Inside Look with Donna Cummings author of An Encouraging Word

click to see all the Inside Looks at SJs

It’s not a mirage, Donna Cummings is here! Que the coffee and bring on the brownies. Donna always makes me smile and she’s definitely encouraging. When I heard about her new book, I just had to have her over to talk about it. So, relax with your goodies. Enjoy.

I want to give SJ a huge thank you for letting me come back for a visit. She indulges my silliness, and encourages me with endless cups of coffee, so really, I was ecstatic when she asked if I wanted to chat about my latest book.

It’s a little different than the other things I’ve published. Okay, it’s completely different. Instead of humorously-ever-after romance, it’s a compilation of posts from my blog, All About The Writing, where I’ve explored the writing process, and the writing life, the past five years.

First off, I’m not claiming to be a writing expert. My areas of expertise–drinking coffee, and avoiding stuff–don’t really have a bright career path included. (Dang it.)

Way back when, I chose the name of my blog because it was a catchphrase that encapsulated what agents were looking for. No matter what intrigued them enough to ask for a look-see of your manuscript–hook, theme, plot–in the end, the deciding factor was “all about the writing”.

Still, even with a snappy blog title, I had no clue what to blog about. At first I made a few announcements about contests I’d finaled in and/or won. That fell within the scope of “all about the writing”, and it didn’t cause my very-private-self too much agony–especially since I was pretty much the only one who saw the posts.

Then I took a trip to an Agent Pitch Slam in NYC, a speed dating thing where you pitch your book to an agent for three minutes and then move on to the next one. I was sure my blog audience (um, ME) would enjoy reading about my first solo trip into “the city” and meeting with agents.

I started by describing my 6 a.m. walk to the bus that would take me into Manhattan. It should have been uneventful, really. But there was slasher-movie fog everywhere, and two huge deer walking in the middle of the street. They stopped to stare at me for a while, and then darted off into the darkness. To this day I’m convinced they could sense my fear at being a quart low on caffeine.

After that surreal start to the day, I wrote about finally making it to the Javits Center:

It’s a freakingly huge monstrosity of an edifice. It sits on about fourteen thousand city blocks, and has easily 2.5 million entryways. I stumbled through one, and then walked and walked and walked until I saw a human being, who told me to continue the direction I was headed, and if I hit the Pacific Ocean, to turn around because I had gone too far.

After what seemed like days, I nearly wept when I saw an oasis: the round green sign stating “Nectar of the Gods” (aka Starbucks). Please please please don’t be a mirage. I hadn’t had time for coffee that morning, and would have easily taken out a payday loan for a thimble full of the stuff.

I quickly discovered blogging was a natural milieu for me. I loved it. I could explore a variety of writing topics–whatever sprang to mind–while I got to play with words and ideas in a humorous way. Blogging helped me get unstuck when I was feeling discouraged, and showed me how to work through tricky parts of several WIPs. I was delighted each time someone said my posts guided them through a troublesome patch, or were the exact words they needed to hear at that moment in time.

Although I hadn’t planned it, I had stumbled upon a theme: dealing with the endless writerly doubts and fears, and forging ahead when it seemed the muse considered my words a deadly virus that had to be eradicated to ensure the future of humanity.

An Encouraging Word is a compilation of 52 of these posts that I hope will bring cheer and solace, encouragement and renewed optimism, and even a chuckle or two. Think of it as a cheerleader on your e-reader or computer or mobile device. It’s there when you need a little boost. It’ll give you a well-deserved pat on the back.

And it won’t ever expect coffee in return.

click to see book on GoodreadsAn Encouraging Word
by Donna Cummings
Length: 117 pages
Published: February 19, 2014


I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.

I can usually be found on Twitter talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook, talking about coffee and writing.







Buy link: Amazon

The Patented Nonsense of Donna Cummings author of I Do… or Die

I have a special treat for you today. You know those friends that cheer you up the minute they enter the room or in this case twitter stream? That’s Donna. I really enjoy this gal. Not too long ago I read one of her recent releases and I was not at all surprised when her writing had me smiling and giggling. For the rest of my FIVE star review of Donna’s book click here, but first enjoy getting to know Donna and her patented nonsense. 😀

I Do or Die Cover click to see it on GoodreadsI Do… or Die

by Donna Cummings

Published: December 10, 2012
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance

SJ asked me to guest blog today because she’s a fan of my “patented nonsense”. Those are my words, not hers, although now that I think about it, she did repeat them with a great deal of glee once I uttered them. But the joke’s on her, because I haven’t had a chance to actually patent my nonsense. It is on my To Do list, though, right between “figure out a reason Brussels sprouts were invented” and “teach dust bunnies how to clean up after themselves”.

I wasn’t sure what to chat about, but fortunately, SJ sent me a few questions to help spark some ideas. And one of those questions was, “Which one of your characters would you most like to meet in real life?”

My first thought — naturally — was I wanted to meet every single one of my heroes. I mean, who wouldn’t, right? Heroes are one of the best parts of the books we write. But since that wouldn’t be practical, with so many of them vying for my attention, and me not wanting to hurt anybody’s feelings by slighting one hunk while draping myself over another one. . .

Ahem. What was the question again?

Oh yeah. The character I would love to hang out with is Shelby, the heroine of my romantic comedy/mystery I Do. . .or Die. And no, it’s not just because her guy, Ryan, would be hanging around too, although he is wicked sexy. They’re absolutely perfect together and I wouldn’t want to get in between them. (Stop that. You know what I mean.)

Shelby is funny, and slightly neurotic, and, thanks to her gigolo father, she’s got commitment issues, which she thinks she’s handling just fine, even when she’s not. Can’t you just imagine the fun conversations we could have? She also loves coffee, and cosmopolitans, and isn’t really a fan of cats, which gives us even more to talk about.

It’s always an adventure with Shelby around. Even when she’s not trying to cause commotion, she somehow attracts it. And she manages to do it with humor, a little snark, a fair amount of vulnerability, and an admirable bit of resourcefulness. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day than to hang out with her.

Here’s a little excerpt, where Detective Ryan Nichols is driving Shelby to her home, after she’s been shot at during a wedding where she’s the maid of honor. Before she can get out of the car, the window next to her explodes:

Before I could even scream, Detective Nichols threw himself at me, covering me with his body.

His strong, warm, protective, masculine body.

Glass particles sprinkled over us, glittering in the disappearing sunlight. The hole in the window amplified the sound of a car racing around the corner, tires screeching as it made its getaway.

I hardly had time to register that information before another thought rushed to the front of my mind. It wasn’t likely someone was trying to shoot him. In front of my apartment.

So that meant the gunfire I’d experienced that day—twice that day—

“Jesus! They are shooting at me!”

I popped up so I could see what was going on, and promptly had my head shoved back down.

“Shelby, stay down!”

He muttered something about people who didn’t have enough sense to keep their fool heads from being blown off. And it sounded like he might have been debating whether to let it happen, but then he couldn’t go on his vacation because of all the paperwork he’d have to deal with.

Not to mention my single brain cell spattered all over his car interior.

“I don’t think they followed us, but the shot came from back there,” Detective Nichols said, half to himself, twisting in the seat while keeping his body lowered over mine.

“Where? I can’t really see.”

My face was embarrassingly close to a certain portion of his anatomy. A part that was well worth investigating, but this wasn’t really the time, or the place. Although I was definitely developing an interest.

And it was clear that his interest was well, um, it was developing too.

“Sorry,” he said with a gruff voice, moving me away from the hot spot. He was still a professional, however, making sure that I was protected from the next round of shooting that might occur at any moment.

“This doesn’t make any sense,” I blurted. “I really don’t know of anyone who would want to shoot me.”

“Are you sure?” He sat up and re-holstered his weapon, even though I hadn’t seen him take it out. “I was pretty close to it at least once today. Only I wasn’t ready to get fired just yet.”

I gasped. “That is so mean. How could you even say that?”

“Maybe I was just trying to distract you,” he answered, grabbing the radio from the console, speaking in a coded series of numbers that made algebra equations seem easy to decipher.

“Oh,” I said, since he’d definitely distracted me.

Still, the absurdity of the whole situation blindsided me. Here I thought my worst problem of the day was going to be when I jabbed a hole in my pantyhose while getting ready to walk down the aisle for the fourth time.

But that was just a preview of coming events. Because I had been shot at, not once, but twice, and I was hot for the police detective who was probably debating whether to let the gunman prevail.

What else could I do but laugh?

It started out as a giggle, and then I was in the midst of hold-my-sides-it-hurts-so-much hilarity. It was impossible to stop.

Detective Nichols’s visage was stern, in control, but then I saw his lips twitch. I heard a strangled sound, and then he lowered the radio. He could have thought I was insane, but instead he had the sense to appreciate how bizarre this entire scenario was. And instead of telling me I needed to “calm down,” he joined right in with the fun and games.

He definitely qualified as the good surprise of the day.

“Oh, wow,” he finally said, wiping his eyes. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here laughing my ass off with you. Some cop I am.”

“This isn’t one of those reality shows, is it? One where I get to look like a fool at the end of it?”

“I can show you my badge again when I get back from checking the scene. And don’t worry about looking like a fool—”

I held up a hand, a dead ringer for a traffic cop. “Do not say what I think you’re going to say. You’ve already exceeded your mean quota for the day—”

“What?” Mischief flashed in his eyes. “I wasn’t going to say anything mean.”

“Oh yes you were. I could feel it.”

I could actually feel a little bit more than that. For some reason Detective Nichols seemed to enjoy these crazy exchanges of ours as much as I did. But we weren’t on a date, for heaven’s sake. He was investigating my friend’s attempted murder, only now it looked like he was going to be investigating my attempted murder instead.

My body temperature plummeted about forty degrees.

“Somebody’s trying to kill me, aren’t they?”

He didn’t try to pull me down toward safety, and he certainly didn’t try to pull any punches. “It kinda looks that way, yeah.”


“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” is Shelby Atwood’s personal credo. She’s managed to avoid commitment all her life – no pets, no plants, not even a long-term lease. Heck, she’s had colds last longer than her romantic relationships. How could she be any other way when she has a gigolo for a father?

But then gunfire erupts at the latest wedding she’s agreed to be in, and it ends up being the best thing to happen to Shelby’s love life. Detective Ryan Nichols is assigned to the case, and when the shootings don’t stop, he becomes her 24-hour bodyguard. Shelby wouldn’t mind except Ryan is too appealing, too sexy, and too happy to remind her of the raucous bachelorette party when she mistook him for a stripper.

Shelby’s plan is simple: find the shooter, have a fling with Ryan, and return to her non-committal life. Unfortunately, the shooter is very elusive. Shelby’s feelings for Ryan are way more than adrenaline-fueled lust. And returning to her normal life is now impossible since, despite her lifelong resistance, she’s managed to put her heart smack dab in the line of fire.


I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.

My contemporary novella, Back on Track, part of the Strangers on a Train collection, released earlier this month from Samhain. Also available is Summer Lovin’, a free romantic comedy novella, and Lord Midnight, a Regency historical romance.







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