September 05, 2014

Victim Blaming & Inequality in the Age of Internet

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing should be arriving in Canadian bookstores within the next week or so and I'm excited at the thought of encountering it out in the real world. It's a strange but good feeling when the characters and situations that had previously only been living in your head (and Word document file!) leap into the outside world.

To celebrate the book's release I'll be doing a blog tour that starts at the end of the month. I hope you'll stop by somewhere along the way! You can click the banner for details regarding when and where I'll be.

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing Blog  Tour: Sept 29-Oct 10

Meanwhile, during the last few days one of the stories the media has been buzzing about is the leak of nude photos of several famous Hollywood actresses. These kinds of "leaks" don't just happen to famous women, and they shouldn't happen at all. They're a violation, a crime. But in response to this crime, ridiculous articles like this one from Fox news advising stars who want to take nude photos with getting hacked to never upload them online or, better yet, use a Polaroid have sprung up.

Why not go a step further and advise women never to be naked in the first place? And definitely not to have sex! Because if it's discovered that any of us are 1) naked under our clothes, complete with female bodys parts and 2) engage in sexual activities—well, then it's open season. It's our fault simply for being women in the first place!

While many people (including Seth Meyers) are well aware that blaming the women whose privacy was criminally invaded is unjust


culturally, we continue to face an enormous problem. One that all women potentially face as large segments of society cling to damaging double standards. This is partly what The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing is about as main character Serena and several of her friends fall afoul of the thin line of acceptable sexual behaviour they are supposed to display as girls. Actually, instead of thin line we could more accurately call it an impossible line, one where you can garner negative attention for being considered attractive as well as not not attractive enough, one where sexual acts are encouraged and cheered one one hand and then condemned, the girls taking part in them termed sluts and hos, on the other.

How do you discover your authentic sexual self in a culture that's not-so-secretly hostile towards you, glorying in dictating and policing your sexual behaviour in the most illogical and—now public—of ways? This is one of the challenges facing young women today. Prejudices of the past mingling with ominpresent technology.

We are never allowed to forget how the rules are different for girls

We can help girls and young women by letting them know we're on their side, that there is nothing shameful about their naked bodies or sexuality, but that who they share those things with should always be their choice. That means instilling these same values in boys—respect for girls as their equals— again and again and again until they, and we all, have incorporated them to the point that things like revenge porn, slut-shaming and sexual bullying become rarities.

August 06, 2014

This Must Be the Place

In some ways I feel like I've been living this summer inside of a bubble. It seems strange not to be getting out for the long walks that were common for me up until last winter. I hope someday I can return to those, although never ever to the evil manual treadmill that I hold responsible for my current knee and feet woes (they require more force so put extras stress on your joints over the years)!

But I've been sitting outside when I can—a friend and I hung out by the lake for a good two hours this past Saturday afternoon, and each week Paddy and I've been hitting the Tuesday evening performances by the Oakville Wind Orchestra.

Several years before I moved to Oakville I worked with a woman who lived here. I can't remember exactly what she told me about the place except that she spoke of it in glowing terms. So much so that when Paddy and I decided to leave Ireland for Canada (man, was I homesick!) I was sure that Oakville was the place we should ultimately head for. Since then we've both fallen ever more in love with the town because of things like the lovely lakefront parks, the picturesque downtown streets, the jazz festival, the summer wind orchestra times, and the GO Train system (which makes it easy to get into Toronto whenever you like).

So if you don't know Oakville but happened to read about it in my new adult book, Come See About Me, I swear I'm not just making Oakville sound good, it truly is a terrific place to live.

Anyway, the below photos of Oakville were all taken yesterday but pretty much sum up most of my summer (I've also seen a fair amount of movies—another sitting activity—but the cinema is no place for taking pictures!).

August 5, 2014

August 5, 2014

August 5, 2014

Often we follow wind orchestra night with gelato from one of a handful of places in the area. My favourite flavours are pistachio (La Dolce Vita on Lakeshore makes their with pistachios from Sicily) and lemon vanilla custard, but last night's chocolate orange was scrumptious, as was Paddy's scoop of Ferrero Rocher.

August 5, 2014

Good evening, moon. I will miss these long, balmy evenings with you.

August 5, 2014

Hanging out by the water's edge, watching the boats go by...

August 5, 2014

and wondering precisely what the not-so friendly ghost does. I'm guessing with a title of 'not-so friendly' he or she is just a little on the cranky side rather than being a full-blown horror meaning there's probably nothing to fear.

August 5, 2014

Of course, in the run up to the September first release of The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing I've also been doing things like looking at copy-edits and page proofs. There'll be a blog tour shortly after the release. I'll post details when I have them. In the meantime Canadians can enter to win 1 of 5 copies (international giveaway to follow!).


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing

by C.K. Kelly Martin

Giveaway ends September 10, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

July 05, 2014

July Things

I hope all the Canadians out there had a fantastic Canada Day, and the Americans, a terrific Fourth of July! Paddy and I try to make it out to the local fireworks display every year, and this one was no exception. As you can see from the below photos, it was a perfectly clear summer evening with plenty of Canadian pride on display.

Canada Day, Bronte, Oakville, 2014

Canada Day, Bronte, Oakville, 2014

Canada Day, Bronte, Oakville, 2014

Canada Day, Bronte, Oakville, 2014

If I'd had it together (and not been spending so much time watching the World Cup lately!) I would've posted this video of astronaut Chris Hadfield and his brother, Dave singing about Canada on Canada Day. You can read the lyrics and chords here.



While my Goodreads Come See About Me contest concluded earlier this week, and the winners been sent out their books, my summer giveaway continues with the chance to win signed copies of sci-thriller Yesterday AND its sequel Tomorrow. If you haven't read them yet but can imagine something like Looper meets an Inconvenient Truth meets Say Anything but in book form, you'll get a good idea of what the novels are like.

Come See About Me, Yesterday, Tomorrow by C. K. Kelly Martin



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Yesterday by C.K. Kelly Martin

Yesterday

by C.K. Kelly Martin

Giveaway ends August 02, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Because the Netherlands vs Costa Rica match will be starting shortly I have to wrap this entry up! But before I go I want to recommend some fun summer reading for kids ten and up—Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Deborah Kerbel's new book: Bye Bye, Evil Eye.

Here's the blurb:

A summer trip to Greece seems like the perfect chance for thirteen-year-old Dani to spend some time on the beach, help her bookish best friend Cathy get her first kiss, and maybe find some summer romance of her own. But when bad luck begins to strike over and over, and continues to strike when she returns to her home in Toronto, Dani starts to wonder if she is cursed. Literally. Cathy tells of the “evil eye,” and warns that a curse may have been put on Dani by a mysterious girl whose path she crossed in Greece. Dani gets sick, injured, and her family car is vandalized. Is it the “evil eye,” or is someone out to get Dani? And what bizarre lengths will Dani go to as she tries to get the curse lifted?

I finished reading it the other day and am now hoping Deborah's planning a sequel for Dan and Kat! Get a load of the snazzy trailer. It's one of the best I've ever seen.



Now, Go Netherlands!

June 16, 2014

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing Trailer

I'm reluctant to count down to September, because who wants to wish summer away? But it's 77 Days until The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing's release! Voila the newly-finished trailer:

June 03, 2014

Summer Giveaways

While it's technically not summer just yet, it sure feels like the season has arrived. I've already watched a couple of summer blockbusters (and enjoyed X-Men: Days of Future Past so much that I'm planning to see it again soon, probably just after Edge of Tomorrow). I've also been on several gelato-oriented outings in the past few weeks and on Sunday afternoon dragged my Frankenfeet outside to lounge in the sunny barbecue grounds of our condo along with the rest of me. They may not be up for much lately, but the Frankenfeet appreciate a sunny day as much as anyone, as long as they can sit down while doing it!

Summer Giveaways at Goodreads: Come See About Me, Yesterday, Tomorrow, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. kelly Martin

To celebrate the return of fine weather, and the upcoming release of my brand new book, I'll be holding several Goodreads giveaways over the course of the summer. The first one, for my new adult book, Come See About Me is open now. Draw date = July 1st.

The next giveaway will open at the beginning of July with a draw date of August 1st. Winners will receive signed copies of my YA sci-fi books, Yesterday AND Tomorrow.

Finally, on September 1st I'll be giving away FIVE copies of my brand new contemporary young adult book, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing. The giveaway will open at the start of August.

* All contests will be open to residents of Canada and the United States. I wish I could send some lemon custard gelato to the winners too, but I think that might get a little messy.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Come See About Me by C.K. Kelly Martin

Come See About Me

by C.K. Kelly Martin

Giveaway ends July 01, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

May 21, 2014

Frankenfeet Editing

In restrospect, paying a visit to the Toronto Zoo at the end of March—when my plantar fasciitis was already a chronic problem and my knees even unhappier than my feet—wasn't the brightest idea. But fourth month old Humphrey beckoned. How could I resist?

And he was adorable. Have a look:

Humphrey at four months, Toronto Zoo

Humphrey at four months, Toronto Zoo

Humphrey at four months, Toronto Zoo
If you haven't already, you might want to take a look at Humphrey's video album clips of his early days. Here's one of my favourite videos—Humphrey's first steps:


And here are Humphrey's parents in the water (family friend hanging out on the rocks in the background).

polar bears, Toronto Zoo, March 29

If you've ever been to the Toronto Zoo, you'll know it's huge. 2.87 km² to be exact. Paddy and I didn't walk all of it that day at the end of March, but we didn't exactly take it easy either. Seeing the pandas was another must. I hadn't laid eyes on pandas in person since the last time they were at the Toronto Zoo, way back in 1985.

This time around a wide-eyed little girl in a stroller was peering at the pandas at the same time as we were. I'm not sure how old she was, definitely not more than a year, but her mother informed us that she had a beloved plush toy panda at home and now couldn't believe her eyes. Indeed, awe lit up this little girl's face like a sunny July. Yes, pandas are REAL. There is true magic in the world.

Panda Bear, Toronto Zoo, March 29

Panda Bears, Toronto Zoo, March 29

Magic and beauty like the stunning white lions, and all sorts of intriguing creatures from Australia's Kookaburra to a brand new mountain gorilla baby.

White Lions, Toronto Zoo, March 29

So I'm not the least bit sorry I went to the zoo at the end of March, but I couldn't do it now. For the last six weeks or so twenty minutes of standing/very ginger walking has been my absolute maxium, which meant I had to cut the Dublin trip short. As it was, the majority of my holiday looked much like this, and I've been spending countless hours in the night splint sock since returning to Canada too.

CK in Night Splint sock, Dublin

Yep, I'm pretty much housebound. But I'm very grateful for the time I had visiting with family and friends while in Ireland, and am already looking forward to the next trip. In the meantime I'm continuing to do battle with plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and patellofemoral syndrome. My latest weapon is orthotics. Voila the molds of my Frankenfeet

feet molds

feet molds

which were used to produce some incredibly hard custom insoles designed to correct my specific feet imbalances. Luckily, I can still type and so none of this will interfere with revisions on The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing that I'm expecting later today.

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing

Me and my Frankenfeet will be back online once I'm done editing. Meanwhile, If you happen to visit the Toronto zoo, please give Humphrey my love!

May 19, 2014

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing...coming September 1!

Whoah, my contemporary new YA, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, is now up for pre-order at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo/Chapters, the Book Depository and Barnes and Noble. Release day is only 105 days away...September 1st!

Here's the catalogue copy: Losing weight over the summer gains Serena some popularity, but it also means discovering first-hand the pains of being a fifteen-year-old girl in a world that both sexualizes and shames young women. After narrowly avoiding exploitation in a shortlived relationship, Serena aligns with a new friend who was the victim of an explicit image that was shared at school. When Serena finds herself in a relationship with a new guy, she is surprised to find a different set of expectations. But have her previous experiences damaged her too much to make it work? As Serena struggles to find who she is as opposed to who she is expected to be, she begins sighting Devin — her older brother who disappeared months earlier.

Out September 1st!

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C. K. Kelly Martin
Dancing Cat Books, 2014
1770864113 (ISBN13: 9781770864115)

And cover:


More info coming soon!

Add to goodreads

April 20, 2014

Easter Greetings from our PM

It's that time of year again—the season when sun and warmth return to the land, and when Canadians look forward to receiving Prime Minister Harper's annual Easter card in the mail. As has become tradition, I've scanned in the Prime Minister's Easter card so Canadians who happen to be out of the country or who didn't receive their greeting (possibly due to the phasing out of Canada Post!) before the holiday can have a look.

Maybe it's just me but this year's card seems to contain a certain ennui, perhaps a sense that Stephen's time at the helm is fading. Nonetheless, professional that he is, Steve-o still showed up for the Easter photoshoot. He clearly doesn't want to let Canadians down——except when it comes to human rights, the environment, gun control, job creation, and other, er, trifling matters.

Happy Easter, peasants. Your czar, Stephen Harper
View Easter cards from other years:

April 16, 2014

Frankenstein Feet

Now I know why Frankenstein's monster usually looks so miserable. It's not existential angst or loneliness, not even body image problems. Nope, none of that. What's wrong with Frankenstein's monster is foot pain. Specifically, plantar fasciitis.
Mayo Clinic definition: "pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes."
I can tell by the look in his eyes. This guy is in physical agony.


No doubt all his joints ache. But the soles of his feet, they're in excruciating pain. He feels like gravity is pummelling his soles into the hard ground beneath his feet. If he sits down, for a few minutes of relief, his feet howl at him when he rises again. But staying on his feet for more than a handful of a minutes at a time is a problem too. The pain is more or less constant.

When he's sleeping the stabbing pain wakes him at least once a night, and makes it difficult for him to fall asleep in the first place. Granted, he probably wouldn't sleep like a log anyway, because of the other issues I mentioned, like the existential angst and feelings of alienation. But it's the feet——the plantar fasciitis——which is Frankenstein's monster's numero uno problem.

How do I know this? I recognize that haunted PF look in his eyes because, man, I'm feeling that Frankenstein's monster foot pain big-time. For the first while——and by that I mean, like, the first year——the foot pain didn't interfere with my life very much. My heel hurt a little when I got on my feet after a period of sitting or sleeping and then the pain swiftly disappeared. My doctor suggested I wear supportive shoes at all times, even indoors (staring at this full length photo of the monster, I seriously think he needs to get his hands on some New Balance running shoes!) and I did.


But that didn't help. Instead the pain got worse. Then my knees started to hurt too. Not a lot and not often. But enough for me to return to the doctor, who diagnosed patellofemoral syndrome (runner's knee) on top of my plantar fasciitis. She prescribed physiotherapy, and off I went, happy to hear from my physiotherapist that I should begin to feel better in 2 - 3 weeks and be back to my old self in 8 - 10. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and instead my condition got exponentially worse. After 5 weeks I was advised to drop the physio, and now, about a month afterwards, I'm at a place where the last two weeks have been the worst yet.

The arches of my feet are in severe pain. They're most comfortable when I'm lying down, but even then they feel stiff and achy, like someone else's feet have been roughly attached to my body. Sometimes darting pains wake me up at night. During the day, I can't be on my feet for more than a handful of minutes at a time before the pain becomes unbearable. Sometimes the pain is so bad I'm driven to tears and chills. My knees can't handle stairs and feel like they're being sliced into if I squat or bend at the knee at all, or even sometimes if I don't. My calves are so tight that they feel as though they're about to snap and my IT band is a mess too. My normal gait doesn't exist anymore. I limp and wince.

Just yesterday I began seeing a sports doctor who says my severe case of plantar fasciitis gave rise to patellofemoral syndrome in both my knees and has affected my whole kinetic chain, hence the pain in my legs, thighs, calves and, well, just about everywhere from the waist down. I was also diagnosed with this mouthful of a condition: Flexor Hallucis Longus tendinopathy. Lovely, huh? Now I'm going to be trying a number of things she's suggested——some of which will have to wait until I get back from my upcoming trip to Ireland (during which I will be spending more time sitting down than anything!) because orthotics and night splints need to be broken in gradually.

But these ongoing health issues have been crowding my life since December/January and are some of the reasons that I haven't been online often. I'm almost as tired and beleaguered as Frankenstein's monster looks in the top photo! So once I kick this thing I'm determined to search out the poor monster, share my weapons of choice against planter fasciitis and finally, finally bring him some much needed peace.


Additional reading on the condition:

Everything you need to know about Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis article at Sports Injury Clinic.net
Plantar Fasciitis -- the most maddening injury in sports
Plantar Fasciitis overview at Patient.co.uk
Plantar Fasciitis Prevention and Treatment
No Consensus on a Common Cause of Foot Pain

April 01, 2014

Canadians: Don't Let Harper Sabotage Our Public Health Care

I've just come from a rather long appointment with my GP. Cost to me: FREE. Then follow-up blood-work. Cost to me: FREE. Next, multiple X-rays at the local hospital. Cost to me: FREE. When I can get an appointment with the sports doctor I've been referred to that will also be FREE.
All thanks to Canadian socialized medicine!

Meanwhile Stephen Harper's Conservative government is trying to sabotage "the Health Accord that protects equal care for all Canadians" by quietly "cutting $36 billion over 10 years and breaking the pact that all Canadians should get equal care, no matter what province they live in."

"By pulling out of the agreement, cutting billions in transfers, and letting standards fall across the country, Prime Minister Harper will undermine our public health system.

If he succeeds, cash-starved provinces will face intense pressure to let America’s titanic for-profit companies buy into our system and give us worse care for higher prices."

You can begin the fight for our health care system by emailing your Member of Parliament, Prime Minister Harper and and Health Minister Rona Ambrose via Lead Now.

Don't Let Harper sabotage your health care

Then please pass this message on to everyone across the country. A whopping 94% of Canadians "support public —not private, for-profit— solutions to making the country's healthcare system stronger." We can't let Harper gut our treasured healthcare system.

 
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