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Best Adult Novel Award Kevin Craig Muskoka Novel Marathon Sebastian's Poet

Sebastian’s Poet – Release Details, Excerpt, Synopsis – Save the Date!

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It’s time to start talking about the imminent release of my second novel, SEBASTIAN’S POET. (-: I had a cover reveal a month or so ago. All the edits are complete. The release date has been set! Please SAVE THE DATE!

Here’s the cover blurb for Sebastian’s Poet:

Sebastian Nelson is a boy in search of a family. Abandoned by his mother, Sebastian is left with a broken father who doesn’t even seem present when he does show up. Forced to be the main caregiver of his younger brother, Renee, and lost in a sea of indifference, Sebastian only wants to experience the love a real, stable family could afford him.

One morning he discovers the famous folksinger, Teal Landen, asleep on the sofa. Teal’s nurturing nature brings an immediate sense of security into Sebastian’s tumultuous life. But a dark secret looms between Teal and Sebastian’s father of a hidden past. Sebastian is driven to discover their secret, but also he’s aware of how tenuous their hold on Teal really is. He doesn’t want to lose the feeling of home Teal’s presence has brought him.

If Sebastian pushes too hard, he could lose Teal forever. He could be destined to raise his younger brother alone, while witnessing the total decline of his emotionally devastated father. If Sebastian is abandoned by the only healthy influence in his otherwise shaky existence, he will also be forever in the dark about the secret that will reveal so much about his fractured family.

And, I would like to share a short excerpt here. This excerpt is the one that will be available on my publisher’s website:

Once we were upstairs, away from the glaring eyes of my father, I tried my luck again. “What were you arguing about, Teal?”

“None of your business, my man,” he replied. “Don’t go asking something I already shut you down on. It’s impolite. I wasn’t just appeasing your old man down there, Buddy. I was telling you our business was not your business then and that’s what I’m telling you now. I’ve already had enough dead-end conversations with stubborn Nelsons for one night. Just let the dead rest, Sebby, will ya?”

He left no room for argument. Teal was like that, very determined to have things his way. The discussion was over. We walked Renee to his room and Teal tucked him in while I stood in the doorway, watching and yawning.

“You know,” Teal said, as he picked me up in his arms and carried me to my own bed. He smelled of smoke and beer, and maybe just a lingering hint of women’s perfume. I nuzzled into him; allowed myself to be carried. “Your Dad’s not as bad as you make him out to be. You should give him a break. There’s only one thing worse in the world than a struggling musician and that’s a struggling father. I was a struggling musician for many years. I know about that part. Don’t you think it’s hard for him to find jobs outside music, to put in days doing shit he doesn’t like? Not to mention the other part; raising two kids on his own. I can’t even begin to imagine that part.”

Like usual, I was too young to respond intelligently to his comments. So I didn’t reply. I didn’t believe in what he was saying, but I kept quiet.

“Just be nice, Sebby. He’s like a child around you. I swear you cut him open when you ignore him the way you did tonight. He’s doing the best he can.”

I shrugged into his shoulder, unwilling to concede the ugly truth. Disdain was what he deserved from me. Teal felt the shrug and pulled me into the air away from him, so he could look me in the eye.

“Seb. Your father is broken. He’s had a few too many knocks. It’s hard to get up off the ground when you’ve been thrown to it too many times. You, on the other hand, are a strong boy. I saw that the day I met you. I think that’s why I’m still here. I need you to give him more of what he needs. You have love and heart in spades. Wouldn’t kill you to share some of it with your father.”

These words scared me. They rekindled pangs of loss and anxiety that were festering deep inside of me. I suddenly had the feeling of having failed my mother—of not being enough for her—and now Teal said the same thing might be happening with my father. Then who would I have left?

Sebastian’s Poet was originally written over a 48 hour period, for the 2007 Muskoka Novel Marathon. After the marathon, I submitted it to a panel of marathon judges. They gave it the BEST ADULT NOVEL AWARD for the 2007 marathon. Musa Publishing is my publisher. Please note that this novel will only be available as an ebook. If you do not have a Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or ereader of some kind…most have free apps you can download to read ebooks.

If there are ever any giveaway contests or promotions for Sebastian’s Poet, I’ll announce them here. Please SAVE THE DATE! I’m SO looking forward to this one. It’s been an amazing ride bringing Sebastian and his family to life…I can’t wait to share them all with you!

 

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Muskoka Novel Marathon On Writing Writing Life

Muskoka Novel Marathon – Strategy Schmrategy

There are several gauntlets being thrown down here in Ontario (and maybe even the odd one in Quebec *plunk!* ). Can you hear them? The bravado across the interwebs is building. I’m not above adding my own brouhaha to the mix. It’s all in good fun, right?

In July I head up to Huntsville for my 5th Muskoka Novel Marathon. SO hard to believe I lived through 4 already. This year, the pre-marathon hype seems unusually high. This makes me happy. 30 writers getting together for a long weekend of writing! There’s nothing cooler. What we do it for is EVEN cooler (Ignore that I JUST said there’s nothing cooler in the previous sentence!). Together, we collect sponsorships for our novel marathoning. This year, our goal is to raise $10,000.00 to use in the fight against illiteracy.

Amid the excited scrambling to sign up for the marathon this year, some of the writers have been blogging about the experience. Like Susan Blakeney, who was my ‘coach’ last year—I was unfit for marathoning in 2011, but Susan helped to keep me going (every single time I wanted to throw in the towel and admit defeat!). She went all Mickey (Rocky’s Coach) on me and kept me going when all I wanted to do was sleep.

Sometimes writers need motivation too. Especially when they are writing non-stop for 72 hours. And extra-especially when they came to the marathon completely unprepared and in the middle of their worst bout of insomnia ever.

This year, I will sit near Susan again…if I can. I should keep it on the down-low how awesome she is as a motivational speaker. The competition is crazy this year. Three months before the marathon and all the spaces are already booked.

As a four-time winner of the Best novel Award you would think I would have advice or a strategy of some kind.

You would, in fact, be wrong if you thought so, though.

Here’s a quick list of the strategy I have used thus far.

1. Do NOT prepare.

2. Wander lots. Try not to focus. Sleep on your keyboard.

3. Be annoying. Be a chatty Cathy (with the capability of pulling your own cord—which is difficult to do when the cord is positioned square in the middle of your back!)

4. Wander away from the venue several times–for Nutty Chocolatier visits, Ice Cream Parlour visits, coffee breaks, jay-walking, etc.

5. Eat. Eat. Eat.

6. Listen to music to the point of distraction.

I think that’s about it. Yep…those are the ingredients to a successful novel marathon. Works for me. (-;

My strategy is to have no strategy.

This image clearly outlines my novel marathon strategy. Visualize the horsey as The Nutty Chocolatier and the black pawn as Pat Flewwelling. (-;

Pat Flewwelling’s NINE DAY WONDER site (because it’s not fair that I single her out without also promoting her blog!).

This year, the marathon organizers set fundraising up a little differently. We can still collect donations in meatspace, but there are also online options that each marathoner can set up. Here is a link to my online donation page:

Muskoka Novel Marathon – Writers Helping Readers – Kevin Craig’s Donation Page

(In all seriousness, please consider making a donation to the literacy cause that the novel marathoners are backing. Any size counts. We’re all in this together–All the competition and fun-poking is our silly way of having a good time with this. We are supporting each other through these marathons and we are, more importantly, supporting non-readers…by attempting to take away at least one of the barriers–the financial barrier–that stands between them and literacy. Thank you in advance for your support!)

For those interested, my 2007 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel, SEBASTIAN’S POET, which won the Best Adult Novel Award for that year, will be released this coming June by Musa Publishing!

 

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Muskoka Novel Marathon On Writing

Muskoka Novel Marathon – Writers Helping Readers

A short post to request your help. In July, I’m participating in my 5th Muskoka Novel Marathon. 30 writers get together to write novels in 72 hours. We all collect sponsors and aim at reaching our goal of $10,000 in donations. All monies collected go to fight literacy. Hence, we are writers helping readers. Please consider clicking on the link below and helping me reach my own sponsor goal for donations to the cause. Thank you so much in advance! Together, I truly believe we could wipe out illiteracy.

Muskoka Novel Marathon – Writers Helping Readers.

 

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Books Fiction Musa Musa Publishing Museitup Museitup Publishing MuseItYoung Muskoka Novel Marathon Reads Sebastian's Poet Summer on Fire Terpsichore YA Young Adult Young Adult Fiction

Sebastian’s Poet Nearing the Gate! (Editor Love)

Okay, so I love working with a good editor. I just went through the first round of edits for my soon to be released adult novel, SEBASTIAN’S POET. My editor was so precise and helpful. I just love the way she was able to take a sentence that was a little foggy and rework it until it said exactly what I wanted it to say. It was like she was a clairvoyant, reading my intent and making it reality. I hear writers often complaining about the editing process. Heck, I’ve done it myself. But when you read the notes of the editor and they all help you to see things in a slightly different slant—a more correct slant—it’s such a euphoric feeling. I love that my editor is able to adjust things here and there until the clarity that I was looking for comes through. It’s an amazing experience. I felt giddy as I read some of her suggestions and notations. 

Round two of my edits will be coming my way shortly. I’m really excited about this book. It was a real journey writing SEBASTIAN’S POET. The first draft was written in a 48hr writing marathon. By the end of that marathon, I was peaking on words. I felt like Carlos Castaneda flying on peyote. But it was such a clean high, this high of words. There is NOTHING to describe the feeling of writing a novel in one sitting, without an outline, without an idea of where you’re going to go. I just sat down and wrote. I watched the words appearing on the screen and felt as though I were seeing them for the first time, like they didn’t just travel through my mind, down my arms and through my fingers onto the screen. I wrote faster and faster so that I could find out what would happen next. 

Over the next couple of years (Sebastian’s Poet was written in July, 2007) I worked extremely hard at polishing the manuscript. Once it was accepted for publication by Musa Publishing, I felt like my favourite baby was picked! I’ve written seven or eight novels over the past few years, but this one…the emotional attachment is so great. It was my first marathon novel. I lived and breathed nothing but it for an entire weekend. It was my peyote. When it recently went through the first round of edits, and I saw my editor making all the iffy sentences I thought to be ready actually resonating with more clarity—well, I wanted to dance. It made me that happy. I can’t wait to see the second round of edits.

This is the novel I am most proud of. I am on tenterhooks to see the cover of SEBASTIAN’S POET. So excited! Can’t wait! 

More to come on the release of this novel. Until then, SUMMER ON FIRE, my young adult novel, is still available. (-:

 

My debut novel, Summer on Fire
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Kevin Craig Muskoka Novel Marathon The Reasons

Tuesdays at Starbucks – Editing THE REASONS

I’ve been spending about an hour a week–every Tuesday–editing my 2008 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel. It’s called THE REASONS. The Reasons are a dysfunctional family going through, well, a particularly dysfunctional period. It’s a first person story told in two voices. The voices alternate with every chapter. There is Tobias Reason, who is a child trying to keep his family together and sane, and there is Maggie Reason, who does everything in her power to destroy all of Tobias’s efforts. Maggie is crazy and Tobias is trying to save her.

I thought I would share a short excerpt from Chapter two here tonight. I am at Starbucks now…going through this chapter ONCE again. Anyway, this is an excerpt from the middle of the chapter. Maggie has to face the music with Tobias after snapping.

Yesterday I removed the stuffing from the living room couch. It was just a pull in the fabric to begin with, a tiny thread that caught my eye. Part of me screamed, don’t touch it! But I had to. My compulsion to rip that bastard apart, and take out its lungs, won over.

As the air around me filled with the ancient exhaust of those crumbling couch guts—as I breathed it in and it became a part of me—I knew I had gone too far. My hands worked without me, shredding and tearing and pulling—and screaming. If hands can scream. I tasted the staleness of what I released into the air and felt the torture inflicted on my hands as I did it. But I couldn’t leave it alone. I could not stop tearing it apart.

There was nothing left but material, a wood frame and a roomful of shredded foam by the time Tobias came home. I see now that it was a crazy thing to do. Christ, I saw it then. But knowing crazy and choosing not to do crazy are two entirely different animals.

“What the fuck is going on here?”

This novel is almost ready for submission. I have to stop polishing it! I get into these cycles where I can’t leave anything alone. My spidey-senses are telling me that it’s time to let this one go.

Until Next Tuesday, Starbucks!

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Muskoka Novel Marathon Writing Life

2010 Muskoka Novel Marathon – July 16-19, 2010

It’s that time again!

Every July the Muskoka Literacy Council hosts the Muskoka Novel Marathon. This is a benefit that raises funds and awareness for the literacy council. It is also a HUGE benefit to the writers who take part in the marathon. We get locked in for 3 days and write like crazy. At the end of the weekend, those who wish to submit their manuscripts to the marathon contest are encouraged to do so. The manuscripts get sent to industry judges and Best Novel awards are handed out in the fall. This is win, win. The writers get to raise funds to help support the council and the council offers us a friendly active atmosphere in which to do the thing we love to do—create big brave new worlds of fiction!

Visit the Muskoka Novel Marathon website.

I will be heading up for the marathon again this year. I took last year off, as I was preparing for my December writing program in Kenya. But this year, I made sure the dates were free. It’s such an amazing event…such an opportunity, that I really couldn’t imagine missing another year!