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8/24/15

A Turtle Night

A glorious night on the beach last night!

Along the southeastern coast we are in the hatching part of the sea turtle nesting season. Last night I went out to the beach on Isle of Palms, SC with my fellow Island Turtle Team members. Sitting on the sand under a foggy moon, being bitten by vicious beach ants, we watched as a loggerhead nest slowly rose to a boil.  When that happens, the loggerhead hatchlings, already free from their eggs, begin digging as a group and rise together like an elevator from 20" down.  At the top they rest for awhile. 
From the top we see a concave circle in the sand.

Over the course of an hour, or 2 or 3, it's like watching a birth.  Little bumps appear on top of the sand. Like contractions, the circle heaves and slowly the bumps get larger and I can see dark tips of heads and flippers emerge as the group below pushes upward.  We watch expectantly.  Suddenly something triggers the group that it's time to go!  With a great heave the 3 inch hatchlings begin scrambling out, climbing over each other, flippers waving, hatchlings tumbling down the slope, a hundred or more of them, in a mad dash for the sea.  It looks like a pot boiling over, which is how it got the name "a boil" When this happens, the turtles are healthy and vivacious and as a group they have a better chance at survival, fanning out across the beach, following the rules of predator glut.

It wasn't the best of conditions on the beach for them. The moon wasn't bright, and sadly-- and frustratingly-- some homeowner (who should have known better) left a bright light burning on her outside porch. It was a hassle getting all the hatchlings to the sea without them turning toward the bright light --and certain death. Plus, the sea was still far out and these hatchlings faced a long journey across two galleys to reach home. 

But make it they did.  My pals on the team, Mary and Jo, and Christi from the SC Aquarium and her sweet daughter Lillian were there to guide them to the water.  The hatchlings were valiant as the waves tumbled them back, further up the shore. Over and over they righted themselves and headed straight back in, following their ancient instinct to swim.

They'll swim for three days in a frenzy, non stop, to reach the vast sargassum floats in the Gulf that will protect them from predators as they get bigger. It is estimated that only 1 in 1000 of them will reach adulthood. Of those survivors, only the females will return to our area beaches some thirty years later to nest and continue the cycle of life.
A long journey ahead, little turtles.  God speed.  I thank God I was there last night to witness the small miracle of nature.  And I pray that I will be here --with my friends on the turtle team--to welcome the mama turtles home.


** Pix by Barbara Bergwerf from our picture book: TURTLE SUMMER. Published by Arbordale Publishing
 

MAM and Mary Pringle

 
 



A boil!

 
 
 


                                                       Fanning out.


Hatchling makes it to the sea.


5/20/15

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Born May 19, 2015
On store shelves now!

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU… To my fans, who lined the block outside of the South Carolina Aquarium, Monday night in Charleston, SC for the official book launch party of THE SUMMER’S END.

Nearly 300 came to the book launch party!

THANK YOU... To my team and the aquarium staff who organized this huge party.


Thanking the crowd and sharing exciting news!

THANK YOU... to my publisher, Gallery Books, for continuing to give me the opportunity to share my stories with readers around the world.

My amazing editor, Lauren McKenna flew in to town.

THANK YOU... to my family for always believing in me and uplifting me.

Signing books 

And  THANK YOU... for being a reader, buying my books, and telling your friends about my novels.  Without you, I would not be celebrating this book release, one that marks twenty years for me as a published author.  I’m incredibly grateful for this milestone.  





Nearly 300 friends and fans came to the Aquarium to celebrate THE SUMMER'S END book launch with me.  People from near and far.  Some drove from Charlotte and Highland, North Carolina.  Others drove in early from North Myrtle Beach, and a handful flew into town from Ohio.  And my dear sweet daughter Gretta, endured delayed flights and layovers from Los Angeles to Charleston, just to be with me.  

Gretta made it! I'm one very happy mama.

Thank you all for making this book release extra special.  You made me feel like a beautiful queen. It's a night I will never forget!


With THE SUMMER’S END now out on store shelves, I’m on the road for book tour.  I do hope you’ll join me at an event near you.  We’ll talk, we’ll laugh and we’ll celebrate together our love for great books! 

Click here for book tour schedule.    Click here to order your copy today.

Watch this short video for a little back story about THE SUMMER’S END:




When you finish the final page of THE SUMMER’S END, take heart.  All is not entirely over.  My publisher has asked me to continue the story of Mamaw, and her three granddaughters—Eudora, Carson, and Harper.  And this time, someone’s getting married!  Look for the new book, LOWCOUNTRY WEDDING (working title) next summer.  

For now though, I hope you thoroughly enjoy this next installment of the Lowcountry Summer Series.  

5/11/15

COUNTING DOWN AND PACKING UP

Counting Down and Packing Up

The calendar says summer begins in mid-June.  But really, summer begins in just one week--May 19th.  Well, okay, at least for me it does.  

That's the day THE SUMMER'S END lands on store shelves! I'm excited to finally be able to share the third installment of the Lowcountry Summer Trilogy with you.  

In THE SUMMER'S END, I take you back to the charming seaside town of Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, where Mamaw is bracing to sell her beloved family estate, Sea Breeze.  It’s an emotional season as Mamaw and her "summer girls"--granddaughters Eudora, Carson, and Harper--face loss and struggle to find a fresh start in life.  Harper, the youngest sister, who lived under the narcissistic abuse of her wealthy and influential mother, has no home or career after breaking free of her mother’s tyranny.  And she finds herself needing courage to release her insecurities, recognize her strengths and accept love fully to save her family and her future. 

Here's a little sneak peek of THE SUMMER'S END.  Read excerpt now.


You can pre-order your copy today at from your favorite local bookstore, or order here.  

For anyone who has pre-ordered, make sure to enter my weekly Summer's End Giveaway on my Facebook page. Prizes every Tuesday! To enter, just type in your purchase confirmation number in the comment box of the contest post.  

I'm also delighted to share this new video with you, a short conversation about THE SUMMER'S END at my house with my assistant, Angela. Click here to watch video.

Meantime, I've been busy writing another book, doing media interviews, preparing for my book talks, and packing for the tour. My sister Ruthie will be my road warrior again for this 33-city book tour. Am I coming to a place near you?  View book tour schedule now.
Join me at an event.  We'll have a great time!  And, if you live within driving distance of Charleston, South Carolina... come celebrate the official book launch party for THE SUMMER'S END at the South Carolina Aquarium on Monday, May 18th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.  I can't think of a more beautiful setting for a book party with wine, food, live island music, and most importantly, friends.  View invitation here.

I'm eager to connect with everyone on book tour again.  But I admit, I feel overwhelmed at times juggling so many things at once.  We all do. Recently I was reminded to slow down by blogger Angie Mizzell with these words on her recent blog post:   
"Be present. Grab moments. Two things that deserve top position on my to-do list every day."                                                                         --Angie Mizzell

Slowing down when life is extremely busy sounds counter-intuitive but it's exactly what we need.  Many of us carry overloaded plates with work demands, home life, family needs, graduations, events and an endless list of other commitments.  But I hope you'll heed Angie's advice to "grab moments".  For me, it's working in my garden for a half-hour, or taking the dog for a quick walk on the beach.  Re-connecting with nature refocuses my mind and restores my energy to press onward with enthusiasm. I hope it does the same for your soul.   


How do you "grab moments" for yourself during your hectic days? 



I look forward to seeing you on book tour!