Seven Links 7/20/19 Traci Kenworth


Seven Links…7/20/19

Traci Kenworth


1. “The other day I did an incomprehensible, dreadful, noxious, scandalous thing—something so shocking to the conscience that it threatens the gossamer social fabric that tenuously binds us together as a people and a nation.

I left the house without my phone.

I know, I know! But hear me, please.” I keep notebooks handy for my thoughts, ideas, etc.

2. ““Oh! The sample bottles for my skincare line are here!” she said breathlessly on our weekly Skype call, holding up the clear plastic containers for me to check out while smiling broadly.

I couldn’t help laughing along, her enthusiasm infectious.

“Let’s talk about the chapters!” she continued, pulling out a notebook, pen poised expectantly over the paper, waiting for me to begin.

If this had been the CEO of a successful cosmetics company, it all would’ve been par for the course in the world of ghostwriting and editing. But the fact of the matter was that my client, who was currently writing her first novel, was a 16-year-old high school junior. And in addition to the novel we were currently working on, she was also developing her own beauty brand, scheduled to launch in 2020. Welcome to today’s teen overachiever.”


4. “A new writer on had come up with a great story idea. But this person could not decide how to start their story. They reached out for help.

Thanks to my roughly 3+ years of writing experience, I’m now at a point where I can provide useful tips to newbies (apparently, lol).

I started with a suggestion for the opening scene, then ended with the following advice, which could benefit any new writer.”

5. “Hello everyone, I thought today I would share an article on creating fantasy characters. I love reading and writing fantasy. It literally will let my mind go to this creation of fantastic times, people, and creatures.

I’ve written one fantasy book, Princess Adele’s Dragon, which is a medieval adventure story, but I couldn’t count how many books I’ve read in the fantasy category. I love to read those three to five book series that continue to lead you down those wild and wonderful paths. I have to admit I have read all of Harry Potter and the Outlander series which are far more than three to five books.

You have thought of a subject for a new fantasy book. The first thing you have to do is ask yourself if your protagonist is better suited to a series or a stand-alone novel. In Princess Adele’s Dragon, I have two protagonists, Princess Adele, and Prince Anthony. This book could very easily be made into a series because of the storyline I used. The main conflict is resolved but other conflicts have been brought up that can be carried forward.”

6. “Remember my last post, entitled Why Waiting is Difficult? Well, I’m happy to report that my wait is over!!! And now, I can share my good news.

In May, Globe Pequot (Rowman & Littlefield) reached out to me about writing a true crime novel about female serial killers of New England who were active prior to 1950.

Some of you may have read the story on my blog, so I won’t bore you by repeating all the details here. Suffice it to say, Pretty Evil, New England: Female Serial Killer’s of the Region’s Past is anticipated to hit stores Fall 2020. Yay!!!” What a wonderful opportunity!

7. “Remember the media principle of “if it bleeds it leads,” which means bad news or salacious headlines are designed to grab our attention. When authors are constantly barraged by bad news, it can be demotivating at the very least.

I’m sure sales for your book could be better. I’m with you. Instead, you might consider the number that have sold. If it is only 100 copies, put all 100 people in a room and stand in front of them and discuss the ideas your book presents and how those ideas have changed their lives.

The prophet Jeremiah toiled for 40 years and had only one convert (his secretary Baruch). His words were burned by the King, piece by piece as they were read (Jeremiah 36:20-27). Not once did he see any change in the people of Judah. But his words were not wasted.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “Authors are in a frequent state of change. In today’s world, we must flow and shift and sometimes do some fancy footwork as the season demands.

Flow. Shift. Dancing. That sounds a lot like change. Change is scary. Don’t worry, stick with me. We’ll get through this together.

How do we know if the change we’re making is the right change? Or if it’s the right time for a change? How about the how of making a decision we can be certain of?

My kids are still young, so we watch a lot of Daniel Tiger. One of the biggest things the show impresses on children is if something is scary or if they don’t understand or are unsure of something, they should talk about it.

We’re not children. But we still deal with scary unknowns and uncertain outcomes.

So, let’s talk about it.”

2. “I once read a comment from a reader/viewer criticizing me for telling writers they shouldn’t quit.

In the context of the thing they were leaving a comment on, it really wasn’t appropriate. When someone’s message is meant to inspire or encourage members of an audience to or not to do something, if you don’t agree, you can just … you know … click away.

But in general, the comment made total sense. If a writer wants to quit, they should be allowed to quit. Some people walk away from their creative outlets and that’s completely their choice. I would never judge anyone for saying they don’t want to write anymore. You do you, friends. The way I look at it, if writing no longer makes you happy, setting it aside might be the best decision for you personally. Do what’s best for you.”

3. “I have spent the majority of my time on this blog writing about writing, so I thought I would address the most fundamental and most important part of this experience with books: reading.

I have been reading my entire life; in fact, I cannot remember a time when I did not read. And reading has informed my life in many ways, not only in terms of career but also in the joys of life itself.

I read books, I teach them, and I write about them, but mostly, I enjoy them. I remember my mother telling me when I was very little that you can go many places that you might not ever have a chance to visit, real and made up, if you read. And I have visited and continue to journey to real and fantastic lands.”


5. “I recently saw an ad for the Freewrite, a “distraction-free” portable word processor–that is, one with no Internet capability. I immediately recognized it as something inspired by the old Alphasmart Neo, but hipsterized a bit with an e-ink screen and a bit morte of a Dieter Rams styling. I knew about the Neo because my friend Kent Peterson collects writing devices of all types, from fountain pens to typewriters to vintage word processors to actual contemporary computers, and he feels particularly drawn to the minimalist ethos of the Neo. Not to mention that they are available used for less than twenty bucks online sometimes”

6. “Terri over at secndwindleisure blog has creatures and critters as her Sunday stills theme. This is the link:

I know its Monday peeps, but I am sharing a few of my fondant creatures and critters in the manner of the White Rabbit

[from Alice in Wonderland]

7. “Here we are at the Natural Gardener again. If you recall I did part one and then took a Fourth of July parade break. There are a lot of photos but few words. (Thank you, John) I hope you enjoy the stroll.”

Some Things More Serious:


2. “There was a fleeting conversation that got me thinking again on something I have pondered over for a long time. There are lots of ghost stories flitting about, wafting their sheets for our delight, some making us shiver even more as they approach the reality with which we are more familiar. Somewhere in the back of our minds lurks that question… ‘What would I do if I saw a ghost?’

There is, perhaps, an even better question. Who says you haven’t? How would you know? Unless they adapt their appearance to our preconceptions, how can you be sure that the person you pass in the street is real?

We don’t even know what a ghost is. Everyone seems to have an opinion. Are they the shades of the departed? Undispersed etheric energy, some form of earth energy? Optical illusion or a vision of the soul? Phantom memories of past events imprinted on the ether? Figments of our imagination, created from within our own minds somehow? Or just plain bunkum. There seems to be a general consensus that they are something…”

3. “This might be short because nothing really happened beyond work and puzzles.  By the time I get home, I’m exhausted.  This week started the pool trips, but we had one rained out.  There was also a trip to an amusement park.  Geez, I’m having a lot of trouble being coherent and thinking clearly.  Good thing I’m not trying to write any stories this summer like I’d planned.  The puzzles are keeping my brain active and helping me relax from a busy day, but the heat and sun are brutal.

Okay, I think I’m ending this post fairly early.  On the trip yesterday, I was one of the people waiting with the kids who didn’t want to go on the rides.  Not much shade in some of the areas.  I didn’t bring my water jug either because it’s kind of clunky to carry around and I didn’t know if I’d be going on rides until I got to work.  So, I didn’t get much water and I realized that I’d reached a point where I couldn’t sweat.  Hydrated as best as I could, but I came home to find that the freezer wasn’t working right and we lost all of our ice.  My seltzers and the water bottles are kept in a room that gets really warm.  So, I tried my best to gradually hydrate myself, but I was also dead on my feet.  This morning I have a heavy head and my coordination is off.  You have no idea how many typos I’ve done here and I kept dropping puzzle pieces last night.  Looking at them now, my hands are still shaking a bit.  This is the father/son outing day too, but I should be able to relax tomorrow since my parents might take my son to the pool.”

4. “Late one afternoon in April 2015, I found myself standing on the side of a desolate airport runway in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, looking west toward an overcast sky. Next to me stood a group of NASA employees, all of them scanning the same gray clouds. There wasn’t much small talk. As the temperatures dipped below freezing, we blew on our hands and kept our eyes fixed on the horizon. “We’re running late,” Luci Crittenden, a NASA flight operations engineer, finally declared. She looked down at her watch, then stomped her feet to keep off the chill.

Not long after, we heard a dull roar in the distance. And soon enough, we could see it coming—a stout-bellied U.S. Army C-130, trailing a plume of black exhaust. “Uh-oh, I think it’s on fire,” a woman standing next to me, Caitlin Barnes, remarked. I knew this was a joke—sort of. When the aircraft landed a few minutes later, the problem as far as I could tell wasn’t an overheated engine, but old age. The plane taxied down the runaway, made a quick hairpin turn, and came to a vibrating halt in front of us, its rotating propellers making a thunderous racket. If a dozen rusted rivets had popped off the fuselage, or if a wheel from the landing gear had rolled off, I would not have been surprised. The machine looked positively ancient.”

5. “wo and a half years ago, feeling existentially adrift about the future of the planet, I sent a letter to Wendell Berry, hoping he might have answers. Berry has published more than eighty books of poetry, fiction, essays, and criticism, but he’s perhaps best known for “The Unsettling of America,” a book-length polemic, from 1977, which argues that responsible, small-scale agriculture is essential to the preservation of the land and the culture. The book felt radical in its day; to a contemporary reader, it is almost absurdly prescient. Berry, who is now eighty-four, does not own a computer or a cell phone, and his landline is not connected to an answering machine. We corresponded by mail for a year, and in November, 2018, he invited me to visit him at his farmhouse, in Port Royal, a small community in Henry County, Kentucky, with a population of less than a hundred.”

6. “ifespan, a maker of fitness equipment, claims that a treadmill desk will boost my creativity. The company’s website, where I can purchase its basic model for $1,099, features an inspirational quote from Nietzsche: “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Researchers agree on the connection between an acute mind and legs in motion. Studies have shown that we do better on tests of memory and attention during or after exercise. Studies have also shown that a walker’s mental meandering is unusually conducive to innovation. “Above all, do not lose your desire to walk,” Søren Kierkegaard advised, and I’m hardly the only writer who has heeded the call, putting one foot before the other in search of fresh insights and breakthroughs in knotty arguments.”

7. “We all know the cliches of dystopian fiction by now: Plucky kids fleeing violence are torn away from their parents, taken to a government facility where they’re sorted and imprisoned, forced to live like animals. They’re put under guard. The older ones try to soften the blow for the younger ones, bouncing squalling babies in their arms, whispering to the 6-year-olds that everything will be okay, though no one believes it. Their clothes reek. They can’t bathe. Cruelty seems to be the only point, except that somewhere, there are cartoon oligarchs making money off the whole scheme while families despair.

So, knowing these cliches, how have we slid into dystopia ourselves?”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. “That bill had come in last week. The electricity looked in doubt after Felix was laid off when the company closed down. His mother was severely disabled. His father had went ‘in search of himself’ when Felix was four. It was down to him to provide and give his mother the comfortable life she ensured he had.”





6. “I have noticed over the years that young ladies who are brought up with a litter of older brothers tend to exhibit certain masculine traits. Prominent among them are a casual attitude to mindless violence and the ability to rapidly come up with a scathing riposte when they feel they are being mocked.
Girls with younger brothers rarely gain these mannerisms. They tend to exhibit gravitas, elegance, and associate with adults rather than their brawling siblings. Similarly if there are two or more sisters, they can combine to crush their male siblings with words of lofty contempt. It is the girl on her own with nothing but older brothers whose bearing and behaviour are changed.”


Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “About the book

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.”

2. “As premises go, this one’s got me hooked immediately. An alternate Ireland where all teenagers eventually receive The Call – which means they are transported to the Grey Land, the fairy realm if you like. Except the fairies there are bloodthirsty, horrible creatures, who hunt the humans down, torture them, turn them into strange creatures, and generally have a good laugh at their suffering. So yeah, that premise reminded me a lot of how I felt when I first heard about The Hunger Games and Battle Royale. Now all that was left to do for this book was stick the execution.”

3. “I’m currently working on an as-yet-untitled novel about a retired couple who rescue two undocumented minors from the Arizona desert.  They attempt to reunite the boys with their undocumented father, who lives in Maryland.  An excerpt follows below.”

4. “I would like to say that when I heard what Garamie was planning, I knew it
wasn’t going to end well. Unfortunately I must confess that at the time I
thought he had come up with an excellent strategy given his obvious
limitations. Garamie wanted to be a savant. He wanted to be looked up to and
respected for his knowledge. Unfortunately he didn’t want to dedicate a
lifetime to study, so he could reap the benefits of his status as a
well-respected scholar in his old age. He wanted the benefits now. I could
see the source of his confusion. Garamie was quite well off. He’d been
through the University here in Port Naain, but like many students he
appeared to have left more muddled and less accomplished than when he
arrived. What university had taught him was that the road to proper
scholarship is hard.”

5. “Book reviews will resume next week as I have been wanting to do this post for ages and the idea won’t leave me alone.

This might sound crazy but these ten inspiring fictional ladies gave me an extra boost when I was busy changing my life. Seriously, while my life was in turmoil earlier this year I got some much needed inner strength from these fabulous book heroines.

Yes, I know they are fictional people and I understand if some of you are casting a worried glance or two my way. Maybe a few of you are thinking something along the lines of this fabulous quote…”

6. “The Stranger (1942) by Albert Camus is a great portrait of a person who feels life has no meaning.

Set in Algeria, we meet the protagonist Monsieur Meursault who is a difficult character to work out – and not in a good way. When the novel opens, he has just lost his mother who has been in a home and he doesn’t feel any grief for her. He doesn’t cry at the funeral which I didn’t take too seriously as different people have different ways of expressing their emotions but in a general way he is very cold and indifferent about his mother’s death. If he didn’t get on with her, ok but he seemed to have a good enough relationship with her, if not a close one. With the relationship they had, you would expect him to feel something. Instead he isn’t sure exactly what day she died and he’s telling his boss that it couldn’t be helped.”

7. Hancock is staying in her adopted hometown of Pine Hills, Ohio, for Christmas this year–and she even has a whole week off from her combination bookstore-cafe. But a killer is about to dampen her spirits . . .

Unfortunately, Krissy’s been roped into filling in for a sick elf in the local holiday musical extravaganza. With a demanding director, backstage gossip, and two men in fierce competition for the starring role, it isn’t all sweetness and Christmas lights. Then a murder puts a stop to the production, and Krissy is faced with a pageant of suspects.

Could her ex-boyfriend, a fellow elf, really be the culprit as the police are claiming? Or will the actor playing Santa be trading his red suit for an orange jumpsuit? When her behind-the-scenes investigation starts getting dangerous, the only thing Krissy really wants is to make it to Christmas dinner alive. But first she’ll have to finish wrapping up this case . . .

11 thoughts on “Seven Links 7/20/19 Traci Kenworth

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