Spring 2017 in Pictures

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on May 22, 2017 in Anecdote, Art, Cover Reveal, Family, Middle Grade, Nature, Parenting, Pictures, Pirate Island |

A quick bookish note first. Today I’m guest posting on the Middle Grade Minded blog about the cover for PIRATE ISLAND. It’s a fun inside look at the process that went into creating it.

Okay, now for the spring part. I’m inclined to say it’s been a weird spring, given that we had snow early on in the season and 90 degree weather last week. But when I think about it, that’s pretty typical for New England.

Some highlights of spring have included The Boy having a his artwork in the citywide show (a fire truck drawing of course!), riding on Thomas the Tank Engine, lots of park time, the New England SCBWI conference (I’ll be blogging some highlights soon), and moving into a room together and getting bunk beds (in preparation for The Gentleman’s arrival).

What have you all been up to this spring?

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May #InkRipples: 10 YA and MG Novels Inspired by Fairy Tales & Myths

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on May 8, 2017 in Books, Creativity, Fairy tales, Fantasy, Guest, Ink Ripples, Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, Middle Grade, Writing, Young Adult |

Last week I touched on why fairy tales make for such good fodder for story ideas. And as promised, here are some of my favorite YA and MG novels that drew inspiration from fairy tales and myths (I’ve included myths here because they are also great sources of inspiration for similar reasons that fairy tales are…and I happen to have some great examples!) with quotes from the authors to give you even further insight into their ideas.

CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge

“A good fairy tale retelling taps into that sense of story-behind-story. It feels inevitable. You read it and you think, Yes, obviously, this is what happened. This is what it means. Writing a fairy tale retelling feels like discovery, not invention. Why did I combine Beauty and the Beast with Bluebeard? Because I was thinking about those stories one day and I realized, Beauty married the Beast in order to kill him. She’s afraid she will die like his previous wives. That’s what happened. How else could it be?” ~Rosamund Hodge (from an interview on Epic Reads)

ASH by Malinda Lo 6472451

“Ash has gotten a lot of attention because it is a lesbian retelling of Cinderella. But my first draft had nothing gay about it–Ash, the main character, fell in love with the prince…. After I got some feedback from a friend, I realized that Ash was actually much more interested in one of the female characters, the huntress. That realization was startling to me; I had written all of that into the story without even consciously knowing it.” ~Malinda Lo (from an interview on Cynsations)


“My son Haley asked me to tell him some bedtime stories about the Greek gods and heroes…. I remembered a creative writing project I used to do with my sixth graders — I would let them create their own demigod hero, the son or daughter of any god they wanted, and have them describe a Greek-style quest for that hero. Off the top of my head, I made up Percy Jackson and told Haley all about his quest to recover Zeus’ lightning bolt in modern day America.” ~Rick Riordan (from the author’s website FAQ)

8084BEAUTY (and ROSE DAUGHTER) by Robin McKinley

“Beauty and the Beast has been my favourite fairy-tale since I was about six; I still have the book I first read it in. When I wrote Beauty, I sat down, as I thought, to write a short story, and found I had more to say than I expected…. Beauty and the Beast is still my favourite fairy-tale…it was the only fairy-tale around that didn’t have the heroine waiting limply to be rescued by the hero…. I wrote Rose Daughter, as I say, in a six-month hurtle. And in hindsight I realize what fueled the hurtle, why, having tapped into a new lode of Beauty and the Beast in my mind and heart and bloodstream, the story shaped itself and shot out onto the page as it did.” ~Robin McKinley (from an essay on author’s website)

ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine 

“I wrote [Ella Enchanted] because I love fairy tales and I’d just read Beauty by Robin McKinley, which I admired enormously…. I was starting a new writing class and needed an idea, so I thought maybe I could expand a fairy tale too. “Cinderella” is such an important tale, it’s the first one I thought of. But when I considered it, I realized I didn’t like Cinderella or understand her. She’s so disgustingly good! And why does she take orders from her horrible stepmother and stepsisters?” ~Gail Carson Levine (from the author’s website)

ICE by Sarah Beth Durst 6321845

“I was initially inspired by a picture book of the Norwegian folktale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” illustrated by P.J. Lynch. Specifically, there’s one illustration in there of the “lassie” where she has her hand on her hip and she’s wearing this you-won’t-stop-me expression. As soon as I saw that illustration, I knew I wanted to write about that kind of girl–a fearless girl who won’t be stopped.” ~Sarah Beth Durst (from an interview on YA Book Queen)

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

“[The Hunger Games is] very much based on the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, which I read when I was eight years old. I was a huge fan of Greek and Roman mythology. As punishment for displeasing Crete, Athens periodically had to send seven youths and seven maidens to Crete, where they were thrown into the labyrinth and devoured by the Minotaur, which is a monster that’s half man and half bull. Even when I was a little kid, the story took my breath away, because it was so cruel, and Crete was so ruthless.” ~Suzanne Collins (from an interview with the School Library Journal)

QUEST OF THE HART by Mary Waibel 

“Quest of the Hart…the first book in the Princess of Valendria series, is a reverse Sleeping Beauty. This story all started when a friend suggested I write a book where the girly-girl saves the guy. While thinking about how to adapt this idea, I kept thinking of the princess in the tower needing rescue, and Sleeping Beauty popped into my mind. I pulled out my DVD, sat down with pen and paper, and jotted down the sequence of how things happened in the Disney version. Armed with a plan, I started working on my own version, and Quest of the Hart was born.” ~Mary Waibel (from an email from the author)

CINDER by Marissa Meyer 

“I entered a writing contest [and chose two prompts]: Set the story in the future and include a fairy-tale character. My contest entry was a sci-fi version of “Puss in Boots” and I had so much fun writing it that I thought I would try to do an entire series of science-fiction fairy tales!… So I started to brainstorm what futuristic twists I could give to some of my favorite fairy tales. A couple months later I was drifting off to sleep when the lightning bolt struck: Cinderella… as a cyborg! My head instantly filled with all sorts of ideas and I had to crawl out of bed and start taking notes.” ~Marissa Meyer (from the author’s website FAQ)

ENTWINED by Heather Dixon 8428195

“I’ve always loved the Twelve Dancing Princesses.  I remember looking through page after page of a beautifully illustrated storybook when I was a kid, and just wishing I could live in their world.  So, the visual element just really stuck for me.
I also have, like, a million sisters.” ~Heather Dixon (from an interview on Enchanted by a Book)


Okay, now it’s your turn to share your favorite retellings (and feel free to branch out from books and include other media)!

#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Katie L. Carroll, Mary Waibel, and Kai Strand. We pick a topic (May is about fairy tales), drop a ripple in the inkwell (i.e. write about it on our blogs), and see where the conversation goes. We’d love to have you join in the conversation on your own blogs or on your social media page. Full details and each month’s topic can be found on my #InkRipples page.

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May #InkRipples: Mining Fairy Tales for Story Ideas

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on May 1, 2017 in Books, Creativity, Fairy tales, Ink Ripples, Writing |

When Monday falls on the first day of the month, #InkRipples always sneaks up on me. I made sure to get my post up on time because I was particularly excited about this month’s topic of fairy tales. One of my most popular archived posts is “Fairy Tale One-Liners” and I’ve taught a writing workshop about mining story ideas from myths, fairy tales, and legends.

Back when #InkRipples was talking tropes (see “Tropes Are All In The Execution”), I said that all tropes have been used before, so it’s all about how you use them in your own way. I believe that’s also true of story ideas. They’ve all been done before, so why not borrow/steal/draw inspiration from other people’s stories. Fairy tales are ripe for the picking because of the universality of themes, their use of archetypes, the fact that many leave threads open in their plots, and the many different fairy tales out there from cultures all over the world.

You might be thinking that there are so many fairy tales retelling that there simply can’t be room for one more. While I’ve thought that myself, it never fails that another retelling comes out to great success. Seems people can’t get enough of retellings and even plan-old redoings (see the long list in “Disney Live-Action Remakes & Other Fairy Tale Movies Release Schedule”).

And it’s not just retellings that can be inspired by fairy tales. I love when a minor fairy tale character gets their own story or when a story is written from a villain’s view point. Even an interesting take on a classic fairy tale theme, i.e. rags to riches or true love’s kiss, can be taken in many different directions.

If I haven’t yet convinced you that there so many ways to use fairy tales for inspiration, stay tuned next week for a post about some of my favorite stories that stemmed from fairy tales, myths, and legends!

What are your favorite fairy tales and stories that mined from those tales?

#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Katie L. Carroll, Mary Waibel, and Kai Strand. We pick a topic (May is about fairy tales), drop a ripple in the inkwell (i.e. write about it on our blogs), and see where the conversation goes. We’d love to have you join in the conversation on your own blogs or on your social media page. Full details and each month’s topic can be found on my #InkRipples page.

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The Inspiration Behind TWICE BETRAYED by Gayle C. Krause

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on April 26, 2017 in Books, Creativity, Guest, Middle Grade, Writing |

I’m pleased to welcome writer friend Gayle C. Krause to the blog today. She is celebrating her latest release, the middle grade historical fiction TWICE BETRAYED, and sharing the inspiration behind the book. Welcome, Gayle!

Thanks for having me on your blog today, Katie. I’m so proud to share my newest novel with your readers. If you like the 1776 era in American history, the story of a young girl’s loyalty to her friends, mystery, danger, and spies, TWICE BETRAYED is for you.

So, what inspired me to write TWICE BETRAYED?

Well, I’ve always loved history and discovering how things came to be.

When I walked in Pompeii, I felt like I had been there before.

In the Coliseum, a new story about one of the entertainers blossomed, which I’ve yet to write, but it’s taken its place in my brain queue.

In the Caribbean, I’m positive the long-lost pirates whispered to me with each crash of the waves, and so I also have a female pirate story I’m working on.

But Perdy’s story was different. I wrote it first, and when I visited the Betsy Ross House, after the story was completed, I froze in my tracks. My husband asked me what was wrong.

But nothing was wrong…it was right. I had described the shop, the kitchen, the bedroom Perdy shared with her sister and grandmother in great detail, with the only difference between Twice Betrayed and the real thing being the shape of the stairs. Mine are square with landings between floors and the real house has circular stairs within the walls.

And since the whole story about Betsy Ross making the first flag is a legend, with no real proof that she actually made it (ask any historian), it was a perfect setting for my story.

I come from a long line of seamstresses and am a certified Home Economics teacher, where I also taught sewing to my students, so you can see how the sewing bits in the story are relevant.

TWICE BETRAYED is a mix of fact and fiction stitched together to bring a new light to the fabric of our beginnings, told from the eyes of a thirteen-year-old girl, who fell into a web of deceit and struggled to win her freedom, just like the country being born around her.


With the spark of independence crackling in Colonial Philadelphia, three girls dress as boys and head to the river to put a perilous plan into action, but only two return. The third, a milliner’s assistant, is found drowned, with gold in her hems, coded spy letters in her bodice, and a journal implicating another sewing apprentice in the treacherous plot.

All eyes turn toward Perdy Rogers, Betsy Ross’ thirteen-year-old apprentice, but she’s no spy!  With her life on the line, she struggles to untangle herself from the web of deceit and learns the hard way that freedom, whether an individual’s or a country’s, comes at a cost.

If you or you followers read TWICE BETRAYED, I’d appreciate a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Thanks for having me. Remember…

“The golden thread of friendship is what stitches hearts together!”

TWICE BETRAYED is available in paperback and ebook.

I also have a new picture book coming out this year. DADDY CAN YOU SEEE THE MOON? will be released November 7, 2017 from Clear Fork Publishing. It’s about a young boy and his soldier dad sharing special moments by looking at the moon each night. But when Dad comes home a wounded warrior, his son discovers it’s the power of love that kept them connected all along.

About the Author:

Gayle C. Krause is a member of SCBWI, KIDLIT, Ink, KSRA, and a past member of the Historical Novel Society and the Poet’s Garage. She’s served on the Rhyming Revolution Selection Committee, choosing the “best” rhyming picture book for 2015 and 2016.  A Master educator, she’s taught Children’s Literature to prospective teachers at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Ms. Krause writes fantasy, contemporary, and historical fiction for Young Adult, Middle Grade, and young children. Her publishing credits include:

  • Rock Star Santa – Scholastic 2008.
  • RATGIRL: Song of the Viper – Noble Young Adult /Trowbridge Books 2013
  • Scheherazade’s Secret – Trowbridge Books 2014
  • Twice Betrayed – Trowbridge Books 2017
  • And coming November 7, 2017 – Daddy, Can You See the Moon? – Clear Fork Publishing.

She lives in a small town not far from where she was born. She listens to her muse sing through the trees of the Pocono Mountains and is inspired to write for children everyday. For more about Gayle, visit her website gayleckrause.com, Twitter @GeeCeeK, Facebook, and Goodreads pages.

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Cover Reveal is Live for my Middle Grade Adventure PIRATE ISLAND

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on April 17, 2017 in Art, Books, Cover Reveal, Events, Middle Grade, Pirate Island |

It’s here! The cover reveal for my upcoming middle grade adventure PIRATE ISLAND is live! All exclamation points because I’m so excited to share. Illustrator Susan Tait Porcaro did such an amazing job bringing Billy and the spirit of the book to life. I’ll be sharing more about the cover process on the Middle Grade Minded blog on Monday, May 22, so be sure to stop by and read all about it.

Before I reveal the full paperback spread, which you’ll find exclusively here, I wanted to plug all the gracious bloggers who are hosting the reveal. A big thanks to all them! Be sure to check out their blogs and stop by on reveal day for more PIRATE ISLAND goodies.

April 17

Meradeth Houston’s Write Stuff

Kelly Hashway

C.M. Savage Blog

Beverly Stowe McClure’s The Story of a Writer

Erin’s Rhewsings

Christopher Mannino’s The Poet’s Fire

Strands of Thought

April 18

S.J. Pajonas

Deek’s Rhewminations

Stacy Mozer’s It’s All About the Journey

April 19

Juneta at Writer’s Gambit

Joshua David Bellin’s YA Guy

Waibel’s World

J.Q. Rose

Gail Gauthier’s Original Content

April 21

S. Usher Evans

April 25

Girls Succeed!

April 26

Gail Krause’s The Storyteller’s Scroll

April 28

Brainerd + Fraser: driving blind

May 1

Suzanne’s Thoughts for the Day

May 10

Christina Weigand’s Palace of Twelve Pillars

May 22

Middle Grade Minded

And now without further ado, here’s a special look at the full spread of the PIRATE ISLAND paperback! Coming October 2017!

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