sur·prise –  noun \sə(r)-ˈprīz\

: an unexpected event, piece of information, etc.
: an unexpected gift, party, etc.
: the feeling caused by something that is unexpected or unusual


Just last week as Ann Kroeker and I were talking with our publisher, L.L. Barkat, about how to get the word out about our upcoming book, the words “secret” and “surprise” and “idea” and “early” kept coming up. What if we just published the book early and didn’t tell anyone?

We all liked the idea, actually. It would be like letting the little book find its way in the world naturally as people discover and hear and share.

But what we didn’t realize is that the surprise was really for us! Without telling, our publisher flipped the switch to publish our book and make it available to the world sometime over the past few days. Then, she told lots of our friends about the news, still without letting us in our the secret. Her plan: as soon as Ann or I discovered that the book was available, she would have everyone who knew about it would start sharing the news on social media, congratulating Ann and I, and surprising us like crazy!

Just as predicted, yesterday I stumbled onto the live Amazon page after following a link at the bottom of an article. I blinked, did some clicking around, and realized the book was available. I texted Ann. I emailed L.L. And within an hour or so, the notifications from Facebook started pouring in. I had “secretly” started slipping the Amazon URL onto our various online places and updating the official publish date to October 24, 2014—which happened to be my birthday. When I saw the first notification from my friend Sheila, I thought I had accidentally broadcast the news, when in fact, she was the one broadcasting the news to Ann and me. The book is here!

My laptop went wild with dings and pops, the little Facebook notification number reaching up into the 90s at some points. Throughout the evening, friends and family chimed in congratulating us on the book’s launch, the launch that was supposed to be secret.

Turns out it actually was.


Ann and I have a few surprises of our own to share over the next few months as we watch this little book find its way into the lives of many writers. We wrote it because we want to see writers at all levels find their way to what’s next, because we really believe there is a “what’s next” for all writers at all stages. This book started out as a workshop a year ago, when twelve women joined us for twelve weeks to see where their writing lives would go. The biggest surprise of all was how much Ann and I were encouraged to take our own next steps.

Many of you reading this are not writers. Some of you may secretly want to be, and if so, then this book has something for you. But even if not, the book may have something for you as you discover more about the writing lives of its authors. Or, the book may have something to offer you as you explore how to take the next step into your own passions and interests. At the very least, the book offers a way for you to encourage the writers you know to walk bravely into the surprises awaiting them in their own writing lives.

I’m not usually one for surprises. I like to have a plan and a map and a to-do list. I like to know where I’m going and what I’ll be doing when I get there. But yesterday made me laugh and marvel and appreciate all the ways the best surprises are the ones that remind me of the people who make the writing life worth it.

Including you.



OnBeingaWriterCoverAUTHOR: Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig
TITLEOn Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts
: Follow the link above to order it from Amazon.

Photo above by Claire Burge, via T.S. Poetry Press, used with permission. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.

*This website uses “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.