Summer on Fire
Today is my good friend’s birthday! Okay, so he’s more an acquaintance than a friend, really. Okay, so he’s more a mentor than a friend, really. Okay, so I never actually met him…but I feel as though I know him intimately.
Happy 450th Birthday, Sir William Shakespeare!
I love Shakespeare. I finally dipped into this love for one of my forthcoming YA novels. My main character, Francis Fripp, loves Shakespeare and can quote anything from the bard’s work because he spent the lion’s share of his childhood in the hospital recovering from burns he received to almost half of his body. While it was his father who set him on fire for playing with matches, his father’s kind sister gave him The Complete Works of Shakespeare to read during his recovery. So, I really got to give the old Shaky Pear the nod in Burn Baby. (-: Shaky Pear. That’s what we called him in high school.
Did you know that many of the phrases we use every single day come from the man? It’s true.
How many times do you say the following phrases? If you invoke them, you are invoking Shakespeare!
- A wild goose chase
- Give the devil his due
- Wear your heart on your sleeve
- Vanish into thin air
- What the dickens
- Knock knock! Who’s there?
- For goodness sake
These are just a few of the good man’s many everyday phrases. He certainly has achieved world domination in the English language phrasebook.
Raise a glass for old William today. He has brought us much joy.
Speaking of birthdays, don’t you just LOVE balloons! Wouldn’t you love for your job to be to sell cartoon balloons in town?! Couldn’t you just imagine yourself sitting on a porch swing somewhere blowing up balloons all day. Just letting them go and watching them fly!
After listening to Levon recently, I turned to my friend and said, “Wouldn’t that be the most awesome job in the world?! Selling balloons for a living.”
He said, “Der. That’s what you do. You play with words. You sell word balloons. You HAVE the awesome job. Dude, you’re living it.”
Sometimes I forget how fortunate I am. I get to do this thing I love to do. I play with words. I sit on the porch swing and watch them fly. I take a balloon and I go sailing.
Find your thing. Find your balloon. And when you do, enjoy the flight. You only live once.
Don’t forget to check out my novels on Amazon. BURN BABY and HALF DEAD AND FULLY BROKEN will release in the Fall of this year, but there’s always SUMMER ON FIRE, THE REASONS and SEBASTIAN’S POET…if you want to check out something now.
I am becoming a glass-is-half-full kind of person. I know…I can’t even believe it myself. I’m realizing how much I have to be thankful for. I have AMAZING kids. I mean, they rock. I’m having amazing luck with my mid-life writing career. Two books releasing in the same year! I mean, that’s golden. Such a huge blessing. I can’t look that gift horse in the mouth. I just can’t!
I’m also about to set out on a journey… a pilgrimage. Spring arrives tomorrow and with it the promise of the Camino. I know it’s still about 58 days away…but now I can actually feel it. SPRING. SPAIN. WALKING. INNER JOURNEY. It’s all good. I’m ready to let the healing begin…through my soon-to-be long suffering feet. They will take me across Spain to the mecca of my pilgrimage, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. I will be leaving baggage there…of this you can be certain.
There is no room for my sad little half-empty to nearly-empty cup. Life is giving me…well, what’s the opposite of lemons? Oranges?! Life is giving me oranges. I’m going to make orange juice. (-:
As the year progresses, I will also have the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON. This, in case you haven’t kept up with my stream of consciousness way of thinking, is my ANOTHER KICK AT THE CAN. This July will be my 7th Muskoka Novel Marathon. I’m still crazy proud of the 4 Best Novel Awards that have come out of my MNM writing. Three of the Best Novel award novels are either published or soon to be published. And another novel I wrote there, which didn’t actually win the award, will also be published. My cup runneth over with goodness.
Herein comes the pitch.
Every year the writers who take part in the MNM raise funds for YMCA Simcoe Muskoka and the good people at the YMCA put 100% of those funds to use in their literacy programs. We the writers–40 of us this year!–are helping readers. We are giving the gift of words to those who have previously not had them. But we can only do this with YOUR help. Our job is to each write a novel over a 72hr period. That’s the easy part. It’s the job of all those who support us that is a bit more difficult. But I will always ask…because there will always be those in need of literacy programs. Please find it in your hearts to give a little to this most worthy of causes. Please click on the link below to go to my CANADA HELPS GIVING PAGE:
Making a donation on the above page will be sponsoring me for the marathon. Any amount would be most excellent. We have raised $85,000.00 to date with this marathon. That money has changed a LOT OF LIVES. We did this $5, $10, $15, $50 dollars at a time. So never think that a small donation is not big enough. Everything counts.
If you would rather donate to your own local literacy programs, by all means do so. I hope that this pitch inspires you to help…in whatever way you see fit. (-:
That’s my plea for today. Thank you for listening. And if you choose to give, thank you!
If you ever hear me bemoaning, complaining, or otherwise appearing unhappy…you have my permission to set me right. With a slap, if necessary. I have so much to be happy for. (-:
To learn ALL about the Muskoka Novel Marathon, please visit their website below. Just click on the Muskoka chair:
So, since happiness is infectious…how about I infect some of my readers this morning. This song is just making its way into my obsession books now. I mean, I’ve heard it before…but I guess I just wasn’t open to it…I give you HAPPY
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)
Here are some of the places you can purchase the books:
The publisher of Summer of Fire
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:
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.
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!
PS: If you are in the Toronto (GTA) area, please see THIS POST for area resources for victims. Thank you.
As it turns out, I find myself NOT so busy this September. It always seems to be the month that I’m playing catch-up, doing a hundred things at a time…and making a blog post in which I decry the swamped-edness of the month of September. The only thing on my writing agenda at the moment is my 2013 Muskoka Novel Marathon W-I-P, Alive & Kicking.
Alive & Kicking is a first for me. It is BOOK 2 of my 2010 Muskoka Novel Marathon BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL AWARD winning novel, Half Dead & Fully Broken! (-: I love that I got to use the ampersand in both novel titles. Makes them, you know, connected! (-;
Half Dead & Fully Broken is with my agent, Stacey Donaghy. She has it out on submission to places which shall here remain nameless. It was Stacey who suggested there might be more to the story than just a standalone novel. And I’m grateful to her for suggesting this, as I had a lot of fun writing BOOK 2. Book 1 is about a good ghost—the brother of the narrator—coming back to attempt to close all the loose ends prior to going to the great beyond. Is he successful? I’m not saying! Der. Book 2 was fun to write because the ghost in this one does NOT have good intentions. He’s actually a nasty piece of work. He does a lot of mean and nasty things before the hero—the alive brother, Carter Colby, from the first book—manages to get things in place to attempt to stop him. Does the hero conquer? You know I can’t tell you that! Der.
Anyway, I’m ALMOST finished writing the first draft of Alive & Kicking. I only got around 32,000 words during the 72-hour marathon. I really didn’t feel like I was focusing very well at the marathon this year. My goal was 48,000 words. It’s coming to the 50,000 word mark now and I’m so close to the end I can almost smell the ectoplasm.
That’s mainly what my September has consisted of, writing wise. Oh, I also helped my friend, M-E Girard, set up a private writing forum site for our writing community, WCDR. It’s been fun seeing this come to fruition. It’s going to be great building new relationships with the writers in our group. Believe it or not, we are now over 300 members strong! If you’re in Durham Region, Ontario, and you’re not a member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region, you truly do NOT know what you’re missing. Check them out: WCDR
And, now, back to my agent. Stacey Donaghy was an agent with Corvisiero Literary Agency. This month, she unveiled her own agency, DONAGHY LITERARY GROUP. I made the move with her to the new agency. I’m thrilled to be represented by Stacey…she’s a real dynamo! Her agency is currently closed to submissions, but you should check out her SUBMISSION GUIDELINES and consider submitting when she opens her doors to submissions in early December, 2013.
Well, I guess that’s it as far as a check-in goes. I’ve been spending so much time in Muskoka, at our new trailer, that the blog has really been taking a backseat in my life. The park is closing soon, so it will be back to business as usual for the writing life. This means that I will be finishing Alive & Kicking.
After A&K is completed, I will be attempting a NA (New Adult) title…along with a YA wherein a boy comes out of the trees and gets himself wrapped up in the life of the girl who just moved into the house beyond his magical woods. It’ll be a story about him adjusting to being a teenager (as opposed to being the soul of a tree) and his romantic ties to the girl from the house…as they both adjust to being new at the area high school. I began this YA project as a sample of a BOOK-TRAILER-AS-NOVEL-OUTLINE for a workshop I put together recently. I threw the book trailer together in a few minutes to show one way a writer can create an outline—especially helpful to writers who abhor outlines—ME. So after the book trailer was completed I thought, ‘that’s actually not a totally terrible idea’. I am now going to be exploring it and checking to see if it has a novel in it. Here…why don’t I just load the trailer onto Youtube and link it here:
Happy October! May your writing life take you somewhere interesting and adventurous in the coming month!
PS: Today’s question — Ever feel like you continually write the same novel…only in different ways? I would like to think that my 3 published novels are each unique, but I suppose there is a recurring theme. Are we all just creating the same work ad nauseam until we get it right? Hmmm?