Delay in Publication of My 7th Novel – I WILL TELL THE NIGHT…

Hello Readers:

Just a short note today. I wanted to announce the delay in the publication of my 7th novel, I WILL TELL THE NIGHT. In THIS POST I announced that the novel would be released in early 2019. Here we are in May, mid-2019, and no sign of a publication date. I’m so sorry for the delay. At this time, I’m unable to give a release date. Should I learn of the release, I’ll announce it. Waiting on my publisher.

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This is a novel aesthetic for I WILL TELL THE NIGHT.

I wrote a blog post on THE ORIGIN STORY OF I WILL TELL THE NIGHT that you can read here.

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This is me reading an excerpt from I WILL TELL THE NIGHT at the 2016 Muskoka Novel Marathon, where the novel won the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s 2016 BEST ADULT NOVEL AWARD.

In the meantime, you can find all of my available books here AT THIS LINK.

STAY TUNED – Once the release date is made known to me, I will announce it. It shouldn’t be too long now…

Love_Is_Love Anthology and I Will Tell the Night Aesthetic

Two things. The first, I’m thrilled to announce the release of an anthology in which I have a short story! Love_Is_Love released yesterday (Jan 24/19):

Love_Is_Love: An Anthology for LGBTQIA+ Teens

All proceeds from the sale of the anthology go to THE TREVOR PROJECT (The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. The Trevor Lifeline: 866.488.7386.)

My story is called THIS IS ME IN GRADE NINE and it follows a trans girl in the moments leading up to her first day of high school.

Here’s some cover love for you! The strength of the Rainbow Fist in the Air is divine:

 

 

YOU CAN PICK UP A COPY OF THE ANTHOLOGY HERE. PLEASE CONSIDER DOING SO, AS THE TREVOR PROJECTS NEEDS YOUR HELP IN ORDER TO CONTINUE TO THRIVE.

The second thing? During part of the festivities on Twitter this month for #LGBTRelease I made a NOVEL AESTHETIC for my upcoming release I WILL TELL THE NIGHT. I wanted to share it here. 🙂

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Steven & Finn and their cross-country journey to healing, complete with BEETS.

The origin story for the title of I WILL TELL THE NIGHT can be found at this recent blog post HERE. Details on its release to follow, but it is SOON.

On the Horizon – 2019 Goals

  • I will finish my Middle Grade non-binary novel and figure out a title for it
  • I will have my 7th novel published. This is a given as the contract was already signed. Look for I WILL TELL THE NIGHT early in the new year (release date to be announced)
  • I WILL find a home for my young adult Camino de Santiago novel
  • I WILL finish my young adult novel The Book of My Dreams
  • I will write more often
  • I will continue to discover who I am and work towards becoming that person
  • I WILL walk on the Camino de Santiago once again!

I don’t have a lot of goals for 2019 and at least one of them is already achieved. I can’t wait for I WILL TELL THE NIGHT to be out into the world. It’s been a few years since I wrote an adult novel. NO…that doesn’t mean it has any explicit content or anything like that. It simply means it’s not written for a teen/child audience. It’s a contemporary family saga, I suppose. It virtually came out in one sitting at the 2016 Muskoka Novel Marathon…and it was added to and polished in the meantime. Going through edits with the publisher soon-ish. I will announce the release date soon. It actually won BEST ADULT NOVEL at the marathon… An honour I NEVER get tired of receiving. I WILL TELL THE NIGHT was my 5th marathon win.

cropped-untitled2.jpgLast night I had a hard time sleeping. Not a very good way to spend the last night of sleep of 2018. BUT! I came up with a way to get my characters out of the basement dungeon in my young adult horror novel THE BOOK OF MY DREAMS. Once I complete the middle grade I’m currently working on, I will make it my mission to finish the Dreams book! I took notes this morning to help me get there. (-: And I have really been letting the aforementioned middle grade novel percolate in order to find my next moves that will take me to the end I envision. It’s my first (but hopefully not my last) novel with a non-binary main character. I really want to finish this one! It’s gone through a few title changes already, but none of them are sticking. WHICH IS REALLY WEIRD FOR ME, AS I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS START WITH A TITLE AND GO FROM THERE. I don’t mind. I just know it deserves a better title than the ones I have thus far come up with.

 

In September we are heading for the Camino de Santiago in Spain again. Hopefully before that time I will be able to announce a home for my Camino novel that I worked so hard to create. It really is a special one for me, so I NEED it to find a home. Honestly, whenever I have a novel out on submission I struggle to write regularly. It feels like that exposure–knowing that it’s out there–causes a crippling handicap to my creativity. But not only that, I just really want it to be in the world.

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The Camino Passport Book (Credential) and patches for our backpacks!

I hope all your goals and dreams for 2019 come true. If you practice New Year’s Resolutions may they all be reasonable and kind. And may you achieve them or be kind to yourself if you don’t. I hope you find a more firm standing in self in 2019. Enjoy your shiny new year. Stand in the place where you live.

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Pokhara, Nepal (September, 2018)

 

Thoughts on the End of a Year

As 2018 draws to an end, I suppose it’s time for another one of those all-encompassing posts of reflection and upcoming things. It’s been an exciting year in several ways. Not the least of which was our trip to India and Nepal this past September. Hard to believe it was so long ago, but it’s been my experience that the BER months come in and out of existence in the blink of an eye. Just as they are the most dreaded months on the calendar for me, they are also the ones that race by the quickest. I suppose it’s the old tired year making that last ditch sprint to the finish line, eager to be done with itself. Maybe the year itself doesn’t even like its last few months.

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I sometimes forget that we have beauty right here at home, in our own backyard. Though I found myself on the other side of the planet this year, I also discovered beauty here in Ontario. If we close our eyes to our own beauty, we miss so much. Don’t forget that you can TRAVEL at home. All you need is time and a sense of adventure. Discover the world, yes…but don’t close your eyes to the world around you because it’s too near. Wanderlust begins at your front door…not necessarily at the airport. (Waterfront Trail – Ajax, Ontario. October, 2018)

2018 has been a year filled with writerly stuff, even though I feel I did so very little actual writing. I don’t know how that keeps happening, but it does. I think it’s the mark of a true charlatan to pull off something like this…to appear to be something you wouldn’t really be under close scrutiny. Does one have to constantly practice the art of the thing they brazenly call themselves to actually be that thing? Does writing need to take place before one can call themselves a writer? Who polices these things anyway?

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Nepal. After visiting the birthplace of Buddha in Lumbini (Once in India, but now in Nepal), we stayed at Barauli Community Homestay. A bike-ride through the village was the most delightful thing you could imagine. I have no idea why I’m not smiling in this picture. I felt euphoric the whole time I was on that bike.

But not everything is about writing. Sometimes a writer is merely a collector of memories. We meticulously store and catalogue the world in our unreliable memory banks so that we can access the information at a later date and spew it out inaccurately through our own renditions of truth and memory. We bury memories and unearth them later, tarnished and dented, and pound them into a slightly accurate rendition of what they really were when we lived them. Is that a close description of fiction? Truth in the lies…a crooked lens portraying something that could pass as plausible if we manage to suspend our disbelief and mis-remember just enough to cloud it all over in a whimsical world that wouldn’t accurately sit atop the one in which we actually live? Anyway…I lived some in 2018 so that I may write about it later…

I believe we fell in love with Nepal in 2018. It was a little unexpected, but not a surprise. First it was Pokhara, with its simple orderly streets calming our hearts after the whirlwind insanity of the heart-breakingly beautifully chaotic streets of India. Don’t get me wrong, I could LIVE in the streets of India. The beauty stole my breath on countless occasions. But getting out of the bus in Pokhara was like releasing a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. It was a relatively calm environment juxtaposed against India. There was a new order we somehow didn’t realize we didn’t have up to that point in our journey. In Pokhara, we exhaled. The pictures above are mostly of Kathmandu, but the one with us in a boat was taken in Pokhara on a magical day when we climbed a mountain to see a gorgeous stupa majestically claiming the peak as its forever home.

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The Shanti Stupa at the top of the world, overlooking the peaceful beauty of Phewa Lake and the wonder that is the city of Pokhara, Nepal, just beyond its idyllic waters.

Before Nepal, came INDIA. It was a lifelong dream of mine to visit India. I honestly don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to go there. I hoped I would eventually get there, but with most big ticket bucket-list items…one sometimes worries they won’t ever check it off. It being at the top of my list, I’m so happy to have fulfilled the lifelong dream. And we saw so much of it. Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi…it was all beautiful, all breathtaking, all heartwarming. But the jewel, for me, was a place that had never made it to that childhood wish and hope and dream place of stepping foot in India. The jewel, for me, was ORCHHA. What a wonder. You can read about our time in ORCHHA HERE.

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My feet failed to touch the ground in mesmerizingly beautiful and magical ORCHHA. I’ll never forget this city.  One gets to discover only a few heart homes in their lifetime, if they’re lucky. This was definitely one of mine.

Yes, 2018 was a fantastic year for world travel. We had a blast. Even our own Ottawa, Ontario was a highlight for me. I had never been there, though it is only a few hundred kilometres away. Travel your doorstep…if you don’t, you’re missing out on some fantastic stuff.

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MY first trip to Ottawa was this past summer. We did the Hop On Hop Off. I LOVE Ottawa! Especially the market!
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Did I mention I walked in my first Pride Parade this summer? Toronto. Amazing experience!

Now, on to my WRITER life in 2018. I stepped up to the WCDR Board of Directors this year, as well…part of my writerly-stuff immersion. I am currently the Membership Coordinator for the writing organization. I recently sat on a panel at a WCDR Monthly Network Meeting, too. As an industry professional, if you can dig it. 2018 also saw the birth of NOVEL #6 for me! Though I signed the contract for PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE in the closing month of 2017, it hit the world in February of this past year. I also sold NOVEL #7 I WILL TELL THE NIGHT in 2018. It will see birth into the world in the opening months of 2019.

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Book Baby #6 PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE! February 6, 2018.

It wasn’t an entirely unproductive year for me. Two books placed and one looking for a home. I’m extremely hopeful of the one on submission. It was such a thrill to write…my baby. Oh, and I also began another novel…at the 2018 Muskoka Novel Marathon. I swear, if I didn’t do this once-a-year 72 hr novel writing marathon I probably couldn’t call myself a writer at all. It’s where I do the lion’s share of my yearly writing. That’s bad, isn’t it? That I could distill my entire writing year into 3 days? Ugh. I need more discipline. I need a more solid writing schedule. Do we still make goals for ourselves in JANUARY? Maybe my resolution should be to WRITE MORE.

I already know what’s in store for me in January, though. EDITING! I begin the editing process of bringing I WILL TELL THE NIGHT to the stage. I adore the book, actually…and I’m looking forward to working with my editor on it. It’s a shift from my recent spat of YOUNG ADULT novels…as it’s an adult contemporary. We shall see how this goes. I’m told it will be releasing sometime in the new year. I look forward to the arduous editing stage AND, even more so, to finding out how the publisher interprets the story into a COVER! Muse did a lovely job with my PRIDE cover.

Any more writerly things in 2018? Let’s see. I DID work on several short stories. One of which I published on Amazon and Kobo. LIGHT NEAR THE END OF THE WORLD is available to read. It’s a short story I set on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. The Camino is a passion and an obsession for me. I wrote several stories set on its sacred pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.

I believe that rounds out the year for writing. In the new year, I hope to complete my 2018 MNM novel…though I’m not sure what I will do with it. It’s a middle grade novel and I’m not quite sure the world is ready for it. We shall see. (-;

Here’s to a wonderful 2019. May you reach your goals and set new and exciting ones. May you have some dreams come true and nightmares end. Whatever you seek, my hope is that you find it. Open yourself to possibility and wonder. I find it helps you to discover it. HAPPY END OF 2018!

Now go forth and pick up a copy of my 2018 novel PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE, if you haven’t yet done so. Really, it’s on sale at Amazon at less than the price of a latte. Also, you might actually enjoy it more…just click on the cover below…

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PICK IT UP AT AMAZON TODAY!

 

 

I Will Tell The Night Origin Story – How Mumford & Sons Helped to Save Me

I’m SUPER excited about my 2019 book release I WILL TELL THE NIGHT. Today, I wanted to talk about the title…and the evolution of how I came up with it.

The title is from a song. A song that was a huge part of a weekend at Hope Springs Institute in Peebles, Ohio, which I credit with saving me.

In 2011 I walked into a Male Survivor WEEKEND OF RECOVERY to seek healing and recovery from childhood sexual assault trauma. I had already taken a few steps in my journey, but had heard SO many great things about this program.

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When I walked into the large octagonal studio on the grounds of Hope Springs in rural Ohio, the song TIMSHEL by Mumford & Sons was playing loudly, proudly and vividly clear. The roof of the building went on forever and it had the feel of a cathedral. I was terrified to be meeting all these broken fellow survivors for the first time…walking into a space I was unfamiliar with…and the first crisp clear lines of lyrics hit me as I entered…

Cold is the water
It freezes your already cold mind
Already cold, cold mind
And death is at your doorstep
And it will steal your innocence
But it will not steal your substance
But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand

I tell you, I was mush. Instantly more shattered and whole than I had possibly ever been in my life. The last 4 lines in the above quote? Well, they may as well have been a two by four for their ability to knock me flat out cold…and they may as well have been a blanketed loving embrace for their ability to foster an instant knowledge that I had done the right thing in driving through the night to come to this strange off-the-beaten-path place in the middle of America that I had never heard of before then.

Those words pierced my heart and told me I was home, all at once. And the weekend progressed in every way possible to fulfill the promise of those last 4 quoted lines above. We strangers got through that weekend together, as brothers. We came through it a little (A LOT) more healed than we had been when we entered. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself in my life.

To this day, I can’t listen to TIMSHEL by Mumford & Sons without thinking of that painful but altogether life saving weekend…or the therapists who helped saved us in that studio, and in the Spirit House that also sits on the grounds of that idyllic piece of heaven in Ohio.

Mumford & Sons is intricately woven into my healing journey now, just as strongly as Peebles, Ohio is. As Male Survivor is. As Weekend of Recovery is. And as Hope Springs is. These things are all forever melted together in my brain and each time I hear Timshel, I hear my salvation. Because, after all that time…I was not alone in this.

The last lines of the song go like this…

But I will tell the night
And whisper, “Lose your sight”
But I can’t move the mountains for you
And I WILL TELL THE NIGHT always resonated deeply with me. The words are just as important as those 4 lines up above about not being alone. Because as a child, there was no one to tell. I was alone. There was only one person to tell. THE NIGHT. As soon as I heard that line, I knew why they picked that song for us to enter the studio to. Because we had all had that conversation with the night…we had all told our stories to the darkness.
I WILL TELL THE NIGHT, the title of my next novel. Now you know the title’s origin story. And how a song once helped to save me…
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(You can pick up Pride Must Be A Place at AmazonUSA or AmazonCanada now! It received an Amazing Review today!)

 

I Will Tell the Night – But I Won’t Remember It.

I have been madly editing my latest novel, I WILL TELL THE NIGHT. Having just completed it a week or so ago, it is material that should be fresh in my mind. But it isn’t. Not at all. It’s actually quite frightening to be reading along and have no idea what’s coming up WHEN YOU WROTE THE THING THAT’S COMING UP! Mere days ago. And when I say NO IDEA, that is exactly what I mean. Whole scenes are surprises to me. Entire chapters are foreign and unrecognizable.

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From an editing standpoint, this makes part of the process easier. Because as I read, I am not doing that thing writers do when they read what they meant to say instead of what is actually on the page. When you know what’s coming, you can accidentally read a line the way you meant to write it instead of the line you actually wrote…thus perpetuating your error and keeping it in your manuscript.

That’s not happening, because I have no idea what the hell is going on. I’m just over 200 pages in with the edit, on a manuscript that is 308 pages long. I vaguely recognized a few of the scenes. I remember feelings I had while writing some of them, even though I did not actually remember the scene itself. I remember things I contemplated putting into the story, but didn’t. Those are the phantom limbs I spoke of in THIS POST. So, essentially, I am waiting for scenes to happen that will never happen because I didn’t write them. I’m a hot mess.

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I won Best Novel for the novel I’m editing, but I can’t remember why…

I will often blame this lack of connection with my writing on the way in which it is written. This floats when I write a novel in 72hrs under duress of getting it completed in a weekend with sleep deprivation, distractions, and intensity. Yeah…then I can say, “What the hell did I write?! I don’t remember a thing.” But the lion’s share of this novel I wrote over the course of an entire month. I can’t use that marathon brain alibi.

Times like this, I have to admit to myself that this not-remembering entire chunks of a novel I just wrote is one of those longtime symptoms of PTSD. It’s actually a bit painful to read your work and not feel familiar with it. Where did I go when I wrote it? Where the hell am I?

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With Lori Manson at the 2016 Muskoka Novel Marathon wrap-up party. Lori won Best Young Adult Novel and I won for Best Adult Novel.

This is something I don’t only realize when I’m editing my work. The looming deadline for getting I WILL TELL THE NIGHT back to the Muskoka Novel Marathon people has me fully concentrated on editing this book to the best of my ability…so it’s the thing that is making me think of this NOW.

But if I were being completely honest with myself, I find it very difficult to have conversations about ANY of my published novels. Someone will say something about one of my characters and I have to chase a thread going nowhere inside my head to try to figure out what novel that character is even in. I often come up empty and just pray that as the person continues to speak, a clue will be offered up and I will figure out what novel they’re talking about. Then, I try to piece together a response that sounds halfway intelligent…as though I know what the hell they’re talking about. I don’t.

I guess I’m just destined to be like this. I do have an overall impression of my works, but just in the vaguest possible of ways. I carry something akin to a fractured synopsis around for each of my novels. But if I am required to go outside that gossamer description, everything gets lost in the shadows. I become the unreliable narrator. Unreliable, because I don’t recall. I believe Peter Gabriel said it best…

I don’t remember, I don’t recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don’t remember, I don’t recall
I got no memory of anything
Anything at all” ~ Peter Gabriel, I Don’t Remember

This is not something new to me. I wish it was. I guess this post is just to vent on this truth that has always effected my writing life. It is my coming out. I have a shattered memory processor. It will never be better. As passionate as I am about the process of writing, I’m as attached to my words as I am attached to John Doe and Jane Doe. I don’t know John Doe. I don’t know Jane Doe. They are unfamiliar to me.

I am editing away…discovering my novel for the first time. When I ask what the writer’s motivations were for including this scene or that character, I ask because I want to know. When I think, ‘Whoa! That’s intense! I did NOT see that coming!’ It’s because I didn’t see it coming. I get slightly mildly depressed when I edit. Wanting to be attached to something and realized you’re not…that’s at times a really difficult reality to accept. Because it makes you remember the why of it all. It makes you remember that you are broken and your old wound is never going to go away, no matter how healed you believe yourself to be. Parts of you will always be collateral damage.

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If you see me and you would like to ask me about one of my novels, go gentle on me. You will most definitely know more about the novel than I do. I can’t answer many of your questions. It makes me feel small. It makes me feel less. It makes me remember how much I’ll never remember and how much I will always forget.

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I remember this. Vividly. Just not the words born from this moment.

For me, my memory lies squarely and surely in the FEELINGS I had while I wrote the thing that I wrote. The process. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. It’s all about the process for me. It can’t be about anything else. I don’t have that luxury. I’m broken in the places where my stories live. I can tell them, I just can’t retell them…