New Year, New Book, and a Treasure Hunting Story!

It’s 2014, and Costa Rica is out! It’s available in Kindle, Smashwords, and Kobo, with print and other ebook retailers coming soon. A funny thing happened the day before I launched it…

We kicked off the new year with a family hiking trip on the 1st. It was clear and fairly warm here for January, especially after the icy weather we’ve had the last two months. Our hike included many steep hills, and a giant tree sat on top of one of them, with wide, spreading branches that made perfect seats. (I must keep the type of tree secret so I don’t give away too many hints.) The boys and I climbed up the tree’s fat branches, and I looked around us and spotted a yellow tackle box in an old, hollowed out tree trunk. So of course I scrambled down my tree to go investigate.

I LOVE finding things. Don’t you? I’ve always kept an eye out for interesting little treasures out in the woods, and I’ve found mushrooms, flowers, berries, an elk shed, unique rocks, and other little things in the forest floor. Many people watch for arrowheads. It just always feels like I’ll find something cool.

So this time I actually found a treasure. Well, a geocache treasure. Normally you get the coordinates from a club or website like and then hike out to look for the cache. We happened to stumble upon it.

fishThis cache had a bag full of things: ping pong balls, sharpie markers, bug repellent, coins, tiny notebooks with pretty pictures, and other little trinkets. One trinket was a little beaded fish on a keyring. How cool is that? I totally fell in love with it, so we traded a pair of batman sunglasses for it.

So does that relate in any way to my new release? Well, in my world, everything is somehow related. Call it writer’s brain or something, but that’s just how it works around here. I found this tropical fish on the 1st and launched my new book, Costa Rica, on the 2nd. I couldn’t wish for a better lucky charm!

So here’s my new book, a romantic family drama set in Coos Bay, Oregon, and the west side of Costa Rica:

Costa Rica by Kristen James     Costa Rica – Kindle Link            Preview the First Chapter on my website

Annalisa and Drew have always dreamed of going to Play Flamingo, Costa Rica, with their best friends, Vincent and Melinda. But now they’re out of time.

Annalisa feels their marriage is just a shell for others to see–there’s nothing left inside. She wonders if they can rekindle their love in paradise, but there’s so little left. They gave up on their marriage along with their dream of having children.

Time is literally slipping away from Vince and Mel. Vincent’s cancer is back–his tumor is inoperable and he won’t do chemo again. This trip is now or never.



I’m releasing this one across multiple ebook retailers to reach more readers. In fact, I’ll be releasing some of my backlist across various retailers throughout this coming year, and posting the links on my Novels page. (While you’re there, check out the new cover for More Than a Promise!)

I pushed things with this story; it’s literary/women’s fiction/romance/travel and looks at several emotionally charged issues. It’s Annalisa’s story, but also a romance between her and Drew. Their best friends, Melinda and Vince, have a storyline too. Costa Rica is similar to Point Hope (with Trey and Rosette), but I wanted to lighten the mood just a bit. It was also fun contrasting the coasts from Oregon and Costa Rica. I always get giddy excited about sharing a new book, and I hope you enjoy it.   🙂

Happy Friday and weekend!   XXOO ~Kristen

Escaping to the mountains

Sometimes it’s nice to get away to a place where there’s no cell phone reception: no emails beeping in, no texts, no calls. Just you and nature, and a special someone or family. Sometimes it’s very needed! We love to hike into the many local waterfalls and lakes, and this spring we tried twice to reach Twin Lakes. The trail head is way up at the end of a gravel road, off the North Umpqua Hiking Trail. (If you’re familiar with the area, it’s off to the right a few miles after Dry Creek Store, and then a few turns up into the mountains.) The first time we drove up, a truck in front of us got stuck in a leftover snowdrift in a bend in the road. We helped them get out before turning around, and playing in the lower hills that day.

The second time we went, a month later, we made it farther but got stuck ourselves, in the last bit of snow in a shady corner on an otherwise clear road. The tall trees shade the snow in places, so they end up hardening into icy drifts when everything else melts. The fun thing is, we forgot a shovel both times, and had to use chunks of wood and rock under the tires to get out. It’s a process of jacking up the truck and pushing stuff under the wheels. (My husband Lem calls these creative fixes “Lem-necking.” You know you’re a Lem-neck when…you can start a fire with shot gun powder and jumper cables.)

This last weekend, we drove up again (with a shovel!) and didn’t encounter snow until we were out on the hiking trail. It was hot so I didn’t mind the few cool spots though.

Here’s the first look out spot–Oregonians might recognize the mountains.


There’s a cliff behind me, but I got dizzy if I went any closer. This is our dog, Deco, who lives for running around in the forest or swimming in a river.


The lake, at last! There’s a snowdrift off on the right side.


I love how this picture captures the color change in the water. It’s light green until the bottoms drops, and you can see the dark turquoise water farther out:


Here I tried to photograph the pretty water through the forest:


I was taking pictures on a Android phone because I couldn’t find my camera. I’m not a photographer anyway, but I hope you can see the beauty of Twin Lakes in these. Happy Trails!