And the winner is …

September 21, 2011

Thanks to everyone who participated in my online contest to win a signed copy of The Yo-Yo Prophet. And the winner is … (pause for drum roll) … school librarian Sarah W.

If you’re disappointing you didn’t win, you can read the first fifteen pages of the book below. I hope that helps.

Need a reason to run out and buy your own copy of the book? Here’s the latest review:

“Calvin is a likable character who is struggling to keep it together under the mounting stress, the relationship between Calvin and his grandmother is realistically portrayed, and the eventual resolution with Calvin’s dad feels authentic. Meanwhile, the yo-yoing scenes are surprisingly vivid and keep the action moving. Readers will root for Calvin to stand up to Rozelle and triumph in the end.”
Booklist (American Library Association)

Why Write about Street Performing?

September 15, 2011

On September 1st, I published my latest novel for teens, The Yo-Yo Prophet. Why did I write about street performing?

As an author, I have a love-hate relationship with performing. Once I get to a book reading or writing workshop, I’m eager to interact with my audience. But there’s often a moment beforehand where I’m dreading it – mostly because I’m worried about how an audience will react to what I have to offer.

Managing an audience is not unlike taming wild lions. Not that I’ve ever tamed lions, but the two are linked in my mind. A performer tries to work with the audience, to control its reactions – get people to laugh at the right part and fall respectfully silent when needed. In The Yoyo Prophet, 15-year-old Calvin faces his audiences head on. He feels the joy of successful performances as well as the horror and shame of public humiliation.

Today, the effect of public humiliation and success can be multiplied a thousand-fold through online exposure. With instant fame possible through viral videos, instant defeat can be just as swift and harsh. Calvin experiences both in the novel, and finally has to find his judgments about himself from within.

Street performers, like Calvin, are a different breed, since they need to capture the attention of a mobile and possibly indifferent audience and compel them to watch as well as pay for an unsolicited performance. The inspiration for writing about a street performer grew from my love of BuskerFest, held every August on the streets of Toronto. With a spectacular stunt, a joke or original music, buskers can transform an open street into a dynamic performance space.

To check out my video book trailer for The Yo-Yo Prophet, click here. To enter a draw for a signed copy of the book, simply comment on this post, or send me an email through my website before September 20th.

Why Write about Yo-Yos?

September 8, 2011

On September 1st, I published my latest novel for teens, The Yo-Yo Prophet. Why did I write about yo-yoing?

Pull out a yo-yo, toss a few tricks and most people want to give it a try. There’s something compelling about manipulating a yo-yo up and down a string, never mind mastering more complicated tricks. Is it the satisfaction of achieving desired results? All I know is that when I successfully throw an around-the-world or trapeze trick, I’m thrilled – and eager to try more advanced tricks.

Modern yo-yo design and construction has changed what we can do with a yo-yo – like the new ball-bearing system that allows for unprecedented spin times. Yo-yos can sleep for minutes, rather than seconds, allowing for infinitely more complicated tricks, like Buddha’s revenge. The yo-yo has catapulted from cheap toy to high-tech wonder.

So it’s no surprise that an underground yo-yoing movement exists.  Websites such as yoyoexpert.com or yoyonation.com offer advice on which yo-yos to use for which type of tricks as well as video instruction on specific tricks. And if you thought yo-yo contests were a thing of the past, check out the World Yo-Yo Contest in Florida and the National Yo-Yo Contest in California, which includes qualifying regional contests.

Personally, I think the appeal of yo-yoing lies in the ability to coax that carefully crafted construction of plastic, aluminum and string into doing what I want it to do.

To check out my video book trailer for The Yo-Yo Prophet, click here. To enter a draw for a signed copy of the book, simply comment on this post, or send me an email through my website before September 20th.

Online Launch of The Yo-Yo Prophet

September 1, 2011

My new novel for teens, The Yo-Yo Prophet, is officially available today. To celebrate, I’m launching my video book trailer and hosting a draw on my site for a signed copy of the book. To enter the draw, simply comment on this post, or send me an email through my website before September 20th. Good luck!

The early reviews have been wonderful. Here’s a sample of what reviewers had to say:

“A captivating and believable portrait of a young boy coming of age.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Intimate and authentic … a clever and quiet coming-of-age story about developing confidence and doing what’s right.”
Publisher’s Weekly

Karen Krossing really knows how to bring readers in.”
Portsmouth Teen Book Review

Karen’s Latest

Bog cover (web)In Bog, a cave troll with a grudge against humans embarks on a quest into human territory after his father is turned into stone. Published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside in Spring 2014. Listen to an excerpt from the novel here. Watch the book trailer here.

Did You Know …