Category Archives: Kristine Carlson Asselin

I write contemporary young adult and middle grade fiction and middle grade nonfiction. Oh, and the occasional picture book. I am represented by Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Literary Management.

Kristine Carlson Asselin: The Dreaded Synopsis

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
October 17, 2012 at 08:34AM

I’m over on YA Stands ( today talking about the Dreaded Synopsis.



Kristine Carlson Asselin: Mass & So. NH–Kid Lit Meet Up

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
October 05, 2012 at 09:51AM

I’ve finally scheduled the next Meet Up for anyone interested in children’s literature in North Central Massachusetts. 

When: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 @ 7:30 p.m.
Where: Aprile’s European Restaurant, Chelmsford, Massachusetts (

Who: Anyone interested in Children’s Books–authors, illustrators, librarians, booksellers, agents, editors, readers…you get the idea. There’s no formal program, just a chance to chat in person.

If you’re interested and/or have any ideas for future locations, please let me know!

Walk-ins are welcome, but if you know you’re coming, ping me! I like to give the restaurant a heads up on our count, if I can.

Kristine Carlson Asselin: What’s So Important about POV?

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
October 03, 2012 at 06:47AM

I’m over at YA Stands today talking about Point of View.

Kristine Carlson Asselin: More Kissing in the Rain

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
October 01, 2012 at 10:07AM

Clearly, we like kissing scenes. 🙂
My post popular post on this blog is called Kissing in the Rain, from Valentine’s Day, 2012. It gets about 50 hits a week, presumably from Google searches. The excerpt is from my YA novel THE SWEET SPOT, which is under revision with my agent.
 Soooo, I thought you might like the following excerpt, from “Stella’s Hero,” a short story in TIMELESS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF YOUNG ADULT ROMANCE (from Pugalicious Press) written by me and my writing partner, Ansha Kotyk. It’s also a kissing-in-the-rain scene. Enjoy!
 She would never see Jie again. She would never see his smile or touch his beautiful face. Knowing these things made her steps even heavier. For a brief moment, she thought about walking to the waterfront. It would be easy in this weather to just keep walking. Into the harbor. No one would miss her. All the pain would be gone. Her dress, heavy and wet, would help her sink into oblivion. She began to cry tears of frustration, anger and remorse. Someone grabbed her arm from behind.
Fear gripped her heart. She wrenched free and ran as fast as she could in her sopping skirts.
“Stella!” Jie’s voice. Desperate and hoarse.
She stopped but couldn’t turn around. A million emotions coursed through her. Relief. Joy. Anger.
His warm hand rested on her shoulder as he turned her to face him.
“Stella.” He was out of breath, but he looked determined. “I couldn’t live without…”
She searched his eyes. He leaned toward her and kissed her softly on the lips.
An explosion of emotion seared her brain as she pressed her body against his.
He pulled away. “You understand what this would mean?” His eyes met hers, asking her.
“Sometimes you have to give up comfortable living for your dreams,” she said, putting her arms around his neck and pulling him close. She kissed him again, his arms closing around her waist. Nothing in this world was going to take him away from her again. She wouldn’t let anyone tell her this wasn’t right.
And when the kiss ended and the rain fell between them, Jie held her hand tightly. “My whole neighborhood will know about this in an hour’s time. There is no going back. Are you sure this is what you want, Stella Thompson?”

She nodded. “Always. This is what I’ve always wanted. I just didn’t know it until now.” 


You can read the whole piece and six other short stories in TIMELESS: AN ANTHOLOGY 

OF YOUNG ADULT ROMANCE.  Available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Kristine Carlson Asselin: Using Pictures from the Web

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
September 26, 2012 at 07:43AM

I’m not sure what the odds are of someone suing me over pictures on my blog. On the other hand, I’m sure that Roni Loren never thought it could happen to her either. I read her story about being sued over the use of pictures on her blog last week.

Click here to read Roni’s story.

It scared me. I’ve never used a picture with anything but the thought of adding to my own content. I’ve always credited the website where I grabbed it. But that’s not necessarily crediting the photographer. Or getting permission to use it.

As a creative person, I thought about how I would feel if someone used something I created without permission. And I decided to go through and take down any blog pictures that I couldn’t credit or use with the creators permission. I opted to leave up book covers and head shots.

I’m not quite done yet. I have over 400 blog posts, so it’s taking a bit of time. Many of my blog posts don’t have pictures or images, but I’m viewing each and every one.

I’ve started to keep a library of my own pictures to use on my own blog.

What do you think? What pictures do you use?

Kristine Carlson Asselin: Failproof Querying

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
September 19, 2012 at 06:43AM

I’m talking about my failproof method of querying over on YA Stands today…

Have a great day!

Kristine Carlson Asselin: Musings on Revision

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
September 14, 2012 at 07:54AM

So I started my formal revision last night of a new middle grade novel. It’s actually not particularly new. I started this piece more than two years ago, but it’s been floating around in my brain longer than that. It feels really good that it is finally in a semi-finished state.


It’s been a jumble of scenes, then it was a jumble of scenes with a loose plot. Finally, it was a jumble of scenes in a novel writing application (YWriter by SpaceJock).

For a long time it was 21K words–not long enough for a novel, even for middle grade. But last spring, I signed up to attend Sarah Aronson’s Novel Writing Academy at the NESCBWI conference and I needed to finish it. My personal goal was getting it to 30K. Short, but respectable Middle Grade length.

At the Novel Academy, we did some storyboarding. I’d like to say my story board was lovely and beautiful. It wasn’t. But it did give me some ideas to strenghthen my plot–do it, if you haven’t. Here is a great post on Story Boarding for novelists–

This summer, I did some more polishing and finally had it ready for a beta reader. Anna Staniszewski (of MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE fame) offered to read for me! (duh, YES!).

So when I say “formal revision,” I mean basically diving into the notes Anna did for me. But, um, it looks like this little book has already had a lot of work, right? I wish I could say I was prolific and fast. But the reality is, this is a slow  process, no matter how you slice it. Throw in some real life, a day job, volunteer commitments, and some other professional writing (I do some freelance nonfiction writing), and it’s hard to find time for unfinished projects.

I’m hoping this little novel will be in my agent’s hands sometime this fall. In the meantime, I’ve got to reread this Revision check list by Talia Vance to make sure I get it right.

Whenever I think of giving up, I think of one of Dori’s quotes from Finding Nemo. “Just keep swimming.”

In this case, I guess it’s “Just keep revising.”

Kristine Carlson Asselin: Remembering September 11

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
September 11, 2012 at 08:40AM

This is a repost from last year…Hug your kids today.


Of course I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. I spent the day comforting new and returning students at Brandeis University, where I worked at the time.

But I wanted to remember my one and only visit to the World Trade Center.

In January 1987, I had just turned 18. Colleen and I wanted to visit the city. I don’t think either of us had ever been. My dad drove us down during Winter break. It was our freshman year in college.

 I had to sit down to take this picture. I think Colleen had to support my back.

 View from the top.

I remember that day so clearly. We had the best time. Lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Seeing the Statue of Liberty. My stomach flip-flopping as we rode the elevator all the way up to the visitor’s center in the World Trade Center.

And it still absolutely floors me that it’s no longer there.

Kristine Carlson Asselin: Write with Purpose

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
September 06, 2012 at 06:10PM

I’m one of the leaders of a fifteen-girl Girl Scout troop. We often tell our girls to ‘walk with purpose’ when we’re going somewhere. Head held high, shoulders back, striding forward.

When you walk with purpose, you show the world you mean business. You look people in the eye. You exude confidence. And that’s important in today’s world.

Do you write with purpose? Do you use words that are strong? Or do you write like a wet noodle using words like was, like, and start.

He started to walk across the street. He was walking across the street.

No. He either walked or he didn’t walk.

He walked across the street. Maybe he walked across the street dragging his backpack. Or maybe he dragged his feet as he walked across the street. Or maybe he strolled, or strutted, or marched. Maybe he crawled. Maybe he shouted a curse word as he stumbled into the street. Think about the words you use, and use the ones with purpose. Use the ones that show the emotion of the character.

Every word you use should have purpose. Head held high. Shoulders back. Fingers on keyboard.

Write with Purpose. Using words that are strong. Words that mean something. Words that show your story in living color in black and white on the page.

Kristine Carlson Asselin: NESCBWI 2013

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
August 22, 2012 at 06:40AM

There’s still a few more days to submit your session proposal for the conference next May (May 3-5, 2013, to be exact). Deadline is Monday, August 27. We’ve started to glance at the proposals we have and we’re so excited. It’s going to be a rock-solid conference with lots of great sessions on craft and the business of writing.

Here’s the link…

We’d still love to see some more proposals on craft for beginners, master level sessions for published authors, and sessions specifically for illustrators.

If you’re going to be in New England next May, put the conference on your calendar. We’ll have an excellent roster of editors and agents, great sessions to help hone your craft, fabulous keynote speakers, and a large network of writers.

Laura Pauling, Jennifer Carson, Heather Kelly, Erin Manack, Ansha Kotyk, and Alicia Gregoire

If you’re interested in volunteering, stay tuned. We’ll have a call for volunteers in early 2013.

Stephen Fraser, Chris Brodien-Jones, Jennifer Laughran, Kate Messner, Vickie Motter, and ME!

Kristine Carlson Asselin: Point of View

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
August 10, 2012 at 12:51PM

After reading this great post–here–on point of view on the SF Signal blog, I wanted to blog about it myself.

This is a great article describing the three different points (first, second, third) of view in writing:

I’ve just finished a complete rewrite of my WIP, taking it from third person past tense, to first person present tense. While the plot remained basically the same, the POV shift required me to touch every sentence.

When I started the story, I couldn’t write it in first person. It was too close to my personal experience. Too personal. Too much inside my own head. I was so afraid it would be too much like baring my soul.

But you know what? The story really needed to be told in first. And once I had the story out of my head in third person, I realized I could write it in first.

And I didn’t realize it until I started this rewrite. I’d dragged my feet until it was absolutely clear. Staring me in the face. Kate needed to tell her own story.

To my surprise, it also came out in present tense. That part wasn’t my intention, and I’m less confident about it. But sometimes you have to go with what your gut is telling you to do. I hope I’ve been able to make the story more immediate. More relevant.

How do you know? You don’t always. I got my agent with the story written in third. I know plenty of people who’ve revised to first after getting an agent or contract on a book written in third.

Write the story the way it comes out of you. You can always revise. And while it IS daunting to stare down a 75K word rewrite, you do it one word, one sentence at a time. Until you’re done.

What POV do you like to write in?

Kristine Carlson Asselin: Summer Kid Lit Meet Up

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
August 01, 2012 at 06:44AM

I know summer is a busy time, but I’m scheduling a Meet Up in August.

Date: August 14, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Aprile’s Restaurant, Chelmsford, MA

For writers, illustrators, agents, editors, librarians…anyone who loves kid lit and wants to chat in person! No program, just hanging out with a glass of wine or a beer.

Let me know if you plan to attend, so I can give a count to the restaurant.

Kristine Carlson Asselin: School Visits: What I’ve Learned So Far

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
July 30, 2012 at 06:00AM

At this point in my career, I’ve written twelve books for the nonfiction school library market. Makes me an ideal candidate for school visits, right? Except that I don’t consider myself an expert in any of the topics about which I’ve written.

So? I talk about writing. Research. How a book Gets Published. And I’ve just added some creative writing topics to my repertoire. Up until now, I’ve done all my school visits for free. What? Yes, Free.

I’ve wanted to get it right. Make sure I feel like I’m worth the money that someone is going to pay me.

Things I’ve learned:

1. Expect any question. How old are you? How much do you get paid? Things like that. Be prepared to answer what you want to answer or defer what you don’t.

2. Be prepared with writing exercises if there are NO questions. Probably won’t happen, cause the kids LOVE asking questions, but just in case.

3. Come w/ props. Visual aids, etc.

4. Be self deprecating. This works for me–I’m not a natural comedian, but if I use myself as an example of something, it’s almost always worth a laugh. For example, when talking about the definition of constructive criticism, I’ll sometimes say “it wouldn’t be constructive for you to tell me that my shoes are ugly.” Or something like that.

5. Go see the experts at School Visit Experts–they are a great resource and I can’t give you better advice than they can.

6. Lastly, if you’re familiar with school looking for inexpensive author visits, send them my way! I’ve recently updated my school visits information page —

Good luck!

Kristine Carlson Asselin: Free Chapter Download AND Contest Results

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
July 28, 2012 at 08:02AM

I’m pleased to announce that Diana Murray and Jaye Robin Brown were the winners of the free copies of Timeless from Ansha and my blog posts on Monday. Congrats you guys! I hope you love it!

AND, I just found out from our lovely editors at Pugalicious Press that we have a really cool personality quiz about Timeless. Answer ONE question, and you can win a free download of one of the stories.

Click here for the Quiz.

Hint: If you pick the answer that refers to a Chinese-American laundry boy, you MIGHT find yourself reading “Stella’s Hero” by me and Ansha.

If you like what you read in your free download, you’ll LOVE the rest of the stories. At under $4.00 for the collection, it’s a great deal.

Let us know what you think!

Kristine Carlson Asselin: Researching Fiction

From: Kristine Carlson Asselin
July 25, 2012 at 07:35AM

I posted about research on YA Stands today! If you’re interested in a few of the facts Ansha and I discovered while writing “Stella’s Hero” Check it out here.

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