¡Viva Cuba! … and other Trips

•November 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

What an amazing first trip to Cuba! I’m co-leading trips occasionally and helping to find clients for my friend, Tim Weed. His Creative Travel Arts and my Green Writers Press are even going to collaborate next year on a few adventure travel trips: Iceland, Cuba, Tierra del Fuego. 

If you are interested in finding out more about my trips with Tim Weed, writing retreats with Suzanne Kingsbury (Ireland!), etc., email me at: dede.cummings1@gmail.com

~~~ Here is a snippet of my time in Cuba, along with a few photos. Thanks for reading my work!


Running along the Malecom

I pass small antiquated fishing boats, and run toward the Castle of el Moro, built out of the rock as a Spanish fortress, which guards the bay of Havana. Running past fisherman standing before a crumbling bench — graffiti of Che and Castro adorn the sides of buildings — the spray of a wave soaks me. I grow more confident feeling my legs stretch behind me. Leaving old Havana I pass other runners. I stretch, noticing a dark cloud that brings rain that pours down. The squall soaks me through. I turn back and run into the headwind slowly. I cut across the Malacon and walk down a side street where there is a restored pink Dodge, an old fishing boat named Havana and a horse and buggy. A rainbow appears and the Havana light sets a yellow house ablaze. I see an old man and ask him in halting Spanish how to say “rainbow” in Spanish. Puffing out his chest, he says “yellow house.”



Bees are My New Passion

•October 15, 2015 • 2 Comments

51FWZ57xI+LMy beekeeping book is coming out in February! I am really excited about this because not only did I learn a lot about bees, I also found that I am passionate about the little critters and want to set up a hive, maybe come springtime.

Here is a bit about my book

The Good Living Guide to Beekeeping

Secrets of the Hive, Stories from the Field, and a Practical Guide That Explains It All

Beekeeping is nothing new—the ancient Egyptians were well versed in the benefits of living with bees—but in recent years, there has been a surge of folks struck with the desire to build and nurture a hive of their own. Beekeeping has become the passion of farmers in rural Vermont, urbanites with rooftops in LA, and thousands of people in between. This book is for beginners and experts alike, with all the basic information you need to get started, as well as stories and tips that will inspire and instruct the most seasoned beekeeper.

In this guide, you will learn how to:

  • Choose a spot for your hive
  • Build a hive with simple tools and materials
  • Buy bees or attract them to your hive
  • Harvest the fruits of the bees’ labor
  • Make beeswax candles and lip balm
  • Utilize honey, wax, and propolis for medicinal purposes

And much more!

I offer readers something truly unique—a book that comes alongside you like a wise friend, offering sage advice as well as humorous anecdotes and fascinating interviews with beekeepers across the country. Equally good for reading while curled up inside during the long winter as for carrying with you to the hives mid-summer, this will be a welcome addition to any bee enthusiast’s library.

A Book is On the Way
I had tons of help from beekeepers I interviewed and the help of my fabulous high school intern, Lindsey Vachon, along with my friends and colleagues, Danielle Gyger, Sierra Dickey and Rose Alexandra-Leach, of course my editor, Abigail Gehring, was amazing to work with.  It is so exciting to have a book coming out that is good, and helpful, and was mostly fun to write!

logoIf you want to preorder a copy, you can go to Indiebound and order from your local, independent bookstore! Thanks for supporting my writing and, of course, the bees!

Here is the link and information about the book.

Good Books, Hardcover, 9781680990591, 192pp.

Publication Date: February 2016

San Juans by Dede Cummings

•April 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Dede Cummings:

Pretty happy to have a poem published today! I’ve been working on this for twenty years, off and on. I dedicate it to my dear friend, Annie Philbrick​, whose generosity and spirit (not to mention my first host to the San Juan islands!) has been so dear to me. And also a big shoutout to my friend, colleague, mentor, editor, collaborator, and Gateless Writers​ founder, Suzanne D. Kingsbury​ for teaching me a new way to write and “unteach” the old! Vending MachinePress​ is the publisher, and my editor is Mike Lafontaine​. Thanks to my blog readers, too!

Originally posted on vending___machine press:

From here she can see no islands, only a mountain beyond water
mostly purple-black and defying the orange-spreading sky.
Beginning a new day with a fragment of a dream, she moves
around the garden — a space for the plant, or imprint for the seed.
She throws stones over the fence, the sun-warmed crescents rest
upon the crusty soil, except for a circled one which she tucks away.
Transparent green leaves appear poised below a climbing trellis
on which last year’s scorched vines cling.

This morning she begins to watch for the orcas.
Her eyes know the spot as if by heart from a dream:
the black and white bodies lean and glistening,
the splash she thought she heard in the dream—
she awakens to her body erect and taut like a fishing line.

A funnel kite dances around the flagpole like in a childhood game.
Twisting her plaid uniform…

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Going to CUBA! Update!

•January 18, 2015 • 2 Comments

UPDATE, March 7, 2015

Our trip is filling up very quickly, and there is talk of Tim and Dede doing another one in March, 2016, so don’t worry!

Tim Weed, our guide, just returned from a National Geographic trip to the island, and he is really excited about our trip because he will be able to customize it more, and make it more personal and focus on art and culture.
Here is a slide show from Tim’s trip…. very exciting to think we will be there in November!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tim and I are meeting next week to do more planning, but I wanted to link you all up to my gmail address for updates.
We have good news: The price has been dropped due to some costs associated with travel restrictions being lifted.
At this point, we have 14 people expressing very strong interest and half are already committed! Here is a note form Tim about our pricing and accommodations.
What is the room situation? Rooms in the casas have 2 beds – but we can convert them to singles and I think the fee should cover it. 
How large a group will be going? 16-18 
How many of the eight days will we be in Havana vs. outside trips? About half and half.  
And what sort of cancellation policy is there should I find I can’t make it? The deposit will have to be non-refundable. The rest should be refundable, although the closer we get to the date the less it will be, as we’ll be having to pay for plane tickets, ground costs, etc. But we should be able to fund a percentage of it right up to the date.
SIGN UP AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST, USING THE FORM, OR EMAIL Dede at dede.cummings1@gmail.com to sign up.
If you’ve ever thought about traveling to Cuba . . . here is a chance to make that dream a reality with a new, specially organized private small-group trip. This is not one of the mass-produced cultural bus tours you’re seeing advertised: this is a creative, one-of-a-kind, insider’s journey for intellectually curious travelers who wish to experience a side of Cuba that is seldom seen by American tourists. Our particular focus will be the country’s thriving arts scene: we’ll have unforgettable daily opportunities to interact with Cuban writers, visual artists, musicians, dancers, santería practitioners, scholars, and entrepreneurs. We’ll visit World Heritage historical sites, community arts projects, organic farms, sugar and coffee plantations, and cigar factories. We’ll have the opportunity to sample Cuba’s famous paladares (officially sanctioned restaurants located in private homes), and, of course, to experience Cuba’s world-renowned music scene. And we’ll strike out from Havana and into the countryside to experience some of the island’s beautiful landscapes, beaches, and hidden corners.

IMG_1780The trip will be led by Tim Weed, an author and widely traveled National Geographic featured expert who has made countless extended trips to Cuba since the late ’90s. Tim is a published novelist and a fluent Spanish-speaker with a deep and extensive network of contacts within Cuba’s arts, literary, and educational communities. The trip will be co-hosted by Dede Cummings, a writer/publisher, who also has agent experience, and a domain-changing editor who has traveled the globe.

Dates ~ November 14 – 22, 2015
Spots are beginning to fill up, so sign up provisionally using the form at the end of this post to receive updates for this trip if you are interested! Email Dede at dede.cummings1@gmail.com if you want to reserve right away, and we will hold a spot for you! In order to “officially” secure your place, you must send a deposit of $1000 by June 1, 2015. The trip cost of $3990, due by September 15, 2015, includes round-trip airfare from Miami or Montreal to Havana, visa, lodgings, meals, ground transportation, a Cuban guide (required), museum entrance fees, entry visas, exit taxes, guide and driver tips, and a tax-deductible contribution to the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, the trip’s official sponsor.

Cuban poet,  Dulce María Loynaz, wrote:

“Cuando vayamos al mar yo te diré mi secreto.
When we go to the sea, I will tell you my secret.”

CubaBeachOn this trip, we will have a chance to absorb a culture on an island that is rich in history and has had its culture preserved, due in part to the isolation as a Communist state in this hemisphere. This is a unique opportunity to join a small group of easygoing and open-minded travelers exploring a rapidly changing country that has been inaccessible to most U.S. citizens for over half a century in ways not available to mainstream tourists.


Our itinerary includes Havana and several locations in the island’s interior. Each day there will be one or more meetings with Cubans: writers, artists, academics, musicians, dancers, foundation officials, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs. Using Tim’s connections, we will have the opportunity go in-depth on such topics as Cuban literature, Cuban art history, the history of the Cuban Revolution, Santería, Hemingway in Cuba, US-Cuba relations, and new directions in Cuba’s vibrant contemporary arts and cultural scenes. We will visit an urban organic farm, the Caribbean’s largest colonial fortress, several World Heritage Sites, legendary Finca Vigía, where Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote for more than two decades, and the other important Hemingway sites in and near Havana, including the Hotel Ambos Mundos, where he wrote much of For Whom the Bell Tolls, the bars where he went for his various favorite cocktails, and the restaurant that became the setting for The Old Man and the Sea.photo 2

Time . . . 

There will be plenty of down time as well—time for writing, sketching, and reflection. Because the group is limited in size, there will be a great deal of flexibility built in to take advantage of the interests of the people in the group, and enough spontaneity to seize upon anything interesting that happens to come up. For those interested in special areas like medicine (we have two doctors already signed up), Tim can arrange special hospital visits and other special requests.

“Cuba is trapped between two eternally competing visions. One is that it’s a socialist paradise; the other is that it’s a Communist hell. In reality, Cuba is neither a paradise nor a hell, but, rather, more of a purgatory, where some of us have the possibility of salvation.”
—Havana-based novelist Leonardo Padura

“When I first traveled in Cuba in 1999, it struck me, as it continues to strike me today, as an utterly unique place: a time capsule, an anomaly, a treasure trove of historical architecture, a country of great natural beauty with an inspiringly creative and resourceful population. What’s different today is that Cuba is changing, rapidly and dramatically. This is one of the reasons I’m excited about this new trip: in addition to being part of a small group exploring a country that has been inaccessible to most U.S. citizens for over half a century in ways not available to mainstream tourists, we’re going to be front-seat witnesses to history.”—Tim Weed





News & Our September Writing Retreat with Suzanne Kingsbury

•July 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment


Hi All, On this post-thunderstorm Vermont morning as my sunflowers are just starting to bloom, I wanted to thank you all for your support this year! DCDesign continues to make beautiful books (our recent Jane Mead design is an award winner) and publicize fabulous authors, like Tim Weed’s new book, Will Poole’s Island, which was featured at the Nantucket Book Festival, and Tim will also be reading at the Burlington Book Festival and the Brattleboro Literary Festival.

In publishing news, style maven and one of the up and coming books in the field is Desha’s Peacock’s first book, Sweet Spot Style: The Style You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford, we sold to Skyhorse last year is already in its second printing! Congrats to Desha, and grab a book and transform your home, apartment, all on a budget!

Continue reading ‘News & Our September Writing Retreat with Suzanne Kingsbury’

Advance Review: Will Poole’s Island

•June 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Dede Cummings:

I am representing Vermont author, Tim Weed, for his publicity book launch campaign for his stunning debut novel, a YA historical fiction which is set on the island of Nantucket. Tim will be appearing at the Nantucket Book Festival on Saturday June 21st, where he will be under the authors’ tent signing books most of the day. Here is a first review of his book:

Originally posted on Tim Weed:

WPI Hi-Res Cover ArtRon Samul of the New London Patch has written a thoughtful advance review of Will Poole’s Island. Here’s an excerpt:

Will Poole’s Island is more than a coming of age story . . . the reader is left with a longing to find that place, that moment when everything is right and the everything is possible. It is a longing we all search for spiritually, geographically, and emotionally. This book proves that oppression, obstacles, fate, and the world we live in should not stop us from seeking that place. If we can’t find it right now, walk in the shoes of Will Poole and rediscover that lost island in your life. It will inspire you.”

Click here to read the full review.

The novel’s official launch date is August 15, but advance copies of the book are already available to order from Nantucket Book PartnersAmazon, Powell’s, Barnes…

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Bikes Not Burqas—one of our author’s goes global

•April 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Dede Cummings:

10277705_10203392482633725_390935059969731290_nI am the lucky agent for Shannon Galpin, and this piece is really exciting! Her book comes out September 16, 2014, but you can see it here and order from your indie bookstore in advance!

Read on, sign on to her newsletter, follow, and help us spread the word…. Thanks, as always for your support! I am so lucky to write and publish and be a literary agent and a book publicist. A quote from Shannon: “Several years ago my family gave me the silver ring that has become my talisman. The inscription by Longfellow reads, ‘the lowest ebb is at the turn of the tide.’ They gave it to me to remind me to be strong, follow my heart and believe that the tide would one day turn.”

Keep an ear out for the NPR piece about the national women’s cycling team that will be out this Friday!

Here are some photos from this week—so inspiring and we are hoping for a film about her to come out, too.


Originally posted on Mountain2Mountain: Field Notes:

“It’s time to stop referring to Afghan women as weak, as helpless.  Its time to refer to Afghan women as strong, catalysts for change.  How can we expect Afghan women to fight if we continue to label them as victims?” 

I said these words at my first TEDx talk two years ago – 9 months before I first met the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team.  I had been working in Afghanistan and was enraged by the way we continue to look at Afghan women, and women like them around the world, as helpless victims that are in need of the West’s support.  These are not victims, although they may be victimized.  These are women of strength and resiliency that need tools, encouragements, and the outlets to use their voice.  2  1/2 years later, the young women I work with in Afghanistan show me every day they are not helpless, they are…

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