Barbara Cummings


My fifth grade teacher once told me, “Don’t do what you see others do. Do what you can imagine.” And I imagine we, as artists, can change the world, if only for the short time someone sees our work and likes what he sees. It’s certainly changed mine.

To my art league friends I’m probably known as the member who does – everything! If I can imagine myself doing it, I try. So, I took batik lessons from Art league of Germantown (ALOG) member Dikki Van Helsland and loved every minute. Then I went on to more fun from ALOG members: oil painting with Lynne Oakes, watercolor with Simi Bhandari, stained glass with Fran Asbeck, and oriental brush stroke painting with Kay Stratman. And during these forays into visual art, I also imagined myself as a writer and wrote and had 13 novels, several short stories, and poetry published.

Then I saw my first beaded necklace and I found myself in a world of little glass wonders. They’ve been my passion ever since. I create and create and create, and still the ideas keep churning. So, now (including writing, painting in oils, acrylics and watercolors), I produce one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry. And recently I’ve begun bead embroidery and sculpture. My carpet is becoming crunchy under foot, but my beadwork is getting more imaginative, and my life is further enriched by the experience of imagining. Thank you, Mrs. Gilbride.

Publishing History

The Sister Mary Agnes Series

(purchase today, just click on the title)

A Killing on Church Grounds - Five Star Mystery, 2006

A Killing in Retrospect - Five Star Mystery, 2009

Playing Games - (YA) Harlequin, 1988

Smoke Screen - (YA) Crown/Pageant, 1988

The Wind's Reward - Ballantine, 1989

Frontier Fire - Zebra Heartfire, 1991

Blazing Passion - Zebra Heartfire, 1991

Rebel Wildfire - Zebra Heartfire, 1992

Prime Time - Pinnacle, 1992

Dead As Dead Can Be - Zebra Mystery, 1993

Wilderness Flame - Zebra Heartfire, 1993

Wait for the Dark - Zebra Mystery, 1993

Risks - Pinnacle, 1993

Murder under the Tree- Zebra Mystery Anthology, 1993

The Ghost of Christmas Past - Short Story

Romantic Interludes - June/July Issue 1994

Forever, This Time - Short Story

Fortune's Fire - Zebra Lovegram, 1994

Knight’s Lady - Heartbeat Novella, 1995


Note: Most titles can be found in used book stores or used book sites on the internet, and on Amazon.

Authors Statement

Barbara Cummings is an award winning author of numerous novels (comedy, mystery, romance, and young adult), short stories, and poems.

In 1993, her mystery novel set in Victorian London (Dead As Dead Can Be) was voted one of the top ten best-selling original paperbacks by Mid-Atlantic Independent Mystery Booksellers.  In 1994, she received the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Prime Time.  She is also a recipient of the Washington Romance Writers’ Outstanding Achievement Award.  She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., and Washington Romance Writers.

Ms. Cummings received an MA in English from the University of Rhode Island, and studied for her doctorate.



“[She] paints strong, vibrant characters who hurtle across a tapestry woven with intrigue, deception and heroism.”

--Nora Roberts

Rich, evocative, clever...[Barbara Cummings is] a bright and”

--Patricia Gaffney on Frontier Fire

“ excellent novel--one you shouldn’t miss.”

--Affair de Coeur on Prime Time

“...the book is charged with exhilarating triumphs as [a] new breed of journalist faces private loss and uncovers public shame from Washington to Las Vegas...”

--Kathleen Gilles Seidel, New York Times bestselling author on Prime Time

“God talks to Sister Agnes, Barbara Cummings’ refreshing new sleuth.  HE keeps score of all her indiscretions--and they are many--because under her habit she’s still Mayetta Morgan, best friend of Richard DelVecchio, a driver for Rhode Island’s crime boss.  She’s spunky and fierce, a crack shot and just what depression era Rhode Island needs to track down the bad guys.  Yes, Sister Aggie, whose worst curse is ‘Damson plums’ and who declares, ‘They’d better have brownies in heaven or I’m not going,’ is one of a kind--the delightful kind.”

--Judy Fitzwater, author of The Jennifer Marsh Mysteries