Just a quick heads up on an EBook sale that my publisher is having! It’s on now and lasts the remainder of the US Memorial Day Weekend! It’s on all EBooks in the Interlude Press and Duet Books catalogues! This includes my latest Duet Books YA novel THE CAMINO CLUB.
The sale is 40% off all EBOOKS and the discount will appear automatically in the cart (no code required).
Click the pic:
Don’t miss out on your chance to snag some amazing books!
The 20th Anniversary Muskoka Novel Marathon is this coming JULY!
The 20th Anniversary of the Muskoka Novel Marathon is Open for Registration!Save the Date: July 16 – 19, 2021
Have you ever thought about taking part in a novel writing marathon where you set aside a whole 72 hours to do nothing but write? It IS possible to have all or most of a first draft manuscript completed within that time period. I’ve done it several times. And if I can do it, anyone can.
Usually an in-person event, with meals and coffee and snacks and friendship and outings into the wild and into a lovely northern town, this year’s event is ALL VIRTUAL…thanks to the bitch known as THE NEVERENDING PANDEMIC.
So what this means to writers anywhere in the world, is that you too can attend the 20th anniversary marathon! There will be Zoom meetings throughout for bolstering, socializing, etc, etc, etc. And there is a coveted BEST NOVEL AWARD trophy. All manuscripts handed in at the end of the 72 hours are judged by a panel of industry professionals. They pick a BEST NOVEL out of both a child/youth category AND an adult category. Both of these BESTs move forward to a publisher for consideration and professional feedback.
On June 3rd I will be a panelist on a panel/lecture about putting your best foot forward during the writing period of the marathon…and winning that coveted BEST NOVEL AWARD. Joining me on the panel is Jennifer Turney and Shellie Westlake. Between the 3 of us, we have won 8 of the novel marathons…that’s just shy of HALF! We may have some tricks and insights to share with you in order to help you achieve that coveted win.
See above for the lecture’s description.
HOW TO WIN THE MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON is free to attend and it’s an online event in ZOOM. We’d love to have you aboard! Whether you’re registering for the marathon or not, I’m sure we’ll have some great advice to help you in your novel writing path.
If you want to know more about the Muskoka Novel Marathon, you can CLICK THIS LINK RIGHT HERE! For 20 years writers in the Huntsville, Ontario region (MUSKOKA) have been assembling for a long weekend in JULY to write novels…but the main goal of the marathon–outside of the grossly beneficial writing time experienced by the writers–is a fundraiser. Each writer gets sponsors and we collect money for the literacy programs in the area. This is no small fundraiser…in the previous 19 years we have collected over $200,000.00 for these programs. By literacy, I don’t only mean those who struggle with reading and writing, but also new Canadians, ESL, computer literacy skills for elder students…the programs help SO MANY PEOPLE. We, the writers, are thrilled to be able to help in this small way to bring much needed funds to the YMCA literacy programs that help so many. We are writers helping readers.
While I have you here, I will share my MNM profile page and my own fundraising page, if you’re so inclined to donate to this much needed cause:
I thought I would celebrate this achievement with a little giveaway. This one will be for a PRINT COPY of THE CAMINO CLUB being sent directly from my publisher INTERLUDE PRESS and DUET BOOKS.
All you have to do to enter is RT (Retweet) my PINNED TWEET on TWITTER. RT the tweet before midnight on APRIL 17th (USA and CANADA only for this one!) and you will be entered to win a paperback of THE CAMINO CLUB. (NO NEED TO FOLLOW ME, JUST RT THE TWEET.) Since I’ll be purchasing this one from the publisher and having them mail it directly to the winner, this copy WILL NOT BE SIGNED.
You can click on the image below to go DIRECTLY to my TWITTER PROFILE. The pinned tweet at the very top of my timeline is the one you need to RETWEET. I will be choosing a winner at random and contacting them for their address on the 18th. (I even included my pinned tweet in the picture below, so you know which one to RETWEET. (-: )
Enter by midnight on the 17th!
The GOLD & SILVER winners of the 2021 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Teen Fiction will be announced during online ceremonies between May 11-14, 2021.
It’s time, once again, to register for the annual MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON!
Every July, for 72 hours, a group of 40 or so writers have gotten together in the small but glorious northern Ontario town of Huntsville. Every July, they hole up in a space together and they each attempt to write a novel over the course of a three-day weekend.
THIS YEAR it’s the 20th Anniversary of this event!
Sadly, it’s also the 2nd year that the writers aren’t quite getting together. At least, not in the same way. Last year was our very first ONLINE EDITION. And this year will be our second online marathon.
I’m not going to lie. IT’S NOT THE SAME. Imagine the energy of having 40 writers in one room together for 72 hours. It’s frenetic, it’s chaos, it’s practically euphoric. We help each other with plot bunnies and holes, we urge each other on, we tease and joke and laugh and cry. And we also break bread together…as we are served 3 meals a day. All we have to do is stop writing, leave our writing stations, and go to the mess hall for food. It’s all set out and ready for us hungry writers to dig into.
You just can’t get that online.
BUT…it’s still an amazing journey. Writers meet through Zoom frequently. We have smaller breakout groups. We support each other. We even have silent Zoom meets where all those who attend just quietly type out their words together. Trust me…those are super helpful. I got a lot of words down during the silent Zooms. I didn’t think it would work, but it did.
We make the best with what we have. What we have during this pandemic is online camaraderie.
The good thing about ONLINE MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON is that it’s open to more than the usual 40 writers…and you don’t have to travel to HUNTSVILLE to attend! You can register and participate online in the comfort of your own writing space! AND you can be from anywhere in the world.
So think about spending a productive writing weekend with a group of writers dead-set on writing an entire novel in 72 hours.
The details (from the MNM website):
The 20th Anniversary of the Muskoka Novel Marathon is Open for Registration! Save the Date: July 16 – 19, 2021
Due to the on-going situation with the pandemic, we will be holding our second (and hopefully last) all online Muskoka Novel Marathon. Join us for a ZOOM event. No seat limit! Tell all your friends!
There IS a nominal fee to register. This will cover all the expenses the organization incurs for organizing the event. Registration is $25 and there are also cool MNM T-shirts you can pick up if you wish.
Think about joining us this year. It’s so much fun to get online together and urge each other on! There’s also an evening during the weekend where anyone who wants to can read an excerpt from their MNM work-in-progress in a safe nonjudgmental environment.
You’ll have to make your own coffee…but what this organization puts together for this weekend is worth your attending. It got me through in 2020…and I’m looking forward to attending the 2021 event. It will be an opportunity to see old friends from previous MNM events…and meet new ones in this safe virtual creative space!
I’m guessing a good portion of my blog posts on this site are about the MNM. This will be, I think, my 13th marathon! I’ve written about many of them. Just search Muskoka Novel Marathon on this site to read more about it. And spend some time at their site:
I know there are some creatives out there who are seriously taking advantage of this pandemic downtime. I see it happening. One just has to glance in Taylor Swift’s direction to see an example of this. She’s been on fire creatively…taking advantage, it would seem, of every second of her pandemic downtime.
But not all creatives are created equally. Some take the lemon they are given and make glorious refreshing thirst-quenching lemonade. Others, they look at a lemon and think, ‘Now, what the hell am I going to do with a nasty old lemon!? Those things are disgusting!’
Though I’m not always a negative Nelly, rest assured that I’m side-eyeing my lemon with hatred and disgust. This particular creative is struggling to put a sentence together.
I recall at the beginning of the pandemic that there were memes going around about Shakespeare. They were–I THINK–meant to bolster creatives. I immediately recognized it as a bad take, though. It was an insult to all of us and I’m ashamed that I may have even been one of the ones who shared it in the moment.
I believe Rosanne Cash was one of the first ones who perpetuated this bad take meme. Sittin’ up there on her hill, just spittin’ out takes willy-nilly.
Soon, the Shaky Pear’s face was everywhere…with any number of quotes and explanations as to how wonderfully he dealt with his plague lemons.
If you were furiously creating when this meme first strolled by you, you probably thought, “YES! Damn right!”
But…if you were one of the ones truly struggling to get words on paper, paint on a canvas, vocals on tracks, musical notes recorded, yarn on a needle, or any of the other million ways creatives choose to express their creativity, this take would have come as a hot slap across your face. A face that was already burning from the frustration of not connecting with your particular mode(s) of creativity.
We are now more than a year into this thing. As the world is PAUSED, creatives are either creating, struggling to create, taking a break from creating, or screaming into a deep void that appears to be both endless and unforgiving. It’s a struggle.
Stop comparing yourself to Shakespeare. Stop beating yourself up if you feel your pace isn’t enough. Creativity will happen, come what may. If you have to take a break, do so. There’s no scorecard. We’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. You’re doing your best. You’re getting through.
We (creatives and humans in general) are our own harshest judges. We see what others are accomplishing and we beat ourselves up over the fact that we’re not keeping up. Now is not the time for that. Good for Shakespeare for creating during the plague. That’s awesome. Really. Commendable. But there were some other great creatives in his day, I’m sure, who took a breather during the fear and uncertainty of the times.
Be you. Create when you can, not when you’re feeling pressured to do so. Define your own timeline of creativity and be kind to yourself during the down times. This is a big worldwide event. Yes, a poem will uplift the world. But so will serenity in a time of strife. If you’re not the poet this time around…be the reader. Take comfort in the creations of others.
From one creative to another, sending love and light…
The book of my heart is being celebrated! I don’t know yet where it falls on the podium—silver or gold—but…THE CAMINO CLUB is up for an award! I could not be more proud or thrilled. This book is my homage to a pilgrimage route in Spain I fell deeply in love with back in 2014. I’m so thrilled that it has found a publisher in Duet Books (the YA imprint of Interlude Press) and a readership. This recognition is the icing on top of an already amazingly incredible cake for me!
This book is so close to my heart it hurts. You put your babies out into the world and you hope for the best, but ultimately you never know how they will be received. Will they find a home with a publisher? Will readers discover them? Will readers enjoy them? It’s all unknown…and yet still we do it. We try our hardest to make real the vision we carry of what the story should be and we hope our execution lands somewhere near to that vision.
THE CAMINO CLUB has been SHORT-LISTED! The 2021 Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARDS FINALISTS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED! And THE CAMINO CLUB is represented in the category of………………. FINALIST – TEEN: FICTION (13-18 YEARS)
Much thanks to the powerhouse publishing team at Interlude Press/Duet Books! Thanks to my amazing editor, ANNIE HARPER, for believing in THE CAMINO CLUB in the first place, and for making it so much better than it was when the original manuscript first arrived in her lap! So much gratitude to CB MESSER for creating a more beautiful cover than I ever could have imagined. She literally captured the entire heart and essence of the Camino in that cover! Not to mention how pretty she made the book’s interior! And so much thanks to CANDYSSE MILLER for every single little (and big) thing she does for her stable of authors! I’ve never met a multi-tasker so dedicated to the art of multi-tasking! Huge thanks to all three of you for taking a chance on my little story! When I say I’m thankful that it found THE perfect home in Duet Books, I seriously mean it! I’m so grateful for this amazing publisher.
Click the link below for the three titles on the Teen Finalist List:
Two debut Young Adult Authors on one ticket! Barbara Baker and Lyndi Allison both have new books to shout about! What better way to do that than with a duo-launch?
Mark your calendars! On Thursday, April 15th, 2021 you will be able to join Barbara and Lyndi in the celebration. This online launch will take place at 7:00pm EDT on the 15th. Barbara and Lyndi will chat about the publishing process, from both the traditional and the indi perspective. Join them and help celebrate the launch of two new young adult works from these two debut authors!
And pick up their books while you’re at it! Click on the book covers below to visit their perspective Amazon pages.
SUMMER OF LIES – Fourteen-year-old Jillian has no idea who her dad is but uses her banishment from summer parties in Toronto to isolation in Banff National Park to track him down. But it’s not easy. A reclusive log cabin, a grumpy aunt, few trips to civilization and seriously—no cell phone reception?
When she’s not searching for her dad, Jillian pursues an elusive girl, Mika, who lives on her own in the wilderness. Together they track down a poacher and Jillian reunites Mika with her family. All should be well – but it isn’t. Big secrets in Jillian’s family surface, Jillian’s boyfriend ditches her, and her dad wants proof he’s her dad. Like she’d make this up?
Jillian swaps her English saddle for a western one as she unravels the truth about who she really is. What she learns changes everything she knows about herself and demands an inner strength she never knew she had.
THE LINES BETWEEN OUR STARS – When a dragon-snake slithers into the lab where fifteen-year-old Jas volunteers, he and his artsy rival, Gloria, teleport to an exoplanet to rescue the life form’s son. Now, the Interplanetary Space Agency is determined to stop them.
With water scarce and few comforts of home, the teens find themselves up against a formidable foe. They’ll have to overcome obstacles together or be stranded on this dusty planet light-years from Earth.
To register for the book launch on Thursday, April 15th at 7:00pm, simply email either Barbara or Lyndi NOW to save your spot! Their email addresses can be found in the flyer at the top of this post! Come on out and celebrate these new YA offerings and their amazing authors!
Longtime writing friend LYNDI ALLISON has a Young Adult DEBUT novel landing soon! I’m so excited to share the details with you here today! I first met Lyndi through the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR), where she held various roles on the Board of Directors…including president of the organization. Always a champion for writers everywhere, Lyndi now gets to celebrate her own amazing debut!
Before I share the cover for THE LINES BETWEEN OUR STARS, though, you might want to go back up and click on Lyndi’s highlighted name above to visit her Instagram page. Her bio says it all…I travel. I hike. I write. YA Author, writing facilitator, writing tour and retreat host.
Lyndi did what a lot of us only dream of doing. She packed it all away up here in Ontario a few years ago. She now resides in PANAMA. Not only that, she runs a retreat there for writers.
Isn’t it gorgeous! THE LINES BETWEEN OUR STARS! It’s book one of THE SUMMER TRIANGLE TRILOGY.
RELEASE DATE: MARCH 31, 2021
Here’s the synopsis of Book 1:
When a dragon-snake slithers into the lab where fifteen-year-old Jas volunteers, he and his artsy rival, Gloria, teleport to an exoplanet to rescue the life form’s son. Now, the Interplanetary Space Agency is determined to stop them.
With water scarce and few comforts of home, the teens find themselves up against a formidable foe. They’ll have to overcome obstacles together or be stranded on this dusty planet light-years from Earth.
Now for the all important details! This is dropping soon (March 31st), so now is the perfect time to PREORDER!
Here are some AMAZON preorder links! You know what to do! Please click the links below. Please preorder:
Today’s #CaminoTuesday theme put me in mind of my lifelong love of doors. They’re something I always seek out in my travels. For something so utilitarian, doors can be breathtakingly beautiful. I think that’s one of the reasons I love them so much. They point out the human desire to meld function and practicality with beauty. Doors are a sort of proof of humankind’s love of art.
I thought I would share some of my favourite door shots from my own personal life journeys. After sharing a few on the #CaminoTuesday hashtag on Twitter, I realized it only left me thinking of other doors in the world that I have run into and captured for safekeeping in my photos.
I should start with a Camino door. This one is from Monasterio de San Julián de Samos in Samos, Spain (the Galicia region).
Now, to move gently away from the Camino de Santiago…
I know this is hard to believe, but did you know there are also doors in France? Paris to be exact! This is one of the doors at Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, the church where Gil met the car that took him back into the 1920s in Midnight in Paris.
They have random doors in Paris too, no fooling…
And, low and behold, Quebec City here in Canada—-HAS DOORS!
They have doors literally all over China, and I captured more than just a few of them. We went from Beijing to Shanghai to Suzhou and places in between. Even Hong Kong. Doors…everywhere. Here’s a couple now…
I super aDOORed the doors in Brussels, Belgium! (see what I did there?)
Brugge, being, as it was, a medieval town, seemed to have quite an abundance of doors. You could say there were doors everywhere in Brugge…
Even my hometown of Toronto has some interesting doors to discover. This one is from the lighthouse on the island…
Not to mention our nation’s capital in Ottawa…you guessed it, also doors…
Jaipur, India? Yep…also doors!
Agra, India? DOORS…even the Taj Mahal has doors. Other buildings too…
My favourite city in India, Orchha, had a literal ton of doors…possibly more!
Varanasi, India had doors. The purple one? LOVE! But they had MORE THAN ONE…
We found doors in Pokhara, Nepal! I’m beginning to believe we’d find them ANYWHERE…
I found doors in Kathmandu, Nepal…
Lamu, Kenya had some beautiful doors…and some dangerous…and some furnished with cat coutoure…
Take a moment, wherever you be, and look at the portals around you. They’re not just functional. The doors of the world tell a lot about the world. We are creatures who appreciate beauty…all of us. If humans didn’t believe in love and art, all doors would look alike. We like to fill our spaces with beauty. I like that…
“We are a group of Kidlit writers and publishing professionals who are horrified about the intense rise in anti-Asian violence after a year of xenophobic rhetoric and racist attacks. “The NYPD reported that hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment jumped 1,900% in New York City in 2020.” (Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans Are on the Rise. Many Say More Policing Isn’t the Answer,Time.com) We are running an auction to raise funds for two organizations that work against anti-asian racism and racism of all kind: Stop AAPI Hate & Hate is a Virus. Auction is open from February 26, 2021 @ 12AM EST until February 28, 2021 @ 11:59 PM EST.”
You have to act fast if you want in on items in this auction, as it only lasts for 2 days!
There are over 400 items to bid on. Here’s a link to the page that breaks those items down by category…for easier navigating of what there is on offer: