Chicago Review Press Acquires Interlude Press

The news is out! My publisher, Interlude Press (along with its YA imprint Duet Books), was acquired by Chicago Review Press!

For the full story, click here to read this article at PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY.

Moving forward, Interlude Press will be an LGBTQ+ Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press and Duet Books will be an LGBTQ+ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press.

I have loved my time with Duet Books and Interlude Press thus far and look forward to an exciting adventure with them under the new umbrella of Chicago Review Press!

Stay tuned for updates on my upcoming releases from Chicago Review Press, including BOOK OF DREAMS which is now available for PREORDER!

PREORDER BOOK OF DREAMS HERE.

Find Chicago Review Press here.

Chicago Review Press on Twitter.

Interlude Press has done SUCH a fantastic job raising LGBTQ+ voices over the past 8 years! I’ve been so honored to work with them and I’m excited to see what happens next with both Interlude Press and Duet Books now that they’re in their new home! Thank you for eight wonderful years of representation!

Visit my Duet Books at the Chicago Review Press Website here:

Click the image…

In Which I Discuss the Relationships Happening in THE CAMINO CLUB…AND A SALE!

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:

ETA: In the time it took me to compose this post, my publisher INTERLUDE PRESS/DUET BOOKS announced a Holiday Sale!

So now, if you purchase THE CAMINO CLUB directly from the Interlude Press Online Store, you can get it for 40% off! Sale is on from now to Dec 24th! On anything in the store! This includes 3 of my titles; THE CAMINO CLUB, BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS, and, BOOK OF DREAMS! Click on the image below to start shopping!

Interlude Press/Duet Books is Having a Spooktacular Halloween Sale!

COMING HALLOWEEN WEEKEND!

This Friday through Halloween Sunday (Friday October 29th to Sunday October 31st, 2021), scare up some savings with 40% off EVERYTHING at the IP Web Store! No coupon codes needed!

My publisher, DUET BOOKS, the YA Imprint of INTERLUDE PRESS, is having a HUGE SALE for Halloween! 40% off everything IN THEIR ONLINE STORE!

Go directly to their online store to purchase and you will save 40% off any books you wish to purchase! No coupon code is needed, the discount will appear in the total when you check out.

Of course, this sale includes my 3(!!!) Duet Books titles! They even included the preorder of my horror/suspense YA book BOOK OF DREAMS, which drops in May, 2022.

THE CAMINO CLUB PRINT

THE CAMINO CLUB EBOOK

BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS

BOOK OF DREAMS

Book of Dreams – Cover to be revealed soon!

So, visit INTERLUDE PRESS/DUET BOOKS this coming FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY for huge savings on a ton of great reads!

GIVEAWAY!! The Camino Club is One Year Old Today!

It’s hard to believe that on this day ONE YEAR AGO the novel of my heart made its way into the pandemic world!

As Robbie Burns noted in his poem To a Mouse, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley.” or, translated, The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
We did not foresee a pandemic crashing in ahead of the release of The Camino Club. It certainly is interesting to launch a book in Covid Times…as I’m certain any author on the face of the earth could agree.
Still, we make do. We persevere. We soldier on. We do all the other sayings that get us through unsuspected and difficult times.
The Camino Club was published by DUET BOOKS, the YA imprint of INTERLUDE PRESS.
The Camino Club has had some great success in the year since it left my publisher’s loving embrace and was set free in the world. For one, it can now be found in roughly 500 of the world’s public libraries (and maybe even some school libraries?), including 10 of the branches in my own hometown of Toronto. I’m thrilled to see the reach it has had in the world beyond the nugget of an idea that it was as I walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain in May of 2014.
It was featured in SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, KIRKUS REVIEWS, and BOOKLIST. All three gave it lovely reviews, of which I am extremely proud.
I’m thrilled to see that something that meant so much to me as I envisioned it, and worked so hard to bring its vision to life, was met with such positive energy in the world beyond its birth. Even if it was birthed into a world rife with major catastrophic uncertainty.
Today, on the 1 year anniversary of THE CAMINO CLUB‘s release, I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY for a paperback copy! Not just any paperback copy, but one with the little SILVER MEDAL award sticker on the front cover! The Camino Club won silver in the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Teen Fiction!
Click the pic below to visit the IBPA announcement page:
The giveaway will take place on TWITTER. All you need to do is RETWEET my announcement or my PINNED TWEET to enter. A winner will be chosen randomly from those who retweet. Open to international entries. Retweet by OCT 12th, 2021 to enter.
Here’s a link to my pinned tweet that you have to RETWEET in order to enter: MY PINNED TWEET
Good luck! And if you don’t win, you can always pick up a copy WHEREVER books are sold.

September Update – What’s Goin’ On – Writing Life Edition

Every September I typically do a catch all post about what’s going on. I guess I should do that now, seeing as we’re taking a little mini-getaway for a few days.

I recently handed in the completed young adult novel BOOK OF DREAMS and I’m feverishly working on my next novel WHERE IS ETHAN SINCLAIR. Both books are contracted. BOOK OF DREAMS is forthcoming from DUET BOOKS, the YA imprint of INTERLUDE PRESS. It will drop in 2022. WHERE IS ETHAN SINCLAIR is forthcoming from the same publisher and will drop in 2023.

Duet/Interlude is also the publisher of my most recent novel, THE CAMINO CLUB. It was truly my biggest work of passion to date. It was my Chef’s Kiss to my love of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. Earlier this year, THE CAMINO CLUB took the honor of SILVER WINNER in the Independent Book Publishers Association‘s BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BOOK AWARD for TEEN FICTION. I actually just received the certificate and stickers from my publisher yesterday. Here’s a copy of my novel with a newly affixed sticker below (you can click on the photo to go to the IBPA website)!

So my September roundup news is that I’m plowing away at finishing my ninth novel as the deadline rapidly approaches. And, we’re also planning and scheming and dreaming and hoping and praying for our upcoming (OCTOBER) trip to PARIS, FRANCE! We had planned to travel there in 2020, but as Robbie Burns said…”The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!” or, you know, ‘The best laid schemes of mice and men, Go often askew, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!’ In early 2020 the mice and men occupying this great orb of ours were put on a bit of a standstill. We got just about as askew as we could get. Though we’re not out of the woods quite yet, the two of us thought we’d try to do some pandemic times travel. With 35 days to go until liftoff, it is yet to be determined if our best laid plans will go askew this time around.

If and when we get to Paris, there will be much note taking. I have a new novel mapped out and wanted to revisit Paris to get all the details ironed out. It’s a meet-cute set in Paris and I wanted to be a stickler with the setting. The novel has been on hold since the pandemic crushed the aforementioned mice and men. I will be talking more about this book in the future, as it progresses.

I think that’s all I have going on in my writing world…two books coming out and one on hold. Not bad, I guess.

My one and only Pandemmy setting offering is a short story from DUET BOOKS/INTERLUDE PRESS. BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS is available now. It’s the story of two nonbinary teens who find each other on Instagram and fall in love during the lockdown. You can pick it up HERE.

I feel like I really have nothing to report. Funny how that doesn’t quite align with the truth, though. I mean, I guess having two books contracted for release is a big thing. As the release dates get closer, I’m sure I’ll be more excited about things. For now, I’m in the trenches…I can’t quite see the publication forest for the writing and editing trees. Here’s some artwork from an early reader of BOOK OF DREAMS, though. I love this stark piece…it captures the creepy bookstore owner in the story quite nicely. It’s a good representation of the book’s dark aesthetic!

Original Artwork by Jarom Verdonk – Artist’s rendition of Jack Chalek, the villain in BOOK OF DREAMS.

OH! And I almost forgot! September is also the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON WRAP PARTY! We usually attend this event in Huntsville, Ontario. Sadly, it’s another Zoom event. Ugh. But it also means it’s easier to get to. September 25th is the day the awards will be handed out. I did not enter a novel into this year’s BEST NOVEL AWARD contest. I was busy finishing BOOK OF DREAMS, so that’s how I used my time. To enter the contest, you have to have written the entire book AT the marathon. I used the time to work on reaching the deadline to submit the finished manuscript to my publisher, so my manuscript didn’t qualify. The amount raised for this annual fundraising event will also be announced at the wrap party. You can learn more about the marathon at the link at the beginning of this run-on paragraph. 🙂

Onward to the end of this shit-storm of a year, I guess. May 2022 be far more pleasing to both the eye and the palate.

PS: If you’re in CANADA, don’t forget to VOTE. But don’t vote PPC or CPC because that would be bad. We don’t want to vote HATE into power, thank you very much.

Memorial Day Weekend Sale on EBooks at Interlude Press!

Just a quick heads up on an EBook sale that my publisher is having! It’s on now and lasts the remainder of the US Memorial Day Weekend! It’s on all EBooks in the Interlude Press and Duet Books catalogues! This includes my latest Duet Books YA novel THE CAMINO CLUB.

The sale is 40% off all EBOOKS and the discount will appear automatically in the cart (no code required).

Click the pic:

Sale is on all titles!

Don’t miss out on your chance to snag some amazing books!

Click the pic:

Here’s the direct link to THE CAMINO CLUB

You can also click right on the amazing cover with the shiny new silver seal!

TO SHOP BY IMPRINT, CLICK HERE TO GO DIRECTLY TO THE DUET BOOKS YOUNG ADULT STORE.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE INTERLUDE PRESS ADULT TITLES STORE.

Sale is on for the remember of the Memorial Day Weekend. Act now to save on some amazing titles!

Happy Reading! And Happy Memorial Day to my American friends and readers!

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!

Awards Season is Here! And THE CAMINO CLUB is UP FOR ONE!

This is me right now, for shame!

Hello Dear Readers!

Have I got news for you!

The book of my heart is being celebrated! I don’t know yet where it falls on the podium—silver or gold—but…THE CAMINO CLUB is up for an award! I could not be more proud or thrilled. This book is my homage to a pilgrimage route in Spain I fell deeply in love with back in 2014. I’m so thrilled that it has found a publisher in Duet Books (the YA imprint of Interlude Press) and a readership. This recognition is the icing on top of an already amazingly incredible cake for me!

This book is so close to my heart it hurts. You put your babies out into the world and you hope for the best, but ultimately you never know how they will be received. Will they find a home with a publisher? Will readers discover them? Will readers enjoy them? It’s all unknown…and yet still we do it. We try our hardest to make real the vision we carry of what the story should be and we hope our execution lands somewhere near to that vision.

THE CAMINO CLUB has been SHORT-LISTED! The 2021 Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARDS FINALISTS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED! And THE CAMINO CLUB is represented in the category of………………. FINALIST – TEEN: FICTION (13-18 YEARS)

Much thanks to the powerhouse publishing team at Interlude Press/Duet Books! Thanks to my amazing editor, ANNIE HARPER, for believing in THE CAMINO CLUB in the first place, and for making it so much better than it was when the original manuscript first arrived in her lap! So much gratitude to CB MESSER for creating a more beautiful cover than I ever could have imagined. She literally captured the entire heart and essence of the Camino in that cover! Not to mention how pretty she made the book’s interior! And so much thanks to CANDYSSE MILLER for every single little (and big) thing she does for her stable of authors! I’ve never met a multi-tasker so dedicated to the art of multi-tasking! Huge thanks to all three of you for taking a chance on my little story! When I say I’m thankful that it found THE perfect home in Duet Books, I seriously mean it! I’m so grateful for this amazing publisher.

Click the link below for the three titles on the Teen Finalist List:

IBPA BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARD TEEN FINALISTS

The Gold Winner and Silver Winners will be announced during online ceremonies between May 11-14, 2021.

Thank you to the judges who chose The Camino Club to be represented in the Finalist list!

While you’re here, you can CLICK THIS LINK for PURCHASE OPTIONS FOR THE CAMINO CLUB. It also contains the Goodreads link, if you’re interested in reading (or leaving!) reviews.

Thank you so much for reading THE CAMINO CLUB and for supporting it in any way. I truly appreciate all of you!

The Camino Club Giveaway!

I have a new short story (BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS) coming out! Yay me! To celebrate, I’m giving away TWO print copies of THE CAMINO CLUB!

1 – to a USA READER

1 – to a CANADA READER

All you need to do to ENTER to win one of these print copies is RETWEET my PINNED tweet on Twitter. That’s the tweet pinned to the very top of my Twitter Profile. It looks like this:Actually, if you simply click the photo of the tweet above, it will take you to the actual tweet.

If your geographic location is not stated on your profile page on Twitter, I’m asking that you instead QUOTE TWEET (QT) the tweet letting me know which country you are entering for.

Here’s the novel’s description:

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?

Head over to Twitter and RT now for your chance to win!

My short story comes out on FEBRUARY 9th, which is NEXT TUESDAY. Let’s have the contest open until the end of Tuesday then. RT my pinned tweet by end of day Midnight Tuesday February 9th. I will announce the winners on Twitter on Wed Feb 10th!

Good luck!

Paperback Giveaway for THE CAMINO CLUB!

Just a quick post to announce a GIVEAWAY happening on TWITTER. I’m giving away ONE paperback copy of THE CAMINO CLUB!

Contest open internationally until the end of Monday November 23rd, 2020! At midnight, entries close.

The winner will be announced on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 24th, 2020!

All you have to do to ENTER for a chance to win is LIKE MY PINNED TWEET and RT MY PINNED TWEET.

Here’s the link to MY TWITTER ACCOUNT…click on the pic below:

twitter

More about 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?

BOOKLIST, SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL and KIRKUS REVIEWS gave The Camino Club some wonderful reviews:

Enter the contest today, for your chance to win a paperback copy!

RETWEET AND LIKE MY PINNED TWEET!

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