Submit your novel …

Do you have a great fiction novel or manuscript, creative non-fiction, or graphic novel for youth ages 12 to 18? Well did you know that the CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature 2019 submissions are open,so you can submit.

This competition has proven to bring success, recognition and a publishing deal to a number of Caribbean writers. The CODE Burt Award has jumped started a number of writing careers, maybe next year you can be the winner. 

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is now accepting submissions for consideration to the 2019 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature – see link below for guidelines.

2019 will be the 6th year for this YA Lit award! To date, over 37,000 copies of award-winning YA novels have been distributed throughout the Caribbean to young readers. This literary award and readership initiative recognize excellence in Caribbean-authored literature for young adults, ages 12 through 18. The NGC Bocas Lit Fest oversees the submission and adjudication process. The jury is composed of Caribbean writers, educators, and literature specialists, and this year a new addition a young adult reader (which is so exciting, as young readers get to say what they like to read, which can make a big difference in giving readers books they want to read and not just books adults think they want to read. This decision gives more value to the winning titles.)

Three English-language books/manuscripts created by Caribbean writers will be awarded a joint sum of ($14,000). The winning title is awarded $10,000, and the two finalists each receive $2,000. Local Caribbean publishers are granted a guaranteed purchase of a maximum of 2,500 copies. These copies are then distributed to youth in schools, libraries, and community centres across the region.

The CODE Burt Award is sponsored by the Literary Prizes Foundation based in Canada, CODE is an insightful organisation determined to showcase literature around the world from diverse cultures. You should visit their website at  and support every effort by becoming a financial or promotional partner, you will not regret it. You can support writers by supporting them. As little as $10 a month can help put CODE books into the hands of a child in rural communities, changing the child’s life story forever. See

Eligible manuscripts and books published between November 1, 2017, and October 31, 2018, must be submitted to the NGC Bocas Lit Fest no later than October 31, 2018.

Eligibility guidelines and submission forms are available as a pdf here and from Bocas Lit Fest:





Jordan (Fire On Montserrat series)

I recently completed a foreword for Jordan, the second book in the exciting Fire On Montserrat series. You can find the book here



“Books that tell Caribbean stories, are important because we see ourselves, our surroundings and our culture forever in print. As the Founder of Caribbean Books Foundation it is my honor to support authors like Catherine Dorsette as she carries that cultural flag in print and film.

In Fire on Montserrat the author weaved a story of young lovers, Kayla and Derek torn apart by a horrible natural disaster, and the unknowing loss of the family they were meant to start. Years later they meet again but their love is still strong which helps them to rekindle the fire quickly. This story was laid against the beauty of the island and delicious food but does not come with its own challenges as Kayla faces a jealously that nearly takes her life and Derek has to change his priorities and attitude not to lose the woman he loves, just when they have found out about their long lost son Jordan.

This new release focuses on Jordan and his true journey to manhood as Kayla and Derek’s saga continues. It is complicated, frustrating and trying at times as Jordan tries to reconcile his present reality of having a strong willed adopted mother and his past, where his biological parents want to be a part of his life.

Jordan’s biggest obstacle is the fact that his adopted mother is a loose canon and the ‘arch nemesis’ of his birth mother. Yes, ‘arch nemesis!’ Velda is a villain of villains who plots and destroys yet expects forgiveness and loyalty compulsively. Velda will test your sanity as you wonder how she survives with all the lies. You’ll be flabbergasted, and annoyed and wish for her demise but she is playing by different rules, with new characters who become allies in her madness.

You’ll feel excited, sad and afraid with Jordan as he has a hard choice to make but I believe that he will find his way before it is too late, as love enters his life just in time in the form of sweet Dr. Cass. I am sure this renewed sense of purpose and confidence will lead Jordan to find peace and success.

I look forward to the continuation of Kayla and Derek’s love story, Jordan’s journey to peace, and may I say the end of Velda’s reign (yes I do hope for this), in the grand finale of this trilogy.

I thank Catherine Dorsette for her courage to undertake such a great work in both print and film. She is indeed an ambassador for Montserrat and her dedication should be rewarded with your support. It is not easy to publish and pursue your craft but it is a much needed work, as the Caribbean becomes self aware and proud of what it is and what it has to offer.

I welcome you to read the series and follow the author for all updates.”



Home Home (A book review)

My first thought after reading this book is that nothing is better than a cute boy, the cutest boy you ever saw to produce serotonin to combat depression. It’s so simple it should be patented.

Home Home is a quick read, that addresses so many important issues. The most important is that it brings depression to the fore through the eyes of a teenager. It’s a glimpse into a world most of us do not know about and the sensory descriptions are excellent.

This book was equally wonderful and frustrating for me to read at times.

The book looks at homosexuality through the foreign lesbian aunt who is in a permanent relationship and takes on the care of her niece. It looks at migration as the book is set in Canada, Trinidad is portrayed as a backyard minded small island as opposed to the first country beliefs of Canada, for which I cringed, but I had to remind myself that it was from a bias teenage perspective. The book looks at parenting, bad parenting from a mother who never understands, but who understands enough to give up her role in difficult times despite her prejudices. I felt sad for the mother and daughter who were destined to never reconnect. The only two people in the book whom parenting seemed to come naturally to, are the ones who had no children. I read almost in horror the onset of a relationship for a boy whose mother has already influenced his dating preferences. The book takes a look at what depression does to families, friendships and relationship and it’s a vicious cycle.

Our protagonist lives in a reality one day at a time, that’s either too blissful or too sad. The chaos of the book poignantly depicts the affect of depression on a mind and lends itself to be placed among the few meaningful books on the subject matter.

Home Home

I received this book through Caribbean Books Foundation R2R initiative.

2017 Finalist Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature
When a depressed Trinidadian Teenager gets sent to Canada, she is helped to recover by her lesbian aunt, a gorgeous looking boy, and her best friend back home. Home, Home brilliantly describes the pain of mental illness and how loving families can come in unexpected shapes and sizes.
Publisher: Papillote Press

Do you have a great novel, creative non-fiction, or graphic novel for youth ages 12 to 18?

The CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature 2019 submissions is now open.

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is now accepting submissions for consideration to the 2019 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. You can be the next winner.


The Beast of Kukuyo (A book review)

A gripping crime story, full of bacchanal and trini lacaray. I loved it.

This book is Caribbean from the wholesomeness of the local village characters to the depiction of the village bar, the cock fighting, the school and the friendships good and bad, even the pig farm resonates.

Rune, the most inquisitive girl in the land, and her brother Nick live with their uncle who gently guides them hoping they figure out life on their own. They do not, Rune’s quest to become the neighborhood private investigator after Dumpling dies puts a stream of events into motion that leads her into partial witness protection. Nick and his alcoholic cohort also set the scene for the biggest upset of the book. There is trespassing, kidnapping, murder, lies, arson, prostitution, more murder, jealousy, lynchings, police dishonesty, and did I mention murder.

All of the characters are gripping, Tiki is the ultimate sidekick and best friend while Alma is the nemesis you love to hate. Uncle Sam, well there is an Uncle Sam in all of us until life turns you into Baram or Joey.

This book is constant action and suspense all wrapped together in a village in South Trinidad with a trini accent. The only question I still have is, who really kill Dumpling?


I received this book through Caribbean Books Foundation R2R initiative.

2017 Finalist Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature
Publisher Blouse & Skirt Books
Special congratulations to Kevin for winning the  2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Do you have a great novel, creative non-fiction, or graphic novel for youth ages 12 to 18?

The CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature 2019 submissions is now open.

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is now accepting submissions for consideration to the 2019 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. You can be the next winner.


The Art of White Roses (A Book Review)

This book jumps off the page at you. It’s colorful, nearly real life depictions of that village and city stays with you. Wow!

The setting is old Cuba before Fidel Castro gets into power, the government is shady, the rebels have heighten their activities and university students from the village are disappearing and being found suspiciously dead or never to be heard from again.

The leading family is a mixture of personalities, Pinquino is the son who hates school while Adela hopes that school will bring her a better life. The grandfather listens to the news constantly while his children cope with their marriage and family who tethers on the edge of involvement. The parents especially the father, grapple with their life decisions which eventually has a irreconcilably affect on their existence.

The darkness of family relationships is exposed in this small group as the story looks openly at adultery, prostitution, crooked policing, murder and rape as they try to stay together and alive despite the betrayal of their own and the increasingly dangerous environment around them.

The book is rich with hope which envelopes its darkness and leads the reader on a journey of new beginnings.

The art of roses

I received this book through Caribbean Books Foundation R2R initiative.

The Art of White Roses is the 2017 Winner Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature
It is 1957, in a quiet Havana suburb. Adela Santiago is thirteen and lives in a small blue house with her family. But something is amiss. Students on her street are disappearing, her parents’ marriage seems to be disintegrating and a cousin is caught up in a bombing at a luxury hotel. Welcome to the revolution. Welcome to Cuba.
Publisher: Papillote Press

Do you have a great novel, creative non-fiction, or graphic novel for youth ages 12 to 18?

The CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature 2019 submissions is now open.

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is now accepting submissions for consideration to the 2019 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. You can be the next winner.



Duck in the Red Boots an Aunty Marsha Book

Unlike other little ducklings, Duck is quite particular about staying clean. His determination to do just that lands him in quite a pickle every day nevertheless he stands firm for what he believes. This story is a cute reminder that children are people too. They have their own character which when nurtured produces confidence.

Duck did not like getting his feet dirty at all, at all, at all.

He loved to swim with the other ducklings, but he did not like walking out of the water through the mud. Duck loved flying high in the sky above the trees, but he did not like landing on the dirty ground.

Somehow no matter how hard Duck tried, his feet got dirty every day.One day Duck noticed his feet never touched the ground once he was swimming. So he decided to swim all day long and never come out. Duck swam and swam and swam. He swam up and down the pond. He did the backstroke. He paddled, and he splashed his friends with his wings. The other ducklings rested but not Duck.

I am not going to get my feet dirty today! he quacked

Duck 1The hours passed. One by one the other duckling went home until Duck was all alone in the pond. The water got colder and colder and colder. Duck felt wet and tired. His bill shivered. The feathers stood on his head stood up. As the sky grew dark, he felt lonely and afraid.

“I better fly home,” Duck encouraged himself. “Mom and Dad will be worried about me.”

But his wings were too wet and too cold to fly. Finally, Duck gave in. He took a deep breath and marched right out of the pond, through the icky sticky mud. Squish, Squish, Squish, Slop, Slop, Slop. The mud stuck to his feet. It tingled all over his webbed-toes. Slop, Squish, Slop, Squish, Squoosh, Slop, Squoosh, Slop, Squoosh, Squoosh!

Duck mumbled and grumbled all the way home where his mother gave him a warm bath, and his father made his favorite water grass tea.

The next day, Duck decided he would fly with his friends instead. As Duck flew, he noticed his feet did not get dirty while he was up in the sky.

So guess what? Duck decided to fly and fly and fly and never come down. He flew up and down. He flew high and low. He flew in circles and turned somersaults too. Swoosh, Swoosh, Swoosh! Duck’s wings felt so light in the air. The other ducklings stopped for a rest, but not Duck. He did not want to land on the dirty ground. So he flew, and he flew, and he flew. Duck’s wings got very, very, very tired. They moved more and more slowly, but Duck kept on flying. Then something happened! Duck dropped right out of the sky!


Into icky, sticky, gooey, wooey mud! Duck got up slowly. His feet were very muddy. His wings were very muddy. His head was very muddy. Duck’s whole body was very, very, very muddy!

Duck was horrified. Once gain Duck mumbled and grumbled all the way home. Duck’s father scrubbed his feathers clean and his mother made his favorite water grass tea. Duck went to his room and vowed to never go outside again.

Day by day Duck’s friends tried to get him to play outside since no one wanted to stay indoors all day when outside was nice and sunny. So Duck was left to play all alone. Soon it was Duck’s birthday. His parents invited all his friends for a party in their backyard. They hoped Duck would go out and play.

On the morning of Duck’s birthday, it rained and rained and rained. Duck looked through his bedroom window sadly. It was so muddy outside. Duck’s birthday party was ruined so he went back to bed.

Later Duck’s grandparents arrived with a special gift.

“Little Duck, why are you still in bed?” grandma quacked as she sat to comfort him.

“Why so sad on your birthday?” quacked grandpa.

Duck 2

Duck just moaned and rolled over in his bed.

“Maybe opening a present will make you feel better,” grandpa suggested. Grandpa pulled a giant yellow box from behind his back and handed it to Duck.

Duck loved presents. He could not resist opening it. Guess what it was? The most beautiful pair of red boots ever!

Duck put them on and ran outside.

Duck flew and he landed. Plop! No more dusty feet. Duck went swimming and his new boots went too. Glop, Glop, Glop, Squish, Squeak, Squirk! The boots sang as he ran out of the water. No more muddy feet! No more icky toes!

“Wow, now you look like the happiest Duck in the world!” called grandpa.

Later that day when everyone came to the party, Duck marched up and down in his new red boots. He was very happy. From that day on, Duck was known as the Duck in the Red Boots.

Duck 3

The Thick of Things By JL Campbell

The Thick of Things by JL Campbell is a must read, here’s why!


GENRE: women’s fiction with romantic elements, contemporary romance

BLURB: Life has a way of going awry when you least expect it, and Khalila Skyers learns this lesson the hard way. In one devastating blow after another, she loses her cosy existence. Then Douglas Blythe overtakes her life like a flood, and she’s not equipped to deal with an attraction that seems forbidden and overwhelming. But her body and heart want what they want, and leave her wondering if she ever knew herself at all.  

Douglas is determined to help Khalila move beyond her obsession with the past and reach for love a second time. No matter how long it takes. No matter the distance. He’s going to prove he’s worth the risk. 

Excerpt – The Thick of Things

I was a little of everything—embarrassed, confused, speechless. How could he be so sure I was what he wanted? No matter what he thought, I had too much going on to be adding a relationship to the list.

“What are you afraid of, Khalila?”

My name on his tongue was a caress that scattered my thoughts.

“It’s not that I’m afraid of anything.” I pulled my hand out of his and drank the rest of the water while gathering my thoughts. “My divorce isn’t final yet and…” My mind settled on Amir, who I didn’t want to think about now. Softly, I sighed. “It’s too early to be thinking about a relationship with anybody.”

“We’ve gone way past the point of thinking about what’s happening between us. I’m not asking you to marry me, but I’m interested in you.” His voice softened and I had to concentrate to hear his words. “Give me the chance to show you that what we did wasn’t only about sex.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I held my silence.

His gaze was analytical and he didn’t seem to expect a response. The longer he looked at me, the more my heart rate accelerated. It was ridiculous that at my age any man could get this kind of response from me.

“I hope that wasn’t all it was for you,” he said.

It took me a few seconds to catch up with him, but I didn’t answer. I was too busy trying not to squirm at the image of him on top of me in his bed.

After reading his watch, Douglas smiled. Why, I didn’t know, but it was a genuine gesture that made me want to respond in the same way.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

Nodding, I got out of my seat.

Douglas didn’t crowd me, but let me walk ahead of him. As I wove through the tables, I greeted a few members of the working team, who would also be leaving the hotel today.

Once we were out of the restaurant, Douglas touched my arm and directed me toward the elevator.

“Aren’t you leaving today?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m just making sure you get to where you’re going.”

Putting a smile in my voice, I said, “I’m not likely to get lost on my way upstairs.”

“I didn’t think so.” He laughed and eased both hands into the pockets of his shorts. “I’m simply doing what any decent man would do.”

My cheeky grin conveyed gratefulness and understanding. “Carry on, then.”

He nodded and in silence, we walked to the elevator. When it was a few floors away, he faced me. “I want to ask one favor of you.”

“What’s that?”

“Answer your phone when I call, okay?”

He stepped in close, kissed my cheek and then brushed his lips across mine.

I sucked in my breath and opened my mouth, wanting more of him, but he stepped back.

The elevator opened and he urged me forward with a gentle hand to my back.

I walked inside, asking myself what kind of game Douglas was playing. Why would he start something he couldn’t finish, not to mention leave me hot and bothered?

As the doors closed, our gazes locked and I swore that man knew exactly what he was doing and the state he’d left me in.

You need to buy this book, get a warm cup of something and just relax and read …


B & N:



Amazon Canada:

Amazon UK:

JL Campbell Author 

Out of Mind

Today, like many times before i was asked a question. What do you think about a certain person? Instead of not commenting or commenting i simply replied, i don’t think about that person. 

Simple, truthful yet powerful to me.

I am not sure what the other person got out of it but i felt liberated and satisfied that in that moment i calmly put a person that i may have grumbled about in the past where they belonged – out of mind. 

So many bad situations are fueled in life by us thinking about it too much. So today, I ask you to take the time to clear your mind and give things that love you a priority.

Things like writing!

Have you written lately? Let’s build that muscle in 2018. 




WIN a free membership: SCBWI Caribbean South

The Caribbean South chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is giving away two free annual memberships.

All you have to do is submit an unpublished children’s manuscript from any of the islands listed below that speaks about your island’s folklore or draw your very own ‘Tanti Merle’ from Paul Keens Douglas “Tanti at the Oval.”

The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators is a professional information and networking society of over 19,000 authors, agents, editors and illustrators world wide. Based in Los Angeles, the SCBWI is the largest of its kind and has chapters in 200 regions. Our membership package is an invaluable tool for aspiring and professional writers and artists. It includes indispensable ‘how to’ articles and a directory of publishers in the field. One of the best things about SCBWI membership is the networking opportunity it presents to gain fruitful contacts the world over.

The Caribbean South chapter was launched in Trinidad in September 2005 and serves the following islands Anguilla, Saint Maarten, St Barbs, Saba, Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Guyana, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Tortuga and Trinidad and Tobago (and everything in-between)

The competition is open to non-members and members alike, and all work submitted remain the property of the author or illustrator.

The deadline to submit is November 1, 2017. 


For further information and membership details visit


Marsha Gomes-Mckie, Regional Advisor , Caribbean South


The Magic Cave Series

Samantha, Alan and Mark go on a magical, mythical adventure in an awe-inspiring cave. Each trip leads to different worlds and opens clues to their past. They meet mythical creatures and there is a new fairy-tale world created by Aarti Gosine’s. Get all three books and read one after the next.

These books are precious and every Caribbean youngster will love them. They are full of folklore, fantasy and adventure.

The books are well paced for children in this age group. The one thing I like about the books is that the children work with the adults.

It’s a great coming of age adventure.