Tuesday, March 4, 2014

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO - Karma or Coincidence? Countdown (Alyse Carlson a/k/a Hart Johnson)

If you've read this intro already, you can 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 Skybut 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?” 

- gae

Today I'm excited to have my friend Hart Johnson (a/k/a Alyse Carlson) author of The Garden Society Mysteries, here, which is doubly exciting because TODAY the third book in the series, Keeping Mum, releases! Happy book birthday, Hart!

You can follow her blog tour HERE where she's the amazingly witty, lovely, and naked  (okay, fake naked maybe. . . maybe . . .) blogger over at Confessions of a Watery Tart. Here's Hart's story:

Is That You, Dad?

I had the odd good fortune to be the oldest of an oldest, and three of my grandparents were second oldest, so when I was born I had 6 or 7 great grandparents. I remember all my great grandmothers and only one great grandfather, but I'm pretty sure there were more of them. What this means that has relevance to my tale is that as a child little-known old people died with some regularity. In the course of things, I think it's made me more philosophical and less catastrophizing where death is concerned. It happens to us all.

Who it shouldn't happen to is a vital young man. My dad was thirty-one. He was a loud, somewhat wild outdoorsman outwardly, at least when the beer flowed. He liked to hunt and whitewater raft. He had obnoxious dart-fart contests with my Uncle Bruce. He taught me some sports, but also couldn't be counted on to be home for dinner because he was still at the bar with the boys. There was never any doubt he loved my mom and me, but he never did grow up—he died driving drunk when I was ten years old.

Hart and her handsome dad. . . frozen in time. 

In my tween and early teen years I had daydreams about him showing up again—fantasies. But my first real blast, and it preceded me ever learning anything about reincarnation (I grew up in a small 98% Protestant town) was sitting on a swing at the park when I was in my mid teens. I spent a fair bit of time there, mostly because it was a good destination to ensure I walked past the house of a particular cute boy a couple times a week. As I sat on the swing watching smaller kids a little boy who'd been running and laughing ran up in front of me and stopped short. He stared at me for the longest time with recognition, and I saw it, too. We just looked at each other and I had the craziest feeling. It felt like my dad. His mom called him over, but I couldn't shake it and he kept looking back at me.

I don't know how all that really works. I believe it is all energy-based, but whether life energy stays cohesive enough to pass fully into another being, I doubt I'll ever know, but the couple encounters I've had like that since then have been oddly comforting. Like people aren't really gone and they will make themselves known now and then.

- Alyse a/k/a Hart

Please check out THE SUMMER OF LETTING GOKeeping Mum and all the GARDEN SOCIETY MYSTERIES by Alyse Carlson. And please share your karma or coincidence stories in the comments if you want! 


  1. Gae, congratulations on your upcoming release. Best wishes for success and thanks for hosting Alyse (Hart).

    Hart, I'm with you. I think some how those we lose are still with us on some panel possibly watching over us. Congrats again on your release.

  2. Thanks, Mason. No story to share? ;)

  3. This is a great story. Gave me goose bumps. Must add The Garden Society Mysteries to my list.