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'This Author's Life': Amy's Blog

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 
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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 
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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 
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New Video! (Also known as a "Book Trailer")

A book trailer (or short video) is a way for an author to connect with her readers and let them know what her book is about.

At 5 minutes and 49 seconds, my new one is a little longer than most. While it focuses on my new book, we found it necessary to provide some context  Read More 
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The Lazy Days of Summer: Where Did They Go?

One of the saddest moments when you’ve become an adult is when you realize that summer is not what it used to be.

Gone are the days of playing hopscotch, climbing trees, and getting on your mother’s nerves.

Gone are the days when the only deadline is getting home in time for  Read More 
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Happy Father's Day to My Favorite 'Relic from Another Era'!

My dad’s way of dealing with challenging situations in life – most recently, aging – is to face them head-on with humor.

In recent years, he has started referring to himself as “the Relic from Another Era,” followed by a hearty chuckle.

I sometimes forget that he’s 91.

And then something happens that reminds me.  Read More 
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The Shame Game

I’ve always had a strong sense of justice, and recently I came across a newly-published book that appealed to the side of me which likes to champion the underdog.

The book is called Fat-Talk Nation, and it was written by an anthropologist named Susan Greenhalgh. The subtitle of the book, published by Cornell University Press, is The Human Costs of America’s War on Fat. Read More 
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Announcing: My Academic Article on the Delany Sisters

Five years ago I was asked to write a lengthy, peer-reviewed essay on the centenarian Delany Sisters for inclusion in a book to be called, North Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times Vol. II, part of a state-by-state academic series called Southern Women: Their Lives and Times.

That book has just been published by the University  Read More 
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Advice for Aspiring Novelists

The most frequent question I’m asked when I'm on book tour or lecturing at a university is––Where do the ideas for your fictional characters come from?

Often, the person asking the question is an aspiring writer who is struggling to create a main character who is believable and consistent.

Here is what  Read More 
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Rachel Carson, the woman behind Earth Day

In 1962, an American marine biologist named Rachel Carson published her third book. She called it, Silent Spring.

This book was a masterpiece. Although she died several years before someone coined the term “Earth Day,” and April 22 – today! – was designated an official holiday, Miss Carson is widely credited with laying the groundwork for  Read More 
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