Category Archives: Book Giveaway
It’s been quite a year for me. I finally wrote another novel. I wasn’t sure if I had another FINISHED one in me. Sure, I am quite capable of writing anywhere from 65%-85% of a novel and walking away from it. But this year I did it! Pride Must Be a Place is a young adult title. Surprise, surprise. It is currently with my agent. You can read about it HERE. I wrote about half of Pride at the 72-hr 2015 Muskoka Novel Marathon. The other half? Well, I have someone else to thank for that. He knows who he is. I wrote the last half of the novel during the week of July 20th…which means cover to cover it was completed in a month. I guess that’s okay…especially for someone who thought he’d never complete another book!
Thank you, Michael!
I did more than finished a novel, though. This was also a year of travel. I know I said last year (2014) was going to be my travel year…but I guess it got extended a bit. Or perhaps it’s open-ended??? We discovered China, Hong Kong, and, Cuba this year. China definitely blew away all of my expectations. I had no idea I would fall so deeply in love with it. And I also had no idea I would finally ‘get’ the appeal of one-party politics. I mean, those people get shit done! No party bickering = Shit gets done. It was a beautiful country. I know it’s a vast place and I only saw a fraction of it…but what I saw (Shanghai, Beijing, Wuxi, Suzhou…) was breathtaking. I will never forget the canals and buildings of Suzhou (The Venice of the East). And the bustle of Beijing. And the Meglev of Shanghai.
As I wait for a publisher to pick up my latest offering (fingers crossed!) I attempt daily to put closure on my other not-quite-completed novels. I won’t say how many of them there are. Let’s just say I could probably wallpaper a HOUSE with their pages.
In the meantime, Happy Holidays to all! I thought I’d do a giveaway for my three novels that are YOUNG ADULT.
GOODREADS will be hosting the giveaway, and it opens to entries on DECEMBER 29th! Each contest has its own closing date. You can click on the images below to be taken to each contest…where you can simply click the ENTER GIVEAWAY button to enter! (Sorry, though…it doesn’t open until the 29th.)
BURN BABY BURN BABY
Feel free to share this contest with friends, family, and, enemies!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
You can read all about my novels on Goodreads…check out the reviews, etc. And they are all available at AMAZON.
Before I give you the information for the Burn Baby Burn Baby paperback giveaway…MNM2015! Yes! It’s almost here, and I cannot wait!
I will never forget my first Muskoka Novel Marathon back in 2007. It seriously sealed my fate as a one-sitting writer. And not just for novels. It’s also how I’ve come to write my plays, and I suppose everything else I pen. Come to think of it, it’s kind of how I live my life.
And before you get on a high horse and begin to tell me nothing that takes a megalithic effort, such as a novel, should be written in one sitting…hear me out. YES…I do make mistakes writing this way. I make huge ugly stupid mistakes. I make mistakes writing a novel in one sitting and I make mistakes running through life at top speed in my live-life-in-one-sitting method too. With life, maybe it’s not so easy to correct the mistakes. Let’s face it, when all is said and done and you’re gasping for your last breath…you probably don’t get to do it all over again and correct the imbalances. BUT…with writing a novel in one sitting YOU DO…YOU DO GET TO FIX IT.
That’s what the rest of the year is for. For anyone who thinks we Muskoka Novel Marathoners write our novels in one weekend and raise to get them up on Amazon, Kobo, and all the other insta-book selling sites, you’re wrong. I spend at least a year kneading the dough of the novel I write during this marathon weekend. I nurture it into shape through careful reading and re-reading. I remove the string of LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLs that accidentally appear on page 182 because it was 3am on Sunday night of the marathon and I fell asleep at the keyboard. I remove the random words that my sleep addled brain accidentally dumped into my manuscript with no rhyme or reason. I edit. I edit. I edit.
I also–truth be told–become acquainted with my manuscript. THIS is the most exciting part. When I do my first read-through of my Muskoka Novel Marathon manuscript, I feel like I’m reading my story for the first time. No…like I’m reading someone else’s words. That’s both a great thing and a bad thing. It’s actually the thing I struggle with the most with this method of novel writing. I don’t feel connected to my work. Not at first. I read it and I keep reading to find out what happens next. Somewhere along the 72 hours that it took me to write it, WILD MIND took over. We do become machines of sorts at the MNM. It’s inevitable. It’s magical, it’s great and it’s disconcerting. We become automatons.
nounplural noun: automatons
a moving mechanical device made in imitation of a human being.
Yep. That’s what happens. It’s kind of an out-of-body experience. And when you come back in, after typing all those words on autopilot, you need to reacquaint yourself with the work you created. Or, rather, acquaint yourself.
You could see why this would be both a good and a bad thing. The author needs to be the orchestrator of the story. But you also need to trust your instincts and leave yourself at the starting line. Once story takes over, you should allow it to do so. This is never truer than when you’re writing a novel in a marathon. Instinct is king. Thinking too much is the killer of this method of novel writing. Thankfully, I am a master at the art of disconnection (<< also not entirely a good thing).
Anyway, I just wanted to write a bit on the Muskoka Novel Marathon and the process involved in writing during this monolithic writing weekend in Huntsville, Ontario. I’m getting excited. The mayhem begins in three days!
Again, I will remind my readers that this is in fact a fundraising event. As epic as it is as a retreat for writers, we do actually do this for a worthy cause. 40 writers. 72 hours. 40 novels. Bam! And each of those 40 writers collects donations for the YMCA Simcoe/Muskoka literacy programs. We have collected over $100,000.00 thus far for the literacy cause. No small feat. But the funds are sorely needed…as literacy programs, sadly, are underfunded. So, if you are feeling charitable…and you would like to help writers help readers, please feel free to click on the pic below and jump over to my Canada Helps Giving Page and make a donation. Any amount helps. Together, we can make a difference in the life of a reader:
Burn Baby Burn Baby has been getting amazing reviews. Here’s the synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago.
Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley—the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby.
The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars.
If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions.
Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted.
Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.
And some praise for Burn Baby Burn Baby:
I’m putting this book right up there alongside Laurie Halse Anderson’s, TWISTED, and John Green’s, LOOKING FOR ALASKA. Not to be missed. Highly recommended!
I could not put it down. I loved everything about it.
Nice way to start the 2015 reading year :)
What an emotional book. When you read a book like Burn Baby,Burn you can’t help but cry and be grateful if you have never been in that situation. I loved this book…
Burn Baby Burn Baby is a great story about bullying, love and friendship. Definitely one to add to your wishlist.
BURN BABY, BURN BABY pulls you in from the opening pages and doesn’t let go.
This book blew me away. Blew. Me. Away.
Kevin Craig knows how to write teenage boys.
This book is such a gem that I think adults and teens will both love it.
I am so surprised that this book isn’t getting more attention… It is definitely along the lines of The Fault in Our Stars and those other YA books we all love.
To enter to win a paperback copy of BURN BABY BURN BABY, click on the pic below and jump over to GOODREADS and click the ENTER GIVEAWAY BUTTON!
Sometimes, when you’re making cake (or cupcakes, or icing, or vindaloo, or a PB&J with the crusts cut off), it can appear as though the bowl is empty when it really isn’t. When you think you’ve run out of sauce (or peanut butter, or cake batter, or icing, or cheese), sometimes it’s good to scrape the sides of the bowl and re-evaluate the situation.
Yesterday (or the day before? I can no longer remember), I wrote a blog post about my year of silent no-writing. What I failed to take into consideration is all the STUFF that happened in that year that was ACTUALLY writing related. I’m NOT writing right now. I often of late feel as though I will never write again. But to say I wrote nothing in the past year is a downright lie.
In March (which was only two short months ago), I actually wrote a short play and had it performed in front of LIVE audiences. Those were words, goddammit. I wrote words. Not a lot of people experience the pleasure of seeing their words come to life on the stage. In July (which was STILL IN THE PARAMETERS OF THAT YEAR IN QUESTION), I wrote approximately 1/2 a novel during the 2014 Muskoka Novel Marathon. A half a novel. In one weekend. I also worked on a couple of other works in progress (WIPS) throughout the year.
I wrote articles for the WCDR Wordweaver. Two? Three? I don’t know. I forget about these things as soon as they happen. But I remember having one or two or three published. WITHIN THE PAST YEAR. I wrote the odd poem.
And there are writing relating things that don’t actually involve actual writing. I was interviewed by Charlene Jones for her radio show OFF THE TOP. I thought that was PRETTY cool. (-: It instilled in me, if only for a fleeting moment, that, ‘Hey, I must be a writer. I’m being interviewed about writing. It only stands to reason.’ So what if I felt like a charlatan because I wasn’t actually putting words on paper at the time. So what if I felt like I had no sage wisdom to offer because I wasn’t deep in the thick of plot bunnies. If Charlene Jones says I’m a writer, I’m a writer!
Also, I’ve been approved to be a workshop facilitator for the upcoming December WCDR Roundtable Meeting’s After-Breakfast Mini-Workshop. THE 10-MINUTE PLAY’S THE THING. Der. Like I wouldn’t glom on to an opportunity to discuss my beloved 10-minute play medium. Such a delightful experience, I feel I must share it. By far NOT EASY TO PULL OFF. It is truly an art-form to get it just right. I get to share what I’ve learned through having 9 plays produced since my first in 2009! I’m thrilled for the opportunity. AND—this is me BEING a writer, no? When we hone something that we love for year after year, there comes a point where the passion outgrows the space in your heart for it…where you MUST share it with others to steal more space. So, there’s that.
My rebuttal? My note to self today? Get over yourself. Shut up. Why do you constantly make things difficult for yourself? Why do you never give credit where credit it due? So you’re not finishing those mocking manuscripts in a timely manner. So what. Shut up. Move on and drop the whiny ‘tude. What have I told you about this Ferris wheel?! It only goes around once. Wait. No. That’s not right. I’ve been on actual Ferris wheels. They go around several times. Wrong analogy. What have I told you about this LIFE?! You get one chance to get it right. Well, not right…no life is right per se. You get one chance to live it. Don’t beat yourself up every time you fail to tap your fingers on a keyboard. You’ve been busy. You’ve been living the life and riding the Ferris wheel. Literally. You’ll write again. It’s your bailiwick (one’s sphere of operations or particular area of interest). It interests you, therefore it is neither a burden nor an obligation. It’s fun. So…in summation. SHUT UP.
Sometimes, you have to scrape the bowl to realize you’re a writer. It’s that simple. When the spatula stops collecting the ingredients, you could probably even scrape a little bit more with your finger. Get right in there. NEVER GIVE UP. Especially if it’s cake!
That is all.
While I have your attention, there’s a GOODREADS GIVEAWAY winding down for a print copy of BURN BABY BURN BABY. Click the pic below to be taken to Goodreads to enter. The contest closes in two days, so you better hurry!
A Sure-Fire List to Help Motivate Your Inner Writer Into Actually Writing! Follow This List Carefully and You Will Be Writing Again!
Have I done a list lately? I should keep a list of the lists I list. Or is that list the lists I keep?
In a writing slump? Finding it hard to finish that Great Canadian (American, Armenian or otherwise) Novel? Trying to dedicate more time to writing this year because you’re one of those people who makes New Year Resolutions? Follow this list to a tee and you should find yourself back on the writing wagon. If you’re already on the writing wagon and you follow this list, you will find yourself even more connected to your writing. My point? Follow this list and you will write more.
How to Write When You’re Not Feeling Writerly (OR When You’re Feeling Stabby and Murderous Towards Words, How Do You Embrace Them and Make Them Work in Your Favour…Even Though You Hate Them)
- Turn OFF the social media and Click the to OFF. I know it’s impossible to imagine, but these things are distractions…killers of the imagination, even while they are stimulating it. If you follow this first item in this list, you will significantly increase your outflow of words. The increase could quite possibly be tenfold.
- See the first item in this list. Quite frankly, if you got this far in the list you aren’t following the steps properly.
- ARE YOU STILL HERE. Stop reading this. Turn off the internet and write.
- Don’t make me yell at you. SIT. WRITE. Open only one window…whatever program it is you use to write with.
- I’m gonna keep this list short and to the point. Only 5 items. Item 5 is CLOSE THIS WINDOW. SIT. WRITE. <<This advice works if you’re a beginner writer, or if you’re someone like that up-and-comer Stephen King…who has a couple books under his belt.
If you’re still here, clearly you’re not heeding my warnings. If you’d rather read than write, click on the image below to get yourself over to GOODREADS to enter to win a paperback copy of my latest novel, BURN BABY BURN BABY. The contest ends JANUARY 11, 2015!
If you’re on INSTAGRAM, follow the steps in the picture below to win a paperback copy of BURN BABY BURN BABY in the INSTAGRAM contest! The easiest way to enter this one would be to go to Instagram and repost this image from my account. Instagram is sometimes tricky with resizing, etc.
Okay…now there is still a chance for you. Turn it all off. SIT. WRITE. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. No magical equation. No tricks or gimmicks. To write more all you need to do is write more. One word in front of the other without the everyday distractions that weigh you down and mess with your creativity and drive. SIT. WRITE.