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Books Camino de Santiago Contemporary YA Duet Books Gay YA Interlude Press The Camino Club

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!

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Camino de Santiago Duet Books Interlude Press IP Movie Night The Way YA Fiction

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!

Categories
Camino de Santiago Duet Books GoodReads Interlude Press The Camino Club Young Adult Fiction

Some History of Prisoners on the Camino de Santiago – And Goodreads Giveaway…

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?

CAMINO

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?

There’s currently a GOODREADS GIVEAWAY for THE CAMINO CLUB. CLICK HERE TO ENTER. CONTEST CLOSES AUGUST 24th, 2020 ENTER NOW TO WIN ONE OF TEN COPIES!

Categories
Book Giveaway Camino de Santiago Contemporary YA Duet Books Gay YA Giveaway Interlude Press The Camino Club

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:

kirkus

Head on over to GOODREADS now to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

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Camino de Santiago Fonfría Play List The Camino Club

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.

USA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

CANADA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOK DEPOSITORY PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

INDIEBOUND BOOKS PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BARNES & NOBLE PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOKSHOP PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

KOBO CANADA PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

KOBO USA PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

CHAPTERS INDIGO CANADA PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

PRE-ORDER DIRECT FROM INTERLUDE PRESS (In this link, find out how you can pre-order the paperback and get the ebook package for free: THE CAMINO CLUB

Categories
Camino de Santiago Duet Books Interlude Press The Camino Club

The Swag Begins – A Camino Club Giveaway!

77 Days and counting. The Camino Club drops in 77 DAYS!

I hope your calendars are marked for OCTOBER 6th, 2020—The day the epic trek begins!

I opened a GIVEAWAY on Twitter yesterday and it’s open to INTERNATIONAL entries. All you have to do to enter is RETWEET MY PINNED TWEET.

To avoid confusion, here’s what my PINNED TWEET looks like. You can click the image below to be taken directly to my profile at @KevinTCraig at Twitter:

pinned

Deadline for entries (Retweets) is AUGUST 1st, at which time there will be a draw using all the Retweeters’ names. Winner will be notified and asked for a mailing address, at which time I will send them the notebook. What you write inside is entirely up to you! It’s a blank slate.

No need to FOLLOW, if that’s not your thing. RETWEET is an entry.

Some pre-order purchase links can be found below:

USA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

CANADA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOK DEPOSITORY PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

INDIEBOUND BOOKS PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BARNES & NOBLE PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOKSHOP PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

PRE-ORDER DIRECT FROM INTERLUDE PRESS (In this link, find out how you can pre-order the paperback and get the ebook package for free: THE CAMINO CLUB

 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE KIRKUS REVIEW FOR THE CAMINO CLUB!

CLICK HERE TO ADD THE CAMINO CLUB TO YOUR GOODREADS SHELF!

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Camino de Santiago Duet Books Interlude Press The Camino Club

THE CAMINO CLUB Release Day – 15 Weeks from Today!

That’s 105 days, for those either quick or slow at math.

This morning I finished what will probably be my very last read-through of The Camino Club. I haven’t re-read any of my other books once I received the physical copy. Then again, there is a first time for everything. I might just want to hold it in my hands and read it again. Never say never.

This book was a tiny idea floating around in my head when my feet first made contact with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain back in May, 2014. I had this highfalutin idea that I would write it while I walked, cloister myself at the end of every days’ hike and jot down a few chapters. It might sound like a crazy idea, but I was used to writing complete novels in 72 hours at the Muskoka Novel Marathon. I figured I could storm through this one each day after a full day walking.

Boy, I have never been more wrong in all my life. The Camino is something you plug into 24 hours a day. It’s the Camino at night too…when the walking is over. Peregrinos (pilgrims) take in the places they stop in every day. They get to their albergues (hostels) and they freshen up…and then they typically go out and walk around the town/village/city they’re staying in that night. Or they take part in the communal meals and festivities that happen in their albergues. They LIVE. They participate. They become the pilgrims they imagined themselves to be.

You can’t put the Camino on hold to write while you’re on the Camino. It doesn’t work that way for me, at least. I would understand doing so if one were writing a travel journey or non-fiction memoir. They would want to get the details just right. But for me…I was formulating a fiction. I needed only to keep myself open and hope the story would percolate somewhere down below the surface while I was actually experiencing the Camino.

It took a couple of years…but it finally happened. I got that story out (I submitted to Interlude on November 23, 2018). It evolved from what I originally imagined it would look like. That evolution mostly happened because of the experiences I eventually lived out there on the path. My real experiences enriched the imagined experience. I’ll always be grateful for that first Camino…for forming the eventual story that came out.

Now, just 15 short weeks away, it will be something I can hold in my hands…something I can look at and say, “I made this!” I’ve never been so proud of a story. And a story has never been such a heavy weight to carry across an entire country and cultivate in my head while being out there living the life of a pilgrim. It’s like this impossible thing happened. And it happened to me! I’ll never get over it.

I might be talking less about the Camino now. Now that it’s out and the story will be in the world, living and breathing apart from me. I need to move on to other stories. I’ve been simmering a few in the incubator. I love the Camino. I will be back on the path for more wondrous Camino experiences. You can count on that. But I need to get my head wrapped around those other stories. I need to live, participate, experience.

Keep an eye out for the book drop! It’s coming soon. 105 short days from now. Better yet…go out and PREORDER. That would be great! It would help to lift this story off the ground ahead of its release. Wanna find out what six juvenile delinquent strangers get up to when they’re forced to walk across a country? Wanna taste of an amazing adventure–the Camino de Santiago–that’s out there waiting for anyone to try it at any time? Preorder now!

My publisher (Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press) said it best with the headline below when they announced The Camino Club on their website:

The epic trek begins October 6th.

Here’s Interlude Press’s The Camino Club blurb:

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?

The pilgrimage begins October 6th from Duet Books.

Cover art by C.B. Messer.

thumbnail_Camino Club (IPG)

USA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

CANADA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOK DEPOSITORY PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

INDIEBOUND BOOKS PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BARNES & NOBLE PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOKSHOP PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

PRE-ORDER DIRECT FROM INTERLUDE PRESS (In this link, find out how you can pre-order the paperback and get the ebook package for free: THE CAMINO CLUB

I got so geeky with this book, I even created and dropped the playlist I created while writing The Camino Club. You can check it out here:

Listen to THE CAMINO CLUB playlist on SPOTIFY!

That’s it for today. This is just me getting excited and anxious for this book to drop. It’s the first book I’ve written that truly feels like the book of my heart. I hope to connect this hard with the next one. Now that I know how hard a writer can connect with their work, I hope to experience that feeling again. Now go and preorder my baby! It’s waiting to be loved…

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Camino de Santiago Duet Books Interlude Press The Camino Club

When Execution Almost Meets Concept – THE CAMINO CLUB

Creative people always start with an idea/concept. Whether it comes to fruition or not is never known at the onset. It’s always a leap of faith to move forward with it. We hope. We conceptualize. We gather. We amass. We execute. But until we’re finished, we never know if it’s something we will finish.

Or, at least this is my own personal experience. I have many failed manuscripts to offer as exhibits to this theory, too. Believe you, me. We don’t always make it. We don’t always cross the finish line. Concepts are flawless, kind of like Michelangelo’s David. But sometimes the end result is more in line with stick figures. I wonder how happy Michelangelo was with his end result. If he’s anything like other creatives, he was probably pretty hard on himself.

What we see in our heads when we’re starting out is often quite beautiful. What we manage to get down on paper, or carved in stone, or on the canvas, or on the film, or down in notes…is often far removed from the crystallized idea. Sometimes we shoot for David, and the final result is closer to the stick figure.

When we do mark a project complete, we’re almost never close to what we imagined we would have at the end. In the world outside the creative brain there is not as much to work with as we have on the inside. It’s hard to make that transfer from imagined to real. Ideas are like new cars, as soon as they leave the lot they’ve already depreciated. The creative idea hits the air and it’s immediately weakened. The creative person’s job is to get as close to their original idea as possible whenever they set out to recreate it for others.

Easier said than done.

But sometimes the things we create come so close to what we imagined they would be. It’s like we can almost feel the way they should be when we look at them and we allow ourselves to be happy with the way they are. We can almost taste it, we came so close.

All this to say that I had the kernel of an idea six years ago as I walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. The further I walked, the more that kernel began to explode, to expand. Characters came into my thoughts, fought to be heard. I walked across a country, so I gave them space in my head…I allowed them to ruminate. I recognized what was happening as the creative process that ignites whenever I have a new story idea, so I walked. I put one foot in front of the other.

I didn’t take notes. I simply allowed the shadows of characters to take hold of my imagination. I listened. I allowed.

Today, I sent in the first round of edits on the story in question. It will become the novel, THE CAMINO CLUB, in about 132 days. I’m feeling a bit like maybe I captured most of what I set out to do. If the David is the idea I was shooting for, I mean…maybe I delivered something close to David. It’s a little blurry. It’s not perfectly defined. But, I mean…it looks comparable to David. It’s not a stick figure. One would look at it and think, “Oh! Michelangelo’s David!” I’m certain of it.

I’ve never been more proud of something I’ve created. It’s the closest one of my concepts have come to what I wanted the final result to be, let’s just put it that way. I have an extremely hard time being supportive of my own creative endeavors. I still feel like I’m unworthy of aspiring to creative endeavors, if truth be told. But I tried to silence the voices in my head, really I did. When I finally gave up and allowed creativity to flow, it felt good.

Now, I can almost say I’m proud of something I’ve created. This novel? THE CAMINO CLUB? It might actually be my David. That’s not to say it’s stunningly beautiful. That’s not for me to judge. But it’s the result of my ephemeral thoughts melding almost perfectly with the tools of my trade (keyboard, laptop, notebook, pen). I communicated a thought-scape almost exactly how I wanted to communicate it into existence.

I can’t wait to share the finished product. Yes, I’m nervous. Yes, I’m scared. Yes, I feel like come October 6th, 2020 I will be standing before you naked…hoping you like what you see…even if only a little bit. This one, it’s the book of my heart. It traveled a long way to get to this world. I hope you enjoy taking in the story as much as I enjoyed breathing it out.

While you’re here, here’s a few pics to show you what Facebook tells me I was doing on this day six years ago…I was ruminating with a certain story while walking my way to Santiago de Compostela…

While I still have your attention, you can preorder THE CAMINO CLUB now from wherever books are sold!

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.

USA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

CANADA PRE-ORDER AMAZON LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOK DEPOSITORY PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

INDIEBOUND BOOKS PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BARNES & NOBLE PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

BOOKSHOP PRE-ORDER LINK: THE CAMINO CLUB

Categories
Camino de Santiago Duet Books Interlude Press The Camino Club Young Adult Young Adult Fiction

It’s Been Six Long Years and I Love You Just the Same…

“When you see me, do you remember the times when we traveled…?”

Yes. The answer is yes and the answer will always be yes.

May 19th marked the 6th anniversary of my first ever steps on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. Those footsteps captured my heart. The pilgrims I walked with captured my heart. It was the end of a journey and it was the beginning of a journey. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

On this date six years ago, we walked from Cacabelos to Trabadelo. I was opening up to the Camino in ways I hadn’t imagined possible. I was also discovering it was the Wine & Food Tour of Spain. The rich mouth-watering salads and main dishes were made all the more glorious by the hunger created in us after a full day of walking across an unspeakably beautiful country. Each night we were met with delicious fare and extraordinary wine and café con leche. It made the walk easier…more hopeful.

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Danielle, writing down the bones of her Camino adventures…

I knew as I walked that I would write a story set on the Camino, and I knew what the story was that I wanted to write. Alas, as is often the case with me, I could not write it while I was there in that place. Being there…that was the time of percolation. I walked with my characters, I listened to their thoughts, formulated their personalities, envisioned their journeys.

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Day Two, May 20, 2014…Stepping into Trabadelo

Michael and I walked the Camino from Astorga to Santiago de Compostela in September of 2019. We did not stay in Trabadelo…but we walked through it and we stopped for a coke at the albergue our group of peregrinos slept at in 2014.

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Here’s the Trabadelo albergue in 2019…5 long years after our group spent the night under its roof. It looked very much the same. Memories flooded back. The window over the door was ours. We hung laundry on the Juliet balcony when we stayed…

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Julia and Danielle taking a break after our arrival in 2014. Connie is in the window up over the door…you can just make her out in the shadows. This was our second day and we were spent! We were in for a treat! Amazing food at this albergue!

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My fellow peregrinos at table back in May of 2014 (Connie, Julia, Tanya, Claudette, Sue, Danielle, and Nicholas).

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Claudette at the woodpile just before entering Trabadelo, Spain (May, 2014).

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Michael & I, entering Trabadelo for a walk-through (September, 2019).

The picture on the left was snapped at the Trabadelo albergue in May of 2014. The picture on the right, in September of 2019. ❤

I hope I can always go back. It’s in my heart now. The Camino has made me a wanderer, a lifelong pilgrim. I hope my upcoming novel, THE CAMINO CLUB, does the sacred pilgrimage route justice. My true hope is that the story creates even ONE future PILGRIM. If it ignites one soul to put the Camino de Santiago in their bucket-list, I will feel as though I have done good. The Camino has to be experienced before one can really get a feel for how life-changing it is. And it’s not the scenery, or the people, or the food, or the wine…it’s all of those things and more.

There is something on the Camino that just grabs on to your soul and embraces it. There is a saying often heard all over the Camino, by pilgrims from every country the world over…THE CAMINO PROVIDES. When, on the Camino, you find yourself in need of something…it has a way of coming to you. The spirit of the Camino finds a way to fill the need.

Once you experience that spirit, it stays with you. It calls you back. Again and again.

Buen Camino!

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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.

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Camino de Santiago Duet Books Gay YA Interlude Press The Camino Club Young Adult Young Adult Fiction

The Lies I Told – Geographical Liberties in My Upcoming Novel THE CAMINO CLUB

I’m just gonna come clean BEFORE the book releases, because Camino pilgrims are generally sticklers for details. My novel THE CAMINO CLUB comes out October 6th. It’s a YOUNG ADULT novel, but if other Camino pilgrims are anything like me, we tend to seek out all books on the Camino for reading material. It’s a great way to revisit the Camino from your couch. Just pick up a book set on the Camino, and we’re there again!

I took CERTAIN LIBERTIES with my telling of the journey of six juvenile delinquents, their counselors and the friends they met and collected along The Way. Any seasoned Camino peregrino/peregrina will recognize the inaccuracies as soon as they come to them. So, I’ll admit to doing it now. And I will also point out the 2 major changes I made to the route here and now!

The first liberty I took that I will admit to is the placement of CREEPY JESUS OF CACABELOS. Early on in their journey, Troy and Claire have a secret night out of wandering the town of Cacabelos. They both sneak out of their albergue (hostel) in the middle of the night and find each other in the street. To this point in the story, Claire has been sullen and mostly unapproachable. On this night, she and Troy finally connect in a semi-meaningful way. Claire takes Troy for a walk BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF TOWN where she saw a very creepy statue of Jesus and together they flip out over its sheer scary ugliness.

The thing is, that statue of our lord and savior is found at the END OF TOWN. It’s right near the exit of town on the other side…so Claire wouldn’t yet know of the statue’s existence on the night in question. They don’t pass it until the next morning as they’re leaving town. I had to re-jig the town to make it work for the story. Not only that…the Albergue de Peregrinos de la Augustina de Cacabelos or Albergue Municipal in Cacabelos is on the main road…no stream, no bridge to get there. I made significant changes and I can already hear the diehard peregrinos yelling that I don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s the fun of writing fiction…you can change geographical details to suite your story. And I did! (-:

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Creepy Jesus of Cacabelos!

Creepy Jesus is found at the municipal albergue just before you leave the town of Cacabelos. Make it be known that I am the one who gave the statue this name. Mary sits over the threshold of ‘the old church’, holding her uber creepy baby-man Jesus. The albergue surrounds the church and it’s an extremely cheap place for pilgrims to stay on the Camino.

The second (but not the last) liberty I took with geography on the Camino is that of the POINTING PILGRIMS STATUE at Monte de Gozo. Monte de Gozo means HILL OF JOY and it is usually the first place on the Camino where pilgrims can catch a glimpse of the spires of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostella. The cathedral is about an hour’s hike from Monte de Gozo, and on a clear day you can just make out the church that everyone on the Camino walks toward. Monte de Gozo sports a large monument to commemorate Pope John Paul II’s pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. It’s a bit awkward looking, but definitely worth seeing. It’s rather stunning, if a little weird.

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Off in the distance, away from the Hill of Joy, is a statue of two pilgrims pointing to Santiago de Compostella.

pilgrimsFor my story, I physically moved these statues about 1/2 a kilometre or so, so that they were standing directly behind the monument to the Pope. The scene required all the people at the monument to be at the statues at the same time. So I simply re-jigged the geography again. Presto-Magico, the statues appear beside the monument. I know if pilgrims read my book they are going to be all aflutter about the inaccuracies. But in their hearts, I’m betting they think it’s a great idea to move those statues. When you’re racing to get that last hour in before lining up for your compostella, etc, those statues are a good deal out of the way.

They were heavy to move, but move them I did! Figuratively, if not literally. (-;

That’s just two examples of liberties I have taken to write the story the way I wanted to write it. I’m sure some great Camino sleuths will discover a few others. I would never do this if I were writing a non-fiction travel memoir. I promise. But there you have it. These are some of the lies I told in this novel.

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