Fact AND Fiction

Some books are fact–they literally happened. Some books are fiction–where the words and the characters and the story idea all come from a writer’s mind. But what happens when a book is fact AND fiction?

That’s exactly the situation I found myself in when I wrote my newest release in my Allison Quinn Thriller series. This book is definitely fiction. But it’s also fact.

See the picture to the left? Yes. It’s true. I went on a Girls Trip (as our t-shirts so proudly proclaim). I hadn’t been on a cruise in many years, and I thought it would be fun. (It was.)

My second thought though–after purchasing my ticket–was, “Ooh, what if there were a terrorist on this boat?” And that’s how Against All Enemies was born!

It really was fun to meet the crew, ask questions, tour the ship, sail across the Gulf, visit remote places, imagine the unimaginable.

So how much of the details in this thriller are true? Well, I certainly incorporated all the gals you see above, as well as my choir director/friend who made for a wonderful piano man (Sorry, Jeremy–but you asked for it).

I would say this. The heart of the story is true. The beauty of the ocean. The amazing sights and sounds and taste of Cozumel. The fun scenes on the ship.

The disaster and the terrorist and the danger and the storm … those were all my imagination. Yes, my imagination can sometimes be a strange place.

It was interesting to picture what would happen with such a high tech mode of vacationing when the technology is gone. Does anyone know how to sail the boat? Would the captain plot our course via the stars? Would anyone realize that we were out there, adrift, in need of help? How would you tell them?

See? Sounds like fun. Right? It is fun. The reviews have been fantastic. And yes, I’ve received several emails that start with, “I’ll never cruise again.” I always reply with, “Cruising seems perfectly safe to me.” Just have a back-up plan for if your cell phones go out.

So, what is your favorite kind of vacation? Or staycation? Leave me a comment below, and I’ll draw three winners for a $10 Amazon gift card.




  1. Linda Landreth on October 13, 2023 at 5:50 am

    My parents were both first generation Americans ( Italian and Swedish). We have traveled to both countries to the villages my grandparents left to come America. We even saw their homes although we couldn’t go in. They have been gone a long time but I felt so close to them in their villages. Those were special vacations to me.

  2. Beverly Merkel on October 13, 2023 at 7:31 am

    My favorite vacation is camping, communing with nature, enjoying the beauty.

  3. Debbie Earls on October 13, 2023 at 8:38 am

    I have been on 2 cruises and enjoyed them both. We also went on an all inclusive vacation last year to Cancun. We really enjoyed that. I would like to do that again. Thank you for this opportunity to win. I enjoyed this book very much. Congratulations!

  4. Teresa on October 13, 2023 at 9:49 am

    Fun! I do love a good cruise (not so much if someone gets ill!). But best is settling into one place and discovering all the hidden nooks and crannies that make it unique.

  5. Pat Shrader on October 13, 2023 at 9:59 am

    I’ve never been on a cruise. 🚢
    My favorite vacation is a road trip with my daughter and granddaughter, along the East coast from Florida to Maine, with a multiple-days stop in Lancaster!
    Blessings to you and your family! 💛

  6. Glinda+Burchfield+Jaynes on October 13, 2023 at 10:24 am

    I’ve never been on a cruise, so I think my favorite vacation would be to go to the beach. Although I do like visiting the Smoky Mountains ❤️❤️❤️

  7. Alicia Haney on October 13, 2023 at 10:25 am

    My favorite vacation is staying in a cabin on the mountains of NM with family. Have a great weekend.

  8. Connie R. on October 13, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    I have one favorite venue for a vacation, and we’ve enjoyed two vacations there….and that one is the Lancaster PA area. But equally tied is the oceanfront room we got a few years ago in Maine for a couple of days. That was a bucket list item, and we loved it!

  9. Cindy on October 13, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    I like to stay around town and visit local sights!

  10. Amelia S. on October 13, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    I love going to the mountains.

  11. Joan on October 13, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    My idea of a vacation is staying home and doing things I like and just relaxing/

  12. Vickie Waters on October 13, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    My favorite vacation is when my two sons, two daughters-in-law, five grandchildren and my husband and I can be together away from anyone’s house and just have fun. We celebrated our 40th anniversary in Hannibal, Mo.; our 50th anniversary in a nice cabin; and a week together in a lake home on Lake Michigan. I feel fortunate any time we can all be together.😀

  13. Faith Cree h on October 13, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    That’s hard to say. We’ve had so many wonderful vacations in the past, both camping by tenting in the mountains and hiking to driving in a car in countries in Europe. We’ve enjoyed both. We just love to see nature and explore the world around us.

  14. Marion on October 13, 2023 at 6:20 pm

    My favorite idea of a vacation is a stay at home one.

  15. Marilyn on October 13, 2023 at 8:04 pm

    My favorite vacation is a stay at home enjoying books and rest.

  16. Jo Morse on October 13, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    th-July My idea of a great vacation is visiting Mt. Pocono, PA. My mom and I went back July 9th-July 15th this summer. Lots of changes. Calley’s Pretzels closed because the owner retired and moved to Florida. One of the malls on Route 611 North burned down in June and in the process of rebuilding. Country Junction was a small tourist attraction. Now it’s an oversized Walmart with an amusement park in the backyard. Fortunately some places stayed the same like House of Candles, American Candle Company and the Haunted Pocono Castle near Henryville! After 4 years we expected some changes and miss the places now distant memories. Most important we had fun and great weather. That’s one ideal vacation for us. Any trip away from home to escape the reality is a real vacation. For me it’s getting lost in a great book. Let the adventures begin!!

  17. SARAH TAYLOR on October 14, 2023 at 11:44 am

    My favorite vacation spot is in Tennessee in a cabin looking over the mountains reading a good book! Have a Blessed Day!

  18. Susan Heim on October 14, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    My favorite vacation is anyplace new to explore! I especially love locations with historic significance.

  19. Merry on October 14, 2023 at 9:42 pm

    My favourite vacation was camping by the lake and going fishing with my book and hook.🥰

  20. Carol Wilson on October 15, 2023 at 12:27 am

    Love your books, quilting, and Cozumel ❣️❣️❣️

  21. CELIA on October 16, 2023 at 4:53 pm

    I always loved to go to the beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast. I love the sound of the tide coming in and going out and getting up at dawn and combing the beach for shells.
    My Mother and I went to Sanibel and Captiva Islands once and toured the Flamingo Sanctuary and watched the Pelicans. I took my cat and she had such a marvelous time on the screened in porch watching all the birds and whatever else fascinated her.

  22. Sherry Brown on November 2, 2023 at 5:34 am

    My favorite vacation is sitting on the beach reading or just watching people. That is so relaxing and always ends up with something interesting to share with family and friends! Lol!

  23. Carla Toppass on November 2, 2023 at 6:55 am

    Our family has never traveled extensively due to the nature of my husband’s job. Usually we travel within a 3 hour radius to vacation. This means no cruises, no trips cross country to view the ocean views or mountain scenes. But the time we do get to spend together is what really counts to us, and that can’t be measured.

  24. Emma on November 2, 2023 at 8:47 am

    My favorite vacation is visiting my daughter. We had fun looking at flowers garden. Local stores. Going to the beach. Trying new food and more.

  25. Sonja on November 2, 2023 at 9:41 am

    Sure could use a girl’s trip! That looks like so much fun. I am totally jealous! But you deserve it after all your wonderful books!

    • Sonja on November 2, 2023 at 9:44 am

      I forgot to mention my fave trip! It is a family history trip to all the places they lived and finding new relatives I never knew I had. I have taken my kids and grands for these and we have really enjoyed it. Now that my situation has changed these trips are not something I can do right now. So. maybe later, I hope!

  26. TomByTheSea on November 6, 2023 at 10:57 am

    I like to get into my car and drive across the country. My house is near Atlantic City NJ so it’s a long way to the west coast. It’s nice to get to the region west of Chicago where the traffic thins out. I found the northern route (I-94/I-90/I-84) to be particularly interesting. I hadn’t realized that it was possible to drive from Fargo ND to Billings MT in daylight while taking a couple hours to check out the Badlands at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park! I also liked the western terminus of U.S. 30 in Astoria OR at the mouth of the Columbia River. Astoria is very different from Atlantic City, the eastern terminus of U.S. 30… It felt strange to think about tsunamis!

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