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Blue Heron Books Kevin Craig Summer on Fire

Summer on Fire Book Launch at Blue Heron Books!

This past Saturday I had my very first book launch! Summer on Fire was released in July, but due to hectic scheduling–and summer–the launch was held a bit behind the release date. (-:

The first thing I wish to do is profusely thank BLUE HERON BOOKS and its owner SHELLEY MACBETH for offering to launch SUMMER ON FIRE and for making the launch such a memorable and successful occasion! They did an amazing job. There was even a very tasty CAKE for the attendees to dive into. What get together is complete without the amazing presence of CAKE!

Kevin with Shelley MacBeth (owner of Blue Heron Books)
Kevin, signing a copy of Summer on Fire for friend and fellow Museitup Author Sandra Clarke
Kevin with members of his WIP (Works In Progress) critique group. In the back, from left to right, are – Karen Cole, Barb Hunt, Sherry Hinman, Collette Yvonne and Myrna Marcelline.
Cake – it’s perfect for EVERY occasion!
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Blue Heron Books Kevin Craig Summer on Fire

In Which I Announce My Book Launch at Blue Heron Books!

It’s official!

Summer on Fire will officially launch on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24th at 10:00AM.

Launch Pad: The über cool BLUE HERON BOOKS in Uxbridge, Ontario

My book launch falls right in the heart of Uxbridge’s annual CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS festival. September is always a good month to head up to Uxbridge. Their artistic community is amazingly vibrant. For those heading to Blue Heron for my book launch, I’m sure you’ll find some amazing things going on in town…enough to make a day of it.

This is my debut novel, so to say I’m nervous about the launch would be an understatement. But I’m also excited. I hope to see a LOT of people show up. I’m thrilled that Shelley has invited me to launch the book in her bookstore. I don’t get the opportunity to go there as often as I would like, but it is by far my favourite bookstore. To spend a few hours there, celebrating the launch of my very own novel–amazing experience. I can’t believe how fortunate I am.

I hope to see you there!

Here’s a synopsis of the book, along with the cover, just in the off chance you have yet to witness them:

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 neighbouring 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 imminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.

Please come out to Blue Heron on September 24th (10AM-Noon) and help me celebrate one of the most exciting events of my life! Your presence is requested. (-:

 

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Beatles Summer on Fire Writing Life

The Evolution of a Dream – Or Six Degrees of The Beatles

I can’t remember the first time I heard the Beatles song PAPERBACK WRITER, but I know I was fairly new to the whole walking thing at the time. I do remember always thinking I WANNA BE A PAPERBACK WRITER!

The title of this post is a bit deceiving, because there is only 1 degree separating myself from the song–we were both born in the same year. That has to be a sign, right?

1966 – The Beatles release the song Paperback Writer and it climbs to #1 position on the world charts.

1966 – I am born with much less fanfare, rising to the top of not a single chart (Although, if my Nana had a chart I probably would have been somewhere in the top 30).

2011 – The Beatles song Paperback Writer still sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. I still, after all these years, dream of being a paperback writer.

2011 – I no longer have to do what I did as an 8-9 year old. Creating my own book jacket with crayon and marker and covering Roald Dahl books to make them look like I authored them is no longer an option. I AM A PAPERBACK WRITER!

It’s true. As of today, my debut novel is available in paperback! You can buy a copy at Barnes & Noble. BUT – (IMPORTANT SELF-PROMOTION BOOK LAUNCH NEWS COMING–) If you are local to me and thinking of buying a copy of SUMMER ON FIRE, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE hold off doing so! Shelley of Blue Heron Books has offered to host a book launch for Summer on Fire at her MOST INCREDIBLE bookstore! I will be announcing the date shortly. All you who are thinking of buying a print copy of the book—I want to BEG you to wait until the launch. I would love to see you at the launch! (So, please wait!)

If you would like to purchase a print (PAPERBACK! – because I’m a PAPERBACK WRITER!) copy of Summer on Fire, click on the cover below to be taken to Barnes & Noble.

EDITED TO ADD: I went to Chapters today and searched myself on their in-store computer. Then, I took a picture of the screen! (DON’T JUDGE ME!) Then…I went to the other computer and did the same search. Then I walked away, knowing both screens were displaying a picture of my book cover. (Can you tell I’m new at this?)

You can also purchase Summer on Fire at Chapters.Indigo! Click on the Screen Capture below:

Screen Capture! I’m available at CHAPTERS!

If you would like to GET DOWN – play the song below:

Booksellers – read this page at my publisher’s site for ordering details.

Suddenly, it’s cool to be born in ’66. (-:

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Kevin Craig Summer on Fire

Early Release! Summer on Fire is now available as an e-book!

As of right now, you can now purchase Summer on Fire in the MuseItUp Bookstore! It will soon be available in most ebook stores, including Amazon. The print version will be out before the end of the month. For those of you with eReaders (or laptops or iPhones or Androids, etc), you can read it first!

Just click on the cover below and you will be taken to my publisher’s bookstore:

Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig
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Summer on Fire

Release Day is Nigh – Ramblings-I wanna be a Paperback Writer…

Today is the day before my first published novel hits the market. As of tomorrow, I will feel free to finally call myself an AUTHOR. Tomorrow, I’m going to listen to Paperback Writer by the Beatles…and I’m going to remember the 7-year-old me thinking how cool it would be to sing that song and mean it. Yes…a lifelong dream is about to be fulfilled.

Thank God my dream wasn’t to keep a face in the jar by the door. I mean, that’s how much the Beatles influenced my early years. But I was wise…wise enough to go with the dream that made more sense to me at the time, even though it also seemed like the biggest impossibility in the universe. Me, an author. At 6 or 7, it seemed ludicrous to even imagine it. But imagine it, I did.

I wrote Summer on Fire in 2003-4. At the time, I was working simultaneously on two novels. I thought the other one, also a young adult title, was going to be the first one out of the gate. I was so excited over it. But it turned out it was more a ‘novel’ about me. Chasing Empty…I still love the title of that one. It’s a novel about a group of teens struggling to survive the 80s punk scene in one piece. It’s almost finished, too. And I think it has just the right amount of grit and reality in it to appeal to the young male reader. I’m just not sure of its overall appeal. I’m still considering a major overhaul on it before I go about attempting to find a home for it. I like to aim for an overall appeal in my YA writing. I am of the belief that some books can be enjoyed by both boys and girls. A YA title can have a target gender, but it shouldn’t be suitable only for that gender. And I’m sure I made the mistake of writing Chasing Empty only with the male reader in mind. But I’m working on correcting that mistake. (-:

If you’ve been following my blog, you don’t have to be reminded that Summer on Fire comes out tomorrow. In my excitement, I may have mentioned it once or twice.

In the meantime (I know you’re watching the clock…counting down the hours before you can get a copy of Summer on Fire!), a little about what’s in the hopper.

My contemporary Young Adult/Paranormal crossover is currently with my agent. As she searches for the proper home for HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN, I will be heading up to Huntsville (July 15-18) for the annual Muskoka Novel Marathon. This will be my fourth marathon. I cannot wait to get up there and start writing. I’m having all these crazy ideas battling to be the one I choose when the starting pistol goes off on the 15th! I can’t wait to see which idea I run with.

My other 3 Muskoka Marathon novels have been huge successes as far as the marathon goes—Sebastian’s Poet and The Reasons won Best Adult Novel Awards in 2007 and 2008 & Half Dead and Fully Broken won the Best Young Adult Novel Award in 2010—none of them have seen publication yet. But I’m not giving up on any of them. I’m not a confident writer…I don’t think the publishing world owes me a living. For me, it’s always about making my work better, and then making it better. And then I go through the submission process. It’s all process. I can talk myself out of self-evaluating my work, by just seeing every step as part of the process.

My main concern today is for the baby that’s going to drop into the world. It’s hard to believe it’s leaving the womb. It’s been an extremely long gestation period. I really fell in love with these characters. Not only the three main friends, either. Zach, Jeff and Arnie are awesome guys. Each has their own unique qualities that would have had me happily hanging out with them in my teen years. But some of the less main characters (I don’t even want to call them minor, because to me they seem anything but minor), like feisty Ms. Halverton and Zach’s sister Sherry, are also real to me. I think most small communities has a Ms. Halverton character…someone the kids—and the adults—gawk at in wonder as she goes about her daily eccentric life in complete oblivion to what people are thinking about her. She originally appeared in Chapter 2 and was never to be heard of again. Thanks to my WIP (Works In Progress) critique group, Ms. Halverton now appears throughout the novel. With their help, I even fleshed out Zach’s troublemaking older sister & Jeff’s delinquent older brother. Sometimes a writer has to listen to the reader. I’m positive my critique group made Summer on Fire so much better than the original draft.

If you’re writing in a bubble, make today the day you take a needle to it. Pop the bubble. It’s really important to find a community of people whose opinions you can trust. That community need only be two people in size. Beta switch for a writer friend. It’s extremely hard to see your own weaknesses, just as it’s extremely hard to see your own strengths. With help, you can polish your manuscript to a higher shine prior to sending it off for consideration. Once you go that step, you don’t really get a second chance. So you want your first impression to be your best impression. My critique group was eight people strong. They were always kind in making suggestions for improvement in my manuscript…they always respected it (and me). Getting outside help is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself and your novel. Critique partners will tell you what isn’t working. More often than not, the person passing on your manuscript will not give you any feedback other to say it’s not what they’re looking for. A rejection doesn’t mean your manuscript is bad. It could simply mean it’s not right for the place you submitted it to. I’d rather be criticized for stumbling points in my work, than receive a blind NO THANK YOU. You can’t grow with a rejection alone. Sure, having a few under your belt makes you stronger. They’re even helpful. But without the all important feedback, you’ll never know the value of your manuscript. So, get the feedback first.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to jump around a bit more. Paperback Writer is on a Repeat loop just now. It sounds like they’re playing my song!

Summer on Fire

Click on my book above to be taken to the Muse Bookstore, where you will be able to purchase Summer on Fire as of July 1st, 2011!

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Summer on Fire

YA Novel – Summer On Fire – Available July 1st!

My young adult novel, Summer on Fire will be available July 1st. As well as being available at most ebook sites, including Amazon, it will be sold directly from my publisher’s website. If you are interested in reading Summer on Fire, please visit MUSEITUP PUBLISHING to purchase a copy. Here’s a link: SUMMER ON FIRE AT MUSEITUP PUBLISHING Price is $5.50 for the ebook.

The back cover blurb:

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 neighbouring 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.

Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig

I hope to have a book launch announcement soon for the print version of the book. When the details are worked out, I will announce it here. Until then, please enjoy the ebook on your ereader of choice! Mine is Kobo. (-;

Don’t forget to enter the contest I’m holding. I’m giving away 3 signed print copies of Summer on Fire. You have to enter by July 1st, though. Prize includes shipping. Click here to be directed to the book giveaway post: WIN A COPY OF SUMMER ON FIRE

If you pick up a copy, please let me know what you think!

 

Enjoy!

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Summer on Fire

One Month Away From Publication – Summer on Fire (Young Adult Novel)

SUMMER ON FIRE, my debut novel, will be released in one month. People tend to consider the release date the birth of the book. If this is the case, some books have a hell of a long gestation period! SUMMER was a seed in my belly on November 1st, 2003. I started to feed that seed on that very day. It was my first NANOWRIMO novel.

I did not finish Nanowrimo that year. The object is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. I wrote about 25,000. I was disappointed that I did not reach the goal…but then I realized that the goal of Nanowrimo isn’t really the 50K word count. It’s more about BIC (Bum in Chair) time. Nano is about dedicating time to writing…and getting that BIC and working. That’s what I did in 2003. I sat. I wrote. By the end of the month I had something I was really excited about. The beginnings of a story of three boys…and their search for a firm moral ground to stand on in the midst of the chaos around them. I put those boys through some tough times. But I had faith in them…I hoped that I raised them with enough gumption to get to the end in one piece. But once you raise them and let them go into their own stories, you never know what’s going to happen. You hope you gave them the right tools to work with. You hope you taught them—wait! These aren’t children. These are characters.

I took it slow and easy with SUMMER, after the initial Nanowrimo marathon. It actually took me several years to bring the boys to the end of their story. But with dedication–and the help of a wonderful critique group–I got them there! And then I edited their story. Then I edited it again. Then I edited it again. And again. I really worked hard on this story. Thanks to that critique group, I took a very minor character who appeared in one chapter and I worked her into the rest of the novel. The group of eight writers (and friends!) asked for more and more of this character. So she became a savior of sorts for my three boys.

To continue with the birthing analogy, SUMMER had several births. Every pass I took through this novel was another birth…and every one had birthing pains. Contractions at the thoughts of losing parts and contractions while inserting new parts. It’s all a patchwork quilt that you hope is at its finest on the eventual (hopefully) actual birth date. PUBLICATION. I think I did my best with Summer. I kicked and screamed along the way. I laughed. I cried. I begged for the pain to stop. I wept with joy each time I arrived at the end and looked into the eyes of my baby. I screamed at my muse a few times, saying, “DON’T COME NEAR ME! DON’T TOUCH ME!!! YOU DID THIS TO ME!”

Now it’s time to get to the delivery room. The final birthing pains are about to arrive. The anxiety of wondering if the baby is going to be fully and completely there. I will be looking for 10 fingers and 10 toes. I will hope for eyes and ears and hair and elbows. I will look at the umbilical cord and struggle with the thought of cutting it…of letting my baby go off into the world unattached to my core. It’s a hard thing, this birthing. It fills one with a great wall of fear (Will people love my baby, or will they scoff at it? Will they embrace it, or will they kick it to the curb?). But it is also a wonderful occasion. You always wonder what your baby is going to look like. And like it or not, it doesn’t always feel real until you can hold it in your hands.

I’m ready.

In one month, I will finally be able to call myself an author. And I have SO many people to thank for that. Too many to mention. But I love them all. For one reason or another, they believed in me. And with the backing of friends and loved ones…you can achieve anything. Even the great miracle of birth!

SUMMER ON FIRE

Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig
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Summer on Fire

Summer on Fire – Young Adult Novel

My Young Adult novel, SUMMER ON FIRE, will be available from Museitup Publishing in July, 2011.

Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig (Museitup Publishing, July 2011)

If you go to their bookstore, you can click on the NOTIFY ME button to be notified when it is available for purchase.

Here is a blurb on the story:

Summer on Fire Summer…fire, bodies, murder, enemies and lies. Is it too much for three friends to handle? The race is on…

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 neighbouring 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 imminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.

MUSEITUP PUBLISHING HOME PAGE

I am currently working with editors on SUMMER ON FIRE.

Also, my Young Adult novel HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN was originally written during the July, 2010 72-hour Muskoka Novel Marathon. It went on to win THE MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL AWARD.

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Summer on Fire

My Young Adult Novel – Summer on Fire – Has a Cover!

My Young Adult novel, SUMMER ON FIRE, now has a cover!

Summer on Fire will release this coming JULY from Museitup Publishing. TODAY, I received my cover and I love it!

Here it is:

Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig (Museitup Publishing, July 2011)
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September – ALWAYS a busy month! (Updates)

I don’t remember a September that wasn’t action-packed. Historically, it just seems like one of those months where everything happens at once. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! This September is no exception. Things started to roll today, and it’s looking like yet another exciting September for me.

September 1st – My poem WHEN VENUS TAKES A RIDE was posted on the website of the Parliamentary Poet Laureate. It was chosen as the Poem of the Month by the Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Pierre DesRuisseaux. It will be featured for the month of September, and archived on the site for two years. I wrote this poem after my first day on the island of Lamu, off the coast of Kenya. I went there this past December with the Summer Literary Seminars, as part of their Kenya writing program. We took a plane to Manda Island from Nairobi and then hopped a dhow over to the island of Lamu. Once there, the group was given a walking tour of Lamu Town. During this tour, one of the poets in the group, Venus Thrash, was given a ride on a donkey (there are no cars on Lamu, but there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of donkeys). The poem is about that experience.

September 11 – Just like the second Saturday of every month (except for August), the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR) hosts it’s monthly Breakfast Meeting. If you’re a writer in OR NEAR the Durham Region, these are NOT to be missed. The September Breakfast Meeting speaker is Neil Crone. Personally, I think he’s one of the funniest people in Canada. It’s a DON’T-MISS month! Neil will be talking about writing humour.

September 24-25Uxbridge Celebration of the Arts. It’s a 25-year anniversary celebration of the vibrant artistic community of Uxbridge, Ontario. And when I say vibrant, I mean electrifying. I’m constantly amazed by the artistic community in this small town just west of Port Perry, Ontario. I’ve been drawn there on several occasions for BIG TIME artistic endeavors. This time, I’m partaking in the fun. I’ve been chosen to be the playwright for the 25-year anniversary celebration. On the 24th of September I will be given a prompt and I will have 25 hours not only to write a one-act play, but to send it off to my director, Jessica Outram, have her run through rehearsals with the actors AND have it performed live on stage at the Uxbridge Music Hall at the 25th hour. So I’m giving myself about 5-6 of those 25 hours to actually pen the script…as I think they’ll need the bulk of the hours to rehearse. This is the kind of thing I absolutely love! I was fortunate enough to do this type of playwriting on two other occasions, for Driftwood Theatre, as one of the playwrights for their 2009 and 2010 Trafalgar24 Play Creation Festival. I can’t wait to find out what I will be writing about! AND…the best part…watching it come to life just a few hours after it’s written. I am constantly amazed by the talent of the directors and actors that I am fortunate enough to work with!

September 26th– I will be MUSKOKA BOUND! It’s the wrap party for the 2010 Muskoka Novel Marathon. This event, held every July, has quickly become one of my favourite writing related activities! You sit in a building with approximately 30 other writers and you write a novel—in either 48 or 72 hours. How amazing is that! It was a great group this year (as it is every year). We had a lot of fun, and it’s hard to believe at the end of the weekend that there was actually time to put together a manuscript between the fun. I wrote a Young Adult novel this year – HALF DEAD AND FULLY BROKEN. I’ve been editing it since July. The wrap party is on the 26th…all the writers regroup and award trophies for various different things–BIC AWARD for Bum in Chair, Most Prolific Writer, Spirit Award, Rookie of the Year Award and the Remy Award for most money raised. Most money raised, you ask? The marathon is a double-edged sword. It is a huge benefit to those writers brave enough to participate, but it’s also a marathon of hope. Each writer raises funs for the Muskoka Literacy Council…it’s writers helping readers. The marathon raises funds and awareness for the council—it helps them to spread the joy of literacy. Another prize awarded at the wrap party is the BEST NOVEL AWARD—awarded, actually, in different categories—Best Adult Novel, Best Young Adult Novel and Best Children’s Novel. The manuscripts are sent to 6 industry judges immediately following the marathon…and they read and judge them over the summer. The winning novels get sent to participating publishers for consideration. The benefits of this event are just neverending! I have my eye on the hands on favourite for Best YA this year—I’m not going to name names (she will not be mentioned here!), but I had the opportunity to read one of the manuscripts and I found it STELLAR. We will see what the Wrap Party brings us. I consider this wrap party the official end of summer, even though Huntsville is already quite in bloom with turned foilage by the time it rolls around.

Month EndMuseitup Publishing is preparing to launch! My Young Adult novel SUMMER ON FIRE will be published by Muse in July, 2011…but the publisher is launching in October. We’ve been talking excitedly about this launch behind the scenes. September is bound to thrive with chatter between publisher and cover artists and editors and writers. It’s a great family to be a part of! I’m really excited about the launch…and can feel the tsunami of its approach! September is THE month to be a Museitup member!

Not to mention! September is another month of busy planning for the 2011 ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE. This is an ongoing labour of love that factors into every month on the calendar. We want to organize the best conference every year. To do this, we must be dedicated to putting in a lot of volunteer hours. It’s worth it, though…so rewarding to see the happy faces of writers on the day of the conference!

And I’m certain there will be more excitement along the way. Like maybe a reading from author friend Karen Cole  somewhere in Uxbridge, maybe! Or maybe some poetry read by friend Barbara Hunt!  (-;