoid the crash.
And then the Damn Dog’s family kept going without her. So, Damn Dog was lost. She was scared. And she needed help, even though she was afraid to accept it.
The wedding was important. Maggie’s new role as a wedding planner and coordinator was important. But what was more important than Damn Dog’s life?
And that’s what the novella is about.
Plus, of course, it’s a love story.
You’ll just have to read it to find out how it all fits together.
What the Anthology is About:
Seven Sourcebooks Casablanca authors team up to give their readers a glimpse into what happens in one of your favorite romance novels after the book ends. This is a limited-edition anthology, which means it won’t be available for long! After a few months, the rights will revert to each of the seven authors for them to use or retire as they see fit. So, if you want to get this special glimpse into seven story worlds of romance where the humans’ animal companions make a real difference in their lives, now’s the time to do it. It’s also your chance to get to know some new-to-you authors’ story worlds you may not have seen before now. If you know any of the authors in this anthology, you’ll love the other authors’ work too!
Meet the Characters of
Wedding Bells in Magnolia Bay
Mike is a multi-talented free-spirit kind of guy who’s rarely seen without a happy-go-lucky smile on his face. He loves life and isn’t afraid to try anything—well, except maybe commitment. He loves animals but doesn’t have any, because he wants to be able to pick up and go whenever, wherever, and stay for as long as the fun lasts. Mike grew up in lots of different places because his single mom had the travel-bug, and she tended to fall in love with a new guy at each new location, then move on when the shiny new relationship began to tarnish. (Maybe Mike’s fear of commitment didn’t come out of nowhere.)
Mike spent summers in Magnolia Bay with his dad, who taught Mike to swim, water-ski, dirt-bike, SCUBA dive, and do all the other fun stuff his travel-hungry but safety-conscious mom would’ve frowned upon had she known. (Because, as Mike’s parents found out after several years of marriage, the travel-bug and the adventure-bug are two different kinds of insects that don’t always get along.)
So, after graduating from college with a triple-major in literature, photography, and creative writing, Mike moved to Magnolia Bay, the only place he’s lived long enough to feel a sense of belonging. His needs are few, and he makes plenty of money doing things he enjoys. He even has a real job—but only because his dad’s old friend needed help—managing a watersports store in Magnolia Bay. For extra cash, he plays guitar in a jazz band, sells photos and travel articles to magazines, teaches water-ski lessons in the summer, and works for a dock-repair company whenever underwater SCUBA experience is needed.
The 9-5 gig is temporary, and soon enough, Mike’s going to get back to his footloose ways. So, you see, the last thing he needs in his life is a dog tying him down. The other last thing he needs is a girlfriend tying him down. But damn if he doesn’t meet both on the very same day, thanks to a bossy old lady who manipulates him into saying yes when he should’ve said no. But hey… the dog’s a real sweetheart, and so is the girl. Maybe this could work.
Maggie is one of Edna Fitzgerald’s many “favorite” nieces. Maggie and her sisters grew up on a 4,000-acre property between New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Though children of privilege, Maggie and her sisters still grew up knowing that they’d have to carve out a place in the world on their own merits. Their self-involved mother told them often that once they graduated high school, they’d be on their own. Gee, thanks, Mom.
Maggie worked her way through college and snagged a coveted concierge job at a high-end hotel in New Orleans, where at least she met someone worth dating. It was all made for love… at first. But after a few years of slogging through the life she thought she wanted, Maggie had to admit that she wasn’t happy. Not with the job, and not with the boyfriend. Maggie confided in her Aunt Edna, who gave Maggie a safe place to land and time to figure out what she needed to do next. As if taking one step in the right direction magically opened the perfect door of opportunity, Maggie’s friend Abby asked Maggie if she could plan and coordinate Abby’s wedding to her fiancé Quinn.
The opportunity felt like a dream come true—and maybe the beginning of a new business?—but it also challenged Maggie’s confidence. Could she really pull this off? The planning phase couldn’t have gone better. Then came the big day, an outdoor wedding at Bayside Barn. Maggie started the day proud of all she’d accomplished, certain she would pull off the perfect wedding day for her friend Abby.
Then a stinky, stray dog turned up to ruin the day, and Maggie realized that some things were just as important as creating a memorable wedding day for her friend—such as giving a good dog a chance at a good life. Maggie wanted to do both. But could she? Maybe so, with a little help from the cute guy her Aunt Edna brought along.
Edna is one of my favorite characters in the Welcome to Magnolia Bay series. She first appeared in Warm Nights in Magnolia Bay, where she volunteered at Bayside Barn after retiring from a long career of teaching in the Magnolia Bay Public School System. Edna saved the day for Abby by taking charge when three busloads of rowdy first-graders showed up a half-hour early for a Bayside Barn field trip. Then, later in the story, Edna uses her schoolteacher stare and her schoolteacher voice and her schoolteacher pointer-finger to take charge of a Magnolia Bay City Council meeting. Edna is a take-charge kind of woman who makes you feel like everything’s going to be okay the moment she shows up. She wasn’t supposed to be an important character, and she wasn’t supposed to appear in more than one book. But now, it seems like Edna is taking over once again. Not only is she a pivotal character in the Wedding Bells in Magnolia Bay novella, it looks like she’s heading for a starring role in a spinoff series. (Because she’s in my head now, nagging, nagging, nagging, and she just won’t shut up.) Edna is a fantastic, bossy old lady who just won’t quit, and she won’t take no for an answer, either. (Yes, Edna, I’ll do it. Maybe in a couple of years.)