Categories
Muskoka Novel Marathon Novel Writing On Writing Writing Camp Writing Life Writing Retreat

YOU TOO Can Participate in the 2020 Covid Inspired STAYATHOME Muskoka Novel Writing Marathon!

It’s time for the Muskoka Novel Marathon once again!

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So, the marathon is different this year. It usually takes place in Huntsville, Ontario, Canada…in ONE ROOM. 40 writers gather for 72 hours and write 40 novels. But with the little pandemic and all, that’s not possible. This will be the first time it hasn’t happened since its inception 19 years ago. Tragic, yes. We DO LOVE OUR WEEKEND NOVEL WRITING GETAWAY IN PARADISE. It’s a highlight of the year for us regulars.

This year, anyone can participate. You can REGISTER HERE. If that link doesn’t work properly, you can click the clickable link to register on the home page, which I linked above.

Fundraising this year is not mandatory, but they do hope we each bring a little something to the table. Poke around on the site to learn more about the marathon. Essentially, it’s about writers getting some quality writing time while raising funds for area literacy programs. It’s actually quite incredible–we eat all our meals together, we click away at our laptops in the same room, we drink endless amounts of coffee. It’s a pure unadulterated blast!

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This year, it’s from the comfort of your own home. They’ll have some communication going on online. It won’t be the same, but the connection will still be there. The writing will still be there.

It’s open to all who wish to register. Give it a shot. What are you doing the weekend of JULY 17-20? Stop everything, get your bum in chair and write some words!

(MY DONATION PAGE HAS BEEN SET UP – IF YOU WISH TO DONATE TO THE CAUSE, HERE’S A LINK THAT GOES DIRECTLY TO MY PERSONAL PAGE! MUCH THANKS IN ADVANCE! 100% of the donations go directly toward the YMCA literacy programs!)

 

Categories
Duet Books Gay YA Interlude Press The Camino Club YA Fiction Young Adult Young Adult Fiction

Request THE CAMINO CLUB on Net Galley!

The first tiny step into the world has happened for THE CAMINO CLUB! It’s out for review and blurbs. And NOW it’s live on NET GALLEY and available to be requested!

CLICK THIS LINK TO REQUEST TO REVIEW THE CAMINO CLUB ON NET GALLEY!

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I’m not sure how long it will remain available, but for now you need only click on the green Request button.

Here’s the description for the book:

After getting in trouble with the law, a group of wayward teens are given an ultimatum: serve time in juvenile detention for their crimes or walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across Spain over the summer holidays with a pair of court-appointed counselors. Although they come from diverse backgrounds, the unlikely friends try to make the best of their situation. The pilgrims grow closer on their journey, but they may not make it to their destination—the Cathedral in Santiago. If they do, will they each find what they’re looking for, and will their newfound friendships endure?

And from Danika Stone, advance praise for The Camino Club:

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Release Date: TUESDAY OCTOBER 6, 2020. Purchase Links:

USA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

CANADA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOK DEPOSITORY PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

INDIEBOUND BOOKS PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BARNES & NOBLE PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOKSHOP PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

PRE-ORDER DIRECT FROM INTERLUDE PRESS (In this link, find out how you can pre-order the paperback and get the ebook package for free: THE CAMINO CLUB

Listen to THE CAMINO CLUB playlist on SPOTIFY!

You can also add THE CAMINO CLUB TO GOODREADS by clicking the link below:

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Categories
NYC Micro Fiction NYC Midnight Short Fiction

NYC Midnight – Micro Fiction 100 – Round 2!

The results are in for the 1st Round of the 100-word Microfiction Challenge 2020!

That was the headline in the email I woke up to. I was 100% certain I would NOT find my name on the results page. TBH, I wasn’t even going to look. I had decided I wasn’t going to enter a submission the very minute I read that my genre was HISTORICAL FICTION.

Before you get all affronted and scream, “What’s wrong with historical fiction?!” let me just say that I have absolutely nothing against Historical Fiction. I just don’t think I’m capable of WRITING in any genre that requires world-building OR historical research.

At the eleventh hour, I decided I paid my money…it’s only 100 words. I should just throw something together and toss it back at them. So I did. I blurred through the 100 words in a few minutes and hit send before I even read it. It was a toss away entry just to justify the contest fee. I knew there was a slight chance I’d get a genre I’d hate to tackle. You pay your dues, you take your chances. I thought, “Maybe next time?”

So, this morning–after contemplating whether or not I would even check the results–I opened the email and took a peek.

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Turns out I must have done something almost right in those 100 words! I made it through to ROUND 2!

1ST ROUND RESULTS:
For the 1st Round Results, go to https://nycmidnight.co/31a6Ees to see the top 20 stories and honorable mentions in every group.

So here’s the instructions for the upcoming ROUND 2, from the NYC Midnight email:

ATTENTION TOP 20 IN EACH GROUP!
If you are listed in the top 20 of your group, congratulations on advancing to the 2nd Round kicking off at 11:59PM EDT (New York time) this Friday, June 26th.  In the 2nd Round, the 1,600 advancing writers will be placed in new groups and will be challenged to write a 100-word story based on a new genre, action, and word assignment in just 24 hours.  The assignments will be posted on nycmidnight.com, e-mailed to everyone from feedback@nycmidnight.com, and will be announced through our facebook and twitter pages.  Best of luck!

It looks like I will be getting an email Friday night. Here’s to getting a genre I’m more comfortable writing…or, you know…getting pushed out of my comfort zone again. (-;

For anyone interested in learning more about the various contests going on at NYC Midnight, here’s a link to their site: NYC MIDNIGHT.

The next thing in the hopper for the NYC MIDNIGHT contests —->

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I guess this is the point in the post where I embarrass myself by sharing the 100-word fiction piece I threw together at the last minute with some duct tape and a little Spackle:

Death in Soho

As I usher little Annie into bed, I discover the sheets still carry the stains left behind by Mother and Father. The thick Cholera miasma of their dying fills the air. I light the candle to keep the darkness at bay. Annie moans, holds her belly, and soils the sheets.

“My sweet love,” I coo. I pick up Mother’s hairbrush, run it slowly through Annie’s hair to soothe her.

The cloppy dance of a hansom clicks the cobbles as it passes by the open window. A neigh and then silence. In the quiet, I feel the first tinge of cramps.

 

To those other writers who made the cut into ROUND 2, Congratulations and Good Luck moving forward! To those who didn’t, Congratulations on stepping out of your comfort zone and jumping off that cliff into the unknown. AND…Congratulations for putting yourself out there! Every submission should be celebrated! Clicking SEND is the victory…

Categories
Camino de Santiago Duet Books Interlude Press The Camino Club

THE CAMINO CLUB Release Day – 15 Weeks from Today!

That’s 105 days, for those either quick or slow at math.

This morning I finished what will probably be my very last read-through of The Camino Club. I haven’t re-read any of my other books once I received the physical copy. Then again, there is a first time for everything. I might just want to hold it in my hands and read it again. Never say never.

This book was a tiny idea floating around in my head when I my feet first made contact with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain back in May, 2014. I had this highfalutin idea that I would write it while I walked, cloister myself at the end of every days’ hike and jot down a few chapters. It might sound like a crazy idea, but I was used to writing complete novels in 72 hours at the Muskoka Novel Marathon. I figured I could storm through this one each day after a full day walking.

Boy, I have never been more wrong in all my life. The Camino is something you plug into 24 hours a day. It’s the Camino at night too…when the walking is over. Peregrinos (pilgrims) take in the places they stop in every day. They get to their albergues (hostels) and they freshen up…and then they typically go out and walk around the town/village/city they’re staying in that night. Or they take part in the communal meals and festivities that happen in their albergues. They LIVE. They participate. They become the pilgrims they imagined themselves to be.

You can’t put the Camino on hold to write while you’re on the Camino. It doesn’t work that way for me, at least. I would understand doing so if one were writing a travel journey or non-fiction memoir. They would want to get the details just write. But for me…I was formulating a fiction. I needed only to keep myself open and hope the story would percolate somewhere down below the surface while I was actually experiencing the Camino.

It took a couple of years…but it finally happened. I got that story out (I submitted to Interlude on November 23, 2018). It evolved from what I originally imagined it would look like. That evolution mostly happened because of the experiences I eventually lived out there on the path. My real experiences enriched the imagined experience. I’ll always be grateful for that first Camino…for forming the eventual story that came out.

Now, just 15 short weeks away, it will be something I can hold in my hands…something I can look at and say, “I made this!” I’ve never been so proud of a story. And a story has never been such a heavy weight to carry across an entire country and cultivate in my head while being out there living the life of a pilgrim. It’s like this impossible thing happened. And it happened to me! I’ll never get over it.

I might be talking less about the Camino now. Now that it’s out and the story will be in the world, living and breathing apart from me. I need to move on to other stories. I’ve been simmering a few in the incubator. I love the Camino. I will be back on the path for more wondrous Camino experiences. You can count on that. But I need to get my head wrapped around those other stories. I need to live, participate, experience.

Keep an eye out for the book drop! It’s coming soon. 105 short days from now. Better yet…go out and PREORDER. That would be great! It would help to lift this story off the ground ahead of its release. Wanna find out what six juvenile delinquent strangers get up to when they’re forced to walk across a country? Wanna taste of an amazing adventure–the Camino de Santiago–that’s out there waiting for anyone to try it at any time? Preorder now!

My publisher (Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press) said it best with the headline below when they announced The Camino Club on their website:

The epic trek begins October 6th.

Here’s Interlude Press’s The Camino Club blurb:

After getting in trouble with the law, a group of wayward teens from diverse backgrounds are given an ultimatum: serve time in juvenile detention for their crimes, or walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain over the summer holidays with a pair of court-appointed counselor guides. Although unlikely friends, they all try to make the best of their situation. The pilgrims grow closer on their journey, but when and if they reach the Cathedral in Santiago, will they each find what they’re looking for and come out of the walk ready to conquer the shattered worlds they left behind?

The pilgrimage begins October 6th from Duet Books.

Cover art by C.B. Messer.

thumbnail_Camino Club (IPG)

USA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

CANADA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOK DEPOSITORY PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

INDIEBOUND BOOKS PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BARNES & NOBLE PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOKSHOP PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

PRE-ORDER DIRECT FROM INTERLUDE PRESS (In this link, find out how you can pre-order the paperback and get the ebook package for free: THE CAMINO CLUB

I got so geeky with this book, I even created and dropped the playlist I created while writing The Camino Club. You can check it out here:

Listen to THE CAMINO CLUB playlist on SPOTIFY!

That’s it for today. This is just me getting excited and anxious for this book to drop. It’s the first book I’ve written that truly feels like the book of my heart. I hope to connect this hard with the next one. Now that I know how hard a writer can connect with their work, I hope to experience that feeling again. Now go and preorder my baby! It’s waiting to be loved…

Categories
Muskoka Novel Marathon Novel Writing On Writing Writing Writing Camp Writing Life Writing Retreat

Muskoka Novel Marathon – Online Covid19 Edition

Well, now I’ve gone and done it! I told myself I was going to take a year off from the Muskoka Novel Marathon. I have a new book coming out (THE CAMINO CLUB) and I thought the 72 hour marathon less than 2 months before launch was just too much me-time to take. I wanted to remain open, just in case.

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The Active Living Centre in Huntsville, Ontario, Canada—where the yearly Muskoka Novel Marathon magic usually happens.

As it turns out, a pandemic has struck. So everything has changed. The whole world has changed. Including the magic of the Muskoka Novel Marathon. For the first time ever, this event will not take place in one room in one building in one little northern Ontario town. This year’s MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON will not be 40 writers in one room writing 40 novels in 72 hours.

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I will be sitting in the WRITERS’ ROOM in spirit only this year. Writing from home will definitely not be the same. I’ll miss my fellow MNM participants greatly. Here I was planning to give those poor people a break from my ME-ness this year!

We will be spread far and wide, in our own homes, eating alone or with our loved ones. It’s strange and shocking. I can’t fathom the world without the yearly escape of the MNM. It’s a rare event that, if experienced, all writers cherish. Writing in one room together, stopping for meals to break bread together, to laugh, to compare words, to cry, to vex, to prank. Sigh.

But I did say WE. As it turns out, I guess I do have the schedule that would afford me the ability to participate. I mean, I’ll be home anyway, right? ALSO—full disclosure: The biggest reason I wasn’t going this year was that I felt like I should give my fellow participants a break. I can be a little MUCH sometimes. When I’m doing something that is high intensity–SAY, WRITING A NOVEL IN 72 HOURS–I get a little high intensity myself. I know I can be exhausting at these things, because I exhaust myself. So, I was going to sit this one out to give them an extra year to recuperate.

Usually the marathon registration costs $100. This may sound like a lot of money to fork over for the opportunity to spend 72 hours writing. To those people, I just say, “You’re crazy!” Value your words. That $100 buys 3 meals a day for 3 days, as well as unlimited coffee and snacks. AND a place to stay for 3 days. AND the magical camaraderie of like-minded people. You’re camping in a room with 39 other writers for three days and being fed and caffeinated non-stop. Take my $100, please!

This year, registration is free. And though they ask registrants to participate in fundraising, it is not mandatory. As important as LITERACY is, there are a lot of people out of jobs right now–either permanently or temporary. Fundraising for literacy could prove to be a heavy unfruitful burden for sure. There are a few very important causes right now that should not lose our focus, including bail funds and Black Lives Matter.

So, the usual push for fundraising is gone. And as the marathon is online for the first time, I guess it opens it up for people outside the immediate area as well.

This will be my 12th marathon. I’m registered and counting down the days. Hopefully I can stay on track and get a few words written from home. I hear there’s some online things being planned too, where participants can interact. Maybe some ZOOMS, etc. I’m looking forward to seeing what the organizers come up with.

I DID ask for a DONATION PAGE. So if you’re so inclined I would be thrilled if you were to sponsor this cyber-MNM. I’m certain the marathon will fall WAY SHORT of its annual close to $30,000 fundraising achievement. Any amount will help support the ongoing literacy programs of Muskoka/Simcoe county YMCA.

We are WRITERS HELPING READERS READ. You can be READERS HELPING WRITERS HELP READERS READ if you wish. Do you have it in you?

I will be receiving a donation page soon and will share it once it’s live. In light of the current world situation, I will not be doing very much canvassing for funds. But I will make the link available. STAY TUNED!

Thanks so much in advance!

Categories
Camino de Santiago Duet Books Interlude Press The Camino Club

When Execution Almost Meets Concept – THE CAMINO CLUB

Creative people always start with an idea/concept. Whether it comes to fruition or not is never known at the onset. It’s always a leap of faith to move forward with it. We hope. We conceptualize. We gather. We amass. We execute. But until we’re finished, we never know if it’s something we will finish.

Or, at least this is my own personal experience. I have many failed manuscripts to offer as exhibits to this theory, too. Believe you, me. We don’t always make it. We don’t always cross the finish line. Concepts are flawless, kind of like Michelangelo’s David. But sometimes the end result is more in line with stick figures. I wonder how happy Michelangelo was with his end result. If he’s anything like other creatives, he was probably pretty hard on himself.

What we see in our heads when we’re starting out is often quite beautiful. What we manage to get down on paper, or carved in stone, or on the canvas, or on the film, or down in notes…is often far removed from the crystallized idea. Sometimes we shoot for David, and the final result is closer to the stick figure.

When we do mark a project complete, we’re almost never close to what we imagined we would have at the end. In the world outside the creative brain there is not as much to work with as we have on the inside. It’s hard to make that transfer from imagined to real. Ideas are like new cars, as soon as they leave the lot they’ve already depreciated. The creative idea hits the air and it’s immediately weakened. The creative person’s job is to get as close to their original idea as possible whenever they set out to recreate it for others.

Easier said than done.

But sometimes the things we create come so close to what we imagined they would be. It’s like we can almost feel the way they should be when we look at them and we allow ourselves to be happy with the way they are. We can almost taste it, we came so close.

All this to say that I had the kernel of an idea six years ago as I walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. The further I walked, the more that kernel began to explode, to expand. Characters came into my thoughts, fought to be heard. I walked across a country, so I gave them space in my head…I allowed them to ruminate. I recognized what was happening as the creative process that ignites whenever I have a new story idea, so I walked. I put one foot in front of the other.

I didn’t take notes. I simply allowed the shadows of characters to take hold of my imagination. I listened. I allowed.

Today, I sent in the first round of edits on the story in question. It will become the novel, THE CAMINO CLUB, in about 132 days. I’m feeling a bit like maybe I captured most of what I set out to do. If the David is the idea I was shooting for, I mean…maybe I delivered something close to David. It’s a little blurry. It’s not perfectly defined. But, I mean…it looks comparable to David. It’s not a stick figure. One would look at it and think, “Oh! Michelangelo’s David!” I’m certain of it.

I’ve never been more proud of something I’ve created. It’s the closest one of my concepts have come to what I wanted the final result to be, let’s just put it that way. I have an extremely hard time being supportive of my own creative endeavors. I still feel like I’m unworthy of aspiring to creative endeavors, if truth be told. But I tried to silence the voices in my head, really I did. When I finally gave up and allowed creativity to flow, it felt good.

Now, I can almost say I’m proud of something I’ve created. This novel? THE CAMINO CLUB? It might actually be my David. That’s not to say it’s stunningly beautiful. That’s not for me to judge. But it’s the result of my ephemeral thoughts melding almost perfectly with the tools of my trade (keyboard, laptop, notebook, pen). I communicated a thought-scape almost exactly how I wanted to communicate it into existence.

I can’t wait to share the finished product. Yes, I’m nervous. Yes, I’m scared. Yes, I feel like come October 6th, 2020 I will be standing before you naked…hoping you like what you see…even if only a little bit. This one, it’s the book of my heart. It traveled a long way to get to this world. I hope you enjoy taking in the story as much as I enjoyed breathing it out.

While you’re here, here’s a few pics to show you what Facebook tells me I was doing on this day six years ago…I was ruminating with a certain story while walking my way to Santiago de Compostela…

While I still have your attention, you can preorder THE CAMINO CLUB now from wherever books are sold!

THE CAMINO CLUB:

After getting in trouble with the law, six wayward teens are given an ultimatum: serve time in juvenile detention for their crimes, or walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain over the summer holidays with a pair of court-appointed counselor guides. When it becomes clear the long walk isn’t really all that much of an option, they set out on a journey that will either make or break who they are and who they are to become.

USA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

CANADA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOK DEPOSITORY PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

INDIEBOUND BOOKS PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BARNES & NOBLE PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOKSHOP PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

Categories
Camino de Santiago Duet Books Interlude Press The Camino Club Young Adult Young Adult Fiction

It’s Been Six Long Years and I Love You Just the Same…

“When you see me, do you remember the times when we traveled…?”

Yes. The answer is yes and the answer will always be yes.

May 19th marked the 6th anniversary of my first ever steps on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. Those footsteps captured my heart. The pilgrims I walked with captured my heart. It was the end of a journey and it was the beginning of a journey. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

On this date six years ago, we walked from Cacabelos to Trabadelo. I was opening up to the Camino in ways I hadn’t imagined possible. I was also discovering it was the Wine & Food Tour of Spain. The rich mouth-watering salads and main dishes were made all the more glorious by the hunger created in us after a full day of walking across an unspeakably beautiful country. Each night we were met with delicious fare and extraordinary wine and café con leche. It made the walk easier…more hopeful.

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Danielle, writing down the bones of her Camino adventures…

I knew as I walked that I would write a story set on the Camino, and I knew what the story was that I wanted to write. Alas, as is often the case with me, I could not write it while I was there in that place. Being there…that was the time of percolation. I walked with my characters, I listened to their thoughts, formulated their personalities, envisioned their journeys.

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Day Two, May 20, 2014…Stepping into Trabadelo

Michael and I walked the Camino from Astorga to Santiago de Compostela in September of 2019. We did not stay in Trabadelo…but we walked through it and we stopped for a coke at the albergue our group of peregrinos slept at in 2014.

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Here’s the Trabadelo albergue in 2019…5 long years after our group spent the night under its roof. It looked very much the same. Memories flooded back. The window over the door was ours. We hung laundry on the Juliet balcony when we stayed…
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Julia and Danielle taking a break after our arrival in 2014. Connie is in the window up over the door…you can just make her out in the shadows. This was our second day and we were spent! We were in for a treat! Amazing food at this albergue!
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My fellow peregrinos at table back in May of 2014 (Connie, Julia, Tanya, Claudette, Sue, Danielle, and Nicholas).
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Claudette at the woodpile just before entering Trabadelo, Spain (May, 2014).
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Michael & I, entering Trabadelo for a walk-through (September, 2019).

The picture on the left was snapped at the Trabadelo albergue in May of 2014. The picture on the right, in September of 2019. ❤

I hope I can always go back. It’s in my heart now. The Camino has made me a wanderer, a lifelong pilgrim. I hope my upcoming novel, THE CAMINO CLUB, does the sacred pilgrimage route justice. My true hope is that the story creates even ONE future PILGRIM. If it ignites one soul to put the Camino de Santiago in their bucket-list, I will feel as though I have done good. The Camino has to be experienced before one can really get a feel for how life-changing it is. And it’s not the scenery, or the people, or the food, or the wine…it’s all of those things and more.

There is something on the Camino that just grabs on to your soul and embraces it. There is a saying often heard all over the Camino, by pilgrims from every country the world over…THE CAMINO PROVIDES. When, on the Camino, you find yourself in need of something…it has a way of coming to you. The spirit of the Camino finds a way to fill the need.

Once you experience that spirit, it stays with you. It calls you back. Again and again.

Buen Camino!

PREORDER THE CAMINO CLUB NOW!

thumbnail_Camino Club (IPG)

After getting in trouble with the law, six wayward teens are given an ultimatum: serve time in juvenile detention for their crimes, or walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain over the summer holidays with a pair of court-appointed counselor guides. When it becomes clear the long walk isn’t really all that much of an option, they set out on a journey that will either make or break who they are and who they are to become.

USA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

CANADA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOK DEPOSITORY PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

INDIEBOUND BOOKS PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BARNES & NOBLE PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOKSHOP PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

PRE-ORDER DIRECT FROM INTERLUDE PRESS (In this link, find out how you can pre-order the paperback and get the ebook package for free: THE CAMINO CLUB

Listen to THE CAMINO CLUB playlist on SPOTIFY!

 

Categories
Books Kindle Kindle Unlimited

Four of My Novels Now on Kindle Unlimited – Read for Free!

Four of my novels are now up on Kindle Unlimited! This means if you have Unlimited, you can download them and read them for FREE.

41qsFQ8u7ZLHALF 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 best friend, 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?

 

41r3PzQ-E1LSEBASTIAN’S POET – Sebastian Nelson is a boy in search of a family. Abandoned by his mother, Sebastian is left with a broken father who doesn’t even seem present when he does show up. Forced to be the main caregiver of his younger brother, Renee, and lost in a sea of indifference, Sebastian only wants to experience the love a real, stable family could afford him. One morning he discovers the famous folksinger, Teal Landen, asleep on the sofa. Teal’s nurturing nature brings an immediate sense of security into Sebastian’s tumultuous life. But a dark secret looms between Teal and Sebastian’s father of a hidden past. Sebastian is driven to discover their secret, but also he’s aware of how tenuous their hold on Teal really is. He doesn’t want to lose the feeling of home Teal’s presence has brought him. If Sebastian pushes too hard, he could lose Teal forever. He could be destined to raise his younger brother alone, while witnessing the total decline of his emotionally devastated father. If Sebastian is abandoned by the only healthy influence in his otherwise shaky existence, he will also be forever in the dark about the secret that will reveal so much about his fractured family. Sebastian’s Poet was the winner of the 2007 Muskoka Novel Marathon’s BEST ADULT NOVEL AWARD.

 

51tRGMZtI5LTHE REASONS – 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 un-buried secrets, he focuses on a stranger from his parents’ past. Only by eliminating the past, he believes, can he make his family whole again. The Reasons won the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s 2008 BEST ADULT NOVEL AWARD.

 

41FvnOO+IjLBURN BABY BURN BABY – 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.

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Categories
Camino de Santiago Duet Books Gay YA Interlude Press The Camino Club Young Adult Young Adult Fiction

The Lies I Told – Geographical Liberties in My Upcoming Novel THE CAMINO CLUB

I’m just gonna come clean BEFORE the book releases, because Camino pilgrims are generally sticklers for details. My novel THE CAMINO CLUB comes out October 6th. It’s a YOUNG ADULT novel, but if other Camino pilgrims are anything like me, we tend to seek out all books on the Camino for reading material. It’s a great way to revisit the Camino from your couch. Just pick up a book set on the Camino, and we’re there again!

I took CERTAIN LIBERTIES with my telling of the journey of six juvenile delinquents, their counselors and the friends they met and collected along The Way. Any seasoned Camino peregrino/peregrina will recognize the inaccuracies as soon as they come to them. So, I’ll admit to doing it now. And I will also point out the 2 major changes I made to the route here and now!

The first liberty I took that I will admit to is the placement of CREEPY JESUS OF CACABELOS. Early on in their journey, Troy and Claire have a secret night out of wandering the town of Cacabelos. They both sneak out of their albergue (hostel) in the middle of the night and find each other in the street. To this point in the story, Claire has been sullen and mostly unapproachable. On this night, she and Troy finally connect in a semi-meaningful way. Claire takes Troy for a walk BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF TOWN where she saw a very creepy statue of Jesus and together they flip out over its sheer scary ugliness.

The thing is, that statue of our lord and savior is found at the END OF TOWN. It’s right near the exit of town on the other side…so Claire wouldn’t yet know of the statue’s existence on the night in question. They don’t pass it until the next morning as they’re leaving town. I had to re-jig the town to make it work for the story. Not only that…the Albergue de Peregrinos de la Augustina de Cacabelos or Albergue Municipal in Cacabelos is on the main road…no stream, no bridge to get there. I made significant changes and I can already hear the diehard peregrinos yelling that I don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s the fun of writing fiction…you can change geographical details to suite your story. And I did! (-:

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Creepy Jesus of Cacabelos!

Creepy Jesus is found at the municipal albergue just before you leave the town of Cacabelos. Make it be known that I am the one who gave the statue this name. Mary sits over the threshold of ‘the old church’, holding her uber creepy baby-man Jesus. The albergue surrounds the church and it’s an extremely cheap place for pilgrims to stay on the Camino.

The second (but not the last) liberty I took with geography on the Camino is that of the POINTING PILGRIMS STATUE at Monte de Gozo. Monte de Gozo means HILL OF JOY and it is usually the first place on the Camino where pilgrims can catch a glimpse of the spires of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostella. The cathedral is about an hour’s hike from Monte de Gozo, and on a clear day you can just make out the church that everyone on the Camino walks toward. Monte de Gozo sports a large monument to commemorate Pope John Paul II’s pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. It’s a bit awkward looking, but definitely worth seeing. It’s rather stunning, if a little weird.

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Off in the distance, away from the Hill of Joy, is a statue of two pilgrims pointing to Santiago de Compostella.

pilgrimsFor my story, I physically moved these statues about 1/2 a kilometre or so, so that they were standing directly behind the monument to the Pope. The scene required all the people at the monument to be at the statues at the same time. So I simply re-jigged the geography again. Presto-Magico, the statues appear beside the monument. I know if pilgrims read my book they are going to be all aflutter about the inaccuracies. But in their hearts, I’m betting they think it’s a great idea to move those statues. When you’re racing to get that last hour in before lining up for your compostella, etc, those statues are a good deal out of the way.

They were heavy to move, but move them I did! Figuratively, if not literally. (-;

That’s just two examples of liberties I have taken to write the story the way I wanted to write it. I’m sure some great Camino sleuths will discover a few others. I would never do this if I were writing a non-fiction travel memoir. I promise. But there you have it. These are some of the lies I told in this novel.

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Categories
Camino de Santiago Graeme Harvey IllGetThere

More Camino Recs! IllGetThere and Graeme Harvey

Every once in a while I find another book or Youtuber to recommend for anyone interested in the Camino de Santiago. Today, I have both! One great Youtuber and one great Camino author!

I’m just finishing up with a Youtube playlist that takes the viewer on the entire St. Jean Pied de Port-to-Santiago de Compostela Camino Frances Camino de Santiago route and it’s been entertaining, informative and quite beautiful. If you love reliving your Camino, or simply getting to know the Camino, this playlist is one you will want to visit. Rachelle is a ‘Los Angeles based GenX mom‘ and she does an excellent job of bringing the viewer into her Camino de Santiago experience. Keep your ears open, too! She’s such a lovely singer. You’ll enjoy this journey, I promise you!

Here’s a link to Rachelle’s Home Page

Here’s a link to Rachelle’s Camino de Santiago Playlist

Rachelle can also be found over on INSTAGRAM!

The first video in the playlist is TRAVEL DAY TO MADRID: CAMINO FRANCES 2019:

For those who either want to continue on with a good book or two after watching Rachelle’s amazing vlog, or simply prefer reading to watching, here’s the two latest Camino books I’ve devoured!

5169+ftPoWLFirst up is Another ‘Way’: The Camino Portugués by Graeme Harvey. Michael and I put the intentions out into the universe that we would walk the Camino Portugues in the future. I always immerse myself in a place prior to visiting it. To this end, I discovered this short book written as a sort of travel journal by one who has already been on the Portugues trail. It’s a great day by day, mile by mile view of the way from Porto, Portugal to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostella in Spain. This is a great 10 day adventure…not too taxing and easy ground to cover for those who cannot get the 30-40 days off work that it takes to complete the full Camino. Also, there is a central route and a coastal route on the Caminho Portugues. Graeme and his wife took the coastal, which is the one we’re interested in taking. SUCH A GREAT READ! Click the cover to visit the book on Amazon.

51pvwpP6t3LImmediately upon devouring Another ‘Way’, I downloaded Adventures on ‘The Way’: 1100 miles on the Camino de Santiago! I’m close to the finish line on this book and loved the day to day details! This one begins NOT in St. Jean Pied de Port, but in Le Puy-en-Velay in France! Le Puy Camino or Via Podiensis is the Camino de Santiago route starting in breathtaking Le Puy-en-Velay, near Lyon, in France. This is the most popular of the Camino de Santiago routes in France and it feeds into St. Jean Pied de Port. Graeme runs his way to St. Jean and then continues to run across Spain to Santiago de Compostella. His wife, Kirsty, accompanies him on a bike. This is a great view of the landscape, the people of the Chemin/Camino, and the hotels and albergues they encounter along the way. Highly entertaining for Camino fans! Click the cover to visit the book on Amazon!

Buen Camino!