Gae Polisner's Blog, page 6

March 19, 2014


For Pete's sake, if you've read this intro already, just scroll down to Amy's breathtaking 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 I have the stunning, glorious, amazing Amy Ferris (can you tell that I dig her?).

Amy is the author of the poignant and hilarious Marrying George Clooney, Confessions from a Midlife Crisis, and co-editor of Dancing at the Shame Prom, which is making its way up my must-read list so not-fast-enough.

Amy's breathtaking story completely breaks my "make it brief" rules, but there's not a sentence I could cut, so I share it with you in all its Amyesque glory.

Gary didn’t much believe in the afterlife.He didn’t.He wasn’t a spiritual type.He didn't believe much in coincidences.He played the stock market, and often described events and people in ‘market’ terms.He believed in living in the moment, being completely and utterly true to his word, and living life fully. He was cool and sexy and rode a motorcycle, and owned a hugely successful bar (actually two) in New York City and had a bunch of young and sexy girlfriends - as in ‘gold bullion digging’ young, sexy girls - who didn’t have a clue how lucky they were that they were with him, because, well, he had a wonderful big gigantic heart. They didn’t care much about that because what they saw was the long hair, and the sexy face, and the gorgeous eyes, and the Harley Davidson that was parked outside the Bar, and of course, they saw the Bar with the cash register that went ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching every single minute on every single night, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights when you couldn’t even get into the Bar because it was so crowded. I asked him once, while a few young sexily clad women were draped all over him, what it felt like to be Mick Jagger, he said, “Good, real fucking good. This pays dividends.”
Gary died in a motorcycle accident. But before he died in a motorcycle accident, he went to the Caribbean, where his boat capsized and he was all alone, literally, in the middle of the ocean, clinging to both his life for four days, and a new found God, and it appeared that God found him, and he, Gary, said he remembered so much while his skin was literally baking in the sun: every nuance of his life flashed in front of him. He begged for forgiveness, he screamed at injustice, he wept at his horrible relationship with his parents, he was pissed at himself that he let the one girl he loved get away, he was out-loud livid that two of his close friends screwed him out of money, he was grateful that he could build a bar, and refurbish all the rooms in his gorgeous townhouse with his bare hands, he was deeply appreciative that he was generous and kind and that he truly deeply loved life. And he also, while baking in the sun, remembered that a psychic told him that he would die before he was fifty, and that in fact his death would be categorized as two fold, because he would actually “die twice.”“What fucking bullshit. No one can die twice.”He swore that the psychic ‘broad’ was completely nuts, “a fucking fruitcake.”
So, while he was both clinging to life and the capsized boat, he made a deal with God, to let him live just a little longer so he could make sure that he said good bye properly to all the folks he loved.
He lived just another year or so.

Big and bright sun, public domain. By Allison Breskin. 
And in that year or so he prayed every day to God, he went to church, he became a born-again, he found peace and faith, he gained weight, and met a woman who was close to his age and had some poundage, and one could even categorize her as an Earth Mother, and what was most beautiful about her was in fact her spirit and her laugh and the lines around her eyes. I told him she was the sexiest woman he had ever been with. “Yeah,” he said, “This one’s a triple AAA rating.”
And in that year or so, he managed to tell everyone he loved that he loved them all dearly and with all his heart. And a few folks who screwed him royally, he told them to rethink their lives. And a couple of the girls who draped themselves over him, he managed to tell them to stop hanging on to men, stand tall, and don’t give it away to some schmuck who has a wad of money, and no intent on ever getting married.
He was killed in a motorcycle accident. Coming home from Long Island on one of those long crazy summer weekends.
He would tell you, if he were alive, that yes, that was in fact called two fold, and the first time he died – clinging to life on a capsized boat – that in fact it was he who saved himself, but he gave all the credit to God, because he made a deal, and Gary never reneged on a deal.

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Published on March 19, 2014 06:09 • 33 views

March 18, 2014



For Pete's sake, if you've already read this intro ten times, just scroll down to Stephen's 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
This is the face of a man who
loves bunnies. 

Today, I have writer friend Stephen Swartz here, author of "epic fiction" including a YA-appropriate sci-fi trilogy that starts with book one: DREAM LAND

Stephen shares a sweet and stormy story of a karmic  (?) tornado that stirred up more than just debris. Enjoy!

I remember when the F5 tornado struck just south of my home last May. 
Following the radar images and calculating my odds as I packed my precious things, I happened to see a new reporter on TV, driving a big storm-chaser vehicle but fleeing the tornado instead of chasing it. I was hooked: the little girl driving the big truck, talking to the camera out of the side of her mouth as she faced forward to watch where she was racing, telling us about the tornado she had encountered.
She wasn’t a little girl, but a petite woman full of spunk and daring-do. I was so impressed I had to find her online and when I got to Facebook, I sent her a friend request and a short message declaring how impressed I was by her live report. And suddenly, voila! A reply! She was online right then. The same woman I saw on TV a few hours earlier! We exchanged messages for a couple hours longer. It seemed I was at my peak of cleverness that evening—even as we slipped into seriousness while discussing the damage from the tornado and the nine people who died.
In that electronic grasp of humanity, we agreed to meet the next day, just to chat over lattés at the Barnes & Noble bookstore half-way between her TV station and where I lived. Our conversation continued as though we had just logged off Facebook a few minutes earlier. Turned out she was almost as new to the city, as I was.But we found each other—at the moment we each needed to find someone. We parted with a cordial hug and an exchange of cell numbers. Later, we started texting. And, the rest is history: We met at the tornado!- Stephen

Please check out all of Stephen's books and, if you haven't yet, order your copy of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, hardcover OR Audiobook, out next week!
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Published on March 18, 2014 05:00 • 33 views

March 17, 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, I have writer friend and cat enthusiast Becky Kyle, contributor to Ladies of Trade Town and other anthologies, and editor of Tails from the Frontline (Wolfsinger Press, November 2014) telling a story of a near miss and some well-timed fate on Halloween...
Halloween 1998 – We had just moved to Beaverton, Oregon and I was new to the area. I finished a rose latch hook rug for my best friend, who’d lost a family member, and I wanted to find binding for it. It was 3:30 PM and I knew I could just make it around the corner to the Craft Warehouse to get what I needed before the big rush of Intel and Nike employee traffic hit.
I arrived at the Craft Warehouse and was surprised to learn that, while they sold latch hook
rug kits, they did not sell the binding material. 

They suggested I go to Joann’s Crafts, which was about a half-mile away. I figured I still had time to make it before 4:00, but got preoccupied by the staff who had always mostly ignored me before then, but had suddenly taken an interest in my project. 

I rolled the rug out and was pleased to get many compliments from the crew. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t get out of the store – the sales help wanted me to show other customers and as people came in and saw there was a show-and-tell going on, they wanted to see, too.
It was near 4:00 before I could leave Craft Warehouse. I considered the traffic and opted to still head to Joann’s so I could get the rug done and get it out to my friend. As I neared the store, I heard quite a few sirens, but that wasn’t uncommon. This was off 185, which was a very busy street.
When I arrived at the Joann’s, I asked for directions to the area where they sold rug binding. The clerk was quite abrupt and told me I couldn’t get to it. I politely asked if she might get me what I needed. 

She explained that, no, there was now a car where the rug binding was.
When I walked out of the store, sure enough I could see to the other side where a massive 1970’s sedan was sticking out the windows. An elderly woman in her eighties had lost control nd hit the window at full speed. She was at the hospital undergoing emergency treatment. 

The time she’d hit was almost exactly the time I would have arrived at Joann’s if I had set out as soon as I learned the Craft Warehouse did not carry what I needed. If the admirers at Craft Warehouse had not held me back, I would have been standing at the rack in the exact spot where the car had hit and likely would have been killed or seriously injured. 

- Becky 
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Published on March 17, 2014 04:55 • 22 views

March 16, 2014


If you've read this intro already, please feel free to skip straight down to Carole's 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.”

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


Fellow Class of 2K11 cohort and amazing storyteller, Carole Estby Dagg, tells this story she calls:
Meant to Be
Back in 1950, when I was six years old, my Aunt Thelma convinced a nun to allow me into the room of my dying Great-aunt Clara. I don’t remember much from that long ago, but I do remember tip-toeing down the hall of Sacred Heart Hospital in the wake of the nun’s softly swishing habit, hoping we wouldn’t get caught. Clara was white on white: white hair on white pillowcase, pale face above white sheet, and a body so thin it hardly raised a bump under the blanket. She was sleeping, so I couldn’t talk to her. I just looked and remembered. 
Sixty-one years later, at the launch of my book THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS about Great-aunt Clara’s 4,000-mile walk across the country with her mother, I told my cousins about my last visit to Clara. I thought I’d hear how they had also been smuggled in to see Clara one last time.
“But children weren’t allowed on patient floors back in 1950,” one said.
“None of the rest of us got to see her,” another said.
We all got goose bumps. Clara’s own records of the walk had been burned. It’s as if Aunt Thelma knew that someday I would be the one to tell Clara’s story for her so I should have a clear memory of her.

- Carole


Please check out THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS, and pre-order your copy of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, today, especially from your favorite Indie Bookseller or brick & mortar store.
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Published on March 16, 2014 07:49 • 59 views

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 • 26 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 • 20 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 • 64 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 • 30 views