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One Author's Life

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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In Praise of Teachers

Years ago, when daffodils first made their appearance each Spring in Columbia, South Carolina, my mother would help my sister and me gather the nicest ones from our yard.

We didn’t keep them.

We gave them away – to our teachers.

Teachers were special. That was the message we heard in big ways and  Read More 
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The Last Honey Jar

My mother’s parents worked a long time, with great sacrifice, to achieve the American Dream.

They were German immigrants who came to the U.S. through Ellis Island in 1921. For thirty years, they worked in difficult, dangerous jobs in clothing factories. Grandpa, who had been trained as a mason, also took brick-laying jobs including the building of towering smoke stacks in New York and Chicago.

Finally, they saved enough money Read More 
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Feeling Loved and Supported (and a Little Anxious)

September 8 used to feel like a long time in the future.

But not so much anymore.

That’s the publication date of my new novel, Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County.

The book is squarely in the production phase. Right now I am reviewing what are called “first-pass pages.” This is the first time I’m Read More 
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Musings on Black History Month, Having Our Say, and the Delany Sisters

Back in 1991 when I was a newspaper reporter and met the then-unknown Delany Sisters, the 100 and 102 year old pair of sisters insisted on being described first and foremost as American.

Yes, they were Black. Yes, they were women. And proud of it.

But “American” came first.

The same held true after my newspaper story  Read More 
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