April A to Z Blogging Challenge: G is for Giveaway (surprise included!)

#DailyWings: “Things never go the way you expect them to. That’s both the joy and frustration in life. I’m finding as I get older that I don’t mind, though. It’s the surprises that tickle me the most, the things you don’t see coming.”
-Michael Stuhlbarg

Blogging From A to Z is an annual month-long challenge in which bloggers around the world are invited to write a blog post every week day for the month of April, with each day corresponding to a letter in the alphabet (26 week days = 26 letters). For this year’s A to Z challenge, my theme is personal anecdotes, or “childhood memories.”

The great thing about having a big sister when you’re really young is that you get to meet all of her popular, older friends – and because you’ve got the squishy cheeks, the kiddie dimples and a habit of trying to copy what they do, they love you. (It’s also pretty awesome when your big sister doesn’t mind you getting all of this attention.)

It was the year 2000. I was seven years old when I attended my sister’s friend’s bat mitzvah. It was hosted at some party venue in Boston, and I can still remember looking down from the second floor and seeing all of the boys and girls on the dance floor. There must have been a disco ball, because the whole room was shrouded in colorful party lights – purples and blues and pinks.

On the second floor, Sophie – one of Hope’s close friends, but not the birthday girl – brought me to the ice cream buffet line and helped me put together my own bowl of ice cream. As we went down the line, she asked me what flavor of ice cream I wanted, what toppings she should add and whether I wanted a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Since my mother wasn’t too keen on us eating sweets at home, this was heaven.

When Sophie asked me if I wanted whipped cream on top, I hesitated and then shook my head.

“Are you sure you don’t want some whipped cream?” she said, looking incredulously at the seven-year-old kid who had just turned down a cloud of cream and sugar.

I nodded twice. In my mind, whipped cream was that weird wannabe frosting basically made out of air.

“Okay.” She handed me a napkin, my bowl of ice cream and a spoon. I like to think that I said thank you, but that’s not in my memory. I believe I just looked up at her and gave her a grateful smile before running off to enjoy my treat.

Later during the evening, the host of the event – someone employed by the venue – came out with a microphone to give an introduction and rouse the crowd. He walked into the middle of the dance floor, thanked everyone for coming out and congratulated the birthday girl (or at least that’s what I imagine he must’ve done). He also started giving away prizes.

I don’t remember how many people won giveaways that night, but at some point the host approached me while I was dancing and asked me my name. He lowered the microphone so it was right underneath my chin.

“Wendy.” I heard my name reverberate across the room, and everyone turned their heads to look at whoever that small voice belonged to.

Next thing I know, the host placed in my hands a brand-new Elton John CD album: “The Road to El Dorado,” featuring “Someday Out of The Blue.” That album was released just months before our family moved to North Carolina. That’s how I know it was the year 2000 and that I was seven years old.

The spotlight fell on me when I received the CD, and everyone on the dance floor clapped. I might’ve even heard my name a couple times from my sister’s friends. I was elated. What a pleasant surprise to have received this gift out of the blue (no pun intended), and I wasn’t even the birthday girl!

Maybe it was how unexpected the giveaway was, or maybe it was the way everyone showered me with whoops and pats on the back, but since then, I’ve loved surprises. I love putting together the “perfect” birthday gifts, planning secret bashes for other people and pranking them, too. (It’s also fun to be on the receiving end, of course.) I love the bewildered look on people’s faces when they’ve been pranked or surprised right under their noses. In fact, a few days ago for April Fool’s, I offered my partner Andrew a delicious-looking cupcake that happened to have mayonnaise on top instead of frosting. I’d even added a few sprinkles! Priceless.

To indulge my love for giveaways and because one of my blogging goals was to host one before the end of spring, I’m launching my Spring 2015 Chapter Critique Giveaway today!


Here are the rules and the nitty gritty details you need to know: 

  • The Winners: There are two possible winners – each winner will receive an in-depth chapter critique of up to 10 pages (words must be typed in 12 point font). Your 10 pages don’t necessarily have to be a part of a novel – they can be 10 pages of poetry, an academic paper, short stories, etc. Since I can only read English, your writing must be in English.
  • The Chapter Critiques: Chapter critiques will include copy editing for grammar/syntax and spelling; suggestions for improvement; in-depth review of continuity, character development, pacing, flow, etc.
  • How to Enter: The ONLY mandatory thing you must do to be eligible for the giveaway is leave a comment under this blog post with your fondest childhood memory before the deadline: April 30!
  • You may also get extra entries by doing various other activities such as following me on Twitter and Instagram, tweeting about the giveaway (you can do this once per day), etc. This giveaway is being run via Rafflecopter, which will keep track of your entries. The more entries you have, the more times your name gets tossed into the bucket, so to speak, and the more likely it is that you’ll get picked!
  • Both winners will be chosen RANDOMLY via Rafflecopter’s magical random generator on April 30, the last day of A to Z, and will be announced on May 1. I will reach out to the winners via email (wendyluwrites@gmail.com) or Twitter (@wendyluwrites) before the end of May 1 with details about the chapter critiques.

RafflecopterYou MUST use the Rafflecopter form below to ensure your entries get counted. Click “Leave a blog post comment” and, once you’ve left a comment down below, click “I commented!” From there, you’ll be able to gain bonus entries by following me on social media, etc. Let me know if you have any questions!

Finally, anyone may participate in this giveaway, not just April A to Z participants. This giveaway is open to the world! Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


7 responses to “April A to Z Blogging Challenge: G is for Giveaway (surprise included!)”

  1. A favorite childhood memory:

    My Grandma Rose was and is one of my favorite human beings in the world. In the 1970’s, she lived and worked in Manhattan, My memories of her from then involve Chanel scarves, a Lancome lipstick called “Champagne,” and department store perfume. She was the epitome of glamour to me. The summer I was 8, Grandma Rose took me in for a long weekend. We walked through the South Steet Seaport, window shopped on 5th Avenue, and had spent an entire day at the MOMA. The highlight, though, was when she took me to see Sandy Duncan as Peter Pan on Broadway. We had orchestra level seats. At the end of the performance, Sandy Duncan literally “flew” over our heads, encouraging us to fly. Holding my grandmother’s hand as we made our way to the bus stop, and all the way home, I think I did just that, even as the bus rumbled beneath us in Midtown rush hour, back to her apartment, and to sleep that night.

  2. Arlee Bird says:

    I’ll remember never to accept a cupcake from you if you offer me one–or at least I’ll be very cautious to taste the frosting before taking a big bite.

    I have so many great childhood memories that it’s difficult to pick just one. Some great times were had wandering the undeveloped canyons near my neighborhood in San Diego. Those canyons have since mostly been filled with houses and other things, but they did preserve a portion as a nature preserve. We had wonderful times exploring.

    I tweeted your giveaway and might try to enter.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    A Faraway View

  3. Chuck Allen says:

    I’m really enjoying your theme of childhood memories. Here is one of my favorites:

    One summer our family took a vacation to North Carolina. This particular trip was special because my grandmother rode with us – which meant she sat in the middle between me and my sister. She was always a lot of fun – never lacking for games or stories to keep us entertained.

    Somewhere along the way I had purchased a plastic knife that would slide up into the handle so it looked like you were stabbing whatever you pushed it against. My parents had gone inside a store while my grandmother, my sister and I waited in the car. As we were goofing around, my sister pretended to stab my grandmother in the head with the knife just about the time that some people were walking by. In normal fashion, my grandmother slumped over on me as if the stabbing had left her dead.

    You should have the eyes of the people walking by and looking into the car. My sister kept saying, “Get up! People think I stabbed you.” But my grandmother wouldn’t move or open her eyes. Finally, my sister started “stabbing” her own leg to show people that it was a play knife. I’m not sure that helped much at first as people started hurrying away from our automobile. I laughed so hard that day.

  4. Deb Atwood says:

    Love your graphic and quote! The gift you received was so special–and probably more so since it made you feel like one of the grown-up kids. Since you enjoy creative nonfiction/memoirish writing, have you read Safekeeping by Abigail Thomas? She has a vignette called “Something valuable given away on the street.” Your piece reminded me of hers.

    I’ll come back later with a childhood memory. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  5. What a lovely memory! Sisters, ice cream, disco balls, dancing, and winning something! I don’t have any chapters I need critiqued, but great idea to tuck your own cool giveaway into a story about the same thing!

  6. Pempi says:

    I am loving your Challenge theme, Wendy and I think it is clever in that you are revealing a little more about you in each of your posts – we are the sum of our parts and childhood forges us, don’t you think? With that in mind I would like to share a happy childhood memory of being chosen to read a piece out at the Christmas festivities at our school at the end of my first term there. At the practice in the school hall, as I made my way behind the lectern, it became apparent that I was way too small to look over it so my headmaster fetched a stool I could stand on. I stood on the stool feeling very self-conscious about my lack of height in front of the older children at the school when my wonderful headmaster (who was so tall) whispered to me, “You;re not the smallest behind this lectern, you know? Look down there.” I gazed down to see a little mouse delicately carved into the foot of the lectern. I immediately felt extra special to share the secret of the mouse with the headmaster and it made me much more confident so that when I spoke my words my voice rang out and everyone congratulated me!

  7. Barbara says:

    I thought I left my comment ew days ago. Weird.
    Okay, so I think I was four and I got stuck on the tree. I saw one boy and I screamed to him to help me. And he did. As a compensation I spat on him. Lol. I still can’t believe I did it. But it was kind of funny.

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