Here are some of the writers participating in the 2017 Muskoka Novel Marathon (in alphabetical order by first name). Thank you for digging deep into your pockets and supporting these fantastic writers for this amazing fund-raising event…we all appreciate it!
I’m a writer of Young Adult, Contemporary, and Romance. I most enjoy reading, writing, being outside, and cheering on my two boys at their various sporting and music events.
I’m also the Food and Prize Sponsorship Coordinator for the MNM. It’s already been another amazing season with so many businesses in our community rallying behind the fundraising efforts of our writers year after year!
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.
Thanks to all of you who show your support for this vital service at the YMCA!
I’m an artist, photographer, and writer. Depicting my view of the world around me through words, imagery and art is the challenge that energizes. Poetry and short story forms are personal favourites.That said, there is a novel in process — it came to get me!
Recently retired, I pursue all these crazy makers full time.
I’m so looking forward to my first Muskoka Novel Marathon.
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.”
This year will mark Cheryl’s ninth 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, 2015 and 2016. Her first commercially published 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. When not at her desk writing, she can be found on the road, speaking to various Ontario clubs and organizations about the naval aspects of the War of 1812, the conditions and hardships faced by the sailors that fought on men-of-war during the Age of Sail, and words and expressions in our everyday language that take their origins from life on the sea.
Cheryl’s website: www.cherylcooperauthor.com
Colum McKnightHailing from Toronto’s permanent construction site, Scarborough, Colum McKnight is… well… after three years of marathoning, he’s still talking in third person, apparently.
Colum is a relative newbie to the whole writing scene, only recently deciding to put pen to paper after about six 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 three 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.
Donna CurtinDonna Curtin practices veterinary medicine in Bruce County, Ontario, close to her family’s poultry and cash crop farm where she lives with her husband and two children. As a compliment to her veterinary career, Donna aspires to become a published novelist. She has short stories related to her experience as a veterinarian published in three separate collections. Animals play a large part in Dr. Curtin’s writing, as within her world, animals, just as often as people, play important characters.
This is my third MNM. I wasn’t sure I would make it this year, but Cheryl Cooper twisted my arm and that’s what I love about this group. Never leave a writer behind. I am still working on the same novel, but have made a lot of progress. I wrote and published a coffee table book about Muskoka called, An ABCdery of Muskoka’s History, and am starting research on another one about the Town Of Blue Mountains. When I’m not writing – which is more often than I would like – I am parenting five kids and work as an occasional teacher.You can find me at www.losttogetherpublications.ca.
I grew up in Muskoka and absolutely love coming home whenever I can. This will be my first marathon of any kind, so please be gentile.
Fianna McKnightGuess you’re wondering what a 12-year-old kid like me has to write about, eh? Well, my dad has given me enough material for all of my future therapy sessions already… or I can use them for inspiration for my stories.
I love to write fantasy and horror, and am looking forward to this challenge.
This is my first year at the Muskoka Novel Marathon, and I plan to make the most of it!
Greg Pitts– bio pending –
Holly StricklandHolly attended Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario where she graduated with an honours BA in Geography and English. After meandering down several career paths she returned to school, this time to The University of Western Ontario in London, for her B.Ed. She now teaches French Immersion at the elementary school level. When she is not teaching or coaching Nordic skiing, she writes. Inspiration comes from getting outdoors with her husband and daughter as much as possible and from the fascinating youth she teaches.
Janet NicholsJanet has loved the beauty of words, and the magic of how they fit together, from a very early age. The word ‘unusual’ has been used to describe her resume, which she chooses to see as a compliment. From eleven years as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves, 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 writing. She has been a member of the Writers Community of Durham Region for nearly five years, serves as their Administrative Assistant, and currently sits on the Board of Directors as, yes, Secretary.
Janet lives in Ajax, Ontario, with her four wonderful children and two slightly psychotic beta fish. This is her third time at the Muskoka Novel Marathon.
Jennifer TurneyWife, Mother, Writer…… and Ninja in Training.
I participated in the MNM 2015 and 2016, enjoyed myself immensely and am really looking forward to doing so again.
There is something about being in a room with so many creative minds and personalities that just inspires me.
I am a busy mom of two very athletic children and have spent the last eight years working for myself so as to better accommodate the needs of my family. I have a freelance writing business, which is finally starting to take off, and also paint homes on the side to fill the gaps when sports fees are calling. My husband travels a great deal so during the week I am mom, dad, chauffeur, chef, housekeeper and entrepreneur.
Kat JohnsonA mom from Muskoka, my writing has been on the back burner for far too long. I decided to sign up for the MNM after I made the selfish decision to start putting myself first and pursuing interests I had previously not prioritized (like writing!) Although I love my family dearly and still struggle with the guilt of “me time”, I see the MNM as a fabulous opportunity and can’t wait to participate. I was waitlisted and offered the spot a mere two weeks before the marathon so I am now left scrambling to prepare.
Sharing my work with others is one of my biggest fears, second only to being thrown into social situations with people I don’t know – so it should be an interesting weekend. I am absolutely terrified but incredibly excited!
Kimberly CantonI am a former academic who now works in marketing and business communications. I live in Toronto with my two young daughters and husband, where I try to take in as much opera, theatre, and classical music (in that order) as is possible with a young family and a busy household.
Karen Wehrstein Karen went from some trad-publishing success (two solo novels, one collaboration, several short stories in anthologies) to journalism to prolific weblit to researching and writing in a scholarly way about reincarnation. (She’s decided that that’s what she wants to be when she grows up, despite the guidance counselor never mentioning it, and is making a living at least for now.) She is mom to two young men on the autism spectrum. In her spare time she does homeopathy advocacy, MNM organizing, choral-rock singing and American-politics following (her most viral article ever is about Donald Trump’s psychology). She used to do karate and has tried hang gliding. But what fascinates her more than anything, perhaps, while also shimmering half-existent just out of her grasp, is the retrieval of those memories she was forced as a child to erase.
Kate ArmsWhen Kate isn’t wrangling text into stories, she is corralling kids, directing plays, or running a private coaching practice where she helps people avoid the kinds of relationship and career troubles that she creates for characters in her stories. After four years of dragging her kids to the rink all winter long, she started playing ringette last year and is pleased to report that she is capable of skating forwards and backwards without falling over, and has been known to score when the opposing team leaves a huge, gaping hole in the net for her to shoot at.
Find her writing at womanwalkingaway.com.
Krystal DarlingMy name is Krystal Darling, I am a young entrepreneur and the owner of Belle’s Boutique and Darling Bridal in downtown Bracebridge. I am a Carleton University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English and history. Writing is a passion I have always loved exploring and I am beyond excited for the opportunity to participate in the Muskoka Novel Marathon.
Instagram is where you can find all the goods on myself and my businesses. (@darlingbridal ; @bellesboutiquemuskoka ; @krystal.darling)
Krystyne Taylor-Smith Avid reader. Ice cream addict. Mum of many fur-babies. Social Media “Cheerleader”
I spend my days working on other people’s websites and social media accounts: getting their businesses found online.
After cheering on long time friend, Lenore Butcher, each year at MNM I decided to jump in and participate myself for the first time this year – despite having absolutely no idea what to write! I also volunteered to work on the Muskoka Novel Marathon website and social media accounts. It’s been a fun ride so far – cannot wait until the actual weekend when I get to meet some of these great people!
Lenore ButcherReady for another year of caffeinated, sleep deprived fits of writing mania, Lenore looks forward to another successful Muskoka Novel Marathon. She loves good chocolate, great books and interesting conversations. She dislikes bugs, boredom and talking about herself in the third person.
Lisa CraigI am a health care provider (pharmacist) by profession. I have taken a very atypical path in my professional career and have held many different positions including designing and teaching the professional practice curriculum at the School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo. That change in path was the main reason why I won 2 awards – Ontario Pharmacist of the Year and Top 40 under 40 in Waterloo Region in 2011. I love to teach and mentor others and have been speaking to a variety of groups for many years. I even started putting a little drama back into my life this year by taking on a role for one of the productions at our local community theatre. I guess you could say that I like an audience.
I have been told for years that I need to write a book about my life with my son Riley, so I am finally going to do that!! I am the mom of 2 great children. Claire is 10, Riley is 14. Riley has high functioning autism with numerous mental health conditions and we already have a lifetime of stories to tell about this journey we are on. I’m hoping my journey and perspective might help others find hope along the way as they go through their own struggles with navigating the neurotypical expectations of our world.
Lisa Lacey LiscoumbA published author, wine aficionado, and self-described geek, Lisa has been writing for as long as she can remember. Ever since she was young, she would make up backgrounds and stories about complete strangers who crossed her path – usually something involving murder or alien invasions (or both). When she’s not writing or working as an HR Analyst, she enjoys reading, photography, and geeking out at science fiction and fantasy conventions as the head of The Button Brigade, which produces fannish and pop culture buttons. This is Lisa’s third Muskoka Novel Marathon.
Hello, my name is Lori. I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember — about family, and friends, and people I find fascinating. I tell stories of my travels on snow, of my adventures on water, and most especially of living in the place I treasure most: Muskoka. I’ve worked as a journalist and as an editor since graduating from journalism school so long ago I’m reluctant to think about it. Most of my writing has been for newspapers and magazines, and it has been about skiing, and sports, and luxury travel. But my move recently back to Muskoka has inspired me to write fiction. I am elated I now have an opportunity to work with like-minded people as part of the Muskoka Novel Marathon. See you in the summer.
Louise HypherThis will be the 5th Muskoka Novel Marathon for Louise, which is the only time she gets to do a really solid block of writing! Louise lives in Toronto (whether she wants to or not.) In addition to being a single mom and working at the Ontario Science Centre, she has many creative outlets, including writing, the fibre arts and jewelry-making. Her primary loves for reading and writing are Science Fiction and Fantasy, and she hopes that one day her work will find its way into print. She is active in SF&F fandom and can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter: @lchypher
Lynne Roxane RenaudI’ve loved books and reading since I was a kid. I blame my Mom for putting comics in my crib and turning the pages so that I’d have something to look at. I’ve enjoyed writing since high school. I’m a vinyl-phile with an eclectic music collection, and the house is over run by books. As long as I have a book and a record player, I’m generally happy.
Mackenzie KuhnHello, 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 eleven 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, with my best friend by my side. It will be a blast! 🙂
Madelaine VandenbergMadelaine is a high school student who loves to read in her spare time. She plays badminton, volleyball, and plays the guitar. This will be her second year doing the Novel Marathon with her best friend and writer, Mackenzie Kuhn.
I am the Team Leader at the YMCA Employment and Learning Services in Huntsville, which happens to be the recipient of funds raised by the Muskoka Novel Marathon! I have always loved to write – even as a child I wrote short stories and poems. I was also always a reader – being transported into other worlds, times, and realities was such a pleasure! Although I still read, sadly, I do not make time to write. Being intentional at the Muskoka Novel Marathon to do nothing but write is such bliss. But what is the greatest balm to my heart is seeing firsthand what the MNM funds do for learners at our Centre. Know that you are changing lives with the funds you raise!
Pat FlewwellingBased in Oshawa, Pat Flewwelling is a wearer of many hats. Along with short stories, Pat has several non-fiction, science fiction, and horror books in print. She owns and manages Myth Hawker Travelling Bookstore, which appears at conventions across Canada. She co-launched a micro publishing house called ID Press; she is also the layout editor for Purgatorium, their first in a series of anthologies. Pat also works full-time as a senior business analyst. Above all, Pat’s favourite hat is likely an ordinary ball cap, which she is rarely seen without, since she doesn’t budget much time for proper hair styling.
Rebecca SeneseRebecca M. Senese weaves words of horror, mystery and science fiction in Toronto, Ontario. She garnered an Honorable Mention in “The Year’s Best Science Fiction” and has been nominated for numerous Aurora Awards. Her work has appeared in Fiction River: Visions of the Apocalypse, Fiction River: Sparks, Fiction River: Recycled Pulp, Tesseracts 16: Parnassus Unbound, Imaginarium 2012, Tesseracts 15: A Case of Quite Curious Tales, Ride the Moon, Hungar Magazine, On Spec, TransVersions, Future Syndicate, and Storyteller, amongst others.
Find her at http://www.RebeccaSenese.com
I am relishing the opportunity of being in the Muskoka Novel Marathon for the second time, to continue to record those colourful moments of which life is made, which really means having a lot of literary fun at my family’s expense. This is easy, given the colourful personalities of my hubby (Eccentric Farmer and Entrepreneur) and our clan which consists of “The Bacon Bits” and their spouses. Or is that “spice”? Oh, and then there are the pets, and sprouts, and…
Shawne McKeownI’m a former online news writer who now works in communications (Woo! Normal working hours). Before working in Toronto news, I worked in theatre (mostly waitressing, really).
This is my first Muskoka Novel Marathon. I’m excited, a bit nervous and looking forward to a creative and busy four days in lovely Huntsville. I’ll be packing my toothbrush, sensory deprivation tank and waterproof pocket thesaurus.
Shellie WestlakeShellie Westlake is glad that someone once invented coffee. She loves her country house and when she’s not chasing her rambunctious toddler (or driving the older kids somewhere) she spends time trying to convince vegetables to grow, with varying degrees of success. She also tries to write stuff occasionally.
In 2012, Shellie won the Best Juvenile Novel award. This is her eighth marathon.
Tena LaingI’m a writer, teacher, and twin from Newfoundland who’s lived in Toronto, Tokyo, Texas, Calgary, Quebec….
I’m an alum of The Banff Centre, Sage Hill, The Humber School for Writers, The Bard Institute for Writing and Thinking, and U of T’s Master Class in Writing the Literary Novel.
And yet, It’s hard progressing now that I’m back at work full time. Writing highlights: reading from my manuscript in progress at Writers At Woody Point in Newfoundland last August and IFOA in Toronto, and winning The Muskoka Novel Marathon manuscript contest in July 2014.
Bring on MNM 2017!