It’s Summertime!

Summer is officially here and I’ve been thinking this week of all the things I associate with summer.

Before I go any further, let me clue you into something: summer is my fourth favorite season, so the things I associate with summer aren’t always happy. Like mosquitoes and gnats and sunburn and lethargy.

But summer has its good points, too, so not everything about it is unpleasant. For example, the best fruit of the whole year is ripe and local in summer. And I like to walk barefoot in the grass. And speaking of grass, is there any better smell than fresh-cut grass? And don’t forget the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Interestingly, I went to a workshop at my local library a few years ago and the first writing prompt the instructor gave the class was to write down all the words we could think of that reminded us of summer. What came out of that class was actually the beginning of my novel Secrets of Hallstead House. It started out as a story that took place in the summertime, but as it began to take shape I felt it worked better if it took place during the fall.

I still have that list of all my summer words, though. Here are some of the happy things I wrote: going to the beach, hanging laundry outside, summer rains, nesting turtles, sangria, fresh tomatoes, watermelon, sprinklers, and fireflies.

But here are some other not-so-great things about summer, not all of which made it onto my list: that bitter smell of hot asphalt, bugs, humidity, bugs, sweat that drips in my eyes, ice cream that melts too fast, and bugs.

My post this week is short so you can get out there and enjoy your summer. But if you’re interested, here’s a writing prompt for you:

What is your favorite summer memory? I’d love to hear about it!

Until next week,


Summer’s Almost Here!

I know I said I’d be participating in a blog hop this week, but I got my dates mixed up. So stay tuned for the blog hop next week.

In the meantime, summer is fast approaching. Can you believe June is just a few days away? I spent about fifteen minutes at the beach this afternoon with my middle child, taking a quick walk before we picked up my eldest from work. The beach was a little crowded (but beautiful, as always) and I wished we could have spent more time there. The beach got me thinking of summer travel destinations. Today’s walk notwithstanding, my kids don’t generally like the beach and I have to come up with other activities during the summer. Though we spend lots of time reading, we can’t do that all the time, so I thought I’d share with you some of the websites I like to peruse when it’s time to do something fun in the summertime.

The first one is Annette’s blog is called “Fifty Authors from Fifty States” and features a different author from a different state each week. Full disclosure: Annette has invited me to participate in next week’s blog hop and I will be appearing as a sidelight on her blog in July, as one of the authors from New Jersey. Anyway, each week is a virtual tour of an author’s home or adopted state (the states proceed throughout the year in alphabetical order) and there are some amazing travel tips in many of the blog posts.

For example, did you know that Pizza Hut opened its first store in Wichita, Kansas?

Did you know that you can find the world’s largest Cheeto in Algona, Iowa?

Did you know you can learn about pigeon racing in Moline, Illinois, at the Fall Flemish Fest? If you’re not interested in pigeons, try a Belgian beer or a 12.5-inch Belgian pie while you’re there.

Visit Annette’s blog to find out what an author from your state suggests for fun.

The second one is This is the website for the U.S. National Park Service. Here you can find information about the national parks in all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Visiting a national park can be a very inexpensive alternative to other activities, and you’ll almost certainly learn something during your visit.

The third one is This is the website of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. You simply put in a zip code and it gives you a list of nearby trails for biking, walking, running, and hiking. It gives you the length of each trail and what comprises its surface (e.g., sand and asphalt or ballast and cinder). I’m planning at least one or two day trips this summer to try out some of the trails I’ve found on the site.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to visit the websites I’ve offered and maybe plan to try something new this summer. You don’t have to spend a lot of money and you might find something in your own neck of the woods that you didn’t know was there.

And don’t forget to take a good book. (I have a suggestion: it’s called Secrets of Hallstead House and I hope you’ll read it and enjoy it!)

Until next week,