Another Muskoka Novel Marathon Awaits! 40 Writers, 72 Hours…what can happen?!

Last night was the official opening ceremonies to the 2015 MADNESS!

What madness might I be referring to, you may ask? Why, the madness that is the Muskoka Novel Marathon of course. It all begins with the frenetic and frantic March Registration. This is when writers camp out at their keyboards in eager anticipation of registering for the annual July novel writing marathon weekend. With only 40 spaces available, you’d be surprised how quickly they fill up. Take into account that anyone who raises funds of $1,000.00 or more during the fundraising for the previous year’s marathon gets an automatically secured spot, and you’re faced with even harder odds at securing a coveted spot. Say that 3 times fast! For a writer, I write a mean run-on sentence.

So, at 7pm last night, when registration opened, there were 35 spots up for grabs for writers brave enough to take on the challenge of writing a complete novel over the course of one long weekend in Muskoka in the height of summer. Are there even 35 people crazy enough to attempt this? No need to rush over to the site to register, right? Surely to God we could take our time throwing our names in the ring, no?


82At this point you may or may not be wondering at the significance of the number 82.

That’s the number of minutes that ticked away before the registration closed.

40 writers. 72 hours. 40 novels.

As someone somewhere once said about something, “IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!”

Here’s where I beg and plead for your help.

Now, you already know that writers gather together for a long weekend and write themselves crazy in attempts to pen entire novels in 72hrs. BUT that’s not even the half of what this marathon is.

From the official MNM website, a bit about what the MNM actually is…

The Muskoka Novel Marathon is an annual event to raise funds and awareness for adult literacy in Huntsville and surrounding areas. To date, the event has raised over $105,000. Please see About the Marathon for more information.

I hope you clicked the ABOUT THE MARATHON link above to learn more.

Here’s where I ask if you would please consider sponsoring me for the marathon. For my part, I will attempt to write 50,000 words in 72hrs. For your part, please consider a donation to the cause. Any amount is appreciated. $2 or $100. It all counts. We, as writers, are dedicated to eradicating illiteracy. This is a cause dear to our hearts. Our love of written words compels us and propels us to help those who are terrified and intimidated by the same words. In simple language, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka runs literacy programs for adults that are greatly underfunded by the government. They need a bridge between shortage of funds and need. They can’t do it without help.


The Muskoka Novel Marathon IS that bridge. The writers who participate in the marathon ARE that bridge. And you, dear readers, are the wooden slats on the footpath in that bridge. Each contributor who backs this project essentially adds another slat to the bridge and gets us further across the funding divide.


PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE consider a contribution. We cannot do this without you.

Click on the image below to go directly to my CANADA HELPS GIVING PAGE, where you can easily make a donation to the cause!


I thank you in advance for your generosity. Together, we can make a difference.

I leave you with a couple snap-shots from last year’s marathon…

The MNM venue - Huntsville Active Living Centre.
The MNM venue – Huntsville Active Living Centre.
Dockside Writing - The Beauty of Muskoka Novel Writing!
Dockside Writing – The Beauty of Muskoka Novel Writing!

NET GALLEY – Download Half Dead & Fully Broken NOW! Trafalgar Approaches!

My publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, has uploaded HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN to Net Galley. Now that Burn Baby Burn Baby has been archived and is no longer available to reviewers on Net Galley, CQ has offered up Half Dead & Fully Broken on the review site for consideration.

cover2500I still love the cover for this one. My favourite colour is orange. (-: And the focus is on the title. Not the first cover rendered, but definitely my favourite. It’s a creation of Eugene Teplitsky’s. He’s not only an amazing cover designer (he is also responsible for the gorgeous Burn Baby Burn Baby cover), but he is also Managing Partner and CTO of Curiosity Quills Press. I have definitely been spoiled!

Here’s the cover blurb for HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN:

Carter Colby is the most unpopular teen at Jefferson High. This would be easier to deal with if his identical twin brother, Marcus, weren’t the hottest, most popular boy in school.

When Marcus is killed in a motorcycle accident, Carter discovers the one thing more painful than trying to compete with Mr. Wonderful: wearing his dead brother’s face. He felt invisible before the accident, but with Marcus dead, everybody turns away from him in mourning. How can he blame them? He can’t bear to look in the mirror.

When Carter begins to see Marcus’ ghost, Mr. Wonderful’s quest to save the world and spread happiness may not be over after all, even in death. Marcus knows that Justin Dewar, the boy who drove the truck that crashed into his motorbike, is struggling with the guilt of taking a life. Melanie, Marcus’ mourning girlfriend, was also hit hard by the tragedy. Marcus wants to make things right before it’s too late.

With Marcus’ help, Carter experiences love and friendship for the first time in his life. But is Mr. Wonderful’s helping hand enough for Carter, Melanie, and Justin – three kids fully broken by the tragedy – to save one another?

For those who take CQ up on their offer, please note that I am currently working on a Book #2 to the CARTER COLBY story. ALIVE & KICKING is almost completed. (-:

Click on the picture below to go directly to NET GALLEY to download the title. That’s correct…no need to click a REQUEST button this time around. You can DOWNLOAD this one right away:

Click this picture to be taken to Net Galley to download a review copy of HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN...
Click this picture to be taken to Net Galley to download a review copy of HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN…



Half Dead is available wherever paperback or ebooks are sold!

While I have your attention, I wanted to make one more quick mention of TRAFALGAR 24…on this, my last full day of freedom prior to being locked inside the castle!

One of the beautiful sights the castle has to offer to a wandering playwright in the middle of the night...
One of the beautiful sights the castle has to offer to a wandering playwright in the middle of the night…

Tomorrow night will be a sleepless one for me. But being locked inside Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario, has its perks. It’s a beautiful thought-provoking space in which to pen a 10-minute play. I am filled with fear, doubt, anxiety, excitement, joy, wonder, intrigue…you name it. That time before heading to the castle is electric with possibility. I get to SPEND THE NIGHT in the castle. I get to manically write a play that will be performed less than 24 hours after the words are out. It’s such an amazing time…my favourite writing event of the year.

Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, as the sun comes up on a previous Trafalgar 24 all-night playwriting event! The playwrights, like elves, leave the castle at make way for the actors and directors...
Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, as the sun comes up on a previous Trafalgar 24 all-night playwriting event! The playwrights, like elves, leave the castle at 6am…to make way for the actors and directors…

If you’re in the market for a fabulous Friday night, you should check out the ticket situation. But be quick…this event sells out every year. Click on the picture below to be taken to the Driftwood Theatre website to buy tickets:

Trafalgar-24-header-2015-wide-fb-759x280Enjoy HALF DEAD!

Part One of My Radio Interview with Charlene Jones OFF THE TOP at Whistle Radio! And You Got Your Genre in My Peanut Butter!

I was interviewed by CHARLENE JONES of Whistle Radio Stouffville for the OFF THE TOP segment! Today, I’m going to share part one of the show.

We talked about my novel writing process, the Muskoka Novel Marathon, Driftwood Theatre and Trafalgar24


She is also on TWITTER.


Much gratitude to Charlene for interviewing me.

I can’t decide!

John Steinbeck on ideas...
John Steinbeck on ideas…

In grade school it was SO simple. You took a sheet of construction paper. You glued macaroni to it. You poked holes in it and threaded pipe cleaners into it. You painted a bit in one corner by blowing through a straw to move a blob of paint around on the page. You glued a feather to another corner. You shot the whole thing up with glitter before sticking a cut-out of your latest Wish item from the Sears catalogue into the centre. You didn’t care. You used all materials available to you. And it looked…well, bloody fantastic. It looked amazing. Art at its finest.

Why can’t we do this as adults? Why can’t we whim our lives? Madly off in all directions!

Because four-letter words are attempting to stop us, to staunch the flow of our creativity. Words like FOCUS. Okay, it’s five letters…but when you try to live within its parameters, it’s four-letter words that come up out of the frustration.

I still want to collage things. I still want to dip into whatever it is I want to do that day. I lack focus. I am easily distracted. As a writer, that’s such an incredible curse. When you don’t even know what genre you want to hang around in, it becomes an issue. Do I want to write contemporary? Do I want to write horror? Do I want to write romance? Do I want to write comedy/humour? The answer is YES. And then there are markets. Do I want to write for kids? Or teens? Or adults? The answer is YES. Heck, I can’t even pick a medium. I want to write for the stage. I want to write for the page.

After my recent Crisis of Happiness, I’m currently struggling over what it is I want to write. At first, I thought I might be struggling with whether or not I wanted to continue being a writer. But I think I have narrowed down my problem to being that I don’t know what I want to write. I don’t know what genre. I don’t know what market. I need to find a way to narrow my focus. I need a crystal ball to tell me what to do next. I have multiple projects halted and in the air. It all stems to trying to funnel myself into one distinct category when my mind wants to go off madly off in all directions.

I need to write despite the fact that I don’t know what to write. Because I’m discovering that if you don’t use it, you lose it.

But I want feathers and pipe cleaners in my paintings, dammit. Nobody puts baby in the corner. Sometimes, I feel like the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercial. I’m walking down the street with my contemporary Young Adult manuscript in hand and this horror genre comes skateboarding madly toward me and crashes into me. After the accident, I look up at my manuscript and notice it’s covered and dripping with horror. I turn to the genre with the now broken skateboard and I yell, “HEY! You got your genre in my peanut butter!”

This is not my writing life!

Musa Publishing Closing Its Doors – Two of My Books UNPUBLISHED…

I received some sad news today. Musa Publishing is closing its doors. They published SEBASTIAN’S POET and THE REASONS. Both novels won Muskoka Novel Marathon‘s BEST ADULT NOVEL AWARD. Both are written from the POV of children growing up in chaos…my two titles that are NOT young adult, as some of the content is adult themed. I love these books. It’s with much sadness that I see them becoming UNPUBLISHED.

From MUSA:

We expect to conclude operation of our site, blog, and social media accounts by February 28, 2015.

I will become ‘THE AUTHOR OF THREE NOVELS’ overnight. Such a remarkably weird concept. From 5 to 3.

I think Sebastian’s Poet might be my favourite novel of mine. Maybe not because it’s the best, or for any other reason other than the experience I had of writing it. I wrote it in a whirlwind 48hr period. I listened to LEONARD COHEN’s ANTHEM on repeat for the entire period I wrote it. It was my first Muskoka Novel Marathon. It was just an absolute magical time in my life. Everything gelled for one weekend. Sebastian’s Poet was a movie in my head. I struggled to get it to paper as it played. It was an absolute joy to pen it. Those characters did ALL the work. Sincerely.

You have until the end of the month to get a copy of these two books before they’re gone, possibly forever. Hopefully, they find homes elsewhere…but the possibility of that happening is not vast.



Until the end of February, you can purchase both of these books wherever ebooks are sold– Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc. After that…they die. The rights revert to me, the covers do not. I HOPE they’ll find new homes, but the likelihood of this happening is not probable.


GOODREADS REVIEWS FOR SEBASTIAN’S POET – 40 Ratings with 4.6 overall rating.

GOODREADS REVIEWS FOR THE REASONS – 13 Ratings with 4.54 overall rating.

Tobias Reason, Maggie Reason, Sebastian Nelson, Teal Landen, Renee Nelson, Gordon Lightfoot…Love them all!

So long, dear friends. It’s been an absolute slice!

(My condolences and best wishes to all the authors in the Musa Publishing House. We lost dear friends in our works today. I hope you all find new homes for your babies. Best of luck to you all.)

(I’d like to add here… I had wonderful experiences with both books, through the editing process. Both times I felt the editors did great work. I wish those at the helm of MUSA best wishes and thank them for bringing both books to life. I’m sorry to see MUSA go.)