My Latest Book Trailer – THE REASONS

This is a book trailer for my upcoming release from Musa Publishing. Much appreciation to the amazing Nahko & Medicine for the People! THE REASONS is available April 19th. The Reasons won the 2008 Muskoka Novel Marathon’s BEST ADULT NOVEL AWARD.

Find it at musapublishing.com, amazon.com, amazon.ca, barnesandnoble.com, kobobooks.com and other e-retailers.

We are ALL Responsible for Literacy…

Yesterday I was able to get a spot in the upcoming 2013 Muskoka Novel Marathon! This annual WRITERS HELPING READERS event has become hugely popular over the past year or so. It trucked on for years, a wonderful and truly enriching event with an enormously important cause. But last year…last year there was a spark of some sort. NOW writers everywhere are scrambling to attend.

The word is out. This annual fundraising event for literacy has always been about raising funds for the Muskoka region’s literacy programs. This was always its number one reason for existing. What writers have learned over the years is that the bonus of being there, of actually getting BUM IN CHAIR and writing, make it a mutual beneficial event! The weekend becomes a workshop for writers…an oasis where they can spend 72 hours WRITING. And in the company of writers. It’s all about COMMUNITY. We come together and we write alone. It’s the shared time…when we all sit down and break bread together…that one realizes there is magic in community. And between these communal settings, there are the quiet wild mind writing spats. It’s win-win for the writers involved.

And did I mention that there are 35 writers crazy enough to do this! 72 hours in one room together…writing, laughing, crying, shouting, sleeping, eating, drinking, shrieking, blubbering, and all the other ings!

We each collect as much money through sponsorships as we can…because we always know that it’s the literacy cause that comes first. It comes before the It was a dark and stormy night. It comes before The End. It comes before Chapter 17.

Please…consider making a donation to one of the 35 writers this year. It doesn’t have to be me. We don’t care who brings in the money, as long as the money is brought in. Imagine being an adult in this techno-overkill world and being unable to read all the various mediums around you. The fear, the self-loathing, the shame, the humiliation, the anger, the hostility, the frustration. It leaves me speechless when I really–REALLY–stop to think about it. Take 10 minutes of your day today and analyze it. How many words did you read in that ten minutes? How many signs, ads, rules and regulations, ingredients, guidelines, liner notes, job applications, manuals, websites, newspapers, books, magazines, TV screens DID YOU READ?! IT’s everywhere. Words are everywhere. Put yourself into the shoes of someone who CANNOT READ–as they attempt to navigate one day in the life of a 2013 human being.

It’s hellishly scary, isn’t it!

YMCA of SIMCOE COUNTY is putting an end to this hell for so many people. Us writers…we want to help them out. SO…I come to you today as someone effortlessly–miraculously–putting words on this computer screen. Someone who is pleading you to help this MOST IMPORTANT of causes. Please give to one of the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON writers. Any of us.

CLICK ON THE CHAIRS BELOW TO BE TAKEN TO MY PERSONAL CANADAHELPS GIVINGPAGE. This page is set up for my sponsors to donate to the cause:

muskoka
Please donate – Help us in the fight against illiteracy!

To date, this marathon has raised a whopping $65,000.00! But the programs don’t receive a lot of funding. Your dollars go 100% to the cause. Help a writer help a fellow being become a READER!

Thank you in advance! And have a wonderful day!

I leave you with the movie created at a past MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON. Watch it! You’ll be glad you did!

Cover Reveal! THE REASONS – April 19th – Musa Publishing!

Life is good! I just registered for the 2013 Muskoka Novel Marathon! I will post about that in the morning. (-: AND I was given the cover today for my 3rd novel, THE REASONS. Kelly Shorten of MUSA PUBLISHING has done it AGAIN! She created such a wonderfully beautiful cover. I’m totally speechless and IN LOVE!

Before the reveal, which I’m dying to share, here are the tagline and the blurb for THE REASONS.

TAGLINE:

In the midst of absence, death, and insanity, Tobias longs to make his family whole again.

BLURB:

With a mostly absent father, a deceased older sister, a younger sister on the verge of invisibility, and a certifiably insane mother, Tobias Reason is forced to grow up quickly. Though he tries to be a surrogate parent to his sister, their broken mother, Maggie, takes up a lot of his time. Annabel falls to the wayside and becomes a ghost in their chaotic existence.

When Maggie flippantly hands her mother’s house over to Tobias, he sees an opportunity to learn how and why his family became so shattered. Be careful what you wish for. When his world begins to collapse from the weight of unburied secrets, he focuses on a stranger from his parents’ past. Only by eliminating the past, he believes, can he make his family whole again.

And now…the cover!

thereasons-300dpi

Isn’t it gorgeous!?

I’ll let everyone know when it’s available!

Ontario Writers’ Conference May 2013

Today, I’m sharing a media release from the ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE. I’m a founding member on their Board of Directors. If you do one thing for your writing self this year, it should be register and attend our 2013 conference on May 3rd-4th in Ajax, Ontario. The release follows:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Where writers gather, stories grow

Ontario Writers’ Conference full schedule announced, deadline to register is March 31st

OWC-2013-Banner

 

TORONTO, MARCH 18, 2013

Writers of all genres from across Ontario and beyond will be congregating to develop their writing, editing and marketing skills in Ajax, Ontario, on May 3rd and 4th at the fifth annual Ontario Writers’ Conference.

The final lineup of workshops and lectures has been announced and the roster offers something for every writer. Back by abundant demand and favoured for their in-depth knowledge and exceptional coaching skills are conference veterans Gwynn Scheltema (How Many Characters Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?), Annette McLeod (Casting Your Characters), and Mark Leslie Lefebvre (The Ins and Outs of Digital Self-Publishing).

A recent addition to the schedule will have Young Adult authors racing to Lynne Missen’s workshop, ‘Working Between the Lines: Y/A Editor & Author Relationship.’ Workshops for screenwriters, memoirists, fiction and non-fiction writers also top the bill.

With so many factors affecting the publishing world and creating a paradigm shift, a powerful plenary session is scheduled at the conference to discuss ‘What is the New Literary?’ Two of the industry’s most thought-provoking professionals, Maria Cootauca from Wattpad and Christopher Frey from Hazlitt Mag, will share from their experience and advise based on their wisdom (with a little gut instinct thrown in!).

For skilled writers who want to transport their craft to the next level, the Ontario Writers’ Conference offers Master Classes on Friday, May 3rd: ‘We Write Who We Are,’ facilitated by Jessica Outram, explores “autoethnography”– writing about the self within the context of culture, politics and environment. Writers can get ‘Voice Lessons’ from Sue Reynolds, who will skillfully clarify what voice is and the elements that contribute to it. Ed Greenwood will help storytellers ‘Make a BIG Scene!’ with pacing and long-term plotting for a series to bring stories to life.

OWC delegates will be thoughtfully encouraged to write from their hearts by delightfully charismatic honorary patron Wayson Choy. Mr. Choy, an iconic Canadian and author of The Jade Peony, Paper Shadows and All That Matters: A Chinatown Childhood, has won the Trillium Book Award, and been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Governor General’s Award. He has also been named a member of the Order of Canada.

In its fifth year, the Ontario Writer’s Conference continues to celebrate all forms of art. Partnering in previous years with playwrights and songwriters, the 2013 Ontario Writers’ Conference will feature visual arts. The conference website has displayed three extraordinary works by a three Ontario artists and invited writers to enter a piece of writing inspired by these works.

The top five entries for each of three Story Starters writing contests (that have been selected by author/instructor/local celeb Ruth E. Walker) will be displayed at the conference on May 4th at Deer Creek Golf and Conference Centre in Ajax, Ontario. Delegates will review and vote for their favourite. The three winning entries will be announced and each winner will be awarded a prize.

Registration deadline for this year’s Ontario Writers’ Conference is March 31st, 2013. Those interested in attending are encouraged to register quickly to secure their desired workshops. For more information, visit thewritersconference.com, email bhunt@thewritersconference.com, or phone 905-985-4409.

Presented by Ontario Writers’ Conference, an annual event held the first weekend in May in the Greater Toronto Area. Writers of all abilities and genres enjoy educational, challenging and interactive workshops led by industry professionals and an impressive range of speakers on the art and skill of writing and related industry topics.

Email bhunt@thewritersconference.com for interviews.

We hope to see you there!

 

When You’re a Few Moons Late, Everything Can be Everything

I just came back from the monthly breakfast meeting hosted by the extraordinary Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR)!

Sometimes these meetings prove to be more brain food than you’re expecting, but just the right amount you need. I was in the right place at the right time this morning. The guest speaker was DANIEL SCOTT TYSDAL, a man who gingerly walked us all out onto a taut tightrope, asked if we were comfortable and then snipped the end with a honkin’ huge pair of clown scissors. Well, at least figuratively speaking. Actually, I can imagine him sneaking up on the rope with said scissors, stopping to snicker, tip-toeing forward ever so slowly, and then POW! 100 writers free-falling to the death of their comforting yet stagnating common-sense.

Not exactly what he did, but I felt the security of the rope under my feet…and I felt the free-falling giddiness of having lost my breath by amazement. Like all great poets, Daniel Scott Tysdal seems to understand the need to leave the security of the laws of physics and normalcy behind when donning the POET hat. He left me feeling the need to get back into some poeting. That’s a good thing.

Every once in a little while you need someone to cut that string that holds you to the sharp-edged confines of reality. Judging by the air in the room at the Ajax Convention Centre this morning, that was handily accomplished. I felt these little cement balloons of normalcy lightening, melting, snapping and transforming into helium balloons of wild mind. Daniel held the secrets of the universe and he fed them to us one tiny little lie at a time. I walked away from the breakfast thanking the universe for offering up such a wizard this morning. I really really needed this. I have missed the juggling of words, the loose-lipped word leaves falling into the unstructured structure of poetic lines.

Here’s a poem for you to enjoy. Daniel Scott Tysdal on the Toronto Quarterly Journal’s website:

PLEASE ACCEPT MY CONDO

If you live in the GTA, don’t miss a WCDR Breakfast. Each meeting is a gift to creativity. They pump you up and ready you for your next adventure in writing. Community is such an important aspect of writing. And to think, for decades…nay…millennia, we thought it was a solitary act. The sitting, the foraging, the writing, the words on papering…sure…that’s solitary. But before the segregation…that’s the secret the WRITERS’ COMMUNITY OF DURHAM REGION has realized together. Before the segregation comes community. Together, we prepare ourselves for the rigueres of our solitary acts. We enter our offices and our dining rooms and our basements and our garages alone…but we all know that the writing community we leave behind is with us. We’re here for each other.

When the group has such profoundly explosive creative types as Daniel Scott Tysdal to entertain us…we know we’re doing the right thing. We’re widening our circle, exploring our craft and loosening the grip that reality has on us. We’re preparing ourselves for the cave. Today, when I crawl into that little cave to create, I will have new knowledge with me. I will have the memories of this breakfast meeting to spur me on. I’ll do my best to snip that concrete balloon that holds me to this earth, to float effortlessly into the wild mind needed to explore creation. And if I’m really lucky, I won’t be interrupted by any of that cumbersome spam that attacked Daniel today while he attempted to give his talk to his enthralled audience. (-:

While I enter the solitary silence, I’ll leave you with the book trailer for my second novel, SEBASTIAN’S NOVEL…a book I wrote in solitary confinement with a head filled with community.

This Writer’s Life!

Hello again, my faithful readers. If indeed you really do exist. (-:

The writing life is gearing up to fever pitch lately. So much going on. It’s time for a catch-all post once again.

As you may or may not know, I have a play being produced in the upcoming InspiraTO Festival! This year’s InspiraTO Theatre Festival, Canada’s largest ten-minute play festival, will be held at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto, May 30-June 8, 2013. Please mark your calendars and be prepared to be AMAZED!

If you are an actor living in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), please note that InspiraTO is now holding auditions. They require 50+ actors for all the plays that will be in the festival. You can visit the following link to learn more about auditions. Plays are previewed on the site and instructions are pretty straight forward:

INSPIRATO FESTIVAL CALL FOR AUDITIONS!

 

I am heading into final edits on my own InspiraTO play. I’ve been working with a wonderful dramaturg…and I’ve been soaking up all the great insights she’s been offering me through the process. I’m in the festival this year because I was given one of the 12 Mentorship spots, so I’m getting a backstage pass to all the ins and outs of theatre I have missed with my past playwriting gigs. My play in the festival is called PERFECT TIMING.

Next up! I recently signed with a wonderful new agent. Stacey Donaghy of the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Stacey is currently busy shopping my Young Adult novel Half Dead & Fully Broken. I’m hoping for great things to come from our partnership!

I’m putting the finishing touches on my 2012 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel, Burn Baby Burn Baby. Hopefully, it will be ready for submission shortly.

AND novel number 3 will be released on April 19th! THE REASONS was my 2008 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel. It took the BEST NOVEL AWARD in the Adult Novel category. It will be released by MUSA PUBLISHING. They are also the publishers of my 2nd novel, SEBASTIAN’S POET…which is getting lovely reviews at the moment. It’s scary having your babies out there being poked at. All their scars and blisters are on view for the world to see. But I’ve been blessed so far with wonderful reviews for both Sebastian’s Poet AND Summer on Fire. My fingers are crossed for the reception of The Reasons. The family in this novel are pretty dysfunctional. Told from the POV of both the matriarch, MAGGIE REASON, and her son, TOBIAS REASON…The Reasons may have a few readers squirming in discomfort. But I certainly hope it’s good entertaining squirms! (-:

Amid my own writing deadlines and milestones, I am also acting as Registrations Coordinator for the 5th Ontario Writers’ Conference. I’m on the Board of Directors of the organization and have been with them since their inception in 2007. It is one of the most rewarding things I have participated in for these many years. It’s so amazing seeing it come together every year. We attract extraordinary speakers and facilitators. And we see so many writers getting motivated by the festivities. It’s such a great feeling to know these people are walking away from the conference each year ready and eager to take on the world anew. I see the glow in their eyes, and I KNOW why we do this thing.

The conference is still accepting registrations, but book soon. Classes fill up. Our Agent Pitches are already fully booked and the Blue Pencil Manuscript Mentors are also seeing a lot of action. If you want a spot with a mentor, it would be a good idea to register soon!

Don’t forget that the FESTIVAL OF AUTHORS is open to the public. You do NOT need to attend the conference to come hear our readers during this FRIDAY EVENING GALA. Here’s all the info for the festival:

ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE FESTIVAL OF AUTHORS GALA FRIDAY MAY 3RD

You can check out the whole speaker/facilitator line-up here:

2013 SPEAKER/FACILITATOR LINE-UP

Here’s the day’s schedule:

2013 SCHEDULE

Our Venue is the same. We stay with the DEER CREEK GOLF & BANQUET FACILITY because it is SO beautiful and they’ve been most accommodating to our needs as a world class conference! Here’s a look at the venue:

DEER CREEK GOLF & BANQUET FACILITY

If you are coming from out of town, we’re thrilled to be affiliated with 2 price point hotels this year. You can choose the one you wish to stay at, and there are discounts for attendees at both:

HOTEL PARTNERSHIPS

Register today! We put this event together for you. Here’s the registration page:

2013 ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE REGISTRATION PAGE

If you have any conference related questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section of this post. (-:

NEXT WEDNESDAY (WED MARCH 13th 8-9pm ONTARIO TIME) I will be moderating a CHAT on TWITTER for the Ontario Writers’ Conference. If you live in Toronto, you’ve been frightened by posters of THE DEMONOLOGIST by Andrew Pyper by now. (-: The conference will be hosting a chat with Andrew next Wednesday. This is your chance to talk HORROR with Canada’s leading expert on the genre. I’m reading The Deomonologist now, and I have to say it is rocking my socks off! Come join us for the twitter chat next Wednesday. Follow the chat by following our hashtag #OWCChat Andrew will be answering your questions regarding reading/writing/etc. Talk to him about his new novel (which has been optioned for movie rights) or any of his past novels. One lucky CHATTER will win a digital copy of The Demonologist in their choice of KOBO or AMAZON KINDLE editions. Hope to see you there! Follow OWC on Twitter

Tomorrow is TRAFALGAR 24 – The annual 24-hour Play Creation Festival put on by Jeremy Smith and his DRIFTWOOD THEATRE GROUP crew. It is THE event in Durham Region. A fabulous night of 10-minute plays that actually begins behind the scenes TONIGHT. Late tonight 6 playwrights will enter the 19th Century Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario. They will be nervous and electric with excitement. They will spend 8-hours locked inside the castle walls—and they will each be required to write a 10-minute play from scratch. Tomorrow morning, Jeremy will take mercy on them and allow them to leave the castle. At this point, he will have more prisoners to torture. (-; The directors and actors will converge on the castle and be locked in for the next 8-hours! Rehearsals. After a short break, the audience will appear. I have my tickets! Can’t wait to see the 6 plays. And we get to vote on our favourite one, too! I know of at least two friends who are playwrights this year. I wish them luck and happiness with their castle experience. I know how much fun it is, because I had a play in each of the past 4 Trafalgar24 events.

I am also gearing up to teach a workshop at the May WCDR (Writers’ Community of Durham Region) Breakfast Meeting. More to come on that front!

Is that everything? I think so. Ooh…but I’m also editing another novel. The YA THAT’S ME IN THE CORNER has been shelved since 2011, when it won the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON’S BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL AWARD. I will be pulling that down out of the dust and polishing it off to send to my agent soon. I really love this one…part of it takes place in Kenya. It really deals with some tough issues, so I’d like to fine-tooth comb it before letting it go. Soon, soon! My agent’s going to get sick of receiving so many manuscripts…but I can’t help it. I’m a manic writer just trying to get the words out of my head and onto the screen.

Good luck with your own writing endeavors, whatever they may be. Don’t be afraid to try new things and push the limits. You don’t know if you can do something until you try. Life is too short for weak “I would like to try…” statements. Get down there, into the thick of things, and have FUN!

I leave you now with the incomparable WAYSON CHOY. A beautiful soul AND the honorary patron since its inception of the Ontario Writers’ Conference!