Floridian by birth, Wyomingite by choice (years of Pennsylvanian between!) Andi Hummel lives north of Hulett, Wyoming (pop. about 350). "I have good neighbors here," she says, "and I love the quiet of this place. Friends think I'm reclusive, but they honor my need to be alone to write. I appreciate that, make a point of lunch out with some of them when the timing is right, but the writing isn't. ("Blank page' moments?) Alone, when I sound out the words, let them roll over my tongue, I can be comfortable with how what I write will sound to a reader, or to a listener. My dog SaraBeth, and cats Simon and Charles, think I'm talking to them and know not to bother me unless their 'emergency' means opening the door to let them out."
She admits too many projects are back-burnered, but says it is past time to put those things away and go for authoring her first novel. Two are underway. "I do enjoy reading a good book now and then, for my own pleasure and to satisfy my curiosity, and do occasional reviews for friends and edit for people who dream the same dreams I dream. I seldom watch television, but sit with pen in hand while 'Ancient Aliens' is on, taking some serious notes! Those programs offer great 'jumping off places' for magical realism ties for new short stories. If I'm being selfish, resting on laurels, hey! It's time! A good novel or short story, an interesting article, the heartfelt lines of even a not-so-good poem by A. M. Hummel . . . that should take precedence!"
And it should . . . one historical fiction is well underway (too long underway!); a memoir/cookbook is "coming along"; a YA thriller has come out of a dark drawer; a stack of short stories grows; and a history of the one-room schools in Crook County, Wyoming still gets attention once in a while. Other, unfinished manuscripts languishing, forgotten, ignored? Let's not talk about that. . . .
Danville—A Bicentennial History (co-author)—Haddon Craftsmen, Inc., 1991.
Historic Danville, A Coloring Book for Danville's Bicentennial `1772-1972 (w/S. A. Hummel, Illustrator)—Klein Artworks, 1992.
In the Shadow of the Bear Lodge (anthology published by Bearlodge Writers)—Many Kites Press, 2006.
Shore's Christmas Anthology; Blue Sky/Green Grass; other anthologies from the 1970s and 1980s.
HIGHLIGHTS for Children; Quill; Good Apple Press (Ladybugs, Lollipops and Lucky Stars); Nation's Business; Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal; Pennsylvania Magazine; Valley Magazine; Susquehanna Life Magazine; Pennsylvania Illustrated; Panarama Magazine; Farm Wife News; Cats Magazine; I Love Cats; Bittersweet; The Whirlwind; Goldmine; National Doll World; MACWORLD—The Macintosh Magazine; WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric News); Geisinger's CAMPUS; others.
GRIT; Harrisburg Patriot; Sunday Patriot News; Danville News; Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise; Milton Standard; Lewisburg Daily Journal; Philadelphia Inquirer; Sunbury Daily Item; Shamokin News Item; Panama City New-Herald; Harper's Weekly Gazette; Jednota; Reading Eagle; Wyoming Pioneer; Sundance Times; Geisinger's TRENDS; Danville's Bicentennial Gazette (author/co-editor with Helen "Sis" Hause);others.
The PennWriter; The Wyo-Writer (writer and past Wyoming Writers, Inc. board liaison to editor); Susquehanna Valley Post Card Collectors' Newsletter (past editor); Geisinger's Center Page (past editor); Susquehanna Valley Rock and Roll Club Newsletter (past editor); others.
Book reviews for such online sites as Good Reads and Amazon; some guest blogging; poetry, short stories, and articles published on various online sites.
Andi is a member of Pennwriters, a multi-genre, state-wide writer's organization in Pennsylvania, and a past regional representative. She helped to establish Susquehanna Valley Writers (Danville, PA) and has been an active member of Bearlodge Writers (Sundance, WY) since 1999. A member of Wyoming Writers, Inc., Wyoming's state-wide, multi-genre writing organization, she served on their Board of Directors (2012-2014) and was board liaison to Gayle Irwin, then editor of their newsletter, The WyoWriter. She belongs to the Black Hills Fiction Writers Group (Spearfish, SD) and is a new member of Women Writing the West.
In 2003, Andi 's historical fiction short story "Mollie" received a second place award in the Historical Deadwood Writing Contest and was published on that organizations' web site. This story is being expanded into a novel.
In 2005 she was given Wyoming Writers, Inc.'s prestigious Emmie Mygatt Award for outstanding service to the organization. Very proud of this recognition, Andi says, "Wyoming Writers is very special to me. I'm glad some of what I've learned through the years can be shared and of use to others." Her short story "Turnabout" took an honorable mention for Adult Fiction in the 2005 Wyoming Writer's, Inc. writing contest, and she was listed, as Andre'lle Hummel, in The National Directory of Editors and Writers, compiled by Elizabeth Lyon and published by Evans and Company, Inc., New York (2005).
In 2013, her article "Bloomsburg's Best Community Asset" (Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble), was picked as "Best of 1996" when readers picked their annual favorites from Susquehanna Life Magazine's first 20 years. The article, republished in a special edition of Susquehanna Life Magazine (Winter 2013/2014), was received online recognition.
In 2014 Andi scored two second-place wins in Wyoming Writers, Inc.'s annual writing contest for entries in Adult Fiction ("Marlee," historical fiction) and Children's Fiction ("The Big Pig Jig," a rhymed picture book manuscript).
Andi writes some poetry, more adult fiction, and an occasional newspaper or magazine article -- creative nonfiction is her style preference. Here are tidbits by A. M. Hummel.
A favorite poem:
The Black and White of It . . .
Seven of them,
and their mother!
Path blocked, do I
retreat or stay?
do they learn "hunt,"
or simply play?
In black and white,
my question is:
how old are skunks
before they spray?
("The Black and White of It" was published in Susquehanna Life Magazine)
A fiction piece now underway:
Nasty Little Things
This time it had started with a case of homesick that wouldn’t be stirred down.
Then, ten days ago, her seventy-five acres along Brush Creek burned—that fire taking with it, before it was done, two loafing sheds, the reticulating tractor (damn near new), Simon’s round baler, and half the hay Anastasia Jefferson Taylor had managed to harvest, with the help of a couple of true friends, through the past too-dry summer.
And Jack Everson's fuel truck. He’d left it along the barrow pit just off the state highway that separated their properties—A. J.’s two hundred and four point three acres and the more “respectable” spread Jack and his wife Lin owned. One of its big tires had developed a threatening bubble so he'd left the truck sitting and walked home, planning to bring a new tire down when he had the time.
The explosion had been horrendous. It awakened A. J. from a pleasant-enough dream about fresh oysters and Apalachicola Bay breezes, the gentle wafting of late-night and early-morning smoke having had not quite enough impact on her dreams to do that job. What she’d smelled in those dreams, rather than danger, was a tiny, long-ago fire for which she and Simon had gathered scrub magnolia branches to burn so they could roast their hot dogs and marshmallows and warm their still swimsuit-clad, shivering bodies. Then the flames reached that truck. . . .
Well, some things do over-ride sleep and pleasant memories.
The evening before had been filled with exhausting, angry hours after a head-on argument with Albert Breston, her neighbor to the north. Not the first words between them over the past three years. A. J. wasn’t one to cry, but she did throw things, and she did talk to herself and she did, more and more often of late, step out her back door to scream unpleasantries and obscenities at the self-gratifying bastard who lived so far into his one-hundred-and-seventy-nine-thousand-acres-and-still-growing retreat that he wouldn’t hear what she was screaming anyway.
Couldn’t hear a shotgun blast from her place to his, but A. J. was betting he’d heard—even felt—the fuel truck when it exploded. And he’d damn sure hear her the next time she spoke with him. He’d hear her loud and clear.
And a very rough draft (creative nonfiction) in the works:
A Schoolhouse Every Six Miles
Perhaps you hear the sound of laughter on the Wyoming wind, or the creak of swings in a play yard grown high with western wheatgrass, rough rattlesnake root, prairie coneflower, and curlycup gumweed. Careful where you step—the spikes of Plains prickly pear and other rogues of genus cacti/Cactacaea (recipe side-barred?) wait, ready to pierce even a sturdy leather shoe.
Have you caught a glimpse of a chubby face peeking through a dusty, broken windowpane or felt curious eyes watching as you kick up grasshoppers and Mormon crickets on a dry summer afternoon's excursion? Or maybe there's that hint of wood smoke on the chill of a late fall morning's visit to one of these ghosts of Crook County's past. The schoolmarm has stoked her fire, her students are ready for another day of classes. . . .
Crook County, Wyoming, split apart from Laramie County in 1875 by the Fourth Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wyoming, was already dotted with small settlements when President Benjamin Harrison signed the bill on July 10, 1890 granting Wyoming statehood. Once the sixth largest county, Crook has been pared to its present size, 2,865 square miles (a little larger than the state of Delaware), and in 2016 boasts a population of
slightly more than 7,000 people