It’s that time of year again!
Muskoka Novel Marathon 2014 will be held in Huntsville, Ontario on July 11-14, wherein 40-odd (very odd) writers will lock themselves into a building and write for 72 hours straight, pausing only briefly for bio-breaks, food and the occasional joke about bodily functions. There are even rumours of a Cape Night, when some rather punch-drunk masterminds will throw on capes and other costumes and pounce on idyllic Huntsville. And if you want to hear just a hint of what kind of a breathtaking experience a good novel marathon can be, look no further than Kevin Craig, who literally (and beautifully) waxes poetic about it.
Leading up to that time, however, is the sobering and sometimes grueling part: the fundraising.
One of our mottos: we write so they can read. That’s the whole point of the marathon: to raise awareness of illiteracy and innumeracy in Canada, and to raise funds for programs that help teach basic reading, math and computer skills to those who need it most. And those people are scattered all over the nation, which makes it really hard for the rest of us to see the positive difference we’re helping to create in their lives.
That’s one of the reasons why I love donating to the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka: not only have I seen the fruit of the volunteers’ labour, but I have actually sat beside one of their students during last year’s Marathon and watched her write her first book. It doesn’t get much better than that.
But it’s especially difficult to raise funds for adult learners who live in Huntsville, Ontario, when I’m all the way out here in Montreal, QC. How do you encourage people to put money toward a program that is an eight-hour drive from here, and is designed for people who might not even share the same language as the donor?
My goal? $1000 – a cool grand, minimum. At present, thanks to some handy CanadaHelps gift cards, I’m already over the 1/4 mark, and we’ve barely got started. And just as a reminder – now and into the future – 100% of the profits of The Fog of Dockside City Book 1 will go to literacy programs, including and especially the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka.
So, this year, to help recognize and thank my near and far-flung donors for their contributions, I’m selling real estate.
Actually, more than that.
I’m also selling positions on the police force, in the criminal ranks, on executive boards – and I’m even selling the mayoralty.
So, how can you become a permanent part of Dockside City? How can you be written right into the geography and history of the most action-packed town North of the 49th Parallel?
Step 1: Visit http://www.canadahelps.org/gp/35562
Step 2: Select your rank!
- Founding Citizen – Donate between $5 and $9.99
- Banker – Between $10 and $14.99
- Industrialist – Between $15 and $24.99
- A-Lister – Between $25 and $49.99
- Most Wanted – Between $50 and $99.99. This rank gets you a free signed copy of The Fog of Dockside City: The Ghastly Bargain! (Launching in June 2014)
- Mayoral Candidate – $100 or up. This rank also gets you a free signed copy of The Fog of Dockside City: The Ghastly Bargain, and until your term expires in June, 2015, I will have to address you as Your Worship.
Step 3: Choose your side!
- Founding Citizen: Choose what should be named in your honour: a Dockside City street, country road, highway, or even a scary dark alley from which to pounce on your enemies!
- Banker: Own a store, school, bank, hospital, library or other institution in Dockside. Your choice!
- Industrialist: Be rich! Be famous! Be beautiful! Beware of being abducted and ransomed! Or fight your way free! Your choice of CEO, Man-About-Town, Debutante or Starlet.
- A-Lister: Get in on the front-lines, but pick a side: will you be a tough thug? a sharp-tongued cop? or an eagle-eyed reporter dodging bullets and shooting film?
- Most Wanted: Be a game-changer. Your choice: detective sergeant or high-ranking henchman.
- Mayor of Dockside City! In the event of one or more $100+ donations, there will be a mock election. Are you tough enough, savvy enough, to be the Top Boss of one of the meanest, most corrupt, post-war towns in North America?
Step 4: Once your donation is made, send me a private message here, on Facebook or on Twitter. As soon as I know what you’ve chosen, I’ll write you straight into The Fog of Dockside City Book 3: Tempest Rising, which launches June 2015.
The Fine Print
- The donation campaign will run between Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 and Wednesday, July 9th, 2014.
- The Mayoral Election Campaign will be held between Thursday, July 10th and Sunday, July 13th – the weekend of the Marathon. The new mayor of Dockside will be announced on Twitter on Monday, July 14th at 12:00 EST.
- As with most streets, buildings, institutions, ranked professionals, and newspaper articles, I will borrow your preferred last name only. This also helps to eliminate any confusion between the many Kevins and Brians and Karens who may donate!
- In the case of reporters, thugs and henchmen, you can substitute a nickname instead! But keep it clean, all right? It’s still a family show.
- If you don’t want to use your own name but you want to honour somebody else, just let me know.
- If you want me to use someone else’s name, they can’t be fictional (sorry, copyrights and all that).
- Anonymous donations are also cool. Donations of $50 or up still get you a free copy of The Ghastly Bargain (or Book One, The Obliteration Machine, if you’re new to the series).
- And yes, if you don’t want to run for Mayor, you can totally back someone else to run the city for you.
- For donors of $25 and up, I will ask you a couple of quick questions about your chosen character, but for the integrity of the series, I’m going to have to maintain control over most of the stuff your character says and does. Just ’cause. You know.
- The Mayor may or may not be involved in some…er…criminal activity. That, Your Worship, will be up to you.