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 2/19/18

poppy in field

Writing Links…2/19/18

Traci Kenworth



  1. “I know, you’re sick of me talking about the old pulp magazines, apologizing for their endemic sexism and casual racism, and pointing to this great science fiction author, the other groundbreaking fantasy author, and every significant early twentieth century author of horror, mysteries, thrillers, and romances as having sprung from their pages, but hear me out—the great American pulp magazines really arethat great, greater now than they were then, and invaluable lessons can be learned from their pages, their authors, and their legacy.” Do you stay away from authors who have a controversial past?
  2. Adult– Drama with acne and hormones

Historical–  Drama trying to teach you about the past

Fantasy–  Drama caused by a dragon or wizard” I think this just about explains things.

  1. half-blind-hermit/ “Gregorio Roman gets that picture because he’s the oldest of the characters and kind of shows his age.  He’s a gnome who has stayed in his lair doing experiments to the point where his eyes have trouble with candlelight.  There are tinted goggles that he uses, but even those give him a problem.  As you can guess, he isn’t one of the action characters since he isn’t strong, appears frail, and has no interest in getting his hands dirty.  In fact, he’s only one of two characters from the main cast who were never a tabletop RPG character.  So, where did he come from?” Developing characters from games.

Bonus: “I’m joined by Robert to talk about what you can avoid, or “save for later” when it comes to fantasy worldbuilding.”


Romance/Women’s Fiction:

  1. “I won’t deny that it was tough for a while. But once the dust settled, literally (!), it also gave me a chance to take a step back and think about why I write, what I want out of being published and what I want to write.” Determining what you want to write.
  2. “I’m from Alaska, which means every winter I see someone slide into ditch or a snowbank.  Sometimes the snow and ice just win (especially if you aren’t paying attention to conditions or don’t know how to drive in them).  Similarly, there comes a time in every writer’s life when their manuscript goes into the ditch, metaphorically speaking.  Or maybe not every writer’s life and if you’ve never high centered your manuscript on a snowbank, more power to you – but I certainly have.  I just get stuck – and after kicking myself for getting stuck in the first place (which is just as pointless as kicking myself for sliding into that ditch), it’s time to get to work digging myself out.  So how do you do that?” Good advice!
  3. “I write historical romantic fiction and all of my heroes or heroines are members of the same fictional Hansen family out of Arendal, Norway: different generations, different continents, different centuries, all with the same bloodline. In 2015, I had the chance to write a short story for an anthology, but it had to be a contemporary” Interesting.



  1. “But I’m not hunkered down because of a nippy wind-chill. Currently I’m squirreled away because I’m in the middle of edits. It’s the ol’ pedal to the grindstone, nose to the metal time . . . or something like that. Yeah. Editing is veryimportant, and there are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way to help the process go a little easier.” I notice my story doesn’t even look like a story at even the second draft, lol. There’s still more details to put in, more subplots to work out. I’m not sure what draft yet gets my approval, the ninth? Later? I know I go through A LOT before I’m satisfied. Although, satisfied is a relative word. Are we ever truly satisfied with our work?
  2. “I am an extremely eclectic reader and have dozens of books waiting for attention.” I know how that goes. I have SO many books to read still. Right now, I’m reading Blood Moon by John Sedgewick, a story about the Cherokees; The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz; Strange Weather by Joe Hill; a YA anthology; a Createspace how-to by A.C. Flory; My Wish is Your Command; Daughter of Smoke and Bone Laini Taylor, and Fairies: A Hidden History by Paul Andruss. Along with craft books and Christian books.
  3. “If your book is targeted at a niche audience, and it’s on a topic on which you are a recognized expert or you are highly credentialed, then a platform isn’t as much of a concern.”



  1. “In 2017, I asked readers and authors to look under the covers of historical fiction and examine what sets the genre apart and makes it tick. Today, I’ve gathered together various insights that resonate for me.” Details of what works in historical fiction.
  2. “n the past year, while writing my sixth novel set during the Wars of the Roses, I’ve had to confront directly in my research the legend that is Richard III. So much has been written about this king that it is in danger of simply deteriorating into ‘white noise’. Over a period of decades of examining the sources and reading the historians, I am still astonished not only by what is said but also the vehemence with which many assertions are made.” Did Richard kill the princes?
  3. “Writing historical fiction requires both a strong interest in big picture information and an eye for details that convey a sense of time and place. My experience in writing TO THE COPPER COUNTRY—MIHAELA’s JOURNEYwas deeply satisfying on many levels. It’s based on my family history, so learning about my ancestors was fascinating. But I also enjoyed the process. I tell young readers that research can be like a treasure hunt. You’re looking for unknown jewels that can make your story shine.” Some good advice!



  1. “This month I’ll be featuring several women in horror as guest posters in celebration of Women In Horror Month! Today, we have DeAnna Knippling, a prolific, multi-talented Colorado author who also happens to be one of my daughter’s favorite authors and a friend of mine.” I tend to write quiet horror as well.
  3. “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



  1. “So here are my top ten peeves as a creative writing teacher:” Wow. I always thought that teachers sometimes discouraged writers, I didn’t realize it could be the other way around as well.
  2. “Cover design is taking up space in my brain lately.  Partly because our upcoming Louis Kincaid thriller THE DAMAGE DONE (July this year) is in production right now.  But also because I am gearing up for my annual duty as Edgar banquet chair.” Interesting. Millennial Pink.
  3. “With Valentine’s Day upon us, lots of love posts float around the web. Love can be a wonderful emotion; it also borders hatred. I do include relationships in my books. Sometimes my characters have long-standing marriages. Other times the relationship sizzles with newness. I don’t, however, write a lot of sex scenes. Folks are so vulnerable in bed that my inner serial killer yearns for the perfect way to eliminate the lovers. Tender scenes between a loving couple? Absolutely. But I’m a crime writer for cryin’ out loud. In the darkness is where I reign. So, let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day crime writer style.” All in fun.
  4. “Today I’m visiting with Teri Polen at Books and Suchsharing one of my favorite novels in her Friday Reading Corner. Teri is a gifted writer, voracious reader, and fabulously supportive of others. I highly recommend clicking the “follow” button on her blog while you’re there.” Mae shares what she’s reading. And I agree, Teri is worth following!
  5. “When there’s a murder, whether it’s real or fictional, it’s important to establish time of death if possible. Sometimes there are witnesses who can help in that process. But even so, establishing time of death isn’t always as simple as it may seem on the surface.” I had no idea that the murderer could suggest a different time for the murder to have taken place. It would make sense though.
  6. “This quote spoke to me this week because I’m not at my best. I’ve been sick—it’s not a cold, not the flu. But I’m run down. I have a cough and not much of a voice. Consequently, I’ve been moving slower. That means I’m not getting to everything I’d like to get to (and I struggle to do that on good days), and that bugs me. That means (according to the quote) I’m sacrificing my gift.” I think we can all identify with this.



  1. “How do you write a YA kiss scene that’s memorable for all the right reasons? Today I’m talking about some key things to remember while your characters smoosh their faces together.”
  2. “This month’s STEM Tuesday Theme: Wild and Wacky Science has the potential to lead readers in all directions! What a fun Book List the STEM Tuesday Team found for us this month.”
  3. “I particularly love the scene that stretches from chapter 29 all the way through chapter 33. I had fun writing it, but more than that, I had fun watching Nikki take care of business. I felt like those chapters kind of wrote themselves, and they allowed Nikki to show and use everything that she’d learned over the course of this journey.” It’s always great a feeling when they do that.
  4. “One thing that makes Stelena a swoon worthy relationship, and more epic couple than Delena (Damon and Elena) is that Stelena had more substance. From the second Delena got together in Season 4, they just kept hitting the sheets—as if that is a substitute for Damon ever becoming a better person or for a substance to develop in their relationship. That is not to say that sexual content is bad. It isn’t. And it deserves its place in pop culture (including YA pop culture)—but sex does not equal a relationship. So, while Stelena might not have hit the sheets that often when they date, at least they have substantial scenes—like when Stefan reveals to Elena that he’s a vampire (early on in Season 1) because he doesn’t want to lie (despite how he might risk alienating Elena).” I liked Stelena but I got tired of Delena and stopped watching the show.
  5. “I think that children find a series comforting with its familiar characters. Young children definitely like repetition and while the requests to read books over and over again, until you could recite them backwards, does eventually stop, the concept of a book series stays around for much longer.” I read series still but not as often as I used to. If there’s a lot in the series, like beyond a trilogy, I usually don’t read on. Most of the time, because it takes so long between books. If they were available closer together, I probably would do so. Anyone else have trouble with series?
  6. “I’m answering this question because the answer is unusual for me. I normally get an idea for a novel, start into the research immediately, then write it. I’m quick about getting out a first draft — then things slow down for me, since second and third drafts are very difficult for me. Totally, though, I tend to complete a book from start to finish in 2 years or so. With this book, instead, things progressed differently. I had a fellowship from University College Dublin in spring 2012 — so I was in Ireland for several months. While there, I visited prisons where rebels against the British had been kept, many of whom died. I didn’t know much about Irish history, so I picked up books and started reading. And I kept reading. I didn’t realize I was preparing to write a book, I thought I was simply falling in love with Ireland. But in 2015, my editor, Paula Wiseman, asked me if I wanted to write a book about the great potato famine. I was startled. That was the book I’d been preparing to write — how on earth had she recognized it when I hadn’t? So I set to work. A year later we had a draft that was worth editing. So we edited away. And thus was born HUNGER.” An idea can pop up like this for me as well. I forget about something for a while and then all of the sudden, it clicks.
  7. “I’m currently in the middle of revisions for both The Rising Goldand my #ownvoices project, so to say I have revision on the brain is an understatement. I use a couple programs to keep me on target and keep track of my progress, including:” What programs do you use for revisions?
  8. “Congratulations you’ve finished your manuscript and are neck deep in the revision trenches! By now, you are very familiar with your story and it looks great to you, but don’t fall for this trap. No matter how great you are at grammar and spelling, proofreading your own work can still leave you with glaring typos.” Yes, definitely have cps and betas.


Short Stories/Anthologies/Novella:

  1. “That word they used for many, many years which drove him mad. He couldn’t blame them all because he was playing the game. Based on some ancient scientific method the medical profession used to assign babies their gender, he had been assigned incorrectly. Society seemed to go along with that ancient yolk like it couldn’t be wrong somehow. And in consequence many people would be cruel to him if he was honest. So he lied to keep safe.”
  2. “It has always been assumed that I share the fashionable contempt for mime
    Frankly I don’t. Indeed, I’ve worked with them and once they can
    bring themselves to get over the ‘trapped in an invisible box’ routine, they
    can be useful partners. Look at their advantages. Unlike musicians and
    others I could mention, they are, almost by definition, silent. Not only
    that but whilst they can be somewhat distracting at times, compared to the
    lascivious gyrations of some dancers, they are staid and uninteresting.
    Finally they are often so pathetically grateful to get any sort of paying
    work at all, that they can be trusted to follow instructions with almost
    dog-like devotion to the detail.”
  3. “Working together,”
  4. “I planned on writing some new fiction today, but it didn’t quite work out the way we planned. The new range was scheduled to arrive today, and my wife had an appointment for an alignment and service on her car.”
  5. “glacial diamonds”
  6. “She’s come undone”



  1. “Life is like a cup of tea.”
  2. “Ecstasy forgets accountability”
  3. “I have only slipped away.” LOVE this, Vashti, although I wish it were about a happier event. This is how I like to think of death though, the person’s just in the next room, someday we’ll meet again.
  4. “Words that keep the heart pumping”
  5. “According to Google, an internal dialog is that voice inside your head which commentates on everything around you. It is the voice that applies logic and reasoning to situations. I’ve survived eons of repeated attempts at reprogramming my internal dialog with my mentor. She definitely had her work cut out for her when it came to the process of refining me! I am proud to say I now relate more to the characteristics listed by Ditchfield, than a rube. I will always be a work in progress, but proud of the current growth spurts experienced so far!”
  6. “I am the one who decides what to accept in my own life.”
  7. “We never discuss solutions.”
  8. “Let us grow strong roots.”



  1. “However, there are real business reasons for successful indie authors to reach beyond easy-to-produce print on demand paperbacks. For one, there are many kinds of books we can profitably publish ourselves.” The future for Indies?
  2. “There are basically two ways to create a compilation ebook:

Combining the source files

Combining the ebook files”

  1. “Affiliate programs and referrals are an increasingly common way of monetizing your content. A company may ask you to recommend them on your podcast or website using a special link that identifies you. In return, you will receive a percentage of the sales that result from the referral.” This makes me leery of accepting ads on my website.
  2. “One of my proudest moments came early on; the first book I published was number one in its categoryon Amazon three months after it was published, in 2011. Another was a mention in the Wall Street Journal as an up-and-coming indie author.” Wow. She has the next three years plotted out in her head. That’s hard to imagine. I have ideas and I’m even working on bibles for them but I’m never certain which one I’m going with until I decide to go with it.
  3. “A year ago, I had the opportunity to go on a Caribbean cruise with a group of 25 photographers and decided it would be a good research opportunity. I’m not a photographer, but my son is, and he organized the tour. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. And, to make it a “research” trip, all I had to do was write a book using information I picked up on the cruise. I’d already foreshadowed a cruise for Gordon, Mapleton Colorado’s Chief of Police, and Angie, his girlfriend, in Deadly Places, Book Five in my Mapleton series, so it made sense that another Mapleton Mystery would be the book to write.” This would be a great adventure and food for story.
  4. online marketing is the international indie author’s friend, it’s hard to stand out in a sea of thumbnails. Attending events in person can help you connect with other authors and sell some books in the process.” Good ideas.
  5. “In the usual Friday Spot… writer in residence Paul Andruss explores some of the more complex and sometimes chemically enhanced writing styles of the rich and famous.”
  6. “You want the best possible cover for your book.And if you’re self-publishing, you do have to go through this process, because designing your own book cover is a bit of a no-no unless you have some book design chops, which let’s face it, most of us don’t.”




  1. “So many pieces have to come together to create skillful fiction that it’s almost disingenuous to suggest there are only one or two that make or break the story. But turns out: it’s true. And if my marquee-style post title wasn’t enough to give it away, let me spell it out: for a story to work, it must possess… cohesion and resonance.” This is truly a powerful post. K.M. Weiland has a way of looking at prose that rings true. I learn so much from her break-downs of stories.
  2. “Maybe we’re picky, world-weary, or fussy

Because we won’t date any Joe Schmo or hussy.” A poem for singles.

  1. “It’s a common problem. You’re eagerly writing the story of your life from beginning to end when suddenly you get to that jerk you’d love to omit—you know, the ex-spouse from hell, maybe the sibling you haven’t spoken to in decades, or some other diabolical character.” This would be tough for me to do. I know I’ve talked about my ex on here and had to unfortunately include him in my genealogy work of late but yeah, I’d rather avoid going into detail about my past.
  2. “I write contemporary crime novelsand what I like to call alternate future fantasy, and both my series require a great deal of research, though each is quite different in what it demands to make the books seem grounded in a world that is familiar. My crime series focuses on global human rights issues, and so the bulk of my research time is allocated to finding out more about the issues I want to write about. In the past, these have included the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the Bosnian genocide, the detention of political prisoners in Iran, and most recently, the refugee crisis flowing from the war in Syria.” I’ve been using youtube lately for research. There is a wealth of info on there and you can get a unique and knowledgeable source that way.
  3. “Nothing can quite kill a story’s pacing like a big hunk of rambling introspection, except, of course, its cousin, the info dump. The reason for this is that the more time we spend reading a character’s thoughts, the less immediacy the story has, which means the less the audience cares about it. And yet some stories have whole passages of introspection. So, what gives?” Good to know.
  4. “In all works of fiction—and probably nonfiction, too—there are essentially two plots, Plot A and Plot B. With Plot A, a character’s status-quo condition of discontent (H. is lonesome) is challenged when opportunity presents itself (H. meets S.). With Plot B, a character’s status-quo condition of contentment (H. loves his quiet evenings of classical music) meets with an obstacle or irritant (rap DJ moves next door).” Sometimes, it’s hard to believe they boil down to two plots. I guess the layers help make everything unique.
  5. “A personal assistant is required to perform a variety of duties at the whim of their employer, many of which will be industry-specific to the type of work their employer is involved in. For this entry, we will look at an assistant to a celebrity, but personal assistants may also work for politicians, diplomats, CEOs, best-selling authors, entertainment industry executives, fashion designers, royalty, professional sport personalities, leaders and important members of any industry, or any person (and often their family members) who has a great deal of wealth, power, or influence (or all three).” I’ve seen this used effectively in stories.
  6. “Today’s post is advanced content, since we’re going to explore the BBT far more deeply than ever before. I’ve blogged on the BBT before with a simpler explication. But, after 1,200 or so blogs, even I need a good challenge.” Master lesson on the brain behind the story.
  7. “In November, the Scrivener developers released version 3 for Mac, and the version 3 beta for Windows (retail version coming soon). This new version brings the two platforms as close as possible to full feature parity (i.e. with some small exceptions due to differences in Macs and PCs, they’ll have both the same capabilities, finally!).” Interesting.
  8. “Creating a characteris more than choosing a name and making a list of physical details. Who they are and how they act plays a much stronger role in how a novel unfolds than what they look like. There are dozens of ways to develop the inner depths of a character, and one way is by understanding their personality.” Five personality traits to help develop your characters.
  9. “There are any number of plotting methods out there, and my living document on the subject has about seven. In a nutshell, they involve a reluctant hero taking on incredible odds to save the day. There are reasons for all of this, including making the hero relatable, facing incredible odds, and coming out the other side with some version of success and personal growth.” Well said, Craig!
  10. “But fast forward to 2013/14 when I’m retooling my writing career…and by then, covers that had been acceptable in the earliest days of self-pub were looking stale and unprofessional. I took down the old ebooks as I reevaluated the self-publishing business, this time trying to approach it more professionally. I researched and researched. I learned new software. And in 2015 I was finally ready to put out revamped and new works.” Nice to know.
  11. “Having done your due diligence and scoured the internet to learn how to write like this, you’ve learned that the power these stories carry comes from their well-executed themes. It sounds great in theory, but theme is a scary word. To be honest, you’ve started to think that theme is a mystical force that descends upon some novels and passes over others at random.” Broken down.
  12. “This week Kelly and JJ discuss Publishing Relationships, or how connections help the industry move forward. Also, what happens if you get orphaned by your editor, if your agent isn’t interested in representing your project, and more.”
  13. “When the February theme for the Blood-Red Pencil turned out to be Partnerships,
    one collaborative effort popped into my brain from right here in Northern Colorado. Author, writing consultant, and publisher Kerrie Flanagan teamed up with artist and photographer Suzette McIntyre to create and publish three coffee table books.” Partnerships.




  1. “We sell ourselves short when we argue that there’s something magical about creative work, something that can only happen if we’re born to do it.” I believe it’s the story that brings the magic. Tell the one inside you. The one you can’t stop thinking about.
  2. “When I was young, a carnival was a travelling funfair or a parade. Today ‘Carnival’and ‘Mardi Gras’ are used in the UK for organised street festivals like the Manchester Mardi Gras and the Notting Hill Carnival – both in August. The above illustrate how word meanings change over time.” History of the Spring Equinox, Passover, and Easter.
  3. “This week’s 3 runes spread reads from right to left: Thurisaz, Raido, and Sowelu. I selected the Rune Stones on February 12, 2018, for this week’s guidance.” Interesting.
  4. “Right now, there are millions of products available to purchase online. Despite never seeing the product or knowing the specific seller, you can make a well-informed decision before buying just by reading the experiences of other people who already purchased them. Academic evidence agrees. Studies show that reviews matter for customer decision making.

But not all reviews are created equal. Some are thorough and provide details on a specific product feature, while others are vague and unintelligible gibberish. Research shows users put a higher value on well-written reviews. Websites like Amazon take this into account by letting you rate whether a review is helpful or not.

Reading through so many reviews ourselves got us thinking, is the quality of writing (spelling, grammar, etc.) markedly different between positive and negative reviews?” I wouldn’t pay attention to reviews written poorly.

  1. “Listen deeper.” A good thing to do.
  2. “physical characteristics.” I’m trying to get away from this is my own writing.
  3. “I use Buffer(a post scheduling app) frequently and recently came across a post on their blog by Ash Read with Facebook tips and tricks. Upon reading, I realized several of these had practical applications to our book marketing efforts. Here are my top 5 tips:” Has anyone tried any of these?
  4. “What is the one thing that you have to do every morning?” I said coffee but truthfully, every morning, I have to feed the cats.
  5. “Quite why he thinks that someone who left school at sixteen should be omniscient, I do not know, though it tickles me that my son should apparently, and mistakenly, think it is so. I recall a time, not so very long ago, when, in common with most youngsters, he believed I knew nothing about anything (apart from baking and helping with school homework).  Parents don’t, do they? Not in the eyes of teenagers. Parents are behind the times, out of touch and so old they are almost obsolete.” I sometimes feel I don’t know much, but other times, I’m surprised at how much I do know, lol.
  6. “Welcome to a treat straight from the kitchens of Dolly Aizenmanalong with the history behind the recipe. As we anticipate a royal wedding in the UK in the spring perhaps I should forward this to the parties concerned. Details of Dolly’s recently released cook book later.” I think royal weddings are fascinating. I remember Princess Diana’s and Charles’s wedding when I was little.
  7. “This is what I do now, apparently. Recaps. Heh. Maybe it’ll be different when …  oh, who the fuck knows.” Ah, crazy life. Mine too, sometimes.
  8. “Imagine if you couldn’t write. How would that make you feel? Happy? Relieved? Neutral? A lot of people want to write books. I get ideas thrown at me all the time from others wanting me to write “their story.” I won’t do that. Why? Because it’s their story. And not everyone has a book in them. It’s nice to think we can just sit down at the computer and write a bestseller. I’m sure a lot of people have that dream. Here’s the key to writing: you have to write. Not dream about it. Not scratch notes off on a post-it and think someday. You have to do I know it’s not easy sitting in that chair day-after-day. I know others you know are out having fun, going places. Writing is a solitary occupation.” Guest post.
  9. “Hello, and welcome to my Spotlight Author Guest posts where you can meet independently published authors and sample some of their work. My inspiration was to give independent authors another place where they could connect with readers.” What a great idea!
  10. “I’ve learned that caring about what other people think of me is an unnecessary burden that I do not have to carry. People will see you how they want to see you. If they think you are a bad person they will only see bad. If they think you are a good person, they will only see good (no matter how deep they have to search for the light.) You can let people walk all over you and there are still some who will say that you are not flat enough. So, you may as well be authentically and unapologetically you because, in the words of Najawa Zebian, “those mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.” I so agree.
  11. “Even though there really isn’t anything completely new, I try to be original in my writing. I want a world that’s a bit different from the norm, at least in some respects, but that readers can relate to.” I can identify.





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

32 thoughts on “Writing Links 2/19/18

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