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            I fell in love with Pat Conroy when I was in my thirties. He wooed me with his smooth talking, his mesmerizing metaphors, his biting Irish humor. He had me at “My wound is geography.” My love grew with each book of his that I read. I caressed the pages, poring over his words.

            Many people associate Pat Conroy with his vivid, heartbreakingly accurate descriptions of his dysfunctional family. They discuss the relationships between mother and son, brother and sister, and most certainly, father and son.

            When I think of Pat Conroy, however, I always connect with his sultry, salty descriptions of a landscape we lovingly call the Lowcountry. His passion for the vast, seductive wetlands teeming with life is vividly portrayed on every page. He reveals how the ocean and creeks provide a feast so that even the poorest of men can eat like a king. Conroy brings us fully into his story world, not only in the hearts of minds of his characters, but in the sights, scents and sounds of this unique part of the South he calls home.

            I, too, write stories set in the Lowcountry. I am inspired by this architect of words, this writer I have fallen in love with. His words sustain me. Over the past years I’ve been fortunate to meet Pat and call him friend. We share a love of the landscape and found a common ground as warriors to protect it. But I do not compare myself to Pat Conroy. Nor should any other writer of the Lowcountry, not even the South. We all owe a debt to this literary groundbreaker. There is only one Prince of Tides.  

           Join us Oct. 29-31 in Beaufort, SC for "Pat Conroy at 70," a literary festival celebrating South Carolina's prince of titles.  Click here for details



When the autumnal equinox happened this week, you could feel the changing of seasons here in the Lowcountry. A cool breeze pushed out the humid air, for at least the day.

Autumn's arrival bids farewell to the season of week-long family vacations and much-needed road trips. Were you able to getaway for a bit? My summer was slammed with book tour, a broken hand, family visits and another book to write.  But I did manage to escape to this picturesque place. 

Dewees Island, SC  (photo courtesy: Judy Fairchild)

This is Dewees Island, South Carolina; a Lowcountry barrier island that's only a twenty-minute ferry ride away from my home on the Isle of Palms.  This is where I got to work on the early chapters of my next novel, A LOWCOUNTRY WEDDING.

During this short respite, I began each day at dawn with coffee in hand on the screened porch overlooking the vast marshland.  I could spot terns, egrets and osprey hunting for their morning meals in the golden and green cordgrass.  Each evening, I enjoyed the swelling music of cicadas and the rising moon.
My porch view of Dewees Island

This was a rare escape for me last month, and I treasured my time there.  The house where I stayed is the same one the lucky winners of my Summer's End Sweepstakes stayed at back in May.  Kathy and Chip Webb of North Carolina were our lucky grand prize winners, and they wrote about their island escape. 

Meet the winners: Kathy & Chip Webb's Dewees Island getaway

Here's what they said:  

Chip's View:  The Dewees Island Ferry is a portal from one reality to another. We arrived at dusk, taking the ferry across the dolphin-laced waters to the Island. The Marshview Cottage is a restful retreat.  The great room opens to a screened porch overlooking the marsh. The marsh changes with the tides and the passing of the day, offering visual delights from sunrise to sunset. Morning coffee, the warmth of the morning sun, and a copy of “The Water is Wide” (by Pat Conroy) from the bookshelf resulted in an incomparable start to a day, Dewees Island style. The second morning, Kathy and I took the golf cart to one of the beach access trails. To experience the beach at Dewees Island is to walk a beach as did the original inhabitants and to be awed by unspoiled nature.    
Kathy’s View:  After three days of Island living, I love Dewees Island. It is an amazing living classroom for children and adults  I learned so much about the creatures and plants that inhabit this little piece of heaven. After exploring the Island, I did not realize what the residents had until I walked out on to the beach and walked for miles, picking up live starfish and whole sand dollars. I loved every minute of it: the quiet, the beauty. It was like living in a Mary Alice Monroe book!

Maybe their words will inspire you to experience the island for yourself one day.  If you're looking to disconnect from the busyness of daily life and reconnect with nature, Dewees Island is unmatched.  I can't think of a better place to be, no matter the season. 

Where's the best place you have stayed that immersed you in the natural world? 
Here's the Dewees Island marshview cottage.  Isn't the porch view incredible?   

  To learn more about Dewees Island, South Carolina, click here.  



It's thrilling for me to see the cover of one of my novels for the first time.  The charge never gets old. I think it's gorgeous, thanks to the talented team at Gallery Books.  To me, the dock symbolizes the lowcountry, and more, is important given the significance of the dock at Sea Breeze in the trilogy. 
That bride could even be Harper.  What do you think?

A book cover reveal makes the writing process come into sharper focus, especially when you're still crafting chapters!  Even though there is a lot left to do before next year's book release, the journey of writing A LOWCOUNTRY WEDDING is meaningful.  I'm excited to share it with you May 2016!

Thank you, wonderful readers, for making The Lowcountry Summer Series a bestselling success and for wanting to read more about the Muir sisters--Eudora, Carson and Harper--and their charming grandmother Mamaw, and of course Delphine.  All will be included as The Lowcountry Summer Series continues.  

Save the date my friends for May 3, 2016 because you're invited to enjoy A LOWCOUNTRY WEDDING.