Monday, February 6, 2012

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Chris Karlsen

The ‘R’ Word

As a writer, one of the questions I am most often asked about is: research—the ‘R’ word. I’m asked how much do I do and how do I go about finding what I need to know.

Love research, hate it, or resigned to it, for many of us, it is necessary. Personally, I enjoy research. In addition to books in my personal library, I keep three-ring binders of research material for all my stories.

I start my research before I start the book. For my first book, “Heroes Live Forever,” I began three months ahead and continued to do research throughout the writing of the different drafts. I found as I read, that new information sometimes led to a new scene in the story or new conflict. Part of that story is set in 14th Century England and France. The Battle of Poitiers is the setting for the prologue. Another setting was a Norman-style castle in Norfolk. I needed to know about medieval armor of the period for the battle, weapons, and also tactics. My research continued as some of this same information would be used again in the sequel, “Journey in Time,” much of which is also set in 14th Century England.

One source, which I’ve had modest luck with, is emailing an expert. In “Heroes Live Forever,” the issue of armor weight was a factor in one scene. I had the late Ewart Oakeshott’s series of books on medieval armor and weaponry. He was considered an expert in this field. As luck would have it, after I wrote my scene, the History Channel ran a program on medieval armor, which stated a completely different weight, substantially different. I wanted clarification. I emailed the curator of the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London. (It was a shot in the dark. I wasn’t at all confident the busy curator would respond) I received an email back the next day verifying the weight I used and clarifying why the difference. Another time, I needed to know how to drain a moat using medieval equipment and manpower. Again, it was a shot in the dark, but I emailed the Army Corps of Engineers. Not only did I receive a quick reply with two solutions but the person who responded commented on how excited their group was to solve such an unusual problem. They found it “fun.”

If I know I am going to use information again and again, I will purchase books for my library. This can be expensive, I know, but for me it’s more practical. I’ve gone back dozens of times to various books I own. As I read them or consult them, I use color sticky tabs to mark off the different sections for faster referral.

I don’t bother buying books for some bit of information but search out archived articles on the topic at magazine sites like: Archaeology Magazine, Smithsonian, National Geographic, American Journal of Archaeology. Those articles I printout and keep in the binders. Since “Journey in Time,” is a time-travel I wanted to include a possible theory for the opening of the time portal. For that I sought out articles from Omni, Scientific American and Nova. I also purchased two books: one written by several theoretical physicists and one written by an astrophysicist.

Because my books are set outside the United States I like to include a fair amount of information regarding the area. In my opinion, there’s no point in using a foreign setting if you as a writer are not going to give the reader a real flavor of the place. I’ve traveled to England and France often so I could write from memory and use personal photo albums when I wrote “Heroes Live Forever” and “Journey in Time.” My next book to be released in mid March is set in Turkey. Again, I have traveled there a number of times and could use my experience. What I didn’t know very much of personally in spite of my travels, was flora and fauna, or sometimes little details about a region, or the ingredients in a popular dish and how to prepare it. This is especially true when I wrote the Turkish setting.

I go to the official online sites for gardens in the region open to the public as they often list the different seasonal exhibits. The same is true for zoos that feature local wildlife. A commercial guidebook, like Fodor’s or Frommer’s will mention both popular and not so popular local places to visit. Most libraries have guidebooks available. For cuisine, I find archived articles related to different countries in various food magazines.

Speaking of the History Channel, I found many excellent and informational DVD’s from the various specialty channels are sold in their online shops. Foreign newspapers are also a good source for articles and the Op-ed sections offer some revealing insight into how the people of the country feel about local and global issues.

Yes, I am a research geek who’s easily amused by a dear writer friend who tears her hair out whenever she’s forced to do research.

Follow Chris on Tour

Feb 6 Tour Party Giveaway
Fang-tastic Books

Feb 7 Interview
Meredith Allard

Feb 7 guest or promo

Feb 8 review

Feb 10 Interview
Manga Maniac Café

Feb 11 review and promo

Feb 12 Promo

Feb 13 review
All the days of (Book Blog)

Feb 15 Guest Blog and review
Lissette E. Manning

Feb 16 review and guest blog
Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf

Feb 20 Guest Blog and review

Feb 22 Interview

Feb 23 Interview
Sarah Ballance

February 23 Guest Post
Lisa’s World of Books

Feb 24 Guest Blog
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

Feb 25 Guest blog (review)
Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess

Feb 26 Guest Blog
Ramblings From This Chick

Feb 28 Guest Blog (review later)

Feb 29 Guest blog and review
For The Love of Reading

March 1 interview and promo

March 2 Promo
Cocktails and Books

March 3 review and interview
Curling Up By The Fire

March 4 Guest Blog
Reader Girls

March 5 review
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

Journey in Time
BY Chris Karlsen



London attorney, Shakira Constantine, finally agrees to spend the day with her handsome client, Alex Lancaster. While riding in the countryside, the couple finds themselves caught in a time warp and transported back to the 14th Century, and an England preparing for war. Everyone believes Alex is the Baron Guy Guiscard...a baron who died in the upcoming battle.

If they can’t find a way to return to the 21st Century, Alex will have to sail with the army to certain death. Shakira will be left alone to survive in the alien and terrifying medieval world.

Get it for your Kindle

About the Author:

Chris Karlsen is a retired police detective who spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. Her father was a history professor and her mother an avid reader. She grew up with a love of history and books.

She has always loved traveling and has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Near East (especially Turkey and the Greek Islands), the Caribbean, and North Africa.

Born and raised in Chicago, Chris has also lived in Paris, Los Angeles, and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four rescue dogs.

You can contact her via: Books to Go Now, P.O. Box 1283, Poulsbo, WA 98370

Or on Facebook:

Giveaway Time!

Chris is offering 1 set of her books- Journey in Time and Heroes Live Forever to one lucky winner

The winner can choose Kindle editions, Nook editions, pdfs or signed paperbacks. 

This contest is open internationally (even for print)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Beverly said...

Thanks for hosting. Great post.

Debby said...

I love reading posts about books that make me want to buy them. I have added your book to my list.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Bethie said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Patricia's Particularity said...

This sounds like a great series! Thank you so much!!

DogsMom said...

The book sounds interesting but so does the author!

chris karlsen said...

Hi Beverly,
I'm glad youlike the article. I've found some of the most interesting little tidbits while researching. Couldn't really use most of it but it was fun to learn.

chris karlsen said...

Hi Debby,
I appreciate I'm in you TBR list. I hope you have a good time reading the books. I had one writing them.

chris karlsen said...

Hi Bethie,
You're welcome. I hope you found the book blurb tempting and if you win, I hope you find the characters fascinating.

chris karlsen said...

Hi Patricia,
Your enthusiasm is music to my ears. I enjoyed writing the first two books in this series. I'm currently working on the first draft of book three. I'm in the process of talking to doctors and doing some medical research for this current story. The hero is a character from "Journey in Time."

chris karlsen said...

Hi Dog's Mom,
I have say how much I like your "handle." I am a huge dog lover. My husband and I have 4 rescue dogs. They're family. I'm writing book 3 of this series and want to include a dog in the story. I haven't got a clue for a name for the pup yet, it'll come.

Roxanne Rhoads said...

That's so cool that the experts were eager to help you with your research. I avoid writing history because of the research. Though I love history and the History channel- I don't want to delve into too much details for my books right now. Though I have a few characters I've dug through many a book for *sigh*

Sharon Kleve said...

I love Chris Karlsen's books,they really exciting. I can't wait for your next book...hurry, write faster.

bn100 said...

I enjoyed the post. The book sounds very interesting.

chris karlsen said...

Hi Roxanne,
I understand. Reseach can be daunting. I don't think I could write a story if the research wasn't interesting to me to begin with. History is fun for me but only the periods and places I'm curious about. If you told me I had to research what the Antartic was like in 1800, I'd be--ugh.

chris karlsen said...

Hi Sharon,

I'm thrilled you liked the books. It's always wonderful to hear. I'd love to write the next book in the series faster, but as I mentioned, I'm wading through medical research and still trying to talk to an ophthalmologist. I need advice on my injured knight.

chris karlsen said...

Hi bn,

Trailers for both books in my "Knights in Time" series, which "Journey in Time," is book 2 of the series, can be seen on my website: Personal pictures of England are also on the site.

Alicia0605 said...

I love finding new to me authors. I look forward to reading your books!!

chris karlsen said...

Hi Alicia,
I'm so glad you're interested in my stories. Time-travel was often a discussion topic with my parents and I. As a family, we were all interested in the possibility. "Journey in Time," was my chance to explore it a bit. My current work in progress, the next in the series, is also a time-travel.

Serena Zane said...

Hey Chris,
Great blog! I completely agree with you about research.

chris karlsen said...

Hi Serena,

Glad to see you stopped by. I was just about to visit you. My critique partners laughed when they first saw all my research binders. I'm the group's "nerd." Yet, I am totally techie challenged.

Jenni said...

I love history and when it's tied to a good meaty story... even better! Thanks

chris karlsen said...

Hi Jenni,
Thank you. My goal is meaty. I writer character driven stories. I love going deep inside their emotions and minds for reactions.

chris karlsen said...

I want to thank Roxanne for this opportunity to connect with Fang-tastic Followers. This has been fun.

For those of you who read "Journey in Time," or "Heroes Live Forever," I'd love to hear from you and what you thought of the stories.
Contact me at: or