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Writing Links 2/5/18


Writing Links…2/5/18

Traci Kenworth



  1. “1.) I finished reading over Red Hood! I’ve assessed all of the changes that need to be made and over the next two months, I’ll start implementing them!” Great accomplishment! I finished TGW this past week and started focusing on my historical romance until edits come back on MF.
  2. “For some reason, fire gets put with bad guys, short-fused anti-heroes, monsters, and other destructive characters more than heroes.  Well, it shouldn’t be too surprising.  Unlike the other elements, the most basic visual of fire involves heat and burning.  You imagine a match and the stick is being turned black.  A lighter doesn’t have that, but you’re setting something aflame.  Dropping dirt or some water on something won’t always destroy, but igniting it will.  When we think of fire, we imagine fireballs, infernos, burns, and wide swaths of land smoking with no living thing left.  At least in terms of fiction.  Yet, there are ways to have fire-based characters use their abilities for more than offense and combat in general.” Interesting. I have a fire character in the manuscript I have out, but alas a villain.
  3. of Nytefallis very much about Clyde because he was the first character I came up with and the adventure is based around him.  He is a vampiric thief whose execution by the Followers of the Sun is interrupted by the Great Cataclysm.  This event is when all all of the magic of Windemere went berserk and the entire world changed.” Evolution of a new character. 


Romance/Women’s Fiction:

  1. “Writers are taught early on that one of the most important aspects of fiction—any genre of fiction—is conflict. When a romance writer needs to increase the conflict in a story, a (seemingly) good way to do that is to add a third party vying for the affections of the hero or heroine.” I’ve written them and taken them out again, lol.
  2. “Regardless of genre, Pinch Points are a crucial element of storytelling. It’s at the Pinch Points where the hero encounters the antagonist force and learns what s/he’s up against. In crime fiction, this usually involves a murderer. In romance, a Pinch Point could show “the other woman,” the chick who thinks she can steal the hero’s man.” I like this explanation of things.
  3. “You don’t have to start out with a huge advertising campaign. If you’re early in your career, that might not even be an option. In my case, I had to borrow money to publish my first book. Advertising was out of the question. My first goal was for my book to pay for itself. Then I wanted it to pay for the next book in the series. I continued upping my goal until I could finally afford an ad. (And eventually become a full-time author.) But I’m not going to discuss ads here. I’m here to talk about how I got people to read my books.” She’s got a lot of good tips here.



  1. “I recently spoke to a writer friend who has been to the school of hard knocks. She’s written excellent work and been rejected ample times. She’s a number of years in the industry, and still waiting for “her time.” But that’s the difference in her and so many. . .she’s waiting. It was the case for me. It took 8 years and all my beginning writing peers being multi-published, before I landed a traditional contract and a successful novel.” I’ve found myself in this position as well.
  2. first thing that comes to mind? Books are selling and are a profitable source of revenue! Otherwise none of these e-commerce giants would invest in them. That is great news.

Second, these major companies are unwilling to cede market dominance to Amazon. Competition is a good thing for consumers.

Third, this means more opportunities for ebooks and audiobooks to be sold.

Fourth, audio is a common thread in all these moves.” Audio looks to be becoming a major market for writers.

  1. “Writers have been writing about writing since writers started pondering about perhaps someday maybe writing.” One would think there’s nothing else to say about writing but there always is.




  1. “In the winter of 1469-70, despite an apparent rapprochement with the king, Warwick was contemplating open rebellion. Apart from capitulation, it was his only option: he must replace Edward IV with his own son in law, George, Duke of Clarence.” Part 4 of whether Warwick was the kingmaker.
  2. “Unfortunately, although this is the age of the indie author with almost unlimited publishing opportunities, it is also the age of volcanic overproduction of unedited books. Whatever the merits of one’s thoughtfully-conceived, lovingly-written and carefully-edited novel, securing readers for it within this mountainous glut is daunting. Illusions of Magichas earned positive editorial reviews, yet its readership is sparse. What the digital revolution has not changed is that powerhouse publishers are still able to sink millions supporting their selections along the road to massive readership and recognition.” Is it harder to bring into the Indie market with the glut of books?
  3. before I met my mother-in-law-to-be, I wrote her. It was shortly before Mother’s Day in 1977. I’d been dating her son for a couple of months. When I bought the Mother’s Day cards for my mother and grandmothers in early May, I picked up a “To Someone Special” Mother’s Day card, wrote her a note, and mailed it. I wanted to thank her for raising such a nice son.” A nice gesture.



  1. Anyone want to look into the history?
  3. have a trailer and short feature article, ahead of the Netflix release of The Ritual, in mid-February

The New York Times explore the truth behind the new horror movie, Winchester, starring Helen Mirren

Inverse Entertainment talks The Cured, the new zombie movie with a difference

The BFI pay tribute to Ingmar Bergman as a pioneer of folk horror

Birth, Movies, Death takes a look at Get Out‘s chances of winning an Oscar, in light of previous awarded horror films




  1. “I’ve always had major ‘aha’ moments for my middle grade novels. The idea hits and follows me around, insisting I pay attention. It feels so magical! But I never really thought about attacking a new MG from another angle until I was given a simple interview to fill out at a writing intensive. I felt like I was throwing random things together to create a character, but after writing for so long, I automatically found ways to weave possible issues into the character.” I’ve tried writing MG but so far haven’t been successful. I thought the short word count might fit me since I tend to write lean but not so far. 
  2. “The book invites readers along on a journey of exploration to two very different but similarly extreme environments—outer space and the deep ocean. Through fascinating text, interviews with experts, and hands-on activities, Astronaut-Aquanautchallenges young people to think about limitations on human explorers and how technology strives to overcome them.” Interesting.
  3. “If you’re looking for a good MG mystery, look no further than Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s first two novels. The characters are smart, and savvy and the plots are unique page-turners. Never mind that the reader is also learning about art history which Laura studied at Harvard and Cambridge Universities. I asked Laura about her skillful art of writing.”
  4. “My favorite quote on writing was said by Shannon Hale, who said that a first draft is just putting sand into a bucket so that later you can make castles. A blank page is the most terrifying thing. There are so many directions a story can go! So many places to veer off the path! Giving yourself permission to write a messy, imperfect draft is the kindest, most helpful thing you can do for yourself.” This is my biggest thing: the blank page.
  6. “When I saw Charli’s prompt for this week it reminded me of an event from my past when I was climbing up the slope of a cliff that dropped down to the sea at a remote beach in Cape Town. I was quite a naughty girl and my parents had their hands full with my three younger sisters so I had a lot of freedom to run wild and explore and get into mischief. I never told my Mother this story as I thought she might put an end to my adventuring.” So creative!



  1. “Are there forces beyond our control that impact our daily life? A strange thing happened to me due to an angry, spiteful moon. Sounds crazy, I know, but bear with me.” Hmm, what do you think? I have heard of the lunar cycle causing bizarre behavior in animals and people.
  2. “Perhaps the most important decision for a fantasy writer is figuring out how to introduce the book’s fantastical world. One popular strategy is to start the novel in the ordinary world, and then have the characters discover some kind of portal to the fantasy world. “ I usually begin the opposite, starting in the fantasy world and ending in the real world if the two are joined in the story.
  3. “If you have any storage space at all, my guess is that you use it. Most of us tend to accumulate all kinds of things for various reasons. You may have sentimental reasons for keeping something, or you may keep things because you think they’re beautiful. Or because they may come in handy someday and you never know. Or it may be a question of books, in which case there is no question. Books deserve good homes.” This is true. Sometimes I give my characters things they collect that show a piece of their personality.
  4. “If the author is going for the kind of characters featured in GONE GIRL – as seen through the eyes of a failed and bitter marriage of a husband and wife where both of them look guilty – then the voice attempted in this opener would pose a challenge to a reader who might like to relate to a main character. It’s a fine line to have an arrogant character still be likeable enough that a reader might want to eventually root for him. Finding the right balance in a character like that takes a deft hand.” Getting the reader to identify with a prickly character.
  5. though crime writers know that their readers expect something awful to happen, they still want to draw those readers in. Sometimes, they do this by building the tension right from the beginning. It’s a bit like storm clouds gathering and building up the suspense that happens just before a major downpour. Authors have different ways of doing this, but no matter what way the author chooses, it can build suspense and get the reader turning and swiping pages.” The dark and stormy night.
  6. Promoting others.


Short Stories/Anthologies/Novella:

  1. knows that men distrust women in any profession. But when the men from Wells Fargo need a photograph of the man who tried to rob their stage coach, Roz becomes their only choice.

                  She agrees to photograph the prisoner, but only on her terms—and her terms prove unique, indeed.”

  1. “He pulled his legs in under him, sitting cross-legged on the stained concrete floor. He started straightening his socks.

Jane sat up, sliding a little away from him—not too far or too fast. She didn’t want him to get the wrong idea.”

  1. Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 23 — Spores “Falling, falling until you finally feel the fathomless descent is normal — at least normal for you.  It’s dark.  A glimmer of light had make you think the dark would be banished.  Yet the blackness remains.  Darker than dark, you neither see nor hear another soul.  Alone.  The fall will surely kill you, but at least you know what kind of death awaits.  Landing… Landing lends new lethal longings and worries.”
  2. “The blog tour ended some time ago. THE HAT is still selling in some degree. I did have a blank day, but only one. That seems to be the way of all my releases. They spike as my friends spread the word, then drop off. Still, those seventeenpositive reviews might help me out a bit.” I have a number of project in various stages at the moment too. It feels good.
  3. “I have fallen so far,”
  4. “Hey there all you beat reporters and gumshoes. We’ve got an interesting case here today. This is Lisa Burton Radio, and I’m your host Lisa the robot girl. What happens when a carnival stripper misses her last show, is found murdered in her trailer, and local sentiment is to brush it all off?” A urgent interview.




  1. “The food bank has recommitted”
  2. Princess still writes
    (and here is the key…)
    Nobody knows of her secret but me”
  3. a psychological and physical chess game they will play,

Mind games, to get Inside an opponent’s head Is a goal.”

  1. “Plays peekaboo with the sun”
  2. “Preseason starts up,” Bring on the football!
  3. When I hold a book
  4. Time is perishable, it cannot be saved.
  5. “I believe there are moments which are more or less predestinated to be perfect moments. But for some decisions, the perfect moment only comes when you decide it to be that very moment. Or you will wait forever.”




  1. “Traditional publishing can teach us something about this—their biggest draw, the card they wave at authors, is their massive distribution system.” Going wide does seem like a good option especially with the recent deal between WalMart and Kobo.
  2. “Famous authors who have written with dictation include diverse creatives John Milton (Paradise Lost), Dan Brown, Henry James, Barbara Cartland and Winston Churchill. When Terry Pratchett, fantasy author of the Discworld series, developed Alzheimer’s Disease, he found he couldn’t write anymore, so he moved to dictation in his final years.”
  3. Some nice covers this month! Particularly like J.F. Penn’s.
  4. “Steven is the President of which provides self-publishing services and book distribution for independent authors. Today we’re talking about the survey that BookBaby did on the habits of top-earning indie authors and a whole lot more.” He advises it’s all about the pre-sale.
  5. “They feature the best products and services that would make perfect gifts for a specific audience. Journalists who might never consider writing a story about you might be happy to feature your book in their gift guide.” Sounds promising.
  6. “For all our well-laid plans to write x words or for y hours every day, sometimes real life throws us something unexpected that sends our best intentions and established habits awry.” Writing gets me through so much. I hope to keep my journal up even if I’m not able to write, just to get things down. It’s where I spring-board ideas.
  7. “I released Digital 2in September 2014 and it was maybe 60% new content, but the changes were largely superficial in the sense that it was an updating of the text rather than any kind of re-imagining. I decided early on that Digital 3 would be more revolution than evolution. As I detailed in this interview with Forbes earlier this week, a lot has changed in the last few years.” Update.
  8. “The idea came to us back in March, when we took an Amtrak train from Chicago to New Orleans with fellow authorsJoanna Penn (J.F. Penn) and Lindsay Buroker. Once in New Orleans, we spent a week collaboratively writing a novella, American Demon Hunters: Sacrifice. By the time the week was up, we’d completed the entire first draft.” Sounds interesting.



  1. some extent, it’s a surface belief we take for granted. But it’s not true. Simply readingfiction is one thing. But reading it well is a learned skill that requires some amount of experience and even dedication from the reader.

This is important for writers to understand—for two reasons:” Classics are not something I seek out, but I’m going to give it another go. I need to challenge myself some.

  1. “If people judge books by their covers, then typesetting is the difference between a brief or a lasting impression. The cover may grab a reader’s eye, but what the reader sees when they crack open the book is what will hold their attention.” Do you do your typesetting yourself or hire a pro? Opinions on either?
  2. “A dead police officer won’t render aid and won’t stop the shooter from killing anyone else. So, the shooter must first be stopped, and then, only when the scene is secure, will the officer come back and render aid. The military teaches this as well. I might be dead by then, but at least no one else will have died as a result of the shooter.” This is a grim way of things, but I understand the need for this.
  3. is a business, and—SURPRISE—so is being an author. By definition, anyone who decides to go pro is automatically an author business. ‘Business’ is what separates the hobbyists, dabblers, amateurs and wanna-be’s from true professionals.” The problem I think, with thinking of yourself as a business is you might fake things just to get others to like you and therefore, your books. I do want to eventually sell my books but what you get on this blog is me. I am human. I have down days, but I also have wonderful days and I have a drive to succeed. I don’t want to lose myself in becoming someone I’m not.
  4. “Alas, your opinion is not the most important at this point in your publishing cycle. You need third-party confirmation to attract readers. You need (positive) independent assessment to convince readers to spend money and time—money AND time.” This is why I try and do reviews. I know it helps the author/s out.
  5. “Without that plot (and the conflict at the core of it) there’s no book. Great ideas can make great books, but only if that idea includes a character with a problem that must be solved, or they will suffer the consequences of that failure.” So true. Character with a problem. A must.
  6. “As each new translation came out, I created a Facebook page for each language, with the exception of German. I was advised not to create a German page because translations are so much tougher and could give the wrong impression with any errors. And that was the last thing I wanted to do!” Have you done any translations? Has it been difficult?
  7. “Note from Jane: Dorcas’s book is addressed to the partners or spouses of those who are undertaking an entrepreneurial lifestyle—such as authors! I’m excerpting it here because I’m meeting more and more writers who are drawing their loved ones into their business life, whether by necessity or choice. This specific excerpt is drawn from the book chapter “Getting Involved—Or Not.” Has anyone done this? I’ve heard of Kristine Kathyrn Rusch’s and Dean Wesley Smith’s ability to work together, so I know it can be a positive thing.
  8. “Your memoir obviously needs to start somewhere and end somewhere, and since you’re not writing an autobiography with the purpose of detailing your entire life, you need to spend time thinking about the time frame.” Not sure where I’d start.
  9. “Of all the pieces of backstory we should understand as authors, none are more important than our protagonist’s Emotional Wound.” This gives the character a lie to believe about himself. I.E. Harry Potter believed he was a nobody. Good for nothing. And look what he overcame.
  10. “Taxidermists are trained in the art of animal preservation, restoring a variety of animals to a lifelike state, drawing out their original beauty and strength. Taxidermists often have specialties, which may include pets, fish, reptiles, birds, small animals, or large game. They may have a small shop where they handle pets and local wildlife, or may focus more on animal trophies (either in an area where many hunter frequent, or as more of a commercial operation that deals in exotic animals).” This is an unusual occupation. I can see it being a useful one though in some instances.
  11. “Today on Story Empire it’s time for another fun Friday Fiction Prompt. As you know, on the first Friday of every month, we will be posting a Prompt. This can be a video, picture, word, phrase or anything else we want to use. Anyone can take part or not (including us).” I used to do these with YAFF but we’ve fallen out of the habit.
  12. “Great stories that endure for generations are not the result of whim, accident or even a lot of ‘rising and grinding.’ There’s an end vision, a planning phase, and a way to make sure all the parts come together to create what was originally imagined (or perhaps something that surpassed all hope).” This is why I started outlining stuff. Of course, outlines don’t work for everyone.
  13. “One of the things on the common list of writing “nevers” is starting a scene with someone waking up—especially if it’s the opening scene. At first glance it doesn’t seem like it should be so taboo. After all, it’s a clear start to a day or a situation, and it gives both readers and writers a leaping off point for the story.” I’ve used them before but normally you want to start as close to the action as possible. So if someone’s say about to be fired, show them at work answering a summons to their boss’s office.
  14. did an article on life lessons from Groundhog Day that inspired me. The movie isn’t just about reliving your days on an endless loop of sameness, it is also chock-full of writing lessons.” Very good advice!




  1. “In the time an average single manuscript goes from query to agent, and agent to publisher contract, I’ve released three books, won the top honor in a state level competition, gotten a significant jumpstart on building a readership and experienced a wild ride through publishing that feels equivalent to a bachelors degree.” This sounds pretty promising to me.
  2. “So I spoke with retail insiders, Prime customers, Amazon critics and Amazon itself to try to figure out what makes Prime worth it — or not. To my surprise, I found some people, including me, might not be saving much money with Prime anymore.” I’m considering if my membership is worth the raise. Still undecided.
  3. “This morning I sat down with my notebook and my tea, and noticed this sign on their wall. I thought it a lovely way to begin the day (and the year).” This is a pretty saying.
  4. “There is no difference between blacks and those whose skin color is otherwise. This was never brought home more clearly than through researching for a book I wanted to write about African American genealogy. There is no “race.” There are only people from the same human family whose ancestors stayed near or below the equator or went north to colder climates. The differences between ethnic groups are mostly cultural. Yes, there are some biologic variations, much like an oak tree growing in the Arizona desert is different than one growing along the California coastline.  There is no “us” and “them.” There is only “us,” and “we” are “all” in big trouble if “we” don’t understand that.” I agree. I love the song by Mandisa and another, “We all Bleed the Same.”
  5. “MEDITATE on YOUR QUESTIONS” Message this week.
  6. “Consider this a meeting of Overwriters Anonymous. My name is Rick, and I used to write overelaborate sentences. Clever and musical they were; there was just too much of them. Frankly, my dependence on brilliant phrasing destroyed my relationship with my early novels, and we haven’t seen each other in decades. The words just got in the way of the meaning after a while, exhilarating though they could be.” I used to be like this but now I’ve gone the opposite way where I write less. Way less. That can be a problem too.
  7. “You can now order printed proofs from KDP. This is a vital step toward ensuring that your book is ready to publish.

You can similarly order author copies from KDP. This makes it viable to stock your book in local stores and libraries, and creates marketing opportunities like advance review copies, paperback preorders (through Amazon Advantage), press release packages, paperback giveaways, and book signings.

UK and Europe authors should be particularly excited, as KDP introduced a new feature that you can’t get at CreateSpace: author copies and proofs printed and shipped from Europe.” This is a great turn of things!

  1. Question Yecheilyah posted: ” When Def Jam started they had a small office with three desks, two phones, and no air conditioning. The point is that you can’t be afraid to start from the bottom. If you can see the vision through to the end, there are no limits to where you can go. D” This is something I hope for in my own current situation. I’m not starting with much, but I hope I have a lot to offer.
  2. “As regards my shorter work, after a disaster which I can’t remember if I told you all about, where I not only lost everything on my computer but the back-up exploded too, (not literally) I have managed to not only find everything I lost but also some I’d forgotten I even had. (Shakes his head!) Accordingly, some have been sent out on submission and others I’ve stashed.” I’ve had this happen more often than I care. Now I email my stories to myself every time I update them.
  3. “Y’all ever wrong? Ever make mistakes? Are you the kind of person who refuses to admit error, or are you like me, all, “Oh you’re right, my apologies!” I make mistakes all the time!
  4. “She lost my ball. Traumatised, I was. The special ball… the only ball. Well, okay, I may have a couple of dozen more, but this one is the ball. And it wasn’t my fault, whatever she says. It wasn’t me who let the hoover monster out of its lair. Well… I wouldn’t, would I? Ever.” I love these stories. So cute!
  5. ““Hastra, you think you see, but you don’t see this. You never have.”
  6. “At the same time as I was writing my weekly letters home to my parents, I was also writing articles on various events that took place or about places we visited. I wrote this piece about the dreaded driving test that we had to take to enable us to buy a car and get insured. We both had full licences from the UK but had to give this up and obtain a Texas licence… This was 35 years ago so both the test and some of the then rules of the road are likely to have been changed. One of these was a written test which was not introduced into the UK until some years later.” They had just stopped doing the parallel parking when I got my license and I got points deducted for signaling a left time too early. There were two intersections we were approaching, and I thought she meant the first one, lol. There’s still a deputy registrar though and computer testing now.
  7. “This week the dilemma faced by all writers who have packed off their latest book which is doing the rounds of Beta readers or agents, editors and find themselves wondering if this is to be taken as a holiday or should they in fact get straight on with the next project.” I’m going through this right now. I’ve decided to focus on book 2 until my first beta gets it back to me soon. Then I’ll revise and send out to my next beta. I asked her to wait to do a final round for me. I’ve already had the manuscript through cps. 
  8. “Shhh!


Everyone has them.

Every book must have at least one because secrets are the jet-powered engine that propels fiction forward. Ever notice how many blurbs in the daily BookBub email include the word secret?” Very true.







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

30 thoughts on “Writing Links 2/5/18

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