Behind the Scenes Pics for A Vast and Gracious Tide

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Old Location Site of Lighthouse—where Ginger the Dog surfs

Ocracoke Island Lighthouse



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Do You Remember the First Time You Ever Saw the Ocean?

“It’s like another world,” she says.

And she is right . . .

Oh, that we could always see each day as an adventure with the same childlike wonder and joy.

How old were you the first time you ever saw the ocean? Can you remember the moment? Where were you?

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Research Pics for A Vast and Gracious Tide

Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet

The mighty Atlantic

Radio operator at the weather station on Hatteras received one of first SOS signals from the rapidly sinking RMS Titanic on April 14. 1912. His supervisor didn’t believe him. And refused to allow the radio operator to notify anyone else as to the Titanic’s plight.


Let the adventure begin!


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Do you know about the World War II Connection with the OBX?

The Outer Banks of North Carolina became Torpedo Junction in the Battle for the Atlantic during the early years of World War II. German Nazi u-boats, also called wolf packs, terrorized Allied shipping until the Allies were able to turn the tide in 1942. Entire ships and their crews disappeared beneath the waves of the Atlantic. The loss of life, munitions and supplies was horrific.

These cemeteries remain on the Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands as a reminder—a little piece of British soil carefully tended on the Banks. These are the graves of British sailors whose bodies washed  ashore to be discovered by the Bankers and respectfully interred. British representatives of Her Royal Majesty still honor these men and the others they represent in a touching ceremony every year in May, open to the public. Some of these men were never able to be identified. They remain known only to God.


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A Vast and Gracious Tide official book trailer

I hope you’ll join me on a grand adventure to the Outer Banks of North Carolina as Caden and McKenna find so much more than they could ever imagine in this beach happily-ever-after story.



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A Final Adventure in Fictional Kiptohanock from Hometown Reunion

As I imagine Jax and Darcy’s childhood homes in Kiptohanock

The farmhouse—Jax & Brody’s new home

Kiptohanock Square

The fire station

The church

The harbor

The Duer Inn

Coast Guard Courtship

Coast Guard Sweetheart




Falling for the Single Dad







The Deputy’s Perfect Match

Kiptohanock Library

The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family



The Christmas Baby

Christmas in Kiptohanock

The diner

Farewell Lovely Kiptohanock

Wishing you all fair winds and following seas.

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Summer Fun—Freezer Pops

Did your mom make these when you were a child?

I still have the 1960s plastic stick molds that my mother used. I brought freezer pops for my own children for wonderful, lazy summer days at the neighborhood pool.

What was your favorite flavor?


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A Small Town Fourth of July—Inspiration for Hometown Reunion

The freedom we enjoy as Americans is a great blessing. But freedom isn’t free—our freedom cost someone something.

Some of the best Fourths are small town celebrations—my inspiration for the Kiptohanock Fourth of July.

What do you do for the Fourth? What are some of your favorite memories of the Fourth?

Hot dogs, anyone?

Smallest Patriots on Parade

Family Picnics

Fourth of July Concerts (Actual Onanock, VA Fourth)

The William Tell Overture

Music on the Square


A Red, White and Blue Flag-Waving Good Time

The Kiptohanock Gazebo on the Green


The Finale


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Family Secrets—Sshh . . . Don’t Tell Anyone

The Apple Pie and Fool-Proof Crust Recipe

I love October because I get to visit family I see only once or twice a year. In early October, we have a family reunion. In late October, we travel to my aunt’s church homecoming and see cousins and other people that make up a Southerner’s extended family. This includes people to whom we’re not actually related but who were grafted in because somebody married into the family line. And despite not being blood kin, we all grew up together and enjoy getting to see each other. We have a lot of fun and it’s never a dull moment with that crowd.

I know this sounds complicated—but if you’re a Southerner, you get it. And did I mention the food at these gatherings? My children have been known to get weepy at the thought of these upcoming feasts. Barbecue—pork and vinegar-based; cornsticks, Brunswick stew; butter-beans—lima beans for the Northern brethren among us; ham biscuits; coconut cake; pineapple cake, etc . . . I’m going to stop now before I break down, too.

Here’s a sure-fire winner of an autumn recipe—from the family I married into.

Fool-Proof Pie Crust
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups vegetable shortening
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 egg
½ cup water

Mix first 4 ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. In a separate dish, beat the remaining ingredients. Combine the 2 mixtures, stirring until all ingredients are moistened. Shape dough into a ball. Chill at least 15 minutes before rolling into a crust. Dough can be left in the refrigerator up to 3 days or frozen until ready to use. Makes 2 pies—4 top and bottom crusts.

Apple Pie
6-8 apples—I’ve used Rome, Granny Smith and Magnabonum
Juice of half a lemon
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. butter

•Heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel, core and slice apples into ¼” pieces. Place apples (6 cups) into large mixing bowl. Pour lemon juice over apples.
•Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Toss well. Spoon spiced apples into piecrust and dot with butter.
•Roll out top crust. I like to also cut out piecrust dough ornaments to add to top crust. Cut slits in dough to allow the steam to escape. Brush the top with milk for a glaze.
•Place pie in oven. I put the pie in an aluminum-foiled tray to catch drips. Bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and juices bubble.
•Let the pie cool and slice into wedges. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


Do you have family reunions or church homecomings? What recipes do you look forward to each year? Do you have a family recipe you could share?

The Magic of Summer Fireflies—Inspiration from Hometown Reunion

One of the joys of childhood

Did you ever catch fireflies—or lightning bugs as they’re called in the South—as a child?

Or perhaps on sultry summer nights at twilight, you still chase fireflies with your own children and grandchildren.

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