On Monday I shared the cover of the upcoming young adult novel from Brien Crothers. Pre-Orders are now active for CAMINO CHILD! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to fans of both young adult fiction and stories set on the Camino de Santiago.
CAMINO CHILD – Fifteen-year-old SUMMER DARLING and her grandmother have left their home in southern California to fly to the rugged coast of northern Spain, following a crypticnote and pages from a forty-year-old travel diary neither knew existed. The answers to a family mystery, Grandma Pat is now certain, lie along the ancient pilgrimage trail called the Camino de Santiago.
To be honest, Summer isn’t all that interested in the journal. She’s learned the hard way to view family with suspicion and keep outsiders at arm’s length. But Summer will do anything for Grandma Pat, and so she hefts a backpack and sets out for a walk of more than 500 miles.
When tragedy strikes, though, Summer has to make a choice. Can she continue the journey alone, trekking across a country she knows almost nothing about? And will the answers she finds on the journal pages fill the aching, lonely hole in her own heart?
As she explores the sunny beaches of the Camino del Norte and the wide-open spaces of the Camino Francés, Summer will discover friends in the most unexpected places, beauty on the most difficult days, and more than a little “Camino magic.”
Pre-Order today and be among the first to read Camino Child when it releases on Tuesday, October 4th!
From the moment Summer Darling touched down on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain, I fell in love with her strong-willed spirit and tenacity. Camino Child was an amazing read, filled with courage, strength, and perseverance against all odds. Summer is such a strong young woman and it was a pure delight to watch her grow into her power in this beautiful story.
Every once in a while I get to read an amazing manuscript prior to its release. When this happens, I can’t wait to talk about it, to tell everyone how much they will love it! The wait is always so difficult. Then, finally, one day the manuscript has a release date and I can finally shout about it!
That day has come for CAMINO CHILD, the amazing upcoming novel by BRIEN CROTHERS!
If you’re a fan of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain, and an avid reader of books set on the Camino, you will absolutely adore CAMINO CHILD. Like my own The Camino Club, this is a young adult novel. The main character of CAMINO CHILD is such a fierce, strong female lead. You’ll fall in love with Summer Darling and the grit and tenacity she summons as she attempts to complete the Camino de Santiago and land at the cathedral in the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela.
Here’s a brief synopsis of the novel:
CAMINO CHILD: After they receive pages from an old diary, Summer Darling travels to Spain with her grandmother. When Grandma Pat dies, Summer is left to walk 500 miles on an ancient pilgrimage route and to unravel her family’s mysterious past.
SUMMER DARLING’S life had an unusual start. She was born in an apple orchard. By her teenage years, she was living in a commune on the Olympic Peninsula, where her father grew pot with his friend, Paul, the leader of The Camp. When Paul, a lustful man and controlling leader, began to notice Summer’s beauty, she was whisked off to southern California by her Grandma Pat.
When Grandma Pat receives the first few pages of a travel journal written in 1982 by her older and now deceased sister, Georgia, Pat and Summer follow the diary to Spain and the famed El Camino de Santiago. They wonder who sent those journal pages, and why the mystery. The ancient pilgrimage route stretches out 500 miles ahead of them. More of the journal pages are received then forwarded from home. The mystery unfolds as Summer negotiates a path through tragic loss, shyness, weather, blisters, and boys.
What will Summer discover about her family and herself as she treks across an entire country?
The cover reveal for this novel was yesterday, and I’m glad to share it here today.
AUTHOR BIO: BRIEN CROTHERS grew up in rural northern California, where he still lives today. His writing journey began with a journal Brien wrote when he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and went on photo safaris in the Serengeti. Since then, Brien has written about his travels and published some of the more useful information for others to enjoy. Now, Brien focuses on more travel opportunities, meeting amazing people, listening to their stories, having his own experiences, and blending those into travel adventure stories and novels for young people and the young at heart. Brien’s one true hope is to inspire young people to expand their worldview, gain perspective, and make this world a better place.
CAMINO CHILD Release date: October 4th, on Amazon. Other outlets soon after. As purchase links are made available, I’ll share them here.
This is one you won’t want to miss. It has all the feels! I was thrilled to read the early version of this manuscript and so glad to see it will soon be hitting shelves! Mark your calendars!
I think we’ve established that I write about my September every year. For some reason, it seems to be my busiest and/or most exciting month. Thinking about this, I just realized how many songs there are about September. Like, A LOT of them! It’s even possible it’s the most sung about month of the year.
See you in September. Do you remember the 21st night of September? You were my September song, tell me where have you gone? Come September, everything wrong gonna be alright. Oh, I watch myself depending on September when it comes. Ring out the bells again like we did when spring began, wake me up when September ends. It’s going to be September now, for many years to come, every heart adjusting to the strict September drum.
Perhaps, as Leonard Cohen sang, my heart is adjusted to the beat of September’s drum.
At any rate, here’s my annual September post! It’s a busy one this year!
⊗September 13th, I complete another trip around the sun. Hard to believe I will be turning 56 this time. I guess this puts me somewhere into the September of my life. The weather is still beautiful, but you begin to get the hints of the passing of the season. It’s the crispness in the morning, the tang of leaves realizing it is soon time for them to let go, the burning sun lighting up the sky with a special brightness even though its heat is not quite as severe as it once was. There are a million signs that appear in September, warning us that the calendar is slowing drawing its curtains on another year. Even the official end of summer lands in this month. Not to mention, it’s the first BER month.
Like the year on a calendar, we all wind down. I think 56 in human years is a good estimation of the September of one’s life. Right? Things are still good–still great–but you’re getting hints of the impending changes.
Even though it goes against everything that would make sense, September might in fact be my favourite month. SUMMER is my season. Hot, hot, hot…that’s my favourite temperature. And September comes in with the knowing and dreaded whisper, “Summer is dying. The halcyon days will soon be over.” September prepares me, against my wishes (and better judgement), for the coming ugliness of winter. And yet, it’s still the most magical of months.
⊗SEPTEMBER 7th. Let’s rewind a few days! The 7th is the beginning of this year’s magic! That’s the day we board a plane for Portugal. We fly into Lisbon and then take a second flight to Porto, where we will begin a truncated version of the Senda Litoral Route of the Caminho Português (Portuguese Camino, The Portuguese Way, Camino Portugués)! Due to time constraints, we cannot start at the customary beginning point in Lisbon. Here’s our itinerary, which begins on September 10th after a couple of days in Porto:
Porto – Vila Do Conde – 33.9km
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.
I’ll wake up in Viana do Castelo on my birthday, and make my way to Caminha. As we walk this leg of the Camino, something else will take place. The release of my 8th novel!
Book of Dreams drops on the 13th of September as we’re walking somewhere along the coast of Portugal having, hopefully, the time of our lives!
We don’t come back to Canada until September 25th. The better part of my September this year will unfold in Europe, as we walk the Portuguese coast up into Spain and into the city of Santiago de Compostela. I’ll be arriving at the Cathedral for the 3rd time (previously, I arrived there from the Camino Frances in 2014 & 2019). From there, we will spend some time in Santiago before returning to Porto for a few days. Much is planned, from a Douro Valley Port wine tour, to gastronomical adventures in and around the city.
For you local readers who share their favourite bookstore with me and many other local readers, how about PRE-ORDERING your copy of BOOK OF DREAMS from Blue Heron Books!
The iconic UXBRIDGE, ONTARIO bookstore is one of Canada’s most beloved! And we all know why…
Blue Heron owner, Shelley MacBeth, is a champion for all things books, and the authors who write them. Her work with, and for, writers has garnered her national acclaim, making Blue Heron one of Canada’s best known bookstores.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have two book signings at this amazing bookstore. My debut, Summer on Fire, and my most recent release, The Camino Club.
As I will be out of country when my next book hits the shelves, I thought I would send all my local readers to Blue Heron Books for their copy. Please consider shopping local and placing your PRE-ORDER with Blue Heron Books. And let’s face it, you really should mark that order PICK UP so you can give Shelley and her magical store a visit!
The book drops on TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 13th, which is also my birthday! If you pre-order directly from Blue Heron Books, give me a shout out to let me know you did. I might be able to come up with some swag for BLUE HERON SHOPPERS ONLY.
Once you place that order with BLUE HERON, let me know. Send an email to kevintcraig@hotmail. com with a screenshot and your mailing address. I’ll see what I can do! If you go in person, which clearly would be the best way to place your pre-order, snap a shot and send it along!
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!
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:
ItHelps 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
Let’s talk about SIP SIP BANG BANG for a moment, shall we! Sip Sip is the new novel coming next week from the wonderful DANIKA STONE, author of INTERNET FAMOUS, ALL THE FEELS, and, SWITCHBACK, to name a few.
I had the absolute pleasure of reading this coffee shop hostage crisis meet-cute romance this past summer. To say I devoured this book like I would a grande double-shot Blonde Vanilla Latte with a twist of lemon would be an understatement of monumental proportions! I absolutely LOVED it and would recommend it to anyone.
Here’s the synopsis for SIP SIP:
College student Haylee Campos is living the New York dream. She’s landed an impressive publishing internship at Folio-Echo, made great friends, and is finally starting to feel at home in the city. At work, Haylee spends her time putting out fires and, of course, making the occasional coffee run to Caffeine, the shop across the street. In spite of her mother’s worries, Haylee’s life is practically a Taylor Swift song. Until she gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.Trapped in Caffeine by a group of rogue criminals, Haylee and Carter (the super hot barista whose inability to get her order right is what landed Haylee in this situation in the first place!) must rely on their extensive knowledge of action movies in order to save themselves and the other café customers. But time is running out…
Haylee is a force to be reckoned with in this fast paced new adult thrill-ride…just the hero I was looking for! If you want to pre-order this novel, you’ll have to do so soon…because time is running out!
SIP SIP BANG BANG lands in bookstores (and wherever books are sold) on TUESDAY OCTOBER 5th. Pre-order your copy today!
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!
I’m thrilled to announce that THE CAMINO CLUB will be having a BOOK LAUNCH at Blue Heron Books as part of their Book Drunkard Literary Festival!
Sunday, October 25th 11am-1pm
Blue Heron Books 62 Brock Street West PO Box 642 Uxbridge ON L9P 1M9 Canada
Click on the logos below to visit either the BLUE HERON BOOKS site or THE BOOK DRUNKARD LITERARY FESTIVAL site:
Come out to BLUE HERON BOOKS on SUNDAY OCTOBER 25th from 11am to 1pm to get your paperback copy of THE CAMINO CLUB! I’d love to see you! And it’s always great to support our local independent bookstores!
The Camino Club is getting some amazing reviews! It has appeared in School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, among other places. It has appeared on several Most Anticipated YA and LGBTQ book lists.
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.
It releases TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6th, 2020—and is available for preorder wherever books are sold! If you’re in the area, though, please consider waiting to visit BLUE HERON BOOKS on the 25th! I love supporting this beautiful bookstore in Uxbridge, Ontario. It’s an area favourite. Don’t forget to click on the logos above to visit BLUE HERON BOOKS or THE BOOK DRUNKARD LITERARY FESTIVAL online! The Festival has SOME AMAZING EVENTS!
What a gorgeous cover I have to share with you today! Fellow Curiosity Quills Press author J.E. ANCKORN’s UNTAKEN releases on October 16th! A young adult novel, UNTAKEN is a story of invasion…and being left behind. Here’s the (don’t forget to add Untaken to your shelf!>>>) GOODREADS synopsis:
It turns out that a real alien invasion is nothing like the Sci-fi shows 14-year-old Gracie loves. Not when it’s your own family who are swallowed whole by those big silver ships. Not if it could be you next.
In her search for her family, Gracie meets Brandon, a high school dropout who would never have been caught dead hanging out with a dork like Gracie before the world ended. Gracie isn’t too crazy about Brandon either, but he has one thing she doesn’t: A plan.
Brandon’s uncle has a cabin up in Maine, and If Gracie and Brandon can survive long enough to get there they can hide out until the Space Men pack up their ships and leave. Until the army guys come to rescue them, says Brandon. Brandon is big into army guys.
Gracie has to admit that Brandon’s Awesome Plan probably would have worked out great if wasn’t for Jake. They found 5-year-old Jake, laying half-dead under the remains of someone’s ranch house.
He’s a good kid, even if he won’t-or can’t- talk. But Jake has a secret, and when Gracie finds out what it is, the fragile new life they’ve started to forge looks set to break apart. When the people you’ve been counting on to put the world back together start hunting you down, alien invaders are the least of your worries.
Check out this amazing cover:
While you’re waiting for J.E.’s YA release, why not connect with her on social media.
J.E. Anckorn has been an artist and writer ever since she began to surreptitiously doodle on school supplies instead of learning about practical things, like osmosis and mathematics.
After barely surviving a freak mathematical osmosis disaster, she set out to travel the world, living in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong before returning to her native Britain- just in time to marry an American and leave for the U.S.A. She still failed to learn anything about osmosis, but did manage to cultivate an accent that is unintelligible to almost everyone. (It happened through a mysterious net movement of information from the outside environment into her brain. If only there was a word for that!)
This led to her development of a new language, based almost entirely on polite yet uncomprehending nods. In between these adventures, she has worked as a toy designer, copywriter, and freelance illustrator. She lives in Boston, with a small grumpy dog, and a large, slightly less grumpy husband.
Ten years ago. That was when I did my first reading at a microphone. I was a complete and utter mess. Walking to the mic was equivalent to the walk to the gallows. Even thinking about speaking into the mic had me hoping and praying for a lightning bolt to take me from this mortal coil. And yet, there I was, walking up to the mic and preparing to read words that I myself actually wrote. The horror!
I neglected to mention that when I get myself into these pickles, it’s usually all or nothing. It’s a BIG BAD PICKLE! My first turn at the mic was actually in a recording studio at CBC Radio. Yep! Someone who hyperventilates at the mere imagining of sharing his words was stepping into a recording booth to–are you still with me here–SHARE. MY. WORDS! On a national scale. With people at a soundboard watching my every move. With the producer of one of the station’s most popular listener-contributed shows on CBC Radio1 (FIRST PERSON SINGULAR) smiling at me from the other side of the glass.
Go big or go home.
With that dip into the world of reading under my belt, you would think that it would begin to come easier to me…right? You’d be wrong. I was asked later in the same month to read the same piece in front of an audience of writers at the (WCDR) Writers’ Community of Durham Region’s monthly Breakfast Meeting. The request sent me into a tailspin of panic. I mean, I was ready to call 9-1-1 for myself. What did I do? I said YES. This only increased my anxiety. I thought of many ways to get out of this. I would tell them a taxi ran over my legs, so I’d be unable to make it to the meeting. I would tell them I was stung by a Brazilian Wandering Spider, and I only had a few short minutes to live…so I’d be unable to attend. Or, I could tell them I fell down one of those wells everybody always seemed to be falling down. These may seem like ludicrous alibis now, but at the time each one was viable. ANYTHING to get me out of the horror of reading my words in public. It was a double whammy of anxiety stew. Public speaking AND sharing my words. The horror!
I did it. I sat down with my back to the audience, but I did it.
The whole time I’ve been on this writing journey, I understood that public speaking and the sharing of my words were both necessary. I could not get out of either if I were to progress to anyplace of any significance. So, I hunkered down and accepted my dismal fate. I bit the bullet. I read. In public.
I think I’ve come a long way since that first audience interaction where the audience remained out of my field of vision and I sat down so that my wobbly legs were not forced to hold me vertical. I know I’ve become more comfortable…or that I’ve become more adept at hiding my discomfort. I’m not sure which one it is, but does it matter? I’m biting the bullet whenever I can, now. It hurts! I won’t ever pretend it doesn’t. But I’m doing it.
In today’s world, the writer is a self-promoting machine. It’s no longer enough to sit in a candle-lit garret room and write the next Gatsby. One has to take that work on the road. Even the shyest most introverted writer would do good to get to open mics and spread their words. Believe me when I admit to you here and now. I AM THAT SHYEST AND MOST INTROVERTED WRITER of which I speak. It’s me. I’m it. And if I can do it, anybody can.
Wherever you live, I’m sure there are open mics happening in your area. Do yourself a favour and sign up. Attend. Read at the mic. Listen. You will never get good at it if you don’t keep doing it…especially if you’re an anxiety ridden lunatic like myself. Keep this in mind before you attend your first one–people are there because they want to hear writers read. Upon arrival, you already have their support. All you have to do is read.
One more piece of advice. Whatever you write–read it aloud. Whether you intend to stand up in front of the mic and read it to an audience or not. READ IT TO YOURSELF. OUT LOUD. A writer who reads their work out loud will discover that this is one of the best editing tools in the writer’s toolbox. Hearing your words will help you to hear what works and what isn’t quite ready. The writer’s ear knows.