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Friday, August 31, 2012

Guest Blogger Tracy Krauss and Wind over Marshdale


TRACY KRAUSS is an author, artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She has lived in many places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children. They currently live in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, Canada where she pursues all of her creative interests.

Published works include four romantic suspense novels: AND THE BEAT GOES ON, where archaeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost; MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, the story of a ‘cougar’ who takes on more than she bargained for; PLAY IT AGAIN, about an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene; and WIND OVER MARSHDALE, where strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town. She also has several stage plays in print. Visit her website for more details.

by Tracy Krauss
Published by Astraea Press


Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens. A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?

Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.

Link to an excerpt:

Readers, buy your copy of Wind over Marshdale today!


Lessons from a frog

Some students in the science department at the school where I teach did a project recently called, “How to boil a frog.” As unappetizing as it sounds, the premise is that frogs, since they are cold blooded, don’t realize the heat is being turned up if it’s done gradually. They’re happy to bask in their nice pot-come-swimming-pool until their blood literally boils.

I won’t go into the finer details, and please – no nasty backlash from the animal rights advocates out there. The frogs, apparently, don’t suffer if it’s done a few degrees at a time. For some of us, our experience as writers is somewhat the same. I’m not talking about being boiled alive, although sometimes critic’s comments can have that effect. I’m talking about the gradual addition of ‘tasks’ that, if they had been laid on us in one dump, would have surely killed our aspirations.

I’m a writer at heart. It’s what I would do all day every day if given the chance. But, like every other writer I know, there is a lot more to it than writing. With it comes the necessity of promoting yourself and your work – something I never even thought about before publication. I read an alarming statistic recently that said the average author spends 75% of their time promoting and only 25% writing new material. Yikes! That isn’t what I signed up for! Upon reflection, however, I think I actually fit this stat.

Secondly, statistics also say that the majority of novelists do not make their living writing novels. That’s reality, folks. They have another day job or they are privileged to have a spouse supporting them. Even if they ‘write’ for a living as in a newspaper, copy editing, etc. they aren’t making their bread and butter on fiction. This was a huge disappointment for me the first time I heard it. My dream is to write full time … to become the next break-out best seller… In the meantime, I teach secondary school, which isn’t so bad since I teach drama so I also get to write plays for my students.

I’ve been asked how I manage to juggle all these aspects of my life – writing new material, promoting already published stuff, teaching full time, ministry (I am the worship coordinator and leader at my church), and home life. When I think about all the hats I wear, sometimes I’m not sure. Fortunately, like the frog, each new responsibility was added gradually. When my children were young, I was not as active in the church and I did not work full time outside the home. Although I didn’t have as much time to write as I would have liked, I managed to squeeze in an hour or so a day while the kids napped. When they got older and I decided to homeschool them, I still instituted an afternoon ‘quiet play time’ which was set aside for writing, and my husband was good about allowing me some time in the evenings. They grew up seeing me write and knew that this was not the time to disturb me!

Once I went back to teaching public school my writing schedule changed, but my family was already well adapted to my need for solitude, be it on the weekend or during holiday breaks. The addition of more responsibilities was added when my husband and I went into ministry full time.

When I first started submitting written work, I was very discouraged by all the rejection. Then, when I did finally land my first contract in 2008, I still sometimes caught myself feeling jealous of all the other writers who had managed to get published long before me, and with seemingly less effort. (I’m sure that’s not true, but it’s how I felt.) It had been a very long time coming, and it was hard not to be envious of other people’s success.

Then my husband had some very wise words. (He does that occasionally.) He noted that I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle all the stress and busyness of the marketing end of things at a sooner point in my life.

When I though about it, I knew he was right. Marketing and promoting takes up a ridiculous amount of time and energy. There is no way I could have handled it when my kids were small, or when I started homeschooling, or when I first went back to teaching full time, or when we took our first pastorate. God, in His wisdom, knew what was the right timing FOR ME.

What’s right for me will not be what is right for you, of course. We are all individuals and everyone’s writing journey is unique. Like the frog, my ‘heat level’ has been added in gradual increments. Sure I sometimes feel stressed if there is a deadline coming or too many things happen at once. But generally, I feel pretty satisfied with the way things are going. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and loving every minute of it. That’s really all a person can ask.

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Thank you, Tracy, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: What is your passion and how do you fit it into the rest of your busy life?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free eBook copy of your choice of either the Kindle or ePub edition of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.


Tracy Krauss said...

Thanks for letting me be a guest on your blog Tiffany. I'll check in again later.

Patricia Kiyono said...

Marketing is overwhelming, isn't it? I too amazed at how much time I spend on it every day. I think it helps to have good support groups in place, not only for the additional promotion, but for advice, sharing of opportunities, and sometimes a shoulder (or thirty) to cry on. Nice post!

Unknown said...

A wonderful post - inspiring and ever so encouraging to keep on, knowing God's got it covered! Thanks so much for sharing. Here's wishing you a stellar weekend ahead! ~Janet Beasley~

AudOneAK said...

Reading...Which has now led to blogging about the books as I read them and now God is guiding me into possibly writing. How do I fit it in with a Husband, 17 yr old son who's a senior, 12yr old daughter in 7th grade who is dyslexic and an 11 yr old son who can't sit still for 10 min. and I'm homeschooling the kids! When you add the fact that I am sick with a lot of health issues and bed ridden God gives me lots of time late at night when I am hurting and can't sleep to do MY STUFF
Audrey Grant

Tracy Krauss said...

I'm always interested in how God works out each person's journey. Keep up the good fight Holly! I appreciate you stopping by Patricia and Janet. :)

William Kendall said...

Thanks for posting, Tracy.