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One Author's Life

Mom's Special Christmas, Circa 1931

My mom, who is 90, was reminiscing recently about Christmas during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

There wasn't much in the way of gifts. Matter of fact, there wasn't much in the way of food.

Daily life was usually a struggle. Grandpa became a scavenger, coming home with fruit that had been discarded by  Read More 

The Five Topics Which Used to be Off-Limits (and, Maybe, Should Still Be?)

Social media seems to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. We’ve all noticed that some people use Facebook, for example, in a positive way while others become weirdly competitive, snarky, or even abusive.

Not long ago there was an unspoken rule that certain topics were, quite simply,  Read More 

A Novel's Character Talks to a Wild Bird: Peculiar, or Charming?

Do you ever talk to wild birds or animals (or critters, as we say in the South)?

I thought this was an unusual hobby until I was in Florida last week, when I flat-out asked people. I was surprised at the number – one out of every ten, I would venture to guess – who raised  Read More 

Dogs Can Teach Us How to Live

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love dogs. My current dog is a very small Boston Terrier named Miss Dot, who serves as my writing companion when she isn’t busy telling me what to do.

To me, a house does not feel like a home without a dog. When  Read More 
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The Upside (and Downside) of a Protected Childhood

We came home from church and were still in our Sunday best. My two older brothers raced upstairs to change. Mom headed for the kitchen. My sister and I were in the living room with Dad when he turned on the TV to check the news – not a habit in our family, but then again, the previous few days had been unlike any others.  Read More 
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The Delany Sisters' Favorite Beverage Treat

Fans of my first book, the 1993 oral history, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100, may recall that the centenarian Delany Sisters’ favorite beverage treat was something called a “Boston cooler.”

What is a Boston Cooler, you ask?

It’s an ice cream soda similar to a root-beer float, except it’s  Read More 

A Special Cake for a Book Birthday!

When you’re writing a book, the publication date seems so far in the future.

And then, suddenly, it’s here.

Today is publication day for my new novel, Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County, which I started writing 730 days (or two years) ago.

I’m relieved, ecstatic, and a little  Read More 

Trying to Hang onto Summer? Make a Key Lime Pie

When I was a newspaper reporter, I knew a novice food writer who got the assignment of her dreams from a big magazine: She was to travel throughout the South in search of the best Key Lime Pie. It seems the distinctive flavorings of Key Lime Pie have inspired epic struggles about the “right”  Read More 

Lets Talk about Grits!

The release date for my novel, Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County, is just around the corner – September 8. I’m celebrating by sharing recipes of yummy dishes and desserts mentioned in the book, which is set in Florida during the 1960s. Today’s recipe is for Collier County “Guilty Pleasure” Cheese Grits. Special thanks to my husband, Blair, who grew up in Collier during that era, for his dutiful assistance in helping me re-create these recipes. Read More 

When Baking Brings Back Memories

One of the most popular desserts of the 1960s was Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. The way I remember it, there rarely seemed to be a gathering where someone didn’t bring one, and church suppers often featured two or three. At home, my mom sometimes made one when it was her turn to host her  Read More