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

Writing Links 2/12/18

castle, fantasy
castle on a cliff

Writing Links…2/12/18

Traci Kenworth



  1. “I LOVE The Vikings, on the History Channel. I’ve always been pleased how the writers have tried to stick to historical truths. Ellen Lloyd, from has uncovered some new information. Enjoy.” Interesting.
  2. “Like fire and wind, the offensive capabilities typically take the form of blasts and waves with the additional of whirlpools if the opportunity arises.  Water users are at a bigger hindrance than the others because they won’t always be around a great amount of their element.” Things to consider.
  3. “These are books that are similar to your books. Proposals often require this to get a sense of your story and they’re also helpful in queries and pitches.” Have you tried this?


Romance/Women’s Fiction:

  1. “Blog tours should allow readers to see how original you are as a writer. Having different subjects for each post can help. If you have 10-12 posts, each with an identical title, it’s a bit boring. Change it up by using new titles on each site.” I’ve noticed that some of you switch out your titles with each blog you visit. Smart!
  2. “My ability to concentrate has been diminished by multi-tasking!” I try and do my writing portion as early in the day as I can. If that fails, I do it as soon as whatever came up is finished and I go through what I’ve got scheduled for myself, even if I have time to only devote two paragraphs to that story that day, it’s forward momentum and keeps you from feeling like a failure. The next day, pick up your schedule and put more time in. This is what works for me.
  3. Check-in!



  1. “Yes, a self-published book can be re-released by a major publisher. It happens a little more often than the blue moon, but it is not the norm. I’ve represented a few projects which were originally self-published. The topic, the content, the quality, the author, and the sales all contribute to its viability.” If only once in a blue moon, someone gets accepted by an agent and then the publisher, this is a discouraging post.
  2. “On the very day I was stuck in a scene, Alicia talked about inhabiting the prose, and how to make your prose sound like your character rather than just flat, unemotional words. She gave us a free-writing exercise to do, and the exercise (adapted from Les Edgerton’s Finding Your Voice) helped me to connect the emotion of the character and scene to the physical action I wanted that character to perform.” This looks like a good exercise.
  3. “Your book cover is seen by more potential readers than any other piece in your marketing portfolio. The cover conveys: the tone of your book, the intended audience, and your book’s subject. For fiction, it should communicate the genre and the time-period, and appeal to the audience most likely to be fans.” Discussing with your agent your cover and back copy makes sense.



  1. “I am writing this from the trenches  in a fairly good dug-out, full at the moment with slumbering forms and they make a fine orchestra.” Letters.
  2. “In this final examination of this mystery, I do not aim to prove, what the image of Alfgyva and the priest represents. That is, it would be impossible, because there is no evidence to draw on – at all – that is irrefutably connected to the scene.” A mystery put to rest?
  3. “During the regency era, there were three particular luxury drinks: tea, coffee and chocolate. They were in high demand, but expensive to acquire and, in the case of chocolate, difficult to make. Now of course luxury drinks needed accessories to go with them, just like our iphones need fancy cases—gotta show off the bling, right?” Which luxury would you choose? 



  1. “(my weekly podcast which had over 200,000 downloads in 2017) is holding its second annual 24-hour live streaming telethon to raise money for Scares That Care, a 501C(3) charity that helps children with cancer, women with breast cancer, and burn victims. STC is a completely volunteer organization. None of our staff and no one on the Board of Directors draws a salary. The money goes directly to the families in need.” I think this is a fabulous idea.
  2. “In this podcast Scott Nicolay interviews Daniel Braum, author of The Night Marchers and Other Strange Talesand The Wish Mechanics. Plus Anya Martinprovides an update on The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird
  3. “n this podcast Laird Barron talks about his forthcoming novelBlood Standard, the connection between horror and crime fiction, violence in horror, and much more.”



  1. “This was the book I had to write. A good friend disappeared two weeks before we graduated from high school. He stopped by a barbecue and I talked to him. He said he was going for a run down by the river and then he’d be back, but he never made it back. He was one of the only African-Canadians living in our mill town in Northern British Columbia, and right away, a lot of us suspected a hate crime. We searched for him for days through the woods in the pouring rain, but we didn’t find him. At that time, I started talking to him in my head, telling him what we were doing, hoping he’d send me a mental message so I could find him. This is why I wrote This Is Not A Love Letter as an account Jessie tells Chris, entirely in her head. I wanted the reader to be in the moment-to-moment experience of the search for Chris, but also in the intimate world of their relationship, so the reader could feel their love for each other. “ Sounds like a powerful book!
  2. “Today, I am so excited to present a very special guest post by my agency sis, Gloria Chao. Her book AMERICAN PANDA (Simon Pulse) was released yesterday amid a lot of well-deserved excitement. Her book follows 17-year-old Mei, a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate. It’s one of my faves and if you don’t already have your own copy, use the links below to get one ASAP.” Her story is inspirational!
  3. “Fast forward thirty-plus years. Nonfiction has changed. It’s fun. It’s fresh. It tells a story. Kids who “don’t like” nonfiction might not even know they’re reading it (kind of like giving a child something healthy to eat and they don’t notice!) So now we have kids reading these books for pleasure.” This is amazing!
  4. “Authors Shelly Brown and Chad Morris have a new middle-grade novel out called MUSTACHES FOR MADDIEand we got the 4-1-1 from Shelly! (Four questions we ask every author, one Mafia’s choice, and one photo.)” Interview.
  5. “I’m now in my second semester of grad school, where I’m getting my MFA in Writing for Children, and life is good. Ridiculously busy—especially when I’m on deadline like right now—but good. To think that this time last year I was agonizing over whether moving 800 miles on my own to get a degree I didn’t necessarily needwas a good idea—and boy, am I glad I went for it because it’s been an excellent idea. The best decision I’ve ever made, to be honest.” Sometimes risk is good.
  6. “The “backlist.” It sounds like a scary place, doesn’t it? It’s really not! A backlist title just means a published book has been on the shelves for more than six months (while a frontlist title is actively in the promotion).” So the backlist isn’t a bad place to be.
  7. “It’s funny; every time someone asks me this, it changes because advice that seems so useful at one moment in the journey becomes pointless at another. So I think the best advice I could possibly give another writer is simply to figure out who you are and put thaton the page. Anyone can write a vampire book or a dystopian, but no one can write your story but you.” It’s true. No two authors end up with the same stories. No matter if they have the same things in the story.
  8. “What’s it like to go on submission when traditionally publishing? What does going on submission even mean? Today I’m talking about this very important part of the traditional publishing process.” 


Bonus: Interview with YA Horror author of The Ravenous, Amy Lukavics.


Mystery/Thrillers/ Suspense:

  1. “Dialogue is a powerful tool, to be used sparingly…it is to the writer what the veto is to the President…if you overuse it, people will resent you for it.” This is something I’m going to have to look at my own stories about. Do you use too much dialogue?
  2. “The pressure comes when the writer who wants to make good dough at this thing (even a living) realizes that the only “formula” (and lottery-type luck is nota formula) is to keep producing quality work at a steady pace.

Notice that word, steady. I believe this is the key to avoiding writer burnout. Every writer has a sweet spot where production meets life and stays on its side of the fence. We call this a quota.” I’ve been sticking to my five days, two books, finished one, short story and marketing material. It’s been working well and I’m pretty happy in the progress.

  1. “I originally got the idea for this book back in the misty Before Times of 2013 or thereabouts, when the world was slightly simpler. Colours back then were brighter. Birdsong was louder. People went about their business without worrying if they and everyone they loved were under imminent risk of re-enacting Sarah Connor’s dream sequence from T2 because a demented elderly version of Veruca Salt had thrown a spitball at the wrong world leader’s head.” Five things.
  2. “The first book takes a leadership role. It sets the tone and stage, establishing setting and the characters who will become family and friends for the reader. It’s sparkly and new, often with a lot of fanfare to accompany its launch. The last book gets attention for wrapping up plot threads and­—hopefully­— leaves readers oohing and aahing over a satisfying conclusion.” I like the middle books. They seem to flow easier.
  3. “Per the author: “The Battle of Culloden in 1745 was the last pitched battle to be fought on British soil. The defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Army by government forces was followed by the Highland Clearances and a brutal clamping down on Scots culture and way of life, an attempt to ensure no uprising could happen again.” I remember reading about this battle in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Brutal.
  4. “What I noticed is that I didn’t read much and I didn’t write much, either. It seems the two are connected. At least, they were for me this week.” I find this true of myself as well, when I don’t read, I don’t write much. Since I’ve increased my reading, my writing has increased as well. Links.



Short Stories/Anthologies/Novella:

  1. “I’m still not getting anything done. That stresses me out, but life comes up sometimes and we have to deal with it.” Trouble with pet and sickness.
  2. “Sarah was completely enchanted by the altar boys.”
  3. “Behind the words agony…”
  4. “Simplicity.
  5. “Last week I posted a short story called “Do You Want Me to Leave You Alone While You Cry?” I wrote this story in exactly 85 minutes, longhand, with a cheap penusing up just a smidge more than five pages in a cheap spiral notebook, and taking another 55 minutes to type it up and post it to Fantasy Author’s Handbook. I changed a few things in the typing/edit phase—the cot was a couch in the first draft, for instance—and changed the title from “Boyfriends Provided,” but what you saw last week was a grand total of 140 minutes of my life—two hours and twenty minutes from zero to posted.” For short stories and poetry, I do the same. No real planning, other than an idea. I just write whatever comes to mind as long as it follows the story. There’s a certain freedom in writing like this.
  6. “Today was one of those days. It all started in the middle of the night when Frankie, our bulldog, decided to be sick. About two weeks ago, she decided to swallow a piece of a toy. I know the risks, and this is serious stuff. There is a watching phase, but there can also be an emergency phase. She’s been her normal crazy self this whole time, until last night.” So sad.



  1. “The leader stood out” I think this is what we all look for in our leaders. Sadly, a lot of them fail to live up to what they say.
  2. “Let me put you out of your misery. It is not poetry because, although it has rhythm, there is no poetic impulse. It is not what a poem looks like that matters. It is the emotion it stirs.” I dabble in poetry but I have to be in the mood to write it whereas my stories, I can write whether inspired or not.
  3. “A star walks alone”
  4. inner is foundation of the outer”
  5. “If I tell you a secret, can you keep it?”
  6. “Unlocking new doors.”
  7. labyrinthine”
  8. eyes tell me things”



  1. “As I’ve been blogging on the topic of Self-Publishing, I’ve had the privilege of rubbing digital shoulders with a few editors and I thought it would be helpful for self-publishers to read a little bit from an editor’s perspective.” I can see short stories being a big thing in the future. That’s why I’m trying to write some. I started with short stories a long time ago.
  2. “If you publish in a genre or category where readers expect fresh and new book cover designs, it pays to know what the design trends are at any time. Like other forms of fashion, styles in illustration, typography, and visual approach change from time to time, and just by looking at recent covers you can see that the designs tend to replicate across the genre, with many similar covers every season.” Interesting. It seems the 70s and 80s are back in books too.
  3. “The aim of an author-entrepreneur is to balance craft with commerce, making a living while creatively fulfilled. In today’s show, I discuss how creators can earn a living with Nathan Barry, who moved from non-fiction author to software developer, focusing on email marketing for online entrepreneurs – people like you and me!” Do you pay for an email marketing program? Does it work?
  4. “So I begrudgingly opened a Twitter account. And like a lot of people I made mistakes. But now listen to what I am about to tell you: Twitter is forgiving. For example, you can change your username on Twitter as many times as you’d like but you can’t on other social media platforms. It’s just one of the many reasons I love Twitter.” I like Twitter better than other social media sites. I interact more on there than any other. FB is more family stuff, Twitter is friends.
  5. “Authors can make enough money to make a living in a variety of ways. Here are some of the most common business modelsemployed by successful author businesses.
  6. Single-Minded Model: Write Fast, Publish Often” Ways in which Indie authors can make more money. I know some authors do very well with these.

Bonus: Why Authors need to switch to more personal branding.

  1. “Writing in a series helps you write faster, satisfy more readers and make more money as an author – whether you write fiction or non-fiction.In this video and article, I’ll go into detail on why writing a series will make you more money as a writer.” Binge is in. 
  2. “Here’s How Digital Self-Publishing Has Changed Over The Last 3 Years” Indie news.
  3. “Well, there are two very good reasons: first, you get a nice rankings bump on those page reads; second, and very important, there’s very little overlap between KU subscribers and regular customers who buy books on Amazon. Think about it – why would you buy a book when you can borrow it at no extra cost? Having your book on KU is very unlikely to lose you any actual sales – on the contrary, it’s all gravy, in the form of extra exposure, reviews, and a modest royalty from the page reads.” Do you consider it worth it to list with KDP and KU? 




  1. “Here’s the thing though: your “audience” only matters when it comes time to market the book. That whole write-a-dossier-of-your-ideal-reader thing? That’s a copywritingtrick—an advertising technique.” I’ve often struggled with this. I know that I want readers who like my type of genre but actually picturing the ideal reader? It’s hard to do. Weiland suggests “you” are the reader. I agree with her. You write the book for you then market it to others like you.
  2. “As writers, we all know wordiness is something to avoid: never say in ten words what you can say in four. But while we get that in theory, it’s often hard, in practice, to produce tight writing. We look at the sentences on the page, suspecting they are verbose, but don’t know what to change or to eliminate. Learning that is part of the art and craft of writing, of course, and no one blog post can identify all the secrets. But as a book editor who sees lots of writers make many identical mistakes, I’d like to highlight two common writing flaws that clutter the manuscripts of many aspiring authors. I call these culprits “hedge words” and “inflation words.” Very, usually, and almost are words I need to watch.
  3. “Writers agonize over this (and we should) but it’s difficult to know when to stop. How do you know if your writing is good enough? Is there a litmus test you can give your novel?

Kind of, though it’s not one-size-fits-all, so I’m going to supply you with a template to make a test of your own.” This is something I learned from a craft book. Taking stories apart to see how they fit together. I haven’t done anything more recent yet, but I need to.

  1. “Our ability to invest emotionally in the given scene, to care about these people, depends on our being supplied with at least some of that context. Otherwise we’re left with a couple of indeterminate conjugal status bickering in a vacuum owing largely to the husband’s unspecified mental condition.

What information to supply, and when to supply it: It’s a question not of plot, but of structure.” When dealing with an accident or injury of some kind, it’s best to show it instead of starting later in the story.

  1. “There is so much publishing and marketing advice for debut authors since they don’t know much—if anything—about the process on their first go round. But for most authors—particularly novelists whose work is not necessarily attached to specific moment in time—book marketing is a long game that involves building an audience and a brand over the course of many books.” Advice on what to do in your next book launch.
  2. “Need to tone and tighten the middle of your WIP?
  3. “Have a saggy, lackluster character that needs work?

Feel like junking your half-finished, used-to-sparkle story?


Today I have a simple tip for you to brighten your character and/or your plot.

Go another way.” I’ve seen this work in stories. I’ll have to remember this.

  1. “While talent and a willingness to work hard are essential for a professional writer, the #1 requirement is courage to face the world of publishing.” I have to agree with this. I struggle everyday with the same fears as other authors: am I good enough, will I last, can I be successful?
  2. “I’ve been thinking lately about something that Angela and I touch on in all of our books: The Mirror of Real Life. It’s this idea that something in our stories is like a mirror for readers that reflects back to them something of themselves. When we portray the character as this mirror, it draws readers in and encourages empathy because they recognize a commonality with the character.” This is how it’s supposed to be: a character reflecting who they are through their journey and possibly teaching us something about ourselves or others.
  3. “Since a query is short and tight, any inherent flaws in your writing are magnified. Prone to passive voice? Odds are it’ll show in the query. Use a lot of cliches? There are probably some in that pitch paragraph. Could your manuscript use some tightening? Yep, that’ll show, too.” Wow. I didn’t realize how much it could show. Kind of scary.
  4. “I don’t like having to throw out 20,000 bad words I wrote in a hurry when I could slow down and make sure what I’m putting down is the best I can do. I simply don’t write well at a breakneck speed, so instead I write at the more measured pace that works for me.” This is why I’m a slow writer. The story has to reveal itself to me. Although, admittedly, I go back over and over to add in details as I go along. I only do this during the second and on draft though. The first, I just basically try and get the story idea down. I hope I didn’t confuse anyone with that. Listen, find what works for YOU, that’s always going to be the best. You can learn what works for others and hone your skills but only if it falls into place with your own methods.
  5. “Speaking with so many writers and authors gives me a unique perspective that I’m grateful for and humbled by. I want to share with you some lessons I learned through trial, error, and pain as an aspiring writer.” I like that he leaves the older posts up that show his growth, goodness knows we all go through such.
  6. “That “LOOK INSIDE” freebie is your most important book sales tool.

Make sure it’s going to snag readers, not kill book sales just as you’re about to close the deal.” Because I tend to review, I try and give the book a while, but I know others aren’t as willing to. Here’s some tips on what to do to get others to get past that first look.

  1. “But back in the day, Dean and I were unusual. We did not post our numbers anywhere, and got rafts of shit for it. When we wrote our business blogs, new indie writers were looking at our Amazon sales ranks on one or two of our books (out of the hundreds we published through our company WMG), and decided that we weren’t making money on our writing. At all. That made it easier for those writers to dismiss our advice, even when—on that level, at least—our advice remained consistent. Go wide, sell subsidiary rights, have multiple income streams, and so on. (On other things, our advice did not remain consistent; it changed as the marketplace changed.)” I still say she has the best business advice out there. I wouldn’t be confident posting numbers out there.
  2. “Funeral directors oversee end-of-life preparations (either to pre-plan a funeral, or after death) and will have a variety of responsibilities including body pick-up, preparing legal documentation, working with surviving family members to arrange for funeral services (the burial and cremations arrangements, casket and flower arrangement options, music and slideshow options, attending to the obituary and creating pamphlets for the service, transportation, etc.).” Occupation.







  1. “How many drafts does a novel need? Some are ready for an editor by the second or third draft. Others – like mine – are assembled in slow layers of revisions, a process of discovery.” This goes back to what I was saying in Writerly Things this week. I rewrite and rewrite the same books over and over. I’ve broken that habit so far with my current projects, but I haven’t revised one and I’m in the early stages on the other. I’m not sure how many drafts is good, I need to learn this. And learn to let go.
  2. The Main Thing. I’ve been trying to do this with putting writing first in my day. Although in truth, God and my family come before all else. But this is my new way of thinking, starting the day with writing and then all else falls into place.
  3. “The first two changes simply bring KDP up to speed to make it a viable alternative to CreateSpace and Ingram Spark.

But the last change offers authors in the United Kingdom and continental Europe something.” Exciting news!

  1. “As I’ve often said in the past (“Writers: Stop Romanticizing Rejection. Or, Why I Love Amazon” and “Why Publishers Should Love Amazon’s Indie Revolution,” I love Amazon for opening the gates for us mere mortals to join the hallowed ranks of published authors. It has given many us our first break into publishing and, even though we haven’t quite made it yet, at least it has allowed us to dream of making a living purely through our writing.”
  2. “Explaining what we need and why allows us to engage”
  4. “Generally speaking, I consider myself to be an artistic control freak. Before diving into a painting, I usually gather boatloads of reference, hash out pages of thumbnails, polished sketches and color comps before I ever start on the finished product. This time, I didn’t do any of that. The only draft of this painting is the final one. Which is kind of fitting, I guess, since this issupposed to be Wonderland.” She always has such amazing drawings!
  5. “Sadly there’s no silver bullet book marketing strategy that will secure you success every time. There are some factors to keep in mind that should put you in the ballpark.” Advice.
  6. “I have noticed lately that Facebook has been asking me a lot of questions.  They say they wanted to help people get to know me.  I find that humorous because I totally overshare on Facebook.” Good for her.
  7. “I had to chuckle at the emotions that flitted across my son’s face. He even managed to continue his sentence without a blink, yet the whole internal ‘did she just say that?’ conversation was written in a millisecond across his face.” I totally agree. I try to be myself more and more but often times, there are moments when we must conform to others thoughts of ourselves.
  8. “Wednesday Wander – Rocher De La Vierge, Biarritz
  9. summer, I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Biarritz, located on the French coast. I absolutely loved it – the light, the water, the people, the food – it was just wonderful. I’ve written about it here and here, but for today’s Wander I’m going to go back to the town’s origins as a fishing village, before Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie made it such a fashionable place to be.” I love these visits.
  10. “Sometimes you don’t need to be told what to do. Sometimes you need to experience it in order to know if it works for you or not. What works for you is also not necessarily what will work for others. The only way to win is to try things out for yourself.” Some resources for Indies.
  11. “So after a year when persisting and resisting were the norm — what does this world of fiction look like? Have romance novels evolved given the current social/political climate? The answer to that is yes, but not in a “big boom” kind of way, said Joanne Grant, editorial director of the Harlequin Series.” I think romance stories have always grown from events happening around us.
  12. “I dig those reflections.” She finds such interesting pics.





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

40 thoughts on “Writing Links 2/12/18

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