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!

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!

Pride Month 2022 – Pride Reads!

Happy Pride Month to all! It’s time to consider reading books with LGBTQ+ representation!

I’m currently reading HOWL by Shaun David Hutchinson and LOVING it! Highly recommend! It’s such a subtly told powerhouse of a story about struggling to find oneself while fearing becoming something other than oneself…while at the same time punching back against bullying and biases. Really, such a deep read. Written for the Young Adult market.

My recently read Pride reads were pretty fascinating looks into growing up with gay dads. One from a Canadian woman whose father gravitated to the Toronto gay village area and one from an American woman whose father gravitated to the Castro in San Francisco. Loved them both! Poignant, sad, funny…all the feels. Highly recommend them…even as side by side reads:

CONFESSIONS OF A FAIRY’S DAUGHTER – GROWING UP WITH A GAY DAD by Alison Wearing

FAIRYLAND – A MEMOIR OF MY FATHER by ALYSIA ABBOTT

I too write Pride books. Here are 3 that are available now!

 

 

Billions of Beautiful Hearts (Interlude Press/Duet Books) is a young adult story with two nonbinary teens finding love online during the time of Covid Lockdown. The Camino Club (Interlude Press/Duet Books) is a young adult story with six teens walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain as atonement for their crimes back home in Toronto. It features a gay narrator with lesbian rep. Pride Must Be A Place (Muse It Up) is a young adult story with Ezra Caine and his friends coming together to create their small-town high school’s first Gay Straight Alliance. Ezra discovers along the way that he can find happiness, love, and safety in the places he once feared.

KEVIN CRAIG AUTHOR PAGE on AMAZON USA

KEVIN CRAIG AUTHOR PAGE on AMAZON CANADA

I also have upcoming PRIDE reads! One of which you could definitely PRE-ORDER during Pride Month! YES, I’m talking about BOOK OF DREAMS again!

The Book.

Here’s 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 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

It’s Pride Month. Whatever you choose to do with your reading time this month, just consider spending some of that time reading and supporting LGBTQ+ fiction!

HAPPY PRIDE!

New Book to Drop in ONLY 6 Months!! Book of Dreams is coming!

It’s just under 6 months now! My latest novel, BOOK OF DREAMS is coming soon! I can’t wait for readers to discover Gaige & Logan and Noah & Sara! And even the evil nefarious Jack Chalek, murderous creep that he is!

Book of Dreams! Coming September 13, 2022 from Duet Books, the YA imprint of Chicago Review Press! Cover design by C.B. Messer!

Book of Dreams is available for PREORDER now! See purchase links below:

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 add BOOK OF DREAMS to your GOODREADS SHELF HERE.

Here’s the synopsis for this slightly horror/fantasy contemporary YA novel:

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 boy also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

You can also read an excerpt from chapter one of Book of Dreams over at LGBTQ Reads. This excerpt was shared, along with the exclusive cover reveal, back in December, 2021.

Preorder now. Tell your friends. Share the news!

In Which I Discuss the Relationships Happening in THE CAMINO CLUB

I often grapple with this treacherous feeling that the stuff I write isn’t gay enough, isn’t teen enough, isn’t ________ enough. I don’t know why I do this to myself. I guess I’m constantly comparing my work to the other LGBTQ YA Lit out there…the stuff I endlessly consume between my own writings.

I wrote my GAY TEEN ISSUES book already (PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE). When I was done with that book, I swore that, moving forward, I would only have incidentally gay teens in my books. Why should all LGBTQ teen literature focus only on the turmoil, the suffering, the struggles? I mean, we all know LGBTQ youth are rejected at home, rejected at school, rejected at church, rejected on the street and in the buses and in the subways and at the mall and restaurants. We ALL KNOW THIS ALREADY. And yes…I love a good redemption story where the main characters manage to find a place for themselves where nary a place was available to them prior to the insurmountable mountains they had to climb to carve that place out for themselves. Like, yeah…give me that story where LGBTQ teens conquer the impassible monumental odds against them. I’ll read it. Yes! That story is still needed.

But I’ll not write it again. I already have, in writing PRIDE. My struggle story is done. It’s exhausting to start your characters out in that place. I won’t do it again. Fuck the narrative that says an LGBTQ story should be fraught with identity struggle and finding a place to be welcome in a world that doesn’t want to welcome you. I’ll leave those books for others to write. And write it, they should.

I totally had that mindset when I set out to write The Camino Club. Even with that goal in mind, though, I did slip a bit into the LGBTQ teen struggle. Alas, it’s a bit inevitable. But I assure you I did not dwell there.

The Camino Club is an ensemble novel. It has probably no fewer than 8 main characters, if I’m being honest. At the very beginning I started to tell the story from 3 points of view and it just expanded from there the way un-planned novels tend to do.

So here’s a little re-cap of some of the main relationships in The Camino Club, for those who haven’t yet read it.

Diego and Shania – two of my three narrators. They hate each other a bit, but forge ahead knowing they’re in this together. They have to walk across Spain together, so they might as well find a way to tolerate each other. CIS/HET relationship.

Diego and Bastien – an old man comes along on the path and helps one of the teen lead characters out of a precarious predicament and then continues on with the group. Patriarch-Mentor/Child-Student relationship.

Troy and Kei – Troy is one of the three narrators. He’s a gay teen and his particular backstory is where I drag the GAY STRUGGLE into this story. Each of the teens have committed offenses that have landed them in the rehabilitation program they’re on the Camino to participate in. Troy’s crime was that he just couldn’t take the homophobia any more. Troy has a meet-cute moment while the group is stopped at a water fountain during a particularly grueling mountainous day on the Camino. Kei strikes his eye and his fancy. Gay Romance Relationship.

Claire and Zoe – The other gay representation in this book is Claire, one of the other 6 main teen characters walking the Camino in the program designed to push them to their limits and send them onto a path of redemption. Off the Page Lesbian Relationship.

Often, after writing a novel, I get this dread that I didn’t include enough LGBTQ content for it to be considered an LGBTQ book. But then I consider the source of my sliding scale content policing…it’s essentially the industry itself. Expectation is widely interpret-able. Some books just scream gay because of the nature of the content. My first LGBTQ book (referenced and linked above) was one of them. The original cover had a bright rainbow colored cover and there was no question that it was LGBTQ. In fact, if the reader was in the closet…it would be one of those covers that they would potentially feel awkward bandying about.

As I mentioned, though, I feel as though I have moved on from issue books. We deserve better…more. We deserve our stories to be focused on something other than JUST sexuality and the issues and luggage that come with that. After all, surely we are more than our sexuality.

I sometimes feel like I’m skating on a razor’s edge…attempting to incorporate just enough content to appease non-LGBTQ readers while intentionally making the story about LGBTQ life. It’s a struggle. It’s a nuisance.

The Camino Club has a gay sex scene. It is, after all, about teens falling in love. But it also explores multiple different kinds of relationships. I wrote it to reflect life…and more specifically, life on the Camino. The way characters walk in and out of your life and become SO IMPORTANT for days or hours at a time…and then move on or stay with you and form a lifelong bond. That’s what the Camino is about. And there’s room on the Camino for every single sexuality, every single gender, every single race…every single everything. I wanted to capture it all, but still have enough LGBTQ content for the novel to be considered as such.

Forgive me for leaving out the heavy issues, or for merely skating past them. We read to escape the tyranny we face…not always to explore it under a microscope. We need ALL KINDS OF LGBTQ STORIES. ALL KINDS. We live everyday lives and we live extraordinary lives. We were not put here merely for struggle. I for one have moved past the struggle stories. I’m not saying the struggle is over…FAR FROM IT. I’m saying a meet-cute romance doesn’t hurt. Feel Good is also a thing that LGBTQ folx can appreciate.

Do you want to read a novel about 6 teens who are pushed to their limits and set on a path of redemption? Pick up THE CAMINO CLUB today! It’s an LGBTQ book. It also isn’t. I believe so much in this story. I wrote it from a place of appreciation for one of my favourite places in the world. The Camino de Santiago is a transformative wonderland and it was something I was desperate to share with others. So…I wrote a book!

CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW:

Cover Reveal and EXCERPT for BOOK OF DREAMS!

Yesterday, I was fortunate to have the cover reveal for my upcoming novel BOOK OF DREAMS take place on LGBTQ READS! Not only that, there was ALSO an EXCERPT from the novel shared! Much much thanks to LGBTQ Reads for hosting the reveal! Please consider supporting the site!

Before I share the cover here, though…a little bit about the book!

BOOK OF DREAMS was my 2014 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel. I wrote about 1/2 of it over a long weekend in that July (The novel writing marathon is a yearly event that raises money for the YMCA literacy programs in the Muskoka Region of Ontario, Canada. I’ve taken place in the marathon 13 times now. I won BEST NOVEL AWARD for 5 of those marathons.). BOOK OF DREAMS was awarded Honorary Mention for the 2014 marathon.

After the marathon, I worked on polishing up the 1/2 of a manuscript I managed to write. Then, eventually, I wrote the last 1/2. Fast forward to May 2022, thanks to Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press, it will become a novel I can actually hold in my hands!

Here’s the synopsis for Book of Dreams:

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 boy also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

Now, HERE. IS. THE. COVER!

Thanks once again to the amazing CB MESSER for designing this cover that captures the mood of Book of Dreams so wonderfully. I love the way it portends to the story inside of it! This is the shiny book that captures Gaige’s attention in the creepy bookstore, yes…but it also suggests some of the dark goopy underworld awaiting him when he dares to open its cover and look inside. CB did an incredible and incredibly subtle job here and I could not be more pleased! CB designed my The Camino Club cover, as well. And I think I made it known by now how much I loved that cover!

You can read the excerpt from BOOK OF DREAMS over at LGBTQ READS by clicking here!

YOU CAN FIND SOME OF THE PREORDER LINKS FOR BOOK OF DREAMS HERE AT MY LINKTREE. IT’S AVAILABLE PRETTY MUCH WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD!

Shelf BOOK OF DREAMS on your GOODREADS SHELF HERE!

Huge Sale on All Interlude Press and Duet Books Titles and Merch! Nov 25-29, 2021!

Queer Book Sale!! 50% off EVERYTHING in the Interlude Press online store! This includes PAPERBACK BOOKS, DIGITAL BOOKS, and MERCHANDISE!

Which means it includes all the DUET BOOKS titles, including MY THREE TITLES!

Get The Camino Club ebook, The Camino Club paperback, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and the PREORDER of Book of Dreams in either format! for 50% off this weekend…no matter the format you choose!

SO MANY GREAT AUTHORS TO CHOOSE FROM! You can’t go wrong choosing any of them! From Julian Winters to Jude Sierra. From Kate Hazel Hall to C.B. Lee. From Joy Huang-Iris to Rudy Foster. From Celeste Castro to F.T. Lukens! You get the picture…every single book is on sale. 50% off for both the print and the ebook. THURSDAY NOVEMBER 25th, 2021 to MONDAY NOVEMBER 29th, 2021!

Go directly to the INTERLUDE PRESS ONLINE STORE HERE!

To shop exclusively in the DUET BOOKS YOUNG ADULT IMPRINT SECTION OF THE STORE GO HERE!

This coming THURSDAY to MONDAY! 50% off of EVERYTHING IN THE STORE! (only at their online store!) The 50% discount will appear in the cart at CHECKOUT!

Pride and Summer – Redo!

You may have noticed a couple of new covers if you recently visited My Amazon page. Both Pride Must Be a Place & Summer on Fire are now sporting new clothing. (-;

Unfortunately, my publisher, MuseItUp, had to make a tough decision and close their doors. It was a great pleasure working with the folx at MuseItUp! We had a long relationship. They were the publisher of both my debut novel and my sixth novel. I’m grateful for the time we spent together!

I now offer the SAME stories wrapped in newer clothing.

Here are the new covers:

PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE – 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.

SUMMER ON FIRE – Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout? Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighboring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect—none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell—the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence. But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from eminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.

To purchase copies of either of these novels, you can visit MY AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE RIGHT HERE. Maybe consider grabbing a copy of PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE for #PrideReads! Pride month is almost over.

Please note that if you already have copies of either of these books–THE CONTENT IS THE SAME. ONLY THE COVERS HAVE CHANGED.

Giveaway to Celebrate THE CAMINO CLUB Being a FINALIST in the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Teen Fiction!

Hello Readers!

Recently I discovered that THE CAMINO CLUB was a finalist in the 2021 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for TEEN FICTION!

I thought I would celebrate this achievement with a little giveaway. This one will be for a PRINT COPY of THE CAMINO CLUB being sent directly from my publisher INTERLUDE PRESS and DUET BOOKS.

All you have to do to enter is RT (Retweet) my PINNED TWEET on TWITTER. RT the tweet before midnight on APRIL 17th (USA and CANADA only for this one!) and you will be entered to win a paperback of THE CAMINO CLUB. (NO NEED TO FOLLOW ME, JUST RT THE TWEET.) Since I’ll be purchasing this one from the publisher and having them mail it directly to the winner, this copy WILL NOT BE SIGNED.

You can click on the image below to go DIRECTLY to my TWITTER PROFILE. The pinned tweet at the very top of my timeline is the one you need to RETWEET. I will be choosing a winner at random and contacting them for their address on the 18th. (I even included my pinned tweet in the picture below, so you know which one to RETWEET. (-: )

Enter by midnight on the 17th!

The GOLD & SILVER winners of the 2021 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Teen Fiction will be announced during online ceremonies between May 11-14, 2021.

Read the press release on the finalist list HERE.

Thank you for entering and GOOD LUCK! If you happen to win this copy, I hope you enjoy reading THE CAMINO CLUB!

Buen Camino!

Billions of Beautiful Hearts is OUT!

My cute little short story BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS about two teens who find a way to come together during the time of Covid lockdown is now out in the universe! Much thanks and gratitude to my readers who made this a #1 New Release on Amazon this week! My two nonbinary teen characters also thank you! I don’t think I have to say this, but representation is so important. I’m glad Wen & Kaye have made their way out into the world…and I’m excited that they’ve been well received. Thank you all who supported this short story!

Click the image below to go to Amazon to pick up a copy of Billions of Beautiful Hearts!Billions of Beautiful Hearts is one of four short stories in the COME WHAT MAY series…and I can promise you that the other 3 are quite lovely. One of the perks of being involved in this project is that I was able to get early reads on the other 3 stories. You’ll want to pick them up! Links below for the other COME WHAT MAY stories:

GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING by CLAIRE RUDY FOSTER is already out and available!

AND ALWAYS COMING BACK by JUDE SIERRA comes out Tuesday Feb 16th and is available for pre-order now.

SUNNY PASTURES by LILAH SUZANNE comes out Tuesday Feb 23rd and is available for pre-order now.

THANK YOU!

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