Kobo Pride Month Sale – The Camino Club for 99 Cents for the Month of June!

This just in! Rakuten kobo is having a PRIDE MONTH sale! And THE CAMINO CLUB is part of that sale!

For the entire month of June, pick up the eBook of THE CAMINO CLUB at Kobo for only $0.99!!

This sale is open to both USA & CANADA readers! Only 99 cents!

Synopsis

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?

Pick up your copy of THE CAMINO CLUB at KOBO this PRIDE MONTH! Read the rainbow!

LINKS TO 99 CENT SALE:

THE CAMINO CLUB AT KOBO CANADA

THE CAMINO CLUB AT KOBO USA

Stay tuned for updates on my upcoming novel, BOOK OF DREAMS (Chicago Review Press/Duet Books, September, 2022!)

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

Holiday Sale at Interlude Press! Everything 40% off!

My publisher is having another holiday sale! This means you can buy anything in their online store for 40% off!

Of course, this includes my three titles that I have with DUET BOOKS, the YA imprint of INTERLUDE PRESS!

With so many great titles to choose from, you really can’t go wrong. Interlude Press is a phenomenal LGBTQ press. Browse around for a bit, see if there’s anything that strikes your fancy! The discount appears IN THE CART. So the 40% off is off the list price shown. You’ll see that discount once your click through to the cart.

SALE IS ON RIGHT NOW UNTIL DECEMBER 24th ONLY IN THE ONLINE STORE!


Let’s go through MY titles, shall we?!

1st up, my upcoming novel BOOK OF DREAMS! It’s up for preorder at the Interlude Press store. Preorder now for a 40% savings!

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.

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.

CLICK THIS LINK TO GET BOOK OF DREAMS EBOOK PACKAGE FOR $4.20

CLICK THIS LINK TO GET BOOK OF DREAMS PAPERBACK FOR $10.79


If we’re going by reverse order of release, next up will be BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS!

Wen Devante is Insta famous with a massive following and a flare for fashion. At almost 18, they have already published a book on gender nonconformity, released several songs on Spotify and appeared on television. During the first wave of Covid-19 lockdown, they reach out to an unsuspecting Kay, one of their 2.3 million followers. The two form a bond, first through Instagram messages and then through Zoom. They discover there are ways to have a meaningful relationship despite the bleak circumstances. In fact, the pandemic seems to make reaching out even easier than it used to be.

CLICK THIS LINK TO GET BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS EBOOK PACKAGE FOR $1.20


Last, the book of my heart! THE CAMINO CLUB!

“A vivid Spanish countryside setting and captivating journey bring new depth to a classic architecture.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Kevin Craig’s The Camino Club is an intricately woven story of laughter and heartbreak, loss and love. In it, six troubled teens take a journey through the heart of Spain alongside their court-assigned counselors, finding their way through the issues that brought them together. Funny and poignant, this story of friendship and falling in love will remind you that our paths are not defined by our pasts, but the choices we make each day.”—Danika Stone, author of All the Feels, Internet Famous and Switchback

“A beautiful book filled with heart. THE CAMINO CLUB takes readers on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago in Spain with six delinquent teens. Not only do they find themselves along the way, but they also discover they’re all worthy of love. I laughed, I cried, I couldn’t put it down. “—Kip Wilson, YA author of White Rose

“Often hilarious and always heartfelt, THE CAMINO CLUB is an uplifting story about six mismatched teens on the journey of a lifetime, who learn that the only way to get over the past and headed for the future is to live in the moment.”—Tom Ryan, author of Keep This to Yourself and I Hope You’re Listening

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?

CLICK THIS LINK TO GET THE CAMINO CLUB EBOOK PACKAGE FOR $4.20

CLICK THIS LINK TO GET THE CAMINO CLUB PAPERBACK FOR $10.80

SALE IS ON UNTIL DECEMBER 24th, 2021. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SAVINGS TODAY!

Our Holy Year Camino on an Almost Unprecedented Extended Holy Year!

With all the ups and downs of the pandemic over the past 2 years, we rearranged many of our travel plans. They’ve been canceled, shifted, changed, shifted again in a dizzying array of uncertainty, confusion, and frustration. I know our travel plans, in the grand scheme of the horrors that are happening during said pandemic, are small and insignificant. But I really feel like I was just getting into the travelling groove as the pandemic hit.

The Holy Door in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Although I was able to snap a photo of the Holy Door in 2019, it was not open. It only opens on Holy Years. (Off to the bottom right, you can see signs of the internal restoration of the cathedral that was taking place while we were there.)

Although I’m an atheist, I was really looking forward to the possibility of walking the Camino de Santiago on a designated Holy Year. With the pandemic rearrangement of all of our plans, it was looking like this was not going to be the case. Then the Pope (of all people) made my day! Under a very special dispensation, the Pope has extended the Holy Year to include 2021-2022. This is only the second extension of Holy Year in 900 years of Jacobean Holy Years. The first being in 1937-38 because of the Spanish Civil War.

First, let’s back up a bit. I need to explain what the Holy Year is. It happens when St. James Day (July 25th) falls on a Sunday. That’s it in a nutshell (though for the devout Catholics there is more to it than that). There are more celebrations on the Camino during Holy Years. There are festivals, parties, concerts, art exhibitions and numerous other events that take place for the celebration of the Holy Year. There are only 14 Holy Years in every century. The reason for this 2nd ever Holy Year extension is, essentially, down to the pandemic. There are just so many pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago these days, that they thought it best to spread the Holy Year out because it fell during the pandemic. After spending 20 Million Euros on an impossibly massive restoration of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in preparation for the Holy Year, it makes sense that they would want to extend it to accommodate all the pilgrims who want to take advantage of seeing the Cathedral in all its renewed shining glory.

Me, hugging the apostle. Close to the Holy Door, you will find the little alcove you enter to step up behind the bust of St. James behind the altar of the cathedral. Pilgrims wait in line to walk into this little alcove and HUG THE APOSTLE. They wrap their arms around the bust, hugging the apostle from behind. Those out in the pews can see arms continually wrapping around the beleaguered saint all the live long day!

When I walked the Camino in spring of 2014, the entire front of the cathedral was covered in scaffolding. They even took the quasi-cartoonish step of having the cathedral spires drawn onto the sheets draping the scaffolding for some strange reason. Anyway, that gives you an idea of how much of a restoration it truly was. The entire outside of the building was worked on. Also, when we went back in 2019 for a fall pilgrimage, most of the inside of the cathedral was off limits as they had moved the restoration process to the inside of the building. So when we return next year it will be the first time I see the cathedral without shrouds of sheets and scaffolding and construction. This atheist is excited to see the world famous cathedral in all its shining new glory.

Our new intention–and I will frame it like that as almost anything can happen between now and then–is to walk the Caminho Português (Portuguese Way) from Porto, Portugal, to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in September of 2022. We will walk the Coastal Route along the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t know how wise it is to walk along the Atlantic Ocean in September, but I suppose we shall find out.

I guess I should add here the benefits of the Holy Year for Catholic pilgrims. But first a little on the magic little opening ceremony of the door, which involves the Archbishop of Compostela and a hammer.

The Holy Door is an important symbol of the Holy Year. All pilgrims look forward to arriving at the cathedral at the end of the 800 mile journey of the French Way (or any of the other camino ways or partial ways). For us non-religious types, it’s akin to Dorothy arriving at the palace in Emerald City to see the Wizard after her arduous journey on the Yellow Brick Road. (In fact, the pilgrims follow yellow arrows and there are many similarities to be found between this secular fictitious journey and this holy journey. Although, don’t expect talking lions…it won’t happen.) This moment of arrival and entry into the cathedral is made extra special with the opening of the Holy Door on Holy Year. It’s a back door that goes almost directly to the huggable apostle and the (SUPPOSED) tomb of the apostle St. James. (The possibility of the bones in that tomb being those of St. James is so far-fetched it’s almost laughable, but that’s another story. BLIND Faith is needed and I suppose a lot of Catholics may have that in abundance.)

The Holy Door is the Catholic version of the GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card in Monopoly. It basically grants those who walk through it plenary indulgence, or…the absolution of all of their sins. It’s a threshold to cleanse sinners of all of their sins. BAM! Sinbegone.

To be honest, walking through the door isn’t all the sinners are on the hook for. They also have to partake of confession, receive Holy Communion, pray for the Pope, recite the Creed and pray for their intentions. And spinning three times in a circle while whistling Ave Maria probably wouldn’t hurt either (I added that last part myself).

Performing the above mentioned ablutions spares the repentant sinner from spending any time in purgatory. Herein lies the comparison to the GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card.

The Archbishop of Compostela performs a ritual at the door at the beginning of Holy Year. This ritual includes banging on a bunch of slabs placed before the door with a hammer. (Picture the Don’t Break the Ice game with an Archbishop in a big hat being the only one with the little hammer.)

I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist. I do love the Camino, I do. Whenever it delves into the religiosity of it, however, the sarcasm comes out in me. Blame it on my strict Catholic upbringing. Ex-Catholics are the worst.

Anyway...the Archbishop strikes at the wall of rock slabs 3 times with a silver hammer, then cleans the debris around the door with holy water and olive branches. He is the first to walk through the threshold. The Archbishop performs this absurd little play on the last day of the year prior to the holy year. In this case, December 31st, 2020.

The facade of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. The palace in Emerald City at the end of the yellow brick road.

NOW…the door is open. Anyone walking the Camino between January 1st, 2021 and December 31st, 2022 (don’t quote me on the end date, but I believe it goes right to the end of the year) can enter the cathedral through this special doorway.

Enjoying a break at the end of the journey.

We are looking forward to the extra pomp that will be on display during our 2022 extended Holy Year. Religion aside, it’s a great time to be on the Camino. The excitement is higher, the celebration is greater. It’s all good…for Christians, all the other religions, atheists, and agnostics alike. It’s a celebration not to be missed, I have heard.

The botafumeiro (Galician for Smoke Expeller). This massive incense burner swings the width of the cathedral, spewing incense smoke as it sways back and forth. Apparently, it swings more frequently during Holy Years. It’s not always guaranteed that pilgrims will see this captivating performance. It’s worth being present to see it occur…pure magic.

Let’s go, 2022! Be the year we escape the pandemic clutches that has the world on standstill. I wanna walk again…

GIVEAWAY!! The Camino Club is One Year Old Today!

It’s hard to believe that on this day ONE YEAR AGO the novel of my heart made its way into the pandemic world!

As Robbie Burns noted in his poem To a Mouse, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley.” or, translated, The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
We did not foresee a pandemic crashing in ahead of the release of The Camino Club. It certainly is interesting to launch a book in Covid Times…as I’m certain any author on the face of the earth could agree.
Still, we make do. We persevere. We soldier on. We do all the other sayings that get us through unsuspected and difficult times.
The Camino Club was published by DUET BOOKS, the YA imprint of INTERLUDE PRESS.
The Camino Club has had some great success in the year since it left my publisher’s loving embrace and was set free in the world. For one, it can now be found in roughly 500 of the world’s public libraries (and maybe even some school libraries?), including 10 of the branches in my own hometown of Toronto. I’m thrilled to see the reach it has had in the world beyond the nugget of an idea that it was as I walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain in May of 2014.
It was featured in SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, KIRKUS REVIEWS, and BOOKLIST. All three gave it lovely reviews, of which I am extremely proud.
I’m thrilled to see that something that meant so much to me as I envisioned it, and worked so hard to bring its vision to life, was met with such positive energy in the world beyond its birth. Even if it was birthed into a world rife with major catastrophic uncertainty.
Today, on the 1 year anniversary of THE CAMINO CLUB‘s release, I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY for a paperback copy! Not just any paperback copy, but one with the little SILVER MEDAL award sticker on the front cover! The Camino Club won silver in the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Teen Fiction!
Click the pic below to visit the IBPA announcement page:
The giveaway will take place on TWITTER. All you need to do is RETWEET my announcement or my PINNED TWEET to enter. A winner will be chosen randomly from those who retweet. Open to international entries. Retweet by OCT 12th, 2021 to enter.
Here’s a link to my pinned tweet that you have to RETWEET in order to enter: MY PINNED TWEET
Good luck! And if you don’t win, you can always pick up a copy WHEREVER books are sold.

More Camino Books – LGBTQ Representation Included

As part of my Camino de Santiago obsession, I devour books set on the Camino is much as I can. I prefer nonfiction travel memoir, but I also read the odd fiction book using the Camino as its setting.

A month ago, I would have said, “Yeah, representation matters. But it’s not everything. I can read non LGBTQ works too.” And, yeah…obviously I can still read non LGBTQ works. I do so often. But after reading two Camino de Santiago travel memoirs in a row that are from LGBTQ perspectives, I realize that it does matter…and more than I thought it did. It was an absolute delight to find these two books.

When we last walked the Camino back in September of 2019, we saw some signs of LGBTQ pilgrims…but we also came across intolerance at these signs. There is ALWAYS graffiti along the Camino. I seldom have a problem with graffiti overall. It can actually be quite artistic and beautiful…this is especially true along the Camino. But also…it seems like some people just carry markers as part of their pilgrim experience. They mark everything in their path from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela.

Some of the graffiti we found on the Camino the last time around was the rainbow kind. The calling card of LGBTQ+ members. At first, it was rather touching to see it. Awwww…how nice! But then…

Soon…every rainbow we came to had the words STRAIGHT PRIDE written inside of it.

I was thrilled to have found 2 LGBTQ pilgrims’ books in a row! I read them both over the course of the past couple of weeks and LOVED each of them!

First, though, let me step backward for a minute. The author of one of my FAVOURITE Camino books pointed me toward the first LGBTQ Camino memoir I read, so I’d like to shout out them first for helping me find my way to these new books.

Walking to the End of the World: A Thousand Miles on the Camino de Santiago by BETH JUSINO. Still one of my ultimate favourite Camino books!

It was Beth Jusino who first mentioned TRAIL MIX to me. Beth reviewed an ARC of the book prior to its release. I was so glad to have found it! You can check out Beth’s incredible Camino memoir, Walking to the End of the World: A Thousand Miles on the Camino de Santiago, by clicking on the picture above.

Now, the 2 LGBTQ Camino Memoirs…


Trail Mix: 920km on the Camino de Santiago by Jules Torti (2021, Rocky Mountain Books)

A rollicking travel memoir that invites the curious, the initiated, and even the skeptics to tag along on the ever-changing landscape of “The Way”’

For many, walking the Camino is a decision predictably triggered by death, divorce, or a career crisis. It’s not Everest and it ain’t no walk in the park, but the Camino ‘family’ continues to inexplicably grow. In 2018 alone, 327,342 pilgrims were received at the pilgrim office in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Pilgrims worldwide are attracted to the gilded mystery and hope of the Camino. Like the Ouija board, magic 8-ball and Ann Landers, it surreptitiously provides answers.

There is snoring. Sleep apnea. Threadbare patience. Frayed nerves. Sour socks. A lot of salami. Shifting from a walk-in closet to a walking closet of just 10 pounds, Jules and Kim decided to walk the historic Camino before their lower backs (or any other body parts) decided otherwise. Jules learned all the essential Spanish they’d need — luckily everything that was necessary ended in ‘o’: vino tinto (red wine), queso (cheese), corto (small beer), chorizo (sausage), baño (bathroom). Trail Mix is the open, frank, and funny story of one Canadian couple voted most unlikely to agree to such a daunting social experience.

This book was a delight to read. Torti’s memoir was rife with humor. I really enjoyed her quirky eye and it was amazing to see the Camino through her often comedic lens. She walked the Camino with her partner, Kim. There’s actually a proposal along the way. As with all Camino memoirs, the couple meet colorful characters along the path and get into some pretty amusing predicaments. It has some laugh out loud moments in it. Like many pilgrims, Jules & Kim walk beyond Santiago de Compostela to Muxía and Finisterre…the end of the world. It was a surprise bonus to read a Camino memoir from a member of the LGBTQ+ community. It made me wonder if there were any others out there.
CLICK HERE TO PICK UP YOUR COPY OF TRAIL MIX.


Overweight, undertrained and terrified: A Camino Diary by Connor O’Donoghue (2017, Self-Published)

This is the entertaining and sometimes inspirational story of one morbidly obese 35-year-old Irishman who decides to walk 708 kilometres across the Camino de Santiago, an ancient Christian pilgrimage in Northern Spain one summer. On the journey, he faces a variety of physical and mental obstacles. The book is written in diary format, at turns poignant and funny in a light, pacey style.

I absolutely loved this book, for many reasons. The humour, sometimes delivered in very poignant ways and sometimes off the cuff, had me in stitches. It was a page-turner, as the author had me deeply invested in the will-he-make-it narrative. I don’t know if I ever championed the goals of a hero in a novel as deeply as I hoped Connor would make it to Santiago de Compostela at the end of this book. No spoiler alerts here…if you want to find out if our hero walks into Santiago, you’ll have to pick up a copy! With a lovable and endearing narrator, this book will hold your attention all the way to the end. Also…it was refreshing to read a Camino retelling from a fellow LGBTQ perspective. I’d have no problem recommending this book to Camino enthusiasts and memoir enthusiasts alike. As a fellow Camino de Santiago pilgrim, I particularly enjoyed O’Donoghue’s gentle roasting of the God of the Camino. No, I don’t mean St. James. I’m referring to John Brierley here…the creator of the Camino’s most used guidebook. This was an excellent quick read!

CLICK HERE TO PICK UP YOUR COPY OF OVERWEIGHT, UNDERTRAINED AND TERRIFIED.

September Update – What’s Goin’ On – Writing Life Edition

Every September I typically do a catch all post about what’s going on. I guess I should do that now, seeing as we’re taking a little mini-getaway for a few days.

I recently handed in the completed young adult novel BOOK OF DREAMS and I’m feverishly working on my next novel WHERE IS ETHAN SINCLAIR. Both books are contracted. BOOK OF DREAMS is forthcoming from DUET BOOKS, the YA imprint of INTERLUDE PRESS. It will drop in 2022. WHERE IS ETHAN SINCLAIR is forthcoming from the same publisher and will drop in 2023.

Duet/Interlude is also the publisher of my most recent novel, THE CAMINO CLUB. It was truly my biggest work of passion to date. It was my Chef’s Kiss to my love of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. Earlier this year, THE CAMINO CLUB took the honor of SILVER WINNER in the Independent Book Publishers Association‘s BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BOOK AWARD for TEEN FICTION. I actually just received the certificate and stickers from my publisher yesterday. Here’s a copy of my novel with a newly affixed sticker below (you can click on the photo to go to the IBPA website)!

So my September roundup news is that I’m plowing away at finishing my ninth novel as the deadline rapidly approaches. And, we’re also planning and scheming and dreaming and hoping and praying for our upcoming (OCTOBER) trip to PARIS, FRANCE! We had planned to travel there in 2020, but as Robbie Burns said…”The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!” or, you know, ‘The best laid schemes of mice and men, Go often askew, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!’ In early 2020 the mice and men occupying this great orb of ours were put on a bit of a standstill. We got just about as askew as we could get. Though we’re not out of the woods quite yet, the two of us thought we’d try to do some pandemic times travel. With 35 days to go until liftoff, it is yet to be determined if our best laid plans will go askew this time around.

If and when we get to Paris, there will be much note taking. I have a new novel mapped out and wanted to revisit Paris to get all the details ironed out. It’s a meet-cute set in Paris and I wanted to be a stickler with the setting. The novel has been on hold since the pandemic crushed the aforementioned mice and men. I will be talking more about this book in the future, as it progresses.

I think that’s all I have going on in my writing world…two books coming out and one on hold. Not bad, I guess.

My one and only Pandemmy setting offering is a short story from DUET BOOKS/INTERLUDE PRESS. BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS is available now. It’s the story of two nonbinary teens who find each other on Instagram and fall in love during the lockdown. You can pick it up HERE.

I feel like I really have nothing to report. Funny how that doesn’t quite align with the truth, though. I mean, I guess having two books contracted for release is a big thing. As the release dates get closer, I’m sure I’ll be more excited about things. For now, I’m in the trenches…I can’t quite see the publication forest for the writing and editing trees. Here’s some artwork from an early reader of BOOK OF DREAMS, though. I love this stark piece…it captures the creepy bookstore owner in the story quite nicely. It’s a good representation of the book’s dark aesthetic!

Original Artwork by Jarom Verdonk – Artist’s rendition of Jack Chalek, the villain in BOOK OF DREAMS.

OH! And I almost forgot! September is also the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON WRAP PARTY! We usually attend this event in Huntsville, Ontario. Sadly, it’s another Zoom event. Ugh. But it also means it’s easier to get to. September 25th is the day the awards will be handed out. I did not enter a novel into this year’s BEST NOVEL AWARD contest. I was busy finishing BOOK OF DREAMS, so that’s how I used my time. To enter the contest, you have to have written the entire book AT the marathon. I used the time to work on reaching the deadline to submit the finished manuscript to my publisher, so my manuscript didn’t qualify. The amount raised for this annual fundraising event will also be announced at the wrap party. You can learn more about the marathon at the link at the beginning of this run-on paragraph. 🙂

Onward to the end of this shit-storm of a year, I guess. May 2022 be far more pleasing to both the eye and the palate.

PS: If you’re in CANADA, don’t forget to VOTE. But don’t vote PPC or CPC because that would be bad. We don’t want to vote HATE into power, thank you very much.

Featuring More Camino YouTube Vlogs! Lonesome Drifter and LivDeeper10x

So, every once in a while I like to recommend Camino vlogs. I’m addicted to watching them, and now and then I find one that I really enjoy. When I fall for one in particular, it’s always about the people.

Here are two more YouTube channels I recently discovered that I think are worth taking a look at.

GET LOST WITH THE LONESOME DRIFTER & LIVDEEPER 10X

I’ve been on a viewing hiatus, as I’ve been on deadline with TWO (not one, but two) upcoming novel releases. Discovered the Lonesome Drifter prior to my hiatus, but haven’t yet given his channel a plug here yet. I discovered LivDeeper just this week…taking a break between one novel and the next.

The Lonesome Drifter is a quirky likeable guy. I really enjoyed his trek across Spain, from Pamploma to Santiago de Compostela and onward to Finisterre. He did most of the Camino Frances, so his playlist will take a while to get through (over 3hrs, I believe)…but worth every minute. There is something about solo pilgrims on the journey that I find intriguing in a vlog. The drifter’s personality made it a treat to sit through his journey. Here’s his FULL CAMINO PLAYLIST.

LivDeeper is a couple. And their rapport was IMMEDIATELY endearing. They have such a great chemistry together. This one is a quick view, as it’s a 6 day journey. They cover a portion of the Portuguese Way, beginning their journey in Tui, Spain…after the crossover from Portugal to Spain on that route. At the time of this posting, their last addition to the 6 vlog playlist was 2 days ago when they arrived in Santiago de Compostela. As the playlist is entitled AROUND THE WORLD, I’m thinking they may still add to it. I see they’re off to Ireland. I also like catching vlog personalities when the Camino is just a stop on their travel adventure vlog. As much as it may seem that I believe the Camino to be the world’s only travel destination…I’m definitely open to exploring other spots. (-: Here’s their FULL CAMINO PLAYLIST.

Now, back to my deadlines! I have publisher commitments! One more novel to complete. Must. Stop. Looking. At. YouTube!

More WorldTowning – A Wanderlusting Fix!

When I was preparing for my second walk on the Camino de Santiago, I searched through Youtube to find videos made by fellow peregrinos…to put myself in the Camino mindset. That’s when I first discovered WorldTowning™. I devoured their Camino de Santiago series on Youtube. It was the next best thing to being there! Well, today I have begun a re-watch of the Camino series. I’ve been immobile with this pandemic for too long, feeling claustrophobic with a little bit of cabin fever on the side.

But first, WHAT IS WORLDTOWNING™?

They are a family of four…Will & Jessica, and their two children, Avalon & Largo. From their FACEBOOK PAGE:

WorldTowning™ is a family-run travel company committed to helping you broaden your global experiences through concentrated and immersive exposures to the world’s cultures through coaching, group trips and YouTube vlogs!

Who are we? The short answer is Will, Jessica, Avalon and Largo the WorldTowners. Well, at least we were the original WorldTowners. However, over the years, WorldTowning has expanded beyond the four of us. It has become a global movement, a lifestyle choice, a world-changing community that spans six continents and continues to grow (someone get their butt to Antarctica please).

:::

What is WorldTowning? The concept of broadening ones global understanding while bridging the people and cultures of the world.

:::

Who is a WorldTowner? Someone who is living and changing the world through travel – one hometown at a time.

:::

Will, Avalon, Largo and I (and the rest of our team) are full-time travelers, digital nomads and serial dreamers. We are seven years into our “new” normal with no end in sight and now we want to help you bring your travel dreams to fruition.

:::

We embrace and share the WorldTowning lifestyle, because we are passionate about family, travel, learning and helping people live out their dreams. We chronicle our experiences and those of other WorldTowners to inspire, educate and encourage our viewers.

:::

Join our community. See first-hand how WorldTowners live. Share in the joys and challenges of the WorldTowning lifestyle, and discover how you can become a part of the WorldTowning movement.

:::

www.worldtowning.com

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about the Sueiro family. On October 6th, 2014 they began an epic journey of which they are still on to this day. They are currently in France (in lockdown) learning how to operate their new sailboat…preparing for more future epic adventures.

Their Camino de Santiago series is so thorough, it takes those who have walked the path back to it…and shows those who dream of one day walking the path just what they will be in store for.

You’re HOME. You have time. Maybe today is a good day to begin the epic WORLDTOWNING™ Camino journey!

Join WILL, JESSICA, AVALON & LARGO on the 800 mile trek across Spain, from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to the end of the Camino! Here’s the playlist specific to their Camino:

When their Camino is over, though, you don’t have to stop…look around on their Youtube site, as them been to a lot of different places and their videos are always entertaining.

WorldTowning™ Links:

Website | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Patreon

Give them a follow, a like, a Patreon support, a share…

Buen Camino!

(PS: I know the secret’s out already, but I wrote a young adult novel set on the Camino. THE CAMINO CLUB…you can find buy links here on my LINKTREE.)

Christmas Suggestions for Readers and Others…

I do this every now and again, and 2020 is a good year to boost books you enjoyed. It’s been a bad year for releases, as far as in-person events go. Authors have suffered, and bookstores have suffered. Here’s a few book suggestions for those on your list (Or for yourself! We all deserve to pamper ourselves after the year we’ve had!)…these are books I read and loved this year.

Before the books, though, I’d like to highlight another kind of gift! Small businesses just starting out right now are the kind of thing we need! I know just the one to support. LET’S TALK ABOUT SIMCOE & CO.! From their simple but elegant branding, to their FRESH products, I love everything about them!Click on the logo image below to head over to their Facebook page:

Full Disclosure: This brand new company is my niece’s brainchild. They’ve just released their first product in time for Christmas. If you’re in the GTA area (or even if you’re not) check them out at the link in the logo above. They’re located in Port Perry, Ontario and they’re currently featuring SUGAR SCRUBS in various delectable scents.

Their products are cruelty free and vegan. Give their Facebook page a like so you can watch as things unfold!

BOOKS? BOOKS! Did someone say books?

I’m going to suggest 5 from the 25 I read so far this year. Honestly, though, all the books I read this year were awesome. For the ones I don’t highlight here, you can check them out on my Goodreads.

(CLICK ON COVERS TO VISIT AMAZON LINKS)

For travelers and wanderlusters–or those thinking of becoming one–I have just the book! No surprise I read a lot of Camino books. I just finished two more, and I’m about to highlight both of them! First is the travel memoir…

There’s Something Going On! Walking the Camino de Santiago – by Simon Donlevy.

If I say this felt like an audio-book without the audio, you might look at me kind of funny…but that’s exactly what it felt like. Simon Donlevy is a storyteller. I felt like the author was telling me the story of the 6 month sabbatical they took. This retelling of the sabbatical not only covers their travels on the Camino, but also the decisions and planning that went into taking the sabbatical and the trip to Spain. And it covers the after-Camino experience as well. I found it well told and quite enjoyable. Wasn’t fully what I was expecting. That’s what I love about Camino books…they’re always about more than just the Camino. They’re about decisions, plans, serendipity, the unexpected. If you have walked the Camino, you’ll enjoy this book for taking you back to the journey. If you haven’t, it’s a good primer for getting to know both the locations on the Camino and its magic.

Camino Maggie: Teen Rebel Series – by Joy Llewellyn

Truth be told, it feels almost risky telling you about this one! The synopsis is close to the synopsis of my most recent release. It follows four young teens (all girls) who walk the Camino de Santiago in order to avoid the punishment of their crimes. I just found out about this book in November and read it out of curiosity. I loved it! Maggie is a rich girl who breaks into her aunt’s store out of some sense of daring…not to mention to impress the boy who sort of put her up to it. She gets caught. Her Aunt Camille suggests (gives her no option, really) she accompanies her, her friend Andy, and a small group of delinquents to Spain for the experience. The four girls bond as they make their way across Spain. I think young adults would really enjoy this book…as well as any Camino enthusiasts.

Chasing the Sun (The Campfire Series Book One) – by Melanie Hooyenga

This is also a YA book. I’ve spent most of my reading year reading YA…both for pleasure and because it’s what I write. Teens would love this book…but as with all YA books, they’re not just for teens. Anyone on your list who enjoys a sweet love story will enjoy Chasing the Sun. Here’s my review from Goodreads…

Chasing the Sun was such a lovely falling-in-love story between two extremely vulnerable teens who were both a little reluctant to do so. Sage comes to the story having experienced an emotionally tumultuous relationship with a manipulative emotional abusive partner. Neb arrives having just lost his father suddenly in an extremely traumatic way. Together they navigate a path toward each other first through texts and then in person when they finally meet at a summertime school camping trip to view a total solar eclipse together. Both are tentative but excited. Sage wants to believe in love again, but doesn’t fully trust her own judgement. Neb is adjusting to a new city…and isn’t quite sure how to allow himself to feel joy while simultaneously mourning the loss of his father. When Sage and Neb do meet in person, sparks fly immediately. But are sparks enough? This story is filled with wonderfully cute falling in love moments. The eclipse almost becomes a character as the story winds down and the tension mounts and the moment of the eclipse nears. I loved everything about this story!

Now for a book with a one-two punch!

Surrender Your Sons – by Adam Sass

I absolutely loved this book and the power it gave to gay teens! I felt like I could conquer the world after reading this heartbreaking heartrending heartracing story! Get it for LGBTQIA+ readers on your list, whether or not they’re teens. We all carry wounds and trauma that will be both re-lit and assuaged by this book. It would also be an eye-opening read for straight readers. It’s a powerhouse. I honestly thought I reviewed this on Goodreads, as I have talked about it so much and so often that I misremembered actually leaving a review. I will have to rectify that. Just take my word for it, it’s an incredible book. Follow gay teens to a formidable island of oppression as their whisked off from their lives to a disgusting conversion camp. Watch as they try to take their fates into their own hands.

Last, but not least, a book from a pub-sib! From DUET BOOKS, the same Interlude Press imprint that published my latest, The Camino Club.

The Summer of Everything – by Julian Winters

I love Julian Winters books. Like their author, they just radiant light and joy. My Goodreads review below isn’t really enough. Winters’ books are always exceptional! This one was no less so. All readers would love this YA set in Santa Monica. Here’s the synopsis:

Adulting is hard. Just ask Wes Hudson. An avid comic book geek, Wes excels at two things: slacking off and pining after his best friend, Nico. Advice from his friends, ‘90s alt-rock songs, and online dating articles aren’t helping much with his secret crush. And his dream job at Once Upon a Page, the local indie bookstore, is threatened when a coffee shop franchise wants to buy the property. To top it off, his family won’t stop pestering him about picking a college major. When all three problems converge, Wes must face the one thing he’s been avoiding—adulthood.

And my review: Another amazing offering from the incomparable Julian Winters. Loved, loved, loved this story! Loved Wes and Nico and Ella and Coop and the rest of the group! This so so heartfelt! Bring tissues.

That’s 5 books and 1 fantastic small business that promises to have you savoring the aromas of Bergamot, Peppermint, Maple Syrup and more!

Happy 2020 Socially Distant Masked Christmas to you all!

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: