Posted in blogs, Craft, MG & YA

Seven Links 10/12/19 Traci Kenworth


Seven Links 10/12/19

Traci Kenworth


1. “This talk is going to be partly at least about children’s literature, or so it says in the program. I should say at the outset that I’m not going to treat the subject in an academic way, even if I could; I find it hard to think about anything for very long, or at all deeply, unless I can get some practical grasp of it. My qualifications for saying anything about books that children read are strictly limited to the fact that I write them. So these reflections are those of someone who makes up stories and thinks about how he does it, rather than those of a scholar who has studied the subject from an academic point of view.

I thought I should begin by trying to say what children’s literature is; but that’s not as easy as it seems. We think we know what it is—there are books about it, you can be a professor of it—but it still seems to me rather a slippery term. It’s not quite like any other category of literature.

For example, if we go into a large bookshop we find many different ways of dividing up the stock. We find books separated by genre, for example horror, crime, science fiction; but children’s books—children’s literature—isn’t a genre in that sense.

However, we also find shelves labelled women’s literature, black literature, gay and lesbian literature. Is children’s literature like that?”

2. “A few years back, I met with an author during a conference to listen to a pitch. Based on the short introduction to the manuscript, I had a few words of advice on how the author could change up the project to make it more relevant for the market. The suggested changes were not big, and I was just trying to be helpful. The author did not take this feedback well and told me that if I didn’t like the book it was okay because it was out with other agents anyway.

I do believe that sometimes one agent is just not the right person to represent a project, but to reject constructive feedback from a publishing professional is not a good move. As an author, you want to be a sponge, soaking up all the helpful information you can on your journey to publication. Now, it is good to take feedback with a grain of salt, but being gracious and receptive when advice is offered is always wise.

The agents of Books & Such often ask for an author to rework a bit of a proposal or manuscript before we offer representation to an author to see if he/she is receptive to our feedback. It’s very hard to work with someone who isn’t open to making changes that we believe will strengthen the project before we send it out to publishing houses. When an author is receptive to making changes, it shows us that he/she will work well with an editor at a publishing house, too.”

3. “We had a new monster every night.

I had this book I loved, Bring on the Bad Guys. It was a big, chunky paperback collection of comic-book stories, and as you might guess from the title, it wasn’t much concerned with heroes. It was instead an anthology of tales about the worst of the worst, vile psychopaths with names like The Abomination and faces to match.

My dad had to read that book to me every night. He didn’t have a choice. It was one of these Scheherazade-type deals. If he didn’t read to me, I wouldn’t stay in bed. I’d slip out from under my Empire Strikes Back quilt and roam the house in my Spider-Man Underoos, soggy thumb in my mouth and my filthy comfort blanket tossed over one shoulder. I could roam all night if the mood took me. My father had to keep reading until my eyes were barely open, and even then, he could only escape by saying he was going to step out for a smoke and he’d be right back.” I like what he describes: a normal family, all dear to each other. We need more of that!

4. “Publishers will tell you that one of the best ways to build momentum for your upcoming book is to encourage pre-orders from readers. What’s the big deal about pre-orders?

Pre-orders are stockpiled and then counted officially as sales the first week your book releases.

That means your title will burst onto the book world scene like a race horse out of the gate. These sales are built up over months of readers pre-ordering. But the books are all shipped during the first week. That means the chances of your book being on a national best-seller list are the strongest at the book’s release. Especially because pre-order sales will be combined with sales from readers who buy the title when it releases.

Establishing a book as a hit its first week can be a momentum boost.”

5. “I love to get geeky about deep point of view and I’m so excited to be a guest writing coach here. *mittened fist bump* What is Deep Point Of View? It’s a writing technique, a strategy, that removes the perceived distance between readers and characters so readers feel like they’re IN THE STORY, in real time. Deep POV straps a Go-Pro to your main character and takes the reader on an intimate, visceral, emotional journey. You can use deep POV for your entire novel or for key scenes where you’re looking for an emotional gut-punch. 

Take fear, for instance. It’s such a common emotion that it’s sometimes hard to make it real for readers. When I’m critiquing, I find that writers don’t go “deep enough” into fear to really create that emotional punch they’re looking for in key scenes. Have you ever had an editor or crit partner say “go deeper?” Here are some of my best tips on how to dig deeper into fear to really make it work for you. “

6. “Have you ever stopped reading a novel because you didn’t like or weren’t interested in the characters or you couldn’t muster enough caring about them to stick with them for 300 pages? Here are a few tips to try to keep this reaction from happening to your readers:

1. Portray your character as a true victim. Do use caution, so you don’t venture into melodrama. People like rooting for the underdog, so opening with your character being in a terrible situation beyond her control will not only make the character sympathetic, but will engage the reader so she wonders how this character will overcome her condition. For example, the character:

— is an orphan.

— is a widow.

— has lost everyone she cares about.

— has lost everything that offers her security.

— is physically scarred.”

7. “Fear: What Scares You the Most in Books and Movies?

I am no longer in the habit of indulging in self-fright by reading books that are too alarming or watching movies that terrify. But that’s today. When I was young and foolish, I took chances.”

Research & Fun Tidbits:

1.’s easier to believe we will never get where we want to be and quit then it is to believe we will get there someday and work harder.


When you were small, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My answer to this question is multi-layered because I have always wanted to do and be everything all at once — and I still do. At one point I wanted to be an artist, then a dancer, a musician, and I don’t know, at some point the idea of writing for a living came along and I just couldn’t let it go.

But just because I have held onto that dream for a very long time does not mean I am immune to the “what if” moments. You know the ones. The “what if I fail and embarrass myself” moments. The moments when you start to wonder if this dream everyone seems to think you will never reach is nothing more than a total waste of your time.”


3. “The novel, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, primarily revolves around Victor’s Frankenstein’s monster, which is usually referred to as the “creature.” Throughout the novel Frankenstein unsuccessfully attempts to destroy the monster multiple times up until he succumbs his fate. Something that I found interesting about the novel is that the creature does not have a name. The monster is not treated in a humane fashion and was even sometimes referred to as “it.” Having a name gives a person or animal or object an identity. The purpose of a name is to give someone or something a sense of uniqueness and individuality. A name is usually given by a child’s parents. However, Frankenstein does not even care to give the monster a name. Even though the monster appears to look similar to humans, he is deemed by others, specifically Frankenstein, as a “daemon” or “the wretch” (Shelley). The creature is seen…”


5. “This is the third major change announced by Amazon in the last days. After retiring Amazon giveaways, Amazon now is ending its Kindle Matchbook program on October 31.

Strangely enough, I heard the news on The Passive Voice and The Digital Reader instead of Amazon. This, despite the fact that all of my books are on the Matchbook program!

Launched in 2013, Kindle Matchbook was a program where authors and publishers had the option of creating ebook and print bundles that combine a Kindle ebook with a print book sold by Amazon. The ebook could be given away for free, or sold for $1.99 or $0.99.”

6. “The Dread Boar is one of the creatures that came out of nowhere and racked up a ton of mileage quickly.  Debuting in the Legends of Windemere series, they have also been mentioned and appeared in War of Nytefall and The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks.  That covers a lot of ground, so you know these giant pigs are going to keep coming back.  Honestly, they’ve kind of become my ‘go to’ wild beast when I need something big and aggressive.  Not necessarily for a fight, but comparisons and declarations of toughness for blowhards.  So, where did they come from?”

7. “I’m not sayin I’ve been busy, I’m just sayin — Last night I had a dream that my dog was bleedin to death and there was nothin I could do. I was helpless. Only a matter of time. Her death was imminent. And yet — In my dream, as I lay beside her, I was impatiently thinkin I don’t have time to hold my dog while she bleeds out — I got too much shit to do.

Lemme just take a moment to count my blessings.
I am home, bathed, fed, comfortably adorned in pajama pants and a sweatshirt, sittin on my sofa. And there’s this:”

Some Things More Serious:





5. “t begins with a feeling… A feeling that something has fallen: like a vital bridge being destroyed.

As it develops, you sense the landscape being stretched, allowing forms of life alien to your own to enter the world.

And then you become conscious that there is a velocity, here – that we are all going somewhere we didn’t ask for. After a while you realise that the world is not only changing, but is being buffeted from the same place…

That place is the centre. The place from which the tearing winds are coming.”

6. “Hi everyone. This is Michele, Staci’s sister.

Staci is currently experiencing a forced power outage and is unable to respond to, comment on, like, or share any posts.

Once she is back online she will resume her regular blogging, posting, sharing, commenting, and liking in all social media.

Staci thanks you for your understanding.

For Staci, this is Michele signing out.”


Teaser Fiction & Poetry:








Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. series were quite familiar with Hogwarts’s infirmary.

In Cassandra Clare’s MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series, the Shadow-hunter Institute also has a nice infirmary, although it looks like they outsource most of their medical work to the witch/warlock community.

Magical communities have their medical needs, just like everybody else, with some special twists. If you’re a werewolf and you are injured in wolf form, are you better off with a veterinarian than a surgeon who works on humans? Do vampires suffer from anemia? And do the faerie folk risk environmental allergies in an increasingly industrialized world?

Some fantasy series do address medical needs in an organized fashion, not by just seeking the help of a mystical healer or apothecary. It’s fun to see what some series writers do with a more consistent medical approach.

Who has your favorite magical medical system? Or, who has the least convincing healing community? Please share!

One commenter with a USA address will be chosen at random to win a book from our Stacks.”

2. “Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook (2019) is the next in the author’s delightful series of books that blend children’s stories with themed original recipes. This one is a clever story poem about the disappearance of zoo animals and how Sir Chocolate must figure out what happened.

“One day Sir Chocolate arrived, and not a sound could hear, he called long and loud, but no animals did appear. The animals had vanished, the zoo was empty and still,”

“The monkey is naughty, he likes to have fun, he plays tricks on the others, then away he does run.”

The story is written in the format of a poem and includes great photographs that help readers visualize the action. At the completion of the story, there is a cute poem to introduce an original collection of animal-themed recipes children can complete with their parents. Some of the recipes are:”

3. “Back again with another fantastic release from Undertow Publications, and this time it’s the debut collection of Laura Mauro. For those not in the know, Laura has been writing/publishing professionally since about 2012. Her first story, ‘Red Rabbit’ appeared in the fourth volume of Shadows & Tall Trees (also published by Undertow, making this release somewhat of a full circle). Since then, she has had numerous pieces in various anthologies and periodicals including Black Static, Interzone, Imposter Syndrome, and Great British Horror Vol 1: This Green and Pleasant Land. Her short story ‘Looking for Laika’ (Interzone #273) was nominated for and won the British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction in 2018. And before that, in 2017, her novella Naming the Bones was released through Dark Minds Press to much acclaim. A body of work and accolades any seasoned writer would be proud of. This is all the more impressive considering Laura’s youth and the relatively short span of time she’s been active.”

4. “I’m in the final steps of preparing my novel, My Hope Secured, for publication. I both love and hate this stage. It is exciting because I can see how close I am. It’s frustrating because I keep seeing things I want to change.

I need to let go.

Most of the changes I’m making are very minor. There are a few typos and other mistakes. There are a few minor inconsistencies I really should fix. But most of the revisions I am making are tweaks to the text on things that don’t really matter. Or some of them matter . . . but only to me.

I need to let go.”

5. “Having recently watched Mary and the Witch’s Flower, I was curious about how it measured up to its source material, particularly since I usually read the book before watching its filmic adaptation.

And The Little Broomstick (1971) is a strange little book in so many ways: beautifully written, with plenty of haunting passages, but with a story and setting that would have been served well with a lot more detail and background. Imagine Hogwarts School without any sense of its history — though Endor College predates Harry Potter by over two decades, there are so many unanswered questions about why it exists and who attends.

Mary Smith is a ten year old girl who’s thoroughly unhappy with her current situation: bundled off to the Shropshire countryside, separated from her siblings, and living with an elderly great-aunt while her parents are in America. But adventure is on the horizon: in quick succession she discovers a little black cat, a strange and beautiful flower, and an ordinary looking broomstick.

But one night the broomstick whisks Mary into the air, carrying her to Endor College (this also predates The Return of the Jedi), a school of witchcraft, where she’s welcomed into the fold by the imposing Madame Mumblechook.”

6. “When five friends embark on a Caribbean dive vacation, they encounter an evil that will change their lives forever. If you’re looking for a suspenseful read for the Halloween season, make it this book. Intrigued? Let’s meet the characters.

Melanie is a gorgeous, spoiled twenty-something who likes to manipulate men for sexual favors. Her current lover, Wall Eddington, is a cool-headed British diver accompanying her on the trip. Will Melanie ditch him for one of the other men?

Jill, voted the best student in her cousin Jon’s dive class, is determined to conquer her fears. Jon’s dive shop, the Crusty Porthole, boasts the top-rated training in Delaware. Jill’s best friend Mike, the amateur bodybuilder, partnered with Jon years ago. What could possibly go wrong?”

7. “Originally posted on Books on the Bookshelf: PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire PUBLICATION DATE: March 26th, 2019 …… Thank you to the publisher Sourcebooks Fire for gifting me a beautiful paperback copy of this thrilling novel to read and share my review with others. …… ABOUT THE BOOK: In the small town…”


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

23 thoughts on “Seven Links 10/12/19 Traci Kenworth

  1. Thanks for including Carrot Ranch in your wealth of links. I especially liked the post from an agent regarding feedback. Right now, I’m training to receive and give feedback, with the hopes of teaching others at Carrot Ranch.

    Liked by 1 person

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