Back to the Beach

Many readers have fond memories of Misty of Chincoteague, the beloved tale by Marguerite
Henry about the Beebe siblings and their Chincoteague pony. I still own my paperback copy, now falling apart at the seams. I don’t know how many times I read it, but I know that the book and the island left an imprint on my heart that I wasn’t aware of for many years.

In 2014, I began writing a book about Kate, a young woman who flees her life in the city to start over in a place with no ties to her former life, a place to escape and hide, a place to be reborn. Without giving it a thought, I watched my character pack her car and head to Chincoteague Island off the coast of Virginia.

This wasn’t surprising for me—my characters always do what they want and end up in places and predicaments I never foresaw. What was surprising was how vivid the location and the islanders were in my mind. I’d been to Chincoteague a handful of times, and have family who live on the island, but these images and personalities were so real to me that I began to think of them as friends.

Six years after the publication of the award-winning Island of Miracles, I can honestly say that…

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The Longest Thing You’ll Ever Do

In the midst of ongoing world crises–the War in Ukraine, lingering Covid worries, worldwide inflation, and a looming recession–there remains the desire to hope, to celebrate, to live.

The Queen arrives at Buckingham Palace in 2013.

Just look at Great Britain over the past week. Everyone, everywhere stopped to celebrate the seventy-year reign of their beloved queen. They threw parties and held parades and attended services and ceremonies all in honor of a woman whose title and place is ceremonial.

What is it that makes the queen such a beloved figure?

I believe, though they were quite different in many ways, it’s the same thing that endeared Princess Diana to the British people and the world. Both women had/have a remarkable passion for life.

Yes, the queen sticks to strict protocol. Her clothes, her smile, her countenance, her demeanor, and even her wave are carefully executed, groomed from birth to appear dignified and poised at all times. But what a life the queen has lived, and she is loved for the image she presents.

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Coming Soon – Seeking Tranquility

My next book, Seeking Tranquility, comes out in just over a month! I loved writing this book. The two sisters are as different as night and day, the two older women are busybodies who genuinely care about everyone, and the scientists on the mainland add humor and spice to everyone’s lives.

Christy MacLane is smart, but in her eyes, not smart enough. She’s in over her head, having to care for Molly–both of them orphans now–trying to figure out how to finish college, working two jobs to make ends meet, and wondering if this is all that life has to hold for her. She’s sure that she will never have a life of her own or find love or have the time to look for either. Of course, life barges in when we least expect it, and love has a way of finding its own way when the time is right.

Molly is a science prodigy–a whiz at math and an expert on space science at the age of ten. She longs to follow in her father’s footsteps and work for NASA, maybe even go into space someday. She just needs to get through the summer before 6th grade first.

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Marriage Requires Love

Last week, my daughter sent me a link to an article in the New York Times. The article upset her, and she knew I would have the same reaction. She was correct.

In Marriage Requires Amnesia, Heather Havrilesky presents a section from her new book (coming in February), Foreverland, On the Divine Tedium of Marriage. Unable to read the book as it hasn’t yet been published, I can only glean info about Heather and her marriage from this article. And the article makes me profoundly sad and even angry.

With passages like this: “Do I hate my husband? Oh for sure, yes, definitely. I don’t know anyone who’s been married more than seven years who flinches at this concept. A spouse is a blessing and a curse wrapped into one. How could it be otherwise? How is hatred not the natural outcome of sleeping so close to another human for years?”

How can one not take umbrage to the sentiment?

The writer goes on to list everything she hates about her husband from his daily habits–“He is exactly the same as a heap of laundry: smelly, inert, almost sentient but not quite”–to the way he sneezes and how he clears his throat. And though she says he is exactly the same person she met seventeen years ago, she can’t stand the man that he was and is. “This is just how it feels to be doomed to live and eat and sleep next to the same person until you’re dead. Because the resolution on your spouse becomes clearer and clearer by the year, you must find compensatory ways to blur and pixelate them back into a soft, muted, faintly fantastical fog.”

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New Year, New Chapter

Merry 5th Day of Christmas! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas weekend and is looking forward to the new year.

2021 wasn’t all that much better than 2020. With the exception of things opening and the promising vaccines and treatments, the fear rippling through our world remains, especially with non-stop news coverage of the dire situation we’re in. Despite the vaccines and treatments and lower risks strains, everyone is still being told that this is practically the end stages of Armageddon. Of course, if that is the case, I know that I had better step up my game before that final day of judgment!

The point is, there’s a lot of hope that 2022 will be a game changer. We want life to go back to normal, to be able to spend time with friends and family without fear, and to travel, go to the theater, and do all the things we used to do (and without masks). No matter how you feel about the virus or the treatments or the masks, I’m sure you hope that the day will be here soon when we can live like it’s 2019!

And that has me thinking…

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Are You Simply a Human Doing?

Lately, I see so many people, particularly young people, desperately trying to figure out who they are.

Most people can’t answer the simple question, who are you?

Morgan the Good Sister

When asked, the majority of people would probably respond, I am so-and-so’s mother, daughter, son, cousin, husband, etc. OR they would respond, I’m a doctor or a teacher or an accountant… The list goes on. But do those answers truly answer the question? At the core of your being, are you someone’s wife, mother, teacher, or nurse?

WHO ARE YOU REALLY?

It seems that people of all ages are still trying to find the answer…

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I Hope You Dance

One thing I learned at an early age is that life is not all about work, and work is not all about the absence of fun.

This past weekend, my parents were visiting for Father’s Day. Mom and I spent a little bit of time in town–we live right outside of the Maritime tourist destination, St. Michaels–and visited my girls at work, Morgan at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and Katie at Simpatico, a fabulous Italian market. We all went crabbing, along with Ken’s mom, and feasted on our catch with Rebecca and Anthony who joined us on Father’s Day afternoon. We went to Mass, did a little gardening (thank you, Dad for the new forsythia!), and relaxed, happy to enjoy Mom and Dad’s first time staying at the house since 2019.

While I was making desserts on Sunday afternoon, we listened to a playlist that I created which consists of all the music we listened to when I was a kid. At one point, I looked at my mom and said, “I made this list because all these songs remind me of non-football Sunday afternoons.” Mom smiled, knowing exactly what I meant. She added, “When we’d play all the old records and clean the house before the start of the work week.” I nodded and said, “Yep. We’d blast music while cleaning and doing laundry, but what I loved most is how we’d dance and sing while we did our chores.” Those afternoons are among my favorite childhood memories.

I learned so many lessons on those Sundays, lessons like…

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It’s Pumpkin Time!

Today is the Tuesday after Labor Day, and we all know what that means…

It’s time for everyone to begin going crazy for pumpkins! 

I will admit that I am a pumpkin loving gal. I love pumpkin pie, pumpkin decorations, pumpkin candles, cookies, cakes, and yes, pumpkin spice lattes. I just bought the most adorable pillows for my living room. And I haven’t dug them out yet, but I have even more pumpkin pillows that I like to put on our front porch swing.

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I Will Give You Rest

For the past fourteen years, Ken and I have traveled, about once every eighteen months or so, to our shared cabin in the San Juan range of the Rocky Mountains. It is a refuge for us, a place where we can lie around all day and read or hike through a field of wildflowers or climb into the sky atop a fourteener.

Uncompahgre Peak, elevation 14,308′

Last week, Ken and I spent several days at the cabin, and it was unlike any other time we’ve spent there, beginning with the drive.

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Your Message to the World

Today, it seems that there is this great desire to be somebody, to gain the praise of millions, to become YouTube or Tik Tok famous. Everyone wants to make their mark on the world, be it for a moment or a lifetime. I think it’s quite natural to want to make a lasting mark, to leave behind a legacy, to create a name that will be remembered forever. We all want to believe that there is more to our lives than our meager, daily existence. We want to feel that we’ve delivered some kind of message to the world.

We’re all looking for a way to stand out, to be noticed for something, to be remembered for something.

But is it possible to make a name for ourselves, to deliver a message to the world, without ever becoming famous?

I truly believe it is, and here’s how we can do just that…

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