Thanksgiving Side Dishes Sale!

How about a great read for your Thanksgiving holiday? My publisher is offering the E-edition of  CAROLINA GOLD for $1.99 from now until December 1st as part of a Thanksgiving Side Dishes promotion.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Praised by reviewers as “vivid and romantic”, “beautiful”, and “memorable”, Carolina Gold is available at Amazon, B and N, and all your favorite online booksellers. Inspired by the life of a real 19th century woman rice planter, Carolina Gold is my homage to the beautiful South Carolina lowcountry I have loved and visited for 15 years. I hope you enjoy it.


Are you ready for Thanksgiving? I’m certainly not. I’ve just returned from meetings with my publishers and fellow authors, to find the edits for next spring’s novella in my electronic mailbox.  A HEART SO TRUE is set on the South Carolina sea islands, my favorite spot in the world. Its the story of a young woman who must choose between duty to her family and the yearnings of her own heart. I couldn’t resist mentioning characters from some of my other books. I miss them!  I hope you will enjoy A HEART SO TRUE.

A-HEART-SO-TRUE-A-newI won’t be posting here next Thursday–I’ll be busy making the traditional Thanksgiving dinner for my little family, but I hope you’ll stop by in early December for details on a Happy Holidays Giveaway I’m launching to celebrate the official publication of THE BRACELET on December 9th.

Till then,here’s wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!

Paper or Digital? Our Brains in the Digital Age

I have an iPad and a few books loaded onto it, but honestly, I don’t enjoy digital reading. I’ve tried. But the experience leaves me cold. Maybe it stems from childhood. My dad, who would have turned one hundred years old this year, never had the chance to finish his formal education. He was thrust into the role of head of family at an early age, but he loved books. He educated himself, became a lover of poetry, and made sure his children grew up surrounded by books and magazines. But now it seems there is more than childhood experience driving my preference for the printed word over the digital screen.

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Last year the Scientific American published a long article called The Reading Brain in the Digital Age–The Science of Paper vs Screens.The author summarizes a number of studies about how people learn and remember and it turns out we process text differently when it’s on paper than when it’s on a screen.

According to the findings presented in the article, reading from a screen is more tiring, which leads to lowered comprehension. Reading from a screen deprives the reader of the tactile experiences of interacting with a physical book. Readers of physical books are better able to orient themselves to the text, to skip back and forth, to mark certain  pages or passages. Of course digital readers provide a way to do this, too, but the person still is able to see only a portion of the “book” at a time and is not able to see a particular passage or chapter in full context, to get a visual clue as to how many pages are left.

The studies differentiated between “remembering” and “knowing.” Digital pages are fine for “remembering”–in the studies there were no significant differences in readers’ abilities to remember what they read. But when it came to the deeper concept of “knowing” , readers of physical books demonstrated a greater command of the material.

Why does this matter? In reading fiction for pleasure it probably doesn’t. But think about the current trend in some schools of substituting iPads for physical textbooks. Do you want your children to simply “remember” what they read, or do you want them to internalize their reading, to interact deeply with the ideas and images presented in physical books? To really “know” something rather than to simply remember reading it on a screen?

Digital reading is not going away and there are times when digital readers might be an advantage to students. For example, instead of the cardboard “flash cards” that were used in  my school to teach vocabulary words and math facts, students can practice them endlessly on a digital screen.

But in each succeeding generation we will move farther and farther away from a culture of physical books and that will be a great loss to us all.

Here’s a link to the article:

What about you? Do you prefer physical books, or digital readers? Why?


Wishing for the Good Old Days

All week long I’ve had problems with my internet connection and my phone service. Annoying when I have so many things that need to be done quickly in the run up to publication of THE BRACELET. These tech glitches, and the daily reminders about Halloween safety on TV have me wishing for simpler times when kids could be kids, running door to door collecting Halloween treats without worrying about being poisoned or finding ground glass or razor blades in a Snickers bar. I don’t understand the mindset of people who deliberately try to harm little children.

I miss paper and ink. Don't you?

I miss paper and ink. Don’t you?

I love the immediacy of email. But I also miss writing and receiving letters and notes handwritten in pen and ink. There is something so beautiful and genteel in it, don’t you think? And yes, the US post office sometimes loses letters or mis-delivers them, but I sometimes think that in adopting new technologies we often lose more than we gain.

What do you think? What new technology do you love  most? Which one could you happily live without?