8 Days – Muskoka Novel Marathon Approaches. Have Idea, Will Travel!

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in the life?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since the last Muskoka Novel Marathon, but it has. The time just keeps flying by. How do I measure the year that just flew by? Well, I’m definitely getting older. I think now is the time in my life when I’m going to NOTICE that part. I turn 49 in two months. My hips often hurt, as does my lower back. But I don’t know if this is because I’m aging, or because I’m walking too much. See, I think I’m addicted to walking. It started when I was ‘training’ to walk the Camino during the winter of ’13/’14. By early spring of last year, I was up to about 10K a day…and I was on my way to Spain. Turns out the Camino was a stroll. By the time I got back home, I knew the walking had only just begun. SO I turned around and went back to Europe and walked the streets of Paris with the same intensity that I had walked the Camino. And then I came home and continued to walk. One day last month I actually hit 30K. In one day…just out for a stroll. I continue to walk the Camino every day…with my feet in Ontario and my heart in Spain.

I guess I measure the last year in footsteps. It only makes sense. In inches and miles walked. And also, I suppose, in laughter…as there has been an abundance of that. You see, I became a member of a start-up group that just sort of burst into existence. We are THE BAD TABLE. We’re a group of writers who hang together at the WCDR Roundtable Meetings. We perceive ourselves as the baddies of our writing group, but we don’t blow up gas stations or rob banks. We don’t even trip old ladies trying to cross the street. Our modus operandi appears to be the creation of long strings of puns, accompanied by 12-year-old-boy-washroom-humour, near as I can tell.

We do kind of rock, though, in a superhero kind of way. In my own mind.

There will be a few of us in attendance at the Muskoka Novel Marathon next Friday through to the following Monday. We will do foolish things. We will laugh and giggle and be inappropriate. You can count on it. But we will all also put our heads down and get some writing done. For ourselves AND for those who might possibly not even be able to read the words we write. When it comes to illiteracy, there is no laughter. We are a united front against it…the Bad Table Alliance Against Illiteracy. Hey, that kind of sort of acronyms to BATTLE, at first glance. BTAAI. But not really. But it IS a battle we are waging.

We can only win that battle with your help. Each of us are charged with bringing in sponsorship donations for the Simcoe Muskoka YMCA literacy programs. You can donate online by clicking on the pic below and going to the link set up for my donation page for the event. ANY amount would be appreciated! We start writing Friday July 10th at 8pm. And we don’t stop until Monday July 13th at 8pm. Our part in this is to write…for 72 hours. You are the important much needed element in the equation. Your donations will help us writers help readers. Thank you in advance for your generosity. It is greatly appreciated!

canadahelps

Revving Up for the Next Muskoka Novel Marathon – I’m Gonna Burn Baby Burn Baby…again!

So many of my darlings have come out of the Muskoka Novel Marathon 72 hour writing frenzy. I have taken part in this long weekend of novel writing 7 times now. 7! Holy crap. That’s a lot of writing.

Four of those seven darlings created at the marathon are now published and available for your reading pleasure. (-:

1. Sebastian’s Poet – Contemporary Adult story with a child narrator. Winner of the BEST ADULT NOVEL AWARD for 2007.

2. The Reasons – Contemporary Adult story with duo narration…one child narrator and one adult narrator (son & mother). Winner of the BEST ADULT NOVEL AWARD for 2008.

(I didn’t do the marathon in 2009. I was going to Kenya that year…and did not have the time to attend the marathon)

3. Half Dead & Fully Broken – Young Adult story with a teen narrator. Winner of the BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL AWARD for 2010.

4. Burn Baby Burn Baby – Young Adult story with a teen narrator. Received an Honourable Mention for 2012.

That’s 4 of my 5 published novels created at the Muskoka Novel Marathon. 4! I did win the marathon one other time, though that novel was never completed…so remains unpublished.

1. That’s Me in the Corner – Young Adult story with teen narrator. Winner of the YOUNG ADULT NOVEL AWARD for 2011.

Two more Muskoka Novel Marathon novels…

1. Alive & Kicking – Young Adult story with the same teen narrator as Half Dead & Fully Broken. It’s Book 2. It remains incomplete. Written during the 2013 marathon.

2. The Book of Your Dreams – Young Adult horror story with a teen narrator. Honourable Mention for the 2014 marathon.

2015?

Who knows. But I am writing something.

Which is WHERE YOU COME IN.

I need your money.

The Muskoka Novel Marathon is not only an event for 40 insane writers to camp out together while each of us writes a novel. It’s also a fundraising event. We raise funds for literacy programs at YMCA of SIMCOE MUSKOKA. To date, this marathon has raised well over $100,000.00 for this cause…but it’s not enough. With government funding cut to the bone, the literacy programs depend on the generosity of donors. The 40 writers involved in this weekend all collect donations on behalf of the cause. We are writers helping readers. But without you, we are nothing. In order for the writers to help the readers, we need your generous donations. Without them, we are simply writers writing at this weekend marathon.

I need you to click on the picture below, go to the CANADA GIVES page I have set up to receive donations, and give. Anything. I don’t need $500 donations. $5 will do. Whatever you can spare.

A View of Lake of Bays. Dwight, Ontario…just outside Huntsville.

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 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!

This year’s marathon is in 32 days. In 32 days, 40 writers will get together in Huntsville, Ontario, and attempt to write 40 novels over a 72 hour period. That’s about 2,000,000 words, if we’re all lucky. That’s a lot of words. And all for literacy. But our goal is not really to write a bunch of words. Our goal is to help others read words.

My part is the easiest. All I have to do is sit in front of my laptop and burn, baby!

(All donated funds go directly to the literacy programs. Thank you in advance for your generosity!)

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?

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.

bridge

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.

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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!

canadahelps

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…

Here’s HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN ON GOODREADS

Here’s HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN ON AMAZON

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 6am...to 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!