The Geography of Book of Dreams

My upcoming novel BOOK OF DREAMS is set in my hometown. Toronto, Ontario. I didn’t think I’d ever write that sentence. At first I even did this surreptitiously, adding little details about Toronto that probably only residents would know. I have always felt the need to mask the Canadianism of my fiction, create small town anywhere locations that wouldn’t alienate American readers.

What I didn’t expect was for my editors to suggest feeding more details of Toronto into my manuscript at a recent editing stage. I can’t tell you how much this delighted me. Also, I guess I wasn’t exactly as surreptitious as I thought I was being. Looks like they knew it was Toronto, but not Toronto enough.

So I was free to sprinkle a few little details about. I still went sparingly, always conscious of the potential of losing the interest of American readers because of the setting. This may sound implausible, but I do believe this is something us Canadians struggle with when feeding into the American market.

We follow by example. How many times have we seen our city streets transformed into Chicago, or New York, or various other major American cities for the sake of filming? To see a police car with New York plates and colours is not unusual here. To see an American postal box on the street is not unheard of in Toronto. These things just mean you’ve walked too close to a movie set. It happens in downtown Toronto all the time.

So I used Toronto street names in my book, but purposefully did not set my story in an actual city. I suppose I did this out of fear of being told to change the setting.

With my requested sprinkled additions, it is now definitely Toronto set…and I couldn’t be happier!

I mention Kensington Market, my favourite Toronto neighbourhood. My characters attend Heydon Park Secondary. The bookstore is on Elm Street, just off of Yonge. I even mention the King of Kensington, Al Waxman…and bring up his statue in Bellevue Square Park.

Canadian actor, best known around these parts for his role as the lovable Larry King, AKA King of Kensington.

I also mention Carbonic Coffee (Here is their Instagram account), the gorgeously sleek coffee shop on Baldwin Street…as the last place the main character Gaige kisses his boyfriend Logan before all the madness of the story happens.

Carbonic Coffee, Baldwin Street, Toronto (Google Streetview)

It’s all there. Except Dundas. I erased that name, just as Toronto City Council is about to do. Only, they haven’t done it yet…so I didn’t have the new name to change the street to. I chose DARIUS…a little homage to another YA book (Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram). It’s a bit of an Easter Egg. I wasn’t going to use Dundas and I really admire Khorram’s book(#1 of a 2 book series).

So if you’re reading Book of Dreams, for geographical reference, in the book’s universe the Eaton Centre is at Yonge-Darius Square. (-:

This post is just to say…WOW! It really makes a difference when you can set a story in the place where you live. So many Canadians shy away from doing so! We do this either out of a false taboo we ourselves created against doing so, or after being specifically told not to do it. It’s weird. These days, I think it’s more self-policing than publishers actually having an issue with it. We remember a time when it was frowned upon, and we keep that mindset.

Or maybe the movie sets around town tell us Toronto is good enough for the movies, but not good enough to BE Toronto in the movies. The New York or Chicago you’re watching on your television screen is quite often Toronto in disguise. 😉

BOOK OF DREAMS is now available for PREORDER! preorder a copy now wherever books are sold!

My publisher actually DROPPED THE PRICE on new releases. You can get the paperback of Book of Dreams for only $12.99! RELEASE DAY is SEPTEMBER 13th!

AMAZON LINK FOR BOOK OF DREAMS

It Helps with the Blues – A New Book by Bryan Cebulski

Yesterday was the Book Birthday for Bryan Cebulski’s new book, IT HELPS WITH THE BLUES! I read an advance copy of this book and fell in love with Cebulski’s sleek style of storytelling! You really should pick up a copy!

Synopsis:

Jules leaves. Gabriel rages.
Estelle changes. Joshua hides.

In the aftermath of a classmate’s suicide, a boy embroils himself in a community of Midwestern teens, each doing what they can to cope as they stumble—together and apart—toward a life worth living.

I was more than happy to blurb this one. It reminded me of the literary stylings of F. Scott Fitzgerald in a big way. I really enjoyed the epistolary bits throughout, and the narrator’s struggles and self-reflection were palpable. A quick read and a memorable one!

My blurb for IT HELPS WITH THE BLUES:

It Helps with the Blues is a raw look into the tumultuous world of teenage love and loss. This coming of age story is a tour de force of emotions and self-discovery. Navigating what it means to find oneself while losing others along the way, the young narrator takes readers on a complicated journey of introspection they won’t soon forget. With almost reckless abandon, he wanders through the threads of this story teetering on the edge of his own inborn privilege and a need to turn his back on it all in favor of his own ‘humble inadequacy.’ This story burns through and through, and stays with you long after its simmering outcome. – Kevin Craig, author of The Camino Club

Pick up a copy at any of the following places:

AMAZON USA

AMAZON CANADA

Traum Books

Kobo Books

Add IT HELPS WITH THE BLUES on your Goodreads Shelf!

Bryan Cebulski’s Website

Follow Bryan on Twitter

Read Chapter One of BURN BABY BURN BABY Now!

I thought I would share Chapter One of my young adult novel Burn Baby Burn Baby with you today. This novel won a couple awards…I wrote it at the Muskoka Novel Marathon over a 72 hour weekend retreat in Huntsville, Ontario. If you search this site, you will find everything you need to know about the MNM here. I’ve written about it often.

Here’s the first chapter of BURN BABY BURN BABY

“My drops of tears I’ll turn to sparks of fire.~ William Shakespeare, Henry VIII

CHAPTER 1

The movie of my life would probably begin with a close-up of our kitchen window. And inside the kitchen, Mom would be screaming. She’s pretty much angry about everything. All the time. The camera would then pan out to take in the destruction of our yard. I swear it’s a redneck delight out there. Broken-down cars, an above-ground pool with the sides smashed in, and just enough water at the bottom of it to house a colony of diseased mosquitoes. We have it all.

The camera would then pan away from our house, but Mom’s big mouth would still be heard loud and clear. It doesn’t matter what she’s saying. Nobody listens to her anyway. The theater audience would then get to see perfectly coiffed yards as far as the eye can see. Our house is the only rundown disaster area on our block, you see. All the other houses are orderly, cookie-cutter replicas of one another. We’re the neighborhood pariahs.

Welcome to my life. That’s the way it goes, though, right? You don’t get to pick your family. Hell, you don’t even get to leave them if you don’t like the one you’re stuck with. A lot of bad has to happen before you can grab up all your crap and sign up for another family. And even then, you’re not guaranteed what you’ll end up with. Take your chances and keep what you have, dude. There are some messed up sickos out there. Best to stick with the devil you know.

You probably have no idea why I’d start my life movie with a close-up of my kitchen window. There’s a good reason why I wouldn’t be in the opening sequence. I’d want to keep people in the seats for as long as possible. Starting right in on me might scare a few of them away before the credits wrap. And I wouldn’t be a very good filmmaker if that happened, now would I? See, I’m not like other people. I mean, I’m not a hell of a lot unlike other people. But I do have certain traits that are unusual and—how can I put this delicately?—unpretty.

No matter how much people cringe when they look at me, though, they always come back for that second gawk. You know the car wreck you don’t want to look at, but can’t help yourself from staring at? Well, I’m kind of like that car wreck in human form. You won’t want to look at me. But once you do, your eyes will be compelled to stay on me. You may even walk into light posts or people or stuff, too, as you keep moving forward but turn your head back to stare. I’ve seen it happen. Rubberneckers love me.

That’s me, in a nutshell. So I’d save you from seeing me for at least the first few minutes of the movie of my life. I’d want the credits to roll first, before people began to flee from their seats, looking back at the freak show on the screen and tripping over each other on the way out of the theater. Ugly don’t sell popcorn.

I know what you’re thinking. It can’t be that bad. It’s not, really. I’m used to it. But you know how people are. People are mean, small-minded, petty, you name it. People will do the wrong thing every time. I’ve learned to count on it.

I can tell you stories.

To bring you back into focus, you know, on the story of my life. The opening credits have rolled and you already have a pretty good idea the story is about the poorest, least proud family in a pretty nice-looking neighborhood. I got that much in. That tells a lot, really. Think about it. You know the story isn’t going to be about my neighbors in their perfect little houses. It’s gonna be about that odd house out. That rundown shack in the middle of the beautiful suburban sprawl. Something has happened to the people in that house, something probably bad. They lost their zest for life, right? I mean, the least they can do is remove some of the garbage collecting against their back fence. They have no pride. They no longer give a crap.

Maybe the story is about why they no longer care.

Now that you have an image of the house in your mind, I think the next best place to introduce in the movie would be the halls of Helltown Secondary. It’s actually Shelton Secondary, but all the cool kids call it Helltown. They have for generations. I’m not one of the cool kids, but I call it Helltown too. Mostly because it’s the one place in the world that feels the most like what hell would feel like if it existed.

So, the camera pans on the school. Full frontal. It takes in the flag, the school name on the building’s façade, the whole deal. Then we’re slowly taken in through the front doors. Very prestigious. Very upper-class. Marble stairs leading to great oak doors you really have to grab onto to swing open.

Once we’re inside, the camera does one of those speedy-up things where it races through the hallways taking in the occasional hot girl—again full frontal—the odd jock hunk, maybe with football gear slung over his shoulder, or a hot girl dripping off his deltoids. You get the picture. Everybody who is hot is gettin’ some action, and the camera convinces you of this in the few quick-glimpse shots of the school beauties petting and pawing and preening over one another. There. Look. We see a girl putting on lipstick. She’s stretching upwards, with one foot slightly lifted out behind her, while she stares into her locker mirror. The pose just oozes sex. She’s putting some hot, wet-looking lipstick on her teen girl lips, perfect pouty lips that most of the guys will never ever touch.

Okay. Enough of that. I kind of went all self-indulgent there. Okay, so the camera turns a corner and focuses on the back of a head. The head is shoved fully into its owner’s locker. There’s a hand repeatedly pushing the head, and the front of the head is ringing soundly off the back of the locker.

Okay. See that hand? You with me so far? That hand is on the back of my head. I would make my first appearance in the movie of my life by appearing as the back of my head. I’d want to save the audience the agony for just a split second longer. I’d want their sympathy first. That poor boy? What did he ever do to deserve that? In other words, I would milk it. I’d want to slowly introduce them to the lead character, get them ready for what they’re about to see. It helps to build momentum, too.

I tend to visualize everything as a movie. The truth is, I’m a future Oscar-winning director. The screen will never have me, but I’m gonna kick movie ass behind the camera one day. I’m already brilliant at capturing stuff on film, just ask me. But, right now, the movie stuff is too tiresome. It’s not allowing me to drop down into the story properly. So, let’s say we just go full screen on the scene.

Boy One is inside his locker, being pressed against the back of it by Boy Two. Boy Two is one of those boys who has probably already kissed those drop-dead lips the camera spent way too much time on earlier.

Yeah. Boy Two is pretty much perfect in every way. Boy Two is so drop-dead gorgeous, he could work for Abercrombie and Fitch. On the side. He’s a man, right? Or at least he could pass as one if he wanted to.

And Boy One? Well, he’s me. Scrawny, awkward, and weak-kneed.

Boy One kicks and screams and finally flails enough that he’s out of the locker, but only because the jock got bored. He’s ready to move on. He, the jock—Brandon Hayley—laughs with his friends and heads off down the hall.

If this was a movie I was making, I’d probably go all Quentin Tarantino at this point and there’d be a Brandon Hayley bloodbath. And… roll credits. End of story.

I’m left at my locker, trying really hard to look like it was no big deal. But it hurt, dammit. He just pounded my forehead into the back of my locker. That’s metal, folks, probably backed by concrete. He was slamming my head, too, not just softly tapping it. I hold my forehead, trying to keep the pain to a minimum. I pretend like I don’t want to burst into tears. I pick up my books and turn away from the locker, closing it as I turn.

And there it is; the head-on shot of the story’s hero. You can see that his right ear is melted away to a nub and that his cheek appears to be sliding off his face. Nothing major. Burns. People have seen them before. But let’s just stare at them openly anyway. It’s not rude. No. Go on. Go ahead. It’s all for your eyes. I live to be viewed. Really, I do.

Now, before I walk on down the hall in the direction of my chem lab—already late due to some recent head-slamming activity I was not previously aware would be a part of my day’s schedule—the camera pans just slightly. This gives the audience a glimpse of my right arm and hand. These too look like neat little science projects made out of candle wax. They too are dripping away from my body in a masticated mess of burnt flesh. They don’t hurt, of course. Now they are just scars. Just little showboating wounds I get to parade around all the live long day. What Grade 11 student wouldn’t be thrilled to have such burned limbs, such twisted flesh on the side of his face?

That’s me. Again, I said I was going to stop with the movie of my life thing. I think I need to have confidence that you have just enough to go on for now. You know about my home and about my disfigurement. Maybe I can just jump into things now and be done with it.

There you have it. That was Chapter One. If you’d like to continue reading, you can pick up a copy on Amazon! Just click on the cover below:

Here’s the full synopsis:

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.

Our Camino Portugues – Senda Litoral Route

We are all set to go forth into the world again, once September comes.

This time, we will be doing the Senda Litoral Route of the Caminho Português (Portuguese Camino, The Portuguese Way, Camino Portugués). And, for the first time, there will be 3 of us walking! Can’t wait for this one… to walk along the coastline of Portugal up and into Spain and make our way to the city of Santiago de Compostela!

Credencials or Pilgrim Passports. These ones were issued for the Holy Year (which is 2021 with a special extension to 2022).

Our walk will be broken down as below, as far as we have it planned so far.

Porto – Vila Do Conde – 33.9km (we are thinking of shaving some of this off by crossing through Porto.)
Vila Do Conde – Esposende – 26.4km
Esposende – Viana do Castelo – 27.3km
Viana do Castelo – Caminha – 27.1km
Caminha – Baiona – 31.2km
Baiona – Vigo – 26.8km
Vigo – Ponte Samaio – 24.5km
Ponte Sampaio – Caldas de Reis – 33.3km
Caldas de Reis – A Picarana – 28.4km
A Picarana – Santiago de Compostela – 16km
Santiago de Compostela back to Porto by bus.
 

We will be walking this Camino in mid-September of 2022. The best place to live-follow our adventures will probably be on my INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT. I usually do daily updates there and then condense into a travel blog post after our return.

We will be travelling with John Brierley once again. I think a LOT of pilgrims travel with Brierley’s guides. It almost feels de rigueur at this point.

I know some of the days may seem a bit long in this itinerary. I’m hoping it’s doable as is. This Camino is definitely less mountainous than the Camino Frances, but there is also a little less infrastructure in places. We shall see.

Now, we wait for September to come as we dream of walking along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean and eventually walking inland and reaching the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela once again. This time… it will be for the 3rd time for one of us, for the 2nd time for one of us, and for the 1st time for one of us. #CantWait!

 

 

While you’re here, I wrote a novel set on the Camino Frances route. You can check it out at Amazon here: THE CAMINO CLUB

New Book to Drop in ONLY 6 Months!! Book of Dreams is coming!

It’s just under 6 months now! My latest novel, BOOK OF DREAMS is coming soon! I can’t wait for readers to discover Gaige & Logan and Noah & Sara! And even the evil nefarious Jack Chalek, murderous creep that he is!

Book of Dreams! Coming September 13, 2022 from Duet Books, the YA imprint of Chicago Review Press! Cover design by C.B. Messer!

Book of Dreams is available for PREORDER now! See purchase links below:

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Chicago Review Press Print | Chicago Review Press Ebook | Barnes & Noble | Interlude Press | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | IndieBound | Blackwell’s | Booktopia | Book Depository | APPLE Books |

You can add BOOK OF DREAMS to your GOODREADS SHELF HERE.

Here’s the synopsis for this slightly horror/fantasy contemporary YA novel:

Gaige’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a bookstore on an abandoned street where no bookstore should be. He steps inside and is immediately enthralled by its antiquarian sights and smells. But one book in particular calls to him. It isn’t long before he gets a bad feeling about it, but it’s already too late. The store’s aged bookseller gives him no alternative: once he touches the book, it’s his—whether he wants it or not. It’s bought and paid for and there are no returns. The book leads Gaige on a horrific descent into the unknown. As he falls into the depths of its pages, he loses blocks of time, and his friends become trapped inside ancient cellars with seemingly no means of escape. Gaige soon learns that the ancient bookseller is a notorious serial killer from previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape. When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help—Mael, a sweet boy also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

You can also read an excerpt from chapter one of Book of Dreams over at LGBTQ Reads. This excerpt was shared, along with the exclusive cover reveal, back in December, 2021.

Preorder now. Tell your friends. Share the news!

To Create Inside of Chaos

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my position as a creative. When you juxtapose creativity with what is going on with the world today, it’s hard to comprehend that one could simply sit down, zone out, and create…amidst all the chaos.

I mean, honestly, between doomscrolling, masking, and just scraping by emotionally after two solid years of a pandemic…when does one have the time and mental capacity to create? That’s a real question, because I have been suffering terribly trying to come to terms with the answer. There is nothing worse for a creative than WANTING to create but not being able to motivate yourself to do so.

Today alone, we are waking up to Russia attacking Ukraine on the heels of Texas attacking trans kids and teens and their supportive parents days after ignorant moronic anti-masking Nazi racist anti-vaxxers tried to overthrow democracy in Ottawa. The world is so filled with hatred, madness, and rage right now. Where do we find the time to silence that chaos while sitting quietly and creating? It just feels like it would be turning one’s back on something important the very moment one shouldn’t look away. The world is HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

I write this today after seeing a tweet cross my path on Twitter. Initially, I thought, ‘YES, YES, YES!’ It’s great advice. But it’s also somehow debilitating to ponder…especially if that’s exactly what you want to do, but you JUST CAN’T. For context, here is the tweet (click the tweet to go to Cavan’s Twitter):

No shade to Cavan Scott. I actually love the tweet. They’re incredibly right with this advice. Just don’t beat yourself up if you can’t pick up the torch of this tweet and run with your creativity.

It is also in times of trouble that creativity sometimes abandons our hearts. We need to give ourselves permission to NOT act on this tweet if we are unable to. Creativity will never die. YOUR CREATIVITY WILL NEVER DIE. Sometimes we need a break.

When the world is falling to pieces in front of your eyes and you can’t help but feel a deep lasting despair, please don’t complicate things by hating yourself for not being able to take refuge in your creative passions. Sometimes we are simply too overwhelmed to do so. Be kind… to yourself and to others. Times are dire. Be safe. Be the light the world needs in whatever little way you can be without burning yourself out.

Create if you can. Sit this one out if you can’t. Read poetry. Look at the beauty of art. Send hope into the universe for a better humanity. Do what you can to get by. Give yourself GRACE.

Barnes and Noble Preorder Sale!

This is a bit of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it opportunity, but here goes!

My upcoming novel, BOOK OF DREAMS is available for PREORDER. AND…coincidentally, BARNES & NOBLE is having a 25% off discount on all PREORDERS!

For today and tomorrow only, get 25% off the regular price for my upcoming YA novel BOOK OF DREAMS!

Buy from Barnes & Noble today or tomorrow using the promo-code PREORDER25 at the checkout!

Yes, of COURSE you can pick up BOOK OF DREAMS wherever books are sold! Here’s some links here:

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Chicago Review Press Print | Chicago Review Press Ebook | Barnes & Noble | Interlude Press | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | IndieBound | Blackwell’s | Booktopia | Book Depository | APPLE Books | Goodreads

But for these two days, you can get it at 25% off at BARNES & NOBLE. HERE’S THE DIRECT LINK HERE!

Synopsis:

Gaige’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a bookstore on an abandoned street where no bookstore should be. He steps inside and is immediately enthralled by its antiquarian sights and smells. But one book in particular calls to him. It isn’t long before he gets a bad feeling about it, but it’s already too late. The store’s aged bookseller gives him no alternative: once he touches the book, it’s his—whether he wants it or not. It’s bought and paid for and there are no returns. The book leads Gaige on a horrific descent into the unknown. As he falls into the depths of its pages, he loses blocks of time, and his friends become trapped inside ancient cellars with seemingly no means of escape. Gaige soon learns that the ancient bookseller is a notorious serial killer from previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape. When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help—Mael, a sweet boy also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

Preorder your copy of BOOK OF DREAMS today! Barnes & Noble is giving you a big incentive right now!

Music, My Brother, Meat Loaf and Peace

My brother Dave. Now there’s a complicated relationship if ever there was one. I would die for him. And I now suspect that he might even do the same for me. As kids, we were warriors against each other, though. Massive hate-ons for each other. Like, whoop! It was bad. But Lord help anyone who tried to step on his toes. Siblings are so complicated, aren’t they?

In the 70s and 80s there was NOTHING that separated the two of us–Dave & I–more than our musical choices. WOW! We shredded each other for our choices.

I was full on DISCO to PUNK to NEW WAVE to GOTH. Dave was the original orator of the DISCO SUCKS era. Yes, to him…even the disco duck sucked. I know, right!? Blasphemy. He was all hard rock and classic rock and metal and nonsense.

We did NOT understand each other. No way, no how.

Every once in a while, however, there were things we just magically agreed on. Some music defied genre groupings. There’s all sorts of music that is very IF YOU LIKE THIS, YOU CANNOT LIKE THIS. But there were also a few universal bands/performers…no matter what you liked, you were still ‘allowed’ to also like THIS.

David Bowie

Queen

The Beatles

Meat Loaf

I will never forget when Bat Out of Hell came into our house. December, 1977. It was a tumultuous time for me…and there are ways in which the arrival of that album saved me.

Is it crazy that I still to this day remember the smell of that record as we tore the plastic wrapping away? I do. Vividly. Just as I remember the anticipation of listening to it…

It was such a rare time for Dave and I…we totally put our musical differences aside and absolutely and completely and unconditionally devoured that album! With expressions of shock and awe, we listened to these songs in these magical stylings we had not yet come across in our deeply extensive musical careers. I say that knowing full well that we were 12 and 11 years-old respectively. We had just over a decade of musical experience and much of that decade was very nursery rhyme heavy.

But listen…we both worked in a record store for almost two years. We were too young to be on the payroll, so we took home vinyl every day as payment for our child labour. It was fucking glorious. We had come to know MUSIC.

BAT OUT OF HELL was rock and opera and show tunes and musicals and theatre and fierceness. We were both flabbergasted. We knew, as soon as the needle dropped on the first song, that we were listening to something fresh and new and game-changing. MEAT LOAF. This man could SING. And his collaborators? This album had genius all over it and both of us knew it. Dave and I both loved it…so it had to be magical. Not since HEART dropped DREAMBOAT ANNIE in 1975 were either of us so gobsmacked.

This was an album I could put on the turntable without getting punched, or have it thrown off and shattered. Dave allowed it…and even played it himself. Unlike LIPPS INC‘s Funkytown. Now there was a song that showed just how huge our divide was! To this day, I don’t understand how he could hate a song with such a virulent passion. I mean, try to stand still when Funkytown comes on! It slaps. And btw, how could someone who enjoyed Captain & Tennille‘s Love Will Keep Us Together so much, not like disco? Ugh.

Meat Loaf passed away last night. And with him goes a little bit of magic from the world. I wonder if he knew how many musical bridges his album built? I mean, I know he knew it was popular and loved and phenomenally successful. It broke serious records. But did he know that two bratty little siblings in Ontario, Canada, who always looked for reasons to fight each other, became silent and called a truce long enough to listen to Bat out of Hell–You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth–Heaven Can Wait–All Revved Up With No Place to Go–Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad–Paradise By the Dashboard Light–For Crying Out Loud in peaceful solidarity with one another? Did he know that?! I mean, that’s like…OVER 45 minutes of peace. He gave that to our mother. Granted, it would have been a loud peace. No shouting, screaming, kicking, or punching…but the volume would most definitely have been loud.

Thank you for the music, Meat Loaf. Thank you for allowing my big brother and I some quality fight-free time together. We were in awe of that album. You gave us so much.

ETA: Meat Loaf was a huge part of the problem we have during this pandemic. An antivaxxer and an antimasker and, if my Googlefu is correct, an actual fucking Trumper. Our childhood heroes sometimes rot and fall from the tree. Meat Loaf gave my brother and I some amazing time together enjoying an amazing album. Also, I’m a lifer Rocky Horror Picture Show fan. I’ve seen the movie more times than I can count. I pretty much know it verbatim. But this guy died for nothing. And his kind are making this pandemic unbearable. So, there’s also that.

Nominated for the Queer Indie’s 2022 Awards!

Hello Readers!

It’s that time of year again. The Queer Indie’s 2022 Awards are upon us! And guess who’s been NOMINATED in the Queer Lit: Youth category?!

ME! It’s me. 🙂

QUEER INDIES is a great resource for independent queer books. Visit their main site page HERE.

This is my second nomination. If you would like to vote for my category (and/or any other category) you can do so by visiting the VOTE PAGE HERE.

Voting in each category is done by drop down box for that category. Just click on the category for which you would like to vote and the nominees will be revealed.

Voting is open until February 7th, 2022.

Book Release Date Change!

To all of my readers who have pre-ordered BOOK OF DREAMS…I am forever thankful! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I have an announcement concerning the release date of the book.

My publisher, Interlude Press, was recently acquired by Chicago Review Press (read about the acquisition here at Publisher’s Weekly). One of the first things to change, for me, was the release date of my upcoming young adult horror, Book of Dreams. They want to give the book more time…for marketing, etc. It’s a hard but understandable change. I hope those who pre-ordered are not too put out by the change in the release date. They want to give it the time it deserves to prepare it for its journey into the world, and I’m totally onboard with this change. Feeling pretty excited about this one!

You can still pre-order BOOK OF DREAMS…it’ll just show up a bit later now. Instead of MAY 24th, 2022…it’ll arrive SEPTEMBER 13th, 2022.

Totally coincidentally, the new release date also happens to be my birthday!

(Please note that some online retailers still show the May date as the release date. This will change…the news is fairly recent. Sites should be updated soon.)

You can pre-order BOOK OF DREAMS wherever books are sold. Here’s some links, if you would like to do so:

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Chicago Review Press Print | Chicago Review Press Ebook | Barnes & Noble | Interlude Press | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | IndieBound | Blackwell’s | Booktopia | Book Depository | APPLE Books

SYNOPSIS:

Gaige’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a bookstore on an abandoned street where no bookstore should be. He steps inside and is immediately enthralled by its antiquarian sights and smells. But one book in particular calls to him. It isn’t long before he gets a bad feeling about it, but it’s already too late. The store’s aged bookseller gives him no alternative: once he touches the book, it’s his—whether he wants it or not. It’s bought and paid for and there are no returns. The book leads Gaige on a horrific descent into the unknown. As he falls into the depths of its pages, he loses blocks of time, and his friends become trapped inside ancient cellars with seemingly no means of escape. Gaige soon learns that the ancient bookseller is a notorious serial killer from previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape. When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help—Mael, a sweet boy also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

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