We've come to the end of another year and once again I'm without a favourites of the year list of any sort (although I will happily share that my favourite read of 2013 was actually a 2009 YA novel called Raw Blue, by Kirsty Eagar, and at this very moment I'm falling in love with Jo Baker's Longbourn).

alien C.K.
Alien C.K.
Instead I'm offering a brief list of another kind entirely—some ways you'll know if I've been taken over by an alien interloper in 2014 (not that I'm expecting such a fate, but one can never be sure!):

• If I say, without any hint of sarcasm, that Toronto mayor Rob Ford is doing a good job

• ditto Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (aka the Grinch who Stole Canada)

• if I mention having gone to a spa or gym or having had a pedicure/manicure

• if I use the words 'bromance' or 'man cave' without ridiculing the terms

• if I say I can't wait for the latest new adult romance between a tattooed, womanizing, bad boy type and the 'relucant' girl he wins over

• if I tell you I watched Game of Thrones last night

• if I say Matt Smith played the Doctor better than David Tennant

• if I say 80s music sucks

There are countless more warning signs, to be sure, but if any of the above biggies occur in 2014 please contact CSETI (the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and inform them of what's happened! Then hopefully a rescue attempt can be mounted for me.

Happy New Year everyone! And don't forget to post your own Body Snatchers Warning Signs list so that you have a chance of being saved if you're taken over by an alien life form.

Stephen harper: The Grinch Who Stole CanadaCanadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has gotten into a pissing contest with the Grinch, insisting his own heart is at least four sizes too small compared to the Grinch's two sizes too small.

At this point the majority of Canadians probably have no problem agreeing with Harper's assessment that he has the smaller heart. But should you still require proof, you might want to check out this recent Toronto Star article detailing the Conservative government's dismantling of social programs that were built over generations. Thanks to Harper's government, Canada has become a meaner place to live, something the Grinch never accomplished with Whoville.

Congrats, Stephen. You should be ever so proud.

Today I'm incredibly excited to announce Dancing Cat Books, an imprint of Canadian publisher Cormorant Books, is going to publish my new contemporary YA book, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing! It will hit shelves in Canada this coming fall and I'm beginning the editing process in January.

In essence The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing is about the difficulties fifteen-year-old Serena has in establishing authentic relationships with boys in a society that both sexualizes and shames young women. Meanwhile she’s also dealing with dysfunctional family dynamics caused by her missing favourite brother, who left the family without a trace when his drug addiction spiralled out of control.

Serena has barely begun to enjoy the popularity that comes with being newly thin and pretty when her basketball player boyfriend of four months puts her in a compromising position at a party. It’s not the first time he’s made her feel somehow wrong but it’s the last—she swears off the opposite sex. If only fixing her family life were as easy…...

Serena's consumed with worry for the brother she was so close to growing up. Even as she searches for him she’s determined to get her own life together—new friends, a new part-time job and no more guys—ever. Until she meets Gage, a temptation she can’t resist but who brings with him another set of complications.

I'll share more as time goes on! But in the meantime, if you don't hear much from me, you'll know why. I can't wait for you to meet Serena!

I spent part of this weekend at Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto. While the weekend isn't the ideal time to visit this new Toronto tourist attraction (the crowds!) I certainly wasn't disappointed by the sights. The various Jellyfish were mesmirizing and one of the other highlights was a moving walkway that gives you an incredible visual experience as it ferries you through an enormous sea life landscape where exotic fish, turtles, and sharks swim overhead and on either side of you.

The expensive entry fee means I won't be dropping in again any time soon (Toronto zoo tickets are $7 cheaper and it takes much longer to cover the zoo) but I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits. If you're thinking of visiting, here's a sample of things you'll see:

sea pens, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

spotted australian jellyfish, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

Moon jellyfish, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

Baby seahorse, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

starfish, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

Sea horse, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

Diver feeding manta rays, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2013

sawfish, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2013

Potato cod, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 20136
It's not quite December yet and this morning the temperature felt like -16 degrees Celsius in the GTA. Brrrr. One exceptionally chilly February snow day years ago I industriously went out with my camera and took some photographs of the excessive amounts of snow in the area. Well, I took some snaps until either my camera or the batteries stopped working because of the cold. Anyway, I'm actually pretty much the same way; I don't function well in the cold. I was probably only outside for about three minutes this morning before my eyes started streaming. Generally my whole body tightens up, wanting to close in on itself in a futile attempt to keep warm, whenever I'm out walking in winter. Maybe my genetically Irish cells would naturally prefer more moderate temperatures?? I don't know. But I'm happy to be indoors again and happy that it's a gorgeous bright day. When the days are so short we really need the light whenever we can get it!

I'm home from the office unexpectedly early this morning and because I have this bonus time I want to share a few lovely reviews my books have gotten lately, as well as photos the organizer of the Oakville Defend Our Climate rally sent along of our local protest. I'm the one with the Canadian flag style sign.

Defend Our Climate. Oakville rally

Defend Our Climate. Oakville rall

On November 16th this is what the Defend Our Climate
movement looked like across Canada:

And the fight continues! In Washington-based Center for Global Development's assessment of 27 wealthy nations Canada came dead last when it comes to environmental protection. Also, for the second year in a row Canada has placed near to last in Germanwatch’s Climate Change Performance Index with only Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and Iran behind us. We have a hell of a lot of work to do to dig ourselves out of this hole!

Finally, here are links to three reviews from the past couple of weeks which I'm extremely grateful for:

Ivy Book Bindings on Come See About Me: “From beginning to end, this book drowns you in a sea of complex emotions, its prose evocative and strangely compelling, despite its subject matter. Moreover, while Martin's stark realism can be difficult to swallow at times, it is a much appreciated slap into reality. Come See About Me won't be a book for everyone, but as a reader who actively seeks gritty novels that are deserving of their "realistic" tag line, this novel was a godsend.”

Frampton Books on Yesterday: “With an engaging and vivid writing style and multi-layered plot Yesterday is a far more accomplished novel than some of it’s more well-known contemporaries and deserves to be read by a larger (and older!) audience.”

CM Magazine on Tomorrow (Yesterday Book #2): “Martin obviously understands intrigue and knows how to construct a story that leaves readers wanting more with each passing chapter. She also manages to cover difficult and nuanced topics of sexuality and race, as well as environmental destruction and international warfare, with a light touch. ”

I can't tell you how thrilled I am that CM Magazine has called Tomorrow “Highly Recommended” and “very much worth seeking out.” Just thinking about it could almost keep outdoor cold from hunching me into my ordinarily tense posture.

And now I'm going to get down to writing while there's still some sun in the sky to power my efforts. Happy Friday!

When I grew up there were alot of TV commercials and school messages about the dangers of littering. The below is an American PSA we'd also catch up here in Canada that'll give you an idea about the focus.

So, okay, leaving your pop cans and candy wrappers lying around forests and stuff was a bad thing. We learned that. What we didn't learn about was the potential for human activities to wreak havoc on longterm weather patterns, putting human lives and the lives of numerous other earth species in jeopardy. And most of us still live our lives as though we don't know that's happening. It's a terrifying thing that we don't want to focus on and/or feel helpless to change. I feel the same. What can I do? I put my name to environmental petitions, I recycle, don't own my own car, I replaced my old lightbulbs with supposedly more environmentally friendly ones when that idea became all the rage (it may not have been such a smart one after all because it turns out Canada's "mercury-waste facilities are either patchwork or non-existent" but that's another story).

But when it comes down to it, what can I do that will make a real difference? I don't have great power or influence. Probably not even medium power or influence. And I'm certainly not single-handedly saving the planet by taking my Coke cans and old newspapers down to the apartment's recycling room.

So what does change things? Mass pressure on the politicians and corporations who possess real power. Right now those people don't believe enough of us are concerned about things like climate change, pipelines running through our communities and the destruction of ecosystems to warrant changing our society's toxic ways. There will be more hurricanes like Sandy and typhoons like Haiyan. Greater and greater disasters occurring with more frequency, if we don't make our voices heard on the issue of climate change now.

One way you can make your voice heard is to take part in one of the over a hundred Defend Our Climate rallies happening in communities across Canada on Saturday, November 16th. Stephen Harper and the Conservative party have had their heads buried in the {dirty oil} sands long enough. It's time for Canada to wake up to reality.

I'll be outside my local MP's office with a sign in my hand on Saturday...but it will mean so much more if you're there too!

On November 16, 2013 thousands of Canadians are coming together to Defend Our Climate Defend Our Communities
Given the current Senate scandal I felt compelled to drag this image I created back in May, 2008 back onto the blog. Let's face it, the photo's been applicable countless times since Stephen Harper became Prime Minister in 2006. But since a recent poll shows 40% of Canadians surveyed believe Senator Mike Duffy’s story while only 18% believe Steve-o's version (and 37% don't believe either of them), the picture seems especially apt at the moment.
Pinocchio Harper gives the thumbs up

Happy Halloween, Steve-o! Can I suggest drowning your dirty politican woes in a tub of Mars bars this evening? And maybe find a mask that can cover up that telltale honker, at least for tonight.

Back in May I was thrilled to read and blurb Gina Linko's second book, Indigo. Now that it's out (Happy release day, Gina & Indigo!) - I want to take the opportunity to gush about it, starting with the blurb I wrote last spring:

"Gina Linko has the touch. Indigo is a compelling mixture of vulnerability and mysticism with a lush romantic core. Readers will connect with Corrine's emotional journey and relish the magnetic scenes between Corrine and Rennick."
Indigo by Gina Linko

When Corrine moves to New Orleans with her family after the death of her young sister, she brings with her a heavy guilt that has her "quarantining" herself so that she won't hurt anyone else. She knows...or thinks she knows...that it was her other-worldly, electrically charged touch that accidentally killed Sophie after her fall. The trouble is that it's not so easy to shut out the world.

Corrine's drawn into new friendships, even as a big part of her wants to recoil. New Orleans, a land of mystery and magic, is the perfect setting for Corrine to grapple with the blue light—the current—that surges through her at times. Is it a coincidence or is it Corrine's presence that stops her friend Mia-Joy's insulin pump from working? And how she can draw images of people she's never met simply from listening to taped interviews with local senior citizens her mother has been recording ?

The unfolding mystery is rich like dark chocolate, wonderfully written with a varied cast of well-drawn characters, both major and minor. I will admit a special fondness for Rennick, who is both full of curiosity about Corrine and full of his own mysteries. The slow-burning romance between the two seamlessly blends Corrine's emotional state with her exploration of her powers.

Indigo contains enough realism and depth that it will appeal to readers who aren't ordinarily keen on books with paranormal elements as well as diehard fans of the genre. I'm betting it will win Gina Linko a whole new crowd of readers. You can pick Indigo up in bookstores and from internet retailers today.

Watch the trailer:

Excerpt from Chapter 5:

"You listen to me," he said gruffly, pointing at me. "I'm going to knock on that door and wake up your parents, tell them I found you ready to hop a train, if you don't give me a few minutes here." He looked at me hard, threatening me, although I could see the apology in the shake of his head. But it was what it was.

I knew he would knock on the door. I knew he would, so I just gritted my teeth. "Tell me what you know."

I met his eyes briefly. The moon was low in the sky, a tiny crescent, a thumbnail, as Sophie used to say. It was an inky night, with very little light, especially in the back of my house, next to the hydrangeas and the electric meter. And, of course, right beneath the window of my parents' bedroom.

I listened to the hum of the crickets and toads as Rennick gathered himself. He rubbed his hand across his forehead nervously, and he started to say something twice but stopped himself again. I softened toward him for a second when I realized exactly when he seemed so different from anyone else in New Orleans. It was because he treated me normally. Like people did back in Chicago, back before everything. Easy. Normal. Everyday.

Here in New Orleans, I was not a real person. I was a freak, a weirdo. No one treated me like Corrine. I was a story. The sideways glances. The whispers. I deserved it.
If you're curious about what happened to Freya & Garren after Yesterday, stop by the Tomorrow blog tour running October 7th to 18th for all sorts of info on the book. But Tomorrow also functions as a standalone sci-fi thriller so you can jump straight into the action!

You can now purchase e-copies of Tomorrow from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca and other Amazon stores. Paperbacks are also available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, various other Amazons and Createspace. Epubs can currently be downloaded from Smashwords. Epubs will also be available from Kobo, the Apple iBookstore, Barnes and Noble and other outlets within the next couple of weeks (to get the book into these vendors' shops I have to use aggregator Smashwords which is a slightly slower process).

Click the below banner for a chance to win the tour grand prize of signed paperbacks of Tomorrow and Yesterday + a $30 Amazon Gift Card at the Itching for Books blog. One runner-up will also win signed paperback copies of Yesterday and Tomorrow. Contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada ONLY but I'm also running a Goodreads contest (draw date is October 10th) that residents of the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the U.S. can enter.
Tomorrow Tour: Oct 7 - 18

Here's the full tour schedule:

October 7th
The Passionate Bookworm Review and Favorite Quotes
Falling For YA Interview

October 8th
The Book Town Review and Favorite Quotes

Scott Reads It! Guest Post

October 9th
Kimberly's Novel Notes Review and Excerpt (blogger's choice)

October 10th
Faerie Tale Books Review and Excerpt (blogger's choice)
Addicted Readers Blurb and Excerpt (blogger's choice)

October 11th
Leisure Reads Guest Post

October 14th
Mother/Gamer/Writer Review and Playlist (blogger's choice)
Angee's After Thoughts Blurb and Excerpt (blogger's choice)

October 15th
The Wonderings of One Person Review  and Excerpt (blogger's choice)
The Book Cellar Interview
Such A Novel Idea Review and Excerpt (blogger's choice)

October 16th
Piper Interview and Review
Diayll Sales Blurb and Excerpt (blogger's choice)

October 17th
Please Another Book Review and Excerpt (blogger's choice)

October 18th
Once Upon a YA Book Review and Excerpt (blogger's choice)

Thanks, Shane (Itching for Books), for putting together such a fantastic tour!
I'm still mourning the end of the Toronto International Film — the eleven days in September when Toronto feels like the centre of the universe and when all the fun helps us forget that summer's drawing to a close. Toronto is truly at its best during the festival. So much buzz in the air. Walking from the Lightbox around the corner to Roy Thompson Hall around 8:15 pm on the evening of the seventh there were so many summery, excited folks in the street enjoying the atmosphere, celeb watching or in line for movies that it felt dreamlike.

This year I had the good fortune to catch six films: Words and Pictures, Philomena, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Tracks, Stay and Sunshine on Leith.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Q & A, Elgin theatre, TIFF,

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Q & A, Elgin theatre, TIFF,
September 10, 2013
Tracks Q & A, Elgin theatre, TIFF, September 10, 2013

Watch the Q A:

Sunshine on Leith trailer:

Sad as I am that the festival's over, it's absence has given me the chance to catch up on some other things. Like spending time outdoors.

Wye Marsh, Midland, September 22, 2013


Wye Marsh, Midland, September 22, 2013

I'm also still putting in hours at my old office job, working out of my former cubicle, funnily enough. And of course I'm gearing up for the upcoming Tomorrow blog tour (thanks to Shane at Itching for Books for doing such a fab job of assembling the tour!). You can click the below banner for info on all the stops. I hope you'll drop in somewhere along the route to find out more about Tomorrow and say hello!

Tomorrow Tour: Oct 7 - 18

I've got double-sided bookmarks ready for Tomorrow's release

and if you'd like a chance to win signed copies of Yesterday and Tomorrow, there are two weeks left to enter the Goodreads giveaway (open to residents of Canada, U.S.A, U.K, Ireland and Australia).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tomorrow by C.K. Kelly Martin


by C.K. Kelly Martin

Giveaway ends October 10, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

I didn't intend to skip a whopping six weeks between blog entries but life is unpredictable. Between readying the Yesterday sequel for publication and other things that got in the way of blogging, well, here we are in September. There were some tough things about this summer that I can't really talk about because they're not mine to tell, but there were also fun nights out at the wind orchestra in an Oakville park, gelato-based outings and two trips to the CNE. The first time Paddy and I climbed on a bunch of amusement rides and got ourselves pretty dizzy, but I'm telling you, you couldn't pay me to ride the Mach 3. That thing looks INSANE. If you're wondering what I'm talking, about here's a clip of the same ride taken in Winnipeg:

I'm also doing a bit of work at my old office for the next while, filling in for folks on vacation, and now that the Toronto Film Festival's just days away I'll likely be disappearing from the Internet again for a bit. But before I disappear into movieland and my office cubicle, I wanted to announce the upcoming blog tour for Tomorrow which Shane (thanks, Shane!) at Itching for Books has been doing an awesome job of putting together. Click for details.
Tomorrow Tour: Oct 7 - 18

Meanwhile I'm holding a Yesterday + Tomorrow giveaway at Goodreads to celebrate the paperback release of Yesterday on September 10th and Tomorrow's October 10th release. Residents of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia can enter to win signed copies of both books.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tomorrow by C.K. Kelly Martin


by C.K. Kelly Martin

Giveaway ends October 10, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

I hope your own summer has been more of the fun parts and less of the tough ones! Personally, I'm also hoping for a September that feels more like summer than fall. I'm not ready to give up long evening walks by the lake with gelato in hand just yet.

So said Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. And Freya Kallas and Garren Lowe from my sci-fi thriller Yesterday are counting on it!

Yes, it's finally time to talk about Tomorrow: the sequel to Yesterday. I couldn't say much about it before because until recently the nature of its future was uncertain. But I started writing the sequel last April and have been finished a draft for some time now. Ultimately Random House decided Yesterday's sales didn't warrant a sequel but I still absolutely believe in Freya and Garren's continuing story. So I'm moving forward with it and will be sliding into the editing stage soon and releasing Tomorrow sometime in October, 2013.

In the meantime you can put it on your TBR list at Goodreads and check out the trailer:

And this is what the cover's going to look like:

Tomorrow by C. K. Kelly Martin

Hope you like it!
So, Toronto typically gets about 75 millimetres of rain during the entire month of July but on Monday 90 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in just two hours at Toronto's Pearson Airport. And there I was last week complaining about the Irish rain—in particular the day we got drenched at Giant's Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Now, when I say drenched I mean, yes, it was raining and we were tromping around outside for hours so we got wet. And, yes, it was windy too and only 12 degrees Celsius up at Giant's Causeway. But the rain was entirely normal and unremarkable in comparison to what we got hit with here two days ago so the next time someone hears me complaining about Irish weather, please remind me to get a grip, okay?

Usually Irish rain, which is indeed pretty persistent, is more drizzle than deluge. Much easier to deal with really. But Environment Canada and the Weather Network warned us that it was going to be a wet and wild summer for Toronto (lots of thunderstorms) and so far it looks like they're right. There's a severe thunderstorm warning in effect right now in fact. Dare I say I'm already starting to miss the cooler Irish temperatures and near constantly overcast days?

Since the contemporary YA manuscript I just finished is set mostly in Ireland I actually feel as if I'd been there for longer than two weeks. I hope to be able to share more information re. that book in not too long. Not to mention the Yesterday sequel, Tomorrow! In the meantime here are some photos from my time in Ireland.
Tower Records, Dublin. Losing myself in the stacks.

Out in Malahide on a grey day.

Malahide, July 2013

Malahide, July 2013

I picked up a couple novels in the below Malahide bookstore. There's also a bookshop called Village Books a couple of blocks away.

Manor Books, Malahide, July 2013

Dublin Pride Parade: June 29, 2013.

O'Connell Street, Dublin Pride Parade: June 29, 2013.

O'Connell Street, Dublin Pride Parade: June 29, 2013.

Summer days are long in Dublin (longer than they are in Toronto) so this low hanging sun over South King Street doesn't mean darkness is right around the corner. The sun set will be blissfully s-l-o-w.

South King Street, Dublin

Our wettest day in Dublin was the one where we set off for Giant's Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Take a look out this window and it'll give you an idea of how the day felt.

Approaching the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, July 2, 201

We heard the employees over their walkies talking about how they were probably going to have to close the rope bridge soon so had to hurry across and then back again. I'm not gonna lie, the flimsy look of the thing in combination with the wind made me a little nervous as I dashed across. The rain poncho I bought on site acted like a kite, which didn't help. But the area is gorgeous, rain or shine.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, July 2, 2013

As was Giant's Causeway. Walking on the long path down to the rock formations, my poncho blustering in all directions and my hair and jeans soaked, I lost it and doubled over with hysterical laughter re. the nastiness of the day, which got Paddy laughing nearly as badly. You'll note the rain spots on my camera lens in some of my shots below.

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland, July 2, 2013

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland, July 2, 2013

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland, July 2, 2013

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland, July 2, 2013

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland, July 2, 2013

Dunluce Castle ruins, Northern Ireland

Dunluce Castle ruins, Northern Ireland, July 2, 2013

Dunluce Castle ruins, Northern Ireland, July 2, 2013

Thankfully the next day back in County Dublin was much nicer and we went out to Malahide Castle with family. They don't allow you to take pictures inside but the guided tour of the castle is well worth it, and the grounds are lovely. While you're there don't miss out on the Avoca Café which is expensive but offers scrumptious meals.

Malahide Castle, July 3, 2013

Malahide Castle grounds, July 3, 2013

Malahide Castle grounds, July  3, 2013

Malahide Castle grounds, July 3, 2013

Malahide Castle grounds, July 3, 2013

Malahide Castle, July 3, 2013

Irish pint in an Irish pub, July 3rd, 2013

The Porterhouse Brewing Co, Pint, Dublin  Pub, July 3, 2013

Treats in Bewley's Café (Grafton Street) window.

Bewley's Cafe, Dublin, Julyy 2013

I never realized that you could sit outside on the third floor ( Irish and English folks would count it as the second floor) but sure enough you can spy people up there.

Bewley's Cafe, Grafton Street, Dublin, July 2013

And the evening we dropped into Bewleys it was crowded
so guess where we headed?

Grafton Street from Bewley's Cafe, Dublin, July 4, 2013

Here's Paddy's snack: a pear and almond tart & coffee.

Bewley's Cafe, Dublin, July 4, 2013

And mine: cupcake with sparkling pink lemonade.
Bewley's Cafe, Dublin, July 4, 2013

Finally, they're currently repaving Grafton Street sections at a time. The stones were intended to last twenty years and have now been there for thirty. The walled off sections being worked on had old photos of Grafton Street hanging on it.

Grafton Street, Dublin

Here's my present day shot of the same stretch of road, which brings to mind the Simon and Garfunkel lyric, “After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same.” Dublin, after changes upon changes, is still Dublin.

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