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Amy Sonnichsen

26 Days of Facing the Chicken Exit: DAYS 15 – 17


22, 2022 |

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Today, we continue the countdown to the release of my upcoming picture book, BRAVER THAN BRAVE, illustrated by Eunji Jungand published by Capstone Editions, a Capstone Imprint. I present Days 15-17 of 26 Days of Facing the Chicken Exit!

On with the countdown to the release of my upcoming picture book, BRAVER THAN BRAVE, illustrated by Eunji Jungand published by Capstone Editions, a Capstone Imprint. I present Days 15-17 of 26 Days of Facing the Chicken Exit!

DAY 15: Girlie 

“My friends wanted to do a play and I decided to do it with them, but I don’t like being looked at by a lot of people, so more or less stage fright. So my friends hyped me up and I just didn’t look at anyone in the audience, and everything went well.”

A white teenaged girl with blond hair, wearing jeans and a t-shirt stands in a doorway with a rollercoaster in the background. Above the doorway is a sign that says "Chicken Exit."
DAY 16: My Mom, author of me!
“I have a couple of stories about facing a chicken exit. The first was one day when we all went to Lagoon, our local amusement park. I spent the first half going on rides with you (that’s me! Janet Sumner Johnson). Somehow, we ended up in the Colossus line—the ride with 2 upside-down loops—and we happened to be first to enter. I wasn’t excited to sit in the front seat, but you were, so I did it for your sake. I was scared to death, but I felt like it was what I had to do. I made the mistake of closing my eyes in the scariest parts and got the worst case of motion sickness I have ever had. You had to go around with someone else the rest of the day. I wish I had been brave enough to keep my eyes open. But I’m still glad I did it!
“The second story I thought about was when, as a youth leader, I took a large group to a waterslide park. You should know that I hate waterslides. I don’t really like slides of any kind. Everyone there encouraged me to go down the dark slide. I still remember that you all had a great laugh at the look on my face when I came out! There again, it was what I thought I had to do, BUT I’m really glad I did it. So I think that bravery is doing what you have to do even if you don’t really want to and it scares you.face when I came out. It was what I thought I had to do. So I think that bravery is doing what you have to do even if you don’t really want to and it scares you.”
Janet, a light-skinned woman with light brown hair in a red shirt stands in a doorway with a rollercoaster in the background. Above the door-frame is a yellow sign that reads "Chicken Exit."

DAY 17: A.L. Sonnichsen, Author of RED BUTTERFLY
“My husband had to get a cyst removed from his earlobe. I said I wanted to be in the room with him when the procedure happened, but I got so woozy watching the doctor dig into his flesh that I took my chicken exit and hightailed out of there, just in time before I passed out. I sat on the floor in the hallway with my head between my knees deep breathing. No more surgery observations for me!”
A white woman with dark hair in a blue patterened dress stands in a doorway with a rollercoaster in the background. Above the doorway is a sign that says "Chicken Exit."

Hope you enjoyed DAYS 15-17! In celebration of the upcoming release of BRAVER THAN BRAVE, I’ve got two giveaways going on right now. One on Twitter, which you can enter HERE. And one on Instagram, which you can enter HERE. They both open through July 23rd, and they are both open to wherever Book Depository delivers. Good luck!

Check out other days of Facing the Chicken Exit:

DAY 1: The Legend of the Chicken Exit

DAYS 2-4

DAYS 5-7

DAYS 8-10

DAYS 11-14

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30, 2014 |

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And the winner is . . .

Jessie Oliveros!

Congratulations!! You’ve won a pre-order of Amy Sonnichsen’s RED BUTTERFLY, which is set to release Feb. 3, 2015.

I have sent an email, and I’ll get you all set up as soon as I have your address.

Hope you all have a great Monday!

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THE RED BUTTERFLY’s Cover Reveal!! + Win a Pre-order


06, 2014 |

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Not quite two years ago, my blogging friend and I exchanged manuscripts. I knew hers was a novel-in-verse, but I didn’t know quite what to expect. Well. Let’s just say, I was blown away. Blown!

That, of course was a draft of Amy Sonnichsen’s RED BUTTERFLY. It was touching and delicate. Beautiful and surprising! I still think about this story. And even though Amy didn’t have an agent at the time, I knew it wouldn’t be long.

Last Summer it was picked up by Simon & Schuster, Books for Young Readers, and is slated for publication in Winter 2015. And I’m THRILLED to be part of her cover reveal! Go Amy!! [And I’m sure she’d love it if you stopped by her blog, The Green Bathtub, to congratulate her!]

So first, the book blurb:

Kara never met her birth mother. Abandoned as an infant, she was taken in by an elderly American woman living in China. Now eleven, Kara spends most of her time in their apartment, wondering why she and Mama cannot leave the city of Tianjin and go live with Daddy in Montana. Mama tells Kara to be content with what she has … but what if Kara secretly wants more?

Told in lyrical, moving verse, Kara’s story is one of a girl learning to trust her own voice, discovering that love and family are limitless, and finding the wings she needs to reach new heights.
And if that doesn’t have you dying to read it, just look at this beautiful cover!


A.L. Sonnichsen grew up in Hong Kong and then spent eight years in China as adult. She now lives on the dry side of Washington State with her dashingly handsome sidekick, five talented children, and a luxury cat. Red Butterfly is her first novel. Learn more at alsonnichsen.blogspot.com. Twitter: @alsonnichsen


And because I love this book so much, I want to give away a pre-order of it! Just enter in the Rafflecopter below, and feel free to spread the word. This contest is open to US and Canada addresses, and will close June 27th at midnight EDT. Best of luck!

Congratulations, Amy! I’m so excited for you and your beautiful book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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In Which I Impatiently Await Amy’s Cover Reveal


02, 2014 |

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This is my normal posting day, but I’m kind of excited, because Amy Sonnichsen is having her cover reveal this week for RED BUTTERFLY, and I get to be part of it!

Sooooo, I need ya’ll to come back here on Friday, June 6 to see Amy’s beautiful cover. It’s beautiful guys. And perfectly perfect! I can’t wait for you to see it, and I even more can’t wait for you to read it. Will Winter of 2015 never come?!! 🙂

I’m so in love with this book, I just can’t even . . . yeah. I can’t.

See you on Friday! and P.S. if you aren’t following Amy on twitter, you seriously should be. She tweets here: @alsonnichsen

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The Source of Inspiration


13, 2014 |

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Since I actively joined the blogosphere, way back forever
ago, I’ve gotten to know a lot of other writers. One of the things I love
learning is where they draw their inspiration from.

Last week, Kimberly Afe talked about her inspiration for her
book, The Headhunter’s Race. A Zelda commercial, and poof! idea.

My awesome friend, Amy Sonnichsen, talked about her inspiration for
Red Butterfly (S&S, 2015!!) HERE. Her sympathy for another’s plight led to a
beautiful story.

J.K. Rowling dreamed of a boy with a lightning-shape scar,
and Stephanie Meyer dreamed of vampires. Inspiration that served them well.

The very first book I wrote was inspired by a longing to
return to my youth. To an easier, more carefree time. I’d just turned 19 which
(for a reason completely unknown to me now) was a huge deal to me. I was a
freshman in college, living on my own, having to be totally responsible for
myself. I had no one pushing me to do what needed doing.

And I remembered. Remembered the carefree days of exploring
the jungle of our backyard ditch. Of racing off on my bicycle with my brother
to go dig in the empty lot around the corner. And I wanted it back. The book
was a joy to write, because I just relived all the wonderfully crazy moments of
my childhood. I even included the awful ones that now make me giggle: getting
trampled by the whole soccer field; getting thrown in the ditch by my sister.

When I rewrote it (as my 3rd book), my inspiration came from
the present instead of the past. Foreclosures were popping up everywhere, and I
couldn’t help wondering how kids were handling it. I needed an outlet to express myself. The two ideas morphed, and
it became my first query-able book.

I was thrilled when I finally “finished,” but I
was worried . . . where in the world I would find another book idea?

Which now makes me laugh. Because they come at me from
everywhere. A cold became the idea for a humorous MG. A scary dream became an idea for an MG Horror. A horrible real-life
event became an idea for a YA Contemporary. A Wedding Dinner in France became
the idea for a novel set in France. My soccer team became the idea for a work
of adult fiction. They come at me so fast, I know I’ll never actually write
many of them.

But that’s okay. Because some ideas rise to the top. And the
best ideas will get written because they keep on inspiring until they must be put on paper for the world to see.

That’s the way inspiration works. At least for me.

Where does your inspiration come from?

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HSC Congratulations: Amy’s Book Deal!!


27, 2013 |

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As you may know, Amy Sonnichsen, founding member of the Hacky Sack Club [HSC] recently signed a book deal!!!

We’ve been bouncing off the walls with excitement for her. BOUNCING.

So. This is the kind of thing that we at the HSC can’t just let go by without doing something crazy. So Melissa Sarno and I got together. I flew in to New YorkWe Skyped and emailed and Googled and came up with a fabulous way to express our congratulations to Amy while embarrassing ourselves in a HSC kind of way.

As it turns out, Melissa is a sound and video editing genius, so for your viewing pleasure, we present to you our video [And YES! That is Melissa and me singing TOGETHER even though I did not get to fly to New York. She’s brilliant, I tell you!]:

Congratulations, Amy! We’re On Top of the World right there with you. 😀

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Rockin’ My Summer


05, 2013 |

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I’m back!! And I have so much I could tell you. So much that you’d be astounded by my amazingly full summer. These events might include but are not limited to:

  1. The losing of my dignity when not one bottle of orange soda, but TWO, exploded in my car and all over me. (And yes, children are involved.)
  2. The entering of the wrong sex bathroom . . . and not noticing until exiting the stall to find a MAN at the urinal that I also failed to notice.
  3. The forgetting of my wallet as the only money-bearing person of the travelling group . . . and NOT noticing until I have driven beyond the point of no return. (This “not noticing” thing seems to be a trend)
  4. The epic battling against a swarm of mosquitoes that invaded our vessel when we pulled over for an emergency of the unpleasant-smelling kind.
  5. The helpless watching of my son who not only puked all over the McDonald’s booth, but somehow managed to splatter everyone in our very large group.

Yep. My summers are always epic, and I have rules to share and everything. But I am not going to talk about these things today.


Because today I actually have a GOOD experience to talk about. And not just good.


Have you ever met someone online who is the bomb? The kind who inspires and lifts and makes you want to be not just a better writer, but a better person? And then you learn they are not only the bomb, but a kindred spirit . . . and not just any old kindred spirit, but one who GETS your crazy, AND has the same crazy herself?!! Someone who would do this (not to mention this and THIS) for the sake of solidarity and connecting with others?

When Amy Sonnichsen and I “met,” we lived on opposite sides of the country and I never thought I might get the chance to meet her in person. But this summer the stars aligned and it actually happened!

She is even more fun in person. We had a blast together, and as co-founders of the Hacky Sack Club, you KNOW we had to video something. *Big grin*

Alas, blogger is stubbornly refusing to let me post said video, but you can watch it here or here.

Have any of you gotten to meet a blogging/twitter/online friend? How’d it go?

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Winner and Thoughts about “The Journey”


20, 2013 |

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Finally! After all the debates and hullaballoo, we have a winner!! *throws confetti*

Amy gathered the names. Her daughter, very fairly, drew a name from a hat. And the winner is . . .

Susanne Drazic


You can email either me or Amy and let us know which prize you choose:

1) TWO 10-page critiques (1 from Amy & 1 from me)


2) The SURPRISE package!!!

Thank you to everyone who entered our contest and passed along congratulations to our amazing friends. 🙂

So I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole writing journey lately. I remember when I first started writing with the idea of getting published. So much excitement! Every word on the page was magic, and everything I wrote was brilliant.

I didn’t stop to consider the reality of the publishing world and all the hurdles I’d have to overcome to get my book in print. I just wrote. And I loved every minute of it! I subjected my (then new) husband to first drafts and he laughed in all the right places and told me he just knew I’d be published some day. (See why he’s a keeper?!) 🙂

Good times, those.

But, of course, that doesn’t last forever. The rejections came. I still remember my very first conference critique by a real live editor. “It sounds like you haven’t found your voice,” he said.

Oh, but that hurt.

And then my first critique group. My perfected chapters came back covered in ink.

That first rejection from that first query. I think it took a little under an hour to receive it in all it’s “Dear Author” glory.

And the list goes on.

More often than I care to express, I wondered if all this effort was worth it? With all the rejection, why did I think I could ever reach that shiny goal of seeing my words in print, and my name on the cover?

Two things kept me going.

First, was remembering why I started writing in the first place. Remembering the sheer joy of bringing a world alive and watching others react to it. How could I give that up? WHY should I give that up just because I hadn’t been published yet?

Second, was this quote:

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising
every time we fall.”
551 — 479 B.C

Success is not achieving something we can’t control. Success is moving forward in the face of difficulties. It’s not giving up just because something is hard.

And that my friends, is pretty awesome. Because we can control that.

I’d love to hear about your journey, and how you define success, too.

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In Which We Eat Ice Cream


13, 2013 |

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We did it.

We came.

We saw.
We got on Skype at the same time (even though Amy’s mic was broken so I had to talk to her on the phone).

We even had the same kind of ice cream.

And our nine-year-old boys STUFFED OUR FACES. (Mine may have enjoyed it a little too much. If you listen closely, you can hear him cry with wicked glee, “This is the most amazing day of my life!” Uh huh.)

Here’s my video evidence of the grand competition.

But we have a little problem. Amy and I are in grave disagreement about who won. Amy says I ate the most ice cream. I say she ate the most ice cream. We need your help.

Who ate the most? Watch Amy’s video here to decide and leave a comment on one of our blogs. We’ll add up the votes and make our decision on Wednesday. Then we’ll announce the ULTIMATE WINNER of our blog competition next Monday (find out what the awesome prizes are here).

And one last congrats to all our friends! You KNOW we love you after seeing these videos, right? 😉

P.S. I sense questions coming over the little cutie trying to get in on the ice cream eating action. Her arm, you ask? Yup, it’s newly broken. But it’s just a hairline fracture, and she’s a trooper. She’s more upset by the splint than the break. She’ll be back to good health before you can blink. 🙂

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Ice-Cream Eating Celebration Contest!


06, 2013 |

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Holy Cow, has it really been a MONTH since I posted?!
Unbelievable. So I stayed busy doing this:

And this:


Not to mention THIS:


And while I didn’t really think ya’ll would be stagnant
while I was gone, all kinds of good things happened:

One of our very own members of the HackySack Club, MelissaSarno, just SIGNED WITH AN AGENT!!, so head on over to her blog and read about it!

Note: New members to the Hacky Sack Club are always
welcome and we DO seem to have some good mojo going. Just saying.

Also, my Hacky Sack Club partner in crime, Amy Sonnichsen’s
Fablulous CP, Krista VanDolzer [of Mother.Write. (Repeat.)] announced theBOOK DEAL she just signed!!

And JessieHumphries, from my NaNoRevMo group, announced herawesome TWO-BOOK DEAL with Amazon.

Anyhoo . . . so much good stuff going on for our friends that
Amy and I couldn’t just let it slide. We are holding a Celebration Contest!

And since all good celebrations need ice-cream, we are
having an Ice-Cream Eating Celebration Contest! Woo hoo!

So here’s how it works:

Amy and I are going to battle it out to see who can eat the
most ice-cream
in 20 seconds. Too easy, you say? Our 9-year olds are going to
be the ones stuffing the ice-cream in. Still too easy? Another child will hold
our hands behind our backs to keep us from cheating. 

And you’ll get to see the whole thing on video!! How cool is

BUT, it gets better. There will be PRIZES!!

All you have to do is guess who will win. Me? (uh,
yeah). Or Amy?

Everyone who guesses right (on either blog) will be entered
into a drawing for your choice of

 a 10-page
critique from BOTH Amy and I,


Surprise Package D (gosh I love me a surprise
package). Could be a book. Or two. Or a gift card. Or, who knows? Maybe even A

Just post your guess in a comment before
Sunday, May 12, midnight EDT
, and come back next Monday, May 13th,
for the ice-cream eating event! Winners will be posted shortly thereafter.

So go on, take a guess! But just know . . . this is me,
Toughest, Ice-cream eating-est, Brain-freezing-est contestant around! Just

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