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

Writing Links…3/26/18


Writing Links…3/26/18

Traci Kenworth



  1. “Have you been experiencing changes in your body and/or behavior that you cannot explain? At times, do you find yourself in the throes of anxiety or depression that seemed to have no trigger? Or do you, like me, feel a sense of urgency – a sense of running out of time – and a longing to go home, but have no idea where home is? If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of these, you might be experiencing symptoms of Ascension.” Interesting.
  2. “Within Clyde’s gang is a smaller group that calls themselves the ‘Vengeance Hounds’.  I can’t go into too many details because the members will be getting their profiles posted throughout April.  No sense in spoiling their moments.  Yet, I can talk about how they operate as a ‘mini-gang’ and demonstrate how layered vampire society can be.” Interesting.


Romance/Women’s Fiction:

  1. “There’s no magic formula for writing a fabulous book. But there areformulas that offer guidelines for constructing a satisfying plot. Scriptwriters have long used the three act structure handed down from theater, with additional “turning points” as guidelines indicating when to include high and low moments and surprises.” I’ve used the three-act structure that Harry Potter followed. I’ve also used more complex structures. I find what works for one story doesn’t always work for another. Sometimes you need more, sometimes less.



  1. “I know, I know, all the “experts,” the platform gurus and those making the ‘six figure’ incomes, tell you to think big. “Get your book on the New York Times’ best sellers list,” “get endorsements from celebrities,” “get on the top TV programs.”  It seems they are saying that if you don’t have a platform of millions you have no value as a writer/speaker/minister.”
  2. “A message platform is the core message or approach which permeates everything you do. No one is good at everything, so you focus on themes and a style or approach which make you unique.” I think I’m good at helping others find other blogs and books. I also hope that my fiction will draw my target audiences of YA and romance readers to it when that time comes.
  3. “A recent article in The Guardiannoted that readers in the general market have been turning away from doom and gloom books with disturbing, disheartening, and downright depressing themes and endings. After decades of bestseller lists peppered with psychological thrillers, we’re seeing a trend, the writer of the article said, toward Up Lit.” I always try and lend hope in my stories but there are times when the story just doesn’t end that way.



  1. “I have your letters of 21st and 24th March and am glad to see you are all keeping so well, considering the severe weather. I note you are putting in some strenuous work on the garden and would like to pop over and see how you are carrying on. [I believe his family was farming in Alberta at the time.] More letters from the lines WWII.
  2. “As I sat down to lunch today to write this post, a lovely lady offered to trade tables with me to accommodate the large book on castles I’d brought along to read—and she said she had read it, too. Castles are indeed a source of awe and inspiration, a draw for people everywhere. Perhaps you have visited many, stayed overnight in a time-share castle, or married in a castle courtyard. Or like some of us, castles are too far from home, and the best you can do is to read a book on the topic.” As you’ve read on here, my dream to explore castles one day. As it is, I watch youtube videos on them.



  1. “Nick Mamatas is the author of a number of novels: Move Under Ground, Under My Roof, Sensation, The Damned Highway (with Brian Keene), Bullettime, Love Is the Law, The Last Weekend, and I Am Providence, three collections; 3000MPH In Every Direction At Once and You Might Sleep…, The Nickronomicon; and the novella Northern Gothic. He is also the editor of the anthologies The Urban Bizarre, Phantom #0, Spicy Slipstream Stories (with Jay Lake), and Haunted Legends (with Ellen Datlow). As part of his day job, he co-edited the Locus Award nominee The Future Is Japanese (with Masumi Washington), Phantasm Japan (with Masumi Washington), Hanzai Japan (with Masumi Washington), and Mixed Up (with Molly Tanzer).”
  2. podcast
  3. “Winter is being a bit stubborn here on the east coast. Reports of blizzards, colder than normal temps means many of us would rather stay inside. What better way to spend it than with a cup of hot chocolate, a great book, and a companion. Here’s my favorite reading companion:” I have at least two on some occasions, sometimes only one. Highly recommend The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto. If you love Shirley Jackson’s haunted houses, you’ll enjoy Michelle’s. And there’s a sequel!



  1. “Writing this book was difficult for me. I was working on the first draft when the ARCs for BLOOD ROSE REBELLION went out into the world–and that vulnerability, the realization that I’d just invited strangers into the most private workings of my mind and heart, stirred up all of my anxiety issues. I doubted myself; I started anti-anxiety meds and began talking to a therapist I’d see on and off for most of my debut year. Writing under that self-doubt was excruciating at times, but it added a layer of depth to the story. This is a book where Anna begins to doubt herself and her place in the world, and my own struggles with self-doubt let me write a character whose doubts felt authentic to me. Even one of my CPs commented on that–how my own anxiety had led to a richer character. Writing this book taught me that it was possible to write through times of personal crisis, and that those same crises can actually add depth and empathy to a story.” Some things I struggle with as well.
  2. “This was the first book I wrote under contract, so the experience taught me I could write on a deadline! It was a new kind of pressure—having to be creative under the clock—but it pushed me to trust my instincts and not give up.”
  3. “Joe thought it was important for contestants to know you don’t have to win an agent to be a success. The motivation to improve your book to make it good enough to enter a contest can be what makes the experience a winner. ~Adele” I think we all have our idea of what success is. I just want to be able to share my stories. To bring some joy and hope to others.
  4. “Last week I got a bit of bad writing-related news. While the news had nothing to do with publishing (so don’t worry!) it didmess up some of my plans which had been in the works for over a year.” Writing the next book is what matters.
  5. Johnsonis the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Great Greene Heist, which was an ALA Notable Children’s Book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2014, and a Texas Library Association Lone Star List selection, and To Catch a Cheat, another Jackson Greene adventure and a Kids’ Indie Next List pick. He lives with his family near Austin, Texas. You can find him on the web at and @varianjohnson.”
  6. “In early February, a small group of SCBWI-MI members traveled to New York for the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference. Attending this large, two-day conference is a special opportunity, and we asked a few of our members to share their experience with us. Read on for brief takeaways from Meline Scheidel, Emily Vander Ark, and Heather Shumaker – all first-time NY conference attendees.”



  1. “Word count guidelines have been trending down in the last decade. Most editors won’t look at a debut manuscript longer than 100K words—a little longer if it’s fantasy or a non-romance historical. They were not so rigid ten years ago.” I guess some of my stories I thought were on the short side could fit right in with 25-80k.
  2. “Damn, the truth can hurt. But truth it is. If I don’t write consistently and spend time imagining, plotting out, and writing at least one book and a story or two every year, I get wound up in my own head and go a little crazy. Also, publishing could very well leave me behind. It happens to professional writers all the time. It’s happened to me. Once you have hold of the train, you have to keep moving to stay caught up.” I try to do this for my cps.
  3. “If you didn’t write, what else would you have done to fill the void? What other forms of self-expression would have taken hold of you? Do you have a secret talent?” I’ve tried other things, I always come back to the stories.
  4. “Trailing refers to the act of following an animal’s tracks across the surface of earth. Like any other skill, mastering the art of trailing takes time and patience. The practice demands that we see challenging tracks, stay connected to the landscape ahead, and recover the trail when we lose it. We also need to listen and watch for natural alarms, study the animal’s behavior we’re following, move quietly, and take the terrain into consideration. Which helps us anticipate where the animal might be and what it’s doing.” This could be useful in more than just crime fiction! I could use it, for instance, in my fantasy worlds to track an animal/human. Bookmarking.
  5. “If you’ve ever been fired, you know how awful an experience that is. Even if you’re made redundant because of cutbacks (and not, say, job performance), it hurts. A lot. And a wise employer doesn’t fire someone on a whim. It’s a very serious step to take.” Never been fired but I’ve been laid off because I could no longer do the job. Once with a high-risk pregnancy and the last time when injured on the job.


Short Stories/Anthologies/Novella:

  1. “This one is going to be a bit different than other Idea Mill visits. I usually save links and try to get three unique stories to post about. Today I have two, and I’m combining them into one concept.” In which some scary ideas beat around the planet.
  2. “Sir Stealthy is Britain’s most remarkable spy,”
  3. “Near the door to the interrogation room, Michael Penrick read the report the police chief gave him.‘Bodies dismembered and scattered around the cave. Investigators discovered a bloody knife in the area. A patrol officer arrested the blood-covered suspect on Gladys Avenue. He offered no resistance when taken into custody. Suspect asked for cigarettes.’
  4. We’re back in the faery land of Thistledown.  It’s great to see you.  With this episode we leave Bob the hummingbird and go back to the point of view of Bedlam Thunder.  We last saw her in the colorless world with some enigmatic folks.  This time, a dire revelation.
  5. ““No Pops is all over the fact that Lisa Barton is interviewing a character from one of his books on Lisa Burton Radio.”



  1. Something we all need to move on from.
  2. beholden glances.



  1. “We partnered with award-winning cover designer Tanja Prokopbecause Tanja is able to design covers in a wide variety of styles that appeal to readers in a variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction.”
  2. “Yes, it’s that time of the year again! Our 24-hour marathon of incredible speakers and content to arm you with the tools you need for successful self-publishing is just a month away!”
  3. all the time and effort you’ve spent perfecting the content of your self-published book, you owe it to yourself to make sure it looks professionally formatted too. Michele De Filippoof ALLi Partner member 1106 Design shares her top tips for making your book look every bit as good as it reads.”
  4. “Because socializing, conversing, and using hashtags are the best ways for you to grow your Instagram account.”
  5. “The number one problem we run into during the vetting process here at Indies Unlimited is a book’s description, also sometimes known as the book sales pitch or the book blurb. Too long, too short, too detailed, too vague, too too too, blah blah blah. What it comes down to is: many authors cannot write a book description on their own.” I look at the book blurbs for other books in my genre. I try and frame my stories like them.
  6. “I’m writing a blog on Pressbooks. It’s going to be three parts. The first part will be on understanding a little bit about using Pressbooks. The second and third parts will be walkthroughs on how to use Pressbooks. There. It’s started.” Interesting.
  7. “When it comes to grammar and the correct way to do things, I worry more about punctuation than anything else when writing.”



  1. “Because the difficult intricacies of the craftaren’t really what scare us witless, are they? The scariest part of writing—the part that never really gets less scary—is the inherent risk of writing our guts out every single day.” She’s right. We need to challenge ourselves with every book we write.
  2. “Tempting though it may be to flout or otherwise challenge the conventions of genre, there’s also a lot to be said for playing by the rules. In the case of this first page, the genre is the regency romance, a subgenre of the romance novel, the conventions of which Margot Livesey outlines for us in The Hidden Machinery,her delightful book of essays on the novelist’s craft:” I’m a genre writer. I like the frame of such.
  3. “Wilder didn’t publish her first book, Little House in the Big Woodsuntil she was 64. During the earlier part of her life, she had taught and farmed and raised a family. She had written a bit on the side for small local publications in her fifties, but it wasn’t until her retirement investments were wiped out in the 1929 stock market crash that she wrote Little House in the Big Woods. The book was published in 1932, and it was the start of a writing career that has resulted in the beloved TV series, spin-off books, and millions of copies sold. Like Frank McCourt, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela’s Asheswas published when McCourt was 66, Wilder is proof that it’s never too late to write a book.” I had no idea that these writers were older when they wrote their first book. I’ve been writing off-and-on since I was twenty but only professionally since 2009. This gives me hope my age is not a problem. I worried that it would be with the younger audiences I wrote for but I think, as I said in a recent tweet, their hearts are bigger than we give them credit for and our age is nothing they’re concerned about unless we don’t treat them with the respect they deserve.
  4. “Since 2012, I’ve written 11 books and published 7 of them as an indie author and I’ve blown expectations for average book sale out of the water. The general expectation is 50-500 book sales over the lifetime of your book. In 2017 alone, I sold 987 books, mostly in face to face encounters. I’ve found two distinct ways to make an incredible living in addition to being a published author, through teaching and appearances.” Interesting.
  5. “I have been seeing a lot of issues around the passage of time in the fiction I have been coaching. It isn’t the contentthat’s the problem. The problem has to do with the way time loops around on itself in an illogical way.” Jumping around in time can be confusing. As advised, keep it in chronological order.
  6. “I was browsing Instagram, as one does, and came upon the above Rupi Kaur poem. It made me weirdly emotional. And, as someone with anxiety, I like to say I’m extra tuned into my emotions—I try to capture them when I feel them and “sort them.” It’s a way for me to process feelings that are important, make sure I’m okay, and then let them go. I’ve been wanting to write this post for weeks, but every time the day approached for me to work on it came, I couldn’t. Not because I was too busy, but because talking about envy is a vulnerable act that confronts dark feelings I am often ashamed to feel.” I think we’ve all done this, as she said, the trick is to find peace in yourself, what you do, your stories. Your stories are yours for a reason. Someone else’s stories belong to them. Be happy with what you have, you never know where it will lead you.
  7. “All stories need an antagonist, but not all stories have a villain. At least not in the literal sense of the word. We’ll see an antagonist one from of the four basic conflict types, but that covers a variety of situations. We’ve discussed the person vs. self antagonists, and person vs. natureconflicts, so today, let’s talk about the person vs. society conflicts.” I’ve been working on a short story that is like this.
  8. “This month I chose an ‘en media res’ beginning. They can be fast-moving and titillating – but they’re not easy! You need to clearly lay out the stakes, and since you don’t have time to flesh out a character, (and make us care about them) at least give us a rough idea of who the characters are, and lay the emotion!” First page critique.
  9. “While some shops require their mechanics to receive post-secondary education and become certified through various programs, not all of them do. Completing these programs does, however, improve one’s chances of being hired and making better money. Educational opportunities can be found at trade schools and community colleges, specialized mechanic schools, and through the military. The apprenticeship or on-the-job training model is also very common in this career field.”



  1. “Freelance writing is a much more difficult career to get your start inthan many other professions. Essentially, you’re starting a business. Your service is your writing, and, like any other business, you have to market, build a positive reputation and grow.” Any freelancer’s out there?
  2. “If you’re concerned about FB or the creator of one of the zillions of Facebook Apps using too much of Facebook’s information about you, following is the best summary PG has found about various Facebook settings you can use to limit access to your personal information.” Anyone worried about this? A lot of different social media wants info about us. How much do you give? Unfortunately, Twitter requires a cellphone. I’m not happy about that.
  3. “I recently discovered Sara’s blog, Rough Diplomacy. Sara is a veteran of Active Duty Air Force and Navy Reserves, plus a Bioinformatics graduate, and her blog reflects her diverse interests. More than anything, however, it highlights how passionate she is about history—and military history in particular. With her permission, I am sharing here some of the wonderful material I have come across as part of my Fun Historical Facts” Wow, this is informative.
  4. “Novels usually draw, to some degree, on personal experiences and historical research,  and memoirs have come a long way since the scandal of James Frey’s personal revelations being more fiction than fact. The blurring of lines between the real world and the imagined has been an interesting process for me during the eleven years I spent writing In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills (April 2018, Central Avenue Publishing).”
  6. “Today, I’m delighted to celebrate the amazingly talented author and illustrator, Bette A. Stevens. If you haven’t already connected with Bette, I really encourage you to do so. She is a gifted writer and most generous soul. ♥” Sounds like a great read.
  7. “I admit, writing a one-sentence pitch is hard and something I’ve yet to completely agree. But I keep working on it. That’s why I was so excited to read this easy explanation of what does and does not work. And why!”
  8. “That’s because it’s incremental. Every time a computer takes over a job we never imagined a computer can do, it happens so gradually that by the time it’s complete, we’re not the slightest bit amazed.”
  9. ““Guys, it was inhuman. He was the biggest, most hideous dog I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not often scared. I’ve been known to run in front of giant eighteen-wheelers on Friday the Thirteenth, have already used up seven of my nine lives, and tussled a few times with old lady Gruber’s nasty little Schnauzer, Peanut. Heck, I once clung desperately to the back-end of the broom of a wart-encrusted, cackling witch at ten thousand feet! This was much worse. When he slowly came towards me, he opened his massive jaws to reveal long, razor-sharp canines. I know, I ingested a little too much catnip last night, but I swear; I saw fluffy, Mrs. McDougal’s cat, who disappeared last week, wedged up in the roof of his mouth. As he came at me, he reached his paws towards me, and he looked just like this – except a whole lot scarier.”
  10. “What was the initial spark for the Rose Shield series—a character, the setting, a what-if question?
    For any of my books, my initial spark is usually something related to a magic system. I’m a fan of fantasy author Brandon Sanderson and enjoy the structure he brings to the magic in his books, including how he integrates his” I’m going through some youtube teachings of Sanderson. Really helpful!
  11. “When and why did you begin writing? I began writing last year. I started writing because I noticed in my profession of owning a bail bonds company, my clients and other people I encountered did not know or understand the law.”
  12. I often throw out my first draft as well. I find that as I second draft a clearer picture of where I want to go begins to emerge.
  13. “By meteorological standards worldwide, we Brits have nothing to complain about – we haven’t suffered the sort of prairie temperatures Laura Ingalls Wilder described in The Long Winter, or the snow  Zhivagotramped through between poignant wife Tonya, lover Lara, Tsarists and Bolsheviks. There was a shortage of winter clothing; some of the partisans went about half dressed. It was decided to kill off all the camp dogs and people with experience as furriers were set to making dog-skin jackets, to be worn with the fur side out…typhus again became endemic at the onset of the cold weather.” A great idea this time of year!
  14. “Let me be clear about something: I love AMS and the best part of my advertising buck goes there nowadays, as AMS offers me the best return on my investment (ROI) of any advertising medium I’ve tried out so far (and, trust me, I’ve tried them all). For every $100 I spend, I make almost $200. So yes, AMS is at the top of my marketing efforts.”
  15. “It is beginning to look an awful lot like spring. There are buds and the first blossoms on the trees. The ground is covered in tiny wildflowers, from coltsfoot and celandine, to speedwell, daisies and violets. From the birds building their nests, to the emergence of insects. No matter what the gardeners think they control, Nature has her own agenda.” I see daffodils poking through, the snow crocuses should be gone soon. I need to plant more flowers!
  16. “The Annual Bloggers Bash returns this May for its fourth year, but the committee don’t run this event just because they fancy a day out in London! Oh no, the Bloggers Bash has grown in size and popularity because of you, the blogging community who attend, engage, and spread the good blogging cheer across the world.”
  17. “Welcome to the Friday update and another full house of talent with new books and recent reviews from authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.”
  18. “Welcome back to Black History Fun Fact Friday. Today, I’d like all of the women readers to thank Beatrice Kenner. Because of her, we can all breathe a little easier. Men, keep reading at your own risk. Or, go and get your wives and daughters, they’ll want to read this!”
  19. “I am a little preoccupied at the moment, what with the upcoming workshop, some outstanding things I need to catch up on and the fact that I’ve been hobbling around like a centenarian. My back decided to get in on an already overcrowded act act by seizing up completely and at the worst possible moment. Not only is it wholly inconvenient, it is new… and the inevitable worry of ‘why’, when I’ve done nothing to provoke it, sort of seeps in under the radar.” I pulled some muscles in my back shoveling a week-and-a-half ago.
  20. “Me. Sometimes I feel pressure to create a Friday post that elicits plenty of smiles and I’m just like, oof, not inspired.” I know I feel that every time I do Writerly Things, lol.
  21. “There are no shortcuts to success in any form of business.”
  23. “The premises behind my books don’t come from any sort of rational intention to deliver a product to a target market of readers. They all arise from some mysterious conjunction of ideas in my brain. Some of them are probably more original than others.”
  24. “Welcome to the latest gardening column with Paul Andruss.. This week Paul is sharing the wonderful varieties and colour of the Primula family.” I’ve never seen these before!
  25. “Wednesday went so well, I thought I’d share another pre-made cover that interested me in my quest to self-publish the first book of my next series. While I have quite a lot of work to do on The Broken Shield Chronicles, it’s fun to consider covers based on my ideas. Since a knight plays a major role in the series, many of the pre-made covers I’m looking at such images that involve knights. It can also be helpful to see knights as I’m developing and writing this new epic fantasy which will likely have some LitRPG elements to it.”


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

38 thoughts on “Writing Links…3/26/18

  1. Traci, another brilliant varied selection giving me (as always) lots of topics to mull over. Thank you for including the Gardening post from Smorgasbord. You are a star. PX

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As always, a big thank you for putting these links together for us, Traci and thanks for including my post as well. You’re very kind and I appreciate you. Have a wonderful rest of the week! ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

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