Book Reviews

Matthew Quick, or Why I’m Allowed to Write for Adults & Young Adults!

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When I first discovered Matthew Quick, I was at an interesting crossroads in my own writing journey. I had written a couple novels for adults and I was pondering writing for the young adult market. For some reason, I got it in my head that I couldn’t do both. One could either be an adult author OR a young adult author. I don’t know why I thought this, but I did. I’ve made it a point throughout my writing journey to always remind myself that THERE ARE NO RULES. There are guidelines, there is good advice and there is bad advice…but there are no steadfast rules. Writing is what you want it to be.

And yet, here I was…trying to make this decision. And while on the fence, I really sweated about it. I loved the darker issues I could explore writing contemporary adult novels, but I also loved the idea of exploring dark issues in a teenager setting…the coming of age in the high school environment novel. I was weighing the pros and cons of the two markets, because, as I said, I thought it had to be EITHER OR.

Enter Matthew Quick. No…I’m not going to be so bold as to call him my savior, or anything as nutty as that. I’m just gonna say that he reminded me of my own first rule of the Writer Club. The first rule of Writer Club is that there are no rules in Writer Club. He didn’t do this right away, mind you. At the time, I was mass-consuming YA novels…as part of my research in the market. Well, that’s what I was telling myself. Truth be told, I LOVE reading YA. But I was reading solely YA to get a feel for the landscape of the market. I was dissecting books for themes, formula, what-have-you.

I picked up BOY21 for several reasons. Because it seemed to have strong male and female ‘leads’. Because it was sportscentric. Because the blurb really caught my fancy. Sometimes, I’ll admit right here and now, I am sold by a cover. Or, at least, I am gripped by the cover and moved to learn more about a book. BOY21 had an awesome cover. Anyway, I picked it up and I read it. And I fell in love with it.

You know when you discover a novelist and then check out there other books and get excited because you get to spend more time with them? Well, immediately after I finished BOY21 I searched to find out what other Matthew Quick offerings there were on tap at the Kindle store.

HOLD THE PHONE!

The Silver Linings Playbook. Can it be? A contemporary ADULT novel?! Oh my God! He writes for adults AND young adults! YES!

Okay, so Matthew Quick may not be the first author in the history of authorship to do this. But he was the author I discovered doing it when I needed the permission to do it myself. When I needed to realize that it could actually be done. And not only was he writing for both markets, but it would seem he wrote quirky characters. I wrote quirky characters, too. I immediately purchased The Silver Linings Playbook. And I devoured it. And I thought it was a masterpiece!

Click on the book covers to read my reviews of these two Matthew Quick novels:

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I later went through Quick’s full catalogue and loved all his books. I eagerly await his forthcoming THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW! I have it pre-ordered. And on February 11th, when I wake up, it will have been magically delivered to my Kindle! I know what I’ll be reading that day!

Click on the book cover below to read the synopsis of Quick’s latest offering:

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Okay, so on the surface this post may seem like a commercial for Matthew Quick’s books. But I swear to you, the whole purpose of the post is to tell writers to keep reminding themselves of the fluidity of the rules they should live by. When you find yourself questioning whether or not you can do something, DO IT. Try it, anyway. Don’t listen to people who say do this, don’t do that. I was very close to saying goodbye to one of the markets in question, even though I loved both! It was through my discovery of Matthew Quick’s novels that I found the permission to carry on carrying on. Because I saw that he accomplished writing for both adults and young adults, I knew that I could take the same path. And I did. And I for one am extremely grateful for Matthew Quick.

But seriously, check out his books. You’ll love them! (-:

The Reasons – Reviewed!

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I woke up yesterday to find a new review of my 3rd novel, THE REASONS, out there in the internetz! And it’s a beauty of a review. I thought I would share it here. (-:

Look for this image on the left-hand menu and click on it to be taken to the review!

Reviewed by LASRPlease remember that I am giving 100% of all royalties from books purchased in November to Male Survivor. Purchase any of my 3 novels this month, and you will be helping a survival of sexual abuse get the care and skill-set they require to recover from the trauma of abuse and go from survivor to thriver!

Please read this POST to learn how you can help!

A hearty thank you to LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS!

Male Survivor – Weekend of Recovery Scholarship Fund Drive!

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MALESURVIVOR.ORG – Remember the name. This is an organization dedicated to helping male victims of childhood sexual abuse. You can read all about them at their website: MALE SURVIVOR The organization hosts Weekends of Recovery for survivors. I’ve been to two of these weekends. They can not only change the lives of survivors, but they can also SAVE the lives of survivors. Every male survivor of childhood sexual abuse would be helped by attending these weekends. Not all survivors have the funds to attend. Male Survivor has created a scholarship fund to help these survivors: WEEKEND OF RECOVERY SCHOLARSHIP FUND. This fund helps male survivors of sexual abuse who could not otherwise afford to go to a WEEKEND OF RECOVERY retreat.

These weekends are designed to help male survivors of sexual abuse along on their road to recovery. A team of trained therapists (who donate their time to the cause) facilitate the retreats and the weekends are highly successful in giving participants the tools they require to not only recover from the trauma, but to move from survivor to thriver in their healing journey.

It doesn’t matter which of my 3 novels you purchase during this scholarship fund drive…all of my royalties will go to Male Survivor. You can purchase the book(s) anywhere, too. (THIS FUNDRAISER APPLIES TO ALL MY BOOKS PURCHASED ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD)

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Here are some of the places you can purchase the books:

Kevin Craig Amazon.com Author Page

The publisher of Sebastian’s Poet and The Reasons

The publisher of Summer of Fire

Barnes & Noble Summer on Fire

Barnes & Noble Sebastian’s Poet

Barnes & Noble The Reasons

Kobo Sebastian’s Poet

Kobo The Reasons

These are just a few of the online shops in which the books can be purchased. If you do happen to make a purchase, I want to thank you so much in advance. The funds collected are going to a most worthy and important cause. These weekends can literally save lives. I hate to think that there are people out there who cannot afford to benefit from such life-saving, life-changing assistance.

A quick description of the books:

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SUMMER ON FIRE: Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout? Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighbouring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect-none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell-the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence. But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from imminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.

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.

THE REASONS: With a mostly absent father, a deceased older sister, a younger sister on the verge of invisibility, and a certifiably insane mother, Tobias Reason is forced to grow up quickly. Though he tries to be a surrogate parent to his sister, their broken mother, Maggie, takes up a lot of his time. Annabel falls to the wayside and becomes a ghost in their chaotic existence. When Maggie flippantly hands her mother’s house over to Tobias, he sees an opportunity to learn how and why his family became so shattered. Be careful what you wish for. When his world begins to collapse from the weight of unburied secrets, he focuses on a stranger from his parents’ past. Only by eliminating the past, he believes, can he make his family whole again.

READ THE REVIEWS AT GOODREADS!

REMEMBER THE DATES!

NOVEMBER 1 – 30, 2013.

100% of my royalties from sales during the month of NOVEMBER go to the WEEKENDS OF RECOVERY SCHOLARSHIP FUND!

Thank you!

PS: If you are in the Toronto (GTA) area, please see THIS POST for area resources for victims. Thank you.

Past Generation’s On Writing – W. Somerset Maugham – The Summing Up

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This is a perfect read for those who enjoy their information delivered to them through storytelling. Think of a past generation’s On Writing. Like Stephen King did in his opus on the craft of writing, W. Somerset Maugham takes the reader to wonderful places while sharing truths and insights into the life and work of the writer. Keep a pen handy; you will want to take copious notes and pin them above your workstation for inspiration.

Whether you’re a novelist or a playwright, you’ll be delighted by the backstage pass Maugham offers. His self-deprecating humour and honesty will resonate with your inner writer—how refreshing to learn such an acclaimed writer had the same insecurities as we ourselves experience as writers. His thorough description of theatre, playwriting and the relationships between writer, actors, director and audience are golden. Reading about his theatre experiences and play creation process will feel like a workshop experience.

The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham
The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham

 Throughout Maugham’s thought-provoking and educational narrative, there is much for writers to contemplate. On giving up on novel writing to focus on playwriting – ‘Thank God, I can look at a sunset now without having to think how to describe it.’ His best advice for playwrights – ‘I think the secret of playwriting can be given in two maxims: stick to the point and whenever you can, cut.’

Alas, as insightful and bang-on as most of his teachings on writing are in this extraordinary glimpse into a writer’s life, the last quarter of the book drags as he leaves writing behind and hits on the topic of philosophy. Nevertheless, The Summing Up will strike a chord with all writers. The price of admission for this amazing writerly wisdom? The rants of a man in search of his personal philosophy. His philosophy ramblings aside, though, I highly recommend this book.

My favourite quote from THE SUMMING UP:

“Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.”