petit fours

Petit Fours

In The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea, Annaliese hosts a tea party for her cousins, Nora, Nadine, and Nell Ann. She also invites their sock monkeys so Throckmorton can meet them, but Annaliese and Throckmorton are soon startled by her cousins’ revelation. In Chapter 23, The Tea Party, the food Annaliese serves is described this way: “A… Read More


Gooseberry Strawberry Jam

In Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog, Augusta makes her beloved Gooseberry Jam to sell at the town’s market. This version is based on a recipe for “Gooseberry Jam” from the old (1965 edition) Fanny Farmer Cookbook. When we first made this, we didn’t have the “red currant juice” it called for, so I… Read More


New England Clam Chowder

Food!

Writers enjoy including food in our books. We’re often hungry while we’re writing! The opportunity to describe food so well that the reader can taste it is one of the fun parts of writing! This month, I’ll be sharing recipes from my books and other cookbooks I love. In Tango: The Tale of an Island… Read More


The Hat

People often ask me if I am a part of the illustration process for my books. That’s not typical. Authors and illustrators usually don’t talk to each other until the book is done. Sometimes there are details in the writing that must be translated into an illustration. What did the author have in mind? Here’s… Read More


What does a ballroom look like?

When you need to describe a setting so thoroughly that your readers feel as though they’re walking inside that space, it’s helpful to have a “model.” The family gathering in the ballroom at Eastcliff-by-the-Sea is pivotal for the book, so I wanted to get everything just right. I used my impressions of the ballroom at… Read More


Happy Independence Day, America!

To celebrate, this poem by Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus,” is apropos for our times. Written in 1883, Lazarus was determined to help raise funds for the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands. Today, her poem is inscribed on that pedestal. Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride… Read More


PEI Lighthouse

Summer Travel

Has reading Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog encouraged your family to consider a trip to Prince Edward Island? The PEI Tourism Board encourages visitors to submit photos to their site. This photo by Trevor Mount was taken with a drone camera! Have a look at the other photos on this site, too. I… Read More


A Writing Prompt

In Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog, veterinarian Doc Tucker says to McKenna, “The way I figure it, the first step in getting what you want is naming it—knowing what it is you want in the first place.” Do we always have a clear-cut idea of what we want from life? Has naming it… Read More


Dalvay-by-the-Sea

Is Eastcliff-by-the-Sea a Real Place?

Eastcliff-by-the-Sea, the manor house and estate where Annaliese Easterling’s family lived, was inspired by an operating inn with a similar name — Dalvay-by-the-Sea — located on Prince Edward Island. On each of my many visits to Prince Edward Island, I made a special point to “do lunch” at Dalvay, always ordering the same thing: steamed… Read More


writing prompt

A Writing Prompt

This month, find inspiration in a photo! Take a look at this photo (wet Tango on the steps) and write one paragraph, including setting, the main character, and the challenge posed in the photo that you might use to begin a short story or a novel. Learn more about the power of storytelling. And, from… Read More