Saturday, April 25, 2015

April Links

Inscribe Writers Online - April 15 "Inspired by Burn-Out"

Canadian Writers Who Are Christian (The Word Guild) - Dying to Live - Monday April 27.

Inscribe Professional blog on Writing  'Combing the Two 'Ps' - plotting vs 'pantsing'

This interview at Patti J. Smith's blog 'Grid-iron Granny' got some 'replay' this past week. Check it out!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Featuring... My Mother the Man-Eater

My Mother the Man-Eater released in November of 2010 and went on to be nominated for the 'Indie Excellence Book Awards' in 2011. It also became an amazon best seller for a short time in the contemporary romance category. The picture is kind of blurry but i didn't really know how to take screenshots back then! Trust me - it hit #19, which is pretty good in such a wide category.

In retrospect, I wish I would have released the book in smaller increments as a series. It is certainly long enough at a whopping 555 pages! Still, it is what it is. Maybe once the rights revert back to me I will do something like that. In the mean time, here is the cover blurb:

What’s a girl to do? Joleen Allen is on the hunt. For a man, that is. Unfortunately, every time the mother of five meets a prospect, he falls for one of her daughters instead!

Meanwhile, her ex-husband, Harold, is back in the picture after a stint in prison, and he’s looking for revenge. He’ll do anything to see Joleen’s reputation and her relationship with their children ruined. Harold has devised an elaborate plan to slander Joleen and ruin her financially, and will stop at nothing – even murder – to see it through.

At forty-four, Joleen has seen a thing or two. She became a mother at sixteen, and her five highly independent children are now grown. Jasmine is a successful ad executive, but has a drinking problem. Jill is a tough cop, while middle child Jennifer surprises them all with her tenacity. Jinger is a self-centered glamour girl, and the baby of the family, Jade, is utterly spoiled.

All the interesting men they meet get tossed around by this pack of barracudas. Adding to the mix are some drug deals, a kidnapping, insurance fraud, and secrets from the past, making life very complicated, indeed.

With grit, humor, action, intrigue and romance, My Mother the Man-Eater is a redemptive story about a woman whose search for meaning in life sends her straight into . . . the arms of God.

Other stuff!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tandy Balson is My Guest

Tandy Balson is releasing a wonderful new book of short, inspirational stories that I am actually quite excited about. It's called Dragonflies, Snowdrifts and Spice Cake: Finding Inspiration In Everyday Things and is published by Friesen Press. In her intro, Tandy says she specifically put the book together in sections so that readers could scan the table of contents and read whatever appealed to them. 'From Nature'; 'By the Water'; 'Around the House'; 'Out and About' are just some of the headings and as the title implies, her subject matter is as varied as every aspect of daily life.

Here is an excerpt from one I particularly enjoyed called 'Campfire':

My husband and I pulled our chairs close to the campfire. We laughed about the fact that it didn’t matter which side of it we were on, the smoke soon changed direction and blew in our faces.
There is something mesmerizing about a campfire. It seems to be an integral part of the outdoor experience. Roasting marshmallows over one has become a tradition. The fire can also be enjoyed on its own as it crackles and sends sparks into the air.
The flames eventually died down and there were only a few embers left smouldering. When we took a stick and stirred them up a bit, a new flame was created.
This happens in life too. I’ve had many experiences in which the spark or flame of passion for a project had died down. All it took was for someone to come along and point something out from a different angle and the spark was stirred up, rekindling the flame to enable it to burn brightly.
When an ember is removed from the fire, it soon becomes cold. If left with the other embers, it will retain its heat for a much longer time.
In my life I need to surround myself with positive, encouraging people. Together we can fan the flames of potential each of us carries. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be the spark that points others to his love and light.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20 NIV) 

There is much praise for this little book and you will probably want to check it out for yourself!

Tandy is a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, volunteer and observer of life.  Her greatest joys in life are spending time with family and friends, baking (but then she has to give it away so she doesn’t eat it all!), spending time in nature, reading and writing.
She has been doing inspirational speaking in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan since 2001.  She posts twice weekly on her blog at
Her work has been accepted for publication in FellowScript Magazine, Testimony Magazine and The Upper Room.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hockey Night In The Krauss House

I'm not going to lie. I've actually been enjoying the nightly hockey extravaganza since the Stanley Cup playoffs started. With five out of six Canadian teams in the running, it's been kind of exciting. Two of the series are all Canadian match-ups, although if one really stopped to look at the roster, most teams in the NHL have a majority of Canadian players. Still, there is something special about teams that make their homes in Canadian cities. The Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators have been battling it out, as have the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames. Both series have been very physical and there is no love lost between the players. Even more physical is the Winnipeg Jets vs. the Anaheim Ducks Series.

Despite the fact that my son has been a die-hard Ottawa fan for many years, I'm favouring Montreal. Since I live in British Columbia I feel obligated to cheer for Vancouver, but if the truth be told, I really don't care who wins. Come June, I may be sick and tired of hockey, but for now I'm enjoying the energy that comes with the playoffs. The good news is this: No matter who wins any of these series, we are guaranteed to have at least two Canadian teams in the quarter finals. 

That's good enough for me!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Featuring... New For Fridays

I plan to post a new feature here every Friday called... "Featuring..." This inaugural post features my very first published book AND THE BEAT GOES ON. I can't believe it is almost seven years since this book came out! Where has the time gone?

I must admit, I still love this story. It is about a scientist who discovers irrefutable evidence for creation while on an archaeological dig in Africa. However, his findings are not met with enthusiasm from the rest of the scientific community and he finds himself embroiled in a web of conspiracy and danger.

Six and a half years later, there are a few minor changes I would like to make to the book. (I've learned a few things since then and grown as a writer.) However, the basic story line stands pretty strong. I will have the option to re-publish come this November or have all the rights revert back to me. At that time I can seek another publisher, self publish, or just let it be. I'm still weighing my options.

In the mean time, check out the short blurb as well as reveiw excerpts.

Back Cover:
Canadian born archeologist Mark Graham unearths a remarkable discovery while at a dig in the mountains of Zimbabwe – pterodactyl remains and giant human bones buried together. Speculation leads to the possible existence of a mythical race known as ‘Nephilim’, a pre-flood people alleged to have descended from both gods and men.

But skepticism and sabotage delay Mark and his team as the dig site is compromised, putting their discovery – as well as his very life – in grave danger. Deceived and framed by trusted friends and colleagues, Mark struggles to safeguard his findings and protect his reputation in order to unearth the mystery behind the Nephilim.

Sample Review:
Cleverly crafted by author Tracy Krauss, And The Beat Goes On is quite the satisfying read. Ostensibly a mystery/suspense thriller, Krauss’ engaging narrative is more a subtle commentary on the fundamental tenets of Creationism; however, rather than coming off as preachy or pedantic, Krauss provides the reader with solid facts and historical evidence that anyone will find it difficult to ignore – regardless of your personal belief system. As such, Krauss successfully engages the imagination while simultaneously provoking higher thought, a feat difficult for even the most seasoned writers to achieve.
Enlightening and entertaining, And The Beat Goes On is sure to provoke many a heated discussion throughout the faith community and beyond. An enjoyable, recommended read. 

Sample pdf

Amazon reviews

Buying Options

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Headless Chicken and Other Additions

Playing card soldiers. A wicked queen whose favourite line is "Off with their heads!" ... And a chicken?

 Yup. These are the costumes that just arrived today in preparation for 'Alice In Wonderland', my drama class's spring show. I was pleasantly surprised to find out (thanks William!) that 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll's classic. When I shared that information with my students they were even more excited about the play. The script itself was largely written by one of the students - a girl in Grade Ten. I usually do a scriptwriting segment in my class, and this is what she came up with. We did some 'round table' collaboration as a group, and I did some edits and additions, but the bulk of the script is hers. It's actually a play she can be proud of, and we're all excited to produce and perform it in early June.

If you're wondering about the chicken, I can explain. I happen to have a really sweet chicken outfit that I bought for a song at a thrift shop one time on speculation. Unfortunately, the reason I got it so cheap was because it was missing a head. (Talk about running around like a chicken with its head lopped off!) Anyway, I ordered a head online and it arrived with the other items. If you recall, Alice encounters a lot of random animals, so I'm using what I already have rather than buying or making new animal outfits. I'm not sure if a chicken has ever appeared in 'Alice' before, but our version has one.

The show itself consists of four short plays. 'Alice', written by the students, as I said, 'Little Red In the Hood', one of my published plays, 'My Fellow Cavemen', a royalty free play I found in an anthology, and 'The Date Tests', another royalty free play I came across. 

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to rehearse.   

Monday, April 13, 2015

Many Hats

As a Drama teacher, sometimes I make simple costumes and props in order to stretch my budget. Here are several hats that needed ears for an upcoming play called 'Little Red In the Hood', an original play I wrote several years ago. After writing and performing it with a group in 2005, it was published in 2012 by JAC Publishing and has been performed in several locations across N.A. My after school drama group, the 'KodiActs' are practicing it to present this June.

When I saw the hats in a group it made me think about all the hats I wear. Teacher, Drama director, author, playwright, artist, worship leader, interim pastor, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, Inscribe executive member, local arts' council executive, volunteer... Many hats for many different facets of my life.

I've lamented recently the fact that I haven't been able to get as much writing done on my personal projects as I would like. When I stop and think about all the other things in my life, I understand why. Sometimes we need to lay aside one thing for a short season because other things take precedent. It's okay. The novelist hat is still on the shelf. It's just resting awhile.

Little Red in the Hood - original stage play available from JAC Publishing and promotions or on amazon in paperback or kindle. 

Little Red, an adventurous girl with a mind of her own, takes on the task of befriending Mildred, the social outcast at school. On her way to Grandmother’s house, she encounters the Swine brothers who warn her about a possible predator, BB Wolf, and his nephew/apprentice, who are on the prowl. Little Red also meets up with a gang of tough ‘hooligans’ led by someone known as ‘The Man’. Fortunately for Little Red, when these ruffians find out who her grandmother is (the coolest old lady around) they escort her right to Granny’s door. Naturally, BB and Co. are waiting. After a series of mix-ups and close encounters, it’s revealed that the Swine brothers are really in cahoots with BB Wolf, and are involved in an insurance fraud scam. Granny saves the day with her karate moves and all is well… or so we think. In the end, everyone learns their lesson about honesty and staying true to oneself.