Gae Polisner's Blog, page 6

March 14, 2014


If you've read this intro already, by all means, skip right down to the guest post!

As many of you know,  THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO , my second novel for young adults officially comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO —not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Sky, but also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (sorry, you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all just be coincidences, but maybe are “something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question,  “Karma or coincidence? Random or something more magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.
- gae

Me with Heidi at our friend Megan's a book launch
a few years ago.
Today I have dear friend Heidi Peach on my blog. 
Heidi doesn't write, in fact we joke that she's way too pretty to write (Okay, no joke. Clearly she is).
What's she's not too pretty to do is make gorgeous handcrafted items.  
From her whimsical Day of the Dead lanterns,
My Day of the Dead lantern all aglow recently...
to custom-fabric dog beds, and throw pillows, to her coveted, intricately beaded handbags. . .
Here I am modeling my custom hand-beaded MERMAID purse. . .you can check her Etsy shop, It's a Peach monthly for exciting and wonderful new items.

Are you still reading? WAIT! STOP! ARE YOU CRAZY?  CLICK HERE. Because just this morning she added more of her world-famous* sugar skull handbags and already half of them are gone. No kidding.

Then, when you're done feasting on her beautiful handiwork, here is her lovely story. One about an astrologer and a small wood table.
Years ago I went to an astrologer to have my charts read. All she knew about me at the outset was my name and birthday.She began my chart reading with my past. She told me a moon had passed and a female member of my family had recently passed away. This was true. My German grandmother, just three months earlier. She was everything to me. I acknowledged to the astrologer that she had passed away.


The astrologer paused and asked if I believed in past lives. I said I was open to all thinking, so she said to me that my grandmother and I were sisters in a past life.  She even said to me, that is why both your names start with an H.  
No, I had not told her my grandmother’s name. 
She told me my grandmother had been my older sister and described the house we lived in, and mentioned a coffee table that we were constantly playing on and sitting at.  
She described the coffee table as round with legs that were a lion’s head at the top of the legs and lions feet at the bottom. It took my breath away. 

That table used to belong to my grandparents, until they gave it to my parents when we moved back to America. It is a unique one of a kind table. 
Me, with the table...Losing my grandmother was one of the biggest heartbreaks in my life. That moment helped me to believe that she will always be with me no matter what, sitting at the same table, and encouraging me through life.

- Heidi 


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Published on March 14, 2014 20:06 • 32 views

If you've read this intro already, by all means please scroll down to today's guest, my lovely editor, Elise Howard.

As many of you know,  THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO , my second novel for young adults officially comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO —not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Sky, but also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (sorry, you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all just be coincidences, but maybe are “something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question,  “Karma or coincidence? Random or something more magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.
- gae

So, how cool is this? Today, I have my amazing Algonquin Young Readers editor, Elise Howard, of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO fame.

Elise, with ARC's of SUMMER at NCTE '13 in November.Um, okay, maybe MY book isn't her only claim to fame, because, trust me, she has a long trail of beautiful books she's been part of, and everything she touches with her editorial magic becomes expert and beautiful storytelling (although she reminded me with her post that she's an editor not a writer ;).

Take a moment to scroll through her brand new AYR teen list so far. It's good reading!

Anyway, Elise had recently shared this short, sweet gem of a story with a friend, and when she heard about my blog series, invited me to share it with you, here, now:

My dad and I shared a love of gardening. He especially liked to find unusual and useful plants and tell me about them or give them to me, fritillaries among them. 
The summer after he died, single fritillaries appeared in my garden and in my mom's -- in spots where they had never grown before. 
And, today, on Valentine's Day, this picture (yes, fritillaries) popped up when I turned the page on my calendar at work:

- Elise

Please check out all of Elise's books and, of course, mine, out in less than two weeks! Also, don't stop here, scroll down through the rest of the week's posts, a tale of a karmic clock, an encounter (or not) with a feather and the ghost of Lincoln, a sign from cousin Skeeter, and a message delivered from son gone too soon. THANKS TO ALL the writers who participated this week!

xox gae


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Published on March 14, 2014 04:58 • 23 views

March 13, 2014


Have you read this intro already more than once? 
If so, skip down to Frank!
And please scroll through the rest of of the entries so far! 
They're all wonderful. 
As some of you may know,  THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO , my second novel for young adults comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.


THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO —not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Sky, but also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really be coincidences, “but something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question,  “Random or something magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.
- gae
Today's post is from wonderful writer friend Frank Kopet.

Frank is one of the most energetic, inspirational guys I know. He's the author of the Tomorrow trilogy plus his connected YA story, Sarah's Tomorrow, a number of plays and other written works of art.

Here's Frank, with a staggering and heart-tugging moment of magical connection:

It was June 2006 and we traveled from Connecticut to our Georgia home.  Our family was still mourning the loss of our eldest son Christopher and we arrived at our favorite retreat with very heavy hearts. Chris lived in Alabama, about hundred miles west of our Georgia property. He suffered for over a year with Leukemia and equally so from the various forms of treatment. He died in February 2006.

We pulled into the garage and did the usual unloading, robotically, and settled in. This was the Friday before Father’s Day.

On Father’s Day the wonderful telephone calls came. We rejoiced and laughed and yet the void of another voice tugged at our hearts.  Just an old folder, right? 

I don’t know the reason why but I went into the garage and a manila folder rested on top of some moving boxes.  It did not belong there. Our files were located in the house. The moment I touched the simple folder, a paper fell out. 

It was a child’s drawing celebrating Father’s Day. It was a handmade card that I received a long time ago from Chris. 

- Frank Kopet

Please check out Frank's books, and don't forget to order your copy of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO from your favorite indie bookstore or brick & mortar. 
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Published on March 13, 2014 05:05 • 19 views

March 12, 2014


Skip down to Barbara if you've read me already!
As some of you may know,  THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO , my second novel for young adults comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO —not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Sky, but also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all be coincidences, “but something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question,  “Random or something magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.

- gae


Barbara, and her smiley radiant face.Today I have my dear friend Barbara Radecki sharing a goose-bump-raising story. Barbara is a Toronto-based writer and actor. For three years, she co-wrote the award-winning (and amazingly funny, real, heartwarming) blog, The Middle Ages, and is just finishing her novel, The Darkhouse.



Telling Time  My father-in-law died suddenly and unexpectedly at a relatively young age. He’d just moved to Canada from France (his home for 25 years) to be closer to us. Our daughters were 3 years and 1-month old respectively, and my husband and I were thrilled their grandfather would finally be around to shower them with love and attention. He exceeded our every expectation, hosting tea parties and play-dates with our older daughter and engaging in long staring contests with the baby, confidently proclaiming her “a genius”. We were devastated when he passed away only eight months after he’d arrived.
A few months after his death, it was the eve of our baby’s first birthday. Still mourning but back to dealing with ordinary minutia, my husband and I tucked ourselves into bed knowing the next day would be a much-needed celebration of life.  The karmic clock. Lovely, isn't it?

We were woken from deep sleep by a huge crash on the main floor of our house. Terrified, we crept down the stairs to investigate. The source of the crash turned out to be a clock that we’d inherited from my father-in-law. It’s a gorgeous pendulum clock, large, ornate, hand-painted. We found it on the floor—as if it had been propelledfrom the wall, the nail still fixed to its spot. Holding our breath, we searched for damage. But the clock was absolutely intact, not a scratch on the paint, not a chip in the wood. My husband noticed its battery on the floor not far away. He examined the clock again. The compartment for the battery is secured with a latched panel. This panel had somehow opened during the fall, expelled the battery, and—before landing on itself on the floor—closed again and re-latched. Then we noticed: the time had frozen to the exact moment of our daughter’s middle-of-the-night birth the year before, on the birthday we were going to celebrate that very day.
Karma or Coincidence? We don’t have any definitive answers or ideology in our family, but this moment had a profound impact on us. We felt—and still feel all these years later—that this was a “sign”, a greeting, a reassurance from him. Call it what you will, but the whole thing felt… magical. The kind of magic where there is no trick, only the goodness and lightness of peace.

- Barbara


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Published on March 12, 2014 05:35 • 22 views

March 11, 2014


If you've read this intro more than twice, I forbid you to read it again. Just go straight to ordering my book. ;
As some of you may know,  THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO , my second novel for young adults officially comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.


THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO —not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Sky, but also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all be coincidences, “but something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and/or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question,  “Karma or coincidence? Random or something magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.

- gae

Ah, today I have my friend Grant Jerkins, author of the seriously page-turning crime novels, A Very Simple Crime, The End of the Road, The Ninth Step, and a forthcoming one in January 2015.  If you've missed any of them, what is wrong with you?

At any rate, Grant has his own interpretation of this topic (and so, I may have felt the need to chime in at times. . . that's me in red. . . and, um, I may have added a footnote or two. Grant knows why. . . ) Anyway, here he is:

Gae asked me to contribute some kind of spook story to her blog. 
(Gae: That is a LIE. Nobody said "spook story," but whatever).

Well, okay. I’ll share a story. This story is not going to end with the words, “And it was the ghost of Abraham Lincoln!” though. I can tell you that much.

(Ahem. Fine. Whose did? Whatever. Just share!)
The thing is, I don’t really believe in all that crap. Except I kind of do. I don’t have some big drawn out story about how the spirit of my aunt Edna intervened from beyond the grave and saved my life.

(For a guy without a big drawn out story, you sure are talking a lot. But, seriously, Grant, who does? Have a drawn out story, I mean. We ALL have an aunt Edna, don't we? fn1. The stories shared thus far have been short and sweet and subtle, right?)
could this be a sign of Grant's mother?But I do have little things I’ve experienced over the years. Like walking into an empty room to find that it smells strongly of a man’s cologne, and my immediate thought being that my long-dead grandfather was in the room with me.

Or watching a tiny fluffy feather float down and land at my feet, and for some reason believing that my mother just wanted to let me know that she was still with me. That she watched over me. 
Or how sometimes a Cardinal will alight on the handrail of my back deck, its deep red plumage demanding my attention. The bird seems to be watching me. And I always think the Cardinal has been sent by a friend who, in life, took great pride in dressing up in bright colors and making herself beautiful.
See? That's all I meant. No "spook stories."

So maybe all that stuff is real, and maybe it’s not. More important, I think, is if we choose to make it real. Because we can do that, you know. We can make it real.

We can choose to believe.fn2 Whether it’s really real is beside the point. Are you feeling me?

(I believe it is you, feeling me).

If a feather floats down through the air and lands at your feet, and your first thought is, “That’s Aunt Edna,” then go with that. Feel the love.

Or if someone close to you passed away and you feel guilty because there were bad feelings between you, and that feather makes you feel like the person is trying to tell you that you’re forgiven, then go with it. Feel the forgiveness. Because the feeling—that love or that forgiveness—it’s real.
(Yay, you're with me, Grant! You are with me! See?!) 
I remember one time, I was walking through the parking lot of our local Big Lots, and I looked down. There was a penny on the asphalt. Bright and shiny and glinting in the sun. It caught my eye.

I reached down for the penny. It was face-up. And so I stopped and wondered who would have put that penny in my path so that it would be there for me at that time on that day. And it was the ghost of Abraham Lincoln.
- Grant
(and, gae).

footnotes :

1. I don't really have an aunt Edna, don't tell anyone.

2. Actually, when I talk about THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, this is one of the things I talk about... that I didn't necessarily set out to answer the big questions of reincarnation in the story, so much as explore how we are open to magic and connections when we need them the most, and so, in the end, whether those connections are real or perceived is actually beside the point. So, good work here, Grant. ;) 


Please check out THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO and all of Grant's books including his newest, THE NINTH STEP
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Published on March 11, 2014 05:17 • 43 views

March 10, 2014


If you've read this intro before, feel free to skip down to Stacy's post!
As many of you may know,  THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO , my second novel for young adults officially comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO —not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Sky, but also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all just be coincidences, but maybe are “something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and/or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question,  “Karma or Coincidence? Random or something magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.

- gae

Today I have Stacy Overman Morrison, author of Comfort of Fences. Her story is so compelling and poignant.

I was raised in a speaking-in-tongues, hellfire-and-brimstone home. God wasn’t to be loved as much as feared, so when I left home, I left any relationship with the Divine, too. For years I professed Atheism but there was still a yearning for something more, the belief of something bigger than myself that unites us all. Like any good autodidact, I turned to books for my salvation and encountered the idea of talking aloud to the Divine, of asking for signs. So I asked for Skeeter to tell me that there is something more after this life.
Skeeter was my older, brilliant, kind cousin. He lived with us one summer and he gave me the stars above and the rocks below. Carrying me on his back, he pointed out constellations and sitting at the table he read me geology books while feeding me popcorn popped on the stove in the little tented aluminum pans. He gave me his time. Then he left to go back to finish his degree, get married, get a job, become a man. He never accomplished that last part. He was killed on an oil rig. The contraption that carries the pipe came loose, hit him in the neck and killed him instantly. He was 21.

Skeeter on his wedding day. 
When I decided to start talking to Spirit, I talked to Skeeter most. It took a while before I was brave enough to ask for that sign, the one that confirmed for me that we still go on. I was on the way to our grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary and I thought, Skeeter, I’m ready. If there is something more, I’m ready for you to show me. My three year old daughter sitting next to me spoke up: “Momma, you know that show Doug? My favorite in that show is Skeeter.” 
I have never doubted an afterlife since. I still search for meaning, for my path, for answers, and that searching is its own religion of sorts. And I still speak aloud to those who have passed. I do not have to be certain how it all works; I just trust it does. 
- Stacy 

Please remember to check out THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO and COMFORT OF FENCES, and please share your own Karma or Coincidence story in the comments if you'd like! 
- gae
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Published on March 10, 2014 04:57 • 29 views

March 9, 2014


SKIP, skip, skip this intro if you've read it five times before! 
As some of you may know,  THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO , my second novel for young adults comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.


THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO —not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Sky, but also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all be coincidences, “but something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question,  “Random or something magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.

- gae

Today I have Elana Johnson, author of Possession, Surrender and Abandon, and a brand new contemporary, Elevated, released for Kindle, February 18th.  

Here's the write-up for the story, which I think sort of fits the whole karma or coincidence theme:

The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator--let alone get stuck with--is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.

Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn't told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly's worried she won't be able to contain her secrets for long. She's terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can't bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.

Here's Elana, with a lovely, simple moment triggered by a celestial view:

I definitely do not think our lives are random. I do believe there is “something bigger and magical at work.” I have had many experiences in my life that strengthen my belief in this, but one happened when I was a teenager. I grew up in a very rural community (not even a gas station in town!), and the night sky was brilliant.

I had just attended a youth activity for a church I was not a member of. I was riding my bike home, admiring the stars and moon in the deep black sky that you can only find in parts of the world where there are no city lights to mar it.
I wasn’t sure about the youth group, or if I would go back, but as I rode home that night, I realized how happy I was, and how there was something out there – I remember thinking, In the universe, maybe? – that was bigger (and more magical) than me. I felt small and insignificant, but I knew going to the youth group would be good for me. So I continued to attend. 
- Elana

Please check out Elevated and all of Elana's books, and, of course, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, which should be popping up on shelves everywhere any day now. :) 


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Published on March 09, 2014 06:44 • 17 views

March 7, 2014


If you've read this intro four times already, for Pete's sake, please skip right down to the guest post!
As some of you may know,  THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO , my second novel for young adults comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?


Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO —not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Sky, but also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really be coincidences, “but something bigger and magical at work.”

Do you think our lives are random, or do you think there’s “something bigger and magical at work”? Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question,  “Karma or coincidence? Random or something magical at work?” 

- gae

Lori Landau
Today, for a twist, I have my dear friend, Lori Landau, here answering the question "random or magical?" through her ART .

Lori is not only a friend I've known since our teens, but a talented interdisciplinary artist, writer and meditation teacher.
You can read and follow her blog, Conscious Creativity HERE.

Inevitably, when I see one of Lori's drawings, I immediately marvel at how she seems able to capture the essence (or soul) of a person with so few lines. . . Here she is:

artwork, Lori Landau
I never fool myself that I'm adept enough to draw a true likeness of someone. But I'm fascinated with exploring the unseen, the essence of being. 

For me, drawing a portrait is an act of conjuring. I don't draw to reproduce features as they are, but to commune with consciousness and transcribe soul.


I'm often surprised by my own results, in spite of my intention to convey the unknown. What appears on the page, versus what was in my mind when I began drawing becomes a mysterious reverberation of magic. 



There are countless times that I have picked up a pen to draw my husband, or a stranger I see in an airport or restaurant, and what surfaces instead is the face of one of my ancestors, often my grandfather or a great uncle. 


Drawn on a poloroid, this is an actual
magical manifestation of my grandfather. Lori Landau


Here, my uncle arises... People who are concealed in my memory are revealed when I least expect it, in an act of reverse divination. 

A sense of sorcery shows itself in the eyes and mouths that defy my hand and take on a life of their own in the faces I draw. What rises from the depths of initial inspiration is evidence that there's a larger, secret force at work in the world.


All artwork: Lori LandauIn art and life, I believe there are two dynamics that exist in connection with one another, separate from an objective. It's clear to me that the images that manifest within my portraits are inexplicably bound to a mystical source. They are apparitional bits of visual phenomena, spirit scripts that are beyond my control. 

Each face I draw is in a sense, 
borrowed magic 
masquerading as an image, or a likeness. 

So when I sit down with the aim of drawing someone in particular, someone else entirely might speak to me in an invisible language. 


For me, drawing is an act of summoning. Lines and shading and color become vehicles for coincidence, a collection of two or more conditions, closely related by form which appears unlikely to me when I pick up my pen. 

- Lori



Please check out The Summer of Letting Go and all of Lori's really magnificent ART (portraits, paintings and photography) as well as her meditation information and blog. http://www.consciousnesscreativity.com/. And if you enjoyed this post, check out the rest of this week's posts here:

Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

Hart Johnson writing as Alyse Carlson

James King

Barbara O'Connor.

Thanks to all the wonderful friends participating. Stay tuned for next week's posts!
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Published on March 07, 2014 05:08 • 22 views

March 6, 2014



If you've read this intro already, by all means, skip right down to the guest post!

As some of you may know,  THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO , my second novel for young adults officially comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.


THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO —not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Sky, but also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really be coincidences, “but something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question,  “Karma or coincidence? Random or something magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.
- gae

    Today I have the funny, lovely and talented Barbara O'Connor, author of many amazing middle grade novels including her latest, ON THE ROAD TO MR. MINEO's. (btw, I love the cover to Mr. Mineo's. If you want to see, click on that link...) Anyway, Barbara and I not only share our love of Whoppers malted milk balls, but also a deep affection for my first editor, Frances Foster, who made Barb and me feel like instant and lasting friends just by the sheer connection of sharing such an extraordinary person in common.

Here's Barbara's brush with some kind of karmic connection.


This runway, here. . .  My father was a major dog lover. He bred Siberian Huskies and always managed to keep at least one puppy from each litter, so that eventually,  he had a LOT of dogs. They are a very energetic breed and need exercise.  So my dad would take them to an abandoned Air Force base near his home and drive his van on the runways while the dogs ran along beside him.
When he passed away, at his request, his ashes were scattered beside that runway. 
A couple years after his death, I was visiting the sight. 
It’s very peaceful there and I always feel his presence. 
This particular time, after I was finished chatting with him, I looked up to see a dog standing on a hillside in the distance. 
The dog just watched me, then turned and ran away. As I started to return to my car, I looked down and saw dog prints in the asphalt of the runway. 


It was eerie and cool at the same time. My dad was definitely there with me.
- Barbara
Please check out Barbara's books, and pre-order your copy of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, today, especially from your favorite Indie Bookseller or brick & mortar store. Oh, and if you want, share your own karma or coincidence story in the comments below. :)




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Published on March 06, 2014 04:53 • 49 views

March 5, 2014


If you've read this intro already, by all means, skip right down to the guest post!

As many of you know,  THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO , my second novel for young adults officially comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO —not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Sky, but also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (sorry, you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all just be coincidences, but maybe are “something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question,  “Karma or coincidence? Random or something more magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.
- gae



Today,
extraordinary writer and friend,
James King,
author of the always poignant and sometimes funny BILL WARRINGTON'S LAST CHANCE,
a beautifully-written contemporary novel with lots of YA-crossover appeal,

shares this story of his father:


My father suffered from Multiple Sclerosis and spent the last years of his life in a wheelchair. 

The morning after the evening he died, as I was waking, I saw him in his wheelchair by my bed, as if he’d been waiting for me to wake. He didn’t say a word. He looked at me for a moment, then simply stood and walked away. The episode was so vivid I was convinced for a few moments that it was not a dream. 

It freaked me out a bit. But I did appreciate his stopping by to say good-bye.

Jim writes, the incident inspired me to write this poem:

Walking in Dreams

The morning after the day he died,my father wheeled himself into mylast dream of the night. I waitedfor “up and at em,” his Saturdaymorning reveille to chores no sonof his was going  to sleep through.But as always he chose actionover words, gripping the armrestswith a no-back-talk look, pushinghimself out of the hated chair as if hecould have done so all along. He sethis sights on a landmark to his right,an unknown place he correctly,infuriatingly assumed was there,and walked away.
And so I panicked when this morningmy son slouched into my last dreamof the night, eyes fixed on the groundas his lankiness lurched into each heavystep. I tried to run to him and throwmy arm over his shoulder. All would bewell, I would assure him. He would smilelike he used to when rounding thirdand heading for home. Wherever he wasgoing, I would say, we could go together.But my legs worked as they do in dreams:He kept walking, my legs kept straining,and the best I could do for himwas wake up.

- Jim

Please check out Jim's book, BILL WARRINGTON'S LAST CHANCE and THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, especially from your favorite Indie Bookseller or brick and mortar bookstore. And, if you'd like, please share your own karma or coincidence story in the comments. 

- gae
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Published on March 05, 2014 04:52 • 23 views