December 31, 2009

Nice Way to Wrap Up the Year

It’s official folks, my second picture book has been released. It’s a prose story called The Sister Exchange. It’s about a girl who wants to trade in her sister for another one. But these new sisters are not all they’re cracked up to be.
This was a fun book to write and is actually based on my nieces. One day my niece Brianna, asked my daughter if she would like a sister. Then she added, “Well you can have mine.” That line stuck in my head and I eventually thought about a scenario where you could trade siblings the way you traded stocks (a nod to my days in the financial services industry). My first drafts of the story included a mix of both brothers and sisters as replacements. But in the interests of brevity and simplicity, I made it just about sisters.

Kit Grady did a great job with the illustrations and I am very happy with the way this book came together. If you would like a peek inside at the story and illustrations, please go to and check it out. This book is also available at and ,or you can ask your local book store. If you want to go green, it’s available as an E-book as well.

Not a bad way to wrap up the year. May all of you have a very happy and healthy new year. See you all in 2010.


December 16, 2009

Ah, that New Book Smell

The moment that I have been waiting for has finally arrived. If I Could Be Anything has been officially published.

I’ve been scrambling to update my websites and get everything in place for this book’s release, so I haven’t been posting here too often. But I think that will be changing since I have the majority of my tech projects completed. I’m sure I will be tinkering with my websites here and there, and I’ll still be putting together new games as I go along. I’m also joining a virtual book tour in January. So I still have plenty to keep me busy. I just won’t be working at the same frantic pace. That makes me happy. I need to get back to the basics and all this stuff I’ve been working on has distracted me from what I really want to be doing, which is writing.

I haven’t really had time to work on any writing projects. I miss coming up with ideas, and watching as the story unfolds, and how the story sometimes takes me in entirely different directions from what I originally planned. My tech projects involved a lot of creativity, which made them fun to work on. But it’s not the same as writing.

I received my author copies for If I Could Be Anything, and plan to make signed copies available to any one who wants them. I've included links on the sidebar and on my websites for anyone who would like to pick up a copy. I’ve already sent some to family members and I’m donating a copy to my daughter’s school.

There’s nothing quite like opening up a box of books and to hold a crisp copy in your hands. What was once a vague idea now has form and substance, and it didn’t exist until I thought of it. That’s pretty awesome!
Although I do have a lot of people who helped make this happen as well, my family, friends, critique groups and publisher, to name a few.

The printer did a good job. The artwork pops out at you, and the pictures and words flow from page to page. Nice…very, very nice, even if I do say so myself.

December 7, 2009

Slush Pile Warrior - Gayle C. Krause

In this latest edition of Slush Pile Warrior, I'm pleased to present Gayle C. Krause. Slush Pile Warrior is a recurring feature which focuses on the trials and tribulations of pursuing publication.
Gayle is the author of Rock Star Santa. I've read it and it is a very enjoyable Christmas book. It's like a modern day Night Before Christmas and I think it would make a great addition under the Xmas tree this year. Without further adeiu, here's Gayle.

Please tell us a little a little about yourself

A Scrantonian at birth, I grew up on the West Side of Scranton, Pennsylvania in a section called Tripps Park. I was a super energetic, creative young girl, always gathering the neighborhood children in organized activities of one kind or another, which involved singing, acting or creative play. This natural leadership and creative energy led to a career as a teacher at a Career and Technical Center in upstate New York, where I guided young men and women in finding the key to successful Early Childhood and Elementary teaching careers. I served as Team Leader for the Education Department, Director of the Pre-K Laboratory School, and an instructor in the Early Childhood Education department of a local college.

As a Master Educationalist I’ve taught children’s literature, creative writing, storytelling techniques, and acting. My years as a creative role model for teens and pre-school children has led me to my new career as a children’s author. My current picture book, ROCK STAR SANTA, is available during the holiday season from the See-Saw (Pre-K -1st grade) and Lucky (2nd-3rd grade)Scholastic Book Clubs.

How many submissions do you have out there now?

This changes every week. I currently have an environmental rhyming picture book out at several publishers. I’m working on perfecting my query and polishing my Tween/YA novel as I am hoping obtain an agent in the near future. So my focus these days to sub to agents, though I am also working on two science related picture books.

How do you research where to send your manuscripts?

Verla Kay’s Blue board, CWIM, Publisher’s Marketplace, and Children’s Writer.

What was your biggest submission goof? What did you learn from it?

I’d say when I first started to write seriously I submitted the second book of a trilogy for publication consideration, hoping it would stand on its own because I felt it was better written than the first book. (obviously, it was my second manuscript) This was my first mistake. Live and learn!

I received a two page kind rejection with encouragement to revise, but not as I expected. The editor’s quote: “You have a 5-6 book series disguised as a single story. When you have revised it you may send it back.”

Her comment both encouraged and overwhelmed me. To this day I have not tried to break the story into 5 books, but it still lingers in the back of my mind. Someday I will.

What I took from that first editor’s comments was that I have a gift for storytelling.

Why do you want to be a writer?

To incorporate my creativity into tangible words so children and young adults may find new concepts to learn in a pleasurable medium. And so children can enjoy reading and exploring new worlds as much as I do.

What is your favorite style of writing? Why?

That is a close call. I enjoy integrating history in fiction. I have written three YA historical novels and one is currently brewing in my head.

Besides the high fantasy novel I mentioned above, I also have written a 2-book MG parallel world fantasy, a science fiction novel, and I have two YA WIPs, both paranormal. (Don’t worry….no vampires or werewolves!)

But I enjoy rhyming. It sings in my head. All of my picture books are fantasy-oriented. Most are rhyme. When I get an idea for a picture book it most certainly always comes in rhyme.

What is the most frustrating thing about being a writer?

Seeing more and more publishing house closed to unagented submissions. And getting form rejections back two years after I sent the manuscript out. (I’m NOT kidding.) By then I have no idea what manuscript even was.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Seeing the children’s faces as you read your story to them in school and library presentations. A close second would be the euphoric feeling you get from seeing your work published.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

I’ve learned that when I’ve completed my manuscript and I’ve shared it with beta readers or critique groups I find I am NOT finished with it. I then put it away for a period of 3 to 5 months. (I work on something else at this time.)

When I return to it with fresh eyes I’m better able to revise for a tighter, more professional manuscript based on feedback given.

Have you been published? If so where?

Yes. I have various articles published in the SCBWI National Bulletin, Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul 2, Fandangle Magazine, Stories for Children Magazine and Anthology, Volume 1, Diversion Press Meanderings: A Collection of Poetic Verse Anthology, The Blue Review, Kidzwonder Magazine, Hopscotch for Girls, and Boy’s Quest.

My debut picture book, ROCK STAR SANTA, was released from Scholastic Book Clubs in December 2008 and will be available again for the Christmas season 2009. (See the Scholastic flyers the children bring home from school)

How can people find out more about you?

My website is
I have a blog.

Last month Realm Lovejoy interviewed by at She did a great drawing of me, too.

I was the guest author at the ICL Website discussing seasonal picture books last December 2008, and the interview is on the site.
I was featured in Authors on the Verge, Cynthia Liu’s website last year.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

My affiliations in the world of children’s writing are varied. Besides being an SCBWI member, I am the founder of the Cliff House Writer’s Group, and I host an annual writer’s retreat every fall. I’m a member of The Poet’s Garage, the Wayne County Arts Alliance, a past member of the Historical Novel Society, a graduate of two Highlights Foundation Workshops, and I participated in two Rutgers University One-on-One Children’s Literature Conferences, where I met my editor at Scholastic.

My new endeavor, “First Peek Critique” Service, can be found at my website:, where I offer critique services for rhyming picture books. Further information may be obtained by emailing me at

December 3, 2009

Into the Home Stretch

Well it looks like the moment I’ve been waiting for is finally arriving. I approved the galleys for If I Could Be Anything and it’s been sent off to the printers. As soon as the copy comes back and is approved by my publisher, I am officially published.

To coincide with this monumental occasion, I’ve also just about finished my website. I have all the games and activities loaded and I’ve been testing the links, the look of the site, and everything else. This is actually the second site I came up with. I designed the first site and threw it up on my web server. It completely crashed and burned. But I was able to salvage some text and graphics for my new site.

If you would like to take a sneek peek, my new website, please go to

Please be warned that this site is still under construction and I am working furiously to get this site ready to coincide with my book’s release. I’ll let everyone know when this site is officially launched.

After this site is launched, I plan on doing some more writing and having some champagne to celebrate my book’s release, but not necessarily in that order. :-)