Monday, July 30, 2012

School Visits: What I've Learned So Far

At this point in my career, I've written twelve books for the nonfiction school library market. Makes me an ideal candidate for school visits, right? Except that I don't consider myself an expert in any of the topics about which I've written.

So? I talk about writing. Research. How a book Gets Published. And I've just added some creative writing topics to my repertoire. Up until now, I've done all my school visits for free. What? Yes, Free.

I've wanted to get it right. Make sure I feel like I'm worth the money that someone is going to pay me.

Things I've learned:

1. Expect any question. How old are you? How much do you get paid? Things like that. Be prepared to answer what you want to answer or defer what you don't.

2. Be prepared with writing exercises if there are NO questions. Probably won't happen, cause the kids LOVE asking questions, but just in case.

3. Come w/ props. Visual aids, etc.

4. Be self deprecating. This works for me--I'm not a natural comedian, but if I use myself as an example of something, it's almost always worth a laugh. For example, when talking about the definition of constructive criticism, I'll sometimes say "it wouldn't be constructive for you to tell me that my shoes are ugly." Or something like that.

5. Go see the experts at School Visit Experts--they are a great resource and I can't give you better advice than they can.

6. Lastly, if you're familiar with school looking for inexpensive author visits, send them my way! I've recently updated my school visits information page --

Good luck!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Free Chapter Download AND Contest Results

I'm pleased to announce that Diana Murray and Jaye Robin Brown were the winners of the free copies of Timeless from Ansha and my blog posts on Monday. Congrats you guys! I hope you love it!

AND, I just found out from our lovely editors at Pugalicious Press that we have a really cool personality quiz about Timeless. Answer ONE question, and you can win a free download of one of the stories.

Click here for the Quiz.

Hint: If you pick the answer that refers to a Chinese-American laundry boy, you MIGHT find yourself reading "Stella's Hero" by me and Ansha.

If you like what you read in your free download, you'll LOVE the rest of the stories. At under $4.00 for the collection, it's a great deal.

Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Researching Fiction

I posted about research on YA Stands today! If you're interested in a few of the facts Ansha and I discovered while writing "Stella's Hero" Check it out here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Timeless: Interview with Kip Wilson

Timeless, an anthology of young adult love stories, is now available as an ebook. The story “Stella’s Hero” that I co-wrote with Ansha Kotyk is included in this wonderful anthology of great love stories.

Today, I have the extreme pleasure of interviewing Kip Wilson, author of “And the Nightingale Sings,” the second short story in Timeless: An Anthology of Young Adult Romance from Pugalicious Press. Kip and I first met through the Verla Kay Blue Boards, and then realized we live in the same state. We’ve met at Meet Ups and Conferences, and I’m so proud to call Kip one of my writer buddies. It makes me even more excited to be a part of Timeless with her, and to share her story with my readers.

Kip’s wonderful story is based on a medieval poem. For the second part of this profile, Ansha Kotyk (my writing partner for Stella’s Hero) asked Kip about how the poem inspired her story. 

Comment on this post and tell us why you love YA romance to have a chance to win an electronic version of Timeless. (Tell us if you prefer, Kindle, Nook, or a .pdf version.)

Without further ado...

Kris: You’ve recently published your first YA short story in the Pugalicious Press Anthology Timeless. What made you decide to submit your story to PP?

Kip: Yes—I’m so excited about the anthology! I saw the call for submissions on twitter and knew immediately that I wanted to write a story for the anthology because it combined three of my favorite things to write: YA, historical fiction, and romance.

(Kris: you can follow Kip at @kiperoo!)

Kris: What made you start to write seriously?

Kip: When I finished my doctoral dissertation after working on it for two years, I didn’t quite know what to do with my “free time.” The first thing I wrote was a musical with a musician/director in Austria—where the play was produced—and then I began to write fiction and non-fiction for kids.
Kris: A musical with a director in Austria? That is so cool and deserves a follow up question! Can you tell us more about how that worked? Where you met and how/when it was produced?

Kip: The musical was a lot of fun. It was called A Midsummer Nightclub and was basically a modern twist on A Midsummer Night's Dream (in a nightclub instead of a forest, and the magic was delivered in the form of a drugged drink). My partner was the high school music teacher at the same school in Austria where I taught English on a Fulbright, and the production was put on for and by young adults, with the actors and stage designers a combination of high school and college students. We did all original music for the show as well (I did the lyrics). Working on this right after my dissertation definitely got my creative juices flowing!

Kris: It sounds amazing! What about now? Do you have a current work-in-progress? Can you tell us about it?

Kip: I have a few works-in-progress! I’m currently querying a WWI-era historical for young adults about the ballerina who inspired Rainer Maria Rilke to write his Sonnets to Orpheus. My in-progress drafts include an Icelandic Sci-Fi adventure and a thriller set in modern-day Germany. Both of these are for young adults as well.

Kris: Those sound amazing, Kip. Where do you find your inspiration?

Kip: For most of my work, I have to admit that I’m inspired by the great works of German Literature I studied for my Ph.D. My story for the Timeless anthology has its roots in German poetry as well, since it was based on a poem by the medieval troubadour Walther von der Vogelweide. See my interview on Ansha Kotyk’s blog for more details about the poem!

Kris: Are you a full-time writer? What is your non-writing life like?

Kip: Right now I juggle writing with raising my small twins, and it works really well. I used to work crazy hours as a project manager in the software industry, so I feel lucky to have the freedom to be able to divide my time this way instead of just collapsing at the end of the day.

Kris: I think many of us can relate to juggling our writing with our families. Besides being a fantastic juggler, what is your biggest challenge with your writing?

Kip: Patience. I depend a lot on my wonderful critique partners to catch things that aren’t working in what I write, but I’ve also come to realize that I need to set my manuscripts aside for as long as humanly possible to be able to come back to them with fresh eyes and make them shine. I am not a patient person, so this isn’t a lot of fun. A trick I discovered recently is to work on more than one manuscript at a time so I always have something that needs my attention.
Kris: Ah yes, the art of patience. We all have to learn to do that—great advice to use your waiting time by working on other things! What are your favorite books?

Kip: My favorite all-time YA books are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, and The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.  Favorite recent reads are Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma and The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I definitely have fairly literary taste, so for fans of literary YA, these are all great books to read.
Kris: Nice book recommendations! I admit I haven’t read any of those, but they just went on my TBR pile. Lastly, just for fun, do you have a favorite “guilty pleasure” you want to share?

Kip: Most of my pleasures aren’t that guilty! I love reading, traveling, and eating foodgasmic meals. I guess the only thing I love that’s a little naughty is a good beer. I’ve dabbled as a homebrewer and really appreciate a good stout or IPA.

Kris. My new favorite word is foodgasmic. J What did I miss? Anything else you’d like to share?

Kip: I hope everyone loves the anthology!

Thank you so much, Kip, for answering my questions! I loved your story, and I’m so proud to be a part of the book with you! To my readers: if you love YA romance or YA historical fiction, I really think you’ll love the stories in Timeless. They cover an interest range of eras as well as genres. And for under $4.00, you get 7 great short stories.
Timeless is currently available through all major outlets as an ebook.  Look for more blog interviews with the authors from the anthology in the coming weeks.Click here for Ansha Kotyk’s discussionwith Kip about the poem that inspired “And the Nightingale Sings”

Available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Love stories that transcend time. From a thousand years ago to the unknown future, Timeless will show how love is timeless. This anthology of love stories contains “The Storyteller’s Daughter” by Gayle C. Krause, “And The Nightingale Sang” by Kip Wilson, “A Light Of Victory” by Jennifer Carson, “The Angel Of The Bastille” by J.R. Sparlin, “Stella’s Hero” by Kristine Carlson Asselin & Ansha Kotyk, “In This Moment” by D. E. Atwood, and “It Lies Beneath” by Magda Knight.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Timeless, post a comment below and we’ll choose a random winner.  Good Luck!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Timeless Promotion Preview

I'm going to have Kip Wilson on my blog tomorrow! She wrote the second short story in Timeless: An Anthology of Young Adult Romance. It's called "And the Nightingale Sang" and it's based on a medieval poem by Walther von der Vogelweide

Check back tomorrow for my interview with Kip and your chance to win Timeless from Pugalicious Press!

If you can't wait to see if you win the can buy Timeless from Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $3.51--the best bargain in YA historical romance this week! Links are on the right side of my blog.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Timeless: YA Historical Anthology

So by now, if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've probably heard my exciting book news. See the gorgeous cover below? Timeless is a YA Historical Anthology of short stories. And "Stella's Hero," the short story I wrote with my friend Ansha Kotyk is included.

It all started when our friends Joyce Shor Johnson and Jennifer Carson announced their call for submissions for an anthology for their new small press, Pugalicious Press. Ansha and I were both working on other things, but we wanted to write something together. And we wanted to write something for Pugalicious. Stella came out of a marathon brainstorm session. She and Chang Jie came to life over the course of about a week. And then three more weeks of revision. Yup, from start to finish, about four weeks.

We love Jie and Stella. We hope you will, too. And the rest of the stories are fabulous also! Stay tuned for contests and blog hopping as we promote. If you're interested in reviewing a copy of the anthology, let me know and I'll put you in touch with Joyce.

Timeless for Kindle and Timeless for Nook

Love stories that transcend time. From a thousand years ago to the unknown future, Timeless will show how love is timeless. This anthology of love stories contains "The Storyteller's Daughter" by Gayle C. Krause, "And The Nightingale Sang" by Kip Wilson, "A Light Of Victory" by Jennifer Carson, "The Angel Of The Bastille" by J.R. Sparlin, "Stella's Hero" by Kristine Carlson Asselin & Ansha Kotyk, "In This Moment" by D. E. Atwood, and "It Lies Beneath" by Magda Knight.

These are a few pictures that inspired us as we were writing. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Writing Club: Character

Tonight, my kids' writing club has its inaugural meeting. We're talking about character.

As in, what makes a good one?

I'm going to have the kids name their favorites, and talk about the things their favorite characters have in common. We'll learn a little bit about archetypes, and cliches--and how to use them to make your own characters memorable.

My favorite characters of all time include Anne Shirley, Harry Potter, & Ender Wiggin. What are yours? Other faves we'll be talking about are Despereaux, Charlotte (of Charlotte's Web), and Judy Moody. I'm sure the kids will come up with others.

I can wait to see what they create! Next week's class? Setting & World Building.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Social Network

Sometimes I need a jolt of energy to get my juices flowing. It might mean caffeine. Or it might be a phone call to a good writing bud. Sometimes it's nice to get together with like-minded friends and talk writing. Not critique group formal, but good-buddy hang out time.
We might or might not drink something that looks like this:
Right now, I'm working on a rewrite. And it's a slow process. I'm at a sort of cross-roads with it. I really need a jolt of my writers network. So I'm meeting some friends on Tuesday. 
But...I'm planning a bigger Meet up in August. August 14 to be precise. Not sure of the location yet. I'm thinking about the British Beer Works in Westford. I guessing a few of us could use that jolt of energy from a group of like-minded friends.

If you're in the central/eastern Massachusetts area (or southern NH), and want to be on my contact list for Meet Ups, let me know in the comments!