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).

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

 

Looking at O Cebreiro, a Gem on the Camino…

When you finally arrive at the top of the climb in O Cebreiro, Spain, you feel a great sense of accomplishment. There’s such a beautiful statue of a lovely lady waiting to greet you. You feel like you have arrived when you get there, like you HAVE ARRIVED.

There’s nothing quite like it. It’s a moment of exhilaration on the Camino de Santiago. O Cebreiro is just after the boundary marker for the Galicia Region. Once you hit that marker, you know O Cebreiro is not far.

In reality, if you blink you’ll miss O Cebreiro. But if you arrive with your eyes wide open, you’ll realize how this tiny little village on the Camino de Santiago is such an immensely integral stop along the route to Santiago de Compostela.

The town has the traditional circular palloza homes, with their granite and stone walls and gorgeous thatched roofs.

Also in O Cebreiro sits a small church with a big story. It awaits your arrival. Santa María la Real. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s a must see stop. It is said that a miracle happened in this church back in the 13th Century. A priest had lost his faith and was going through the motions of performing the Eucharist to an empty church during a tumultuous snowstorm. A man from a distant village enters the church, after walking through the impossible storm, to receive communion. The wine transforms to blood, and the wafer to flesh…restoring the priest’s faith on the spot. A nearby statue of the Blessed Virgin is said to have turned its head to witness the miracle.

I wrote about the church and its miracle in my latest YA novel, The Camino Club. I couldn’t not. The wizened sage who befriends my little group of misfits tells the tale to the kids as they visit the church. It had to be one of the stops along the way. There was a modern day priest in O Cebreiro who did SO MUCH for the Camino that his legacy can never be forgotten.

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Don Elías Valiña Sampedro (Born in Sarria, Spain on February 2, 1929 and died December 11, 1989) restored and revitalized O Cebreiro. But not only that, he’s integral to the Camino de Santiago’s recent revival. He was the creator of the YELLOW ARROWS that now mark the way for hundreds of thousands of Camino pilgrims every year. In his love of the Camino and its importance, Don Elías Valiña Sampedro has made O Cebreiro a treasure on the historic route.

If you want to immerse yourself into a fictional story that takes place with the Camino de Santiago as its backdrop, check out my recently released novel THE CAMINO CLUB. Here’s a LinkTree to buy options and reviews on Goodreads: https://linktr.ee/Kevintcraig

When you reach O Cebreiro, your journey to Santiago is far from over. The mile markers will tell you so. But have faith, it gets easier…

159.69KM to go to Santiago de Compostela…

Pre-Publication Attention for The Camino Club!

As the countdown begins (6 MORE DAYS!) for the Tuesday, October 6th release date for THE CAMINO CLUB, it has begun to get a little attention out there in the world!

Here’s a few examples, from the reviews coming out:

THE CAMINO CLUB has also made a few lists recently! Here’s a few of them here:

FANGIRLISH

UNIVERSE WITHIN PAGES

BUZZFEED BOOKS

TWO BOOK THIEVES

LGBTQ READS

You can preorder THE CAMINO CLUB at any of the following retailers, or—at your local bookstore!

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Book Depository | BookShop | Indigo-Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | Interlude Press/Duet Books | WalMart USA | Target | Blackwell’s (UK) | Booktopia (Aus) | APPLE Books

Here’s the link to THE CAMINO CLUB ON GOODREADS!

Watch the Movie THE WAY with Me on Twitter Watch-Party!

My publisher, DUET BOOKS/INTERLUDE PRESS, has a WATCH-ALONG movie night feature where they pair one of their authors and their book with a movie. WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23rd is my turn to play! Tomorrow night (sorry for the short notice!) I will be hosting a WATCH-ALONG of the beloved MARTIN SHEEN movie, THE WAY!

Here’s How It Works!

You come join me on Twitter at 8PM EST time on Wednesday September 23rd, 2020. We all start the movie at the same time and we tweet a watch-along conversation in real time while using the HASHTAG #IPMovieNight in all of our tweets so we can follow along in the conversation. And if you want to read the conversation, all you have to do is click on the hashtag itself to see all the other tweets in the conversation.

This works if people show up, so I hope to see you there!

ALSO—there will be PRIZES/GIVEAWAYS!

Here’s the Tweet from my publisher to get you started. You can click on the hashtag and my Twitter profile name here to go to Twitter. >>> #IPMovieNight is back!! Join author @KevinTCraig this Wednesday in a Twitter watch-along of the Camino de Santiago drama THE WAY starring Martin Sheen and a chat about Kevin’s upcoming novel, THE CAMINO CLUB!

The Main Pilgrim Family in the Movie THE WAY – Joost, Sarah, Jack, and Tom.

Here’s the synopsis to the movie:

A grieving father makes a pilgrimage to the Pyrenees in honor of his late son, and experiences a major epiphany during his journey down the Way of Saint James. When his adult son (Emilio Estevez) is killed during an excursion down a Christian pilgrimage route, California doctor Tom (Martin Sheen) vows to complete the treacherous journey. As Tom sets down the 800 km path with only his son’s guidebook and backpack, he forges powerful bonds with three fellow travelers (Yorick Van Wageningen, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt), who alter his perspective of the world and remind him what it means to lead a meaningful life.

Now, how it relates to my upcoming novel, THE CAMINO CLUB. I think the answer is quite obvious. The movie is set on the Camino and so is the book. The book is YOUNG ADULT, but the movie is NOT. It will, however, give potential Camino Club readers a great understanding of what life on the Camino is like. ALSO, there is another less obvious tie-in…

I pitched THE CAMINO CLUB as a move diverse The Breakfast Club meets the Camino de Santiago. Well, the movie was directed by Emilio Estevez. The movie was also written for the screen by Emilio Estevez (from the Jack Hitt book). Emilio Estevez was in the movie THE BREAKFAST CLUB. He is also the son of Martin Sheen in real life. I think this makes it the perfect movie for my #IPMovieNight event!

I hope you join me. This movie is a pure delight, whether or not you’ve been on the Camino yourself. It takes you there. Come to Twitter and click play on the movie at 8pm Wednesday September 23rd, 2020. We can take a break from ALL OF THIS (*gestures toward the world in general*) and watch it together!

Wait. There’s more! Along with the BOOK SPECIALS and the GIVEAWAYS that will be happening, you can email your rental receipt to DUET BOOKS/INTERLUDE PRESS for In-Store Credit! Sound like a great deal to me!

Unfortunately, you’ll have to bring your own popcorn. We haven’t quite figured out the whole BEAM ME UP thing yet…otherwise, I’m sure IP would have been happy to provide the popcorn. Damn technology!

SEE YOU THERE!

Some History of Prisoners on the Camino de Santiago…

When I first set out to write my young adult novel THE CAMINO CLUB, I had a few things in mind. A major one was The Breakfast Club. There were parts of that (badly aged) movie that I admired. As I was a punk rocker in my teen years in the early to mid 80s, I knew about cliques and how hard it was to break free of them (or protect yourself from others). I also knew that, if given the chance, the people steadfast in their rigid clique-y groups would easily break free once they found common ground. I had experienced that phenomenon myself in high school. The other thing I had in mind was the fact that prisoners on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route has been a thing for many many years.

Essentially, what I did was take The Breakfast Club idea and spread it out over a longer time-span while moving it outside. With one big exception. I didn’t just abandon and neglect my teens and allow them to fend for themselves. I put counselors in the thick of things with them. If prisoners have walked the Camino to regain their freedom for possibly hundreds of years, then why couldn’t I create a fictional rehabilitation program for a few delinquent teens?

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There is a long history of prison reform programs that see prisoners walk the Camino in Spain. Spain itself has such a program. HERE’S AN ARTICLE ON ONE SUCH PROGRAM OUT OF SEGOVIA, SPAIN. In it, six prisoners complete the final step of their sentence by walking a portion of the Camino.

From the article:

“Walking with them are two prison educators and a volunteer from the Father Garralda Open Horizons Foundation, an NGO that has worked for the past 30 years on social-integration programs for prisoners. Jesús Hernández, the head of the group, is a veteran expert on drug addiction and reintegration programs. He was one of the first members of the prison’s treatment board.”

This particular program is about reintegration. In the past, prisoners were sent on their way to complete the entire pilgrimage route and their stamped passport books would be proof that they walked it. And once the proof was offered, they would be free. The feeling was that walking the way of Saint James changed a person. Life affirming pilgrimages would transform them and change the course of their lives for the better.

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Belgium still offers 2 ‘Golden Tickets’ each year. The pilgrimage route these two prisoners have to walk is slightly different, though. Two teens set off on a 2,496 km hike to Santiago with an assigned youth worker. READ THIS EXCELLENT ARTICLE ON THE BELGIUM CONNECTION…THIS ONE ALSO DOES A GOOD JOB OF DESCRIBING MORE ABOUT THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO ORIGINS.

From the article:

A good walk can work as a medicine. For over a thousand years, pilgrims have been walking the Camino de Santiago, pushing themselves beyond what they thought was possible. In medieval times, many pilgrims would struggle to make it all the way to Santiago de Compostela and its shrine to St James. While most took the route voluntarily, some were obligated by a court to walk the path as a form of penance.

A lot of the pilgrims who make their way to the Camino are NOT prisoners at all, but also feel the need to break free…to change something about their life. They say that the Camino first enters your life as a word, a short explanation, something you hear about here and there, until it becomes a thunderous shout. The Camino calls to you. And it never stops calling until you make room for it. It may well be an extremely healing journey for prisoners making their way to freedom…but it is also an agent of change in anyone’s life. It’s no longer just a Catholic pilgrimage route to the bones of one of the apostles. It’s a path to walk when you have some thinking to do…when you want to break free of one of your own prisons.

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I wrote The Camino Club because my own pilgrimage on the path in 2014 showed me the power involved in putting one foot in front of the other and communing with others making those same simple movements. I didn’t make the mold when I created this story…but I borrowed it for a while and made it my own. The Camino Club drops OCTOBER 6th, 2020. If you read it, you’ll learn about my six delinquent teens who were forced to walk the Camino in order to avoid incarceration. They were not the first to do so, and they won’t be the last. The Camino is a growth experience…and people have known this about the path for hundreds of years and they took advantage of its healing and rehabilitating vibes. You don’t have to be a prisoner to walk the Camino and grow from the experience. Then again, we’re all prisoners of something…are we not?

PICK UP THE CAMINO CLUB NOW! It’s available wherever books are sold! Get it at your independent bookstore. Or visit my LINKTREE for other options!

The Camino Club Goodreads Giveaway Alert!

For my American readers, my publisher has created a GOODREADS GIVEAWAY for 10 print copies of THE CAMINO CLUB! The giveaway is live now and it runs until AUGUST 24th, 2020.

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Here’s the blurb, ICYMI:

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.

The epic trek across Spain begins OCTOBER 6th, 2020! Don’t miss out on your opportunity to snag a copy from Goodreads! CLICK ON THE PIC BELOW TO BE TAKEN TO THE GIVEAWAY PAGE AT GOODREADS:

GoodreadsRead what KIRKUS REVIEWS has to say about THE CAMINO CLUB by clicking on the pic below:

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Head on over to GOODREADS now to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

Berrogüetto, Fonfría and The Camino Club – Theme Songs and Lies

Last night my MNM friend Jennifer asked if The Camino Club had a theme song like The Breakfast Club had the Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me…that powerful 80s anthem song that plays at the end of the movie when Judd Nelson comes walking across the football field (?) and raises a fist in victory.

At first, I was, like, hmmmm? Maybe. But because it’s not a yelling screaming anthem song, I sort of backed down a bit before responding. Besides, The Camino Club has an entire playlist on Spotify.

But it actually does have a theme song. In fact, it has two. Berrogüetto is an incredible folk band from the Galicia region of Spain, where most of the novel takes place. I’m obsessed with this band. Their imprint on my whole Camino experience is indelible. I choose two Berrogüetto songs as the theme songs for The Camino Club. It can’t be any other way.

Nadal de Luintra.

Fusco.

Those are the two songs. At gunpoint, I guess I would choose FUSCO as the ultimate The Camino Club theme song. Thanks for forcing my hand, Jennifer. 🙂

While on the subject, I wanted to mention Fonfría. It’s another one of those places I fudged a bit in my novel. The difference with this one, however, is perception rather than convenience. I wrote the novel after my first Camino (May, 2014), but before my second Camino (September, 2019). Even while researching, though, I realized that Fonfría was NOT the highest point in the journey for the kids in the novel. And yet, I kept that detail in the manuscript. You see, on the cold wintery rainy sleety spring day I arrived in Fonfría on my first Camino, I swear to God I climbed an endless despicable mountain to get there. We stayed in Fonfría that night, and it was probably the most magical night of my first Camino. Angela, the albergue owner there, did a Queimada ceremony. The next morning was so cold, it snowed…it actually accumulated on our shoulders and hair as we set out from the albergue and began our day’s walk.

Anyway, in my perception, getting to Fonfría that first Camino was a final hour of torture at the end of a long day. And, as I remember it, we climbed a tree filled mountain in the rain. We went up in a circular motion and every time we turned a corner we prayed it would give us a view to the top…but it never did. I felt like we were on a terrifying amusement park ride where we just keep climbing up that hill until we die of exhaustion.

Second Camino, last September, we of course just strolled into town without any effort whatsoever. I won’t try to figure it out. The Camino is a koan, a riddle, a conundrum. It presents as it is. But in my memory, I had to climb that bloody awful mountain so I made my characters climb it too. I was bitter. (This is the LIES part of the post, in case you missed it. Creative license on the physicality of the Camino again.)

The photos above are all from Fonfría, either from entering the albergue (the cows), or inside the dining hall building, or leaving the albergue in the morning…

While I’m here, I just have to address something that came up way back in the first paragraph of this meandering post. Judd Nelson. Oops. One of my three main characters has the last name NELSON. This is NOT a nod to Judd or The Breakfast Club. NOT AT ALL. For as long as I have been writing novels, I have used the word Nelson in them. It serves as a place name, or a surname, or something, in each of my novels. It’s a place in the world that I adore. Nelson, New Brunswick, Canada…the home town of my grandmother. So I always use it, as a nod to her and that place. It’s another one of those weird coincidences that floats around this novel and The Breakfast Club that was unintentional but serendipitous.

Another such coincidence is that the hugely popular Camino de Santiago movie THE WAY (Starring Martin Sheen) was directed by Emilio Estevez. He also acted in and wrote the screenplay for the movie. AND…he was also the jock in The Breakfast Club.

Anyway, theme song? Check. More geographical lies found within The Camino Club? Check. My work here is done for today. Do yourself a favour and listen to the lovely songs I’ve linked above. If you give them a listen, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

THE CAMINO CLUB releases on OCTOBER 6th, 2020…but you can pre-order your copy now wherever books are sold! Here’s a few links.

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