On the heels of my recent book deals I was invited to be interviewed by writer and poet ROSALIND GUY at her A WRITER’S THOUGHTS blog.
Much thanks to Rosalind!
Also, my books were temporarily down from Kobo…due to some technical changes that required, I believe, some sort of reformatting on the part of my publisher.
All 3 of my novels are again available at Kobo Books. You can click the image below to be taken to kobobooks. (-: Of course, they’re all also available at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles…and other places where ebooks are sold.
Having participated in 7 novel marathons (6 Muskoka Novel Marathons in Huntsville & 1 Great Canadian Winter Novel Marathon in Pickering), I’m so happy to see that a new one has sprung up! Here in Toronto! And not only that, but it seems like the mastermind behind the great success of both the Muskoka Novel Marathon and the Great Canadian Winter Novel Marathon is responsible for this new one. So I already know it’s going to be fantastic! Martin Avery + Novel Marathon = Huge Success and a Wonderful Experience
As near as I can tell, the upcoming marathon only has a Facebook page at the moment. I think it may be launching a website soon, though, as registrations for the event will be opening March 1st.
So, if you are in the Toronto area…you have to mark your calendars! There is nothing more creativity inspiring than a 3-day novel marathon. It looks like there is going to be room for 30 writers to attend this marathon. In a city with thousands upon thousands of writers, one would think those 30 spots would fill up almost instantly.
Toronto Novel Marathon tagline: Writers in support of recovery for men, women, families. A special event fundraiser for women and men with addictions issues. Funds raised go to Renascent.
You can go to the TNM Facebook page to learn all the details. To date, they have the rules and other information posted. I would suggest clicking ‘LIKE’ while you’re there, so you can get any updates as they occur.
- Registration Opens March 1, 2014
- Registration Cost is $100
- Each Registrant Must Meet the Minimum of $500 in Sponsorship Pledges
- Top Prize: Top Manuscripts will be guaranteed a sympathetic reading by Tim Inkster of the Porcupine’s Quill and Rick Wilks of Annick Press.
- The marathon will take place in the heart of downtown, near Yonge and Bloor Streets. Facility is air conditioned.
- Marathon to take place in August.
- Maximum Manuscript Length is 300 Pages
- BLIND JUDGING
- Entrants will begin writing no earlier than 7.00 p.m. on the first day (Friday) of the marathon and end not later than 7:00 p.m. on the final day (Monday) of the marathon.
I guarantee I will be at my keyboard on registration day, attempting frantically to secure one of the 30 spots! I love the whole marathon experience. From afar, you cannot begin to imagine how daunting a task it would be to sit and write for 72 hours. But once you do it once, you’re hooked. It’s like heroin for the writer’s soul. You’ll want to write ALL your novels this way. Take the leap!
Hope to see you there!
Now that you have the ear-worm firmly implanted in your skull, we’ll continue.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my role as a writer. It’s been an extremely dark and dreary winter thus far. I’ve made some big changes lately and I’ve been struggling with getting actual words down on paper. For years, I had a writing routine that I stuck to religiously. The minute that routine folded, Negative Nelly began to ask a question of me. “Are you sure you’re a writer? Maybe you’re just a guy who wrote for a while.”
I try not to listen to Nelly, but she’s been a monkey on my back for over 40 years now. Whenever she asks me this question, or points and laughs at me as I attempt to pass myself off as a writer, it chips away at something inside me. All I have to do to stop being a writer is stop writing. It’s as easy as becoming a writer in the first place…only in reverse. How many times have I heard people saying, “I want to be a writer, too.” Guess what, genius…you wanna be a writer? Sit. Write. BOOM! You’re a writer.
But how long does one have to stop writing for the NON-WRITER label to apply to them? Six months? A year? Six years?
The things we do to ourselves!
Do me a favour. If you’re a writer currently struggling with a dry-patch…go easy on yourself. Expect that there are down-times and you won’t drive yourself crazy when they come.
When I hear other writers say stuff like, “I’m not writing right now. I feel so guilty. I’ve given up. I’m not a writer!” I remind them that A WRITER IS ALWAYS WORKING. This is some sort of golden rule of writers. I don’t have the source for that last statement, I just acknowledge it as a golden rule under the BECAUSE I SAID SO clause. Why? Because I said so. I remind them that writers are mills and in the quiet time between putting words on paper and not putting words on paper we are gathering grist. The mill doesn’t have to be milling to be in service, right. You can’t work the mill without having something to put into it. Into every writer’s life, time-blocks for the gathering stage must be allotted.
I tell myself…though I’m not writing, I’m still processing-accumulating-gathering. It’s a feeble excuse at times…when three or four or seventeen days go by without any words being written. “I’m getting grist for the mill.” Suddenly Samuel L. Jackson is screaming in my ear, “Bullshit, Motherfucker!”
Yeah. My Negative Nelly swears like a truck-driver. If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know this. (-:
I’ve been told by some that as long as I am still writing blog-posts about writing, I can pass myself off as a writer. As long as I have an agent who is actively pushing my work to publishing houses, I can pass myself off a writer. Both of these things are true. My agent currently has 2 of my novels in the hands of publishers. So I actually feel a bit authentically writerly about that. I just wish this never-ending winter would break its spine so I could crawl back out of the trenches and get back into some sort of regular writing routine.
I have no fewer than six novels in progress. Each one sits quietly rejected for months at a time. And each one mockingly rears its ugly head in turn, sticks out its tongue and makes fun of my defeat. I have so many characters poking and prodding me on a regular basis, at times I feel a bit crazed. Going through the inventory of characters trapped in half-completed to near-completed to just begun manuscripts I have no fewer than eight characters abandoned in Africa (5 at the airport!), one character running from the cops and two attempting to get him to turn himself in, one character at the bottom of a swimming pool experiencing the temporary effects of drowning, five characters standing over a patriarch’s open grave trading barbs and witticisms. These are just a few of my arrested in development characters. And I hear their non-stop complaints. I do. Honestly. I just don’t have the gumption to get them back into a fluid motion. Sometimes I think about it. But like a chess master, I contemplate which one I’ll move next…until my head is spinning with the impossibility of movement.
I’ll get around to it. Dammit.
In the meantime, if you don’t mind, I’m just gonna sit here and percolate. I need a lot of grist to accumulate before I can get back into the task of getting this busload of noisy maniacs crammed into the mill. When the time comes, it will be my pleasure to grind them all into dust…er…I mean finish their various stories.
Writers, eh! Man…we move in mysterious ways!
Before I get to the upcoming (impending?) WCDR Roundtable Meeting, I thought I’d talk a bit about duo first person narration. I spoke about this to a fellow WCDR member at the WCDR Words of the Season event at The Bear & Firkin in Pickering this past Monday. The first thing I panicked about was a passing mention that writing this form is difficult.
I’m a bit puzzled. Perhaps somebody else can chime in with why they think writing 2 POV characters in first person is difficult? Is it because both characters need to be individuals and it’s presumably hard to write 2 FP POVs in the same novel because the reader may not know which POV they are reading? I did not have that problem. My characters were as different as day and night. I don’t know if any readers had a hard time separating the two voices, but I myself never got lost in the grey area between the two. I never questioned who was speaking. Perhaps this is the difficulty that was alluded to? Who knows. I can just say with absolute surety that I did not find it difficult. In fact, I had so much fun I might just do it again!
I wrote my 3rd published novel as a duo narrated first-person POV. I did it because it was fun. I had no idea it was hard until I heard it said this week. Since hearing that, I’ve been apron-wringing about my novel, THE REASONS. It was NOT hard to write that novel. What I found hard about that novel, was keeping up with the manic narrative that coursed through my brain at the time. I couldn’t get it down fast enough. My narrators are mother and son. And the best part was writing the insanity of the mother. It was a trip getting into her headspace every other chapter. I wrote The Reasons during a 72hr novel writing marathon. I still maintain that I dictated that novel. The two first-person POV characters, Tobias Reason and his mother Maggie, were extremely willing interviewees. Yeah, it sounds crazy…but sometimes one just gets right IN THE ZONE when writing. So much so that it feels like the characters did all the work. All I did during that marathon session was tap the keys…I was a conduit to a pair of mal-adjusted dysfunctional lunatics, and it was a thrill ride. HARD? Hardly!
Now! It’s almost time for the next WCDR Roundtable Meeting! Are you coming this month? You do NOT need to be a member to attend. These monthly meetings are wonderful networking opportunities. AND they are great rewards to give you writing life. As soon as I began to attend these meetings, way back in 2003, I felt legitimate. I had arrived. Attending these meetings helps to get I-might-be-a-writer people off the fence. When you become a part of the action at a WCDR Roundtable, you’re plopped right into the thick of the writing life. Each meeting is an adrenalin shot to keep you in the head-space of writer.
To discover what went on at the January 2014 WCDR Roundtable, click the picture below of Sarah Selecky. Sarah spoke on the finer points of short story writing. January was also the launch of the WCDR Short Story Contest, which Sarah herself will personally judge. You might best know Sarah for her WONDERFUL STORY PROMPT TWEETS on Twitter.
Don’t miss the February WCDR Roundtable Meeting. What’s going on at this one?
National Bestselling EVE SILVER will be speaking at the February event. her topic will be: Writing Romantic: A Creative Exploration for all Genres
There is always an After Breakfast Mini-Workshop at these meetings. For February, Sandy Campbell will be taking on the topic of SEX. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THE FEBRUARY MINI-WORKSHOP GETTING SEX ON THE PAGE!
For those writers in the area who are shy-reluctant-terrified to attend one of these meetings, I’ll tell you right now…YOU WILL BE WELCOMED WITH OPEN ARMS. Have no fear. All levels of writers are welcomed–and encouraged–to attend. My first was terrifying! I thought I would have to show my WRITER CARD at the door. Truth be told, I was positive I would actually be turned away at the door…by a posse of laughing actual-writers, with a chorus of, “YOU DON’T BELONG HERE” singing me out the door. But it is not like that! AT ALL! You will be welcomed. Your hand will be held, if need be. Or not, if you’re freaked out by that sort of thing. Newbies are escorted to a table with at least one veteran attendee, and they are made instantly welcome into the fold. Do yourself a favour…ATTEND!
You must register by 9am on the Wednesday before the meeting. Next meeting Saturday, February 8th at 8:30am at Ajax Convention Centre in Ajax.