change of scene



The day after I turned in my (very late) manuscript for THE WEEKENDERS, which publishes May 17, I rewarded myself with a mani-pedi. My color choice for my toes was a happy coral called SHE WENT ON AND ON AND ON. Which was hilarious, and totally appropriate. Because once I get going on a book, I have a very hard time getting to the end. I write, well, on and on and on. And on and on.


I have writer pals who say they can’t imagine writing a novel as long as 300 pages. Hah! I’m just getting wound up at the 300-page mark. At the 400 page mark I’m panicking, and as I approach 500 pages, despair sets in. Will I EVER finish?

Fortunately I have an editor with infinite patience and wisdom, who simply tells me that the story takes as long as it takes.

But she can also be ruthless when necessary. Which is what happened after I turned in my manuscript for my summer 2015 novel, BEACH TOWN. “The first 75 pages have to go,” Jen told me. She was right, of course. The first 75 pages weighed the novel down and made it too long to get to the hook—that irresistible dramatic scene that “hooks” the reader into wanting to know more.

Still, my heart sank. I loved those opening pages. They told the “back story” of my heroine, Greer Hennessy, an L.A.- based movie location scout who is the third generation woman in her family to work in the film industry. More importantly, they introduced the reader to Greer’s mother Lise, a has-been sitcom star who these days makes a living as an, ahem, “intimacy counselor”. Lise’s own mother, Dearie, had a short-lived acting career as a bit player, whose most memorable role was as an extra in a Cary Grant movie. After Lise’s birth, Dearie goes to work as a seamstress in a movie studio costume shop.

western costume
Period headpieces at Western Costume

As always, I’d done plenty of research for BEACH TOWN, travelling to L.A., touring a movie studio, visiting Western Costume, which is the world’s largest independent costume company, interviewing seamstresses, movie people, and of course movie location scouts.

paramount studio mka
Touring Paramount Studio

I did some location scouting of my own, visiting a 1920s-era bungalow apartment court that would provide the setting for Lise’s apartment, and later, an avocado farm in the mountains of the Central California coast, where Greer has a location shoot go very, very wrong. And of course, my friend Ki and I took a hilarious “homes of the stars” tour and ate at a Mexican restaurant that would become Lise and Greer’s favorite lunch spot.

I read up on the movie business, and even researched Cary Grant, my favorite Hollywood heartthrob, who, it turns out, might not have been as charming in real life as he appeared in the movies.

I really mourned the loss of those 75 pages, and all that back story. For months after the publication of BEACH TOWN, I thought about Dearie and Lise, and their story, and how their story contributed to Greer’s own story.

Eventually, I came up with a novel idea. Why not spin that story into a prequel to BEACH TOWN? Even though I was supposed to be working on my summer 2016 novel, THE WEEKENDERS, I just couldn’t let go of Lise and Dearie and Greer.

And that’s how CHANGE OF SCENE came to be. It’s a prequel novella, which means it’s shorter than one of my usual novels at only xxx pages, but there’s a very real, and I hope compelling story there.

Because of the shorter length, and the very short lead time I gave my publisher, we decided to make it available only for eReaders. It’s available in all E-formats, for Kindle, Nook and iBooks. I’m hoping my readers will find CHANGE OF SCENE an enjoyable read while they wait for THE WEEKENDERS to publish next month.

And in the meantime? I found another great nail color for my summer toes. It’s called SHORT STORY. No, really!

shorts story nails






March Madness

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

March in Atlanta can mean sunny days with temperatures in the low ’80s, or miserable, cold, rainy days in the 40s. You just never know. This morning it was cold and rainy, and I’m so ready for spring, it made me really mad. And chilly. While out running errands, I stopped at one of my favorite lunch spots in Midtown Atlanta, Metro Fresh, which specializes in made-from-scratch soups, sandwiches and salads. I had a great bowl of potato broccoli cheddar soup, and it was so good I decided to make my own version for our dinner–and in the process I made enough to share with my daughter Katie, who was feeling tired and run-down. Soup for the soul, right?

Here’s what I came up with. I started by browning some bacon, but you could totally make a vegetarian version of this by skipping the bacon, and using vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth I used.


2 slices bacon, roughly chopped

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 cup carrots, sliced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 Tbsp. minced garlic (I used the bottled kind)

2 Tbsp. Wondra flour

salt and pepper to taste (use salt sparingly!)

1 cup whole milk or half-and-half

3-1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

3 cups roughly chopped broccoli florets

4 small baking potatoes

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Greek low-fat Greek yogurt.

In large heavy-bottom soup pot brown chopped bacon in a bit of olive oil. Add carrots, onions, celery and garlic, along with rest of olive oil and butter, and cook until vegetables are softened–6-8 minutes on medium heat. While that’s cooking, pop baking potatoes in microwave and cook on high, about 8 minutes. Let potatoes cool, peel and rough chop. To saucepan with vegetables,  whisk in Wondra flour, add half and half, stirring well. Add chicken broth, stir well. Add the broccoli florets and cook on medium heat, covered, about 8-10 minutes, until broccoli is softened. Add in potato cubes and stir well. Cook another five minutes or so, until all vegetables are softened. Turn off heat and using hand-held immersion blender, blend soup, leaving some chunks. Turn soup on low, add the cheddar cheese and the Greek yogurt. Stir until cheese is melted. Garnish with chopped chives and serve with cheese toasts.



Reading, Writing, Cooking on Retreat

I am on a retreat this week. Not the monastic kind, although, come to think of it, my narrow twin bed here does resemble something you’d find in a nunnery. No, actually I am on my annual twice-a-year writing retreat with my pals Margaret Maron, Bren Witchger and Diane Chamberlain. Normally, there are seven of us, but this time around, unfortunately our number is diminished due to life issues. We’re missing Katy Munger, Alex Sokoloff and Sarah Shaber, but work—and writing must go on.

This week we are at a beautiful non-profit center for the arts in Southern Pines, N.C. Our location sometimes vary, but our routine does not. The seven of us run away from home with our laptops and yellow legal pads. We burrow in for five days and write, brainstorm, write some more, and offer each other encouragement and advice, stopping only for very simple meals—and more brainstorming.

We’re now in our seventh or eighth year of retreats, which means collectively we’ve probably produced a couple dozen novels as a result of this week. So we take our work here very seriously.

Because the kitchen here is rudimentary, okay, it’s positively primitive, our meals have to be easy to prepare—and delicious. We all take one night to prepare dinner. Usually I bring a beef stew, or chili, or sometimes roast a chicken. As you can see from the photo below, I had to use three small saucepans to cook the pasta, because the kitchen doesn’t have a stockpot. Or a decent knife. In our writer’s group, Margaret is always assigned to bring a knife, and Sarah brings the coffee. Diane is in charge of getting us scheduled for the retreat. I bring wine. Alex brings her amazing shoulder massage talents. It’s a beautiful thing, our division of labor.


But this year, we are having our retreat in August for the first time. Because I come from the longest distance away, I drove up from Atlanta Sunday night and stayed in a motel so I could be ready to get to work on Monday.

Before heading over to the retreat house, I took a leisurely drive around the country-side, on the hunt for a produce stand. I hit the jackpot at Auman’s Peach Orchard in West End,N.C. I bought two sacks of sweet, juicy Georgia Belle peaches, some corn and blueberries, all grown on or near the property. The peach man directed me to another produce stand, Andrews Family Produce, just up the road where I scored some fabulous local grown tomatoes.


Tonight is my turn to cook, and I’ve been salivating all day today, anticipating the recipe I’ve chosen. It’s called Francis Lam’s Perfect Five Minute Raw Tomato Pasta. I first found it and fixed it on another retreat I took myself several years ago at my friend Beth’s house in the mountains of Ashe County, N.C. I fell hard for this recipe, fixing it three or four nights in a row, it was so easy. And yummy. I couldn’t find the recipe, so I called Beth today, and she shared it with me again. So here it is. And I hope the girls like it. And that the muses like it as much as the last time I fixed it in Ashe County, where I had a break-through on the book I was writing at the time. Muses gotta eat too, you know!


This serves 2-4 people supposedly. And you should only make it if you have gorgeous dead-ripe ‘maters.


2-1/2 lbs. tomatoes.

2 loose cups arugula

Scant ½ shaved red onion

1 lb. linguine

olive oil, to taste.

Salt and pepper to taste

Red wine vinegar, a glug. You know what a glug is, right?

Freshly grated or shaved parmesan cheese Not the stuff in the green shaker can.


Chop the tomatoes into ½ inch piees and put with all their juices in a very big bowl. Season with salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil. Stir and taste. Add some red wine vinegar.


Bring a big pot of water to boil, add salt and then the pasta. Stir

While the pasta cooks, layer the arugula on top of the tomatoes and then layer the slices of red onion on top of that.


When the pasta is done, drain it and dump it straight into the bowl. Leave it there, untouched for two minutes. Sip some wine. You bought wine, right? Grate the cheese while you’re waiting. Now, stir it all together, add the cheese and taste for salt and pepper. Serve. I probably should have told you to fix some garlic bread in the broiler while your sauce is sitting. You’re gonna need it to sop up all those yummy juices.Otherwise, prepare to lick the bowl and experience  a literary break-through. Don’t thank me. Thank Beth. And Francis Lam.



Meet Truman Kicklighter on Audio

Back in the 1990s, when I was writing mysteries, I conjured up a retired newspaper reporter sleuth named Truman Kicklighter. Truman was a crusty widower who lived on a fixed income, in a retirement hotel in my hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. Truman was feisty, a dedicated early-bird coupon clipper, much like many of the retirees I knew while growing up in St. Pete. He had a sidekick, Jackleen Canaday, who was a waitress at The Fountain of Youth residential hotel, and the two of them managed to get themselves into and out of hot water on a regular basis.
Lickety Split

crash course

The two books in the series, LICKETY-SPLIT and CRASH COURSE, went out of print some years ago, but with the advent of e-readers, I decided to self-publish both titles. In the first book, LICKETY SPLIT, Truman and Jackleen investigate the murder of a race-track tout who’s come up with what seems like a fool-proof system to pick winners at Derby Lane, the historic greyhound race track in St. Pete. In CRASH COURSE, Truman comes to the rescue after Jackleen unwittingly gets herself mixed up with a crooked gang of used car scammers. Both books are available on all digital formats, but now, finally, I’m happy to announce that Truman is also available as an audiobook.

When it came time to hire a narrator to give voice to Truman, I knew immediately who to call. Our friend Chris Kayser is a celebrated veteran actor, best known in Atlanta for bringing Ebeneezer Scrooge to life for the past 16 years in the Alliance Theater’s production of A Christmas Carol. Chris keeps busy with other acting roles, and professional voice work–and he plays a mean game of tennis, according to my husband, who plays with him on a regular basis. Chris is actually A LOT younger than Truman, but being the amazing actor he is, he’ll make you believe he’s the personification of my favorite male sleuth. I’m thrilled with the results, and hope all my fans will give the books a listen during their summer road trips–or just your next block of “me time” listening to audiobooks.

If you’re an audiobook fan like me, I hope you’ll give check out LICKETY SPLIT and CRASH COURSE.

On The Road Again

Save The Date goes on sale at midnight tonight, and that means just one thing–I’m on the road again! People always ask me what is my favorite thing about writing, and the answer, unfailingly, is meeting my readers. They welcome me, inspire me, hug my neck and comment on new hairdo. What’s better than that?

We had an amazing party in Atlanta last night to celebrate the launch of my 23rd novel, and now, the party rolls on. If we did book tour T-shirts like rock n’ roll tours, mine would have to be an XXL to list all my tour stops. Briefly, it reads like this, Savannah, Charleston, Raleigh, Pawley’s Island, Greenville, S.C., Atlanta, Charlotte, Birmingham, New Jersey, Conn., Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Fairhope AL., Nashville, St. Simons Island, and Savannah again.

If you live anywhere near my tour stops, I hope you’ll come out to meet me, party, hug my neck–and comment on my new hairdo. Y’all come!

In the meantime, here are some pics from last night’s shindig…

IMG_0418 IMG_0416 IMG_0413 IMG_0411 IMG_0407 IMG_0404 IMG_0403 IMG_0400 IMG_0399 photo-60


Save the Date June 1


Hey y’all, what are you doing on Sunday June 1? I promise you this is one date you are going to want to save. We have got a whopping wing-ding of a launch party planned for the publication of my new summer beach read SAVE THE DATE. So get yourself to Atlanta and the Buckhead Westin for the party of the season that Sunday, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Complimentary valet parking!

We’re partnering up with the foxy ladies at FoxTales Book Shoppe again this year to out-do everything we’ve done in the past. Your $35 party pass gets you a signed first edition of SAVE THE DATE (two days before the official on-sale date), and a swag bag full of goodies, plus lots of nibbles and a signature “Wedding Crasher” cocktail from our friends at Vixen Vodka. The folks from Sinless Cocktails will be in the house too. A portion of the proceeds from the party will go to The Atlanta Humane Society, who are promising to promenade some adorable pups during the party. And here’s a very cool thing–be an early bird and buy your tickets by midnight May 15 and you’re registered to win Uber Black Car service transportation to and from the party for you and three friends, plus a $200 gift card to enjoy dinner after the party at Dantanna’s, which is right beside the Westin. This, my friends, is a $400 value!

Since the protagonist of SAVE THE DATE is a Savannah wedding florist/planner who is about to score the society wedding of the season,we’ve lined up nearly two dozen wedding vendors who’ve donated goodies plus raffle prizes. And you do not have to be planning a wedding to enjoy all this wonderfulness. We’ll have DJ Dano Atlanta spinning dance tunes–but I’ve promised my children I won’t be breaking it down to “Brick House”, okay, I probably will be breaking it down to “Brick House”. Because you just can’t NOT dance to that. (But I’ll try not to do the “Elaine.”)

elaine dance


We’ll have a photo booth by Bert McDonald Photography so you and your BFFs can document the evening. A parade of fashions from Tootsie’s. The girls from Kendra Scott are bringing their jewelry bar so you can customize some cool jewelry pieces–at a discounted price. We’ll have yummy treats from Yum Yum Dessert Company, cupcakes from Sprinkles, and appetizers from Sean O’Keefe Events and the Westin’s own kitchen wizards. Speaking of fashions, and crimes against fashion, you should definitely dig out your most heinous bridesmaid’s dress to compete in our Ugly Bridesmaid’s Dress contest. We’ll love you (and ridicule you endlessly) if you wear the dress, but if it no longer, um, fits your physique, feel free to bring it along. If only I still had the fetching peach polyester confection with matching straw picture hat I wore to my friend Donna’s wedding, I think it would be a serious contender. But by all means, if you have a purple satin gown with white fur trim accessorized by a muff and improbable hat like these unfortunate lasses, please, I beg you, bring it on.


What else? Well, Uber will be in the house, offering discounts for those who download their app. Seriously? Have you tried Uber? You’ll never get in a grungy taxi again. If you’re into pampering–(who isn’t?) the ladies from Spa Sydell, Sweet Peach Wax and Sugaring Studio, Roc House Women’s Fitness Spa, b. You BlowDry & Beauty Bar, and White Salon and Spa plus Beaty Facial Plastic Surgery will be offering samples and discount coupons. Intimacy–have you tried their bras? Cross my heart, you’ll love ’em. Should you actually have a wedding in the near future, Modern Luxury Brides Magazine and Groom Studio will also be at the event. We’ll be raffling off amazing door prizes all evening, but the most amazing prize is the mac-daddy Grand Wazoo Prize–a package of each vendor’s products and services, which is a $2,500 value. Our friends from Sea Island will also join us at the party, and they’ll be holding a drawing for two nights at the five-star resort, The Cloister–a double occupancy room, a massage for two and a $200 resort credit. Ah-mazing. The Cloister. My idea of heaven on earth.

the cloister


So, to re-cap. A benefit for the Atlanta Humane Society, the Mary Kay Andrews Save The Date Book Launch–tickets are $35 in advance, $45 at the door. After the event, go over to Dantanna’s, show them your copy of the book and receive 10 percent off your meal. Go here to buy your ticket. And remember, SAVE THE DATE!






Have You Saved the Date Yet?

NC309_CRcard_NOTESI know, it’s been months since I posted here. I bet you thought I was still down in Florida, sunnin’ and funnin’. Or maybe you thought I’d taken the winter off to go junking. I wish! Instead, I’ve been hard at work putting the finishing touches on SAVE THE DATE, which publishes June 3. We have all kinds of fun promotional opportunities for my fans, including this bribe, I mean, offer, from our fab friends at Anna Griffin. Pre-order SAVE THE DATE from your favorite bookseller by the deadline of May 23, and fill out this form HERE, and we’ll enter you to win one of 250 sets of this lovely Anna Griffin stationery. The pattern is called Olivia and the box includes 20 flat cards with coordinating lined envelopes–a retail value of $18.

pre-order gift-1

In the meantime, my life never seems to slow down. But in a good way. I’ll be doing a brown bag lunch and lecture in Savannah next Weds. April 16 at a fun new venue called Cohen’s Retreat. We’ll spend Easter with the family on Tybee at Ebbtide, then I’ll bunny hop my way down to Tampa to sign books on Thurs. April 24 at the Southern Living Custom Builder Showcase Home. On Monday, June 28, I’ll be the luncheon speaker at the Morton Plant Mease Foundation’s Planters Spring Luncheon at the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. Given the fact that my late sister Susie was a 30-year career hospital nurse, I was so pleased to know that funds raised at the charity luncheon will go towards scholarships for nursing students.

On Apr. 29, LADIES’ NIGHT will release in paperback–just in time for your spring trips to the beach. And on May 2, I’ll be the luncheon speaker at the Polo Women’s Club in Cumming, GA.

Stay tuned to my Facebook page for news coming soon about our annual Mother’s Day recipe card giveaway.

And did I mention, you should totally pre-order SAVE THE DATE here? Maybe get one for mom while you’re at it.

Happy Spring, y’all!

Snow Place Like the Beach in January

I am pregnant with book. Over-due with book. This summer’s book was due months ago, but sometimes, that’s how I roll. So I ran away to write. Not to Tybee, my normal runaway destination, but farther south. All the way to Anna Maria Island, Florida. Anna Maria, you may remember, was the setting for LADIES’ NIGHT. I was so charmed by this low-key island paradise, I decided to come back to work on SAVE THE DATE. Mr. MKA and I arrived in early January. I graciously allowed him to stay here for a few days, and then escorted him to the airport. Three whole weeks of writing! Three weeks of solitude. And it’s been amazing. Even if the weather hasn’t been.

Here’s what I saw on one of my first beach walks.

Anna Maria Island beach birds
Anna Maria Island beach birds

If I could paint, this is what I would paint. But I can’t, so I guess I’m stuck with writing. Good thing I love it. Back to the weather. I was hoping for warm, sunny weather, because I love to take long walks to clear my head after hours of writing. What I mostly got was chilly, over-cast, and chilly mixed with rainy. But since I was able to dodge the bullet with Atlanta’s snowpocalypse, I really can’t whine too much.

Being a real estate voyeur, I love to look at cute, vintage cottages when I’m out for my daily strolls. I adored this old-timey screen door insert, and the picket fence.

Anna Maria Island screen door and picket fence
Anna Maria Island screen door and picket fence

SAVE THE DATE is set in Savannah, with a protagonist named Cara Mia Kryzik, a wedding florist whose own outlook on love and marriage is decidedly cynical. The book takes place in May, so I had to retreat into the world of the book and sunny, springtime Savannah, instead of chilly Anna Maria, while I was writing. One day while I was out strolling, I spotted this barnacle crusted tandem bike, complete with matching fishing pole, in front of a local business. There must be a story here, right?

barnacle-encrusted tandem bike and fishing pole on AMI
barnacle-encrusted tandem bike and fishing pole on AMI

Another morning, when I went out to walk, this little guy strolled up the driveway of my rented cottage to greet me. White egrets are all over the island.

Anna Maria egret
Anna Maria egret

Most days, weather permitted, I set out for a stretch of beach a couple blocks away, to sip wine and watch the sunset. Maybe because I grew up right across Tampa Bay, in St. Pete, but I have to say Gulf sunsets are my favorite. And I love seeing them through the feathery Austalian pines that dot the coast here. Reminds me of my childhood on Pass-A-Grille beach. I’m headed home Saturday morning, with a huge chunk of the book completed. I hope all the Atlanta roads have thawed by then. And I hope whereever you are, you’ll be as warmed as I am by one last Anna Maria sunset. Ahhhh.

sunset on Anna Maria Island
sunset on Anna Maria Island





My make-believe Christmas dinner party

This week, one of my favorite design bloggers, Rhoda, of Southern Hospitality came over to shoot my house all foofed up for Christmas. So I decided to set my dining room table for a dinner party. And I nagged and whined until my crazy talented interior designer buddy Clay Snider came over to help me make it look like I have a fabulous life-style. You know, the kind of life-style where you dress up in a stunning black velvet cocktail dress with your grandmother’s good pearls, and your movie star handsome husband wears a dinner jacket and a tartan cummerbund, and all your guests also look like they stepped out of a Ralph Lauren magazine ad. In my imaginary lifestyle, we serve glammed up food like shrimp bisque and Yorkshire pudding and chocolate souffle. Five course meals, with corresponding wines. I did decide to get a little realistic with my make-believe Christmas party. In this scenario, all our handsome fantasy friends show up for a semi-casual game dinner. They probably drove over in their pretend vintage Range Rovers. Because my husband and son are outdoorsmen, we actually do sometimes serve quail, ducks or venison which they have shot.Here’s what we came up with. And by we, I mean, I dragged all this stuff into the dining room and Clay did his magic.
The woven rattan chargers are set with my chipped-up white Mikasa dinner plates, which are topped with antique blue willow luncheon plates. As you might gather from my dining room decor, I’ve collected vintage blue and white transfer-ware for many years. The tartan napkins are from Pier One, bought at an estate sale, and the beaded napkin rings are also estate sale bargains. The flatware is my silverplate wedding pattern, mixed in with some random estate sale pieces. The footed beaded goblets were a recent lucky score from the Ballard’s Back Room outlet on DeFoors Avenue here in Atlanta. Four for $9.99!
The centerpiece is made up of magnolia branches poached from a city park near my house, along with similarly poached pine cones. One set of the deer antlers are from the large buck my son shot last fall–his first with a bow. The other antlers were all scored for $3 apiece at a yard sale in Savannah last year. We mixed in pheasant feathers my husband brought back from a hunting trip to South Dakota this year. The bird-dog sculpture is actually a vintage iron door-stop English Setter–a gift from me to my husband, because we own two similar setters, Wyatt and Weezie. The gigantic glass vase full of apples probably came from the Pottery Barn outlet in Gaffney, N.C.
Because I’m a firm believer that more is always more, we added in the antique transferware vases (estate sale finds) filled with nandina berries and leaves clipped from my yard, along with some curly willow branches from Home Depot. The silver pheasants aren’t terribly old, but I like their look, and I think I picked them up at an estate sale. That bottle of bourbon is there because we happen to like bourbon. So that’s my fantasy dinner party. After dinner, the make-believe ladies all retired to my (non-existent) salon, where we traded gossip and bon mots, and the men-folk wandered into the (also non-existent) library, for Havana cigars and an excellent port. We served ourselves drinks from this antique mahogany game table–yes, another estate sale score, which is topped with one of my many estate sale silver plate trays, which I like to think class up my house–even when the only thing served on them is cheap chardonnay.
So that’s my make-believe dinner party. Aren’t you glad I invited you? You must come back New Year’s Eve, for our intimate faux black-tie foie gras, caviar and champagne party.

Going to the Chapel


Give me a bright shiny fall day in the country-side. Give me gently rolling green hills, blue skies, fluffy white clouds. Give me junk! A big ol’ room-full of delicious vintage treasures, collected by some of the nicest, most talented junk sisters (and one brother) on the planet. Then, give me a chance to play with the big kids, the PRO-fesh-ional junkers and lifestyle bloggers–and let me sell my shiny new book, CHRISTMAS BLISS–and you’ve got a day that’s pretty doggone close to heaven. That’s what we experienced Saturday when we were invited to be vendors at The Chapel Market in Pike Road, Alabama. The market was the brain-child of our friends Layla and Kevin Palmer of The Lettered Cottage fame. Some months back, Layla asked if I’d be interested in participating, and of course, I jumped at the chance. The timing was perfect, as CHRISTMAS BLISS just came out last Tuesday. I even managed to rope Mr. MKA into coming along too–as junk wrangler/painter/fixer-upper/head salesman. Here’s an abandoned oak dresser he helped me save–it only had one drawer when we found it, so he made shelves, then painted it so I could wax and distress it. This found a new home on Hilton Head Island, S.C.



I made it back to Atlanta from book tour on Friday, just in time to jump in the SUV which Mr. MKA had stuffed to the gills with our treasures. We even had furniture roped to the roof, Clampett-style. We got to Layla’s postcard-perfect neighborhood, The Waters, just in time to unload the vehicle and get our booth set up. With just one little hitch. We’d left the boxes containing ALL my smaller treasures at home in Atlanta. A three-hour drive away. Glancing around the room at all the gorgeous booths of my neighbors, I was nearly in tears. Our cupboard was looking mighty bare. But my sweet neighbors came to the rescue. Mary of The Urban Farmgirl–whose amazing booth was right next to ours, loaned us some strings of lights–and a ladder to hang them with. Cindy, one of Layla’s neighbors, ran home and got some treasures from her now-closed shop to add to our booth. And suddenly, life was looking brighter, literally. We especially felt better after all of us were treated to a delicious dinner at the home of our gracious hosts Kathy and Eddie, who put us up in their beautiful guest house. Let me tell you, we slept the sleep of the dead that night!


Saturday morning, we made it over to the Chapel in time to put the finishing touches on our booth, and to meet the fabulous booksellers from Books-A-Million who brought many, many bins of my books to sell. I’ll admit, I was nervous. This was the first time we’d done a vintage pop-up market–and a book-signing. Would people come? Would they buy our stuff? Would they buy my books??? We thought they might when we arrived at the chapel at 7:30 a.m. and there were already people lining up for the 9 a.m. opening. We knew it at 8:30 a.m. when Mr. MKA took this picture…


Yes, folks wrapped all around the building and down the road! To shop and meet all these fabulous junk-istas. Like the uber-bubbly Karianne of Thistlewood Farms, who trucked down all the way from Kentucky and shared space with Susan from Finding Home and Heather of At the Picket Fence. Here’s a quick snap of their booth.

thistlewoodfarmsThey were there to shop with Shaunna, of Perfectly Imperfect, who has a for-real shop in Troy, Alabama. How much do you love those stalks of cotton–those sold out in a New York minute.

perfectly imperfectAnd they came to plunder the wonder of The Urban Farmgirl, who brought one of everything I would ever like to buy, all the way from Rockford, Illinois. I loved Mary because she loaned me lights–and also her very tall helper dude offered to help Mr. MKA hang them. Can you see a cute little Tonka red truck? I bought it before the doors opened–don’t hate me.

urbanfarmgirlboothAnd they came to meet rock-star blogger/author/furniture painter extraordinaire Marian Parsons, of Miss Mustard Seed, who trucked in such mouth-watering vintage loveliness, and styled it so beautifully I wanted to hate her–because my scanty booth was right next to hers. But I couldn’t hate her, because she’s so darned nice and talented. You can tell I pulled this photo off her website, right, because she’s a crazy good photographer. And I’m not…mustardseed booth

And they came to see Layla, of course, but she was hard to pin down, because she was buzzing around all day, and Kevin of course, but he was ferrying people around on golf carts. I didn’t manage to get pictures of all the booths, or all the dealers–because fortunately, we were crazy busy all day! And what a day it was. Nearly perfect. So good I almost didn’t mind hearing the screams of the Auburn fans because their team was winning, while we few Georgia bulldog fans were sulking around feeling sorry for ourselves. But here’s a pic we did manage to snap, at the end of the day, tired but happy.

chapelmarketvendorsOh, and, you know all those great vintage smalls that didn’t make it to The Chapel? They’ll be making their appearance this weekend at my booth at Seaside Sisters on Tybee Island. See, it all worked out after all!