Like finding Easter eggs in each novel, I include unique places the reader probably has not visited, adventures my reader most likely has not experienced, and unique facts about our zany world that were not in our textbooks.

In suspense novel, Chasing Sunrise, I take the reader scuba diving along the wall off the coast of St. Croix. Much like an elevator shaft, the majestic formation drops some 3000 feet below the ocean surface.

With the island as the setting, I included the historic sugar mills, rum production, the seven flags that flew over St. Croix, World War II sonobuoys, sea glass, how to crack open a fresh coconut, mocho jumbies, Alexander Hamilton, and crab races.

Native to the island, the manchineel tree is deadly to everyone except a species of land crabs. St. Croix is the only United States-owned soil where Columbus landed, and he quickly discovered the danger of the manchineel after several of his men ate the fruit and died.

Michael examined the extent of the damage. “If it’s so dangerous, why not get rid of the tree?”

“That’s just as dangerous.” Jake shook his head. “Maybe more. Standing beneath the tree during rain may cause blistering. Cutting the tree gets the poisonous sap everywhere. Burning the tree causes blindness if the smoke reaches the eyes. Inhaling the smoke blisters the nose, mouth, and respiratory system.”

“Nuisance,” Michael groused.

Discovering the tree and its parts contain strong toxins, what’s an author to do? Of course, I let our military pararescueman leverage the tree as a weapon against the unsavory bad guys.

Exploring, learning, and researching are perks of being an author. The fun is multiplied by sharing the adventures, discoveries, and places with my readers.


PeggySue Wells

PeggySue Wells

History buff, and tropical island votary, PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, PeggySue is the bestselling author of 29 books, translated into eight languages, including The What To Do series, The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, Chasing Sunrise, and The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make. Radio talk show host, author, and speaker, she interviews industry experts, entrepreneurs, and exceptional voices to help people live better, together. Connect with PeggySue on Facebook, Linked In, and at

2 thoughts on “The Tree of Not-So-Good

Chris Wells

September 4, 2020 - 08 : 15 : 05

Sounds good! 🙂
….and it was your Easter egg reference in the opening line that made me click to read the whole post.


    PeggySue Wells

    April 27, 2023 - 00 : 48 : 28

    Hey Chris, thank you for reading and letting me know what caught your attention. Great last name, by the way 🙂


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