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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Grifters, shifters, and bootleg liquor.

Grifters, shifters, and bootleg liquor.

I hit a stage in my latest novel set in an all new shifter universe (keep an eye out for a cover reveal!) before I headed home for the holidays. I had two of my six (six, what am I, crazy??) grifter sisters books written, and as I drove into town, I passed this old haunted building on Route 94.

I really try not to have three brand new series going at once. But once my brain was caught in the mystry and romance of the Roaring Twenties, I knew it was going to happen. 

Sitting on the edge of the Paulinskill, this beautiful home has been used many times since it was built in the late Victorian era. A private residence. A bed and breakfast. A biker bar. And once, over ninety years ago, it was a speakeasy.

It's a long drive from New Jersey to North Carolina, so I began dreaming of this world of girls in short dresses, guys in black suits, and how a dive bar would fit in Harper's Mill.

A Harper would run it, naturally. They're charmers. Smooth talkers. What better type of men to run an illegal bar?

When I got home, I began researching. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean (and the St. Lawrence Seaway to the north and Cuba and the Bahamas to the south) New Jersey is perfectly situated for the illegal booze trade. And Harper's Mill, which has the Paulinskil (a minor tributary of the Deleware River) run completely through it, would historically be a great place for a speakeasy.

Now, how do I keep the mobsters from North Jersey and Philadelphia away from tiny Harper's Mill? With a little magic, of course.

Get your glad rags on, pour a Tom Collins, and come join me on a new adventure for my Harper's Mill Historicals.

Hope to see you there.

Here Come the Grifter Sisters

Wednesday, October 18, 2017



What is art?

one of the best feelings I've had as a writer is when my readers reach out and tell me i've made them happy. That getting caught in a sweet love story with just a little bit of heat is a recharge for their souls.

That is better than 5 star reviews or 100s of sales (although i wouldn't turn either down!) But after a bad day at work, or disappointing news, or a fill in the blank reason - they reached for one of my books and it made them happier.

I know so many amazing artists and I just think of myself as a teller of stories. not to belittle myself. telling stories is a crafted gift but i'm not sure mine rises to the level of art. It's something i'm still working on accepting.

What i am starting to realize, though, in our world of 24 hour bad news that maybe making the world a little happier one book at a time is a gift. Maybe the world needs the story tellers to allow them to dream when the real world piles crap up to their ears.

Dream my friends and if you find me there, sit down and enjoy this story i've been working on.

Seasons of Love

xoxo

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Learing to accept ourselves.

Learning not to apologize for our own existance.
there is this one fashion page I follow. It's a place where we can buy discounted LulaRoe clothing (leggings, print tops, if you aren't familiar) and one of the things I enjoy about it is all the shoppers post pictures of themselves wearing their new tops, leggings, dresses.
They explain how they dressed it up, layered it, what shoes they wore with it, etc. This is how I rocked it, they say.
The clothes fit from a XXS to XXXL. It's a body positive place. You can say - oh, that will look great with a belt, too. or give them advice on how to rock their outfit a bit more. You can even say - eh that doesn't really go together. Pattern mixing is tough, after all. but no one is allowed to say "Fat people/ skinny people/ black people/ white people shouldn't wear X" Seems simple, right? (it isn't. some people are miserable cows, after all)
But it's also fun. these are women who are now self-made models.
invariably, while posting a woman will say "Oh, sorry for the background mess" or "sorry my hair looks like this" or the worst is "sorry, my belly looks ugly in this shirt, skirt, dress."
One day, a woman said STOP APOLOGIZING. We don't care if your kids have their toys in the background or if you bathroom mirror isn't spotless. only YOU see those things. We see a beautiful woman rocking a pencil skirt for the first time.
and it made me think. How often do we apologize over our perceived human failings?
STOP. Ya'll are beautiful. Do well. Learn. Never stop growing. But stop apologizing for simply being you. 
Sometimes when I read other author's books, I am stunned at how beautiful their word choices are. The pictures they make in my mind. And i think, why bother? I'm not as talented as X. I can't ever write books like X.
I want to apologize for my poems, my happy little stories, and my poor word choices.  I have to remind myself that no, I'll never write a Nora Roberts book. That's okay, though. Nora Roberts already exists in the world and writes fabulous books. 
But on the flip side, she will never write one of my books. No one will. My voice is unique and I'm the only one who can produce them. 
Learning to stop comparing yourself to an ideal is a journey. One I hope you take with me. 
xoxo, 
Summer Donnelly.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Snippet Time - The Three Wish Mermaid

snippet time!!

I'm putting The Three Wish Mermaid (http://amzn.to/2w8au5b) into a collection and adding a Christmas short story to round out the paperback.


















From "Just in time for Christmas"



But by afternoon, Greer was so exhausted that she climbed into the king-sized bed she shared with her husband. She was exhausted and crampy and only wanted to sleep, despite the pretty clips and fresh braid in her hair. At the moment, she didn’t care what was going on in town, she needed to sleep. She stripped down and slid beneath the lavender scented white cotton sheets.
“You okay?” Duff said, following her into the room. The dark brows over his pale grey eyes creased in concern. “I was going to run out and get a part for the truck but if you need me here, I’ll stay.”
"I'm going to try to nap," she said with a little pout. One her husband was more than willing to kiss from her lips. “I'm sure I'll feel better by the time you all get back.” Her voice was already drifting off as sleep welcomed her with open arms.
She managed to nap, fitfully, for an hour or so but woke up panicked and her back muscles spasming. Could the pain actually be worse? Tears slid down her cheeks and pooled on the pillow as she took a deep breath. “Duff,” she called, seeking her mate.
The water from the shower turned off and Greer sighed with relief. She wasn’t alone. Duff must have come home and taken a shower while she was still sleeping.
Arrows shot down her tormented legs and spine as muscle spasms tore through her body. The anguish she felt was so similar, she immedately flashbacked to the fear and disbelief she’d had when she first turned from human girl to mermaid.


Want more? Keep posted or send me a message for additonal details.  

xoxo

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Author: On a budget
Or, how Aldi's is helping me send my daughter to college. 

There's just the two of us and, although i don't think i spent a lot of money on groceries, i tended to buy what I wanted and went out to dinner when i didn't feel like cooking. 

Enter tuition bills. 

I cut back on cable services and cell phone services. Raised the thermostat a degree on my air conditioning. Those helped with a few dollars, especially the cell phone. But i needed to take more drastic measures. 

Food. 

There are a few blogs out there about food plans at Aldi's but most of them are done seasonally. Although there are a few meals I'd eat over and over, sometimes I want a little variety, too. 

This is my 2nd Two Week Plan. The first one went well, but I didn't have all the numbers so I couldn't write the blog. However, I spent $100 and got 14 dinners, 14 lunches, and 14 breakfasts for two people on it. Definitely a lot of money saved. 

This week

What I bought:

  • 12 pk diet coke
  • 1 box of mini eclairs
  • frozen broccoli
  • frozen sweet peas
  • blue multi grain tortillas
  • red cherries (a splurge)
  • snack chip combos
  • applesauce
  • 2 chocolate bars
  • loaf of sourdough
  • hamburger buns
  • box of cereal
  • box of pasta
  • veg oil
  • stuffed tortellini
  • vidalia onions
  • 5 yogurts
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • yellow squash
  • onion rings
  • dozen eggs
  • avocado
  • bacon
  • blueberries
  • english muffins
  • 2 bags of shredded cheese (it was on sale)
  • baby portobella mushrooms
  • evaporated milk
  • ground beef
  • a large pizza


What I spent: $82.00

the menu:

Breakfast varies, but i usually have a boiled egg, an English muffin, and some fruit. My daughter will have an egg or cereal depending on her mood. 

Lunch varies but generally a Pb&J, a bag of chips, a yogurt, and a can of soda for me. 

Dinners:


  • Burgers and Crowns (last week I bought the 15 bag of frozen patties. these are your friend and will last multiple weeks) include some bacon and avocado for a delicious feast
  • Cornish Game Hen and roasted potatoes ( Hen has been in the freezer for a while and i bought a bag last week. again. potatoes are your friend when your money is tighter than your need to avoid carbs)
  • Chile and black beans over rice (yum)
  • nachos (2nd half of the avocado goes here)
  • black bean burgers and grilled yellow squash
  • pork chops, mac n cheese, and applesauce (chops were from a family pack purchased and in freezer)
  • tortellini and garlic bread (from hamburger buns)
  • Pizza
  • eggs and bacon for dinner
  • French toast
  • pasta and grilled veg with cheese
  • Pasta Carbonara (put bacon here)
  • left over Pizza (it was pretty big!)
  • grilled chicken (from a previous shopping trip) rice and beans
That's 14 meals X 3 meals a day X 2 people = 84 meals

or, less than a dollar a day to feed us for 14 days. If you don't think that's impressive, I'm not sure what will impress you. 

As you can see, i've also included desert - a brick of chocolate or 2 mini eclairs. I make unsweetened green tea to drink and an occasional can of soda. A little less than 1/ day for two weeks.

Yes, some of my ingredients were things I already owned. I'm sure most of us have food in their freezer. The point is to work with what you have and run with it. 

If you'd like to know any of my recipes or cooking tips, let me know. I'm always happy to share my limited cooking knowledge with people. 

You can find me on Facebook as https://www.facebook.com/Summer.Donnelly25/

You can buy my books on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2tZAek2

xoxo, 

Summer





Saturday, July 8, 2017

Entering Catawba Indian Reservation
All visotors are subject to laws and ordinances of the nation.

Today I took a road trip down to the Catawba Res in Rock Hill, SC.  It's the only res in South Carolina and per the 2010 census, there were 841 people.

In every article, though, it was all about the pottery. Pottery? Okay, I know we have very clay-like soil here in the south east, but wasn't there anything else?

And then i learned..no. Pottery. That's it.

The Catawba pottery traditions have survived for over 6,000 years.  That is thousands of years before anything found by the Anasazi in the Southwest.

But what struck me is the Iswa pottery tradition has been passed down within the Nation parent to child continually.  Their tradition survived contact with Europeans, several international wars, several inter-Indian wars, centuries of economic and cultural stresses, and the introduction of modern technology such as the potter’s wheel. In spite of (or maybe because of) those outside influences, their pottery tradition has remained one of the oldest and purest art forms of its kind. There has never been a period in time when this tradition ceased to exist.

Think about that. Parent to child. Generation to generation for six thousand years without end.

That is humbling. So much of my family traditions are gone generation to generation. Perhaps that's true on a personal level among the Catabwa. But each child is connected to each other person in their tribe through pottery.

Now, I'll admit, when i first saw pictures of the pottery, i wasn't amazingly impressed. It's a distinctive dun color with black smoke marks on it. No patterns like the Anasazi. No southwestern colors. But, like many things, once you look past the lack of flash, you see beauty in its unadorned simplicity.

And once you hear the stories, you fall in love. For example, several pots have heads on them. It's a representation of King Hagler, the Catawba Chief fom 1748-1763. He was killed in an ambush by the Shawnee and brutally murdered. 254 years later, they are still honoring their fallen chief.

How many Americans can ever remember the names of all 44 presidents?



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dear Strunk and White,

I am a humble Tigger. A small and sad Tigger.

I used to be rather snooty over grammar. As an Oxford comma aficionado, i  considered myself a bit of a grammar nerd. I'd roll my eyes over Facebook posts where my friends would confuse commas and periods. Where loose and lose were confused. Where periods were avoided as though they were a zombie virus.

As I transition from hobby writer to professional writer, I become more and more convinced I will never understand all of grammar's rules. I've become humbled. Sad and small.

I will never know it all.

I am doing my best Professor Strunk.

Sincerely,
A struggling writer, human, and former bouncy Tigger.