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 the universe is my witness, I did not foresee these difficulties! ~ Me, circa now.
The editing journey is quite often a TRIP. Never more so than when you need to make some massive changes in your manuscript…like, thematic changes! Whoa!
This is the case with my current WIP. I did not realize how hard it would be. When you see the way things are, you cannot easily see the other ways they could possibly be…when it comes to your own manuscript. You always see the story the way it is…and as you change it, the way it was. That original story acts like a ghost in your head…inserting itself damnably and relentlessly into the current rendition of the story. It’s a seriously difficult situation to be in. Like, impossible. It’s hard to actualize something DIFFERENT once the story is down on paper. It takes the work of a magician, I think. And even when you make those changes, it’s hard to erase the past from your memory…and, at times, from the story itself.
That was convoluted. I apologize…but also the convoluted-ness of it helps to define the difficulty level I’m facing in re-writing this story. The original is not only haunting the revision stage…it is fighting for its life…it does not want to die.
This is how my editing process is going today. Writing is hard. Editing is hard. Revising is hard. The conundrum is that these things are also, in their turns, divine and divinely easy. Writing life is so bizarre. Do we make things difficult, or are they inherently difficult.
I just need the ghosts of this current WIP to die already, to allow me to move forward with another version of this story. Like, just shut up! I have deadlines, and you’re not making my work any easier by sticking around and staying in my head and refusing to be deleted.
That is all.
My next young adult novel, BOOK OF DREAMS, is now available for PREORDER!
Release Date: May 24, 2022
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 the previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape. When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help—Mael, a sweet boy also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.
Book of Dreams is a bit of a horror/contemporary mix. It’s being published by Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press. This is the same publisher that published my last novel, The Camino Club. They will also be publishing my YA contemporary, Where is Ethan Sinclair, in 2023.
LINKS TO PREORDER BOOK OF DREAMS:
One of my early readers shared a doodle they created while reading Book of Dreams. He has given me permission to share it…I really adore it. It’s such a simple sketch, and it perfectly gets the vibe! Of course I’m going to share it here again…
When you visit a site to preorder your copy, you’ll still see the following placeholder cover:
Rest assured, the final cover will be phenomenal! I’m still overwhelmed by the beauty of the cover for my last novel, The Camino Club! Never has a cover been so perfectly matched to one of my stories. I have super high hopes for Book of Dreams!
PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!
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!
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.
Today, I am almost to the end of a very complex (for me, the creator) story. It’s a story I had contracted just a couple of weeks ago…to my favourite LGBTQ publisher, no less.
The thing that makes it complex is the thing that takes it out of my usual lane. Truth/Confession: I am NOT a worldbuilder. I do my best to navigate my stories through the contemporary non-shifting non-magical world of now. Sometimes, to be honest, even that’s a struggle.
Contrary to popular belief, writing doesn’t always come easy. Throw into the mix the fact that I like to shift lanes and expand my comfort zone and I often find myself in over my head.
This manuscript is one of those times, indeed.
But I have persevered. My first chapter told me this was going to be a story outside my comfort zone. I still buckled in, knowing it would be a hard–but not unrewarding–ride.
I’m closing in on an ending now…after trudging my way through a mile of worldbuilding complications and learning moments. The fact that my publisher offered a contract on the novel after reading the first third was the fuel I needed to edit the second third and complete the last third. Also, deadlines help!
Fast forward to earlier this week and I find myself with an appointment with a WORLDBUILDING CONSULTANT. Or maybe a WORLDBUILDING AUDITOR. Yeah…auditor. That’s it. My son-in-law has offered to do a reading of the manuscript for me…with particular attention to worldbuilding. I still have time to make corrections/edits/rewrites before my deadline, so I thought it was a timely lifesaving offer. I’m definitely going to take him up on it.
During the course of the conversation, he also laid down some knowledge when he said there’s NO GROWING IN A COMFORT ZONE AND NO COMFORT IN A GROWING ZONE. I mean, yeah…I get the concept, but I don’t think I ever saw it laid out so BOOM…there. If it’s a popular saying, it’s one that has, until now, escaped my radar. I definitely needed to hear it. Man, have I been outside my comfort zone on this one!
So…stay tuned. I might just make my deadline on this horror novel I’ve had contracted with Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press. And I have a worldbuilding doctor on hand to give it a pre-submission check up. Pandemic aside, things are going well.
Happy Writing or Editing or Worldbuilding or Whatever it is you’re doing these days. Push those boundaries. Comfort zones are nice, but sometimes tedious. It’s a false lull. Change lanes and see what happens…
The news is out! The publisher of my most recent novel, The Camino Club, has contracted another 2 novels with me! I could NOT be happier!
The first, a horror, will be released in the summer of 2022. The second title, a contemporary, will come after it and details will be announced later.
THE BOOK OF DREAMS
WHERE IS ETHAN SINCLAIR?
I’m looking forward to working with the amazing team at Interlude Press again. From Candysse Miller, who looks after every little detail always, to Annie Harper, who is the amazing editor who makes my work shine, to CB Messer, the extraordinary cover and interior designer who makes my books look visually beautiful, I am in the best of hands! I can’t wait to see where these new ventures go!
Stay tuned for all the details! Cover Reveal, Pre-Order, and all the rest! I’ll let you know when things begin to happen!
You may have noticed a couple of new covers if you recently visited My Amazon page. Both Pride Must Be a Place & Summer on Fire are now sporting new clothing. (-;
Unfortunately, my publisher, MuseItUp, had to make a tough decision and close their doors. It was a great pleasure working with the folx at MuseItUp! We had a long relationship. They were the publisher of both my debut novel and my sixth novel. I’m grateful for the time we spent together!
I now offer the SAME stories wrapped in newer clothing.
Here are the new covers:
PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE – Ezra Caine is gay. He’s sort of out at school but not at home, where he fears the wrath of his father’s bigotry. When Ezra’s flamboyantly out friend Alex Mills takes one too many beatings from homophobic bully Will Carter, Ezra finally snaps. Fed up with the situation at school, he decides to do something about it. With the help of his BFF, Nettie, and some unlikely allies, Ezra rallies to create their small-town school’s first gay-straight alliance. The Rainbow Alliance Club is formed. But the changes don’t come without hiccups, one of which being a messy scandal involving Alex and a gay hook-up app. As Ezra and his friends attempt to sway their school into an alliance of tolerance and acceptance, Ezra experiences a few surprises of his own on the home-front. He also learns the hard way that friendships out of convenience aren’t always a good idea, just as some enemies might not be as bad as he originally imagined them to be.
SUMMER ON FIRE – Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout? Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighboring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect—none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell—the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence. But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from eminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.
To purchase copies of either of these novels, you can visit MY AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE RIGHT HERE. Maybe consider grabbing a copy of PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE for #PrideReads! Pride month is almost over.
Please note that if you already have copies of either of these books–THE CONTENT IS THE SAME. ONLY THE COVERS HAVE CHANGED.
It’s Pride Month once again. Despite the fact that we are in the middle (nearing the end??) of a pandemic, June is the month set aside for celebrating the liberation of the LGBTQ+ community. The Pride Protest continues…and it is far from over. Though we celebrate how far LGBTQ+ rights have become human rights, we can’t lose sight of the fact that Pride is still more Protest than Celebration.
But…we do celebrate.
One thing to celebrate is how far we have come in a very short time with LGBTQ+ literature. The diversification of this literature is blossoming, driven by the demand and desire for LGBTQ+ peoples to see themselves in the fiction they read.
Here’s some LGBTQ+ literature I have been and will be reading in June…
Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore:
Carey Parker dreams of being a diva, and bringing the house down with song. They can hit every note of all the top pop and Broadway hits. But despite their talent, emotional scars from an incident with a homophobic classmate and their grandmother’s spiraling dementia make it harder and harder for Carey to find their voice.
Then Carey meets Cris, a singer/guitarist who makes Carey feel seen for the first time in their life. With the rush of a promising new romantic relationship, Carey finds the confidence to audition for the role of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the school musical, setting off a chain reaction of prejudice by Carey’s tormentor and others in the school. It’s up to Carey, Cris, and their friends to defend their rights–and they refuse to be silenced.
Told in alternating chapters with identifying pronouns, debut author Steven Salvatore’s Can’t Take That Away conducts a powerful, uplifting anthem, a swoony romance, and an affirmation of self-identity that will ignite the activist in all of us.
This is such a lovely read! I was swoony and teary-eyed half the time I was reading this one. It tackles some tough LGBTQ+ issues around identity and equality in a high school setting. It also balances these issues with a sweet romance. It has genderqueer and bi representation and a high school musical. It’s definitely a summer read one could fall in love with. I can’t say enough about this gorgeous story! I have only heaps of praise.
When You Get the Chance by Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson:
As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts—Mark in Halifax and Talia in Victoria—they haven’t seen each other in years. When their grandfather dies unexpectedly, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the cottage once again, cleaning it out while the family decides what to do with it.
Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that’s about all they have in common, other than the fact that they’d both prefer to be in Toronto. Talia is desperate to see her high school sweetheart Erin, who’s barely been in touch since leaving to spend the summer working at a coffee shop in the Gay Village. Mark, on the other hand, is just looking for some fun, and Toronto Pride seems like the perfect place to find it.
When a series of complications throws everything up in the air, Mark and Talia—with Mark’s little sister Paige in tow—decide to hit the road for Toronto. With a bit of luck, and some help from a series of unexpected new friends, they might just make it to the big city and find what they’re looking for. That is, if they can figure out how to start seeing things through each other’s eyes.
I still don’t know where exactly this one is going, but I am obsessively devouring it to find out! I love that it is set in Toronto and Muskoka, here in Ontario. As if the dynamic duo of two wonderful Canadian authors, Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson, wasn’t enough to make it a must read for my TBR pile, the COVER! I love to see Canadiana represented in fiction. But to see the CN Tower on the cover of a YA book? I couldn’t even imagine it. The second I saw this cover, I knew I had to have it. I’m really loving this story. I’m halfway through and already a little worried I’m going to miss it when it’s over.
The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver:
Everything happens for a reason.
At least that’s what everyone keeps telling Liam Cooper after his older brother Ethan is killed suddenly in a hit-and-run.
Feeling more alone and isolated than ever, Liam has to not only learn to face the world without one of the people he loved the most, but also face the fading relationships of his two best friends in the process.
Soon, Liam finds themself spending time with Ethan’s best friend, Marcus, who might just be the only person that seems to know exactly what they’re going through-for better and for worse.
The Ghosts We Keep is an achingly honest portrayal of grief. But it is also about why we live. Why we have to keep moving on, and why we should.
I fell in love with Mason Deaver’s debut novel, I Wish You All the Best. Some authors immediately go on my Must Read list for all future books. Deaver is one of those authors for me. I can’t wait to read this much anticipated story!
Everyone on campus knows Remy Cameron. He’s the out-and-proud, super-likable guy who friends, faculty, and fellow students alike admire for his cheerful confidence. The only person who isn’t entirely sure about Remy Cameron is Remy himself. Under pressure to write an A+ essay defining who he is and who he wants to be, Remy embarks on an emotional journey toward reconciling the outward labels people attach to him with the real Remy Cameron within.
From the author of the bestselling novel Running With Lions, a story about overcoming the labels that try to define our lives
Speaking of authors who immediately go on my Must Read list for all future books, Julian Winters made an incredible announcement this week during the Edelweiss Book Fest! His 2nd novel, How to Be Remy Cameron has an audio book in production! Interlude Press is going AUDIO! I can’t think of a better way to begin that journey than with a Julian Winters book! Watch their Twitter account for more information, but THIS IS HAPPENING!
Upcoming Pride Month Pride Release Read:
There are always new LGBTQ titles dropping! So refreshing to see this market growing so rapidly! Here’s a title that is coming out DURING PRIDE MONTH 2021!
L.I.F.E. by Felyx Lawson:
Rider Williams is your typical high school student. He has classes, hangs with friends, plays video games, writes for the school paper, plays guitar, collects comics, and is gay. Okay, so he’s not your typical high school student.
Rider is trying to finish his senior year of high school while struggling to accept himself and hide his secret. It’s difficult and he might have succeeded if not for two challenges in his way. The first, an assignment about the one thing he doesn’t understand and hasn’t experienced: love. The other, Cameron Walker, a transfer student who looks like a stereotypical jock, but seems to be so much more.
Can Rider survive the weight of his secret?
It’s only the start of the school year but Rider already knows L.I.F.E. isn’t as easy as it seems.
Looking forward to this one! It drops on JUNE 25th, but you can pre-order Felyx Lawson‘s debut novel from Deep Hearts YA any time!
My Own Pride Reads Selections:
Okay, this is where I share my own Pride Reads Books! What?! You knew it was coming.
I just so happen to have 3 Pride books of my own. Now’s as good a time as any to share them! Pick one of them up for Pride Month Pride Reads!
Billions of Beautiful Hearts (Interlude Press/Duet Books) is a young adult story with two nonbinary teens finding love online during the time of Covid Lockdown. The Camino Club (Interlude Press/Duet Books) is a young adult story with six teens walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain as atonement for their crimes back home in Toronto. It features a gay narrator with lesbian rep. Pride Must Be A Place (Muse It Up) is a young adult story with Ezra Caine and his friends coming together to create their small-town high school’s first Gay Straight Alliance. Ezra discovers along the way that he can find happiness, love, and safety in the places he once feared.
It’s Pride Month. Whatever you choose to do with your reading time this month, just consider spending some of that time reading and supporting LGBTQ+ fiction!
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:
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!
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!
Recently I discovered that THE CAMINO CLUB was a finalist in the 2021 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for TEEN FICTION!
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. (-: )
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!