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The Design of Genres by Traci Kenworth


The Design of Genres

Traci Kenworth

The design of genres is meant to showcase what each has to offer the reader as well as the writer. Each genre has its own set of expectations. Rules, if you like. You can follow them or break them to a degree but you’d better know the why behind each. It’s like when you begin that new book. You don’t expect to find a herring (mystery clue) in a romance, for example. And, if you do, you need to explain how that came to be.

Just like, if you set off in a train under a golden sunset and ended up awakening to a traveling wagon train in the 1800s, you might want to check what you know. Things like that don’t happen in the normal world. Ah, but in fiction, they do. It’s merely how you bring things about. You can take the straight path, or you can simply drive off the cliff.

That’s what excites readers: the unexpected. No, boring holes for them.  They have to be occupied by a hobbit. Or a village. That skyline on the horizon? It must be dotted with witches and their wyverns. Or even to bring it down to a normal world: something we haven’t seen before or at least, not on a usual basis, has to occur. It can be a St. Bernard on a hot day when we stop by to service our car with our son. Or the crest of a fin in the water.

Every genre relays its foundations on what’s gone before. And then stays on the same page or defers. No two stories are the same though. Even on a calm day, the same sidewalk can be shared by different people on their own adventure. One might be going to buy an orange kitten who loves the taste of lasagna. Another might be off to Scotland on a writer’s retreat and discover there’s more to the people and the land than its history.

Some writers groan about genres stifling them with boundaries. I say there are no boundaries, if you think about it. Dragons can be brought into any era. Aliens into any environment. Humans can walk among the stars or tread the depths of the oceans. Black holes puncture the atmosphere for a reason. You just have to figure out what that reason is. And make use of it.

Even if you’re in a “normal” world, there can still be frills. Not all bank robberies go according to plan. Construction sites get botched. Subways become a hazard. Maybe it’s the weather. Or just a villain that enters the fray. Anything can happen in any genre. You just have to use your imagination. Think about what would’ve happened if those children hadn’t explored that closet at their uncle’s house. No Terabithia.

If Harry hadn’t gone to Hogwarts, what would’ve ended up happening to the Wizard World? There’d be no Twilight if Bella hadn’t gone to Forks. But you say, it had to be that way. For that story, sure. But there are other stories. Other solutions. The boy doesn’t always get the girl. Unicorns exist somewhere. And fairies can be devious individuals. It’s all about perspective. The design of genres can take you anywhere from Walton’s Mountain to the moons of Alderaan.  

Happenings: This week I suffered through something I wonder if a lot of other disabled individuals do as well. That is, the feeling of being “useless.” Now, my daughter and son were quick to assure me it wasn’t true but I just felt like I couldn’t do the number of things I did say ten, or twenty years ago or even to the quality of such. My mobility has become a real issue for me and tbh, I have a secret fear of losing the loss of my legs or hands altogether. They sometimes feel so numb and unable to respond to what I want them to do. Anyway, I wondered if others shared these helpless emotions and worried about them? I mean, I don’t know where my life’s headed. I could end up in a nursing home in the future, unable to care for myself. I always thought that getting dementia or Alzheimer’s would be my greatest fear but now I wonder if it might not be, loss of mobility or even God forbid, amputation of limbs. Depending on someone would be very hard for me. I’ve had to depend on myself for so long, the idea seems preposterous. It’s odd the things we consider. I know I could still write. V.C. Andrews was very successful even though she was paralyzed. I’m sure there have been others. Even when I fall now, it’s hard for me to let someone help me up. I don’t know why accepting help stresses me. Unless it’s part of the PTSD I suffered for years.

Some links around the web I found interesting and you might as well:

  1. Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2023/01/writing-insecure-characters/ All successful novels, no matter what genre, have one thing in common: emotion. It lies at the core of every character’s decision, action, and word, all of which drive the story. Without emotion, a character’s personal journey is pointless. Stakes cease to exist. The plot line becomes a dry riverbed of meaningless events that no reader will take time to read. Why? Because above all else, readers pick up a book to have an emotional experience. But they don’t want to be told how a character feels; they want to experience the emotion for themselves. To make this happen, we must ensure that our characters express their feelings in ways that are both recognizable and compelling to read. How we convey a character’s emotional state is vital to the reader’s experience. They don’t want to be bashed over the head with this information, nor do they appreciate clunky methods that jerk them out of the story. This is where show-don’t-tell comes into play. Show the character’s emotion through their natural responses to it, and readers will figure it out on their own. Use universal responses, and you’ll have the added benefit of readers connecting to the character through a sense of shared experience. I often think of the Writer’s Digest Book, “Open Your Veins.” It says a lot. Let that emotion bleed down on the page. Become the character until you’re done for the day and then pick up that yoke again the next and the next until you’ve got a book and edits begin.
  2. Life in the Realm of Fantasy https://conniejjasperson.com/2023/01/11/the-business-side-of-the-business-managing-inventory-writerlife/ Authors make readers when they do in-person book signings. We have the chance to connect with potential readers on a personal level, and they might buy a paper book. If we are personable and friendly, they might tell their friends how much they liked meeting us. Those friends will buy eBooks. (We hope!) Most shows and events will require you to have a business license if you intend to sell books in person. This means you will have a small amount of paperwork after each in-person signing, so I am revisiting a post from 2022 detailing how authors can manage an inventory of books and have the right numbers for tax purposes. For eBook sales, you have no obligation to report sales taxes, only your royalties as listed on the 1099 issued by Amazon or Draft2Digital, or other eBook sellers. Whether you are traditionally published or indie, if you intend to make personal appearances at local bookstores, fairs, or conventions, you will have an inventory of books on hand to manage and account for at the end of the year. But more importantly, even if you are traditionally published, you pay for the books you sell at shows. The good businessperson has a spreadsheet of some sort to account for this side of the business, as it will be part of your annual business tax report. An excellent method for assembling the information you will generate for your tax report is discussed the previous post, The Business Sequence for Writers. Ellen King Rice has given us a great framework for keeping our business records straight. This is an important part of the writing business. She simplifies what you might keep on file for your tax purposes, Indie or traditional.
  3. Robbie’s Inspiration https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2023/01/11/growing-bookworms-teaching-children-about-nature-and-conservation/ Teaching our children about the natural environment and conservation is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. There are a few good ways of making sharing about nature and conservation with children, as follows: Reading books about nature with your child; Exploring nature with your child; Art and play; and Watching documentaries Teaching young readers to read is close to my heart as my son struggled with reading at a young age and his school admitted that they failed to help him in this regard.
  4. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2023/01/the-importance-of-great-mentors-for-you-and-your-books/ All of us here at Writers In the Storm know that veteran-WITS contributor, Julie Glover, is both funny and wise. She and I were talking about the importance of mentors and she made this observation: “Being storytellers, we’re likely all fans of a good mentor. Where would Harry Potter be without Dumbledore? Wilbur without Charlotte? Peter Parker without Uncle Ben? Cinderella without her fairy godmother?” She’s got a great point. Even though it seems like the mentors always die or disappear in every genre except romance (where they get their own book in the series), we never forget a great mentor. I mean, come on…what would Star Wars be without Obi Wan, or Yoda? A lot of the ladies at YAFF taught me things I didn’t want to learn at first. As did my first few cps, Steve and Pat. They both taught me to love the story for the story and the YAFF ladies helped me to whip things into shape. I had some bad ones in between but that happens to everyone. I also had a lovely cp, Lisa, who helped me with my romances. I continue to work with Rebecca, Barb, and Pen on occasion.
  5. Tel Aviv Feral Cats https://telavivsferalcats.home.blog/2023/01/12/cute-feral-cat-with-huge-eyes/ It’s not easy to shoot a video of feral cats, but I was walking back from my brother’s apartment, which is maybe five minutes walk from my building, and there was this cat with extremely expressive eyes, and two cute kittens up on the windowsills, and I had to try. A lot of people don’t consider how those feral cats ended on the street: some careless person didn’t fix their pets and they multiplied and the results were carelessly tossed out. Ferals can be rehabilitated. I have a tiger cat that was on the streets till he was six months old.
  6. Story Empire Blog https://storyempire.com/2023/01/13/birth-order-and-character-development/ When we craft our characters, many of us include comments about their placement in the family. We attach traits we’ve experienced with siblings or others close to us. I will explore some of those traits in my posts over the next several months. Full disclosure, birth order theory is somewhat controversial because, in and of itself, it is not a determinant of someone’s personality. Many other factors include genetics, physical environment, gender, culture, family trauma, and much more. Still, birth order offers writers a tool for developing their characters. For that reason, in the next posts, I will focus on the traits of the (1) first-born, (2) the middle-born, (3) the last-born, and (4) the only child. I leave you with a curious detail. Per the research, if there’s an age difference of three or more years between siblings, the birth order restarts. Given this tidbit, each of my four children is an “only” child. Between my eldest and my next child, there are seven years. Then there are five years between the next, and three and a half years between the final two. No wonder I had my hands full, right? Just for fun consider these three sets of accomplished men and women: I definitely think birth order plays a part in who we are in life. I’m a second to the last child. I missed the middle by one. My oldest sister got most of the responsibility put on her shoulders all these years. I didn’t get away with a lot like some might think of a younger child. In fact, I was the first to go to college in my family then my older sister tried her hand. I respect her for trying to make her life better and not giving up on things. I’m a lot like that. I push for the things I want and don’t give up easily. I’m also more open to change than some in my family as I educated myself to think for myself in a lot of instances. Reading and writing, I think, allows you to accept unpopular opinions and come to respect other’s opinions on things.
  7. Books and Such https://teripolen.com/2023/01/13/blogtour-a-tale-of-two-princes-by-eric-geron-bookreview-romcom-lgbtq/ Will these long-lost twin princes be able to take on high school, coming out, and coronations together—or will this royal reunion quickly become a royal mess? Edward Dinnissen, Crown Prince of Canada, loves getting the royal treatment at his exclusive Manhattan private school and living in a fancy mansion on Park Avenue. But despite living a royal life of luxury, Edward is unsure how to tell his parents, his expectant country, and his adoring fans that he’s gay. Billy Boone couldn’t be happier: he loves small-town life and his family’s Montana ranch, and his boyfriend is the cutest guy at Little Timber High. But this out-and-proud cowboy is finally admitting to himself that he feels destined for more . . .
    • When Edward and Billy meet by chance in New York City and discover that they are long-lost twins, their lives are forever changed. Will the twin princes—“twinces”— be able to take on high school, coming out, and coronations together? Or will this royal reunion quickly become a royal disaster? This description sounded like a blend of Red, White, and Royal Blue (a pure delight) and The Parent Trap. Royal twins separated at birth? A Canadian monarchy? I was intrigued.
  8. Syl’s 65 blog https://syl65.wordpress.com/2023/01/14/sketch-comedy-%f0%9f%98%83-key-peele-cool-teacher-vs-class-clown/
  9. Angel Messages https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2023/01/14/angel-messages-jan-14-2023/
  10. Smorgasbord Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2023/01/14/smorgasbord-public-relations-for-authors-recycled-part-two-author-biographies-tips-and-translations-by-sally-cronin/ With approximately 150 authors on the Smorgasbord bookshelf, I am in Amazon and Goodreads oftn checking for updated information new releases and reviews to share in the author features. In the upcoming series of Meet the Authors I will also be updating biographies to include and I am afraid that I have had to update quite a few myself with new books, or the numbers of books that have been written. My suggestions today are not carved in stone, and how you write your biography is entirely your decision. The one area that is key and seems to be echoed around the writing sites is the fact that a biography that is overlong will be overlooked. The biography is your advertisement that combined with your photograph is going to grab the attention of the potential reader who has landed on your author page. Last week I shared the fact that there are 20,000 new ebooks uploaded each week on Amazon that are in direct competition with your books. Provided you have listed your books with the genre or sub-genre, when searching for books a reader will be offered a selection to choose from. Hopefully that will land them on your book page or your Amazon Author Page.
  11. Marcia Meara Writes https://marciamearawrites.com/2023/01/14/enterprisemuseum-centralfloridawildlife-hugefun/ Off to visit with the good folks at Enterprise Museum today, to chat about two  of the more unusual critters which live here in Central Florida: opossums and armadillos. It’s been months since I was feeling well enough to give one of these presentations, and I’m looking forward to this one more than I can say! Especially since I’ll be talking about two animals which are so very interesting, yet so misunderstood. If you happen to be in the area, come on by and see exactly what I mean for yourself! The little restored 1930s schoolhouse is worth the trip all by itself!
  12. Myths of the Mirror https://mythsofthemirror.com/2023/01/14/weekend-blog-share-silent-pariah/
  13. Entertaining Stories https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2023/01/14/am-i-done-maybe/ My only goal today was to do some writing. I’ve previously mentioned that Once Upon a Time in the Swamp required a long denouement. My intent here was to wrap things up, but also provide a potential future for Mari. I have no intention of a sequel, but I want readers to know life goes on after her traumatic events. Today, I reached that point. Mari’s tale came in over 70,000 words, but that’s not real lengthy. I’m of the mind a story will be as long as it needs to be. I like the story, but there are always things to second guess about one. Time for that later. At some point, I’m going to have to spend some real money on cover art for all these stories. I think they’re worth the cost of good art, and that industry also needs a few patrons. In fact that gives me an idea for a possible Story Empire post in the future. It’s time for me to embrace the thing I hate most about these projects… editing. I have three finished books at this time. They are tentatively called: I’m in the same mess with three manuscripts in need of edits in my hands at the moment.
  14. John Howell https://johnwhowell.com/2023/01/14/the-last-drive-tour-with-dan-antion/

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Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, John Howell, author, Links, Reading, Short stories, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

How Much Character Do You Put On? By Traci Kenworth


How Much Character Do You Put On?

Traci Kenworth

In the world of beauty, we’re always concerned about what we are or aren’t putting on our faces. The goal is to improve on them, of course. Just like, if you think about it, our characters in our stories. So, how much character do you put on when it comes to your stories? By which, I mean, how true or authentic to themselves do you work to make each character?

Take an old lady. Easy character, right? Pruned skin. Cane to bend to her will. Ah, but how many other disabled these days carry canes? I do. And I’m fifty-five going on fifty-six. Mine is for my progressive neuropathy but also my fall risk. Sometimes my legs just want to buckle under me.

Not exactly the old lady you had in mind, huh? What would make her so for you? Gray hair? Blue-rinsed, white hair? Knobby knees? A pack of cats? A granny sweater? Eyeglasses on a chain? Add up the little details that make the whole. And each character is different. No two of us see the same old lady.

That’s how characters and people are. The truth comes in who we make them. What we pull into their makeup. We can make them rigid, aggravated, or complete bores. Think of a bully in high school. Most would think of guys. I knew some of those but mostly, my high school world was made up of female bullies.

I think that’s why I have a bit of hesitancy relating to my peers. Because so many of them were just ghastly to me. I had overweight girls try and keep me locked out of the school doors in the morning. And skinny ones spitting wads of paper at me in class. I’ve had senior girls tell me that I couldn’t use a certain door, or else. I’ve had girls younger than me harass me with ex guys that used to like me. Like I said, the role of bully is in the eye of the beholder.

Just like a mother. Some of us grew up with mothers who didn’t work outside the home. Some of us didn’t. I’d bet that on both sides of those coins, neither mom looked nor acted alike. Take their manner of clothing. They could’ve wore mostly skirts and dresses. Or pants. And there’s loads of combos in either of those sets. Some liked cotton. Some silk. Different patterns. Thickness. Accessories. The list goes on.

And fathers are more than just the standard ties that are advertised on TV sets. My dad never wore a tie. Even to funerals. He drove trucks. Worked in factories. Plastered ceilings of houses and buildings such as churches like the Mormon Church down in Kirtland, OH. He went fishing and hunting. Other dads did that too but not all. I’m sure there are more differences between our dads.

The point is: all characters come in different shapes and sizes. No two are alike. Pick any two books. No protagonist is like another. No matter the genre, no matter the similarity in the story. There is always something, some detail, that makes each unique to themselves. Katniss and Aelin. Two strong fighters in their different worlds. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Their heart and their truths. Their sins and their mistakes.

The cost of each character’s life is their own. But on the battlefield, they’re formidable. They know their opponents well and use every advantage they have against them. It’s never just a game to them. That’s how you create a story. You put a character on the field an audience can cheer for despite the odds. They make be just another serial killer but it’s the mold of that killer that makes him/her spring to life.

Know your character. The details that go into them. Their background. Their struggles. Triumphs. Everything blends together into the mix. They are the whole of that being. Do your homework. So, how much character do you put on?

Happenings: Happy 2023! The last year ended with a fizzle for us but hopefully, it jump-boarded us into a new opportunity for my family. Prayers and fingers crossed. Our electricity ended up going out the night before Christmas Eve with the big blizzard rolling in. We didn’t get a lot of snow, thank God. Because I still had to get my kids back and forth to work those days. We were out of electricity until the afternoon of the next day. We lost our water as well. That was out until a few days before the new year. Yes, I kid you not. And the place where I live, the landlords blamed the tenants for it being off. They said we didn’t replace the heat tape like we were told. We bought our new home and the heat tape they put in was good for three years. So them blaming us was just, there are no words. They claimed the tenants pulled the park employees away from their families and holidays and ruined them for them. You couldn’t find an employee in this park even this week. You know how they fixed the water situation? They let the water pipes thaw. Yeah. Real effort on their part. So, we heard about a nice piece of land and we’re hoping to buy and get out of here in 2024 when our contract to keep this house here expires in Sept. I have never liked landlords. They are devious in my opinion. At least, the ones I’ve run across. That being said, I know people who are landlords and I believe they treat their tenants better. Life is hard. Why make it harder by being an a**hole to people?

Here are some links around the web you might like:

  1. Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2023/01/force-your-character-to-make-hard-choices/ One of the best things about conflict is that it pushes your characters to act. In every scene, your characters are making choices—big ones and small ones, and thereby steering their fate. Some decisions will be obvious and require little to no thought, but others will be muddier, with no clear “better” option, generating inner conflict. These choices, provided the characters feel personally invested in the decision, act as a test, revealing who they are. Finding ways to naturally characterize our characters is gold in storytelling, so making the most of a character’s decisions is a wise move. But when we make choices a bit more complex, they go beyond black-and-white options, which creates tension and potentially painful consequences. Hm. Working with two fears or two needs. Sounds delightful.
  2. Marcia Meara Writes https://marciamearawrites.com/2023/01/03/forgottenwords-doyouremember/ Interesting series!
  3. Syl’s 65 blog https://syl65.wordpress.com/2023/01/03/surging-forward/
  4. Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2023/01/5-reasons-why-its-still-a-good-idea-for-writers-to-have-a-blog/ It’s 2023. Should writers have a blog? It’s been the subject of debate for several years now. There was a time when, if you intended to publish and sell books, you were expected to write a blog too. But it’s not so clear-cut today. There are a lot of ways to communicate with your potential readers, and blogging is only one of them. Here are five reasons why I think it’s still one of the best. I think a blog is an important outreach to your readers. It helps you to get to know them and they, to know you. I’m finding more confidence in my writing nowadays and I believe part of that comes from this blog. I know I can express myself and get my point across to others. I feel at home here, like I’m talking to old friends.
  5. Life in the Realm of Fantasy https://conniejjasperson.com/2023/01/04/the-business-side-of-the-business-finding-places-to-submit-your-work-amwriting/ Today, we’re going to explore the various forms of short fiction publishers are looking for and how the market drives what they will buy. Each publication only buys work they think will appeal to their readers, and each serves a different segment of the reading public. We are looking for markets that will pay you for your work. They are difficult to get into, but once you are in, you will be offered more opportunities. If you are writing science fiction, you most likely dream of having your work published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. They are seeking work that is strictly science-based, because that is what their readers expect. You might also want to submit to Uncanny, as they publish both sci-fi and fantasy. Their readers are more eclectic. Apex Magazine publishes work that pushes the limits, and that is what their readers expect. I’ve been working to break into these markets for a year and a half now. Frustrating but definitely builds your confidence and teaches you to revise, revise, revise with every resubmission.
  6. Angel Messages https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2023/01/05/angel-messages-jan-5-2023/
  7. Syl’s 65 blog https://syl65.wordpress.com/2023/01/05/thoughtfulthursday-dr-seuss/ No one could say it better than Dr. Suess!
  8. The Smorgasbord Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2023/01/05/smorgasbord-health-column-2023-the-body-our-greatest-asset-the-brain-introduction-and-anatomy-by-sally-cronin/ I have featured this series over the last ten years on a regular basis for new readers who might have joined the blog. Our bodies are are greatest asset. It has a long road ahead of if from birth, through the teen years, work life, parenthood, middle age and then into our 70s and beyond. At every stage of our life healthy nutrition is essential to help the body develop and remain as disease free as possible. I appreciate that many of you may have read this series before three years ago, but I hope it will be a reminder of how amazing our bodies are, and simply eating the right foods, exercising moderately and not doing anything too reckless…will go a long way to enjoying later life to the full. Losing who I’ve become is one of my biggest fears. Up there with losing certain loved ones. I don’t know how I would cope with either situation and I’m not eager to find out.
  9. Staci Trilio https://stacitroilo.wordpress.com/2023/01/05/review-colettas-unnatural-mayhem/ With the fate of the Natural World at stake, can Shawnee and Mayhem stop trophy hunters before it’s too late? Explosive news of a crow hunt rings out in the White Mountain Region of New Hampshire, and one hundred crows gather to put an end to it. With so many lives at stake—including Poe’s—Shawnee and Mayhem must work together to stop the trophy hunters before they obliterate the local murder. Taking on twenty-five experienced hunters armed with shotguns is no small feat. If they fail, Poe may lead his brethren to their death. No matter what it takes, this group must be stopped. But what if Shawnee and Mayhem aren’t seeing the full picture? What if these men have secrets worth killing over? Sounds exciting to me!
  10. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2023/01/get-booked-on-a-podcast-by-answering-one-question/ A critical way to build awareness of your work and credibility as a writer is by sharing your ideas, writing, and opinions with people in your niche. Podcasts are an excellent marketplace for ideas — according to PodcastHosting.org, there are two million podcasts out there, so surely there are a few shows that can help you grow your brand by booking you as a guest. The secret to getting booked comes down to answering one question. While likely not a traditional media organization, a podcast still deserves the same level of professionalism. If the show does regular guest interviews, assume the producers or host gets numerous pitches for guests every week (I know my shows do!). This means you are in competition to get placed, and you need to put your best foot forward by answering this question:
  11. Books and Such https://teripolen.com/2023/01/05/lumara-by-melissa-landers-bookreview-ya-magic-fantasy/ Boarding school student Talia Morris has no idea her boyfriend, Nathaniel, is a Mystic, let alone second in line to the throne of a secretive, aspirational magical community―one no mortal has ever been allowed to step inside. Until now. Nathanial’s cousin is about to be married in the biggest wedding the magical world has ever seen, and Nathaniel is allowed to bring a date. Talia is the lucky recipient of the golden ticket every Mystic wannabe in the world would kill for―only she doesn’t want it. Talia thinks Mystic worship unnecessarily aggrandizes people for being born a certain way. When she finds out Nathaniel is “one of them,” she almost jumps ship. But Nathaniel loves her, and she loves him. So when he begs her to give his family and their community a shot, she reluctantly agrees.Enter the most fantastical world any mortal has ever seen, and a magical wedding straight out of a dream. After a few days of bonding with Nathaniel’s family on the island, of seeing how beautiful their magic is and how peaceful their community, Talia’s about to be won over―until the entire wedding party suddenly falls into an unexplainable coma and the community goes on lockdown. Talia, the outsider, is pegged as the culprit and has to do everything in her meager non-power to prove her innocence. As she embarks on a journey to find the truth, Talia soon discovers reality is not all it seems, and her past may put her in more danger than she ever imagined. Love to find reviews like this!
  12. Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2023/01/06/what-i-learned-from-90-queries-by-eva-langston/ Don’t be fooled by the title. I’ve actually sent hundreds of queries for four different novels over the past decade. Without going into detail, I queried a novel and eventually got an agent, parted ways with that agent, queried some more, collected rejections, wrote three more novels, queried more, revised a lot, had some babies, and then got back to querying. My summary: traditional publishing is a long game, so get yourself some gumption. Now, when I say 90 queries, I’m talking about the queries I sent for my most recent novel. The novel that, after a year and a half in the query trenches, got me an agent. I’m now happily represented by the brilliant Ali Lake of Janklow & Nesbit. In the fall of 2020, I started querying with what I thought was my best novel yet: a YA paranormal suspense. At first I was getting nothing but form rejections. So I sought advice from my writing group and revised the query letter and opening pages. But still, crickets. Finally I paid for a one-on-one Manuscript Academy meeting with agent Fiona Kenshole. And she laid a finger on why I wasn’t getting any requests. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out the right details to put into a query. She gives good advice and insight.
  13. Fiction Favorites https://johnwhowell.com/2023/01/04/the-last-drive-blog-tour-with-chris-graham-the-story-reading-ape/ I doubt there is anyone in the blogging world who does not know about Chris Graham. Chris has spent the last ten years providing an avenue for authors to meet each other and to have a reliable source of all things writing. I am honored to be a guest of Chris’. So here is the link to the stop with Chris today. https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2023/01/04/reserved-for-john-howell-2/ The purpose of his blog, according to Chris, is fourfold. (In Chris’ words) 1. To introduce YOU to new (to me) authors I’ve come across in my wanderings through books and the cyberforest. 2. To provide a platform (battered old homemade soapbox) for authors to introduce themselves to you. (See my Contact Me Section for Guest Author article Guidelines) 3. As an informal information service to authors, poets, or anyone else who is thinking of becoming a published person of that ilk. 4. To promote FUN and an OASIS OF CALM and Font of useful Knowledge andTips for Indies (please do NOT feed my naughty chimps, or they may follow you home) from the woes and stresses of the real world. If you are not part of The Story Reading Ape’s team, you are missing an opportunity to learn, see, be seen, and be entertained. Thank you so much for helping spread the word on my latest, Chris. Follow John Howell as he guest over at Chris the Story Reading Ape’s blog for his new story, “The Long Drive.”
  14. Entertaining Stories https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2023/01/04/my-2023-business-plan/ I have to confess, Craig’s business plans started me doing my own about three to four years ago now. They help immensely as they point you toward your goals for the year.
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Posted in a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, Family life, humor & fun, John Howell, author, Links, Links, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Genre Sorts What We Write by Traci Kenworth


Genre Sorts What We Write

Traci Kenworth

Do you have a struggle to figure out what you’re writing? Let genre sort that out. What I mean is, instead of tearing at a piece to get the feel of it, mind what genre/s you have chosen to write in. Mystery? How about a cozy? Or a more traditional who-dun-it? Either one will shorten the time it takes to come up with a great idea to run with for the story.

Now, I hear you. That didn’t exactly tell you what to write. Well, I can’t give you a bare-bones-fits-all outline, but I can shave time off finding a story to run with in the days ahead. What do you like to read? That usually brings up a few promises. Narrow them down. Are you more sci-fi or fantasy? Get that outline ready to go with again, either more traditional or something new hatched up for the occasion.

Once you know what genre/s you prefer, you can outfit your story. I write in the YA category so there are endless possibilities to choose from there. You can have romance in your story. Mystery. A shade of horror. Or more if you want. Blending genres is also fun. I often write fantasy-horror or even sci-fi-horror. You can do this somewhat with the adult audience as well.

Want a romance? Historical or contemporary might intrigue you. You can weave in time travel if you like. Or bring on the pomp of the gilded ages. You see, coming up with the genre usually falls into something you like to read. Because if you don’t read that genre, you won’t know the structure and details of such a world.

Knowing what to expect in a genre doesn’t make the formula hard and fast. You won’t get bored from the staleness. Instead, you’ll find new boundaries to stretch and bring in something new and exciting with each. It’s not just a group of campers on Crystal Lake that intrigues us. It’s the story of each and how they survive or fall.

It’s the characters that do the hard work in a story. They have to make an impression, good or bad. If we’re willing to follow them down that hall, evade the killer, and win the day, that’s what makes a character grow on a reader. It instills fear of what might happen to that mother and child all the way out in an abandoned part of town when a dog goes mad.

Now, I’m not saying if you ever hit on a story outside your regular writing, you shouldn’t stretch your writing muscles. I’m just saying that when you’re starting out, getting to hit those marks, you want to consider what type of genre you like. Sticking close to home will teach you the basics. It will improve your skills before you move on. After all, Agatha Christie wasn’t famous for her characters sunny dispositions.

Happenings:

The Topiary meds they prescribed me have been doing a good job to take away a majority of the pain most of the time, thankfully. I feel better than in a long time and I’ve been able to do more. I’ve started walking a bit again. I’m almost ready for Christmas. I have a few more presents to buy. I’ll pick a day or two to do the wrapping of all that I have. How are you all doing on your plans? Enjoy your holidays!

Some links around the web you might like:

  1. Entertaining Stories https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2022/12/16/fairies-myths-magic-ii/ Let’s welcome a special guest to Entertaining Stories today. Coleen is a long-time friend and she has something to share with us today. This is her newest book baby, so feel free to use those sharing buttons. She also shares one heck of a great story hook. She also has a prize to be drawn from those who leave comments along her tour. *** Thank you, Craig for the opportunity to share the news of my new book, just in time for the winter solstice and Yule. Every Halloween, Craig joins me to celebrate the holiday. I think we’ve done this for eight years now, so I couldn’t think of anyone better to share my spooky Halloween tale with from Fairies, Myths, & Magic II, called The Changeling. In this second book in the series, I start with late autumn and work forward into winter and Yule. What do you know about the scary fairies? Celtic traditions share with us the fey, or Good Neighbors, are nothing to mess around with. During the darkness of autumn and into winter, the Unseelie Court of fairies makes its appearance. The darkness and lack of sunlight during this time of year spawned many a myth and tale. Here’s a short excerpt from The Changeling, in Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: “Alyssa, it’s time to come inside. Daddy’s home.” I read a book like this by Mary Downing Hahn. I don’t think they were called dark fairies though. Changelings, yes and it had to do with a witch. The book was twisty and turny just like I like.
  2. Marcia Meara Writes https://marciamearawrites.com/2022/12/16/booksforchristmas-boldblatantselfpromo-theemissary-review/ Looking for something different to read over the holidays? Check out my Emissary series of novellas. Available for download for just $1.99 each, or free with Kindle Unlimited. BLURB for TE1: An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.
  3. Syl’s 65 blog https://syl65.wordpress.com/2022/12/16/friday-inspiration-ryan-stevenson-ft-gabriel-real-eye-of-the-storm/ Such powerful poems!
  4. Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2022/12/fear-thesaurus-entry-being-physically-touched/ While many people are sensitive to physical contact, an actual fear of being touched can lead to a host of difficulties. It can come about from a past trauma, learned experiences (through growing up in a family where touch was discouraged or punished), a physical sensitivity, or a mental health condition, to name just a few possible causes. What It Looks Like Backing away from handshakes, kisses, or other cultural greetings Sticking to the fringes of crowds Avoiding romantic relationships Not eating certain foods due to their texture Not participating in contact sports, dancing, and other activities that require touch Difficulty making new friends Only being able to wear certain kinds of clothing that don’t chafe or irritate the skin The character keeping their hands in their pockets I can’t imagine this fear. It must be so overwhelming to live with throughout your day.
  5. Annette Rochelle Aben https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/12/17/angel-messages-dec-17-2022/
  6. John Howell.com https://johnwhowell.com/2022/12/16/friday-johnku-aka-tgif-fri-yay-good-news-29/ End-of-year bonuses are always a welcomed sight, but these smiles bear witness to an extraordinary act of corporate generosity. Ruppert Landscaping gave bonuses of between $7,000 to $200,000 to all employees with a tenure of over one year “as a thanks for the role they’ve played in the company’s growth and development.” A total of 1,200 workers, excluding those in top leadership positions, received the enormous thank you presents which added up to be $28 million. The company says normal end-of-year bonuses were not deducted or altered by the gifts, which were announced at staff meetings, nor were any of the other benefits, which include 401(K) matching, health insurance, paid time off, and holidays. “Everyone receiving this bonus was instrumental in helping create the value that we’ve been able to realize,” said CEO Craig Ruppert. “This bonus is money that is well-deserved and a way for us to acknowledge the value of our teams’ contributions and the essential role that they will play in our company’s future.”
  7. This is Horror https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/news-round-up-week-ending-16-december-2022/ Monsters and monster-killers come in all shapes and sizes in this collection of three horror novellas by Glenn Rolfe, Tom Deady, and Nick Kolakowski. In ‘It Came From The Lake’ by Glenn Rolfe, Owens Lake is protected by a reclusive war vet by the name of Francis Owens, but this man is not the only threat around. In ‘In The Glastenbury Woods’ by Tom Deady, It was supposed to be the road trip to end all road trips. The summer of 1986, a few weeks before Dave and his two friends went their separate ways to college and the military. One last hurrah to Toronto to see Hulk Hogan and the rest of the WWF in The Big Event. It all goes wrong when they take a detour through Vermont’s notorious Glastenbury Woods. In ‘Groundhog Slay’ by Nick Kolakowski, It’s the summer of 1987. Around Lake Legionnaire, locals whisper tales of an unstoppable monster rampaging through the night, killing everyone in its way. But what if the monster’s just trying to stop something far worse—a threat that could destroy all existence? Available now in paperback and eBook editions, you can grab your copy here.
  8. AC Flory https://acflory.wordpress.com/2022/12/18/theres-no-such-thing-as-them-theres-only-us/ If you watch only one video today, please, make it this one:
  9. Smorgasbord Magzine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/18/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-new-book-on-the-shelves-memoir-fifteen-first-times-beginnings-a-collection-of-indelible-firsts-by-d-g-kaye/ This book is a collection of stories about some of Kaye’s first-time experiences with life’s most natural events. Told through the intimate conversational writing we’ve come to know from this author, poignant personal steppingstones to learning moments are revealed. She encompasses the heart of each matter with sincerity and sprinkled inflections of humor. From first kiss to first car to walking in the desert with four-inch heels, Kaye’s short coming-of-age stories take us through her awakenings and important moments of growth, often without warning. Some good and some not, life lessons are learned through trial and error, winging it and navigating by the seat of her pants. Editorial Review: D.G. Kaye writes with heartfelt regard and unabashed honesty. The life experiences she shares in Fifteen First Times evoke tears as well as laughter. Kaye’s candor and compassion will no doubt appeal to and help many seeking to grow and come into their own. I highly recommend this book and all others by this forthright author. The reader will be left with an ardent desire for more. ~ Author, Tina Frisco
  10. Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/12/18/3-action-reaction-misfires-that-flatten-your-writing-by-lisa-poisso/ Cause and effect. Stimulus and response. Action and reaction. Everything in a story depends on what the characters do about whatever the story pushes them up against. Stiff, disconnected, or missing character reactions snap the chain of cause and effect that constitutes your story. When readers can no longer see how and why the characters are doing what they’re doing, they lose the thread. She’s got good points here.
  11. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/12/welcome-to-the-future-part-3/ Story is core to the human experience and is a fundamental part of how we communicate. People who are unhappy in their day-to-day existence like to escape into a world of story, and that trend has not gone away. While sales trends show a decline in print, the digital reading trends show readers want to be even more immersed in a story than ever before. Readers love it when their favorite authors allow the story to grow and bring them into it. How we Interact with Story is Changing Have you noticed “dark mode” on your devices? I read a fascinating article about holographic technology. In some ways, dark mode is a gateway to preparing our technology for holographic displays. Important Geek note: WordPress and other websites are using “blocks” in their design so they can control the way different types of words — think headings, paragraphs, pull quotes — display, preparing for this transition. You want to be using the latest technology in your website designs and in your writing. You want your writing to be stored in such a way that readers can use it in this future technology. TBH, not sure how I feel about this. Yes, I know. The future is advancing. I like to play around with ideas on my own. But then, new tech is harder for me to learn these days. I suppose it always will be and one day I just won’t be able to anymore. I’ll rant against the AI wall when I’m ready, I suppose.
  12. Smorgasbord Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/19/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-new-book-on-the-shelves-supernatural-adventure-the-last-drive-by-john-w-howell/ In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing. The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey takes the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943. This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good. I’m trying not to read this as I haven’t been able to read the first one yet and don’t want spoiled.
  13. Rosie Amber https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2022/12/19/%f0%9f%8e%84two-historicalromance-christmas-novellas-rosies-bookreview-of-under-the-mistletoe-by-margueritekaye-and-bronwynscott/ Under The Mistletoe is a book containing two historical Christmas romance novellas written by Marguerite Kaye and Bronwyn Scott. Each novella can be read as a stand-alone, but they are also connected to series by the authors, individually.
  14. Story Empire https://storyempire.com/2022/12/19/mktg-22-wrap-up/ Greetings, SE’ers. It’s Jan again. Since July 2021, I have explored a variety of different avenues of book marketing opportunities, and I’ve come to the end of that journey. This is my last Story Empire post for 2022 and my last book marketing post. That’s not to say I won’t pop back in with something new if it comes to my attention, but for now, I’m leaving the subject of marketing behind.
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Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, John Howell, author, Links, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry

Beauty, It’s All in the Lash by Traci Kenworth


Beauty: It’s All in the Lash

Traci Kenworth

What makes the eyes so central to the makeup? I would suggest, that’s it’s all in the lashes. Such tiny, exquisite hairs that frame the eye. They can be muted with no makeup at all, or they can shine like the lenses they are to the eye. It’s like your main character. They can be less than stellar in their existence, or they can pack a punch. You want the later when it comes to fiction.

You want someone who will be noticed. Who can hold the world’s attention. Someone who draws us in. That makes us read on page after page. No shrinking violets, no overblown dragons. The trick is to get the reader to like the character or at least, be interested in what they have to say and do. Once they care, they’ll read on and judge the story through the protagonist’s gaze.

How do we do that? Time and effort. I used to think writing was easy. That it just came to you. And it does. But you have to work to make that little puff of magic into a story. You have to dig deeper and deeper to bring those characters to life. At first, they may look just fine. Fine doesn’t win readers though, they want superstar.

How do you manage when you don’t know the first thing about being the center of attention? You draw on the moments you were and make them bigger for the character. You make them the homecoming queen, the star quarterback. Or you bring the ordinary into the spotlight. What makes a character shine? Their connection to the reader.

Without a reader, there’d be no life brought to the story. The reader brings the actor to life on the page much like an actor brings the character to life on the stage or movie set. We need both to interact with the story, to find a foothold into that reality. It’s like an invisible projector springs to life inside us and plays what’s happening on that page before us.

Connecting with one another is hard a lot of times. We each have our own share of burdens. Our own, different loved ones. We may wish it were otherwise. That we all had more in common. The truth is, we’re never going to all be alike. But what we can do is to each find something within those characters to like, to find decent, or curious and so discover a way to tag along on their journey.

Yes, beauty is all in the lash. Like the focal point of the story is the character. He or she sees everything, hears everything, and embraces everything in their own way. No two of us are alike. It shouldn’t be that way for characters either if we want authenticity. We are who we are until we become something more. But that’s a character arc, something down the road maybe. Have a great week all and God bless!

Happenings:

Monday, I go see the neurolgist. It seems like it’s taken forever to get here. In other news, I’m continuing to submit short stories to markets. Mostly, set in my book’s world. I’m getting good feedback but so far, no acceptance. I’ve been drawing in the new details of my world and finalizing some bits. It’s been helpful to see some confusing things that didn’t add up in the other versions.

Some links around the webs you might find interesting:

  1. Charles French https://jenniefitzkee.com/2022/11/27/my-teacher-lightbulb-moment-part-2/ Once I had my Lightbulb Moment, my teaching world turned upside down.  Children came first.  What they were interested in, who they were as children/people mattered most.  I needed to get to know them better.I started to use a tape recorder to “interview” children, as this not only helped me to get to know them, but also was a good tool for language development (and it was fun).  Our curriculum at that time was France and learning about the old masters in art.  Young children love to paint, and they were practicing being artists with real palettes.  I was learning so much about them, why not have the children do an autobiography to accompany their work of art?  And, why not have the children name their work of art, and call it a ‘masterpiece’?  The result was so profound that we had an art show at school, and then moved the art show to our local post office for the community to enjoy.  What a success, and what a wonderful experience for the children.  Our art show has since become a yearly event in the community. I think this goes a long way to show what special teachers mean to our children.
  2. Smorgasboard Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/03/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-2022-new-book-on-the-shelves-childrens-the-christmas-bird-by-robbie-cheadle/ About the story. The Deanne family is having a difficult time financially. Mr. Deanne’s business has failed and there is no money for Christmas presents and other luxuries. The family’s undernourished dogs discover a bird’s nest on Christmas Day and attack and kill the chicks. All except one tiny ball of fluff with luminous bright eyes like drops of oil. The baby bird is in shock, but the four Deanne girls try to save it. Will the Christmas Bird survive? One of the early reviews for the book D.L. Finn 4.0 out of 5 stars I love how the family took in this tiny chick. Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2022 The Deanne family was short on funds at Christmas time. They made the best of it until their hungry dogs found a bird’s nest and ate all but one baby chick. The family rescued the baby chick and set out to save it. I love the family’s selflessness as they put the bird’s needs above theirs. It was a good lesson that giving of yourself is much more important than material possessions. This heartwarming story is perfect for sharing with a child or for beginning readers 
  3. Annette Rochelle Aben https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/12/04/angel-messages-dec-4-2022/#like-22673 Love these angel messages!
  4. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/12/creating-bonus-content-to-double-your-reader-engagement/ Book marketing and promotion can feel like a full-time job, and not one that’s always easy to excel at. That’s because effective promotion takes consistency and creativity, and it’s challenging to not only stay on schedule, but to continually come up with new ideas. So that’s why I’m a huge proponent of tapping into what you already know, which is your work, by creating bonus content and using it to bolster your book marketing efforts. Especially when you’re trying to be mindful of your budget if you’re taking the DIY route. Or when you’re looking for ways to support the work you hired a marketing team to do. Creating and using bonus content is a fabulous way to contribute to the success of a professional marketing campaign! And the reason I recommend bonus content so enthusiastically is because in many cases, authors already have everything they need to make this strategy work. So let’s dig into some ideas for promoting a book and enhancing reader engagement using bonus content!
  5. Roberta Writes https://roberta-writes.com/2022/12/06/roberta-writes-book-review-letting-go-the-defiant-sisters-duet-book-1-by-jacquie-biggar-bookreview-readingcommunity/ A coming-of-age novel about the pain of misconceptions and learning from them. When life gives you lemons… Izzy Mom is barely in the grave and the prodigal child is here to pick the bones clean. I don’t want her here. My sister’s defection is a wound that won’t heal, and her return simply rubs at the scabs covering my heart. I’ve managed just fine without her. She can go back to her fancy college and forget about us- that’s what she does best anyway. If only I didn’t need her help. Or miss her so much. Renee The day my dad committed suicide I ran. I’ve been running ever since. Going home is supposed to be the answer. Instead, it makes me question every thoughtless decision I’ve made.
  6. Myths of the Mirror https://mythsofthemirror.com/2022/12/06/november-book-reviews-part-two/ Wishing you all a wonderful winter as we head toward the solstice and the return of the light. I’m finishing off autumn with more books and reviews from November! I hope you find a few to enjoy over the holidays. To all my blogger friends in the southern hemisphere… have a wonderful start to your summer, and I hope you find some beach reads! November’s reviews (part two) include my 4 and 5-star reads of a romance/thriller mash-up, paranormal short stories, fantasy, and a children’s book.
  7. ACFlory https://acflory.wordpress.com/2022/12/07/i-hate-december/ I was going to say “I hate Christmas!” but that’s not completely true. It’s not so much that I hate Christmas, it’s that I hate the lead up to Christmas, especially this year. December in Australia is the first month of summer, and summer means bushfires and snakes [we’ve seen two already]. In normal years I would have spent most of spring mowing a little bit every day. We’re on 1.6 hectares, and that equates to a lot of grass. The alpacas do their best, but in spring they can’t eat the new grass fast enough, and once the grass sets seed they won’t touch it. So that’s in a normal year – a little bit of mowing spread out over a couple of months. This year has been different though. Australia is experiencing its third La Nina event in a row which has meant rain, rain and more rain. All that rain has triggered unprecedented floods all along the eastern seaboard with lives lost, crops lost and whole towns inundated. We don’t have to worry about floods here in Warrandyte as we’re on a ridge, but all that rain means the grass grows an inch over night. And it’s too wet to mow during the day, especially with a small, cordless lawnmower. In desperation, I paid for a guy to come in and whipper snipper1 the worst of it, but that’s left sheaths of grass drying on the ground. Exhibit A:
  8. Connie J Jasperson https://conniejjasperson.com/2022/12/07/pinning-down-the-themes-when-your-characters-have-agency-amwriting/ My writing mind has temporarily lost momentum in my current work. At this point, I’m unsure how to proceed with a pivotal chapter. This has me momentarily stalled on that book. Fortunately, Irene is editing the final draft of a book I finished during lockdown. She sends me one or two chapters with notes for final revisions each evening. That makes me happy—it’s been a while since I published a book. When I am stalled on a first draft, it helps to stop and consider the central themes. Theme is one of the elements that drive a plot. This novel’s central theme is redemption, which hasn’t changed. But this novel is in the first draft stage, and things have already shifted from what was initially plotted. And now I find that some of my characters aren’t as well-planned as I thought they were. This happens at some point in every first draft. I don’t know the themes of three important characters. I was under the impression that I was the only writer who took longer than a year to get my story together and then go back in for edits.
  9. Annette Rochelle Aben https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/12/08/angel-messages-dec-8-2022/
  10. Smorgasboard Blog Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/08/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-2022-childrensbooks-fantasy-jemima-pett-ya-travel-darlene-foster-bathtime-sue-wickstead/ About the book In north-west Mull, three guinea pig friends live in a remote castle. Tale no.1: Dylan’s life is in danger when he discovers something brewing in the hillside. Tale 2: Deirdre uses her initiative to find Dylan when he is washed into the sea. Tale 3: Dougall gets into trouble when he makes friends with a reindeer. Tale 4: Dylan is tempted by some mysterious lights. Fantasy adventures for age 8+ A review for the book Chris Graham5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful easy to read short stories. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 May 2021 Having read the Princelings of the East Series, it was a delight to read about the earlier adventures of Dylan, Dougall and Deirdre on their Scottish Island. I wish there were more such tales to be had.  
  11. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/12/writing-spies-honeypots-and-the-honey-trap/ Honeypots are spies trained to use sex for the purpose of wheedling information out of targets, luring targets to specific locations, and/or enticing targets into behavior that can be used to blackmail them. These professionals are highly skilled in the arts of seduction and pleasure, and they will perform literally any act the target desires. While many of them work directly for governments, like Holmes’s dates did during the Cold War, they are sometimes prostitutes working with a pimp who uses them to gather information in order to sell it to the highest bidder, or several bidders. Whether they are official government agents or freelancers, honeypots are one of the most effective tools of the espionage profession. Honeypot Myths One of the most common myths about honeypots in fiction is that of the Honeypot Assassin—the seductress who murders her mark in the name of espionage. It’s not that it never happens in real life, but it pretty much doesn’t happen on purpose. This goes back to the fact that most people aren’t black widow spiders. As a general rule, we humans like to keep our killing and our sex compartmentalized far away from each other. The seductive love-kitten personality and the assassin personality are fundamentally different from each other—a rather universal fact that even the Soviets recognized. For example, the assassin will likely balk at the simple act of surrendering their hair to a barber for a trim. Honeypots, on the other hand, must freely surrender their entire bodies to total strangers.
  12. Rosie Amber https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2022/12/09/%f0%9f%93%9afeaturing-a-very-talented-witch-rosies-bookreview-of-paranormalromance-entwined-within-the-darkness-by-charley-black/ Patience is a talented witch who knows very little about her past. She shares a flat with her best friend Michael, a half-demon, and she works in a wonderful magical bookshop. On a night out, Patience and Michael go to a Vampire club. Passion and death threats result; Michael bonds with his vampire lover but locks the duo in a dangerous coma. Meanwhile, Patience and Lucius, an infamous witch-hunter, must join forces to save Michael and his mate. What I liked: I liked Patience’s witch skills and particularly the bookshop where she worked. I enjoyed the worlds created and the general plot. There were several secondary characters who were also well written and likeable. The first third of the story was very enjoyable. What I didn’t like so much: After the first third the story felt a little rushed, a lot more characters were introduced, but they weren’t as rounded as the initial ones. As the story progressed, I felt that Patience lost some of her original finesse as a talented witch while the sexual tug-of-war between her and Lucius became predictable. The ending was odd; I felt that the plot twist did not quite gel with the rest of the storyline.
  13. Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/12/09/a-quick-tip-for-getting-to-know-your-characters-and-your-plot-by-janice-hardy/ Several years ago I sat in on an RWA workshop on character building, led by romance author Susan Elizabeth Philips. I’ve attended her workshops before and she’s always been entertaining and informative. She gave a tip (and did an exercise) that I’ve tried before: This has never worked for me since my fantasy characters don’t usually have purses, but she added the phrase “or their backpack or pockets” to it. That broadened it some, and I realized that ultimately, what she was saying was:
  14. John Howell https://johnwhowell.com/2022/12/08/thursday-a-little-personal-twiggy-and-lucy-in-the-warm-again/ “What do you suppose happened out here?” “Looks like the trees have finally let go of their leaves.”
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Posted in a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, Links, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

The Thing About Genre… Traci Kenworth


The Thing About Genre is…

Traci Kenworth

The thing about genre is that you’re not limited to one, but it helps to remain focused on one for at least three books before you switch to another. I hope to be able to concentrate on two in the future: my Traci Kenworth as a young adult author and my Loleta Abi as a romance author. Concentrating on three at a time at first, helps an agent to place your work better and gets your brand known for that genre.

If you’re bouncing all over the place, it doesn’t give readers the feel that you’re committed to that area until they come to know your work better. It’s like anything: practice makes perfect or in this case, better seen. Now, I have seen Indie authors make this work opposite, where they write what they want but if you want to go traditional, think branding.

I know a lot of authors are slanted either way: Indie or traditional. My preference is traditional, but I may go hybrid later on, who knows? I hear romance does really strong in that category Indie-wise. I had thought to go more Indie for a while, but my thinking has swung around to traditional. Mostly for the brand recognition. I think they have a better way of getting you into the places you want to be than Indie does.

Now, I’ve heard that some big Author Indies can open doors others can’t but remember that Colleen Hoover and several other Indie authors swung around to traditional after going Indie because it helped strengthen their brand and let’s face it, it’s where the money is. Unless you’re someone like James Scott Bell, a traditionally grounded author, who successfully transferred to Indie but again, his branding was already established I think where he can count on his fans buying his work in higher numbers.

Whichever way you go, have fun with it. Get in there, dig, and explore your genre. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to take risks. To try twists not invented yet. But I strongly caution, to learn the genre first. Training ground has a reason. It’s for us to be like Bambi on that ice. Fall but get back up. Make mistakes. That’s how we learn.

So, there you have it. The thing about genre is to love the one that you choose and run with it. Until you’re ready to go beyond and try another. Or stay put and expand the genre the way you want to go. None of the greats would be the greats if they hadn’t taken chances. Be confident. Be creative. Love what you do. If the genre doesn’t work for you, move on. It’s never too late to take that next step. Good luck and have a great week! God bless!

Happenings:

Covid is at last, behind me, but I’m having extreme pain in my legs and they are ice-cold in the mornings. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment to see about them next week. I have arthritis already but this just feels so, so painful. I know in my family, legs have been a weak area. My brother had to have operations on his. And my father, toward the end of his life, couldn’t let his legs be touched even in passing by a toddler without writhing in absolute pain. I’ve had to go back to my cane to support me while about right now. I’m very tempted to use those carts you drive at the bigger stores. I know I need to get some exercise in though, regardless, so I’m trying to keep going. How’s your week going?

Some posts about the web you might like:

  1. Smorgasboard Magazine https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2022/10/21/smorgasbord-bookshelf-new-book-on-the-shelves-fantasy-the-midnight-rambler-the-hat-book-6-c-s-boyack/ Something evil is after the hat. The ageless enemies have battled many times, but this time Lizzie is wearing the hat. She’s also up against a ticking clock, in that if she can’t find the maker of her new friend’s medicine he will die. The Rambler has kidnapped the only witch capable of making Ray’s medicine in an attempt to make the hat sloppy in his efforts. He’s also flooded the streets with deadly minions to impede any progress our heroes might make. As if that weren’t enough, Lizzie is facing more of life’s struggles, both financially and mechanically. This all goes down in the middle of a huge flood event that she’s ill equipped to handle. Join Lizzie… This is one I’m looking forward to snagging asap.
  2. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/10/7-ways-to-increase-your-creativity-through-workspace-design/ The life of a writer can be unpredictable. Family, medical issues, housing issues, and many more personal-life interruptions can disrupt the flow of words. Many of you may not have options and write when and where you can write. For example, right now I’m writing in the waiting room of a car maintenance shop. The environment here is nice but definitely full of distractions. When we can choose our writing environment, it makes sense to choose a space that optimizes how we write. Keep in mind that not all of us will respond in the same way to the same physical space. In the list of elements I offer below, choose the ones that speak to you, and that feel more creative to you. Brain Science The theory that people are right-brained (creative, intuitive) or left-brained (logical or linear) or both is a popular myth unsupported by neuroscience. The brain’s right and left hemispheres are not separate organs. While the right hemisphere performs more complex functions, and the left hemisphere controls most (if not all) physiological functions, the two hemispheres work together. While the right- versus left-brain theory is a myth, it’s an easy way to understand how people think. At the extremes, a few of us are nearly 100% logical thinkers and a few are almost 100% creative thinkers. A few of us fall into the moves fluidly between the two. In a reality, we are all a mix of the two. Many of us continue to perceive one or the other thinking style as our primary way of perceiving the world. We’re not wrong, but it’s more complex than which hemisphere controls what. Still, we can use brain science and psychology to help us set up a work environment that supports our creativity.
  3. Syl’s 65 blog https://syl65.wordpress.com/2022/10/21/friday-inspiration-francesca-battistelli-the-breakup-song/ I LOVE this song!
  4. Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2022/10/fear-thesaurus-entry-being-pitied/ Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear will drive characters away from certain people, events, and situations and hold them back in life. In your story, this primary fear (or group of fears) will constantly challenge the goal the character is pursuing, tempting them to retreat, settle, and give up on what they want most. Because this fear must be addressed for them to achieve success, balance, and fulfillment, it plays a pivotal part in both the character arc and the overall story. This thesaurus explores the various fears that might be plaguing your character. Use it to understand and utilize fears to fully develop your characters and steer them through their story arc. Please note that this isn’t a self-diagnosis tool. Fears are common in the real world, and while we may at times share similar tendencies as characters, the entry below is for fiction writing purposes only.
  5. Roberta Writes https://roberta-writes.com/2022/10/21/roberta-writes-thursday-doors-riverstill-guest-farm/
  6. Charles French https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2022/10/21/favorite-horror-films-5-frankenstein/ The movie that I will discuss in this installment is Frankenstein.  This 1931 film was directed by James Whale and produced by Carl Laemelle, Jr. Universal Studios was following up its huge success with Dracula earlier in the year, so this film seemed like a natural choice to make. While the title and characters come from the 1818 Mary Shelley novel, it is a loose adaptation of the text.  Interestingly, the sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein, is a much more faithful treatment of the novel than this first film. This movie, one of the most important in horror film history, introduces Boris Karloff as the Creature. Karloff gives an impressive performance as the lost and lonely being who is unsure of who he is and his place in the world.  This sounds like so many teenagers and young people, and while frightening, Karloff also gathered empathy from viewers in his nuanced performance. Bela Lugosi had been offered the part of the creature but apparently turned it down because of its lack of speaking lines.  Lugosi made a terrible career choice because Karloff would supplant him after this film’s success as the top box office star and would continue to dominate Lugosi’s subsequent film career. I recall seeing this when I was very young. The movie of course, scared the daylights out of me but I was fascinated with it as well. I didn’t know the background behind the movie until now and that in itself is also fascinating.
  7. This is Horror https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/news-round-up-week-ending-21-october-2022/ Out now from Dark Matter Inc, edited by Sadie Hartmann and Ashley Saywers, Human Monsters: A Horror Anthology Not all monsters are fantasy. Some are very real, and they walk among us. They’re our friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. They’re the people we’re supposed to trust…and they know it. Contained within this anthology are 35 never-before-published works by supremely talented authors and best-selling novelists. Brace yourself for the unexpected and unimaginable horror of … Human Monsters. Featuring stories by Linda D. Addison, Gemma Amor, Andrew Cull, Andy Davidson, Chad Lutzke, Catherine McCarthy, Josh Malerman, and many more you can pick up your copy in paperback and eBook formats now.
  8. Teagan’s Books https://teagansbooks.com/2022/10/22/spook-tober-shorts-surar-fiends-featuring-robbie-cheadle/ Hello everyone, and welcome back to Spook-tober Shorts.  A couple of weeks ago I introduced some new character-friends, the Pumpkin Hat Girls.  They’re back for some more Twilight Zone-ish fun. BASED ON COMMENTS, I REVISED THE STORY TO INCLUDE AN EPILOGUE. Haunted Halloween Holiday is a delightful story by Robbie and Michael Cheadle.  I mentioned it back on August 20.  When I found out about Robbie’s story, it reminded me that every year, I kept forgetting to do a Halloween story until it was too late.  So, I got busy writing A Peril in Ectoplasm.  My latest novella has nothing to do with Robbie’s new book.  Neither does the short story below, but it was inspired by her fun promo image and many of her fondant characters.  I’ve used her photos of some of them as illustrations for my story.
  9. Books and Such https://teripolen.com/2022/10/22/badmoonrising-house-of-sorrow-by-joan-hall-thriller-shortstory-suspense/ I share this author’s disappointment in ghost tours – we’ve yet to see a ghost. Seems like it’s something that should be guaranteed on that kind of tour, right? The Legends and Lore posts on her blog feature jaw-dropping and uncanny mysteries/legends – I highly recommend you check them out. Furry friends have been stealing the spotlight this month, and she brings a couple of cuties with her today. Welcome, Joan Hall! Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most? Can I cheat a bit by mentioning another type of unsolved mystery? The story of D. B. Cooper has always intrigued me. He hijacked a commercial airliner in 1971, demanded 200K in ransom money, then parachuted out of the plane somewhere over the Pacific Northwest. A portion of the ransom money was found years later, but there’s been no sign of the man (living or dead). Specific to a murder, it would have to be the story of Lizzie Borden. Did she really give her mother forty whacks, then gave her father forty-one?
  10. Stream of Consciousness https://johnwhowell.com/2022/10/22/stream-of-consciousness-saturday-prompt-bowl/ The coffee machine has a mind of its own today. While waiting for the life-saving potion, a bowl of store-brand raisin bran crunch is making a poor substitute. Before long, the machine decides a strike might not produce the best result and coughs up the brew. Abandoning the bowl in favor of the mug, a sip reminds me that today is a safe blow-up day. The security system is already down, and Wile E Coyote is busy in the backyard placing packages around the perimeter of the safe. Joining him and seeing he is using ACME C4 charges. All wired to a plunger, and Wile slowly walks away from the safe with it in his hand. He is allowing the wire to slip from the coil around his arm. “Everything okay?” My question catches Wile by surprise. “Of course,” he says. “Where’s Yosemite Sam?” Wile pulls on his chin for a mini-second and responds. “I locked him inside the safe.” The statement causes my eyebrows to join my hairline. “Is he safe in the safe?” My hand immediately goes to my mouth but too late cause that awful question is already out there.” Wile rolls his eyes. “He’s a lot safer in there than we are out here.” Another statement that threatens to send my eyebrows over the top of my head. It is clear that Wile is about to push the plunger as he gets down on one knee and yells, “Fire in the hole.” “Just a minute.” The words hit Wile like a baseball headed for an infield double. He rises and walks to meet me. “Let me explain,” he drawls. For the first time, his Texas accent comes to prominence. Must happen when he is angry, my brain tells me.” Look, friend.” He pauses, then continues. “You and I have a contract, and how this goes down is entirely up to me to execute. Why did you stop me?” Lol.
  11. Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/10/23/meet-guest-editor-and-author-alison-williams/ Thanks so much to Chris for this opportunity to tell you about myself and my editing services. I have been providing services for authors since 2016 and have worked on more than five hundred projects in a wide variety of genres. I have a first degree in English Language and Literature and trained as a journalist. I have worked as a freelance writer and have been published in print and online. I completed a master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow and my journey into editing began when I was asked by fellow students to edit their work. I found that it was something I greatly enjoyed and that I have a knack for spotting issues that often writers are too close to their work to see. I have been very lucky in working with some wonderful writers, many of whom ask me to edit subsequent books. It is lovely to see how the advice I give them shapes their later writing and to see their writing craft go from strength to strength. It is always the biggest compliment when authors get in touch because I have been recommended by other authors. The publishing world is changing all the time. It is becoming harder and harder to break into the world of traditional publishing. A polished manuscript is essential when approaching agents. And if, as many authors have done, you decide to pursue your own writing journey through self-publishing, then it is even more essential to make sure that the work you put out there is the best it can possibly be.
  12. Charles French https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2022/10/22/my-favorite-horror-films-6-the-bride-of-frankenstein/ The next installment in this series is what I consider to be one of the very best horror films ever made: The Bride of Frankenstein. I also want to mention that I have taught this novel, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus several times at both Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, and the Department of Graduate and Continuing Education at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. It is also interesting that the sequel The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) to Universal Studio’s Frankenstein  (1931) is a far better film and a more faithful adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Gothic novel than the original movie. James Whale directed and Carl Laemmle Jr. produced this film. This is one of my favorites as well. I can remember sitting and watching Scream Theater with my friends back on a Saturday when this was on. The bride’s rejection of the groom was brutal and instantaneous and the repercussions to follow horrific.
  13. Annette Rochelle Aben https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/10/23/angel-messages-oct-23-2022/
  14. Smorgasboard Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/10/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-poetry-dorothy-cronin-1949-2006-tuffy-a-much-loved-family-pet/
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Posted in a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, Family life, Links

Washing Your Life of the Bad by Traci Kenworth


Washing Your Life of the Bad

Traci Kenworth

Don’t we all wish we could do so? Wash the bad from our lives? Get rid of all the old regrets, all the baggage we carry in our days? There is a way. It comes with acceptance. It comes with forgiveness. For ourselves. For others. We’re human and we all make mistakes. Of course, though forgiveness helps with some more serious topics such as abuse of any kind, murder, or so on, I don’t recommend returning to a relationship with that person/s at any time.

Usually, by the time something like that’s happened, it’s too late. And dangerous still. I’m just suggesting getting rid of the horribleness associated with those crimes. It takes time. God knows, I’ve had my share of nightmares about such things. Slowly, over time, you do start to heal. The wound doesn’t always close all the way, but it helps to get to a point where you can wash that bad from your life and learn to live again, free of the past or at least, at terms with the past.

In my life, I’ve always considered a personal relationship with Jesus rather than religion in itself. That might sound odd. It might not be your spice. What I mean by personal relationship is one of looking at him as more of a friend/guide through life rather than someone who condemns. He’s their to instruct you in what happens from here, how to let go, how to improve your life. A lot of people don’t get that idea, I know.

To each, their own. I’m not going to argue one way or another. Simply explain how I deal with things. Without Jesus, my life would be dimmer and less healing. He lifts my spirit in days when I feel I couldn’t take another step and helps me to carry on. If Buddha or the teachings of Gandhi do that for you, that’s fine. We all rely on what we can in these times.

Anyway, it’s hard at first, letting go. You wanta scream. Shout. Punish those who wronged you. But the truth is, very often we don’t get that release from the person or persons at hand. Instead, we have to make a conscious effort to let go ourselves. Releasing that negative/that black spot so to speak takes effort. Some days you’ll do fine and then the pain will hit you again. You’ll go through the emotions time and again.

There’s nothing to stop the repeat. Or lessen the strength at first. But eventually, it does get smaller. One day, you’ll notice that it’s hardly a scratch anymore. Be careful though. Because scratches can open again. It doesn’t take much effort for that. Forgiving is a continuous thing. It’s work. To be honest, sometimes, it feels like too much but if you can reach that drop off, you’ll be so much better.

I won’t lie: the pain almost did eat me alive at times. Clawing my way back from nightmares do that. But I’m stronger. The kids are stronger. Every day, they thank me for getting them out of that situation, that space where time seemed to forget that we mattered. That we had a future to carve out. A past to extinguish. You don’t come back from something like that unchanged. Our lives are so different and fulfilling now.

Yes, washing the bad out of life is difficult but so much worth it. It’d be nice to skip the darkness, the period of “mourning” so to speak and just get to the healing. But unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that. Instead, we pluck at the bleakness day after day until it is simply gone. We become new people, just learning about ourselves and our new roles in life. Everything does have a season. Let this be yours. Good luck to you and God bless! Have a great week.

Happenings:

I’m a bit late with this blog this month due to testing positive for covid. My head’s been splitting with headaches and the aches and pains of the fluish symptoms are horrendous. I even have had shortness of breath and a burning in my chest feeling that my inhaler and Symbicort have held at bay. I tested on Fri. and called my dr.’s office but they didn’t get back to me until Mon. which made it a day too late for the meds so I just have to go through it alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Thankfully, I had the three shots due to the risks. Hope you’re all staying healthy out there.

Here are some links around the internet you might like:

  1. Writers Helping Writers: https://writershelpingwriters.net/2022/10/writers-fight-club-story-contest-winners/ Thank you for celebrating the release of the SILVER Edition of The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles. Angela and Becca create amazing books—and find fun, generous ways to celebrate. The Writer’s Fight Club Story Contest has been incredible. We enjoyed your entries and hope they’ll be published one day! Thank you for sharing your creativity, talent…and amazing conflicts. Two of our Resident Writing Coaches donated edit prizes and judged the second-round entries. I can’t wait for the talented winners to see their prizes below! If you didn’t win and are looking for an editor—check these coaches out to see if they’re a good match for you (you can see full bios for all our amazing Resident Writing Coaches here.)
  2. Robbie’s Inspiration: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2022/10/07/robbies-inspiration-a-visit-to-the-circus-via-cake-and-a-guacamole-salad-cakeart-fondantart/ On 25 September we had a family gathering to celebrate my parents’ 48th wedding anniversary. It was a lunch event and everybody contributed to the fare. I made a circus cake display and a guacamole salad. I worked on the fondant figures for the cake for about three months as they are quite time-consuming and detailed to make. I made a clown, two acrobats, two empowered circus bears, a strong man, and a ringmaster. The cake comprised three layers of my giant round cakes baked in my biggest wedding cake tin. I made a double-mix orange sponge, a triple-mix chocolate milk sponge, and a triple-mix vanilla milk sponge. All the cakes were very delicious and I took some of the leftovers to the office for my colleagues and our building management team. Always lovely displays of cakes.
  3. Syl’s 65 blog: https://syl65.wordpress.com/2022/10/08/sketch-comedy-dave-allen-train/ Sylvester knows good comedy when he sees it!
  4. Smorgasboard Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/10/08/smorgasbord-short-stories-milestones-along-the-way-ireland-waterford-the-american-connection-by-geoff-cronin-2/ Following on from The Colour of Life, my father-in-law Geoff Cronin wrote two more books with stories of life in Waterford and Dublin from the 1930s. He collected the stories on his travels, swapping them with others in return for his own and then treating us to the results of the exchange. Geoff also added some jokes overheard just for the Craic…Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing selected stories from Milestones Along the Way. The American Connection My great uncle Richard Condon who was my grandfather’s brother-in-law lived in Chicago for most of his life and was reported to be worth at least three million dollars. In 1930, my father was his sole heir and was to inherit the fortune. However, my father received a telegram about that time to say that his uncle, Richard Condon, had just got married. The man was near eighty years old at that time and my father said “he’s got married now with one leg in the grave and the other on a bar of soap!” Apparently, he had been involved in a car accident and was seriously injured. A long period of recovery ensued and he was nursed back to reasonably good health by a lady nurse called Jessie Barr? And this was his new bride. She was a Scots Presbyterian, twenty-nine years old, and weighed about twenty stone. Quite a handful!
  5. Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo https://scvincent.com/2022/10/07/through-new-eyes/ A weekend exploring the landscape in my local area draws to a close in a few minutes. My friend is in bed, I sit here glowing pink because I caught the sun today. It was glorious weather and we have spent the day on the Chiltern hills. I miss this lovely lady’s outlook on life!
  6. Friday JohnKu https://johnwhowell.com/2022/10/07/friday-johnku-aka-tgif-fri-yay-good-news-25/
  7. Ohio Dog in Shelter Over 2,555 Days Finally Finds His Forever Home: ‘Flip Is a Very Loving Dog’
  8. Flip’s new pet parent told PEOPLE the rescue dog is adjusting well to home life and recently enjoyed his first nap in a big bed. Who doesn’t love it when an animal finds their forever home! Awesome!
  9. RosieAmber https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2022/10/08/%f0%9f%8d%82whats-flowering-in-my-garden-for-this-weeks-sixonsaturday-post-gardeninglife-gardeningtwitter/ I had great plans to bring you photos of a trip to Longstock Park Water Gardens in Hampshire, however, Covid has circled back to my household and the friend I was going with agreed it was best to postpone our trip. So I have had to scramble around my garden in search of six items for this week’s post instead. The first photo is of a lone Linum (Bright Eyes) flower. This is from a packet of seeds that I bought very late in the season. I sprinkled a few seeds out in the flower bed to see if they would still germinate. The rest I will sow next Spring.
  10. Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/10/08/5-ways-to-use-community-marketing-for-your-book-by-amanda-miller/ Locally and globally, in your community and around the world, it’s possible to create connections and memorable experiences with readers by using fun and interesting ways for them to interact with your book. This only requires a few copies of your book to give away. If the cat scratches the cover, don’t throw it away—use it for one of these nifty, inexpensive opportunities to get others involved in the marketing. I think any of these ways would be valuable and on the personal level for any author out there. They sound like such fun!
  11. Word Craft Poetry https://wordcraftpoetry.com/2022/10/07/working-up-a-sweat-with-poetic-forms/ How long does it take you to write a poem that you’re truly proud of? For me, it usually takes a fair amount of time; and this has led me to a recent realization that I’d like to share. My friends and readers know that I am constantly experimenting with sundry forms of poetry and rarely write free verse. This is not to say that I never employ free verse. I do- but not nearly as often as most poets I follow on WordPress on Twitter. Free verse really does seem to be king.
  12. Cold Hand Boyack https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2022/10/06/guest-author-c-s-boyack-new-release/ Joan Hall Hey, Readers. Everyone knows how much I enjoy good music – especially classic rock. Today’s guest author, C. S. Boyack does as well. He’s no stranger to this site, having been a guest several times. It’s always a pleasure to host him. Craig is not only a friend but also a contributor at Story Empire. These books remind me of the Scooby Doo gang! Fun!
  13. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/10/storytelling-and-psychology-the-yin-and-yang-of-storytelling/ Writers need to know psychology for four main reasons: They need to know how readers think and feel and use that knowledge to engage them. They need to understand the psychology of experiencing so they can create story experiences that have a real-to-life feel. They need to design characters with plausible traits, flaws, talents, motivations, etc. They need to know themselves — why they write, what they really want to write about, and how to get out of their own way. This article explains how to create story experiences that feel real to life.
  14. Marcia Meara Writes https://marciamearawrites.com/2022/10/07/thankyou/ Just a quick note to say thanks to this week’s guests, Jackie Lambert and Kassandra Lamb. I’m sorry I was unable to respond to all the lovely comments, but we have been busy every day cleaning up debris from Hurricane Ian. It’s been a long, hard week, but we’ve made substantial progress, and really appreciate your understanding and support. I’m hoping I’ll have more time to be here next week, even though I have no more guests scheduled through year’s end. But I do still have a few little surprises tucked in here and there through Christmas, along with my regular #GrannySays and #ThorsDaySmile posts. I’m hoping by slowing down a bit over the next couple of months I can finally kick Long COVID and return to both blogging and writing at my usual pace. We’ll see how that goes. Meanwhile, I’m so grateful for each and every one of you who has sent me well wishes, and who’ve been so wonderful about commenting on our guest posts. You guys ROCK!!!
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Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, humor & fun, Links, Links, MG & YA, Muse, Reading, Uncategorized, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Finding the Inner Truth/Beauty in Yourself by Traci Kenworth


Finding the Inner Truth/Beauty in Yourself

Traci Kenworth

The taunts and cruelty growing up can cause you to lose faith in yourself. To not want to be who you are. Anything special, anything unique, you work to do away with. Because that would make you different. And different is bad. Or at least, that seems to be what we’re taught. Keep the formation. Don’t step out of line. Dream these dreams, not those.

It can be a daunting reality for a lot of kids. If there’s one thing, I think school’s get wrong: it’s that. We’re not all meant to be put in a binder together. We’re not all meant to follow the same path despite how much easier it would be for the higher-ups. Being different is good. It brings other perspectives to the table. It can show us a path forward in life that we should’ve taken all along.

So, what do you do years down the road when you look back with regret at some of the things you wish you’d done but didn’t? Dreams have a way of passing us by if we don’t grip them hard and run with them. Things change though. Sometimes due to finances, sometimes to personal problems. Or through no fault of our own. We wake up one day and look back and wonder if we’d chosen a different way, where we’d be.

We can wonder and wish all we want. The fact is life happens. That career we wanted since we were old enough to decide, didn’t pan out. The marriage we hoped for fell apart. A lot of times I think it has to do with letting other people’s perspectives influence our own. We don’t think we’re good at something, so we turn aside. If we’d stuck it out longer maybe the pegs would’ve lined up.

Still, there’s always a new start. One day you might decide to go back to one of those dreams, make a living at it. You could ignore all the naysayers and just do what’s best for you. After all, no one has to live your life but you. No one has to decide what you will be, what you will find. Uncovering that inner beauty of something we’ve always wanted to do takes time.

It doesn’t shortchange us. We weren’t supposed to pursue the path before that moment for whatever reason. It doesn’t make it wrong or silly to try and recover the dream. It makes us fulfill a promise to ourselves maybe. We let our children grow and now it’s time to rediscover something for our benefit. Maybe you always wanted that mechanic shop. Or a trip to Europe. You can do so at a later date. Nothing wrong with that.

In your pursuit of dreams, things get overturned. When you’re young, it seems you have all the time in the world. All the energy. All the faith. As the day ages, you lose some of that enthusiasm. There are those sent to talk you out of an idea for whatever reason. Holding true to what you want and believe takes a lot of determination. It takes a lot of perseverance, but you can do what you set your mind to.

Only you can hold you back when it comes down to it. You promise yourself one day. Well, one day has arrived. Dig down deep and find that core, that strength that was always there. Waiting. Find the foundation, discover the new road. Life can be anything you want it to be. Sure, you might be starting down the end road in life. Your finances might not be where you want them to be. A few kids, a few grandkids later might seem like time to retire.

Don’t give up on yourself. Take that moment. Pursue that dream. And find the inner beauty within, that truth that was always meant to be. Have a great week, take care, God bless.

Some products you may be interested in. I may receive a small compensation for the advertising from the seller.

Some blogs around the web you may enjoy:

Come swim with me in Jupiter’s moons,

roam the red rolling hills of Mars

come back to rest against blue earth.

Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome today it’s the letter D …I have some exotic fruits for you and some lovely recipes I hope you enjoy!

  • Chris the Story Reading Ape: The Teritary Principles of Plot: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/08/03/the-tertiary-principles-of-plot-plans-gaps-crises-by-september-fawkes/ In storytelling, the primary principles of plot include goal, antagonist, conflict, and consequences. You can’t have a great plot without those elements first. The secondary principles of plot build directly off the primary, and they include progress, setbacks, costs, and turning points. As you likely guessed, the tertiary principles build off the prior two sets, and they include plans, gaps, and crises. Chris, always has such interesting posts! Check this out!
  • John Howell.com: https://johnwhowell.com/2022/08/02/30535/ In Keith’s words. “Using this photo (below) as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph (If you are curious about what we were photographing, it was the sun beginning to set over one of the domes of the mosque adjacent to the Taj Mahal. Click here to see my effort). Either put your offering (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at keithchanning@gmail.com before Sunday evening UK time. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.
  • Story Empire: https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/2022/08/03/characters-and-diversity-part-3-physical-ability/ Hello SE friends, Gwen with you today, and together we will venture further into the theme of diversity. In June, I wrote about including racial diversity in your stories. Here’s a link to that post. In July, I focused on financial diversity and offered suggestions which you can read here. Today’s topic is PHYSICAL ABILITY. Just as in the prior two posts, I will write from personal experience and invite you to share your experiences as well.
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Posted in blogs, Craft, MG & YA

Seven Links7/13/19 Traci Kenworth


kittens

Seven Links…7/13/19

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://killzoneblog.com/2019/07/22029.html “And so it ends, after 67 years. One of the great American institutions, Mad Magazine, is closing up shop. Gone but not forgotten will be the famous Mad mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, whose mysterious background is discussed here. So popular was he that he occasionally ran for president, with the slogan: “You could do worse… and always have!”

Along with my parents and my teachers, Madplayed a major part in the formation of my young life. Its influence is with me still—and I hope it always will be.” I remember Mad. Funny!

2. https://megdowell.com/2019/07/06/12-signs-youre-almost-done-writing-your-book-finally/

3. https://stevelaube.com/podcasts-for-christian-writers/

4. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2019/07/the-5-essential-cs-for-writing/ “Show of hands – who’s looked at social media posts from favorite authors and coveted (no, that’s not one of the c words … keep reading) that author’s success? And since we all know how real those social media posts are, I’m going to share with you my C-tips.

Creativity.

We’ve all heard that there are no unique stories to be told, that it’s only our personal spin that makes a version of the story stand out. Our super-power as writers is to see the magic in the ordinary. A headline or inanimate object or a person in the grocery store line can trigger an avalanche of story ideas.

A couple of years ago, my son and I took an ice cream making class/tour at a local boutique ice cream maker’s factory. At one point while listening to the owner explain the process, I realized I was watching a character in the book I was working on. The character in the book is male and looks nothing like her, but I’d been struggling to who he was and what he did. I can’t tell you what it was about her that triggered the connection, but standing in front of me, waxing poetic about cream was the missing piece of my book.” This happened to me the other day while talking to my daughter. She explained the relationship between my two protagonists without knowing about either.

5. http://booksbywomen.org/write-here-write-now-by-abigail-drake/ “Turning something into a daily practice, be it writing or exercising or even flossing, can be a daunting process. In the case of writing, having a schedule is important. It’s also a good way to keep the writer sane.

What do I mean by that? Well, a writer who is not working is a dangerous creature. Although some writers can take days or weeks off from their work and not feel the effect at all, many cannot. To those writers, a day without writing feels off and unsettled and incomplete.”

6. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2019/07/why-every-novel-needs-a-sprinkling-of-fear/ “You’d be forgiven for thinking that only horror books should contain an element of fear, but I’m here to challenge that thought by claiming that all books – regardless of genre – need a sprinkling of it.

Why You Need Fear in Your Novel

Fear is a driver. It drives plot, pace, tension, and emotion—which, when you combine those elements, creates the climax of your story. Status quo would suggest that desire is the predominant motivation pushing a hero towards the climax of a story, and sure, it might be. But fear is a secondary motive.

Why?” I personally think it’s because he has something to lose!

7. https://stevelaube.com/how-to-write-poorly/ “To paraphrase a pretty good writer of several centuries ago, “Some are born writers, some learn to be writers, and others have writing thrust upon them.”

Whichever category you fit into, it takes practice and perseverance to write well. But it takes only a little effort to write poorly. Here are seven tips to help you write poorly:

  1. Write for everyone.

Don’t write for a specific demographic or a target audience. Don’t write with a specific reader in mind. Just write for anyone and everyone. Keep it general, broad, and one-size-fits-all.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/news-round-up-week-ending-5-july-2019/

2. https://blondewritemore.com/2019/07/07/things-i-discovered-after-publishing-my-book/

3. http://theeditorsblog.net/2019/07/10/the-blog-is-back/

4. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/expansion-pack-the-egg-scene/ “Hi gang, Craig here again with another Expansion Pack. These are designed to enhance the series I wrote about The Hero’s Journey, also known as the Writing Monomyth.

It’s worth repeating that none of the Expansion Pack material is required for your stories. These are just as advertised. If you want to get a bit deeper into the optional stuff, you might find them helpful.

There is an old writing rule, that I’m going to paraphrase. Every scene must do two of three things or it doesn’t belong in your story. These things are:” Hmm, I’ve written scenes like this. Bring the characters together, at first resistant, and then they open up to one another.

5. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2019/07/can-authors-break-free-from-the-brand/ “The standard advice given to writers is to brand yourself. Find a genre, and stick with it. This strategy has proven successful for many contemporary authors such as Danielle Steel and Mary Higgins Clark, but even Jane Austen had perfected the practice years earlier, and Agatha Christie used it to pen mysteries that ranked her in the sales zone with Shakespeare and the Bible!

So why have I chosen to go against the gold standard of good advice and cross genres? I admit, it’s probably because I have no business sense, but it’s also because I love to learn new things and to challenge myself creatively.”

6. https://conniejjasperson.com/2019/07/08/the-inferential-layer-of-the-word-pond-mood-and-emotion-amwriting/ “Today we go a little deeper into the Word-Pond that we call Story. In talking about literature, the word mood is sometimes used interchangeably with atmosphere. Like conjoined twins, mood and atmosphere march along together; separate, but intertwined so closely that they seem as one. Mood is long term in the background and makes the emotions evoked within the story specific. Atmosphere is also long term but is part of world-building. Atmosphere is the aspect of mood that setting conveys.

Emotion is immediate, short term. It exists in the foreground but works best when in conjunction with the overall atmosphere/mood.”

7.  https://whenangelsfly.net/2019/07/09/top-10-faqs-about-book-publicity-and-promotion-ckbooks-publishing/

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://beckiesmentalmess.blog/2019/07/07/%f0%9f%98%a5-july-7-2019-quote-of-the-day-my-thoughts/

2. https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/07/the-boy-who-came-back-from-heaven-christian-book-scandal.html “evin and Alex Malarkey were alone together when the accident happened. It was November 2004, and the Malarkeys had moved to rural Huntsville, Ohio, from suburban Columbus just weeks earlier. The family was struggling financially, and Kevin and his wife, Beth, wanted to pursue a quieter life. Beth had given birth to their fourth child a few days before. Six-year-old Alex was the oldest of the bunch. He and his father went to church that Sunday morning, just the two of them.

On the drive home, Kevin answered a call on his cellphone just as he approached an intersection with a blind spot that locals knew to fear. He didn’t see the other car coming. Kevin was thrown from his vehicle but was unhurt. Alex was taken in a helicopter to Columbus Children’s Hospital. (The occupants of the other car were not seriously injured.) Alex had suffered an “internal decapitation”—his skull essentially separated from his spine. His injuries were so serious that the coroner was called to the scene of the crash.”

3. https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2019/07/09/benefits-of-reading-revisited-2/ “I have previously written about the happiness of reading, a pleasure I hope everyone, or at least, most people experience. As I wrote before, I consider reading to be one of the main joys of life.

I also want to consider the benefits of reading. I think the first, and perhaps most obvious, value is that of education. Regardless of where the reading is done, or if it is for class or for self, all reading informs the reader in some way. While there are a myriad of ways to learn in life, reading still stands out as the primary, and most efficient, way of gaining information. (I am not in any way discounting the importance of learning through experience.) Readers can learn about areas of study that exist far outside of their particular areas of understanding or expertise. For example, I am a student of English literature, but I love reading books about quantum mechanics and the extraordinarily esoteric world of String Theory. I do not understand these ideas the way a physicist would, but I can still appreciate the ideas from books aimed at intelligent, non-specialist readers. Such reading allows the book lover to explore an almost unlimited range of ideas.”

4. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jul/10/millennials-censorship-putney-sofka-zinovieff-lolita “wouldn’t normally air my dirty literary linen in public, but here goes. When I finished writing my novel Putney, about a 13-year-old girl who has a “love affair” in the 1970s with an older man and realises decades later that it was actually abuse, my previous editor at Jonathan Cape chose not to publish it. The reasons emerged this year when he was interviewed in the Spectator. “If Lolita was offered to me today,” Dan Franklin said, “I’d never be able to get it past the acquisition team – a committee of 30-year-olds, who’d say: ‘If you publish this book we will all resign.’” He pointed to #MeToo and social media as fundamental factors: “You can organise outrage at the drop of a hat.”

Fortunately, Bloomsbury’s acquisition team – overwhelmingly female and mixed aged – were brave enough to take on Putney, which was described in the Observer as “a Lolita for the era of #MeToo”. Whether there was any truth in his words or not, Franklin’s position reveals how much fear now exists in publishing.”

5. https://www.vulture.com/2019/07/laura-lippman-on-baltimore-lady-in-the-lake.html “Baltimore is a city where they give directions according to what’s not there anymore,” Laura Lippman says, quoting an old newspaper colleague of hers named Linell Smith. Lippman ought to know because she, apart from several years away in her 20s, has spent her entire adulthood in town. She was a reporter for more than a decade at the Baltimore Sun, and in the past 22 years has set 23 crime novels and thrillers in and around the city. Her latest book, Lady in the Lake, takes place mostly downtown in the mid-’60s, and today she and I are headed out to find some places that used to be here.

Baltimore is layered with loss. It was a factory town with aspirations, one that was built to house nearly twice its current population with great civic imagery to match — the Beaux-Arts monuments and crab houses, Pimlico races and rowhouses with white marble steps. If you’re searching for Lost”

6. https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/books/ct-books-biblioracle-0714-20190710-2ykhjy4db5fangevs5ukax2dhm-story.html “Kindle and Nook readers: You know you don’t own those books, right?

You don’t own e-books the same way you own paper volumes, a point made more apparent by Microsoft Store’s recent decision to close its books section and remove previously bought e-books from readers’ devices.

While my book recommending skills are truly legendary, to the point of approaching the mystical — this is why I call myself the Biblioracle, after all — this is not my only predictive talent.

In fact, for every single reader, regardless of age, gender, location, height or hair color, I can tell how many Kindle, Nook and Apple iBooks they own.

The answer is zero. You, me, them, everybody, own exactly zero of these books.

The reality of this was recently highlighted by the impending demise of the Microsoft Store books section, which stopped new sales in early April and will soon start removing the books from devices, never to be seen again.

7. https://lithub.com/how-america-came-heartbreakingly-close-to-universal-healthcare/ “ As was recently, and perhaps shockingly, reported, life expectancy gains in the US, which plateaued in 2012, have declined for the past two years. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reported that the new average life expectancy for Americans is 78.7 years, 1.6 years behind the average in developed nations (including Canada, Germany, Mexico, France, Japan, and the UK), which is 80.3. As Dartmouth economists Ellen Meara and Jonathan Skinner remarked about the downward reversal of US life expectancy, “It is difficult to find modern settings with survival losses of this magnitude.”

Why this is happening is the direct result of the wasteful, inefficient, and woefully illogical profit-based healthcare system that has been built here in the 75 years since the end of World War II, fueled in part by an addiction not just to opioids but to many other drugs such as Adderall, created and reinforced by corrosive marketing, and collusion in rigged science, rank profiteering, and sloppy prescribing. But the decline in life expectancy has also been caused by our longstanding lack of attention to the many social factors that affect health. This is in stark contrast to the vision we showed at the end of WWII.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://annieneugebauer.com/2014/04/14/unpack-the-poem-inland-by-edna-st-vincent-millay/ “There’s an idea I’ve been wanting to try for a while now, and National Poetry Month seems like the perfect time. I think it would be cool to take a poem, here on the blog, and go through the process of reading it, interpreting it, studying it, etc. It’s a concept I’ve been calling “Unpack the Poem” in my head–thanks to all of my professors over the years saying, “Can you unpack that?” when they want deeper analysis–but I’ve been hesitant to try it for several reasons. First of all, if it were to become an occasional series I add to my blog topic repertoire (as I hope it will, if there’s enough interest), I’m somewhat limited in my choice of poems. For legal reasons (copyright) I can only “unpack” poems that are in the public domain.”

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. http://middlegrademafia.com/2019/07/10/mg-book-review-the-longest-night-of-charlie-noon-by-christopher-edge/ “Three children are tested by puzzles, spies, a monster and more when they get lost in the woods. As you might expect, because this is a Christopher Edge book it’s the more that’s really interesting.

Hair-raising interesting.

Thought-provoking interesting.

Pull- at- your-heartstrings interesting.”

2. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/the-ghost-of-stable-road-a-childrens-story/

  1. 3. http://mariacatalinaegan.com/2019/07/10/magic-heist-mary-karlik/ “Never stare at a fairy’s wings
  2. Never touch a fairy wings
  3. Fairies are weakened by metal—unless they’re half-human
  4. Fairies can’t kill.
  5. Fairies can torture”

4.

5.

6.

7.

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Posted in Craft, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

Writerly Things…10/29/18


Happy Halloween!
Halloween background

Writerly Things…10/29/18

Traci Kenworth

 

How Do You Find Your Inspiration?

Inspiration can be found in anything around us. Take a walk for instance. Fallen leaves, isolation, a campground might inspire you to write a scary tale. A trip to the city might bring up corruption, brutality, and homelessness. Driving down the road might tip the setting of your book from Rome to someplace more familiar. Big towns, small towns, they both have their advantages. So, do fields, spaceships, and laboratories.

Some writers find a story in a song. I haven’t been able to do this yet. I find most of mine come when thoughts twist together and take root. It could be a story I’ve read that sparks something. It could be a TV show or a movie. A picture does the trick too. I always want to know more about what’s in the frame. What are the people like? Where do they live? Are they happy? Has a tragedy touched their lives? A story shapes as I go deeper.

 

How Do You Take It Deeper?

You start by asking questions. Who are they? What are their positive and negative traits? What do they do for a living? Do they like it? What would they do if a million dollars fell into their hands? It’s questions like this that begin to frame that story. The more that you ask the more solid the story becomes. What type of story are you writing comes into the picture here. Fantasy? Horror? Science-fiction? Etc. Then you consider your audience. MG? YA? Adult?

Some other things to consider are setting. Does it take place in a historical setting? Do your research. You’d be surprised the info that’s out there. Even with a futuristic tale, you need to do some research. What kind of technology might they have? Has transportation changed? There are a million things to consider.

It all begins with a single seed. So, water it well. Have a great day, take care, and God bless!

 

 

 


Welcome to Getting to Know You and this week my guest is Traci Kenworth who is incredibly supportive of the blogging community and has regularly shared posts from here in her comprehensive blog post promotions. If you head over to her blog you will find several shared posts a day leading to some of our […]

via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with Traci Kenworth — Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with Traci Kenworth — Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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Writerly Things 7/15/19 Update on YA Traci Kenworth


sand dunes

Writerly Things…7/15/19: Affording the Dream

Traci Kenworth

Previous View on Things.

I used to think I couldn’t afford writing. More importantly, editing. Thankfully, I found someone willing to work with me. Not that I’m not going to take a shot at the traditional field still. I don’t want to regret not doing so, someday. If things don’t work out though, the future may be Indie for me. Also, I do think my sweet romances will go Indie. I’ve heard that the field for romances is limited in traditional right now.

Going Forward.

It will probably be slow-going as that’s what kind of writer I am, but I plan to keep pushing forward, seeing where things go. I also plan to start a new blog with my daughter and son on recipes, dollar hacks, basically anything home related. We’re hoping it’ll bring revenue in to do other things such as if I do go Indie, paying for the cover, the formatting, etc. I want to put out a quality product no matter which way I go.

How do you afford your dreams? Bit by bit or the full enchilada?

Have a great day, take care, and God bless!

Posted in blogs, Christian, Craft, fantasy, Historicals, horror, MG & YA

Writerly Things 12/9/19: Top YA Books in 2019, imo. Traci Kenworth


Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Writerly Things 12/9/19: Top YA Books of 2019, imo.

Traci Kenworth

  1. Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor #1 YA Fantasy
  2. Slayer by Kierstan White #1 YA Horror
  3. Finale by Stephanie Garber #1 YA Mystery
  4. Bane of the Dragon King by J. Kellerford #2 YA Fantasy
  5. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pan Preto #3 YA Fantasy
  6. Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor #4 YA Fantasy
  7. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard #5 YA Fantasy
  8. Graceling by Kristine Cashore #6 YA Fantasy
  9. The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter #7 YA Fantasy
  10. A Curse So Dark & Lonely Brigid Kemmerer #8 YA Fantasy
  11. Windwitch by Susan Dennard #9 YA Fantasy
  12. Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and John Kelly
  13. The Devouring Grey by Christine Lynn Herman

I’m still reading some so this list might change before the 30th of Dec. but I think this is pretty well set. Have a great week, take care, and God Bless!