First Fridays with the Crew - Summer Stories

Avril Tremayne

The salt water pool at Bondi Beach, Sydney
It’s winter here in Sydney, Australia – my second favourite season of the year (autumn is far and away my #1)! But since I’ve been dwelling in summer as I’ve been putting the finishing touches to my third Harlequin DARE novel – set at Bondi Beach in a full-summer December – I’ve decided to pretend I’m with the other Get Lost in a Story authors in the northern hemisphere and invite them to tell a tale of summer – real or fictional! And to set the scene here’s a photo of Bondi Beach – still my favourite Sydney beach, where I used to frolic with my school friends on so many summer weekends, jumping over the clean cool waves, making a very poor body surfer, an even more diabolical board surfer, eating lemon gelato, and roasting myself under a hot Sydney sun!

Nan Dixon
My family had a cabin in the lake district in Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes. So my summer memories are all centered around the cabin and the lake. And most of my aunts and uncles had places on or near the lake, so there were scads of kids running around all summer long. Now my sisters and I have the lake place. (After a number of expansions, it has seven bedrooms--three bathrooms!)

I've started a new tradition--prosecco on the dock which I try and and document on my Facebook page.  Cheers!

Amanda McIntyre

Having just finished another Fourth of July here in the Heartland, I think back on the years spent with family and friends doing the simple things that have become tradition. What began as taking my kids to parades when they were young, evolved to watching each of them march in those same parades as teens, and now we’re watching parades  involving their students.

In truth, coming full circle to now experiencing the little pleasures of summer with our grandson as well as our adult children. 

In addition, the summer spent with my grandmother (namesake variation on my pen, McIntyre, btw) down in southern Missouri are some of the best memories of pure freedom as a child. Picking blackberries to have on ice cream, catching fireflies barefoot in the yard at night, walking to the library to find a new book to read, playing board games, listening to my aunt sing and play piano. No computers. Very little television. Stories told on the porch swing. These are the memories so ingrained into my persona that it translates into my writing. That sense of child-like freedom, security, and family is what I hope to convey in my storytelling and leave as my legacy to my grandchildren.

As the saying goes, “It’s the little things in life that mean the most, for one day you will look back on them and realize they were the big things.”

Nancy Robards Thompson
Like Amanda, some of my fondest memories are of spending summers with my grandparents in Missouri. My parents both worked full-time. It was a welcome break for them to bundle up my brother and me and send us to the Midwest for the summer. We were fortunate that both sets of grandparents and a plethora of aunts, uncles, and cousins -- and for a magical time, two great-grandmothers -- lived within miles of each other.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but I when I think back on those endless summer days, two cherished memories push to the forefront. The first is the family parties and old-fashioned Fourth of July celebrations on my mother’s side of the family. We would all gather at my aunt and uncle’s house. They had some acreage “out in the country,” and we would grill and cool off by digging for ice-cold soda buried under ice in a cooler on the porch. In my mind, the star of the holiday –even more so than the modest fireworks we’d ignite as soon as the sun went down and the fireflies appeared—was the homemade vanilla ice cream that my uncle would patiently churn by hand. It was cool and creamy and delicious and we would anticipate it all day.   (the photo to the left is of my maternal grandparents)

We also spent a lot of time at my father’s parents’ home. My Mimmi had the most incredible garden where she grew tomatoes, corn, green beans, rhubarb, gooseberries, and
blackberries, among other bounties. Her garden was so abundant that even after canning what we couldn’t eat fresh – and giving away baskets of vegetables to friends and family – Granddaddy still had enough left over to set up a tomato stand in the front yard. My cousins and I would tend the tomato business for as long as it held our interest, which probably wasn’t a very long time. His stand mostly operated on the honor system because my cousins and I were too busy riding the pony he kept in the barn, climbing the mimosa tree, and getting into harmless mischief. (That's Mimmi and me in the photo on the right)

Granddaddy had an old truck and he used to let us take turns driving it in the open field behind the garden – much to Mimmi’s dismay. She was so afraid that one of us would get hurt (or plow over her garden) when she heard the old truck’s engine turn over, she’d run outside and stop us before we could get very far. Do you think that stopped us? Of course not. We devised “Plan B,” which involved popping the gear into neutral and pushing the truck to the field, where we would carry on as planned. We never got hurt or hurt anyone or Mimmi's garden. We didn’t mean to be disrespectful, we were a bunch of energetic preteens egging each other on, but meaning no harm. My brother was the lone grandson (and second to the youngest) on that side of the family. He somehow managed to stay above the fray. (That's Granddaddy and me on Thunder the pony in the photo above)

I know Mimmi didn’t hold it against us. This is best illustrated by “the corn and the butter” story. Most meals at Mimmi and Granddaddy’s house would include fresh hot corn on the cob straight from the garden. Everyone knows the easiest way to butter hot corn on the cob is to simply roll it on a stick of butter. Mimmi didn’t appreciate this because after it left an unsightly divot in the butter. I remember so clearly one time when she got up from the table to get something and – I don’t remember who started it – we each took turns rolling our corn in the butter.  When she returned, she zeroed in on the butter divot and asked, “Who rolled their corn in the butter.” All the girls pointed to my brother and blamed it on him. Without skipping a beat, Mimmi said, “Girls, who rolled her corn in the butter?” Before we could answer, she smiled and shook her head.

If you’re looking for a summer read, I hope you’ll grab one of my books. You can find them on my website and on my Amazon author page 

Angi Morgan
When Avril asked this question I was on vacation, driving though 10 states. I think one of the best moments was visiting Devil's Tower. We were so lucky to catch it at sunset. Very breathtaking. Some of my best summer memories are on Lake Texoma with my grandparents or visiting aunts, uncles and cousins.

We'd load up a boat and motor over to an island to swim. At night we'd tell ghost stories and play hide-n-seek in the graveyard (no kidding, it was across the dirt road from my grandparents' cabin). There were always bottle rockets and catfish and sunburns along with plenty of food and fun. OH! I shouldn't forget the poker games. Yeah, the adults had a great time playing. I still have that set of poker chips.  More recently, Tim and I go to Eisenhower State Park to camp and swim here...in this cove.

I'm fortunate to have a husband--and dogs who love to travel. Discovering new places, enjoying the sights and searching for the perfect sunset...well, I love it !!

Hey, did you know that RANGER GUARDIAN (Heath's story from Tx Brothers of Company B) is out right now? It's available both in paperback and in digital. And checkout my brand-new website

Got any summer stories of your own to share? We'd love to hear them! Please share, and if you include your email address (or pop over and see me on Facebook and leave a private message) mentioning Get Lost in a Story, I'll enter you in the draw to win an e-book of my 2018 RITA finalist The Dating Game!


  1. not really
    bn100candg at hotmail dot com


  2. I got married in June on the hottest day the month. As much as I love my husband, it wasn't fun wearing a heavy long wedding gown and taking photos the whole day in the heat while trying to smile...

    Then we went to Rome for our honeymoon. We scheduled lots of outdoor trips to sightseeing and all that... It just so happened that Rome was going through the longest heatwave too.

    I always told my husband that our wedding and honeymoon were the 'hottest' time that I have ever experienced... :)

    maybe31 at yahoo.com

    1. That would be a fun scene to write into a romance novel...

  3. When I was young, our family vacation was always at the end of Summer at the beach... loved hunting for shells, sometimes finding horseshoe crab shells... staying away from jellyfish... so many different memories... enjoying ice cream on the boardwalk, getting hermit crabs to take home... greenshamrock atcox dotnet :)

    1. Now that you say that, it reminds me of how fascinated I was watching crabs at the beach, and following their tracks in the sand.

  4. Loved seeing everyones stories on GLIAS always so good! peggy clayton ptclayton2@aol.com