Burn Baby – A Young Adult Novel by Kevin Craig

Burn Baby is in the vault. It’s polished and covered and waiting. Release date for my latest young adult novel is December 11th. Before the cover reveal and other events coming down the pike, I thought I would sneak peek it. I mean it IS only 105 days to go before the BURN BABY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!!

Pssst. This is NOT the cover for BURN BABY. You will have to stand by to see that. (-:

Pssst. This is NOT the cover for BURN BABY. You will have to stand by to see that. (-:

I know I asked some of my readers if they would like to help out in the cover reveal, or with excerpts, interviews, what have you. I have a list. If you’re on it, you will be contacted eventually.

For me, this waiting game is the hardest part about being an author. I seem to get SO very far away from my books before they see the bookshelf. Once I’m done with everything, quite often IT’S A WRAP and I am on to the next project and the next project and the next project. Burn Baby has fallen victim to this forward marching momentum, like all the others before it. But it’s also the book I’m most proud of. It was, to my mind, a bit of an underdog. It deals with some touchy issues. I’m so glad it found a home and I really hope it gets a nice reception when that home (CURIOSITY QUILLS) pushes it out into the wide world beyond its front doors.

As mentioned, how about a short excerpt? Because it IS Thursday, after all. (-:

In this extremely short glimpse into Burn Baby the main character, Francis Fripp, is to meet the new girl for a date of sorts. Because of his baggage, he’s convinced she’s not that into him…that he will be stood up. He can’t believe that anyone would like him. Ever. Because of his social status, which is a direct result of the huge amount of scarring he received when his abusive father torched him years earlier, he is a boy of zero confidence. Rachel Higgins? She couldn’t possibly like Francis. Right?

ENJOY…

Since I have nowhere else to go and nothing else to do, I head straight to the band shell. I take a seat in the bleachers facing the stage.

Probably the worst idea I ever had. I’m there in five minutes. This gives me a long time to be alone with the negative thoughts inside my head. I get to sit here and wonder if she plans on ditching me. And if she doesn’t—if she actually intends on coming—what will she wear? How will she smell? Does she always smell the same? Will we kiss? I totally can’t take this kind of pressure.

I know she isn’t coming. I feel like I’ve been here forever. What am I going to tell Trig? That I was set up? That I waited for hours in the park for a bitch who didn’t show up? That he was right?
I can’t take it. I feel like a jittery mess.

“Wouldn’t it be so awesome to star in a performance of Streetcar on this stage?” Rachel says, startling me back to reality. She walks out onto the centre of the band shell stage. Her heels clicking on the wooden stage are intoxicating. Each click holds me rapt. “Ooh. Who would you be? I would so be Blanche. Blanche Dubois is like the best character to build your acting chops on. I played her in grade eight. I was the best washed-up, lush bitch the Riverside Elementary School stage had ever seen!” She hugs herself and twirls. She’s wearing a skirt and I wonder if it was on purpose. The twirl looks perfect.

“How did you get up there?” I say from the front row of the bleachers as I shake myself and straighten up. I jump up and approach the stage. How could I have possibly thought she stood me up?

“Stage left, mah dawlink,” Rachel bellows. “Always stage left.”

She laughs and time stops for me. That’s actually a laugh I could listen to. On repeat.

That’s all for now. Just a taste. Burn Baby was written during one of the 72hr Muskoka Novel Marathon events I participated in.

Guest Blog – Return of the Loving Dead – Current Government Guidelines for the Living Impaired

Current Government Guidelines for the Living Impaired

By Danica Parker-Pierce

Contributor to the Stephen E. King High School Newspaper

 
As civil rights groups across the United States continue to file lawsuits in both state and federal courts, the staff of the school newspaper decided it was time to review the rights which have been temporarily bestowed to the “living impaired” or zombies as most students still call them.

 
However, one of the first things to remember is that if you see a zombie that is not accompanied by a caretaker, you should immediately call 9999 and report the sighting to the zombie hotline.

 
For the first few months following the zombie outbreak, there were no laws covering this problem and the undead could be disposed of on sight without fear of reprisal. However, with the advent of medicine and technology (specifically the development of Mortiphalin), that has changed.

 
The main thing to remember is that it is no longer lawful to “dispatch” an undead person. This was done by destroying the brain of the zombie.

 
According to the new mandate set forth by the federal government, until these legal matters can be settled, the living-impaired have most of the same rights as all Americans. (Technically, they even have the right to vote, but as they can barely hold a pencil, let alone mark a ballot, that issue is really not an issue at this point.)

 
However, not only is “killing” a zombie against the law, it is also illegal to abuse one. This latest ruling came down after it was discovered that zombies were being used in club boxing matches and even being used as piñatas in backyard parties.
As the number of living-impaired loved ones being cared by family members rises, it becomes more and more likely that they will eventually become a normal part of everyday life. Or at least as far as the word “normal” can be used when referring to zombies.

 

The above article was provided to me by Curiosity Quills author STAN SWANSON. It appears in the Stephen E. King high school newspaper. The newspaper, and the school, can be found in the new Curiosity Quills book HORROR HIGH SCHOOL: RETURN OF THE LOVING DEAD.

 

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The first book in the young adult Horror High School series, Return of the Loving Dead (by Araminta Star Matthews and Stan Swanson), is now available through Amazon or your favorite bookstore. You can also visit the official Horror High School blog at http://horrorhighschool.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stan Swanson – Co-author of HORROR HIGH SCHOOL: RETURN OF THE LOVING DEAD (first in the series!)

Bio: Stan Swanson is coauthor of Horror High School: Return of the Loving Dead along with Araminta Star Matthews. Published by Curiosity Quills Press, Return of the Loving Dead is the first book in a new series about zombies, teen romance, the mystical occult, and the nature of true love.

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Araminta Starr Matthews – Co-author of Horror High School: Return of the Loving Dead

Bio: Araminta Star Matthews is an author, educator, and instructional designer in Central Maine. Born a ginger to a pair of geek parents (one, a lover of all things Stephen King, the other a tabletop gamer and Tolkein-fan), Araminta has always been a bit of an odd duck. Her books typically feature strong, young women who are brilliant, clever, funny, and weird. Her books include Blind Hunger, Write of the Living Dead, Before Black Mask, Before Weird Tales, and The Warehouse. Her notable shorter works include “Bark of the Covenant,” in One Night Stands, “The All-Consuming Hunger of Love” in Dark Moon Digest, “Under My Skin” in Zombies Need Love, Too, and “Every Time a Bell Rings,” in Slices of Flesh. She lives in Central Maine with her miraculous dogs, Devo the whippet and Crivens the Jack-Chi, and her partner, Abner Goodwin.

 

ARAMINTA STAR ON FACEBOOK!

STAN ON FACEBOOK!

ARAMINTA ON TWITTER!

STAN ON TWITTER!

 

Much thanks to Stan Swanson for stopping by today. And congratulations to him and Araminta Star Matthews on the release of the first book in the Horror High School series. I wish them the best of luck with their series!

 

Listed – How to Write a Novel

 

 

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  • Dream up an idea that is bigger than the spot in your brain that contains it.
  • Transfer the idea from your brain to your heart.
  • Knead idea with the milkblood of your heart.
  • Push the idea out of your heart and into the highways and byways of your veins.
  • Allow the idea to float through your body for as long as you can contain the excitement.
  • When exhausted from the anticipation of giving birth to the idea, allow it to float to the ends of your arms and down into your fingers.
  • Send the idea through the ends of your finger tips down into your keyboard.
  • Watch the idea come to life on the computer screen in front of you.
  • Be amazed! You are creator.
  • Once idea has been fully purged, type THE END into the same keyboard you allowed the idea to escape into.
  • Sit back and be well pleased with yourself.

Enjoy some SHADOW STABBING from Cake. (-:

 

How Does One Prepare for a Novel Writing Marathon? How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Let’s break it down, shall we?

She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee, her dress has got a tear
She waltzes on her way to Mass and whistles on the stair
And underneath her wimple she has curlers in her hair
I even heard her singing in the abbey

She’s always late for chapel, but her penitence is real
She’s always late for everything, except for every meal
I hate to have to say it, but I very firmly feel Maria’s not an asset to the abbey

I’d like to say a word in her behalf
Maria makes me laugh

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find the word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

Okay. There you have the first few lines of MARIA. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and composition by Richard Rodgers.
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I’m looking at this and guess what? I don’t see a problem. You can’t solve a problem that isn’t there. You don’t fix someone who marches to the beat of their own drum. You embrace them. Those silly nuns were just too rule-oriented. They could have really partied up that nunnery, had they had vision and insight. Shut up, nuns. One should waltz on their way to mass. One should whistle on the stair. And what wimple wouldn’t look more fabulous than one with the bulge of curlers beneath it? Get real, nuns! I mean, seriously. So, in closing…one does not solve a problem like Maria. One embraces the freedom that Maria personifies. One doesn’t catch a cloud and pin it down. Christ! That’s a barbaric notion. One watches the cloud dance.
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When I’m with her I’m confused, out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather, she’s as flighty as a feather
She’s a darling! She’s a demon! She’s a lamb!
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(Let’s come back to that one above. It has something to do with the other topic in the title of this post…so I’ll just hint at its relevance here by asking you to remember I quoted it.)
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How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
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Guess what, Nun dudes? YOU DON’T. You watch it alight on something. You experience its light and how it changes a thing. Hold it!? Those nuns were cannibals! To harness a thing that personifies delight is to kill the world itself.
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A writing quote opportunity has just arisen. This can be the segue, because let’s face it…I almost forgot what this post was to be about!
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“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~ Anton Chekhov

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There. From moonbeam in the hand to show don’t tell. It was a leap, but I made it.

 

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Now…on to preparing for a novel marathon. As some of you have probably figured out by now, I’m a lover of the weekend novel writing marathon. The MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON in particular. The 2014 marathon is coming up. Nay, it is racing to the forefront of my schedule. It is screaming itself into existence. On Friday July 11th I will make my way up to Huntsville, Ontario, for my annual MNM pilgrimage. I–along with some forty other writers–will write non-stop for 72 hours and walk away from the weekend with a complete novel under my belt. Hopefully.

One would think much planning would be involved in preparing yourself to write a novel in a weekend. One would think one would need to do some kind of writing endurance calisthenics, or something. One would think that an outline of sorts would be required. An opening paragraph. An opening line. Something!

Guess what? There is no formula. As I said, forty writers will be making the same trek as me. Forty writers will go into this marathon weekend with forty different plans, forty different ways to prepare, forty different concepts. The way one prepares for a novel writing marathon is absolutely unique to the individual. We are not all nuns, forced into the confines of formulaic rules and strategies. We don’t have to be the same. We can be as unique as snowflakes.

Let’s face it, we’re all MARIAs. Let’s just get that on the table right now. The job of the writer is to climb the tree and scrape their knee. A writer does not march in line with the rest of the world. Unless, of course, they want to. A writer of fiction takes up a challenge every time they sit down to write. They create a universe. That universe can be as structured and unmoving as steel, or it can be flibbertijibbet. How they get there is of no consequence. They climb a tree. They scrape their knee. Voila! They have a story.

To prepare for a novel marathon, a writer needs to cut away structure and discipline. They need to release control. Control lives only in the land of here-not-here. There-not-there. None of us have control of anything. To give up control is merely to give up the illusion of control. Sure, you can enter a novel marathon with a full page outline. You can have every single chapter of your novel outlined in point form. You can have your character profiles all standing in a tight little row like nuns at a shooting gallery, ready to be pegged off by angry satanists. You can do that. Yes you can.

But I’ve done seven or eight novel marathons now. I know what works for me. I know how this puppy rolls. I go in with a Nancy, a Bob and a Timothy about to embark on a story of love and deception. Half an hour into the marathon I find myself writing about Grace and Bill, two hippies who just want to change the world for the better with their hot-air balloon tour company. Free rides for anyone who donates a hundred kisses to the local animal shelter!

So, in closing, this writer does not prepare. He goes in with a story or two or seven swirling in his head…desperately wanting to be told. He picks the one that screams the most to be heard at the time he sits down to begin the marathon. He hopes it has staying power. He writes.

When I get there, I want to be confused, out of focus and bemused. I want to be unpredictable as weather, as flighty as a feather. I’m a cloud. Don’t pin me down, dude. The answer is simple. You don’t hold a moonbeam in your hand.

THE MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON IS FIRST AND FOREMOST A WAY TO BRING AWARENESS TO, AND RAISE FUNDS FOR LITERACY PROGRAMS. PLEASE CONSIDER SPONSORING MY WEEKEND NOVEL WRITING MARATHON. YOU CAN DO SO ONLINE BY CLICKING HERE. ALL FUNDS GO TO THE YMCA SIMCOE/MUSKOKA ADULT LITERACY PROGRAMS. THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE. TOGETHER, WE CAN OBLITERATE ILLITERACY!

 

 

 

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