I have been dying to shout this bookish news from the rooftops and now I finally can! This is big! A bucket list item!
BOOK OF DREAMSIS GETTING AN AUDIOBOOK!!!
I am so excited about this development. This will be the first time one of my books has been recorded as an audiobook. And the voice actor recording the book? CHEF’S KISS! I actually got to listen to some of the auditions along the way, and then some samples of the actor eventually hired to record BOOK OF DREAMS and I could NOT be happier!
The voice actor is CJ Heineman! The second I heard their audition tape, I knew they were the one! Without a doubt, CJ was Gaige! They do such an incredible job. I’ve only heard the first couple of chapters so far, but it’s pure magic. They’re just the perfect voice to narrate Gaige’s story. If I had imagined Gaige’s voice in my head, CJ is what I would have heard.
This is truly a dream come true. This little book that began with the idea WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THIS KID STUMBLED UPON A BOOKSTORE WHERE NO BOOKSTORE SHOULD BE? at the Muskoka Novel Marathon is now an audiobook! This nugget of an idea that I ran with amidst the chaos of 40 writers hanging out together in one room has been realized into an actual book. Writing is magical, isn’t it!?
Thanks to the people at the Muskoka Novel Marathon for giving us writers a warm friendly place to make magic.
And thanks to my publisher, Chicago Review Press, and its Duet Books imprint, for believing in my story enough to not only publish it…but to produce the accompanying audiobook.
And a HUGE thanks to CJ Heineman for bringing the story to life with their flawless rendition of my narrator, Gaige! Click the pic to be taken to their Twitter profile:
Check out the audiobook of BOOK OF DREAMS today!
It takes a while for the audiobook to be uploaded, so as of yet there is only one place where it is available. I will update this post as it appears on other sites. BUT OFFICIALLY, IT’S AVAILABLE! It just showed up at KOBO CANADA!
Just a quick reminder that I will be signing paperback copies of Book of Dreams at Chapters-Indigo Oshawa Centre on Saturday October 1st, 2022 at 1:00pm. THAT’S THIS COMING SATURDAY!! Please come out and say hello!
I don’t know how long this is going to be available, but AMAZON and Kobo are currently having a 99¢ sale for the Kindle/ebook versions of my young adult novel THE CAMINO CLUB! (PURCHASE LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!)
This award winning novel places six teens on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain. Think of a more diverse THE BREAKFAST CLUB but instead of taking place in a school library over the course of a Saturday, it takes place across a country while the delinquent detentioners face the struggles of hiking through mountains and villages and vineyards.
Here’s the synopsis of THE CAMINO CLUB:
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?
For a limited time, you can pick up the Kindle/ebook versions of this young adult novel on Amazon/Kobo for $0.99 (price varies with country)! I don’t know how long this will last, as this is a sale my publisher, Chicago Review Press, has instigated.
This giveaway is ONLY taking place on Twitter (as in, Twitter is the only place you can enter). It’s easy to enter. Simply FOLLOW ME (if you are not already doing so) and RETWEET the GIVEAWAY TWEET or THREAD. Winners will be announced on Monday September 5th. I’ve made it really easy for you.
The GIVEAWAY TWEET is my PINNED TWEET, which means when you go to my Twitter profile it will be the tweet at the very top of my tweet-stream. Just RETWEET that, or the thread it’s attached to, and you will be entered into the contest.
Once you follow me and retweet the pinned tweet, you will be entered. Watch my Twitter on the 5th of September for the announcement of the winners. If you happen to win, I will send you a DM (direct message) asking for your full name and mailing address. Once I have this, I will mail you your copy.
THIS CONTEST IS ONLY OPEN TO THOSE LIVING IN CANADA…mailing address must be in CANADA.
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!
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!
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!
I think we’ve established that I write about my September every year. For some reason, it seems to be my busiest and/or most exciting month. Thinking about this, I just realized how many songs there are about September. Like, A LOT of them! It’s even possible it’s the most sung about month of the year.
See you in September. Do you remember the 21st night of September? You were my September song, tell me where have you gone? Come September, everything wrong gonna be alright. Oh, I watch myself depending on September when it comes. Ring out the bells again like we did when spring began, wake me up when September ends. It’s going to be September now, for many years to come, every heart adjusting to the strict September drum.
Perhaps, as Leonard Cohen sang, my heart is adjusted to the beat of September’s drum.
At any rate, here’s my annual September post! It’s a busy one this year!
⊗September 13th, I complete another trip around the sun. Hard to believe I will be turning 56 this time. I guess this puts me somewhere into the September of my life. The weather is still beautiful, but you begin to get the hints of the passing of the season. It’s the crispness in the morning, the tang of leaves realizing it is soon time for them to let go, the burning sun lighting up the sky with a special brightness even though its heat is not quite as severe as it once was. There are a million signs that appear in September, warning us that the calendar is slowing drawing its curtains on another year. Even the official end of summer lands in this month. Not to mention, it’s the first BER month.
Like the year on a calendar, we all wind down. I think 56 in human years is a good estimation of the September of one’s life. Right? Things are still good–still great–but you’re getting hints of the impending changes.
Even though it goes against everything that would make sense, September might in fact be my favourite month. SUMMER is my season. Hot, hot, hot…that’s my favourite temperature. And September comes in with the knowing and dreaded whisper, “Summer is dying. The halcyon days will soon be over.” September prepares me, against my wishes (and better judgement), for the coming ugliness of winter. And yet, it’s still the most magical of months.
⊗SEPTEMBER 7th. Let’s rewind a few days! The 7th is the beginning of this year’s magic! That’s the day we board a plane for Portugal. We fly into Lisbon and then take a second flight to Porto, where we will begin a truncated version of the Senda Litoral Route of the Caminho Português (Portuguese Camino, The Portuguese Way, Camino Portugués)! Due to time constraints, we cannot start at the customary beginning point in Lisbon. Here’s our itinerary, which begins on September 10th after a couple of days in Porto:
Porto – Vila Do Conde – 33.9km
Vila Do Conde – Esposende – 26.4km
Esposende – Viana do Castelo – 27.3km
Viana do Castelo – Caminha – 27.1km
Caminha – Baiona – 31.2km
Baiona – Vigo – 26.8km
Vigo – Ponte Samaio – 24.5km
Ponte Sampaio – Caldas de Reis – 33.3km
Caldas de Reis – A Picarana – 28.4km
A Picarana – Santiago de Compostela – 16km
Santiago de Compostela back to Porto by bus.
I’ll wake up in Viana do Castelo on my birthday, and make my way to Caminha. As we walk this leg of the Camino, something else will take place. The release of my 8th novel!
Book of Dreams drops on the 13th of September as we’re walking somewhere along the coast of Portugal having, hopefully, the time of our lives!
We don’t come back to Canada until September 25th. The better part of my September this year will unfold in Europe, as we walk the Portuguese coast up into Spain and into the city of Santiago de Compostela. I’ll be arriving at the Cathedral for the 3rd time (previously, I arrived there from the Camino Frances in 2014 & 2019). From there, we will spend some time in Santiago before returning to Porto for a few days. Much is planned, from a Douro Valley Port wine tour, to gastronomical adventures in and around the city.
I just came across an article I wrote in 2014 for the WCDR Wordweaver. After reading it, I was surprised to see mention of my future novel, THE CAMINO CLUB. I didn’t know I had formed the idea for the novel so early. I mean, part of me did…but this article from June 11th 2014 definitely proves it! Wow. I really did carry that novel with me for a while. It released on October 6th, 2020, but I walked with it in my head in May, 2014 as I walked a portion of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain.
Here’s the article:
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The Camino de Santiago – Walk Now, Write Later…
by Kevin Craig
Pilgrims have been walking the Camino de Santiago since medieval times. All the Camino routes lead to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of the apostle St. James are said to be buried.
I recently walked the Camino from Ponferrada to Santiago and grossly underestimated its power. Naively, I thought I would be able to write while on my journey. I even contemplated leading others through writing exercises. I strapped a brightly coloured journal to my backpack and planned to fill it with the wonder I was to encounter there.
On day one, prior to that first step, I sat in our hotel lobby and began to write. The entry was filled with the eager anticipation I had of taking those opening footsteps with my fellow peregrinos (pilgrims). The entry took up a quarter of a page. I made it short, as I was enamored with the oversized contraption filled with fresh oranges and colorful gadgetry in my periphery. I quickly learned it made orange juice. A Willy Wonky moment! I was in the Chocolate Factory.
I never opened my journal again.
I always talk about writers writing when they’re not writing. On the Camino, I lived this belief. I struck out on the path as a child, filled with wonder. After a glass of orange juice, made from a magical contraption, I knew immediately I was off to see the Wizard.
I’m now certain the Wizard of Oz is a parable for the Camino. I followed not the yellow brick road, but yellow arrows. I walked not with the lion and the Tin Man, but with my fellow peregrinos. We were all looking for something, and we all had unwavering faith we would find it once we arrived in the mystical city of Oz.
Like Dorothy, I met many people along the way. But I’m a writer. Whether I walked in solitary or in a group, I always clung to that kernel of need; I must write about this. I must share this experience in words.
On the day we walked up a steep mountain pass of jagged rocks and mud, I began to form my 2014 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel idea. While walking I thought, ‘a YA novel about a group of inner-city kids in trouble. They each have to choose—face the serious consequences of their actions or walk the Camino.’ The idea formed as I walked barefoot through mud and pine needles. I was giddy from the splashing, the cushion-y comfort of needles, and the powerful aroma of the eucalyptus forest surrounding me.
As the Camino is wont to do, it later gave me a timely present. Two Irish women walked up and started talking to me about barefoot walking. They had already met my fearless Camino mentor, Sue Kenney. After a few minutes, we got into what they were there for. They had brought a group of teens. They offered numerous insights into how those teens viewed the Camino. Novel research! Practically wrapped in a bow.
I walked some breathtakingly beautiful terrain. Some of it seemed impossible, but the Camino gives you what you need to finish the trip. And in the end, you walk into Oz (Santiago) and you wake up from your dream. You arrive at the Wizard’s castle (the cathedral) and you look around you. All the faces are familiar. They are all old friends from far away. And you stand in the square and you say, “I had a dream!” And you point and say, “You were in it! And you were in it! And you were there, too!”
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The novel I wrote about in the above article, THE CAMINO CLUB, is now available to read!
THE CAMINO CLUB (Duet Books/Chicago Review Press) – 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.
In September 2020, I shared an outtake from my then upcoming novel, THE CAMINO CLUB, with the YOUNG ADULT LITERARY JOURNAL, VOYAGE!
I’m sharing that snippet here today. If you read THE CAMINO CLUB, you will remember the Queimada ceremony my group of teens experienced in Fonfría. What you would not have read was a cute moment that happened with Diego and Shania after the Queimada.
If you haven’t yet read THE CAMINO CLUB, it’s never too late to start! You can buy it wherever books are sold! Or check your local library! OR, there will be some buy links after the outtake which I will share below:
Diego Nelson in Fonfría, after the Queimada
After we drink the amazing potion Rosa and Paulo concocted, we dance our asses off until we’re all glistening with sweat. It’s the best. Even though I know the alcohol was burned off when Paulo lit the cauldron of potion aflame, I feel like I’m buzzing on a high. We all are. Glazed eyes everywhere. High on life, we are.
When I can’t dance anymore, I get Shania’s attention and nod towards the door. The cool night air beyond would be perfect right now. It would definitely douse the drink of fire that banishes evil. Ha.
Shan gives me a thumb’s up and we make our way to the door. People are everywhere, dancing in a conga line, worming their way around the room like an electric current of wonder.
“Whoa,” Shania says as we explode out into the night. “Sweet. That was so much magic, Diego. I want to live here forever.”
I don’t know if she means in Spain, in Fonfría, or in this moment, but to be honest, I’m good with any of the above.
“What is that gorgeous scent? Do you smell it?” She looks around, tries to find the source of the fragrant scent that fills the night around us. She’s hopeless. The entire outside wall of the dining hall is buried in bougainvillea.
“Do you think perhaps it could be the miles and miles of bougainvillea right over there?” I ask. “I don’t know, I mean, it could be something else?”
“Anyone ever tell you you’re a smartass, mister?”
I smile, take her hand and walk her over to the wall of flowers. She’s right. Their scent fills the air. And the moon is still close to full. The clear sky out here still gives us an entire universe of stars.
I break off a small bunch of the flowers and offer them to Shania. She brings them to her face and inhales deeply into the purplish bouquet.
There’s a loud screech from inside the dining hall, followed by cheers, laughter, and clapping. Shania looks at me. “Paulo.” The conga music wafts out into the night. I’ve never felt so electric in my life.
“Dance with me,” I say. I take the flowers from her hand and tuck them in behind her ear. I hold out my hands and Shania laughs. “What?”
“Nothing, Diego,” she says. This is everything I want right now. Out here in the near darkness, half-lit by the moon and bubbling over with all these emotions. Conga beats spill out around us. “I’d love to dance with you.” We dance, and it’s glorious. Better than the heat of the potion, the theatrics of Rosa and Paulo, and the spectacle of the Queimada ceremony combined. I’ll never forget this moment.
This week I was granted a sneak peek at what the back cover of my upcoming novel BOOK OF DREAMS will look like! I’m thrilled! Not only by how aesthetically perfect the cover is in relation to the story inside, but also by the generosity of early readers! The back cover is emblazoned with BLURBS!
I was so fortunate to have both Shaun David Hutchinson and Danika Stone read Book of Dreams and provide blurbs endorsing the book! I’ve been an avid fan of both authors for quite some time, so it means a lot to have their words of praise attached to Book of Dreams. You should really check out these authors’ works. Click on their names above to visit their websites, if you haven’t already discovered them!
There are only about 2 1/2 months left to go before BOOK OF DREAMS releases into the world! You can pre-order a copy now wherever books are sold! Pre-orders really help out authors a LOT! You can order directly from your favourite independent bookstore, or use one of the links below:
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.
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!
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.
Act fast! Like, run don’t walk to Amazon and get your copy now! Make THE CAMINO CLUByour 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!