Summer 2011

From Mary Kay's Front Porch - Summer 2011 Newsletter
'Mater Tots 


This easy-peasy recipe was inspired by one from Paula Deen. If you’re taking these to a party, fix them ahead of time on disposable foil baking sheets and pop in the oven when you get to the party. Warning: you will never be able to fix enough of these to satisfy your guests!


  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan, romano or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package mini phyllo shells—I find Athena brand in freezer case by frozen fruits or biscuits
  • 3/4 cup peeled and finely diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tsp. finely minced onions—preferably Vidalia
  • 1/4 tsp. each, fresh ground black pepper, sea salt, garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise—preferably Duke’s
  • 2 Tbsp. bacon bits


Peel and dice tomatoes, sprinkle with seasoning mixture and let juices and seeds drain in colander. Mix onion and basil with tomatoes and spoon into mini phyllo shells. “Frost” top of tomato-filled cups with mayo piped from a plastic bag with the corner snipped out. Sprinkle with cheese, add bacon bits, bake in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or ‘til tops are lightly browned. Serve warm.



The Breeze Inn
Did you know that MKA’s very own fixer upper—The Breeze Inn on Tybee Island—is available for rent?! You and yours can chillax in beautiful beach cottage comfort in the very spot where MKA’s most recent bestsellers have been penned, surrounded by junking treasures uncovered by the author herself. Call Diane at Mermaid Cottages and book yourself in for the full MKA experience! If your crew won’t all fit at the Breeze, Diane has 30+ one-of-a-kind cottages sprinkled around the island, all just a short ride on a beach cruiser away from each other. Get yourself on “Tybee time” and discover the magic of slowing down.


MKA Online

Dear Friends:

For the rest of the world June means graduations and weddings and beach trips. For me? It’s the long-awaited (by me, anyway) publication of Summer Rental. Which means that starting with the official launch party in Decatur, Ga. on June 6, I’ll be off and running, touring, signing, Facebooking, Twittering, blogging and shouting about my 18th published novel.

Set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Summer Rental is the story of three lifelong friends from Savannah, who escape to a ramshackle rental house to reconnect, and inevitably, reshape their lives—all over the space of one magical month of August.

WindsweptI had such a wonderful time researching and writing this, my first book set outside Georgia. I first travelled to the Outer Banks only two years ago, looking for just the right location for Ebbtide, the name of the house in the title.
SunriseI rented a tiny cottage called Windswept, two different times, in the fall and spring, and set off by bike and car to explore the area where “the girls” of Summer Rental—Ellis, Dorie and Julia—have their adventures. I’m looking forward to revisiting the area for signings in June.

The idea for Summer Rental was inspired by my own very close group of friends from my hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. Would you believe we met in junior high and have been running away for chick trips ever since? We started out celebrating those “big-0” birthdays, but then realized we were having way too much fun to limit it to every ten years, so now we get together whenever we can—meeting recently in the Sonoma Valley wine country and the Gulf beaches in St. Pete.

FriendsIf you know anything about me, you know that junking is my passion. It’s rare for a week to pass without me shopping at an estate sale, thrift store or antique shop. What do I do with all that junk? I utilize a practice I call catch and release. Some of it I keep in our restored Craftsman bungalow here in Atlanta, or at The Breeze Inn, our vacation home on Tybee island, Georgia. (Did you know that you can rent The Breeze Inn for your family or chick trip? Check here for the details.) Other junk gets distributed to family members, and the really good stuff goes to my antique booth at Seaside Sisters on Tybee.

In between all that junking, I’m working on next summer’s novel, which is due to my editor in July! Don’t want to give away too many secrets, but that one’s about a woman who attends her ex-husband’s wedding, only to realize maybe she’s not as over him as she thought.

But it’s not all work and no play. This summer I plan to read more beach books. If you’re like me maybe you got an eReader like a Kindle, Nook, iPad or Sony eReader for Mother’s Day or a birthday. Just for you–and just until June 7—we’ve slashed the price on one of my favorite earlier novels, HISSY FIT, to $1.99. Check it out. I’m also going to hang out with the family at the neighborhood pool and cook out with friends. One of our favorite summertime recipes is for ‘Mater Tots, an easy-peasy appetizer utilizing your ripest tomatoes and garden-fresh basil. It’d be perfect for your own Summer Rental beach getaway!

All my best,

Dividing Stitch

Bookclub Corner

Do you have a book club? If your club is reading one of my books, I would love to call in and join your discussion. You never know, I may even be able to drop by in person if it works out right. E-mail us with your request and we’ll see what we can do! Be sure to include a snail mail address and info about the size of your club.


Book cover: Summer Rental



Mon, June 6th, 6:00 PM
Book Launch Party
314 East Howard Ave., Decatur, GA
Books sold by FoxTale Bookshop. $35 ticket includes book, swag bag, beer, wine, appies, and a donation to the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. Get your tickets here.

Tues., June 7, 7:00 PM
2900 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA

Wed., June 8, 7:00 PM
BARNES & NOBLE 1716 Towne Centre Way, Mt. Pleasant, SC

Thurs., June 9, 7:30 PM
QUAIL RIDGE BOOKS & MUSIC 3522 Wade Ave., Raleigh, NC

Fri., June 10, 1:00 PM
Luncheon hosted by Page & Palette at: TAMARA’S DOWNTOWN 104 N. Section St., Fairhope, AL

Fri., June 10, 3:00 PM
32 S. Section St., Fairhope, AL

Sat., June 11, 4:00 PM
14532 Memorial Dr.,
Houston, TX

Mon., June 13, 7:00 PM
1218 S. Halsted, Chicago, IL

Tues., June 14, 2:30 PM
432 Main St., Chatham, MA

Wed., June 15, 2:00 PM
1170 Duck Rd., Duck, NC

Wed., June 15, 7:00 PM
2515 S. Croatan Hwy., Nags Head, NC

Thurs., June 16, 7:30 PM
759 River Rd., Fair Haven, NJ

Fri., June 17, 5:00 PM
133 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, DE

Mon., June 20, 3:00 PM
28 S Court Sq., Newnan, GA

Tues., June 21, 5:30 PM
100 N. Peachtree Pkwy. # 13
Peachtree City, GA

Wed., June 22, 7:00 PM
2076 N. Decatur Rd., Decatur, GA

Thurs., June 23, 6:30 PM
2956 Canton Rd., Marietta, GA

Mon., June 27th, 7:30 PM
Book Club Bash: Talk & Booksigning
Marcus Jewish Community Ctr., 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody, GA

Tues., July 19th, 7:00 PM
BOOKS A MILLION at Discover Mills
5900 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Lawrenceville, GA

Thurs., July 21st, 3:00 PM
1207 US Hwy. 80, Tybee Island, GA

Fri., July 22nd, 3:30 PM
326 Bull St., Savannah, GA

Saturday July 23rd, 1:00 PM
600 Sea Island Rd #6, St. Simons, GA