Pride Must Be A Place – Rise Up

As novel titles go, I kind of like it. Pride Must Be a Place. I thought it spoke to the struggle my latest main character, Ezra Caine, dealt with in his journey to coming out and being out in his high school. Ezra, along with a couple old friends and some new ones, starts a gay-straight alliance club in his high school. Why? Because he’s had enough of the bullshit. Will Severe has attacked Ezra’s friend Alex Mills one too many times. Sometimes, the only way to have things around you change for the better is to create the platform and environment from which that change can eventually happen.

I think there are some fantastic LGBTQ young adult books in the marketplace today. Quite a few of them are amazing. But…there’s not enough. I think there’s room for more LGBTQ young adult novels. The issues facing young people, both in their high schools and at home, are perhaps better than they were twenty years ago…but they’re not good enough. There is still bullying. There is still homophobia. There is still suffering.

I think a great place to begin a dialogue that will hopefully bring about change in the landscape of the future is through literature. We, as humans, have been doing this for millennia. I have been dealing with YA issues for a few books, now…I thought it was time I tackled this particular issue. Like Ezra, I feel that it’s time for a change.

I wrote about half of Pride Must Be a Place at last month’s Muskoka Novel Marathon. It was my eighth such novel writing marathon. I went in with the hopes of some grand story wherein Lorraine Segato of Parachute Club makes a cameo at the end. I was even able to secure her blessing…not to mention the fact that she gave me some great ideas about what her ‘character’ would potentially do.

But then the inciting incident which would have opened the door for that ending wasn’t as big as it had to be in order to make that happen. As is often the case, the story got away from the idea and it went off on a tangent and changed wildly from the original vision. I had to admit to myself that the place where I brought the story to did not allow for Lorraine’s cameo. And it was going to be a legen–wait for it–dary cameo.

BUT! I did keep to the original vision that had my main character, Ezra Caine, obsessed with the 1983 hit RISE UP. That hit was an anthem for so many groups. It was Pride, though, that latched onto it in a big way. Ezra was called to action mostly because of the hassle his friend Alex was receiving at the hands of the bully, but also because of the power of the lyrics of his favourite song.

I finished the novel at the end of July. I’m excited about it…I haven’t yet had the time to worry over its scars and blemishes. It was one of the easier novels I ever wrote…the message was an easy one to write about. But I did face the most difficult challenge the YA author has when dealing with YA-issue story-lines. What’s that? Writing a novel with a message without beating the reader over the head with the message. People want to be entertained. Nobody wants to pleasure read only to find that they are being lectured to. It’s such a thin line to skate…harder when you’re close to the issue you are writing about.

It’s in the vault now…only time will tell if I treated it correctly.

For now, it’s on to the completion of other projects. I’ve had a lazy year and a half-ish. It’s time to finish the three or four other novels on the table waiting for my attention. With the success of getting this out of my system, I think I’ll be good to go on the next, and the next, and the next. To think…two short months ago I was considering the fact that I might be finished as a writer.

But I still have a few stories left to tell. Pride Must Be a Place is only one of them…

Rise Up – Parachute Club


#YASaves #BooksSaveLives With Faith We Can Move Mountains…

Just what makes that little old ant think he’ll move that rubber tree plant? Anyone knows an ant can’t move a rubber tree plant.

If you were alive in the ’70s you will remember Laverne & Shirley singing that song…possibly even more than you would remember Frank Sinatra singing it. You see…it was their TRUE theme song. Not the show’s theme song, but Laverne & Shirley’s theme song. Whenever anything seemed hopeless, one of the two would remind the other that anything is possible. Laverne would start the first few lines to spur on the defeated Shirley…and within a couple lines Shirley would catch the bug and come to believe it…soon they’d be singing in unison…

HE’S GOT HIGH HOPES!

And high hopes? Well, they were enough. High hopes would see the girls through all their trials and tribulations. And as a kid watching my favourite show, I’d buy into it. I’d feel their hope…and the ant’s hope. I always knew an ant could move a rubber tree plant. IF he tried hard enough.

My high hopes as a writer have ALWAYS been— SAVE ONE PERSON.

That’s it. Make one single solitary reader walk away from my novel lifted. Saved. Understood. I truly believe that we can spark change in fiction.

This past weekend I submitted my newest novel, PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE, to my agent. I’m hopeful that the message in this new novel is heard by someone who needs to hear it. #YASaves and #BooksSaveLives We have to believe this. Why else do we write?


Radio Interview Part 2 with Charlene Jones AND Burn Baby Bullying…

cyber-bullying-6

Today, I’m sharing PART 2 of my interview from Whistle Radio. CHARLENE JONES interviewed me for their OFF THE TOP segment after the most recent WCDR Roundtable Meeting! Here’s PART 2, in which I talk a lot about Trafalgar24, the upcoming fundraising play creation event for Driftwood Theatre.

Much thanks to Charlene for the interview. She was an absolute pleasure to talk with. I really enjoyed the experience!


Bullies – Still! After All the Campaigns – SPEAK UP AGAINST BULLYING

It’s hard to believe that bullying is still a thing. It seems the more we speak out against it, the more it happens. This doesn’t mean the dialogue against it should end. We must NEVER stop pointing out instances of bullying, rallying against it, educating.

In a recent review of Burn Baby Burn Baby, I was called out for something my narrator character, Francis, said. In his narration, he made a passing comment about him not being one of those narcs who tells on someone who picks on him. I did this to be authentic…not to suggest it is uncool to speak out. We must always speak out. If you know someone who is being bullied, TELL SOMEONE ABOUT IT. If you are being bullied, TELL SOMEONE ABOUT IT. If your friend is bullying, TELL SOMEONE ABOUT IT. Never be silent. Silence, history shows us, can kill.

anti-bullying-sloganFrancis is a victim of bullying in my novel BURN BABY BURN BABY. He lives with a physical deformity, after being severely burned in a childhood attack by his own father. The bully character in my novel gives Francis the nickname BURN BABY. And he taunts and abuses him mercilessly. Francis tried to be strong about it. But in his efforts to be strong, he was actually weak. Because it’s NEVER a good idea to be silent when you are being bullied. In Burn Baby Burn Baby, please understand that I was NEVER condoning silence. If you’re silent, the bully wins. If those who witness bullying are silent, the bully wins. The bully should never win. Silence can escalate into a chaos of circumstances where, in the end, no one wins.

TELL – SPEAK UP – GET HELP

In Canada, reach out to KIDS HELP PHONE ONLINE or CALL 1-800-668-6868

Also, reach out to PREVNET

In U.S.A, reach out to STOP BULLYING

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Canadian Suicide Crisis Centres

BE YOUR OWN HERO. BE A HERO TO SOMEONE WHO NEEDS ONE. SPEAKING UP CAN STOP BULLYING.


Net Galley – Request Burn Baby Burn Baby Now!

My publisher has offered Burn Baby Burn Baby up on Net Galley…for a limited time. If you’re a book blogger-book tuber-book reviewer, you can now request a copy for review consideration on the popular site.

NetGalleySimply click on the green REQUEST button and await approval.

I’ve been a member on Net Galley for a couple of years now. I have always loved getting ARCs for review from the site. I was not aware that they also carry recently published titles. Now I know. I put in a few requests myself. (-:

CLICK HERE TO GO TO NET GALLEY! If you’re already on Net Galley, you will simply need to sign in and request the title. You will find Burn Baby Burn Baby in the TEENS & YA category.

Happy Reading!

Some recent 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.”

“I was unable to put it down and ended up reading the whole book in one sitting.”

“BURN BABY, BURN BABY pulls you in from the opening pages and doesn’t let go.”

“This should be a movie.”

“Francis was right. It reads like a movie, and I hope Hollywood is paying attention. With so many other fine YA books going to the movies, I hope we get to see one or more of Kevin’s works up on the big screen, big as life.”

“I loved the relationship between Francis and Rachel. It reminded me of Eleanor and Park. They seem to be such opposites at first, but as you read, you’ll understand their attraction is much deeper than their affinity for Shakespeare in the park (a section I absolutely loved!).”

“Kevin Craig takes this story to places I never expected and touched my heart. Kevin blended bullying with a story and characters that we care about and feel for and the book hit all the marks without preaching. I highly recommend this book, especially to fellow young adult book lovers; however, I think non YA readers can truly appreciate this story as well.”

“This book blew me away. Blew. Me. Away.”

“There are few books I like reading more than once, but this is going on to that list.”

“My emotions were all over the map on this book: I went from happiness, to anger, to frustrated, to horror with every page I turned. I could easily picture this novel as a movie, as Francis was quite often doing, and I feel that I actually knew a few of these kids when they attended my high school back in the day. “

You can purchase a copy of Burn Baby Burn Baby at any Amazon worldwide, at Barnes & Noble, at Chapters, at Kobo, and, most places books are sold.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,328 other followers