Posted in Anthologies/Novellas, Christian, Craft, Dystopian, fantasy, Historicals, horror, Indie, MG & YA, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Paranormal, Romance, SF, Short stories, traditional, Urban Fantasy, Women's Fiction, writers, Writing and Poetry

Writing Links…1/29/18

woman, candles, mist

Writing Links…1/29/18

Traci Kenworth



  1. “It’s time for this week’s So Your Character is … Post! This is a weekly segment where I interview lovely volunteers from around the world to give you a firsthand account of being a citizen of their respective country or having a disability. I’m hoping to encourage international diversity, break stereotypes, and give writers a crash course on how to write a character from these different places on our planet. If you haven’t checked out last week’s  So Your Character is from Sweden …be sure to hop on over there and give it a read!” Interesting, they have an elected King.
  2. “What can I say? It was a mistake … but some really GREAT things came out of it!

Around six months ago I decided to give Patreon a try. If you aren’t familiar with the platform, Patreon allows people to pledge an amount to support an artist in exchange for something of value. In my case, it was for short stories and sneak peeks on what I was writing.” Has anyone else tried Patreon? Did it work out?

  1. Charles and Craig visit with Lisa on some fashion advice. Fun!



Romance/Women’s Fiction:

  1. “While funerals are never fun events, there is something about a ceremony for a person who has lived a long and full life that carries an underpinning of celebration. This is what we all hope for ourselves – long lives, blessed by an abundance of loved ones and living in our own way with our full mind and memories. My aunt was fortunate to have all of these things.” I often focus on family themes as well.
  2. “I love naming my characters. It’s fun to think through the millions of possibilities, picking each name for its perfect sound, its underlying meaning, the uncertainty of not knowing if someone will be insulted when I use it.” Names make the character.
  3. “Does the plot require the couple to have sex, but you don’t want the reader to share their intimate moments? Then you can metaphorically ‘close the bedroom door’ and simply let the reader know what is going on.” I tend to write sweet romances.



  1. “I’ve never been much of a planner. Yes, that means I’m one of those crazy writers who doesn’t lay out the plot or outline the story before I begin to write. I rarely begin at the beginning since the story comes to me in scenes. I do eventually make a timeline of sorts, once I get into it, but that’s about it. I love the excitement of not knowing where I’m going.” I need to pray for guidance more. Sometimes I think I know what the Lord has planned for me and then it just doesn’t work out.
  2. “A key element in a book proposal is your sales history. Of course, you can ignore this if you’ve never published a book before. But if you have published, either with a traditional publisher or independently, your sales history must be included in your next book proposal. Here is an example:” Interesting what counts.
  3. “One of my 2018 resolutions was to stop allowing guilt to intrude on my professional and personal relationships. The truth is I’m a hard worker and I accomplish what two or three agents would have accomplished a couple decades ago. Everything has sped up. As I said to an editor who apologized to me last week, “We can’t feel bad when something slips through the cracks because we are all working at warp speed in today’s publishing climate– fewer people doing more work.” It’s easy to let guilt sink into us. The truth is, we’re all doing the best we can at that given moment.



  1. “The great thing about writing historical fiction is what you stumble across during  research. Snake bombs? Really? Really, thus aiding in the success of the Mongol assault on Talikan during Johanna’s inadvertent stay within those, it turns out, highly breachable walls.” I can’t imagine the torture some women went through for beauty.
  2. “Whatever the case, the first time Matthew Hopkins steps out of the sea of anonymity to properly greet us is in 1645, when he proudly introduces himself as a Witch-finder. A what? Yup, you heard the young man: he’s making a living finding witches.” I can’t even imagine. How truly scary.
  3. “I was born in 1967, and I grew up with documentaries and books about space and the depths of the ocean, about explorers and travelers, and lots of adventure narratives, in book, films, TV series. Considering I was particularly fascinated by the oceans, by volcanoes  and by dinosaurs, I decided to study sciences, and geology in particular.” Interesting career.



  1. “Here are some examples based on the Stephen King quote from On Writingin the recorded sessions: “All tales of horror can be divided into two groups: those in which the horror results from an act of free and conscious will—a conscious decision to do evil—and those in which the horror is predestinate, coming from outside like a stroke of lightning.” Sounds like an exciting course!
  2. “This will be my third year doing  a Year in Review. It’s fun to look back through my posts and save some of my favorites, or the ones that seemed most useful, by putting them out in a review post. It comes in handy to have a reference post, but it may also come in handy in case someone wasn’t looking for a particular topic when I posted it, and now they need that information.” Info on horror topics. Check out.
  3. Thomas Ligotti’s The Bungalow House.



  1. “Robert Topp runs the Hermitage bookstore in Denver Colorado, but a few years ago he started the READ ME A STORY, INKwebsite to give teachers, parents, librarians and kids the chance to read some of the great children’s stories from magazines like Highlights and the Cricket Magazine Group. Robert has indexed by topic, age range, and author more than 1,560 of short stories and put them all in one place. What a great resource!” This is amazing!
  2. “Is your protagonist too passive? What does that even mean? Today I’m talking about a common protagonist issue and why it’s important to keep in mind.” Hmm. I think that’s a good rule. That your protagonist should make at least three decisions that change the outcome of the plot. I’ve been guilty of passive in the past. We all learn and grow.
  3. “So, this year I’m concentrating on decisions, rather than resolutions or goals. My writing decisions are crafted so that the end result will be more projects get finished, but I’m not judging my success with anything solid enough to feel deflating when I haven’t reached my goal.” I’ve simply changed my focus on things. Some writing things are working out, some aren’t. I may have to tweak some in the months ahead but I’m liking the rotating I’m doing with things. It leaves me time to pursue other activities as well so I’m not so entrenched in only writing.
  4. “I’m going to cheat a little here by borrowing something that my editor said about the book–but only because it sums up so well what I was trying to say by writing it: Change is who we are. Big and scary and impossible as it sometimes feels (for me, too!), it’s necessary. It’s a part of being human.” I think she’s got a good message.
  5. “”This book needs more world building” was a critique I got for my second draft, third draft, fourth, fifth—god knows how many drafts but right up until the end, more world buildingI became all too familiar with. And it’s a good thing, too, because, well—those drafts absolutely needed more.” My weaknesses are lack of description in my first draft and I write very lean as having to bulk out in other drafts.
  6. “It all began with Troy Cummings’ presentation at the SCBWI-Indiana 2017 Summer Retreat where he walked us through the revisions he undertook with his new picture book, CAN I BE YOUR DOG? (to be published by Random House: March 2018). His website states it is a “heart-tugging dog adoption story told through a series of letters dropped in the neighbor’s mailboxes—a stray dog searches for a place to call home.” This is a unique idea.



  1. “My crystal ball is telling me that not a lot in the publishing industry is going to change from 2017 to 2018.” Sounds like things are teetering from traditional to Indie. Although Indie has its problems too, with manipulated reviews that Amazon hasn’t stopped yet.
  2. “The way to make something good is to make it well.

If the ingredients are extra good (truffles, vivid prose, fascinating characters) that’s a help. But it’s what you do with them that counts. With the most ordinary ingredients (potatoes, everyday language, commonplace characters) — and care and skill in using them — you can make something extremely good” She was a remarkable lady.

  1. “Happy Friday, wonderful SEers! Mae here with Story Empire’s first “Book Cover Friday” post of 2018. The idea behind this new rotating feature is to showcase covers that appeal to us. These don’t necessarily have to be books we’ve read, but from works that attracted us for one reason or another. What did we find compelling about the cover? Of course, we hope you’ll weigh in with your thoughts as well.” I like this new feature!



Short Stories/Anthologies/Novella:

  1. “One of the things I’ve been doing between comments and tweets is looking at my outlines. Something odd happened and it deviates from my master plan. After I finish the novella, I’m supposed to start on a novel called Grinders. This one is a cyberpunk novel about people who do extreme body modifications in an attempt to become better than everyone else. There will be some bio-hacking and such to flesh out the world.”
  2. the storm of the century hits Whale Rock, Sheriff Dan Retsler does everything he can to prevent hundreds of deaths. Everything except the thing that could have prevented the storm in the first place. He should have listened to the beautiful woman who came to his office before the storm hit.

He should have believed in her magic. But he didn’t. And now he must face himself—and the horrible results of a storm he could have prevented.”

  1. “As stories sometimes do, the timeline backs up for this episode.  This scene was happening concurrently with “Hanging by a Hair” when Bedlam Thunder was in the dark abyss and her friends disappeared one by one. It’s the best way for me to show separate events that occurred at the same time.  Once again we view events from the point of view of Bob the hummingbird.”
  2. “The Temperatures by John W. Howell © 2018” I’ve been sick the past couple days and the hot/cold, headachy, stomach hurting is all part of these temps I think.
  3. a trap.
  4. “Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet journey to the sugar crystal caves to collect the sugar water they need to make their soda pop.”
  5. Football with cans.




  1. “Welcome to my contribution to my Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry challengewhere we use synonyms for the prompt words. This week, I used scrawl for write, and lore for myth.” So creative!
  2. “He has achieved nothing” Something I do sometimes. Although, so far this year, I’m doing a lot better.
  3. “Growing unseen, unnoticed.” We could all learn a lesson.
  4. “The unknown.” Love these!
  5. and laughter come” I love to sing normally.
  6. “Keep our eyes up” What a great message!
  7. “Sparkling in the eyes of God.”



  1. “… The facet of physical books that endow book-buying with its romance and mystery, that truly distinguishes one book from another, is … the spine.”—Kari Larsen, Literary Hub” Lot to think on. Do you consider your spines in publishing?
  2. “The Guardian UK recently reported that diversity is a trend in publishing for 2018,so today, I have an interview with Alex Anders on how to write diverse characters without cultural appropriation or stereotyping, as well as boundaries around language and an interesting discussion on gender fluidity.” I think as he says there may be people who get offended whenever you write a character outside your experience but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t include them. People are people as Joanna Penn said. Of course, that doesn’t mean we do so hatefully.
  3. “A publisher client of mine priced his new ebook at $9.99 because he believed that a higher-priced ebook would have more cache. He was concerned that a lower-priced ebook would lower the perceived quality of the novel. So he priced his book at the same level that established authors price theirs (even though he was not as well known).” It seems like the spot between $2.99 and $3.99 is where to be when you advertise your debut book. Anyone who disagrees?
  4. “In this post we turn our Success Story spotlight on British phenomenon Roz Morris, who has come out of the shadows as a ghostwriter to emerge as an acclaimed self-published novelist in her own right, as well as diversifying into other genres. She’s also an authoritative writing coach via her series of how-to books about novel-writing. Here she shares her top tips drawing on her own multi-faceted experiences, including:” I’ve been a fan of her blog posts for a long while now.
  5. “And one of mine is Wattpad. The company, always at the cutting edge of what the relation between reader and writer can be, has now raised $51m from backersthat, interestingly, include Chinese giants Tencent. The money will go, inter alia, towards developing the company’s machine-learning and interactive storytelling Very exciting.” Waiting to see on this.
  6. “Think about your writing position.Do you hunch over? Are your arms in the right position? Is your screen correctly set up? How often do you take movement breaks? Are you getting any lower back pain?” I prefer a desktop to a laptop though I didn’t always feel that way. Sometimes, I wish for a laptop to take on the go but then I’d probably miss something important. As it is, I read more when out and about.



  1. “Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people.A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.” Might be an interesting job for a character.
  2. “As artists, our early influences were more than just the first domino in our journeys. They were more than “just” formative. They were the experiences that shaped us into the people and writers we have become. Sometimes these influences are conscious: some writers can recall a specific book or movie that made them say, “I want to be a writer.” But even in these situations, the subconscious impact is often far deeper and more telling.” I tend to write stories about Outsiders. Friendship. Family. Going the distance. Self-sacrifice. And probably a whole lot more I can’t think of at the moment. Like Neil Gaiman says in the post, who can say where all our influences come from? Life? Books? Movies? Songs? Stories our parents told us over the years? It all mixes together and comes out on the page. What do you think?
  3. “Increasingly, at writing conferences and in the mainstream media, I observe growing unrest surrounding the proliferation of free and cheap literature, particularly ebooks. The reasons for sharp discounts and giveaways are legion (and some reasons are better than others), but regardless of the reason, I see greater peer pressure on and shaming of those who are seen to “devalue” literature in our culture.” I have to admit giveaways are hard for me anymore with the amount of books I still have on my kindle and in print to read. That said, I am more tempted by books at lower prices if I want to take a chance on a new author. I will spring for higher priced books if it’s an author I know.
  4. “What the heck is “voice”? By this, do editors mean “style”? I do not think so. By voice, I think they mean not only a unique way of putting words together, but a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world, an outlook that enriches an author’s oeuvre. They want to read an author who is like no other. An original. A standout. A voice.” I have to agree with her. The “voice” is different for every story, especially if there’s more than one pov. You have to experience the senses through each pov character you use. Their thoughts, their emotions cloud the mix. From here, you get voice.
  5. ““The Waltons,” was the reply and while my first inclination was incredulity, as I listened I began to reflect on the power of fiction in terms of modeling—for those who may not see it otherwise—appropriate bonding, discipline, conflict resolution, coming-of-age…the list goes on and on. The Waltons, for my friend, were a rock in a sea of turbulence. They provided a template of unconditional love, support, and healthy boundaries which were otherwise foreign in this person’s ‘real life’.‘This,’ my friend thought, ‘is what a family is supposed to look like,’ and from tuning into these characters, week after week, my friend saw qualities to aspire to and emulate.” I think the Waltons were good family role models too. As were the Keatons, the Seavers, and the Winslows. Not that I didn’t have good role models in my life. People do the best with what they have. As I have myself.
  6. “If you are an indie author on Amazon, as part of Amazon’s Kindle Select Program, you can use five free days to promote your ebook in exchange for three months of exclusivity. Many traditional publishers are increasingly doing free promos as well, and the competition is growing with thousands of free ebooks available every day. So how do you stand out?” Anyone try any of these?
  7. “The past few months have been tough. I’ve struggled with being down, depressed and stuck in a rut. The writing profession I once loved just had lost its…sparkle. In a recent post, I believe I voiced what many writers have been feeling:” What do you think? Are we churning out cheeseburgers instead of quality work?
  8. “Sequels are one of the more misunderstood and confusing aspects of fiction. They’re just as important to a story as a scene, but they don’t get nearly the same amount of attention or analysis from a How-To standpoint.” Important. Action. Then reaction.
  9. “You may not have considered that writing about your life could be a dangerous endeavor. The degree of danger could vary from emotional distress to legal action to threats on your life. Hopefully, your story won’t put you in anyone’s crosshairs, but for some baring the truth, it has done just that.” Scary thought.
  10. “Jana mentioned word-of-mouth, so I’ll just add that one of the best ways to find a trusted editor is to seek out authors you may not know in person but whose work you like and just ask them who they’ve worked with. Consider targeting indie authors, rather than traditionally published, who are more likely to have hired independent contractors for their books, and shoot them a Facebook message, tweet, or email.” What to look for in an editor.
  11. “I love how songwriters can capture a mood or a situation with one stanza. As an author, I’m held captive by the words. Taking something old, and through brilliant writing, making it over in a new way. The lyrics to Carly Simon’ssong, Jesse, inspired my July release, The Last True Cowboy.” I do love songs but usually TV is what inspires me, if anything.
  12. “You read the email and it hits you: a publishing professional wants to work with you! And it’s not a mistake, because they even wrote a little paragraph about why they loved your manuscript! This is the point where you burst into noisy tears of joy and relief and exhaustion. You run out of the room and scream the news at anyone who will listen.” Some really good advice for traditional publishing!
  13. “Unfortunately, whatever gap AS’s contraction has created has been filled by a slew of imitators. Why not, when hoodwinking authors is as easy as setting up a website and opening an account with Ingram? In some cases, the imitators have first-hand experience: they’ve been founded and/or staffed by former employees of AS’s call centers in the Philippines.” Writer, beware!
  14. “During self-editson my latest manuscript, I experimented with six editing tools, both free and paid, to determine which could be most beneficial to The Write Life’s audience. Besides being an author, I’m an editor, so I also weighed each tool against what I’d look for when editing.” I use Grammarly. Not sure about the other tools.
  15. “How much should a writer’s personality show in a book? Some authors keep themselves out of the narrative voice, even in a personal book such as a memoir. Others colour every page with their sensibilities and personality, even if they’re writing fiction. This is just one of the questions I’m discussing today in the literary magazine Rain Taxi.” I try to focus on the character’s personality, not mine.



  1. “Amazon KDP launched a new free app called Kindle Create, which provides a simplified conversion process to format a Kindle e-book from Microsoft Word.” Thanks to ACFlory for recommending this! Check it out! I wonder though, does anyone know of an app that would do the same to go wide? I know Joanna Penn’s blog recommends that.
  2. “I occasionally read about an author discovering his or her characters while writing the first draft. This is one of the truly magical things that happens when we write fiction. We all start out with an idea of plot, and what the characters have to do to make things happen. Character kind of develops while we write. At least it does for me.” I use bibles where I ask what a character wants and their greatest fear. I then find images for them. Then I just start daydreaming about who they are or why they do certain things. I slowly build the character as I go along but often they don’t come alive until the page. Sometimes they don’t become whole till later drafts when I discover what they’re really about.
  3. “Legacy data providers like PubTrack Digital and the AAP are effectively blind to vast sectors of the consumer ebook & audiobook market. And those non-traditional sectors are precisely where ebook sales have continued to grow, year after year, even as PubTrack-and-AAP-reporting publishers have seen their own ebook sales dramatically shrink. As a result, what was once a small blind spot in the industry’s online-sales numbers now blocks half the view. Data from PubTrack and the AAP is now missing two thirds of US consumer ebook purchases, and nearly half of all ebook dollarsthose consumers spend. (And reporting is so long-delayed–often by 4-6 months–that even if the data were more complete, it would still be useless.)” Wow, 90% of romance books are being bought digitally, 75% Science Fiction and Fantasy, the same. No word on YA which is a genre I’m interested in pursuing.
  4. “Science is the ever-refined search for the laws of the Universe. But Science Fiction is about people — and as soon as you put two people together, you get another sort of law, the kind we need to invent and respect to function as a group. Space is no different, and any solid SF world-building must necessarily include a working legal and political system, if only to serve as a never-questioned background to the plot. However, maintaining a legal framework over any sort of distance is an inherent challenge.” Have you considered who owns space? Is it shared? Who will you call when space pirates attack? Questions to think on.
  5. “Nothing throws me out of a book faster than a character running (or worse, galloping) full-tilt through a dense forest. If you only had the big tree trunks to worry about, you’d be fine. It’s the understory that’s the problem: dense, shoulder high thickets are almost impossible to traverse quickly. And if it’s a patch of evergreens, forget it. They’re hard to even walk through, because they can grow so closely together with branches that hang almost to the ground.” I’ve often wondered on these things when watching someone flee through the woods in movies. There is a lot to worry about, even walking through the woods.
  6. “The campus you spent four years on thirty years ago makes very little contribution to the job you’re going to do. Here’s what matters: The way you approach your work.” I like this way of thinking.
  7. “Spring’s garden.” I can’t wait to get to my garden this year.
  8. “Have you ever wondered why Black History Month is in February? You’ve heard it (or maybe even said it) “Why it’s gotta be the shortest month of the year tho?” Yea, that was you. It was me too. Before we get into that, let’s start from the beginning.” Interesting.
  9. “Wouldn’t it be great if we all knew how to live and love without needing to be told how? But looking around, it begins to seem as if we have lost that knack.  Instead, we have coaches, psychologists, psychiatrists, mentors, therapists… and look back with almost romantic nostalgia upon simpler times, when the world wasn’t mad and we did not need professional help.” I value the advice I receive from those older. I know it has becomes less so to others though and that is sad.
  10. “Before I wrote fiction and blogged, I was a translator, teacher and teacher trainer, with students ranging from 3 – 80+. I learned if a child learns young enough to appreciate different points of view through reading stories, the habit ebbs and flows but is never quite lost, with huge repercussions for how their lives develop.” It is a wonder that we can remember stories we read as children better than books of the adult years.
  11. “This is NOT a Nice Lady Blog.”
  12. “I thought it would be interesting to share some commentary about the beginning of The Bow of Destiny now that the book has been out for a while, sold well and the next book should be released in just a few months. The Bow of Destiny has a curious beginning for many people that’s at once perplexing, confusing and intriguing. This effect is done on purpose and I’ll share a bit about it now.” Interesting.
  13. has become a therapeutic tool for me. I have also learned that exposing my struggles releases me from the bondage of emotional baggage I’ve been carrying around unnecessarily. Writing sort of feels like a wonder drug, but the side effect of it is freedom from ill feelings and connecting with others who inspire to encourage.” I experience this myself.
  14. “When I discover a beautiful picture, I very often catch myself standing there, sunken into the sight and just enjoying. And then, I realize, very slowly, that I picture some of my characters interacting right at this wonderful place.” I use pics for the same purpose.
  15. “All of us are unique, and have our ‘trademark’ looks and catchphrases. And, as a dedicated crime fiction fan, you know all of your fictional sleuths’ trademarks, don’t you? Or do you? Take this handy quiz and find out. Match each question with the correct answer, and see how well you do. “ Quizzes, anyone?
  16. The two most common types of stock photo licenses you’ll see are Royalty-Free(RF) and Rights Managed (RM).
  17. “This week Paul Andrussposted the myths and some of the facts surrounding the short lived reign of Anne Boleyn, allegedly just  1000 days. That was definitely not the time to catch the eye of the king as you were very likely to lose your head over him.” Tragic.



I write YA as Traci Kenworth. I also write romance as Loleta Abi.

30 thoughts on “Writing Links…1/29/18

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