Friday, February 28, 2014

The Summer of Letting Go Almost-Month-Long Karma or Coincidence? Countdown - The Rambling Intro

Pretty poster for my Long Island book launch
author photo credit: Rick Kopstein

So, there are just a few days (something under 25 of them, to be less than precise) until THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO comes out. The official pub date is March 25th (that evening I will be at Book Revue, Huntington, Long Island, doling out cake slices and reading a few pages, and I hope if you're local, you will come join me!), but the truth is the book will start shipping from the warehouse as early as March 5th, and the booksellers are allowed to release it as soon as it's received.

So, if you've ordered from Amazon or (hopefully) your favorite local independent brick and mortar bookstore (instead), you might have a copy in your hot little hands much sooner.

Oh, and, regardless of when the hardcovers start to ship, the audiobook is out from HighBridge March 8! You can take a sneak listen if you click the above link, but I'm so excited about it. Narrated by award-winning voice actress Tara Sands who is just awesome! So, got a road trip in your future? Grab the audiobook!

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?

Recommended Summer Pick: Young Adult Books, What We're Reading Now
As the Readers Guide for the book discusses, curious coincidences abound in the book not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Skybut 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 it to know what these coincidences are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all be coincidences, that maybe “something bigger and magical is at work.”

In order to celebrate the release of the book, starting tomorrow, for the rest of the month until it's official release, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, asking for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or an otherwise- mystical connection.

with my sister in our dad's garden...
not too long ago...
For example, there was that time, shortly after my grandmother Bea died (my sister and I affectionately called her "Honey Bee" our whole lives because she loved honey and was sweet and, well, you get the idea...

Anyway, as kids and young adults, my sister and I were very close with her (although there were some hard feelings when she died which is a long shaggy story no one needs to hear) and whenever it was her birthday or other gift-giving occasion we had always sought out jewelry and other items with bees on them for her (although we began to doubt she really enjoyed such items).

It was the spring right after her death, and my mom, sister and I were on the lawn of a beautiful old estate on Long Island, actually at a writers' reading (well before I was published!). It was a gorgeous day, the grass lush and lime-lollipop green, the day sunny, the trees a perfect canopy of shade. There were at least 30 other listeners gathered on the lawn with us.

Soon after we sat, a large bee started hovering around us, too close for comfort, flitting in and out of our folded legs, buzzing around, and ultimately in, our hair.

No matter how much we shooed it, that bee would not go elsewhere. It was not stinging us (though we feared it might) but it was insistent enough to be with us (all puns intended now that I wrote it) far more than seemed reasonable or natural -- back and forth between just my sister and me, to the point we were rolling on the ground with silent laughter, tears spilling from our eyes, as the others around us, oblivious and unbothered by its presence, listened peacefully to the reading.

As the month goes on, we'll share these stories (and I heartily invite you to share your own in the comments!!!), but I will leave you, the reader, to answer the question, “Karma or coincidence? Random or something magical at work?” 

Now, dating myself something awful, I give you Dory Previn, and a song from my childhood, to ask that question as well:

There. That was nice, right?

Okay, one more thing before we go. As a friend on the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award forums once said (I don't, unfortunately, remember which friend): gathering writers up for anything is about as simple as herding cats (if you want proof, see my exchange with uber-adorable author Julia Rozines DeVillers below).

Each of these posts took my lovely guest authors and other creatives time and love to put together. No one will enjoy them, likely, more than I have. But I hope you do. And, if you do, I hope that you'll check out their books, help spread the word, tell a friend who might tell two friends. I promise you, your support is HUGELY appreciated.

Like herding cats? 

See you all Monday with our first guest author of many (!) on the Summer of Letting Go Karma or Coincidence? Countdown.

xox gae


  1. Love this idea!
    I had a similar experience after my grandfather died. After the funeral , when my husband and I opened to front door to the in-law apartment at my parents' house a bird flew in. It had been sitting in the wreath on the door. It was a finch -the same kind that frequented my grandparents' feeders.
    The bird flew to the top of the fridge, stayed there, tweeted a bit and cocked it's head. We knew it was Grandpa, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
    The bird flew out, and the next day my grandmother announced that she wanted to move into the apartment to live out her last years.
    She did and lived another seven years happily until the age 100 next to my parents.
    The finches were always there.

  2. Love this story! Wish I knew who shared it! Thanks for commenting!

  3. I had something similar happen to me the day after my grandmother died. I was sitting in the passenger seat of my truck, with the window rolled down; I was just smoking my pre-show cigarette. This bird came over and landed on my side-view mirror, about two feet away. I don't know how I knew, but I knew it was her. Nothing like that has ever happened before or since. Also she nagged the shit out of me. (I'm kidding, grandma