Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Felicity Pickle & The NYT!

Before I gush and get a little sappy about the amazing readers I met last week, I wanted to make extra-especially sure I shared this happy news:

A Snicker of Magic was reviewed in the New York Times last Sunday!!! And it's a lovely review.

Click here if you'd like to read Elisabeth Egan's thoughts on Felicity & Co (she called the story "whimsical and bewitching"!!!). I still can't believe it!

Dad and I went to Starbucks that morning so we could buy a hard copy. Here's a picture of him, proudly holding the issue, just before announcing to everyone within earshot that my book is reviewed in there:

He's the sweetest!

I don't write much in coffee shops anymore. I'm in a weird season where I like to write in the quiet, listening to nature-sounds (rain, in particular). I like space to talk to myself (or my dog) without people worrying that I'm a French Fry short of a Happy Meal. But I have written heaps in that particular Starbucks, and I have no doubt I spent some time in Midnight Gulch there. The barista working that day has been there as long as I've been going there. He's an older guy with a kind smile who always says, "Hello, sweetheart!" when I walk in the door. That morning, I pushed my paper across the counter, ordered my coffee, and whispered, "Guess what? My novel is reviewed in this issue."

He glanced up over his glasses. "Is that right?"

I shook my head excitedly. Cartoonishly.

"Then show me!" he grinned.

So I turned to the page, just to show him. But he twisted the paper around so he could actually read it. As the line grew steadily longer, he cleared his throat and read, quite loudly: "New Girl in Town..."

He beamed. He cheered. And then he wouldn't let us pay for my coffee.

The sun was sparkling that morning, and the world was barely awake. While we waited for our coffee, I held the paper close against my chest, like I could press all the words against me, and I looked at the corner seat where I used to write. And wonder. And hope. It all made me tear up a little bit.

Not every review is good.

Not every story becomes a book.

Most people only hear the Cinderella-part of a publication story; the part where you actually get to do the thing you dreamed about. They gloss over the years you spent writing and wondering and learning and waiting and hoping.

Sometimes, it takes a long time. All the time, it feels like a miracle. I'm totally aware that my book is a sweet, quiet book. That most people will never know about it. That I'm not a big deal. But everything about this matters so much to me. And as much time as I spend sinking in self-doubt, I think it's important to celebrate the sweet moments when they happen. I would be wackadoodle not to celebrate this. My. Word. I've imagined some wild things, but I don't know if I was ever brave enough to imagine some of the wonderful things that have happened.

Don't give up on the hoping and dreaming part, is all I'm saying. Find the perfect window seat, the one where rain smears against the glass and sends tear-shadows over your pages, and write your heart out.

I'm grateful and excited and still a little bit stunned. What a day.

Yes, yes, yes!


  1. Congrats! :) I'm so happy that your book is getting so much attention. A Snicker of Magic totally deserves it (and so do you!).

  2. This just makes my heart happy. And your dad is the absolute cutest. Look how proud he is of you -- as he should be.

  3. This is such a happy story. It rather made my day.

  4. What a great review. Congrats! I love what you wrote about on your post. Keep posting because those of us who are having withdrawals from your writing after reading A Snicker of Magic want to keep drinking up all your words. Keep them flowing.

    Deanna H (4th grade teacher and a huge fan!)

  5. I read "A Snicker of Magic" this weekend and am IN LOVE!!! It spoke to my heart and my mind and I will be forever using spindiddly and factofabulous to express my delight or joy about something. I am a classroom teacher and an aspiring librarian who will be having a book hook about your book tomorrow with my 6th graders. I am going to read your blog post about the review and then have them read the review! I already know I will have to do a drawing to see who is the lucky reader to read it first:) Please keep writing!! I can't wait for what coms next.

    I keep a list of books I read with the 'golden lines' that I want to remember because they touched me in some way. I would like to share my golden lines from "A Snicker of Magic" with you:

    -Everything about her seemed bright, even her clothes. She wore a polka-dot sweater and a green skirt that swirled like a lily pad when she spun toward us. (17)


    -And then that strange, golden rain light shone warm and pretty over Oliver’s books. I wondered if the sun had missed the books, had waited as long as it possibly could to shine over those spines again. I knew how that felt, to love a story so much you didn’t just want to read it, you wanted to feel it. (76)

    -remembering is still important though, no matter if its good or bad. (84)

    -The way he said her name made my heart cramp. In all my years of word collecting, I’ve learned this to be a tried and true fact: I can very often tell how much a person loves another person by the way they say their name. I think that’s one of the best feelings in the world, when you know your name is safe in another person’s mouth. When you know they’ll never shout it out like a cuss word, but say it or whisper it like a once-upon-a-time. --Felicity (85-86)

    -Make sure you always find out both sides of a story before you decide what’s true. –Oliver (96)

    -hope didn’t fade when I walked past Jewell’s station. Hope didn’t fizzle or flicker or burn out. Hope isn’t the same as other words. Hope holds steady. –Felicity (174)

    -A factalactus is a truth that hurts a little bit, that prickles and stings, like you tried to shake hands with a cactus flower. But just because it hurts doesn’t make it less true. –Felicity (262)


    -Everything you touch, everything you smell, everything you taste, every picture you see—all of that has potential to call up a sad memory. You can’t choose what comes up first. But you can choose to replace it with something good. I choose to think on the good parts.’ –Mama (265)

    -Fear always finds you no matter what, she says. And it growls louder and grows bigger, the longer you run away from it. –Felicity about Aunt Cleo (268)

    -There was no magic in the world more powerful than that kind of love. (280)

    -If you’re brave enough to love, and forgive, and call up the factofabulous memories…there’s no curse in the world that has any power over you.(280)

    --I’ve collected whole constellations of words. But these words are my favorites: Mama, Cleo, Boone, Frannie, Roger, and Biscuit. I wouldn’t know anything about love if it weren’t for them. No matter what happens, or what I do, or how far apart we are, I know they love me. And if you say ‘I love you,’ and you mean it, then love makes up for a wholelifetime of mistakes. That’s some kind of magic.—Felicity (282)

    --I can’t see much good in carrying regrets around like keepsakes. (298)

    -Home isn’t just a house or a city or a place; home is what happens when you’re brave enough to love people. –Felicity (302)

    --Because I’m convinced that Midnight Gulch can’t be the only magical town in the world. I bet there’s a snicker of magic on every street, in every old building, every broken hear, every word of a story. Maybe it’s hidden away and you need to look harder for it. Or maybe the magic is right there, right in front of you, and all you have to do is believe. (309)

  6. I'm pretty sure you're on the path to being a big deal, girlie.

  7. Hi Natalie! Just saw this post and yes, yes, yes!!! So happy for you and so happy for us readers that you wrote this. Just amazing. I'm reading it with 60 4th graders right now and they are having a ball!! They are all getting into the characters and the location and they are just getting it! They are collecting Felicity's words and every day they write and discuss "lines that stick to them". So many fantastic ones are being brought up! Thank you again for writing this book!