Saturday, October 1, 2022

FALL WRITING FRENZY ENTRY- 2022



FALL WRITING FRENZY 2022


WICKED SHADOWS

 

“Bwah-ha-ha-ha!” The screeching laugh surrounds us like the cold wind biting our skin. 

“Hurry Max, they said to reach the safehouse before the stars shine.”

“We’re moving as fast as we can, Bobby. Marna twisted her ankle in the woods.”

“But the sky’s already gray.” He runs back. “We only have minutes. We’ll move faster if we both help her.” 

“No, you go knock on the safehouse door. Tell them we’re coming. Get yourself to safety.” 

“What about you and Marna?”

“I’ll carry her. Go!”

Bobby charges up the slippery slates in the center of town guided by the orange light at the safehouse. 

Marna clings to my neck and I walk as fast as I can.

Garlic hangs on every door we pass. Fear of the Dark Ones has grown more intense.

Every full moon for the last six months, girls have been found, who’ll never wake again-- two bite marks on their necks. 

Fathers lock their daughters' windows and boys stoke the family fireplace to prevent the beasts from entering through the hearth.

Suddenly, Marna is yanked from my grip. I spin to see her floating back into the woods.

“M-A-A-X!” she screams.

“Bwah-ha-ha-ha! She’s mine now.”

 


 199 words

Friday, September 30, 2022

Simple Answers to Questions for the Kid Lit Writer

 As we a just getting back to "normal" with book festivals, book signings, and school visits, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share some of the questions and answers that I, along with a kid lit panel of greats such as Jodi Meadows (The Orphan Queen series) and Noniqua Ramos (Beauty Woke) answered for prospective writers at the Rocktown Authorfest in April of this year.



How do you as an adult create stories that are appropriate, authentic, and engaging for 

children and teens?  Can you discuss content and themes? 


VOICE - pictures


PB – a title comes to mind. If I pursue it, it’s usually rhyming. Fantasy.


MG/YA – My characters come first. I think about them for a while, and then I start writing. 


I am a PANSTER not a PLOTTER.


Let’s talk about love, sex, and violence in young adult novels.  How explicit should scenes be?

 

Sex scenes in my YA novels are sensual, but not sexual. I describe the character’s feelings, 

but not their actions, unless it’s a kiss.

 

My battle scenes are not gory, though there is some blood.

 

How do an illustrator and writer collaborate to create a picture book?  

 

When you write a picture book, you must leave room for the illustrator, as it’s a collaborative effort. 

If you must, you can use an ART NOTE, but only for something unique that the

 illustrator wouldn’t understand.

 

Typically, with traditional publishers you do not have any say in the illustrations.

 

Since picture books rely on adults to read them to your intended audience do you 

have to think about the “reader” differently?

 

Yes, picture books should be layered. Interest for both children and adults who read.

 

Perspective shift: What are some tips for adults to craft authentic young adult characters? 

 

I don’t generally switch POV’s. Usually I writer in first person, unless in MG where 

I might do every other chapter from 2 different characters.

 

Tropes? Good or bad?  What tropes appear in your books? Why did you choose to 

include them?

 

Twins – mystery within the context of the story – kickass girl protagonists – love interest that 

isn’t main part of the story. Independent girl characters. Sarcastic humor.


To what extent do popular culture, the latest trends, and best sellers influence your work?


Ignore trends because what’s hot today will be rejected a year from now.


What are resources you use to hone your craft? What resources do you recommend to 

prepub authors?


Writers Helping Writers – Writer’s Thesaurus’s. – Critique Groups –Writing Seminars

 

Hope that answered some of your questions.

I've just been invited to participate in Rocktown Authorfest again in 2023. Looking forward to it. Met my new critique group through this wonderful event.






Friday, February 11, 2022

Energized to Write for the New Year

 So happy to be attending the SCBWI National Conference this week. My peer critiques went well two nights ago, and energized me to see the possibilities in my manuscript I may have overlooked.

And I'm looking forward to gleaning new information about the kid lit industry in all the seminars.

Here's to a New Year of writing children's books.


Currently, I'm working on a YA Magical Realism novel and two picture books. :)





Friday, October 8, 2021

Why Are You the Person to Write This Story? by Gayle C. Krause

Though I’ve been writing for nearly twenty years, it’s not the question that’s foremost in my mind when I create my stories, and yet, the answer is important. Some agents even want the answer when you query them. 

With every author, the answer varies, but not until I really sat down and made myself think of why I wrote my five published books did I realize what my answers were.



 

Let’s take my first book, a rhyming picture book, ROCK STAR SANTA, published by Scholastic. It’s about a little boy who goes to a Christmas Eve concert and is surprised that Santa is the star and is rocking out with his rowdy reindeer band. What inspired that story?

 

A Trans-Siberian Christmas concert. A rock band that plays traditional Christmas carols with a heavy metal/progressive jazz attitude, complete with pyrotechnics and loud, blasting music. The next day I wrote Rock Star Santa. If I hadn’t gone to the Christmas concert, I never would have considered writing a picture book featuring Santa Claus as a Rock Star.

 


My second book, RATGIRL: Song of the Viper was born from my love of fairytales and a man I met at a writer’s conference at Keystone College in Pennsylvania. He was an ethnobotanist and led us on a tour of the college campus, pointing out wild plants, or plants in general, that can be used for food and medicine. My YA retelling of The Pied Piper set in a dystopian future with global warming (and scarce food) was influenced by what I learned that day, and I incorporated that knowledge in my novel.


My third book, TWICE BETRAYED, a MG historical fiction was influenced by three things:


1.  an invitation to celebrate George Washington's Birthday at Christ Church in Philadelphia, PA (the church were he attended each Sunday) complete with a formal celebration with a reenactment of his First Light Brigade.


2. My own sewing skills, as I am a certified Home Economics teacher.


3. And my interest in colonial history (Hello, Betsy Ross!) By the way, her designated pew in Christ Church was right behind George Washington’s.) 

 My fourth book, DADDY, CAN YOU SEE THE MOON? another picture book introduces a serious topic to children, but set in rhyme, so it’s not too scary. (Though it is all too familiar with military children.) Filled with emotion, and family, I had a hard time coming up with what inspired me to write this book. Though both my father and husband served in American warsneither came home wounded. But this story came to me strong and clear, and I believe it may have been triggered by the amputees from the Boston Marathon bombing. Ten percent of royalties from this book is donated to Our Military Kids, an organization that sponsors the children of veterans in group activities while their wounded parent is recovering.

 

And my last published book, ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE, came solely from my love of rhyme and fairytales and is a MG collection of “fractured fairytales” in various poetic forms. And as a teacher, turned children’s author, I teach Children’s Literature to other educators, and children’s writers. One of my favorite workshops to teach is "Beyond the Fairytale!"


 

Now, as I reflect on my WIPS, I see that I’ve drawn on the lives of my students, and their idiosyncrasies, as well as people I know, again coupled with my favorite genre (fantasy/fairytales). 

 

So, yes, take some time to delve into the reason behind your stories. Where did they come from? Who inspired them? Sometimes, you’ll surprise yourself.

 

Giveaway:

 

For anyone who follows The Storyteller’s Scroll and shares this on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, your name will be put in a random drawing for a signed copy of ROCK STAR SANTA, which is now out of print. 

 

When you comment below, please list the social media link that you used, so it can be verified.

 

Drawing will be held on November 15, 2021. And you should get it just in time for Christmas!

 

 

****(And by the way, Trans-Siberian Orchestra is BACK celebrating 25 years of Christmas Eve and Other Stories this year. Maybe you’ll be inspired too!)

 

 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Kirkus Magazine Mentions DADDY, CAN YOU SEE THE MOON?

 So this just happened yesterday...


INDIE BOOKS THAT TAKE KIDS TO THE MOON

BY DAVID RAPP  YESTERDAY

THE MOON HAS LONG BEEN A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR WRITERS AND READERS, EVER SINCE POETS STARTED RHYMING IT WITH THE WORD JUNE


CHILDRENS BOOK AUTHORS ARE NO EXCEPTION; JUST LOOK AT MARGARET WISE BROWNS CLASSIC, GOODNIGHT MOON, IN WHICH THE NARRATOR TREATS THE SATELLITE AS A GOOD FRIEND. 


HERE ARE THREE MORE MOON-BASED BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS IN KIRKUS INDIES ORBIT:


IN MALISA SANTIGULS 2019 PICTURE BOOK, THE DOOR TO THE MOON

COLORFULLY AND RICHLY ILLUSTRATED BY JUNG SENARAK, A BOY AND HIS DOG FIND A STAIRWAY THAT LEADS DIRECTLY TO THE BRIGHT-YELLOW MOON, WHERE THEY MEET MULTICOLORED ALIENS AND ASTRONAUTS AND EVEN FLY AROUND IN A SPACESHIP. KIRKUS REVIEW NOTES THAT THIS SIMPLE, FANCIFUL NARRATIVE WILL DELIGHT YOUNGSTERS WHO ALREADY DREAM OF THE MOON.


THE 2020 MIDDLE-GRADE SF NOVEL BOON ON THE MOON BY JOHN HUDDLES TELLS THE STORY OF 9-YEAR-OLD BYRON BOON BARNETT, WHOS EXILED TO A LUNAR COLONY BY A JUDGE AFTER A SPELUNKING MISHAP. FORTUNATELY, HE CAN BRING THE MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY ALONG, BUT BEFORE LONG A TERRIFYING OUTER-SPACE PHENOMENON CALLED A WHITE WORM PUTS THEM ALL IN DANGER. KIRKUS REVIEWER CALLS THE BOOK A COMICAL LUNAR ROMP FEATURING A BRISK, DELIGHTFUL STORY.



DADDY, CAN YOU SEE THE MOON? 
(2019) BY GAYLE KRAUSE AND ILLUSTRATOR CARLOS DE LA GARZA ESCHEWS SPACE ADVENTURE AND INSTEAD USES THE LUNAR BODY AS A WAY TO HIGHLIGHT A BOYS STRONG CONNECTION TO HIS FATHER. BEFORE THE DAD DEPLOYED AS A SOLDIER OVERSEAS, HE TOLD HIS CHILD, AT BEDTIME, LOOK UP AT THE MOON. / AND I WILL TOO. ILL BE HOME SOON. LATER, THE STORY DEALS WITH THE FATHERS RECOVERY FROM CATASTROPHIC INJURIES. KIRKUS REVIEWER WRITES THAT THE PICTURE BOOK ADDRESSES A DIFFICULT TOPIC IN KID-FRIENDLY TERMS DESPITE SOME ADULT-LEVEL EXPECTATIONS.


DAVID RAPP IS THE SENIOR INDIE EDITOR.


If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy of this book about a boy and his soldier dad, you can contact me on my website : https://www.gayleckrause.com


Thanks!


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Fall Writing Frenzy 2020 - Image #12 LITTLE WITCH

FALL WRITING FRENZY 2020


A “Little” Witchy Magic!

 

 

My sisters said I can’t attend the Midnight Magic Ball. 

“A snip of a witch! Untried! Unskilled! Besides…she’s much too small.” 

 

My biggest sister says she turned a boy into a ghost. 

And changing puppies into cats? My middle sister’s boast!

 

But I will prove them wrong if I practice every day. 

My spells will be original. Not any “old witch” way! 

 

I’ll make my magic perfect. All I need to do is focus. 

A sparkling wand, some spooky smoke…a “little” hocus-pocus! 

 

I’ll call the forest fairies to dance upon a pin. 

And set green vines a twirling ‘round all pumpkins with a grin. 

 

I’ll send a vampire bat to swoop across an eerie moon. 

And change one sister’s cat into a goodie-stealing goon. 

 

My other sister’s cat will bring me all her candy treats. 

And I will give the sweets to costumed kids that walk the streets. 

 

Do not misjudge my magic! Be it potion, chant or spell… 

My “little” witch enchantments are for “Show” and not for “Tell!”


170 words

 

 


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Fall Frenzy Writing Contest 2020


 I entered this last year and it was a great writing experience. This year’s rules:

1. Choose a fall image from Lydia Lukidis’s blog 

www.lydialukidis.wordpress.com

2. Write a 200 word (or less) poem, story, mood piece, whatever strikes your fancy from the chosen image as long as it’s child friendly.

3. Entries MUST be submitted from October 1-3 by midnight.

4. Enter by posting on your blog and then leaving the link for your submission on Lydia’s blog post.

5. One entry per person.

6. Winners announced on 10/31/20

7. Prizes feature critiques from editors, agents, and published authors.

FALL WRITING FRENZY ENTRY- 2022

FALL WRITING FRENZY 2022 WICKED SHADOWS   “Bwah-ha-ha-ha!” The screeching laugh surrounds us like the cold wind biting our skin.  “Hurry Max...