2016 Muskoka Novel Marathon Writers
I’m very excited to return in 2016 after jumping in with both feet last year as both a Rookie writer and the Food and Prize Sponsorship Coordinator. It’s amazing to see so many businesses in our community rallying behind the fundraising efforts of our writers!
When I’m not cheering on my two boys at various sporting events, I’m usually partaking in life’s three R’s: reading, writing and running. I most enjoy writing Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, and Creative Nonfiction.
Spending my days working as a Speech-Language Pathologist at our local hospitals and in our community, I’m faced each day with the importance of literacy and its impact on health literacy. Looking forward to raising money, once again this year, for such a great cause!
Please click on the link below to show your support for this vital service at the YMCA!.
Sponsor Brenda here.
This year will mark Cheryl’s eighth novel marathon! Having signed up for the very first one in 2002, and subsequently been astounded by how many pages she could write when the responsibilities of house and home were turned over to her husband, she happily participated again in 2004, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Her first novel, Come Looking for Me (Blue Butterfly Books, 2010), set on the high seas during the War of 1812, had its beginnings in the 2004 marathon. Her sequel, Second Summer of War, was released by Dundurn Press in 2014. Cheryl is currently working on her third novel, Run Red with Blood.
Author Page: Cheryl Cooper
I love the courage of creators. When I moved to Muskoka in October 2015, I discovered Muskoka Novel Marathon and immediately put my name on the list to hear when registration opens. What an amazing opportunity to combine creativity with giving back to the community. Best of all—MNM helps give the world more readers! It ticks every box.
So…is a bio who I am, or what I do? Umm—for me, kinda inseparable. I’m an author, writing coach, radio host, and publisher of corporate history books. I write for a living—so lucky—with a novel in the works, a bit of poetry now and then, and books about companies (they have lives too) that are not only fun to write and produce, they allow me the freedom to also write anything that takes my fancy. Right now, fiction is on the table. I mean…literally, all over my kitchen table, my desk, the sofa in my office. I’m a messy writer.
I’m also a slow reader, a (crazy-ass) collector of more books than I can read in a lifetime, a sometimes poet and a someday playwright. I’m a wildly fortunate life partner, a fierce mom (yeah, I know they don’t need that anymore), and a proud Nana.
But when I have to pick just one I usually say, “Uh, I’m a writer.”
Sponsor Christine here.
I’m a lawyer by day, writer all the time. I’m the President and founder of the Muskoka Authors Association. I’m a mother of three teenagers and am thrilled my daughter Jade is joining me in this Marathon adventure. I’m the author of Out of Darkness: The Jeff Healey Story.
Sponsor Cindy here.
Hailing from Toronto’s permanent construction site, Scarborough, Colum McKnight is… well.. he’s new to talking in third person, that’s for sure.
Colum is a newbie to the whole writing scene, only recently deciding to put pen to paper after about 6 years of reviewing Horror Fiction for various websites and magazines. While his preferred genre is definitely one filled with not-so-happy things, he’s been known to read anything he can get his hands on.
When he’s not reading and writing, you can find Colum hanging out with his 3 kids, knitting something pretty, or crocheting something strange.
He also doesn’t believe in censorship and can’t believe he actually made it through this bio without swearing.
Connie Di Pietro is the Queen of the Macabre. Her dark tales of twisted realities and warped psychosis sheds light on your inner fears. Weaved within these stories is a magnifying glass which amplifies the hypocrisies of societal beliefs.
In 2011, her short story, Reflective Pane, was published in the Wild Words Prose Anthology, and that summer she won first place in a poetry slam.
Connie Di Pietro is a dedicated writer, who contributes to and hosts, three writer’s circles. She is currently working on the 1st book of a Dark Fantasy/Historical trilogy.
While writing consumes much of her life in Ontario, Canada, Connie carves out a large portion for her husband, four children, cat and dog. If not found behind her computer she is either in the kitchen as any good foodie, cooking and baking with the best organic ingredients or at bootcamp. Downtime finds her curled up by the fire indulging in a glass of wine or cup of tea and a good book.
Dale’s deep sense of tradition liberally peppered with East Coast sensibilities lends a richness and old school flavour to his writing. When he’s not writing horror, Dale likes to write old fashioned, Dickens-esque, Christmas stories and blog about his writing journey.
Author Page: Dale R. Long
Dawn has been writing in the Muskoka Novel Marathon since 2008 and has been on the organizing committee since 2011. She writes, edits and coordinates hyperlocal news stories for Huntsville Doppler, our local news website.
Dawn lives in Muskoka with her husband, daughter, a yellow Lab who won’t swim, a fat cat who thinks she’s a dog, and a guinea pig who thinks we all must be pigs. When she’s not writing or spending time with family, she’s enjoying life in Muskoka’s outdoors, practicing photography (I’ll master night shots yet) and sometimes knitting.
Donna Curtin practices veterinary medicine in Bruce County, Ontario, close to her family poultry and cash crop farm where she lives with her husband and two children. A mixed animal practitioner, she obtains career satisfaction through improving the health of the family pet, constantly acquiring new skills and relishing every emergency from late night C-sections to cut horses. In her personal life, Donna strives to find the balance between leading a simple country life of 4-wheeling, hanging out the endless laundry and battling to get her two children off to school, hockey, dance and baseball while coaxing them to eat a more balanced diet than chocolate chip cookies. As a compliment to her veterinary career, Donna aspires to become a published novelist; she has a scientific publication within the Canadian Veterinary Journal and a couple short story publications related to her experience as a veterinarian. Animals play a large part in Dr. Curtin’s writing as within her world, animals, just as often as people, play important characters.
Drew grew up in an old Huntsville family, starting in 1952. He has seen parts of the rest of the world but believes Huntsville is the center of the universe, and has stubbornly stayed there for most of his life. As a business consultant, family man, reveler in village life, amateur actor and enthusiast of all outdoor things, he has accumulated strange and partly-true stories to tell.
So excited for year two at MNM. I’m hoping to finish the first draft of the novel I started last summer. In the meantime, I published a coffee table book – An ABCdery of Muskoka’s History – and have been doing the rounds trying to sell it. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you again and feeling that miraculous writer energy. Www.losttogetherbooks.ca. @losttogetherbks
To me, writing for young adults is about great story weaving and I began story weaving at the tender age of five (maybe earlier, I wish I could remember). I had my kindergarten teacher convinced that I had a new baby brother at home. Much to her surprise he didn’t exist and much to my surprise my younger brother arrived no more than a year later! I stopped reading in high school or at least I stopped reading books (scandalous I know), mainly because I had found a new past-time, mountain bike racing and so, I read “mtb mags”. Somewhere along the line I grew up and became a teacher. It was a class of 7/8 students who pulled me back into the world of YA novels. Without them I would still be stuck in an academic textbook and would never have found my way out to complete my first manuscript, “Becoming” or to be part of the MNM.
Jade is a gender and equality student at Trent University. Ever since she could remember she has been writing. She currently enjoys writing YA novels.
Janet has loved the beauty of words, and the magic of how they fit together, from a very early age. She has heard her resume described as ‘unusual’, which she presumes is a roundabout way of saying she has an unexpected and non-traditional background! From eleven years as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves, to working as a piano tuner, training for and completing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (twice), to her current employment as Secretary in two Toronto churches, Janet looks at all of her experiences as great sources of inspiration for her next (alright, first) great Canadian novel. She has been a member of the Writers Community of Durham Region for nearly four years, and currently sits on the Board of Directors as, yes, Secretary.
Janet lives in Ajax, Ontario, with her four wonderful children and a slightly psychotic betta fish. This is her second time at the Muskoka Novel Marathon.
Jeanne Pengelly is a television and radio news journalist with a Master’s Degree in Journalism.
Even before she got her first typewriter, she had decided she would be a writer. Highlights of her career include founding the McMaster University creative writing journal, living in a remote northern community on James Bay where she edited a newspaper and trained young television journalists, and being a non-fiction nominee for the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association.
Jeanne’s many interests include creative writing, photography, music, teaching, needlecrafts, fitness, and golf.
Jennifer participated in the 2015 Muskoka Novel Marathon as a first-timer and is so excited to be returning for the 15th Anniversary with even more enthusiasm and confidence than she had the first time around. She has spent this past year developing her abilities and truly embracing her love of writing.
It was always her dream to live in Muskoka, and she has been a resident of Huntsville for the last 12 years with her husband Jim and their children: Carson(11), Haley(9) and Olivia(5).
Along with nature and her family, Jennifer enjoys spending her time reading, writing, gardening, and photographing wildlife.
She also currently holds a Blue-Stripe in Karate. (4 belts away from Black – Recognize!)
Karen has trad-published two solo fantasy novels, Lion’s Heart and Lion’s Soul, and one collaboration, Shadow’s Son, with Baen Books, as well as several short science fiction, fantasy and horror stories.
Between 2009 and early 2014 she posted an expanded, revised and award-winning version of her solos online (www.chevenga.com). Represented by Bryan Dearsley of Walden House Books, she’s currently shopping two manuscripts: her epic “autobiography” of Alexander the Great, and a travel guide about Cuba for women on which she’s collaborating with Novel Marathon veteran Jenny Cressman.
Karen is also a freelance journalist who has published pieces in the National Post and Montreal Gazette, but has mostly worked locally. She writes tourism blogposts for www.explorersedge.ca and does occasional computer art for the largest progressive political blog in America, Daily Kos (artblog: www.artofkaren.blogspot.com).
Other interests include singing (with the Muskoka Rock Choir), reincarnation research (she’s working on her first paper) and homeopathy (advocacy more than practice).
This is Karen’s eleventh Muskoka Novel Marathon and her seventh as a key organizer. She has entered the Best Novel competition three times, placing in the top three every time, and won the Most Prolific Award in 2006.
Kate is an award-winning freelance writer, theatre director, and coach. Writing about other people’s lives keeps her sane in the face of her own life with four kids, including a set of triplets, and two needy black cats. Her fiction ranges from YA urban fantasy to adult literary fiction. Kate has written forThe Creativity Post, The Artist’s Road, and An Intense Life. Kate’s short stories and poetry have appeared in Renaissance and The Word Weaver. Her novel The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter received honourable mention in the 2014 Muskoka Novel Marathon Best Novel (Young Adult/Juvenile) category.
Kathleen is a writer and advocate for women. These two heart-loves frequently combine, and she often writes women’s stories in worlds much different than our own, worlds where women’s freedom to explore and express is not hindered by restrictive norms. Kathleen has been published under a pen name and has had her poetry and short stories featured in various anthologies including lesbian and feminist zines, blogs, and collections. With her time divided between writing about women and working with women, Kathleen has chosen to dedicate her voice to those too commonly relegated to silence.
Kevin Craig is the author of young adult novels and adult-themed novels featuring young narrators. His published novels include Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet (Winner of the 2007 Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Adult Novel Award), The Reasons (Winner of the 2008 Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Adult Novel Award), Burn Baby Burn Baby, and, Half Dead & Fully Broken (Winner of the 2010 Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Young Adult Novel Award). His LGBTQ novel, Pride Must Be a Place, is currently with his agent. He lives in Toronto, Canada. His poetry, fiction, and memoir has been published internationally. Kevin is also a playwright, and has had 10 short plays produced for the stage. Kevin is a member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region. He was also a founding member on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Writers’ Conference, and served on the conference’s organizing committee for several years.
Former Rock Star, current Most Prolific, Lenore is very excited to be returning to the MNM for a third year! Not sure if it’s the amazing food, the sparkling social company, the allure of the written word or perhaps sheer stubbornness combined with chronic sleep deprivation, but here we go again!!
Lisa has been writing since she was a young girl, although she refuses to share most of those early stories with anyone, for good reason. An avid reader and photographer, she sometimes suffers from “don’t-finish-it-itis” and is looking forward to the challenge of completeing a novel in a weekend.
Hi everyone: My name is Lori Manson and I’m so excited to be a part of the Muskoka Novel Marathon for the first time this year. I think it will be wonderful to be in a space with people who are as interested in stories as I am. I’m also glad to be raising money for literacy. I adore reading myself so literacy is a very significant issue to me.
I have been writing a book for a long time so I will be very happy to share ideas, get feedback and ask questions of all the other people involved. (Also, my cousin Cheryl will be there too, which will be a delight!) Writing in the beautiful location of Muskoka is not a bad part of the whole deal either. I’m looking forward to the whole experience! See you all there!
This will be the 4th Muskoka Novel Marathon for Louise, which is the only time she gets to do a really solid block of writing! In addition being a single mom and working at the Ontario Science Centre, she has many creative outlets, including writing, the fibre arts and jewelry-making. Louise is continuing to work on her epic fantasy work ‘The Rebel of Bradinflas’, She is active in SF&F fandom and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
I work in security. Avid cheese lover, and slave to two cats.
Hello, my name is Mackenzie and I love writing stories, long or short. I enjoy reading and have an extensive book collection, one that I hope to turn into a library one day. I am a grade ten student, so even though I am young I am also fierce. Don’t underestimate me! Literature is my passion and I’m so excited to be doing this Novel Marathon, hopefully with my best friend by my side. It will be a blast! 🙂
I am 15 years old, am in grade 10, and have 10 people in my family. I like playing badminton and volleyball, and like playing my guitar.
Mel E. Cober is also known as Melly Loves Orange. She’s a writer of humor, suspense and real-life who’s also obsessed with the colour orange. Mel has had many blogs published for Boom 97.3, and others. She’s also been published in Hamlet Life, Word Weaver and Surfacing magazine.
Mel is also currently on the WCDR Board of Directors, as Web Liaison and runs the WCDR Social Media accounts
Michael has been writing stories for many years, and continues to refine his work with the goal of publishing a full length novel traditionally in the near future. Several years of volunteering with the Literacy Society of South Muskoka brought home the transformative power of the written word and launched a personal desire to write professionally. The Muskoka Novel Marathon provided him a venue, or crucible, in which he could take the first steps towards realizing this dream. Returning for his fifth year, Michael hopes to again renew acquaintances and rekindle friendships and learn from the enormous collection of writing talent assembled for this event.
Hi all, this is my 4th year attending the MNM and I can’t wait. I live in Huntsville. I’m a mom of 2 teenage boys and wife to an awesome man.
I have been working on the same set of characters and this winter I put all the stories that I had done into a book and gave it to my mom for Christmas. She loved it. I plan on completing the rest of them this year at the MNM and add them to the book. Fingers crossed.
Thanks for taking time to read this, hope you all have an awesome day. ; )
Pat Flewwelling is an author of non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. When not working full-time for TELUS, nor working part-time as an editor and ghostwriter *and* book seller specializing in Small Canadian Presses, Pat is an avid blogger and reader, who also dabbles painting and playing guitar. Pat’s fifth book, Helix: Plague of Ghouls, is forthcoming in August, 2016.
Website: www.ninedaywonder.com AND www.wyrdcouncil.blogspot.ca.
is a veteran Muskoka Novel Marathoner and marathon organizer. Since 2005,
she has been a winner, runner up, organizing committee member, judge liaison,
co-convenor and convenor. This year she’s writing (yay!) and acting as judge
Outside of marathon season, Paula teaches creative writing to the
lovely students at the Muskoka Montessori School, works toward her dream of
being traditionally published, takes on freelance writing and editing
assignments, and enjoys life in Muskoka with her husband and son.
I write horror, science fiction and mystery, often all at once in the same story. I have published over 20 short fiction titles with magazines including Fiction River: Recycled Pulp, On Spec, Anotherrealm, Into the Darkness, The Vampire’s Crypt, Romance & Beyond Magazine, Storyteller, Deadbolt Magazine, Reflection’s Edge, Tesseracts 15: A Case of Quite Curious Tales, the TransVersions Anthology, the Future Syndicate Anthology, Hungur Magazine, and Allegory. I have received an Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best SF and several Aurora Award nominations for best short fiction. My website is www.RebeccaSenese.com.
This year will mark Samantha’s third year participating in the Muskoka Novel Marathon. Samantha is a Programs and Communications Specialist for Mazda Canada and when she’s not at work, loves delving into her more creative side in the Historical Fiction and Historical Horror genres.
Samantha is the mother of a very precocious four year old who represents everything that is good and beautiful in her world. Samantha has recently discovered her love for motorcycles and is now licensed to drive one on actual public streets.
You can follow Samantha on Twitter at: @SammyBanik
In 2005, I participated in the Muskoka Novel Marathon, as co-writer of a manuscript with Bruce Pirrie. The next year we were inspired to produce a short film to share with more people. We received a BravoFact arts grant and along with some very creative people, we created FlipBook, a short film that was aired on Bravo across Canada. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpUQKq3nWv8/ This year I will be writing the first draft of a manuscript for a book called: How to Wear Bare Feet.
I believe there is a co-relationship between walking and creativity and have led a Creatvity Walk for the past several years at the MNM. The last couple of years we’ve encouraged the artists to go barefoot
and really connect with the earth. We usually have 15-20 writers join in. This is organized as part of the mandate of a foundation called Vision One Walk. They want to ‘pay’ artists to walk instead of only paying them for the work they produce. This year we will again offer prizes and money to the writer’s who join in. All the artists are welcome to come out and join us on Sunday morning!
My goal is to raise $500.00. For every person who makes a donation of at least $10.00 to the Muskoka Novel Marathon, they will receive a ballot for a draw. A draw will be held on July 9, 2016 at the MNM for a beautiful Camino Pilgrim photo on metal picture of a Camino pilgrim by Theresa van Koueverdan (mother of the famous Olympic Gold medal kayaker Adam van Koueverdan).
Thank you in advance for your amazing support! And thanks to Theresa van Koeverdan for her generous donation to Vision One Walk!
Donate here and get a ballot for the draw!
Suzanne Caskie fell gratefully in love with MNM last year and is back with her jar of candy, arm chair
and quiet yet focused badassery. Suzanne is working on her second sexy ‘foodie’ novel and is thrilled
for the opportunity to do so in the MNM space of dreams. In her day-to-day she is a communications specialist providing strategies to enhance internal communications, grow external brand awareness and celebrate every potential opportunity for her clients. Suzanne is also an empowerment coach and a professional fromager.
I’m a writer who teaches and a teacher who writes. And I’m a twin from Newfoundland who has lived in a lot of different places. Toronto, Tokyo, Texas, and Newfoundland… to name just a few.
I’m an alum of The Banff Centre, The Humber School for Writers, The Bard Institute for Writing and Thinking, and The Damarsicotta Lake Writers Conference, and U of T’s Master Class in Writing the Literary Novel, all workshops where I was privileged to work with the finest of mentors.
Last year I took a writing sabbatical. Some highlights: Getting to read from my manuscript in progress at the Writers At Woody Point Festival in Newfoundland last August as well as participating in, and winning, The Muskoka Novel Marathon manuscript contest in July 2014.
I’m currently writing and editing something in the neighbourhood of 3 novel manuscripts and one short story.
Looking forward to diving back into MNM ‘face and eyes’ as we’d say in Newfoundland.
Tobin’s been writing so long there may be graffiti inside his mother’s womb. His wife and kids believe he’s weird, but thankfully, put up with him (mostly). Tobin’s a horror author and has had three novellas published: Vanishing Hope, The Wrong, and the third Sam Truman mystery, Soft Kiss, Hard Death. He’s also had a short story published in the Whispered Words anthology and, most recently, in Expiration Date.
When he’s not coming up with ugly stories about bad people doing horrible things (stories even his own mother won’t read, by the way), he reads a lot (no, seriously, check him out on Goodreads), and he teaches creative writing for Trent University. Tobin also blogs about all sorts of things that irritate him. He’s also been a judge for both the Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Awards and the Canadian Authors Association’s Award for Fiction.
Tobin’s a proud founding board member of the Writers’ Community of Simcoe County (WCSC), as well as a regular attendee at its sister organization, the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR). And, of course, he participates in the Muskoka Novel Marathon each year. This year will be his fifth(well, more like his 4.5th, due to the unseemly plague he caught on the first night of the 2015 MNM), which makes him question his sanity.
When he’s not doing any of this other stuff, he even sleeps.