A Play in The Westchester Review!

It is time for the Winter 2022 edition of THE WESTCHESTER REVIEW! I’m so thrilled to announce that my play, THE HISTORY OF US, is featured in this issue!

First, a little background on the play. This was born in the library at Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario, Canada.

Trafalgar Castle (Whitby, Ontario, Canada). The castle was built by Nelson Gilbert Reynolds, Sheriff of Ontario County, as a private residence in 1859. Reynolds was named after Lord Nelson and named his castle Trafalgar in honour of the Battle of Trafalgar. The castle is now a private school for girls.

Every year (during March break while the school is closed), Driftwood Theatre has a 24-hour play creation festival within the castle. Here’s a rundown of the creation:

  • Playwrights enter the building
  • Each playwright is assigned pictures of their actor(s) and a room in which the play is to be performed
  • Each playwright spends the next 8 hours inside their rooms writing plays (They are to use only what is in the rooms…no additional props are allowed. They are also given a line they must insert somewhere in their individual plays)
  • In the morning, the playwrights go home (they write overnight for 8 hours) and the actors and directors arrive at the castle
  • Actors and directors rehearse the plays throughout the day
  • Evening – all plays are performed in their individual rooms to rotating audiences who each watch a performance of each play

I believe I was a playwright for this festival 7 times. I can’t even remember if that number is accurate. I wrote THE HISTORY OF US for Trafalgar24 2014. I was given the school library both to write and to set my play in. I was given pictures of the following two actors. So I was locked into the library with two pictures and I had 8 hours to create a play that would be performed 6 times the following evening to 6 full houses!

Adriano Sobretodo Jr.
Christopher Kelk

Knowing the works of these actors, I was IMMEDIATELY intimidated. I sat down and I got to work! I had to write SOMETHING worthy of these incredible actors!

THE HISTORY OF US is what came out. A ten minute play written in about an hour and then worried over for the next seven hours. I enacted it myself right there in the library…performing both roles over and over and over and over. Changing a word here, adding a word there, deleting a word there…until I was ready to let it go. From 10pm to 6am it was mine. After that, I had nothing more to do with it and I could only hope it was good enough to pass as a 10-minute play.

One of the many unmissable sights of Trafalgar Castle, Whitby…

That’s the history of The History of Us. Now, it appears in the WINTER ISSUE of THE WESTCHESTER REVIEW and I could not be happier about its coming into print! Here’s links where you can read the play. Click the image to go directly to THE WESTCHESTER REVIEW homepage:

Click the link below to go to the play itself:

DIRECT LINK TO MY PLAY – THE HISTORY OF US

(“Founded in 2007, The Westchester Review is dedicated to publishing the work of established and emerging writers.”)

Gene’s Jealousy – Why Do You Write?

I often wonder why writers write. What was it that brought you to the place of writing?

When I try to answer this question myself, so many moments in my early reading life come to mind. From Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women to Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids. But I always rush forward in my reading trajectory to a boy on the outstretched limb of a tree, being caught off guard when his friend gives the branch the slightest jostle, sending him crashing to the ground beneath.

Looking back, I now see that moment of I WANT TO BE A WRITER forever entwined–entangled?–with Gene’s jealousy of the almighty perfect-in-every-way Phineas.

Though some of the themes in John Knowles’s of A Separate Peace hold no interest to me whatsoever (I always shy away from any story centered around war and sports are, well impenetrable and uninteresting), it is the relationship between these two main characters that enthralled me so much. From the first pages of this story, I could see what the writer was doing. It was as though I was locked into the story while at the same time capable of bearing witness to the scaffolding behind the story. The scaffolding, in this case, was a simmering jealousy that was effortlessly displayed by the author through the narrator’s gaze. This jealousy boiled throughout the story more powerfully than a screaming tea kettle. I was fascinated by the way the author was manipulating the reader. I wanted to do that. Such duplicity, and such a way of making me, the reader, feel solidarity simultaneously with both characters.

The way Gene, right from the beginning of the story, prayed for his best friend’s failure and comeuppance. And assumed–wrongly, because he was incapable of thinking in any way other than his own–that Finny felt the same way about him.

That relationship and the way it thrilled me as a young reader, that right there was what I wanted to capture as a writer. I savored that moment Gene realized Finny had not a scrap of jealousy for him…that Finny actually wished nothing but the best for him and was, in fact incapable of thinking mean things about him! That was such a sharp slap, such a quick burn to Gene’s psyche. The way Gene tried to fit Finny’s thinking into the way he himself thought was so telling! And that moment it all came crashing down and Gene realized he was just a mean person whereas Finny was incapable of meanness? It was such a fascinating look into friendships and the duplicitous simmerings that sometimes boiled just beneath the surface of them. By making the narrator, Gene, a small, arrogant, mean, and jealous person, John Knowles started me off on my path to wanting to be a writer.

What’s your Writer Origin Story? I know it’s never as simple as one thing. There’s always this leads to this, leads to this, leads to this, leads to this. It’s kind of like in Stephen King’s book The Tommyknockers. Remember? When Bobbi Anderson was walking with her dog, Peter, in the woods and one of her elderly hiking boots fetched up against something…fetched up hard? She thought it was a tree root until she saw a gleam of metal. Roughly three inches…just enough to trip over. Then she thought it might be a tin can. As she began to dig it out, her thoughts went to bigger and bigger possibilities. A piece of logging equipment? A car? If you read The Tommyknockers, then you know what Bobbi found was much much bigger than a car. Like a sliver of the world’s biggest iceberg, that three inches she tripped over was just the beginning of the colossus she would uncover.

What made you trip over writing? It’s hard to pinpoint that magical moment, but if you think about it, you’ll find it. I might answer differently on another day. I may dig a little deeper to unearth more and realize that it was not Gene’s jealousy and smallmindedness that made that final click with me. But today, that’s what I’ve uncovered. My origin story. Jealousy is as good a reason as any, I suppose. All the emotions fascinate writers, don’t they?

 

Find my books here: MY AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

It’s #IReadCanadianDay and, HEY, I’m CANADIAN!

Today’s the day! You can read my books today while participating in #IReadCanadianDay. LKF— I’m Canadian! Yes, some of my books are published in USA, but I assure you I am 100% Canadian. Born and raised in and around Toronto, I also spent as much of my childhood summers as was allowed in New Brunswick. Full on Canadian.

So make today the day you pick up one of my books!

Eight titles to choose from! In order of publication, they are, SUMMER ON FIRE, SEBASTIAN’S POET, THE REASONS, BURN BABY BURN BABY, HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN, PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE, THE CAMINO CLUB, and most recently, BOOK OF DREAMS.

I will share my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE HERE. But you can purchase a few of these titles wherever books are sold. Easiest to get your hands on are THE CAMINO CLUB and BOOK OF DREAMS, which you can pick up wherever books are sold. I’ll add here that the ebook for THE CAMINO CLUB is currently on sale for just under or just over one dollar, depending on the country you shop from.

Guess what?! Americans can also participate in #IReadCanadian day! Here’s the American AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE. And if you’re in the UK, here’s the UK AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE.

 

Read Canadian today! If not me, another Canadian author out there will also appreciate the read! Learn more about I READ CANADIAN DAY HERE. “I Read Canadian Day is a new nationwide initiative that celebrates the richness, diversity and breadth of Canadian literature. Taking place for the third year on November 2, 2022, this celebration will empower families, schools, libraries, bookstores and organizations to host activities and events by reading Canadian books for just fifteen minutes. For more information, visit ireadcanadian.ca/day and sign up for free to participate. Help get the word out on social media by following @IReadCanadian and using the hashtag #IReadCanadian.”

Author Copies Have Arrived! Book of Dreams One Step Closer to Being…

Yesterday, my author copies arrived from my publisher!

My novel hits bookstores in exactly 3 weeks from today, on Tuesday, September 13th. And they’re all printed and boxed and ready to go!

BOOK OF DREAMS (Duet Books/Chicago Review Press, SEPTEMBER 13th, 2022) NOW AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER!

Gaige’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a bookstore on an abandoned street where no bookstore should be. He steps inside and is immediately enthralled by its antiquarian sights and smells. But one book in particular calls to him. It isn’t long before he gets a bad feeling about it, but it’s already too late. The store’s aged bookseller gives him no alternative: once he touches the book, it’s his—whether he wants it or not. It’s bought and paid for and there are no returns. The book leads Gaige on a horrific descent into the unknown. As he falls into the depths of its pages, he loses blocks of time, and his friends become trapped inside ancient cellars with seemingly no means of escape. Gaige soon learns that the ancient bookseller is a notorious serial killer from a previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape. When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help—Mael, a sweet teen also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD! Also, put Book of Dreams on your Goodreads shelf!

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Chicago Review Press Print | Chicago Review Press Ebook | Barnes & Noble | Interlude Press | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | IndieBound | Blackwell’s | Booktopia | Book Depository | APPLE Books | Goodreads

Always a delight to get a package from your publisher in the days leading up to a new book release!

I’m still sitting on some amazing news regarding this novel. I can’t wait to share it! And the very second I’m able to share it, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops. Stay tuned for the announcement!

A box of books!

If you’re local to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), you can get a signed copy of BOOK OF DREAMS at the Chapters-Indigo in the Oshawa Centre. I’ll be there Saturday October 1st, 2022 at 1:00pm. Hope to see you there!

 

ARC Arrival! Book of Dreams is One Step Closer to its Release!

I received the ARC of Book of Dreams yesterday! For those who are not familiar with the acronym, an ARC is an Advanced Reader Copy. They print these prior to the final (final) (final) edits and before the finished novel goes to print…to send out copies for advance reviews/praise. Those reading the ARCs for this purpose realize that what they are holding is only a near finished copy. Usually they are told not to quote passages, as there is a possibility the words in the passage could change prior to the printing of the final version of the book.

The ARC is one of the next to last steps in the evolution of the Idea-to-Manuscript-to-Novel journey. It’s very exciting for the author to get to hold one in their hand…a realization of the kernel of idea brought to fruition. The ARC comes after a long arduous journey. By the time I get the ARC in my hands, I’ve probably read my manuscript 50, 60, 70 times. That might be a slight exaggeration(?) but it does not feel like one.

At any rate, it is HERE!

The ARC! Book of Dreams is on its way!

This book has had a long and sometimes treacherous journey! It began as nothing more than a TITLE at the onset of the 2014 Muskoka Novel Marathon(click here to learn more about the marathon). This weekend novel writing marathon, where Book of Dreams was born, was a full 8 years ago! During the 72 hour marathon, I wrote about 30,000 words of Book of Dreams. One attempts to finish an entire first draft at this marathon (and I have done so on occasion), but as I was writing in a new-to-me genre I was taking it slow and easy.

My manuscript received an Honorable Mention in that year’s marathon. I was well on my way! Then I shelved the book for several years while I worked on more pressing ideas. But the kids in this novel kept coming back to me. I had left them in a perilous situation and after a while I thought maybe they deserved to be written out of that corner they were in. So I dove back in. Books have so many different paths. Sometimes they come all at once and your fingers struggle to keep up with the flow of the book that takes place in your mind. And sometimes they die a slow death or ask to be left alone a while as they percolate.

Last year, I knew it was time to pick up Book of Dreams again. Its characters called to me continuously. So I listened. I finished their story.

And here we are. 8 years have passed since I wrote the title at the top of a blank page one. In just over a month the book I started with the ambiguous first sentence, “I’m trapped in my bedroom again, waiting impatiently for the screaming to end.” will be in bookstores and available for all to read. It’s a scary concept! Putting a book into the world, is putting a piece of yourself into the world. And once it’s out there, it is also no longer yours and there’s nothing you can do about it.

2 books, 2 years apart!

On October 6th, 2020, my first book with Duet Books landed into the world. The Camino Club went on to become the Silver Winner of the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Award! It really has been a bit of the little engine that could. It had a nice momentum behind it and I loved seeing it pop up in the world. At the time of The Camino Club‘s release, Duet was the YA imprint of Interlude Press. Interlude has since sold to Chicago Review Press. Both Interlude and Duet are now LGBTQ imprints of CRP. Duet is YA and Interlude is ADULT. Book of Dreams is in extremely good hands! Almost two years apart, my second Duet Books will be out on September 13th, 2022! This date is ALSO my birthday, and I couldn’t think of a nicer birthday gift!

With my ARC in hand, and the final version of the novel already off to the printers, we are all set for the launch!

You can pre-order Book of Dreams wherever books are sold. I’ll leave a few links at the bottom of this post for easy clicking, but you can also order directly from your favourite independent bookstore.

BOOK OF DREAMS (Duet Books/Chicago Review Press, SEPTEMBER 13th, 2022) EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER!

Gaige’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a bookstore on an abandoned street where no bookstore should be. He steps inside and is immediately enthralled by its antiquarian sights and smells. But one book in particular calls to him. It isn’t long before he gets a bad feeling about it, but it’s already too late. The store’s aged bookseller gives him no alternative: once he touches the book, it’s his—whether he wants it or not. It’s bought and paid for and there are no returns. The book leads Gaige on a horrific descent into the unknown. As he falls into the depths of its pages, he loses blocks of time, and his friends become trapped inside ancient cellars with seemingly no means of escape. Gaige soon learns that the ancient bookseller is a notorious serial killer from a previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape. When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help—Mael, a sweet teen also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD! Also, put Book of Dreams on your Goodreads shelf!

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Chicago Review Press Print | Chicago Review Press Ebook | Barnes & Noble | Interlude Press | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | IndieBound | Blackwell’s | Booktopia | Book Depository | APPLE Books | Goodreads

Pride Reads – My Novel PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE is on SALE!

For the rest of PRIDE, my young adult novel PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE is on sale at AMAZON! Get the Kindle at AMAZON USA for only $2.99 for the rest of June!

The first draft of this novel was written at the 2015 Muskoka Novel Marathon, after a long (hands-free) phone call with Lorraine Segato during my 2-hour drive to Huntsville, Ontario. Lorraine, who is the lead singer of PARACHUTE CLUB, called in response to my request to use both her and her song, RISE UP, in the novel that I had yet to write.

I had this big plan to use Lorraine as a walk-on character in the same way I used Gordon Lightfoot as a walk-on character in my novel SEBASTIAN’S POET. Gordon had jumped on right away and given his consent. With him, though, the pages were already written…it was just a matter of him reading them and giving me his blessings. With Lorraine, the book was not yet written.

I barrelled down the highway towards Muskoka, explaining my very loose plan for the novel to Lorraine. In the end, she gave me a lot of advise, and her blessings on using the song…but felt that the ‘scenes’ in which she was to be included wouldn’t actually be something she would do in real life. I did NOT want to put false words into the mouth of an idol from my teen years. So I thanked her profusely for her time and the gift of the song. And I wrote my novel!

Pick it up this month on Amazon!

Synopsis:

Ezra Caine is gay. He’s sort of out at school but not at home, where he fears the wrath of his father’s bigotry. When Ezra’s flamboyantly out friend Alex Mills takes one too many beatings from homophobic bully Will Carter, Ezra finally snaps. Fed up with the situation at school, he decides to do something about it. With the help of his BFF, Nettie, and some unlikely allies, Ezra rallies to create their small-town school’s first gay-straight alliance. The Rainbow Alliance Club is formed. But the changes don’t come without hiccups, one of which being a messy scandal involving Alex and a gay hook-up app. As Ezra and his friends attempt to sway their school into an alliance of tolerance and acceptance, Ezra experiences a few surprises of his own on the home-front. He also learns the hard way that friendships out of convenience aren’t always a good idea, just as some enemies might not be as bad as he originally imagined them to be.

BUY PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE ON SALE FOR $2.99 AT AMAZON USA!

I will leave you with RISE UP, the song I borrowed from Parachute Club as the theme song throughout PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE! Thank you, Lorraine!

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

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

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

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

Synopsis

After getting in trouble with the law, a group of wayward teens are given an ultimatum: serve time in juvenile detention for their crimes or walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across Spain over the summer holidays with a pair of court-appointed counselors. Although they come from diverse backgrounds, the unlikely friends try to make the best of their situation. The pilgrims grow closer on their journey, but they may not make it to their destination—the Cathedral in Santiago. If they do, will they each find what they’re looking for, and will their newfound friendships endure?

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

LINKS TO 99 CENT SALE:

THE CAMINO CLUB AT KOBO CANADA

THE CAMINO CLUB AT KOBO USA

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

Hey Canada! THE CAMINO CLUB sale alert! 99 CENTS!

Okay, I have news…not the news I’m dying to share with you about BOOK OF DREAMS, but news all the same!

THE CAMINO CLUB is on sale at Amazon CANADA!

Now would be the time to pick up your copy if you haven’t done so already! Before the sale goes away.

AMAZON CANADA – THE CAMINO CLUB

Act fast! Like, run don’t walk to Amazon and get your copy now! Make THE CAMINO CLUB your PRIDE READ for PRIDE MONTH!

SYNOPSIS: After getting in trouble with the law, a group of wayward teens are given an ultimatum: serve time in juvenile detention for their crimes or walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across Spain over the summer holidays with a pair of court-appointed counselors. Although they come from diverse backgrounds, the unlikely friends try to make the best of their situation. The pilgrims grow closer on their journey, but they may not make it to their destination—the Cathedral in Santiago. If they do, will they each find what they’re looking for, and will their newfound friendships endure?

If you have already read The Camino Club, please consider telling your friends! I’d love to see this story of my heart reaching more readers!

First Author Blurb for Book of Dreams is in!

I’m so thrilled to share the first author blurb for my upcoming novel BOOK OF DREAMS!! And it’s from an amazing author. Danika Stone!

Here’s what Danika had to say:

“Kevin Craig’s Book of Dreams takes readers on a supernatural thrill ride where nightmares and reality merge. With a fast-paced plot full of unexpected twists and turns, this pulse-pounding novel about a close-knit group of teens will keep you reading late into the night, even if you have to keep the lights on to do it! Fans of Stranger Things, Coraline, and Wilder Girls, will find much to enjoy here. I loved this dark and twisted supernatural tale!” —Danika Stone, author of Switchback and All the Feels 

The Book.

Does it get any better than that?!!

You really should check out Danika Stone and her amazing books! I adore her writing. Particularly fell hard for Switchback and Sip Sip Bang Bang!

Book of Dreams releases SEPTEMBER 13th (which is also my birthday!) You can pre-order it now and that would be an AWESOME thing for you to do! Just click a buy link below or order it directly from your favourite bookstore:

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Chicago Review Press Print | Chicago Review Press Ebook | Barnes & Noble | Interlude Press | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | IndieBound | Blackwell’s | Booktopia | Book Depository | APPLE Books |

Also, here’s the Goodreads Link in case you’d like to add it to your shelf!

The synopsis:

Gaige’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a bookstore on an abandoned street where no bookstore should be.

He steps inside and is immediately enthralled by its antiquarian sights and smells. But one book in particular calls to him. It isn’t long before he gets a bad feeling about it, but it’s already too late. The store’s aged bookseller gives him no alternative: once he touches the book, it’s his—whether he wants it or not. It’s bought and paid for and there are no returns.

The book leads Gaige on a horrific descent into the unknown. As he falls into the depths of its pages, he loses blocks of time, and his friends become trapped inside ancient cellars with seemingly no means of escape. Gaige soon learns that the ancient bookseller is a notorious serial killer from previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape.

When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help—Mael, a sweet teen also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks.

Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

We’re BACK! And Exciting Book News Coming Soon!

We just returned from Cuba where we spent an amazing week at an LGBTQ resort! Such an incredible time. If you’re looking for LGBTQ friendly resorts, check out Gran Muthu Rainbow. Amazing staff, rooms, entertainment, food…the whole thing was just what we needed.

Some pics, just because…

While down in Cuba, I received a lot of info and news about my upcoming release, BOOK OF DREAMS. I’m both excited and overwhelmed!

The big news will come once I have all the details… so, NOT YET. But it was something on my bucketlist for a while now!

For now, a little reminder… You can PRE-ORDER Book of Dreams now almost literally wherever books are sold! Pre-orders can REALLY help authors a lot.

The Author.
The Book.

Here are some links to purchase Book of Dreams:

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Chicago Review Press Print | Chicago Review Press Ebook | Barnes & Noble | Interlude Press | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | IndieBound | Blackwell’s | Booktopia | Book Depository | APPLE Books |

You can also order it directly from your own favorite independent bookstore!

I received my very first review from an Edelweiss reader this past week. You can read it HERE.

Once I have the full details, I’ll be announcing the exciting news I’m sort of sitting on! (-;