The Summer Between – The Elephant in the Room

This may come as a shocker to some of you, but I was never an eighteen year old boy. However, The Summer Between is told from Brendon’s perspective, and he is most definitely an 18 year old boy. There’s a back and forth argument I have with myself all the time – Anne, write only what you’ve experienced directly, or Anne, write to a larger truth. I like to combine both when I write, and I always try to capture the heart of my character’s story. As I’ve said before, this is Brendon’s story, and he asked me to tell it.

So, no, I was never an 18 year old boy, but I was 18 once. I remember quite well the fear of what came next, the anxiety, the stress. I remember the trepidation of leaving my friends, of leaving home. I certainly remember the anticipation that I needed to have a really good final summer because things would never be this way again. There’s a part of me in Brendon, but there is also a part of Brendon’s story that was never mine.

Some of the lessons I learned growing up are reflected in The Summer Between, lessons I wish someone had pointed out to me ahead of time, but I probably wouldn’t have listened. Hopefully Brendon listens better than I did, but we both still have a lot of growing up to do.

We’ll get there someday, in some form or fashion.


The featured image on this blog is me at my high school graduation. The picture above is Brendon, of course. The picture below is me dressed up as the wrestler The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and giving “the People’s elbow” to my friend Nikie who was dressed up at the Undertaker. Ah, high school.


Everyone thinks you make mistakes when you’re young. But I don’t think we make any fewer when we’re grown up .” – Jodi Picoult

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings

The Music of The Summer Between

I always listen to music when I write. My usual go to artists are The Counting Crows and The Killers. While I was writing The Summer Between, I had Mrs Potter’s Lullaby by The Counting Crows on a continuous loop. I feel like that song really captures the ups and downs of Brendon’s summer. (Ironically, this song did not make it onto his summer playlist, but it was definitely on my writing playlist.)

My taste in music is eclectic, to say the least, as is Brendon’s. You never know what will pop up on his iPod next. His musical world is a mix of genres and decades.

Music is very important to Brendon’s life. It might even be his future career. Music is also important to his older brother Derrick, and this shared passion may be the only thing that can repair their relationship.

The Summer Between features an original band, one Sticker Fish, original songs, and extreme karaoking. Each chapter follows along with Brendon’s summer playlist, which changes names and tone with his many moods. I suggest you listen to the songs either before or after you read the corresponding chapter. You can find Brendon’s playlist here.

Track List

Chapter One – The Climb, Miley Cyrus

Chapter Two – Cruel Summer, Ace of Base

Chapter Three – 9 to 5, Dolly Parton

Chapter Four – God Must Hate Me, Simple Plan

Chapter Five – Stuck In the Middle With You, Stealers Wheel

Chapter Six – Sitting, Cat Stevens

Chapter Seven – Tubthumping (I Get Knocked Down), Chumbawumba

Chapter Eight – For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield

Chapter Nine – I’m Not Talking, The Yardbirds

Chapter Ten – Secret Agent Man, Johnny Rivers

Chapter Eleven – The Best of What’s Around, Dave Matthews Band

Chapter Twelve – We’re Not Gonna Take It, Twisted Sister

Chapter Thirteen – Rockstar, Nickelback

Chapter Fourteen – One Hit Wonder, Everclear

Chapter Fifteen – It Ends Tonight, The All-American Rejects

Chapter Sixteen – I Shall Believe, Sheryl Crow

Chapter Seventeen – Desperado, The Eagles

Chapter Eighteen – Roll Away Your Stone, Mumford and Sons

Chapter Nineteen – Rock’N’Roll Dreams Come Through, Meatloaf

Chapter Twenty – To Be With You, Mr. Big

Chapter Twenty-One – Little Wonders, Rob Thomas

Chapter Twenty-Two – Closing Time, Semisonic

Happy reading and listening!

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings #music


(Photo credits: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash, Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash)

#WIPpet Wednesday Number #6 The Summer Between

It’s time for the final WIPpet Wednesday for The Summer Between. For the rest of the story, you’re just going to have to buy the book, which you can do here.

This week I’ve got 33 sentences from Chapter Seven: From Sunup to Sunup. For my WIPpet math we have (26+8-1=33) on 9/26/2018.

“Derrick rolls over the back of the car and somehow manages to land on his feet. We follow him as he unlocks the back gate and runs through the yard, finally collapsing near the patio furniture, his hands stretched toward the sky. “Come here.”

“Shouldn’t we go inside, to bed?” I ask.

“No!” He shoots me down.

“I’m sticking my feet in the pool.” Glenn moseys away from us.

I sigh and join my brother on the grass.

“We’re crossing two things off your list,” he says.


“We’ve done extreme karaokeing. Now we’re staying up ’til the sunrise. Check, check.” Derrick smiles at me and points above. The black of night has already faded to blue, and streaks of orange, red, and purple stretch across the sky.

“Thanks for tonight.” I say after a moment. He’s right. Tonight’s a favor that’s chipped away at my wall of worries until it’s nothing more than a smoldering pile of rubble.

“I love sunrises,” Derrick says. “I mean, with all the shit in the world, a good sunrise is priceless. And this one—” He shakes his finger upward. “— has the makings of a great one.”


“It’s the one time of day you can look up and believe everything’ll be okay. Know what I mean?” Derrick turns to look at me, his eyes large and pleading. I’d never seen this expression on his face before, and I’m not sure how to categorize it. “Know what I mean?” he asks again, a new urgency in his voice.

“Yeah, I guess.” My answer must be satisfactory because Derrick breathes a sigh of relief and directs his eyes back to the heavens.

“Everything is gonna be okay,” he mumbles as the sun breaks the horizon.”

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

And for some perspective, here is the first completed draft of The Summer Between in 2009.  (Gotta love the photo quality of my Samsung Glyde.)


And here’s the book today, on the eve of its publication. Never, ever, ever give up!

Summer Between Cover

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings


The Summer Between Meet the Characters Number 6 – The Rest of the Gang

We’re less than a week away from the release of The Summer Between! Over the past few weeks, I’ve introduced Brendon, his older brother Derrick, his best friend Lindsay, his good friend Glenn, and the ever straight forward Lillian. This blog is dedicated to the other characters who make up The Summer Between. There’s no way I could fit everyone in, but here are some of the other intriguing people who make up Brendon’s world and his summer.

Levi Connors Maxwell III – Brendon and Glenn’s dreaded boss at their equally dreaded summer job. He runs a tight ship in the Tri-City Mall.

“My name is Levi Connors Maxwell III. I am your manager. I have worked for The K-Nut Hut for ten years. This company graciously bestowed me with a job at the age of sixteen, and I’ve never looked back. I contemplated a military career, but the time has come and gone.’ The right side of Levi’s face, eyes, nose, mouth, the whole kit-and-caboodle, jerk upward in an awkward swoop as he mentions his former life. It’s a hell of a tick.”


Then there are the rest of the employees at The K-Nut Hut: Thomas Jefferson, a poor soul trying to survive his first ever summer job, Samantha, who has a unique niche when it comes to sculpting, and ex-police officer Randy. There’s also Clark Smith and Kent Wilson, who may or may not be robots.

When he’s not stuck at work, Brendon is busy composing a song for Ashley Louise Alyssa Long. In Brendon’s own words, “I love Ashley Louise Alyssa Long. I have always, always loved her. I loved her in the tenth grade when she dyed her hair black and started a band with Amber and Andrea, aptly named the Triple A’s. Ashley Louise Alyssa Long is all about her music, a true artist. She’s going to get a double major in music performance and business, and then she’s going to be a talent agent. What I wouldn’t give to be her client, but I can’t get the girl to notice me. I’m just some kid in her class. That’s all I’ve ever been, but no more. On August 1, I’m going to take the stage at the annual Sinister Cyanide Lounge Singer/Songwriter Competition and blow her away.”


Ashley’s favorite band is Sticker Fish. They’re also Brendon’s favorite band, and pretty much a musical fave for everyone in his circle. Who is Sticker Fish?

Sticker Fish is the best band ever, the sound of my generation! They’ve only been ‘on the scene’ for three years, and they’ve already had nine number one songs and two multi-platinum albums. You know their songs, such classics as ‘Monday Morning Amnesia,’ ‘Whirling Dervish Gypsy Divine,’ ‘Chew and Choke on This,’ and ‘American Rhapsody Temporarily Postponed.’ They may be big-time, but they always take time for their fans . . .”




Then there is the Widow Radcliffe who lives with her plethora of small dogs in a cute, little house.


But there’s more than meets the eye to Mrs. Radcliffe, just as there’s a little more to everyone Brendon interacts with. His summer will be filled with the unexpected, and lessons will come from all directions. Sometimes the lessons come from people he’ll never physically meet, like Bradley Simms and Lee Marcus.

How will these characters shape his summer, and maybe even the rest of his life?

Find out starting October 1!

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings #music #songwriting

(Photo Credits: Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash, Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash)



#WIPpet Wednesday Number #5 The Summer Between

The books are here!


We’re less than two weeks from release date, and that means there are only two #WIPpet Wednesdays left before The Summer Between is no longer a work in progress.

This week I’ve got 31 sentences from Chapter Nineteen: The Third Annual Singer/Songwriter Competition. How did Brendon and his brother get to this point and what will happen next? You’re just going to have to read the book to find out.

For my WIPpet math we have 31 sentences (19+9+2+1=31) on 9/19/2018.

“The show should’ve started five minutes ago, but I’m not surprised by the delay. I am surprised, however, when a hand touches my shoulder and a voice says, “Brendon, your brother needs you.” I look back to see Lillian sporting a headset. A long wire runs down her side and into a black box clipped to her belt. “Derrick needs you,” she repeats. “Come on.” I let her take me by the hand and lead the way. The crowd moves a little easier for her. After all, she looks official. I follow her up the side steps to the stage. She veers to the right, past the computer and fuse box. There’s a door at the back of the stage. It’s painted black and masked by curtains. She opens it for me, and I see a set of carpeted stairs leading down. “Go.” She inclines her head and I obey.

I hurry down the stairs to find a long hallway at the bottom. Numerous of doors branch off it. “Are we in the basement?”

“Good job, Sherlock,” Lillian brushes past me to assume the lead. We pass several rooms, and I can hear bands tuning and people singing. I wonder which, if any, of these rooms Sticker Fish is lounging in.

Lillian stops before the last door on the left. It’s cracked open. “You have three minutes,” she tells me.

I enter the room. “Derrick?” His guitar is on the sofa, but he isn’t in there.

“I told her not to get you,” a voice moans from the bathroom.

I push the dented door open with my finger to see Derrick crouched over the toilet, his head between his hands. “What are you doing?”

“Learning Tai-Chi,” Derrick remarks. “I’m freaking out!”


*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings



The Summer Between Meet the Characters Number 5: Glenn Murray

Glenn is Brendon’s close friend. Add Matt and Travis to the mix, and Brendon knows this group as “my people.” They share multiple interests and lots of memories.


In Brendon’s own words, “Matthew Senclair, Travis Walker, and Glenn Murray are my people. They’ve each come into my life at different times. Glenn has been there since third grade. Travis entered in the form of my lab partner in seventh grade, and Matthew found us the first day of freshman year. We’ve done lots of stuff together, like watch movies, test out the new games at that store in the mall, and gang up to kill Lindsay in World of Warcraft. We also enjoy the outdoors, and this summer we’re going on an extreme hiking and rafting adventure in the great wide open.”
But now Matt and Travis are out of the picture and Glenn is stuck working a less than stellar summer job with Brendon. Misery loves company, and at least they have each other, right? It’s not all bad, though. After all, their summer employment has introduced Glenn to a possible summer romance, the handsome young man across the way at the Smoothie King. This summer should solidify Brendon and Glenn’s friendship forever, and they should be in it together, but sometimes summer break knows no loyalties.
“But we can_t all be as lucky as you, or as self-centered.”
#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship
(Photo Credits: Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash)

The Summer Between Meet the Characters Number 4: Lillian Simms

_And one day you_ll forgive yourself, too. I_m still working on that one myself._

Meet Lillian Simms, co-owner of The Sinister Cyanide Lounge, the nightclub and music joint that keeps Brendon, Derrick, and all their friends hopping. Lillian is a force and fiercely independent. She’s also a firm believer in second chances, as long as a person is willing to work for it.

“She’s an intimidating figure, almost Derrick’s height with stormy hazel eyes. Her electric purple hair is pulled back in a sharp ponytail. Two slender, black boots and a pair of fishnet stockings accentuate her long legs. Her dress, made from the same material as her boots, clings to her figure. It’s a nice figure. The name Bradley is tattooed, in beautiful script, across her right wrist.

‘Lillian’s the boss,’ Derrick drops his arm from my shoulder. ‘This club is her brainchild.’

‘Nice to meet you.’ I hold out my hand, and she takes it. She has a strong grip. In fact, it’s borderline painful. 

‘Lillian’s also the bouncer,’ Derrick adds. That explains the death grip.

‘Only on nights you work,’ Lillian counters.”

The Murphy brothers will need Lillian’s strength this summer. In fact, it might be a matter of life or death.



#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship

(Photo Credits: Photo by Connor Limbocker on Unsplash, Photo by Oscar Sutton on Unsplash, Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash)

Talking The Summer Between with Marcello Rollando on Charlottesville This Week

My first radio spot for The Summer Between! I had the privilege of chatting with Marcello Rolando about The Summer Between, history, playwriting, and much more on Charlottesville This Week. Marcello directed my ten minute play Stealing Lincoln a few years ago. He is one of the best directors I have ever worked with, and I hope we can work together again in the future. The show is broken down into three, six minute segments. Happy listening!


#WIPpet Wednesday Number #4 The Summer Between

I intended to share a snippet from this year’s edition of A Spot On the Hill today, but I’m still in the research stage of my annual cemetery play. I’ll be able to share from it next week. This Wednesday I’ll be sharing more from The Summer Between. There aren’t too many weeks left to share from the book, seeing as it will be released on October 1. (Less than a month away, OMG!!!!)

This week I’ve got a quick look into Brendon’s summer job at the K-Nut Hut. Believe me, it’s just as ridiculous as it sounds, but at least he’s sharing his misery with his good friend Glenn. This is definitely not what Brendon had in mind when he pictured his perfect summer.

For my WIPpet math we have 18 sentences (9+1=9, 9+9=18) from Chapter Five: Brendon Murphy, This Is Your Summer! on 9/5/2018.

“Monday comes, as Mondays always do. My alarm goes off at 7:00 a.m. I shut it off but stay in bed for another fifteen minutes. The day ahead and all it entails hovers like some horrible specter above me. Is this how a person feels on their morning of martyrdom? I don’t dwell on the thought too long before it occurs to me it’s probably the most morbid fancy I’ve ever entertained. After all, there are no starving lions waiting for me at the mall. Unless the fryer comes to life and douses me in boiling peanut oil or there’s really a zombie invasion in the works, I’m going to be fine, at least physically. My psyche is another matter.

I shower, don my uniform, stuff a toaster pastry in my mouth, and leave the house to fetch Glenn. I wait in his driveway for five minutes, and when he doesn’t show, I begrudgingly make my way to his door. I’ve only taken a few steps when said door opens and there stands Glenn, in all his pink and brown glory. I’m painfully aware my appearance is just as abhorrent, so I return to my car, keeping my eyes on the driveway as I go. Glenn closes his front door and walks solemnly to the passenger side. Neither of us speaks as we settle into the car and I pull away. The silence persists all the way to the Tri-City Mall.

Sometimes there are no words.

After a ‘motivational’ speech and a pop quiz from Commander Maxwell III, The K-Nut Hut opens for business at 9:00 a.m. alongside most of the other shops in the mall.”


*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #summerjobs

(Photo by Dieter de Vroomen on Unsplash)

#WIPpet Wednesday Number #3 The Summer Between

Summer is coming to an end. That means it’s time for all my fun, fall stuff, including A Spot On the Hill. I’m currently working on the script for the fifth anniversary of my cemetery play. I’ll share some of it next week. This week, especially since it’s still summer, here’s another peek into my soon to be released novel The Summer Between.

Aw, summer crushes, where would adolescence be without them? In Brendon’s case, his summer crush is more of a since elementary school crush. I’ll be introducing the women of The Summer Between in upcoming blog posts, but here’s a first look at the girl who’s got Brendon’s heart doing flip flops, Ashley Louise Alyssa Long. Brendon is determined that this summer will move him out of the crush zone and securely into the relationship zone.

For my WIPpet math we have 2+9=11, so 8 sentences from Chapter Eleven: The 18th Annual Lindsay Fest, on August 29, 2018. Who’s Lindsay? You’ll find out soon enough.

“’You gonna hang around to hear us play?” she inquires with an enticing smile. Yeah, she knows I’m looking, and I like what I see. “We’re a good time.” She runs her tongue across her glossy lips.

‘Hell yeah, I’m stayin’.” I have no idea what I’ve said, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve forgotten where I am, too. All I need to do for the rest of my life is stand here and watch Ashley.”


*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship

(Photo Credits: Photo by Leonardo Sanches on Unsplash, Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash)

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