The Summer People- 2023

With the release of the newly expanded and revised Book Four of the Summer People, you will be introduced to a ‘tribe’ of the Romani, known as the Churi, or People of the Knife.  The churi plays an integral part in Jake, and the Twin’s quest to free their parents from the insidious grip of the sibilant, or Serpent People.  Trapped behind enemy lines, the trio finds themselves at the enemy’s mercy, until they run across the churi, ‘guerilla-style’ or ‘freedom fighters’.  The churi are a matriarchal group of warriors operating deep within the Sibilant Kingdom, struggling to throw off the Serpent Peoples’s yoke of oppression, fear, and slavery.

The Summer People- Book Four- An excerpt

“We range these woods seeking the adsincani, what you name the serpent people.  We burn their houses, and attack their caravans.”

“So, you’re like guerilla’s then,” Jake exclaimed.  Chandra, Mar, and Rogue looked confused.  “You stay here and attack the enemy where he lives- behind the lines,” he went on.

Chandra seemed to ponder the question.  “I’m not sure what this line is you speak about, but yes.  We are the churi[1] or Knife of the People.  The same as my mother’s mother, and her mother before her.  We fight so that we might gain our freedom.”

Jake turned to Ash and Eli.  “So, does that mean they are on our side,” he asked.

“We are on no one’s side,” Mar rasped, “because no one is entirely on our side.  We simply are.”  Her response brought a sharp glare from Chandra.

“This is all very confusing,” Ash said.  She leaned forward.  “How many are you?”

“We are many,” Chandra replied proudly.  “Though we have no home, preferring leaf and bough as our roof and hall.”  She waved with her hand.  “The forest is where we belong.”

“Are all the churi, like yourselves,” Eli asked.  Seeing Chandra’s brow furrow, “What I mean is…”

“Do we have men in our ranks?”  Chandra’s eyes grew dark.  “Ever since the disowning and shame, our men have been taken to work the mines.  It is always the same.  As soon as they reach manhood, they are removed.  They become slaves and fodder to those you name the sibilant.”  As she named the serpent people, she turned and spit into the fire.

And so, we make our introductions, even though we need none.  We simply are.  We are the churi.  We are the people of leaf and bough, shadow, and shade.  We strike from the forest and hide from the noontime sun. To understand our ways, one must know our history, and to know our history, one must walk our paths and ways.~ Chandra

“In times of old, the Romani were warriors and wanderers.  I ask, what is a warrior without their churi.  A warrior would rather be dead than caught without their churi.  Little has changed.  Since the disowning and shame, the churi has taken on new meaning.  With our sons and men taken, wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers have assumed the churi and its great responsibility.  The knives we wield today have been passed down from mother to daughter, aunt to niece, and sister to daughter- Blood speaks to blood.

In times past the churi were considered common.  No longer, our blades are sacred, venerated even, inscribed with the blood-rune of each family, their history, and honor.

So, why this reverence for the blade?  After all, are we not outcasts, driven forth from our own people?  In answer I say, look no further than the Cossacks[2], and their views towards the blade.  Among the Cossacks, a small boy is given a blade upon birth, the knife placed beside him in the cradle.  The same is done amongst the Romani.  For we are churi, the chosen Knife amongst our People.  We are warriors, and we stand between the cursed sibilant and history.

Throughout generations, our people have been bladesmiths, makers of churia and blades.  Many of our tribes have been armors to Kings, armies, and Courts.  Many are the knifemakers in Klingental[3], Solingen[4], Sheffield[5], Albacete[6] and Toledo[7], sacred Romani families whose names bring legion and fear.

As churi, we live and die by the blade, by the skill of our limbs, the quickness of our minds, and the heat of our passions.  Our blades and skills are a way of life and remembrance.”

How it begins…

“A chavie[8], would be presented with her very first Churi on her naming ceremony. From that time forward she would wear her namesake around her neck, or at her hip. The churi she wields would have been made for her by an older phen[9] or day[10] or a puri daj[11], passed down as blood heirlooms, and/or remembrances. When older, around three or four, the chavie would be given a larger Churi made for her by a day, and at the age of five or six, she would be taught to ker[12] her own Churi.”- As related to Ashley, daughter to the Queen of the Summer People- regarding the making of churi.

“Amongst the Romani from the British Isles, the knife is often referred to as a “peg knife”. The reason for this name is rather obvious, as it was the knife that women used when “chinning the koshters”, making wooden clothespins. The churi was and is, basically, a utility knife used for just about every cutting task imaginable.”

Traditionally the Churi is a recycled knife; made from older knives of the “bone” handle variety.

The most common blade style for a churi, a.k.a. “peg knife”, has always been the sheepsfoot blade.

The sheepsfoot blade is extremely versatile, and all cutting chores are done with this churi, from cutting pegs (therefore the name ‘peg knife’), to cutting an apple to skinning a shoshoi (rabbit) or a rukmengro (squirrel), to peeling potatoes, and/or defending the group or oneself against attackers. There are times when the shape of the blade may differ, but this generally only happens if the original shape of the blade from which the churi is fashioned dictates and requires it.

I made my first Churi from an old knife when I was six years old, relying not so much on tools, but rather using elbow grease, patience, and some acquired skill. The Romani churi, amongst mi fohki at least, would always be made with a sheath to be hung around the neck or, also, with a sheath for carrying on the hip. However, the neck wearing of the churi was and is the most common way. I always wear one small Romani churi day and night. It only ever is taken off when I go for a swim.” ~Chandra

The “raw” material for a churi is usually an old kitchen or table knife, generally with a bone or wooden handle, and with a spike tang. The steel of the blade is either high-grade carbon steel or Firths Stainless. Firths Stainless was the first ever stainless steel, and the finest stainless steel forged.

The first step in making a churi, is to acquire the blade.  Carbon steel is always a good choice, and unless you know this, looks gray to black- that which is called “tarnish.”  Rust is not an issue either if the rust has not destroyed the spike tang.  Firths Stainless steel blades generally have the word “Firths Stainless” stamped on them.  The handles of these knives are bone if they are rather old.  Sometimes you may even find knives with deer antler handle.

Once you have got the knife (as cheaply as possible) you need to look at the lines of the blade. The shape determines the shape of the final blade. If it is a standard table knife, you then must decide where you wish to make the initial cut to shape the blade into a sheepsfoot, the traditional shape for a Romani Churi. For this, you will have to use a hacksaw or cold chisel to accomplish this.  After the initial rough cut, use a fine-cut mil file to achieve the final curves on the top for a proper nice sheepsfoot blade.

Next comes the handle.  If you want to put on a new handle, first you must remove the old “bone” handle. If you are blessed enough to have found a churi with an antler handle, I would suggest you do not remove it, but leave it. However, to remove the “bone” handle, the safest way I have found is to first scour a cut into the center of one of the flat sides of the handle with a cutting tool, then split the handle off with an old chisel.

Now that you have shaped the blade into a nice sheepsfoot shape and have taken off the old handle you can start with the new wooden handle. This must be a piece of hardwood.  The best woods to use are seasoned and can be either elm, birch, beech, yew, ash, hawthorn, blackthorn, cherry, apple, or other.  Do not try using oak, it does not work. Yew wood makes a nice handle, but the easiest wood to make handles with, which I have found anyway, is beech. I use a nice-sized piece of branch that has been seasoned for about six months to a year.  Cut a piece of a length that will be right and then with a drill bit that is just a little smaller in diameter than the tang you drill straight down into the center of the wood you have chosen for a handle. Now take an old – and I do stress old – saucepan fill it with water, throw in the piece of wood for the handle and boil this for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, you take your blade and, point down, clamp it, between protective pieces of wood, into a metal vice. Also, get a hammer ready. Once the handle has boiled enough you take it out of the water with tongs, and holding it with a cloth, carefully put it onto the spike by means of the hole. You then hammer the handle home and do this as straight as possible. Within a minute or so the wood will have cooled and shrunk back and the tag will be held firm. The only tasks to do then are to shape the handle the way you want it to be and then, put an edge on the blade using a file first, then a sharpening stone. Once you have put a razor-sharp edge onto the blade, you will have your very own traditional Romani churi.

All that is left at this point, is to make a nice, tight-fitting sheath for your blade using an old leather belt, bag, or whatever else.  Wood makes a nice scabbard as well.

[1] The Romani Churi, the making of which shall be described here in this little article, is the traditional churi (knife) of the Romanichals (Romane Chave). Amongst the Romani from British Isles it is often referred to as “peg knife”.

[2] The Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic-speaking Orthodox Christian people who became known as members of democratic, self-governing, semi-military communities, originating in the Pontic steppe, north of the Black Sea.

[3] Close to Basel’s famous dance of death in the Dominican monastery was another Dominican monastery in Kleinbasel named Klingental after its founder Walter von Klingen. In this secluded nunnery there used to be a copy of the famous dance.

[4] Solingen (German pronunciation: [ˈzoːlɪŋən] is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located on the northern edge of the region called Bergisches Land, south of the Ruhr area.

[5] Sheffield is a city in South Yorkshire, England.

[6] Albacete is a city and municipality in the Spanish autonomous community of Castilla–La Mancha, and capital of the province of Albacete

[7] Toledo is an ancient city set on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain. The capital of the region, it’s known for the medieval Arab, Jewish and Christian monuments in its walled old city. It was also the former home of Mannerist painter El Greco. The Moorish Bisagra Gate and the Sol Gate.

[8] young girl- not of age

[9] sister

[10] mother

[11] grandmother

[12] Make and/or forge

New Year- New Stories…

Leave it to the Serpent people to steal everything, including Jake’s parents. Determined to find them, Jake seeks out his next-door neighbors, the Twin’s Ashley and Elijah. Together with Merwin, a mysterious stranger of the Order of Rasputin, they begin a journey of discovery and fear, of a people called the Summer People, and their age-old enemies the sibilant.  

The Summer People- Book One

From page one this book grabs you and refuse to let you loose! The scenic descriptions rival any other. I honestly felt like I was dropped into the world of Jake, Ash and Eli taking part in their adventure. I can’t wait for the next part of this amazing tale!

Once again, Book Two, leaves me stunned. The plot thickens and the magic grows as this tale unfolds into a great story! I can’t wait for book three, and to figure out how the group is all connected as we dive deeper into the pages of this amazingly beautiful series.

Pick up your copy today on iTunes, Audible and Kindle or Paperback!- Click here:

The Summer People- Some History

The History of the Summer People really begins with the Romani- as they share common roots and history. If you look through historical records, the first real mention of the Summer People, first appears in the writings of Theophanes the Confessor in AD 803. Theophanes wrote that Emperor Nikephoros I had the help of the “Atsingani” to put down a riot with their “knowledge of magic”. From there, the “Atsingani” seem to vanish from history- until now- with the release of my series- The Summer People.

Please visit my website at: for lots of amazing stories, as well as the first three books of the Summer People!

A partial reprint of the wiki article has been added below.


The Romani have been described by Diana Muir Appelbaum as unique among peoples because they have never identified themselves with a territory; they have no tradition of an ancient and distant homeland from which their ancestors migrated, nor do they claim the right to national sovereignty in any of the lands where they reside. Rather, Romani identity is bound up with the ideal of freedom expressed, in part, in having no ties to a homeland.[5]The absence of traditional origin stories and of a written history has meant that the origin and early history of the Romani people was long an enigma. Indian origin was suggested on linguistic grounds as early as the late 18th century.[6]

One theory suggests that the name ultimately derives from a form ḍōmba ‘man of low caste living by singing and music’, attested in Classical Sanskrit.[7] Many also believe that Gypsies are descendants of Dalit because of the word zingaro (ατσίγγανος) (untouchable) that was used to designate gypsies in Greece . An alternative view is that the ancestors of the Romani were part of the military in Northern India. When there were invasions by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi and these soldiers were defeated, they were moved west with their families into the Byzantine Empire between AD 1000 and 1030.[8]

The genetic evidence identified an Indian origin for Roma.[9][10] Genetic evidence connects the Romani people to the descendants of groups which emigrated from South Asia towards Central Asia during the medieval period.[11]

Language origins[edit]

Until the mid-to-late 18th century, theories of the origin of the Romani were mostly speculative. In 1782, Johann Christian Christoph Rüdiger published his research that pointed out the relationship between the Romani language and Hindustani.[12] Subsequent work supported the hypothesis that Romani shared a common origin with the Indo-Aryan languages of Northern India,[13] with Romani grouping most closely with Sinhalese in a recent study.[14]

Domari and Romani language[edit]

Main article: Domari language

Domari was once thought to be the “sister language” of Romani, the two languages having split after the departure from the South Asia, but more recent research suggests that the differences between them are significant enough to treat them as two separate languages within the Central zone (HindustaniSaraiki language group of languages. The Dom and the Rom are therefore likely to be descendants of two different migration waves from the Indian subcontinent, separated by several centuries.[15][16]

Numerals in the RomaniDomari and Lomavren languages, with Hindi and Persian forms for comparison.[17] Note that Romani 7–9 are borrowed from Greek.

1ekekh, jekhyikayak, yekyak, yek
2dodujluidu, do

Genetic evidence[edit]

Further evidence for the South Asian origin of the Romanies came in the late 1990s. Researchers doing DNA analysis discovered that Romani populations carried large frequencies of particular Y chromosomes (inherited paternally) and mitochondrial DNA (inherited maternally) that otherwise exist only in populations from South Asia.

47.3% of Romani men carry Y chromosomes of haplogroup H-M82 which is rare outside South Asia.[18] Mitochondrial haplogroup M, most common in Indian subjects and rare outside Southern Asia, accounts for nearly 30% of Romani people.[18] A more detailed study of Polish Roma shows this to be of the M5 lineage, which is specific to India.[19] Moreover, a form of the inherited disorder congenital myasthenia is found in Romani subjects. This form of the disorder, caused by the 1267delG mutation, is otherwise known only in subjects of Indian ancestry. This is considered to be the best evidence of the Indian ancestry of the Romanis.[20]

The Romanis have been described as “a conglomerate of genetically isolated founder populations”.[21] The number of common Mendelian disorders found among Romanis from all over Europe indicates “a common origin and founder effect“.[21] See also this table:[22]

A study from 2001 by Gresham et al. suggests “a limited number of related founders, compatible with a small group of migrants splitting from a distinct caste or tribal group”.[23] Also the study pointed out that “genetic drift and different levels and sources of admixture, appear to have played a role in the subsequent differentiation of populations”.[23] The same study found that “a single lineage … found across Romani populations, accounts for almost one-third of Romani males.

A 2004 study by Morar et al. concluded that the Romanies are “a founder population of common origins that has subsequently split into multiple socially divergent and geographically dispersed Gypsy groups”.[20] The same study revealed that this population “was founded approximately 32–40 generations ago, with secondary and tertiary founder events occurring approximately 16–25 generations ago”.[20]

Connection with the Burushos and Pamiris[edit]

The Burushos of Hunza have a paternal lineage genetic marker that is grouped with Pamiri speakers from Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and the Sinti or Sindhi Romani ethnic group. This find of shared genetic haplogroups may indicate an origin of the Romani people in or around these regions.[24]

Possible connection with the Domba people[edit]

According to a genetic study on The Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup H1a1a-M82 in 2012, the ancestors of present scheduled tribes and scheduled caste populations of northern India, traditionally referred to collectively as the Ḍoma, are the likely ancestral populations of modern European Roma.[25]

A mtdna or ydna study provides valuable information but a limitation of these studies is that they represent only one instantiation of the genealogical process. Autosomal data permits simultaneous analysis of multiple lineages, which can provide novel information about population history. According to a genetic study on autosomal data on Roma the source of South Asian Ancestry in Roma is North-West India. The two populations showing closest relatedness to Roma were Gujaratis.[26] The classical and mtDNA genetic markers suggested the closest affinity of the Roma with Rajput and Sindhi populations from Rajasthan and the Punjab respectively.[25][27]

Early records[edit]

Many ancient historians mention a tribe by the name of Sigynnae (Tsigani) on various locations in Europe. Early records of itinerant populations from India begin as early as the Sassanid period. Donald Kenrick notes the first recorded presence of Zott in Baghdad in AD 420, Khaneikin in AD 834.[28]

Contemporary scholars have suggested one of the first written references to the Romanies, under the term Atsingani, (derived from the Greek ἀτσίγγανοι – atsinganoi), dates from the Byzantine era during a time of famine in the 9th century. In the year AD 800, Saint Athanasia gave food to “foreigners called the Atsingani” near Thrace. Later, in AD 803, Theophanes the Confessor wrote that Emperor Nikephoros I had the help of the “Atsingani” to put down a riot with their “knowledge of magic”. However, the Atsingani were a Manichean sect that disappeared from chronicles in the 11th century. “Atsinganoi” was used to refer to itinerant fortune tellers, ventriloquists and wizards who visited the Emperor Constantine IX in the year 1054.[29]

The hagiographical text, The Life of St. George the Anchorite, mentions that the “Atsingani” were called on by Constantine to help rid his forests of the wild animals which were killing off his livestock.


What is a hero?

Some answers require that we ask the right question!

‘ He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,  
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.’

Easter, 1916 – By William Butler Yeats

The Summer People- Book Two. Coming to a bookstore near you Summer 2019. Get your copy of Book One NOW!

Breaking News!

New News March!

Recent Review:
5 out of 5 stars- Visually gripping!
March 15, 2019 Format: Paperback
From page one this book grabs you and refuse to let you loose! The scenic descriptions rival any other. I honestly felt like I was dropped into the world of Jake, Ash and Eli taking part in their adventure. I can’t wait for the next part of this amazing tale!

Click Here for Paperback!

Click Here for eBook!

But wait, there’s more! During the beta trials, etc. I was contacted by no less than (4) audio book narrators to turn this little beauty, into an Audible Book! (And it doesn’t even have any ratings yet- it’s so new to the world.) All this in less than a day of it’s ‘non-official’ eBook release! As such, I am pleased to announce I have signed a contract with the amazingly talented Rachael Sparrow to produce The Summer People- Book One. (Currently, it looks like late March or early April 2019 for the Audible Release!)

Rachael Sparrow is a voice actor whose voice has been heard on a variety of national commercials, video games, educational training videos and podcasts, from Amazon, Amazon Alexa, Xfinity and Google, to the Video Game Fairy, Cross of Redemption. Voicing “The Summer People” will mark her debut, full-length audio book.

As a Platinum member of, Rachael’s work was recently spotlighted, and she was interviewed as a mentor for new voice artists.  Rachael is also the proud director of Sing! Voice Studio, where she trains and coaches young singers and actors. Rachael lives with her husband and two children in Bucks County, PA.

I am honored to have her tackle this project, and cannot wait to hear the final product.

Book Description:

Leave it to the Serpent people to steal everything, including Jake’s parents. Determined to find them, he seeks out his next-door neighbors, the Twin’s Ashley and Elijah. Together with Merwin, a mysterious stranger of the Order of Rasputin, they begin a journey of discovery and fear, of a people called the Summer People and their age-old enemies, the sibilant. 

“To create peace the Summer People basically gave up their king,” Ashley said. “put in him shackles and chains, carried him off to the Sibilant homeland, a dark and terrible place with lots of screaming and pain. That’s the only way the Sibilant would stop fighting.” She leaned in then, began whispering. “According to stories, he’s still there today, waiting to be freed. Waiting for a hero to be born.” Eyes narrowing, “Waiting times such as these.”

“Time such as these?” he asked. “What’s so special about these times?”
“You,” Ash replied, eyes narrowing. Grabbing his hand. “It’s you, Jake! He’s been waiting all this time for you!”

For those that have asked!

Lots of inquires as to where to grab my books- wanted to share these links. as always thank you for your continued support.

The Titles:

The Valerian Cycle- In which a young man in New York City sets out to find the truth and whereabouts of his father who’s been missing for the last three years. Seriously, this needs to be a movie!

A Gathering of Darkness- Book One of Valerian Cycle- Click Here for Audible; Click Here for eBook: Click Here for Paperback

Kaelynn’s Tale- Book Two of Valerian-  Click Here for Audible; Click Here for eBook: Click Here for Paperback

Fata Morgana- My stand-alone, horror, mind-tripping novel whereas you fondly remember, so do you trip- even after you’re dead!- Click Here for Audible; Click Here for eBook: Click Here for Paperback

And soon to be released- The Summer People– in which we discover no matter how small we feel, or out of place, we can still be hero’s!- Click Here for Chapter One

Love you guys!

Steve. (aka S.M. Muse)

Meeting folks = Dream come true!


From- A Gathering Of Darkness- Book One of the Valerian Saga. Get your copy today at the link below, on on this very page!

Shrugging her shoulders, Kaelynn turned to see Phillip holding Theo’s hand; Maggie beside them. As the sword slipped from her fingers, she fell once more to her knees beside them. “Oh my love,” she cried, tears raining…

Click Here to Grab your Copy Today!

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