The Cruising Post I Didn’t Know I’d Write – Harmony of the Seas

It finally happened.

The cruise we booked for January, 2021, and was postponed again and again, finally happened. Now that the pandemic is eternal, I wasn’t sure the Royal Caribbean cruise we booked way back in 2020 would even come to pass. But it has. And much to my surprise, I loved it.

On January 7th, Michael and I boarded the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas for an 8 NIGHT cruise that would take us to Haiti, Aruba, and Curaçao. With three ports of call, this meant we were facing quite a few sea days. My fear of cruising has always been that I wouldn’t enjoy my time on the ship, or that I would get seasick, or that I wouldn’t be able to contain or satiate my desire to wander. It’s my tendency to wander that made the Camino walks so enticing. Walking from morning to late afternoon through one town after another in a seemingly endless stream of days? That’s my idea of a perfect holiday. Staying stationary on a moving ship? I wasn’t so sure.

My first port of call ever! Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, shortly after arriving in Labadee, Haiti, for a day of sun and beach fun.

Turns out there’s LOTS to do on a cruise ship. Also, when you’re with the right person of course you’re going to enjoy the experience. We had a blast! Michael and I cruised with his sister and her husband. Jenifer and Gary were great company!

Our route…

What I didn’t quite realize about cruising–though I suspected it–was that there are people who do nothing but cruise. Or at least people who have several or dozens of cruises under their belts. Even Michael has been on at least 20. I constantly overheard people aboard the ship talk of their many many cruises. I anticipated my first one with something bordering on dread, at first. But after watching a few YouTube videos, my dread was laced with a healthy thread of maybe. Eventually, this thread softened to a guarded anticipation. I could do this. I could cruise. I would have all the ports to look forward to. They would feed my desire to explore, to wander, to see foreign places. And the more videos I watched, the more I realized the wide and varied activities cruises had to offer.

We watched a great rendition of the musical Grease. As it was my first time cruising, I wasn’t aware it was the same show Michael watched back before the pandemic when he went on a family cruise on Harmony with his sisters. It was new and fresh to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We watched a puzzling musical called Columbus. The comedy, at the beginning, fell lower than flat and it was so groan-worthy I found myself cringing when the audience neglected to laugh (or even smirk) as lines were delivered. (I say this as a sometimes playwright who has sat in the audience of their own comedic plays both while watching an audience in the throes of uproarious laughter, as well as audiences lost in the deadly silence of unfunny one-liners.) But it picked up a bit and the music was great. Over all, I enjoyed it despite its often-times lack of humour. Sometimes a comedic show cannot survive the fact that it’s simply not funny, but this one did. I think I eventually caved at the dancing sharks. It was endearing.

There was a stand-up comedy show one night. I enjoyed that, but opted out of the show on ice. Ice reminds me of winter, which I hate. Ice while on a cruise to escape winter? No.

We ate at the specialty restaurants on the ship and they were, to a one, exquisite. From the enchanted Wonderland Restaurant (fashioned as a sort of trip down the rabbit hole and into Alice’s Wonderland world of topsy-turvyness), to Jamie’s Italian, to Chops, to 150 Central Park, to Izumi and more, it was all good. Incredible food and great service. No complaints.

We discovered early on in the cruise that DUCKS were a thing. People hide little rubber ducks about. Lots of little rubber ducks. At first, it seemed I would find one wherever my eye wandered to. One after the other they appeared. Then we set out to purposefully find them, walking about the ship hunting for rubber ducks. I did not foresee this activity being something I would be doing during the cruise, but there we were. As we wandered about Central Park looking amongst the shrubbery, we discovered more hunters. They were obvious to spot, despite their attempts to blend in with other strolling cruisers. There was a hunger in the eyes of the duck hunters. Their desperate glances would linger too long in the bushes. They quickly gave themselves up.

Four of our bounty of found ducks. If you’re ever on a cruise ship, look inside the planters, and under cushions and benches and chairs. Look everywhere. You may find yourself a little duck of your own. (-:

It was late in the game when Michael finally found his first duck, but he soon gained traction. We came home with 14 ducks, and a desire to hide our own on the next cruise. And, yes, I said NEXT. As early as day 2, I found myself imagining that I could do this cruising thing again.

The ports were all amazing. I had been to Aruba before, but never to Haiti or Curaçao. The three ports were enough to satiate my need to see new places. I was especially enchanted with the brightly coloured houses of Curaçao. We took a little tour of some of the island and saw lovely street art there. Let’s face it, to even be in the sunlight in January is a magical thing for us Canadians. It was warm and bright and who could ask for anything more!

There’s LOTS to do on a cruise ship. Harmony of the Sea was no end of surprises and fun. I’d definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again.

On the promenade, you can find a robot bar. You order the drink on a smart pad and watch the robot arm put it together for you…
Harmony has both dry slides and water slides. This mammoth at the back of the ship, the Ultimate Abyss, is a 10-story dry slide. We plummeted down 10 decks at a rate of 9 miles per hour. It was over in seconds!
The Ultimate Abyss, as seen from the bottom of the ride. It drops you off right between Johnny Rockets and Sabor Taqueria. World’s best milkshakes to the left, unspeakably good Mexican food to the right!

Our little getaway beach in Labadee, Haiti:

Shots from Oranjestad, Aruba:

Shots from Willemstad, Curaçao:

And I know the world has been wondering…YES, Harmony of the Seas does, in fact, have a carousel! And, yes, we did go on it. Of course we did.

So, would I cruise again? YES. Absolutely!

While you’re here, check out my Amazon Author Page: Kevin Craig – Author

A Little Light Must Shine – 2020, The Good…

There are always good times. Even amidst our deepest darkest days, there are breaks in the clouds…there are rays of light getting through. Why should 2020 be any different.

Michael and I started off our year with a bang. January found us in the Dominican Republic. Sun, sand, beauty. But first, I actually began January 2020 by doing what most of us would be doing some 2 1/2 to 3 months later. I baked. No, it wasn’t banana bread! I baked a Tarta de Santiago. Some call them Camino Cake.

It’s the tasty almond cake that is offered along the Camino de Santiago. Pilgrims everywhere have come to love it. One of the many things one brings home with them from the Camino.

As mid-January approached we were off to the Dominican!

We explored the island and had some great down time on the beach and by the pool, unaware of what was brewing in 2020’s near future.

It was the time of our lives…and just in time.

I carried those walks along the beach with me for the rest of the year, a ballast against the harsh new reality we found ourselves in.

January became February became March and one day we found ourselves at Congee Queen. Our last supper before it all came crashing to a halt.

We all know what happened in March. We were not immune to the Banana Bread Epoque of the Pandemic either. We too imbibed.


And…more banana bread…

And…more banana bread…

Soon, we realized we would have to live this way for a while. We had to get out sometime. Move around. The banana bread was starting to… take.

It was a pandemic, but we still had beauty…

April came and so did the socially distant visits with the grandbabies!

There was loss in 2020 for everyone. It was such a difficult year to lose loved ones. So many lost opportunities to share in the burden and come together to mourn. I never want to experience loss in a pandemic ever again. We love those we lost this year, in this of all the years to lose loved ones.

May was time to act like Spring had come, to gather together a little garden in our little oasis in the sky.

Thanks to Michael’s generous sister and brother-in-law, we were even able to get to one of my favourite places…where you need only open your eyes to experience the beauty…

We said goodbye to May with one more Tarta de Santiago!

June came. Every garden should bloom as pretty…

July came, and with it…the arrival of my ADVANCED READER COPIES! ARCs. Advice time: Never release a novel you love with all your heart during a pandemic!

July was also for quiet nights at home…maybe with some red! We enjoyed our quiet evenings with Molly…awaiting the arrival of our soon to be new family members…

We were brave enough, come August, to go out for the odd walk. We are close to so much nature, even in the city.

It was also time to start enjoying the gifts of our garden…

AND MORE WALKS! And…patios. Cautiously, socially distantly…PATIOS…

And MORE walks!

Come September, the great escape. Two weeks in paradise, thanks again to Michael’s sister and brother in law. It wasn’t what we had in mind going into 2020. We were going to spend these weeks in Paris. But a birthday in this paradise is a wonderful thing, nonetheless!

September also meant AUTHOR COPIES. The final version of THE CAMINO CLUB!

October. A dying plant gives us the end of its harvest…

OCTOBER 6TH! The Camino Club is LIVE…in the world!

This is where our trip down 2020 Memory Lane comes to an end. Christmas was hard. Not seeing those we love in those moments when we usually see more of them is just…bad. We ended our year with our surprise new arrivals. DollyAnn & LollyPop are here…and they’re a handful at the moment. So December has been a very busy time for us.

Happy New Year! May your 2021 be filled with hope, health and heart.


The Pendulum Swings – 2020 becomes 2021…

“And after a glimpse
Over the top
The rest of the world
Becomes a gift shop…”

Gift Shop. The Tragically Hip. I think of this song whenever an old year draws to a close. More specifically, I think of the three little words in the song, THE PENDULUM SWINGS. It is about to swing again. Another year has come to an end.

Some of us didn’t make it to this impending swing. Sadly, some of us here this morning, won’t make it to the swing at the end of this day.

It’s been a barbaric year for the human race. We’ve been forced to watch as a pandemic raced across the surface of this planet while those in charge showed the rest of us just how fallible and inept they can be in the face of a grave situation. We’ve in fact shown how fallible and inept each and every one of can be. In the middle of this catastrophe, we each yearned to forget–just a little–the rules that could save us, we each ignored–just a little–the signs of impending disaster. We have each shown ourselves and each other how hopelessly selfish and undeserving of survival we could be. By not considering every single person we’ve come into contact with to be vulnerable and the next possible victim of this unforgiving virus, we have each–at one time or another–thrown caution to the wind. We traded surety for an ice cream cone, we traded safety for a burger and fries. We traded risking our loved ones’ lives for a lottery ticket or a pack of gum.

I’ve learned a lot this year. Even the most diligent among us is willing to take risks every now and then because they think, ‘It won’t happen to me.‘ But they’re not willing to imagine beyond that scenario, that ‘it won’t happen to the people in my life.

“I’ve been really good. I stayed in. I didn’t go anywhere. I quarantined in place throughout this ordeal. Well, I did go to the store for chips…but man, I craved a salty treat. Yeah, that ice cream in July was necessary…it was frigging hot!”

One moment. One slip up. That’s all it takes. None of us know the meaning of ESSENTIAL. I’ve learned that essential means something I want so much I have to go and get it, come what may. “I’ll wear a mask, I’ll wash my hands, it’ll be fine.” I wonder how many of the 341,000+ Americans who died thought that as they ran out to do whatever it is they ‘had’ to do? Or the 15,400+ Canadians? OR, how many of those numbers actually didn’t go out, but had a loved one who did?

This year is a total mess. It’s shown us that we no longer know how to care for/about each other. Disheartening to say the least. How many of us are going to slip just a little bit further into the pandemic fatigue everyone’s talking about? How badly do you need that lottery ticket, those new pants, that thingamajig?

All of the things will be here after the pandemic is over, when we get to begin anew in our new normal. Will you be here to enjoy them? Will your loved ones be here to do that one thing that’s been missing and absent in this year of begrudging and selfishness? Will you get to hug them again? Will you (and I) learn that hunkering down more firmly and waiting this thing out will ensure our survival and the survival of those around us? Will we be here long enough to get the vaccine?

The Pendulum Swings…

The Camino Club Book Launch at Blue Heron Books Book Drunkard Literary Festival!

I’m thrilled to announce that THE CAMINO CLUB will be having a BOOK LAUNCH at Blue Heron Books as part of their Book Drunkard Literary Festival!

Sunday, October 25th 11am-1pm

Blue Heron Books
62 Brock Street West
PO Box 642
Uxbridge ON  L9P 1M9

Click on the logos below to visit either the BLUE HERON BOOKS site or THE BOOK DRUNKARD LITERARY FESTIVAL site:

Come out to BLUE HERON BOOKS on SUNDAY OCTOBER 25th from 11am to 1pm to get your paperback copy of THE CAMINO CLUB! I’d love to see you! And it’s always great to support our local independent bookstores!

The Camino Club is getting some amazing reviews! It has appeared in School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, among other places. It has appeared on several Most Anticipated YA and LGBTQ book lists.

THE CAMINO CLUB 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.

Check out the reviews on GOODREADS!

It releases TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6th, 2020—and is available for preorder wherever books are sold! If you’re in the area, though, please consider waiting to visit BLUE HERON BOOKS on the 25th! I love supporting this beautiful bookstore in Uxbridge, Ontario. It’s an area favourite. Don’t forget to click on the logos above to visit BLUE HERON BOOKS or THE BOOK DRUNKARD LITERARY FESTIVAL online! The Festival has SOME AMAZING EVENTS!

Rejection/Acceptance – Are You Being Served?

…and if so, which do you prefer—the hard or soft option?

I have a novel–HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN–in the hands of my agent, who has it sent out on submission at the moment. The waiting is the hardest part. When you’re waiting to hear back from agents/publishers—whether it’s for a novel, a poem, an article, an essay or a grocery list—what kind of response do you prefer? Are you one of those people who would rather have an immediate rejection, or are you willing to wait for months on end for a possibly-maybe? Another one of my novels has been with a publisher for about 6 months now. There are days that go by where I forget it even exists… and other days where I want to send an email to remind them of my existence (something one does not do). I suppose we are all like Bambi’s mother. “Don’t go into the meadow!” and then that inexplicable need to go into the meadow…

I’d rather not get shot by the hunter, but I still feel the need to know if the hunter can see me or not. “I’m over here! I’m over here!” –waving frantically, waiting to be shot. “Hello!”

How do you like to be served? Rejection is a medicine best served quickly, is it not?

Lamu Town

(Originally appeared as PART THREE in a THREE PART SERIES in the WORDWEAVER.)

As our plane landed at the Manda Island airstrip, I was crazy with anticipation. Out the window, I had glimpses of the Indian Ocean and the tiny Arabic/Swahili island of Lamu!

Our first dhow (a traditional Arab sailing vessel) ride took us to Lamu Island. I didn’t know then that I would spend much of the upcoming week aboard these beautiful boats. We climbed from the dhow onto cement stairs that ascended right up out of the water. Lamu Town!

We arrived on a very special day: Islamic New Year, 1430—a day of festivities: donkey races, dhow races, dancing in the streets and vibrant reverent prayer. I was enamoured with everything I saw. Fellow traveller Venus Thrash was
offered a donkey ride upon our arrival. We followed her through the narrow streets of Lamu Town as she was escorted, like visiting royalty, to Lamu Fort and the town square. We were swept up and fully embraced in their celebration!

I woke the next morning at 4 a.m. to the gorgeous sound of Muslim prayer. It was so beautiful, I didn’t care about the early hour. I had too much to take in to waste time sleeping. The weekend was free time and only half of our group had arrived in Lamu. Eight of us had arranged for a special day trip with one of the dhow captains.

The dhow crew took us to Manda Beach, where we swam in the ocean while they made us a meal of fresh fish, coconut rice and tantalizing curry. After the meal, which was served under the shade of an acacia tree on beach sand-raked smooth by the crew, we lazed around while the crew cleaned up. Later, we piled into the dhow and made our way through an intricate mangrove forest waterway. As the path narrowed, we had to step out into the black waters and walk among the ancient mangroves to the entrance of the 15th-century Swahili trading town of Takwa. We walked the ruins with mouths agape. Crumbling walls of an ancient mosque, dinosaur baobab trees, wells, homes, a withering school and the burial site of a revered Imam…it all fascinated us. The air of Takwa was alive, abuzz—either with the voices of long dead ghosts or a mass of unseen insects. We didn’t know which. We only knew the peace of being there…the sacredness of the island.

Unfortunately, we only had half an hour in Takwa. Any longer and the waterway leading to the island would vanish. We’d be forced to spend the night within the island’s sacred hum. As much as we loved the ruins, we didn’t have to be told twice when it was time to leave.

One last surprise for the day… we emerged from the mangrove forest at the precise moment the sun touched the horizon and melted into the Indian Ocean. Perfect timing! We watched the sun melt into the ocean as we ate freshly cut fruit served to us by the crew.

That was just the first full day on Lamu. Every day was the same: perfection. We had our writing classes on the rooftop terrace of a hotel in the centre of town—a terrace with a 360 degree view of Lamu Town and the ocean surrounding it. We had sun, donkeys, dhows, sharks, weddings, Masai dancers, poetry readings on the beach, Imams, absolute joy in the face of abject poverty, a dancing/singing festive Kiswahili Christmas Eve mass in a tiny Catholic church, Rastafarians, children playing soccer, hennaed hands and so much more.

What a perfect place to end our Kenyan trip. I will never forget the people of Lamu. Their joy has changed me. Their remarkable radiance is something we could all aspire to. And writing. Ah, yes. I was there for the love of writing. My passion for words has never been stronger. The beauty of the world classroom…what a perfect place to dance with one’s muse!

Spark 10! It’s on!

…and I am so thrilled to be a part of it!

What is SPARK? I’m so glad you asked. You can click on the Spark 10 participant badge above to visit the Spark site.

SPARK is  a participatory creativity event that takes place four times a year. The rules are simple: Writers send their artist partners a story or a poem; artists send an image of their painting, photograph or sculpture. Musicians and video artists send either a link or a file of their work. Once all the creations have changed hands, the participants have 10 days to use their designated partner’s piece as a jumping off point for new work of their own.

The SPARK site will post the inspiration pieces, along with the response pieces, once the 10 day project draws to a close. It’s a collaborative art project! And SPARK site readers get to see how art begets art in such a unique and interesting way.

Keep a link to the SPARK site so you can discover the inspiration and response pieces, once the project wraps up. There are participants from all over the world taking part. It’s bound to be an exciting exhibit, once unveiled!

(I received a painting from a fellow participant, and I sent her a poem. Now, we are both leaping away from these pieces to create two new ones! Can’t wait to see what she comes up with.)

Forty Books I Would Rather Not Live Without.

  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  3. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
  4. The Feast of All Saints by Anne Rice
  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  7. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  8. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  9. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  11. Clock Without Hands by Carson McCullers
  12. Old School by Tobias Wolff
  13. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  14. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  15. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  16. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
  17. Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal
  18. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
  19. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  20. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  21. Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters by J.D. Salinger
  22. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
  23. Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke
  24. The Funnies by J. Robert Lennon
  25. Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
  26. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  27. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  28. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  29. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  30. The Beginning and the End by Naguib Mahfouz
  31. The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy
  32. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler
  33. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
  34. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  35. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  36. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  37. The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen
  38. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  39. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
  40. A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

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!  (-;

2011 SLS Unified Literary Contest Announced!

The 2011 Summer Literary Seminars Unified Literary Contest is now open!

What’s in it for you?

FIRST PLACE WINNERS from each category – FICTION or POETRY – will have their work featured online in Canada’s premiere literary magazine, THE WALRUS…as well as published in print in a TBA American Literary Journal.

They will also have the choice of attending (airfare, tuition, and housing included) any one of the SLS 2011 programs – in Montreal, Quebec (June 12 – 25); Vilnius, Lithuania (August); or Nairobi-Lamu, Kenya (December).

This is a HUGE prize! And a huge opportunity.

SECOND PLACE WINNERS will receive a full tuition waiver for the program of their choice.

THIRD PLACE WINNERS will receive a 50% tuition waiver for the program of their choice.

ALSO – A number of select contest participants, based on the overall strength of their work, will be offered tuition scholarships applicable to the SLS 2011 programs.



As a past participant in SLS Kenya, I can guarantee you’ll thoroughly enjoy the program.

Contest Entry Fee: $20

Contest Deadline: FEBRUARY 15, 2011