29 July

#BlinkBlog Author Round-Up: Back To School

It’s hard to believe the summer will be over soon! As we prepare for the “back to school” months, we asked some of our Blink authors to share their advice and favorite memories. Read their answers below!

What back to school advice do you have for Blink readers? 

Annie Sullivan: Study hard! Be kind to everyone, especially new students. Find time to read for fun outside of your homework. I know it’s hard to find that time, but it’s worth it!

Christina June: Make small, attainable goals and reward yourself for sticking to them!

Kimberly Gabriel: As a middle school teacher, I should probably have a really good answer for this, and I don’t! I love teaching, but I spend June, July, and the first half of August deliberately not thinking about school. Ask me again in September, and I bet I will have something incredibly wise and inspiring to say.

Lauren Mansy: A great piece of advice that I was given as a student is to try new hobbies. Some of my best school experiences came from trying extra curricular activities that I didn’t think I would enjoy and ended up really loving. Though getting involved in something new can be intimidating, the feeling that you get when you accomplish something you didn’t think was possible makes it all worth it!

Laurie Boyle Crompton: Try to set small goals of organizing portions of your room during the summer. Maybe the closet one day and under the bed another. This way once school starts back up everything is neat and easy to find. Summer is a great time to weed out and simplify. I suggest this because I developed some very messy habits when I was in high school that continue to haunt me today. When you realize you’re spending most of your day looking for things buried under piles of other things, it’s time to look at why you’re holding on to so much stuff! Or maybe that’s just me. ☺

McCall Hoyle: Read, read, read. Reading for pleasure is the single greatest indicator of academic success. The more time you spend with your nose in a book–any book–the more likely you are to make good grades, even in science and math. And I’m not talking about books your parents or teachers tell you to read. I’m talking about the books that you want to read. There’s also all sorts of research to show that reading makes us more empathetic human beings and wait for it… reading for pleasure reduces stress. Why aren’t we all reading more every day? 

Stephanie Morrill: I’m a mom, so my default is, “Get more sleep.” Good sleep habits solve lots of problems!

What was your favorite school subject growing up? 

Annie Sullivan: I loved my literature class. We got stars for every book we read, and you can imagine that I went off the chart with the number of stars that I had!

Christina June: French, choir and theatre.  At one point I aspired to be a French teacher.

Kimberly Gabriel: Math!! Incredibly ironic, I know. But I hated language arts with a passion when I was younger. Now I’m a writer, a literacy teacher, and someone who reads every chance she gets. 

Lauren Mansy: English was definitely my favorite subject — shocker, right? 🙂

Laurie Boyle Crompton: English composition, where a shy and quiet girl like me, got to read her essays aloud to the class and make everybody laugh. That class was a game-changer. 

McCall Hoyle: Always language arts and social studies. I love traveling to new places and meeting new people in my head. Language arts and social studies allowed me to explore uncharted territory and use my imagination. A book could take me anywhere, and social studies gave me new characters and settings to investigate. 

Stephanie Morrill: English, of course! Followed by history, though I wasn’t great at it. So many dates to remember!

Any special or funny memories from when you were in high school?

Annie Sullivan: Hmm…I probably have far too many to count. I had a great group of friends, and we had tons of inside jokes. But I think some of my favorite memories are just hanging out with my friends before/between class, going on retreats, and making silly videos with my friends (I once played Princess Peach in one of those videos…). 

Christina June: Everything?  Unlike the majority of YA writers I know, I had an awesome high school experience.  I had great friends, supportive teachers, and special experiences all four years. My favorite memories, though, are performing with the choir and in drama club productions.  The people I met there are still some of my best friends today.

Kimberly Gabriel: Most of my funny memories involve either something illegal or a near-death experience, which makes me sound so much more rebellious than I actually was. I like to think of myself as a conservative rebel in high school. My friends and I had elaborate TP wars with each other and my “near-death experiences” involved somewhat innocent activities like roller-blading at midnight and hiking off the trail. I had six best friends, and regardless of what we were doing, it likely involved us laughing hysterically at ourselves.

Lauren Mansy: Some of my most special high school memories are from when I was involved in a theater program. I loved learning the behind-the-scenes process of what it takes to put a show on stage, and I’ll forever cherish those friendships!

Laurie Boyle Crompton: My best friend and I shared a locker our senior year and as I mentioned above, I’ve always been a bit ‘organizationally challenged.’ Actually, who am I kidding, my senior year in high school I was a total slob! My bedroom had multiple dirty dishes under the bed, including old cereal bowls with milk turned to yogurt, and my car was filled with food wrappers. So, my side of our shared locker was NOT. NEAT. My leftover lunches piled up over time and by spring it was a bit of a problem. One day I sat down beside my friend in class, opened up my textbook and a fruit fly flew out. The two of us looked at each other and looked at the bug as it hovered around my face. Finally, I leaned forward and whispered to the fruit fly, “Go home.” My friend and I broke into hysterics that lasted for the rest of class. And that was the day I finally stayed after school to clean out our locker.

McCall Hoyle: There are way too many funny and embarrassing high school memories to list here. One of the best memories was meeting my husband the summer before my senior year at a pasture-party in rural North Carolina. We didn’t have cell phones or social media, so we had to improvise when it came to socializing. 

Stephanie Morrill: My freshman year of high school, I switched from public school to an all girls Catholic school where I knew nobody. The first day of school, I got dressed in my uniform (gray pleated skirt, white polo, and blue sweater vest with the school logo on it) and we drove to school. BUT NONE OF THE OTHER GIRLS HAD ON THEIR UNIFORMS. I later learned because our school didn’t have air conditioning, and because it’s hot in Kansas City in August, they let girls wear regular clothes until Labor Day. Not sure where that was in the “What To Know About Your First Day of School” literature, but we missed it!

For some reason, only my dad drove home to get me a change of clothes so that I could get changed in the back of the van. (None of us were thinking logically, obviously, because why didn’t I just go home to get changed? It would’ve taken the same amount of time.) My dad just grabbed a pair of shorts from my drawer, thinking “white polo shirts go with everything.” They were these sea green corduroy shorts with frayed hems that I didn’t really like but I’d been talked into because they were on a clearance rack, and now I had to wear them to the first day of high school with my uniform polo. 

It’s funny now … but I was so miserable walking into school that day!

 

25 July

#BookBrag – Meet The Sky

This “Throwback Thursday” we are featuring the “Meet The Sky” Book Brag! Have you read this release from McCall Hoyle (author of “The Thing With Feathers”)? Be sure to add this to your reading list!

 

Her upcoming novel, Meet the Sky, is about Sophie, a girl struggling to keep her fractured family together. Sophie’s all about sticking to the plan—keep the family business running, save money for college one day, and make sure her mom and sister don’t endure another tragedy—but when a hurricane forms off the coast of the Outer Banks, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control. She ends up stranded in the middle of the storm with Finn, the boy her broke her heart freshman year.

What happens next? Let’s ask McCall!

JM: Welcome, back McCall! We’re so excited for this next book. Tell us a bit about how the book came to be.

MH: All of my writing has a tendency to circle back to the overriding emotions in my life. The Thing with Feathers was all about needing to be accepted but learning that we have to accept ourselves before we can expect anyone else to accept us. Meet the Sky is an exploration of how we all process grief differently. It’s a story about learning that sometimes our greatest losses lead to our greatest potential and our greatest growth as humans.

JM: Sophie and Finn couldn’t be more different—Sophie’s a type-A planner and Finn’s a wild child who goes surfing in the eye of a storm—and yet they are thrown together to survive. What was it like to create two characters who view the world so differently?

MH: It was a lot of fun actually. I knew whenever Sophie and Finn were on the page together sparks were going to fly. Writing from such different perspectives also required a lot of thinking on my part—about the advantages and disadvantages to each of their personalities. I lean way on one side of the spectrum between control freak and free spirit. I like to think that writing from both Finn’s and Sophie’s perspectives softened me a bit and brought me a little closer to balance in the center.

JM: The Thing with Feathers features a theme of Emily Dickinson’s poetry—will we see something similar in Meet the Sky?

MH: Maybe… Okay, yes, you will. As I mentioned earlier, the idea for this book came from an exploration of grief. My greatest loss was the unexpected death of my father. He was a larger-than-life character whose philosophy in life was go big or go home. During the years following his death and as I was writing Meet the Sky, an Alfred Lord Tennyson quotation kept repeating in my head. The English poet said, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” And I agree. But Sophie isn’t so sure she does. She has to decide for herself whether it’s better to take a risk on life and love after the tragedies in her life or if it’s better to protect her heart and play it safe. That’s really a decision we all have to make for ourselves. I hope readers will appreciate Sophie’s decision.

JM: Tell us about this gorgeous cover!!

MH: I am so in love with this cover I can hardly stand it. The greens and blues are gorgeous and match the colors of the Atlantic Ocean and the sky. The palm tree flapping in the hurricane wind set the tone that trouble is imminent, but the clean crisp white and the title Meet the Sky lend an air of hope. Basically, I just love everything about it.

JM: Any spoilers you want to share?

MH: Well, Meet the Sky also takes place on the ruggedly beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina, so there is that similarity. And maybe, just maybe, two of my favorite characters from The Thing with Feathers might make an appearance in Meet the Sky, but I don’t know if I should say who. Here’s a hint: one of them has four legs.

Thanks so much, McCall! Readers, stay tuned for more posts on Meet the Sky and from McCall, and be sure to preorder the book at the link below!

Order here:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

Follow McCall online:

www.McCallHoyle.com

@McCallHoyle

@McCallHoyleBooks

About the Book

It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie’s dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie’s older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all.

With nothing but pain in her past, all Sophie wants is to plan for the future—keep the family business running, get accepted to veterinary school, and protect her mom and sister from another disaster. But when a hurricane forms off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and heads right toward their island, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control.

After she gets separated from her family during the evacuation, Sophie finds herself trapped on the island with the last person she’d have chosen—the reckless and wild Finn Sanders, who broke her heart freshman year. As they struggle to find safety, Sophie learns that Finn has suffered his own heartbreak; but instead of playing it safe, Finn’s become the kind of guy who goes surfing in the eye of the hurricane. He may be the perfect person to remind Sophie how to embrace life again, but only if their newfound friendship can survive the storm.

Praise for McCall Hoyle’s debut novel, The Thing with Feathers:

“Beautiful, touching, and bursting with hope.”

Pintip Dunn, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author

“Heartfelt and affecting. Hoyle tells a familiar story, but does so in a voice that is rarely heard, and that makes all the difference.”

Leah Thomas, William C. Morris Award finalist and author of Because You’ll Never Meet Me and Nowhere Near You

“The inspiring story of one girl’s struggle not to be defined by her illness, The Thing with Feathers soars as it explores what it means to live—and love—without fear.”

Kathryn Holmes, author of How It Feels to Fly

“A refreshing, quality debut—meaningfully woven and beautifully engaging, from the first page to the last.”

YA Books Central (5 stars)

About the Author

McCall Hoyle writes honest YA novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. She is a high school English teacher. Her own less-than-perfect teenage experiences and those of the girls she teaches inspire many of the struggles in her books. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten. She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day. Learn more at mcallhoyle.com.

22 July

Blink Blog Spotlight: SOLO and SWING

As we look forward to the soft cover release of both SOLO and SWING by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess this week, we wanted to take a moment to revisit these great titles.

 

Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy, including the loss of his mother. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming Blade will become just like his father.

In reality, the only thing Blade and Rutherford have in common is the music that lives inside them. And songwriting is all Blade has left after Rutherford, while drunk, crashes his high school graduation speech and effectively rips Chapel away forever. But when a long-held family secret comes to light, the music disappears. In its place is a letter, one that could bring Blade the freedom and love he’s been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift.

Buy it HERE!

New York Times bestselling authors Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess (Solo) tell this lyrical story about hope, courage, and love that speaks to anyone who’s struggled to find their voice. And the surprise ending shines a spotlight on the issues related to our current social divide, challenging perspectives and inspiring everyone to make their voice heard.

When America is not so beautiful, or right, or just, it can be hard to know what to do. Best friends Walt and Noah decide to use their voices to grow more good in the world, but first they’ve got to find cool.

Walt is convinced junior year is their year, and he has a plan to help them woo the girls of their dreams and become amazing athletes. Never mind that he and Noah failed to make the high school baseball team yet again, and Noah’s love interest since third grade, Sam, has him firmly in the friend zone. Noah soon finds himself navigating the worlds of jazz, batting cages, the strange advice of Walt’s Dairy Queen-employed cousin, as well as Walt’s “Hug Life” mentality. Status quo seems inevitable until Noah stumbles on a stash of old love letters. Each page contains the words he’s always wanted to say to Sam, and he begins secretly creating artwork using the lines that speak his heart. But when his private artwork becomes public, Noah has a decision to make: continue his life in the dugout and possibly lose the girl forever, or take a swing and finally speak out?

At the same time, numerous American flags are being left around town. While some think it’s a harmless prank and others see it as a form of peaceful protest, Noah can’t shake the feeling something bigger is happening to his community. Especially after he witnesses events that hint divides and prejudices run deeper than he realized.

As the personal and social tensions increase around them, Noah and Walt must decide what is really true when it comes to love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate.

Buy it HERE!

18 July

Fall Releases You Won’t Want to Miss!

It’s hard to imagine, but in a few short months, the warm summer days will begin to fill with cool fall breezes, and the green trees and beautiful flowers will turn into brilliant autumn colors that take our breath away.

And while we do not want to wish the summer away (at all!), we are so excited about the titles we are releasing in October and November. But, don’t take our word for it, see what others are saying:

The Memory Thief book cover art

“A thought-provoking and unique YA fantasy, THE MEMORY THIEF is a engrossing and lovely story. Twists and turns keep the reader guessing as they follow Etta on her physical and mental journey.” —YA and Kids Book Central

“As evidenced by “The Memory Thief”, author Lauren Mansy has a genuine talent for narrative storytelling and an authentic flair for originality. A riveting great read with more plot twists and turns than a Disney Land roller coaster, “The Memory Thief” will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fiction & Fantasy Fiction collections.”  —Midwest Book Review

Every Stolen Breath book cover art

“Original, engrossing, and full of suspense, EVERY STOLEN BREATH is an intense YA thriller/mystery and page-turner.”  —YA and Kids Books Central

You can pre-order copies of THE MEMORY THIEF (releasing Oct. 1, 2019) and EVERY STOLEN BREATH (releasing Nov. 5, 2019) today. By doing so, you’ll be one of the first to read it when it goes on sale!!

15 July

Pre-Order The Silence Between Us

The Silence Between Us, the soon to be released title by Alison Gervais (author of In 27 Days), will be available everywhere on August 13, 2019.

Summary: Deaf teen Maya Harris must navigate a new life—and love—in this #OwnVoices novel from Alison Gervais. When Maya is forced to attended a hearing school, she sets out to prove that her lack of hearing won’t stop her from chasing her dreams or staying true to herself.

We are excited to share that when you pre-order your copy of The Silence Between Us, you’ll be able to get some exciting pre-order incentives you won’t be able to find anywhere else. We’ll send you this cool poster as well as a special video message from Alison.

Email your proof of purchase to authoralisongervais.com@gmail.com by August 12 so we can make sure to send you these incentives.

Read our Book Brag HERE.

Pre-order your copy HERE!

11 July

Blink Highlights This Week

It’s been an exciting week for the Blink family with a few major updates and features! Read our round-up below.

Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan 

Congrats to Annie Sullivan on her upcoming release Tiger Queen for being featured on Barnes & Noble’s Most Anticipated Sophomore Novels of 2019 list!

Take a look HERE.

The Memory Thief – Sneak Peek 

A special thank you to Epic Reads for featuring the first two chapters of Lauren Mansy’s October release The Memory Thief. We cannot wait to share this new title with you so be sure to take a look at this special preview.

READ IT HERE.

Freaky In Fresno Cover Reveal 

Finally, Laurie Boyle Crompton revealed the cover for her 2020 release Freaky In Fresno. How cute is this cover? Get ready for February 11!

Pre-order your copy HERE.

08 July

#BookBrag: In 27 Days

As we prepare for the release of The Silence Between Us next month, we are revisiting the Book Brag for In 27 Days by the author of both titles – Alison Gervais. Read more about Alison’s debut release below.

Hello, Blink readers! We have a special treat for you today—a book brag with debut author Alison Gervais! You may know Alison from her mega-popular Wattpad writing as HonorInTheRain. I came across In 27 Days on Wattpad, and after reading for about five hours straight I called Alison and asked her if she was interested in publishing her book. She was!

The rest is history. In just a few short months, In 27 Days will be hitting bookstores near you. Alison and I have worked hard to make this version of the book even more amazing than the version on Wattpad, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

JM: Hi, Alison! So excited to announce the official, published version of In 27 Days with you. Tell us about the adventure you’ve taken from writing this book to winning awards and now being published!

AG: Hello! I’m very excited about this announcement, too! This really has been quite the whirlwind adventure. I started writing In 27 Days when I was sixteen, just a junior in high school, and I went through three different drafts over four years before I finally finished. It’s so surreal to think that I’ve actually come this far, and it wouldn’t have been possible without every fabulous Wattpad reader!

JM: In 27 Days deals with some tough issues, especially when it comes to family and suicide. What compelled you to write a story that addressed these topics?

AG: When I was thirteen, I was diagnosed with depression. I was put on medication and went back to therapy, and the past eight years have been full of ups and downs. Writing In 27 Days, and just writing in general, was my way of dealing with the stress and sadness I was feeling at the time. I didn’t think In 27 Days would turn into what it is now, but I’m so glad it has.

JM: Your main character, Hadley, doesn’t start out as a Katniss Everdeen superhero. Why did you decide to write about a normal girl who is faced with extraordinary circumstances?

AG: As I’ve mentioned before, I was sixteen when I started writing In 27 Days, and at that time, I felt like the most ordinary, normal girl in the world, which I think must’ve been transferred into the story. I think that’s one thing, as an author, that I share with Hadley. But I also think a lot of people out there, not just girls, feel utterly normal, and maybe that’s why so many people can relate to Hadley in particular. Feeling ordinary, but knowing that you have the potential to do the extraordinary.

JM: If you were Hadley, would you go back in time to save someone you barely knew? Would you make a deal with someone like Death, not knowing the consequences?

AG: I’d love to say that I would make a deal to save anybody, but the truth is, Hadley is a lot braver than I am!

JM: There are a lot of fans of In 27 Days out there. What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever been told by a fan?

AG: I can’t narrow it down to one specific experience because there’s been so many over the years, and every fan is absolutely fantastic, but I’ve been told that reading In 27 Days helped them during rough times in their lives, that the story made them reconsider suicide, or helped them understand that suicide isn’t the answer. That’s one of the greatest things I think I could ever be told, not only as an author but as a person. Knowing my writing has positively affected someone is one of the best feelings in the world.

Thanks so much, Alison! Readers, stay tuned for more posts on In 27 Days and from Alison, and be sure to preorder the book at the link below.

Preorder here!

www.AlisonGervais.com

@Ally_Gervais

About In 27 Days

Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him. Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, Hadley is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back 27 days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.

Hadley soon discovers Archer’s reasons for being alone, and Archer realizes that having someone to confide in isn’t as bad as he’d always thought. But when a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart, Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything—including her life—to keep Archer safe.

From award-winning Wattpad author Alison Gervais (HonorInTheRain) comes In 27 Days, a story of redemption, first love, and the strength it takes to change the future.

About the Author

Watty Award winning author Alison Gervais is a current undergraduate student at Colorado State University – Pueblo, and has been writing for as long as she can remember. In 2011, she began posting her work on Wattpad.com, and has been active on the site ever since. If she’s not writing or studying for classes, she can be found re-reading Harry Potter, watching Supernatural, or trying to win the affection of her two cats, Kovu and Rocket.

04 July

Celebrating Independence Day

“Freedom lies in being bold.”  –Robert Frost

In 1776, a number of bold men, representing families and friends, gathered as part of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There, on July 4, they signed the Declaration of Independence, giving birth to these United States.

From then until now, many have given their lives to protect the freedoms we hold dear. And today, we pause for a moment to honor them. Were it not for their boldness and bravery, we could not enjoy this leisurely day to gather with friends to celebrate the birth of our country.

May you and yours have a safe and happy Independence Day.

-The Blink Team

01 July

Author Round-Up: Favorite Summer Memories

A new week means a new Blink Blog! This week was asked our authors to share their favorite summertime memories as well as give an update on how their summer is progressing so far. Keep reading below to find out their answers!

What is your favorite childhood summertime memory? 

Annie Sullivan: My favorite memories are playing outside with our neighbors until the fireflies would come out. Then, I’d try and catch them. Then again, I also had a particular fondness for the ice cream truck when it would come around!

Christina June: I am lucky to have parents who value experiences and travel, so our annual summer vacation has provided me with many awesome memories.  I loved playing in the sand at Myrtle Beach, walking down the Matterhorn and waving to the hikers going up, meeting characters at Disney World, and panning for gold in Alaska.  Visiting new places is something my husband and I carry on with our daughter.

Kimberly Gabriel: Growing up, my family and I spent every 4th of July at my grandparents’ home on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. For an entire week, my mom’s seven siblings along with my fourteen cousins would spend time together riding bikes, water skiing, swimming, fishing, kayaking and barbequing. Nicknamed “Camp Kimberly,” my week in Oshkosh was always my favorite week of the entire year. (Fun fact: Kimberly is my mother’s maiden name. I was named after my grandparents, and it’s the reason I go by Kimberly instead of Kim). 

Lauren Mansy: Some of my favorite summertime memories are from camping trips in Michigan. There’s not a whole lot I love more than s’mores around a campfire, hiking sand dunes, and spending time with wonderful friends!

Laurie Boyle Crompton: My family piling blankets into the car and heading to the drive-in to see a double feature is one of my absolute favorite childhood memories! I now drive a conversion van we call Vandura 3.0 that is pretty impractical to maneuver through traffic, and there’s always traffic where we live in Queens. But I love Vandura for several reasons; 1) it can fit ALL THE THINGS plus bicycles inside, 2) the seats are super-comfy and make it feel like we’re driving around in a living room, and best of all, 3) it’s PERFECT for the drive-in. We have to travel to upstate NY to go, since the last drive-in on Long Island closed many years ago, but it is totally worth the road trip! 

McCall Hoyle: From sunup to sundown, my childhood was pretty much spent meandering through fields of hip-high grass, exploring shady patches of forest, or splashing in the creek with my pony Duchess. She was my best friend and definitely one of my favorite childhood memories. 

Stephanie Morrill: When I lived in California in elementary school and we had a pool in our backyard. Swimming after dark was the best!

How has your summer been so far?

Annie Sullivan: My summer has been great! I went to Disney World for the first time since I was six, and I had a ton of fun! I’ve also been spending time reading and hanging out by the pool—some of my favorite summer activities!

Kimberly Gabriel: The beginning of every summer is always chaotic as I transition from a full-time teacher to a full-time mom of three until I get my systems down. That said, I love my summers and spending time with family. July and August are typically the months I get to relax the most with my kids. 

Lauren Mansy: Though the weather in Chicago has been less-than-ideal (endless rain!), this summer has been filled with many wonderful memories — I’ve visited family, traveled to places I’ve never been before, and enjoyed sweet moments with friends!

Laurie Boyle Crompton: I’ve been trying to juggle several jobs and writing projects and teenagers, and DOGS and miss the days when summer meant being free and OFF and constantly at the beach. I haven’t made it to the beach just yet this year, and also hope to make a trip to western PA where I grew up. But I’m such a fan of being outside in the summer, I try to make time for it every day no matter how busy I get. Even with my postage-stamp-sized lawn here in NY, there’s nothing quite like being barefoot in the grass. Of course, it looks more like ‘pacing inside the fence’ than ‘frolicking through the field’ these days but that sensation of cool soft blades between my toes is the perfect de-stressor and works on me every time!

McCall Hoyle: Amazing. I’m catching up on my to-be-read stack, visiting with family, and chilling with Gordon, my golden retriever. Stephanie Morrill: My three kids are out of school and home all the time, so it’s been high on fun and low on productivity. I guess that’s what summer is for, but I’m a To Do list girl, so sometimes the balance feels stressful for me.