Pitch Wars 2017 #PimpMyBio

This is my first year participating in Pitch Wars or even knowing much of anything about it. This time last year I was completely out of the writing loop, as I had given myself the summer off of my MA in English and Creative Writing program and decided to skip out on Camp NaNoWriMo because my work life in the summer is wild. So I was ignoring all things writing while I focused on Summer Reading Club and keeping my library afloat while we were short a manager and two other staff.

This year things are (somewhat) more balanced so I am taking a whack at Pitch Wars!

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Now, on with it.

C’est Moi

Hi! I’m Haley Kral!

I’m a children’s librarian at a public library, which means I spend my day reading picture books, doing storytime, helping people use the computers, and any number of random things that come up. People think being a librarian means sitting somewhere very quiet and maybe reading but that is not the case! My job is often noisy and stressful but I love what I do. In a given week I help people apply for jobs, teach STEAM programs to children, give reading suggestions, and clean up messes.

For fun I read, watch TV, go to live shows when I can, eat with friends, do pub trivia, spin yarn, and my boyfriend and I are building a witchy dollhouse.

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Some random facts in no particular order:

  1. I love Alice in Wonderland (in the above photo I have on an Alice dress, bow, and necklace and was going to see a ballet version of the story).
  2. I collect tea pots.
  3. I now own 6 spinning wheels.
  4. My house is also occupied by two black cats, a large dog, and two hamsters that look like mice.
  5. I grew up on a small farm and I’ve lived in Texas my entire life.
  6. I’m an occasional book reviewer at AllAboutRomance.com.
  7. I met my boyfriend on the internet.
  8. I speak French well but not fluently.
  9. If you’re around me in real life, I swear. A lot.
  10. I love all things witchy.

The Book

Or Rumpelstiltskin meets fae meets romance meets trouble.

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This is a YA Fantasy retelling of Rumpelstiltskin set in the fictional country of Wilhelm. I wrote the manuscript as the thesis for my MA Creative Writing program, and it tells the story of Alary Mueller who, while trying to save her father from the king’s dungeon, gets embroiled in a fae plot to bring down the king.

In a mentor, I am looking for someone who can help me tighten my writing and fix issues like overall pacing and plotting. I have taken this story through peer and professor workshops so I am used to taking and using critiques. I’m not afraid to hear what needs to be fixed and work on it.

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2016

Since apparently NaNoWriMo is the only time I can convince myself to set aside writing time, I will be participating in Camp NaNo this April. I am excited to use this opportunity to hopefully finish out the manuscript I started in November. I passed the 50k word mark for NaNoWriMo and I think another 30k would complete the story.

That said, I’ll be balancing writing time with one graduate school class, so that should be fun.

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Award Nomination

I found out yesterday that my short story “Pyg the Tinker” was nominated for a Write Well Award. I have no idea when I’ll find out whether I won but I am super excited. If I win, my story will be included in a print anthology that is actually available from retailers.

“Pyg the Tinker” can still be read here. This is my steampunk take on the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. (Not Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw).

New Acceptance

I got word that my short story, Pyg the Tinker (which is a steampunk-esque take on the Pygmalion myth) will be featured in the Summer Issue of Quantum Fairy Tales!

This should go to remind me that your work can’t be published unless you actually submit it. Which means I need to get back in the swing of submitting my short stories.

To Marry a Scottish Laird

My most recent review is up at All About Romance (although I’m late in posting this blog).

To Marry A Scottish Laird by Lynsay Sands

This book wins the award for the longest I have ever attempted to avoid having to read a review book. For roughly half a year I have been trying to put off forcing myself to finish reading To Marry a Scottish Laird. There was just nothing about it that called out to me to read it.”

Read the rest here…

Small Incentives

I had the fantastic opportunity to spend this weekend at the RT Convention here in Dallas. RT is hosted by the magazine of the same name (formerly Romantic Times) and brings together writers, readers, and reviewers of the romance community. I won’t go into the full details here, as I am putting together a blog for AAR on the subject, but I wanted to mention something I noticed about myself this weekend:

I love small incentives.

While I was in my first session on Friday, I noticed that some people’s badge had a nifty green ribbon that declares them to be a “Published Author.” And I thought…I want that. Yeah, I want to publish a book because it is a dream of mine, but my mind instantly transfixed on the notion that, next time I’m at RT, I want to have one of those ribbons.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been driven by something like this. For example, in high school I was determined to graduate in the top 10% and as part of the National Honor Society because I would get to wear the cords and a stole. I also graduated Distinguished which meant I got to wear a black robe instead of red. I had other reasons for wanting to be top 10% (in Texas it ensures you automatic acceptance to any state university), but there was no reason to join NHS. Supposedly it looks good on college applications, but I wasn’t even worried about that (see the automatic acceptance thing). I wasn’t even a real NHS member. I never even attended a meeting. I joined the January before graduation, paid my dues, and got my stole. I never did anything else with the organization. But I really wanted that little white stole over my robe.

I graduated with latin honors from college as well and got to wear cords again. In graduate school, I didn’t have any special accoutrements because there weren’t any. Although at graduation another lady was wearing cords from Golden Key. I immediately kicked myself for not joining Golden Key the million times I was invited, even though I’m pretty sure it’s a scam to get your outrageous dues fee.

Just yesterday I was lured by another small incentive. I join the site 750 Words to get myself in the habit of daily writing outside NaNoWriMo. Yesterday when I got home from the day at the conference, dinner, and a movie, I really didn’t feel like writing. I just wanted to read a bit and go to sleep. But I realize that Friday was my 3rd day on 750 words and writing would ensure me the Turkey Badge.

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I wrote.

Its odd how such a small incentive is so tempting to me. I’m hoping the badges will help me keep writing my words each day.

And I hope the lure of that green ribbon will be enough reason to light a fire under me on finishing my manuscript.

Review: Blood Magick by Nora Roberts

I have a new review over at All About Romance of Nora Robert’s new release Blood Magick.

Well, my anticipation for Branna and Finbar’s story was, sadly, not met. This is the third book in the Cousins O’Dywerseries and I had been hoping that it would be the one to put the others to shame. The first two books, Dark Witch andShadow Spell were pretty dull. All along though, Branna and Fin seemed to have the best chemistry, so I had really hoped that the third time would be the charm. It wasn’t.

Read the rest here…