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


Miss Chickadee Finch

True-to-Life Details Woven into a Manuscript

I recently received a couple of questions about Olivia, a character in The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea, and the music that she sings. If you haven’t read the book yet (and you really should), this won’t give away too much. Maybe it will even entice you to read this book about two families (one human, one… Read More


The Blessing of the Boats

The Blessing of the Boats

Fishing is an industry on Prince Edward Island, the setting of Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog. Many people earn their living this way. In Chapter 4, Pastor MacDougal performs The Blessing of the Boats at the beginning of the lobster season on May 4th. In honor of that day, here is a poem… Read More


P.S. Write Soon

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

In The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea, Annabelle can figure out parts of the mystery because she reads letters written by her family members. There’s no way to do that with texts and e-mails. How will we solve our mysteries? Writing letters to family and friends is a way of saying how much you care about someone,… Read More


Planet Earth

Our Home

It wasn’t until I was a cottage owner on Prince Edward Island that I became acutely aware of the global effects of climate change. When my husband and I purchased a ramshackle cottage on PEI’s south shore in 1997, we had approximately 40 feet of property between the end of the deck to the red… Read More