Five Links 7/11/2020 Traci Kenworth

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Five Links 7/11/2020

Traci Kenworth


1. “A pantster is a writer who ‘writes by the seat of their pants’ – i.e. doesn’t outline in advance. I’m a pantster, mostly, and I learned a long time ago that pantsters have to trust their subconscious. If that little voice says ‘no’ then we have to listen, even if that means deleting thousands of perfectly good words.

Today I deleted 3688 words from the second book of the Suns of Vokhtah. I replaced all those words with just 490. To give those 490 words some context, the MC, Kaati snuck into the Healers’ Settlement as a refugee, not knowing that refugees were locked up like caged animals. It needs to escape but the other refugees are too beaten down to help. Or so it thinks :”


3. “Don’t go jumping to the comments just yet.  Jessica makes a good point.  Our characters are what we make them, so we shouldn’t blame them for it.  We do have to be careful on how we go about doing a physical description.  Know what you’re aiming for and make sure it’s what you want.  Of course, none of these tips will matter if you want to keep it as vague as possible.  Now, let’s get to it.”

4. “I’ve been thinking about the various settings in my upcoming book and realized there are a number of places I’ve visited in the past that serve as the basis for these fictional locations. They seem common for fantasy but they are more specific for me and aren’t based on previous fantasy worlds, familiar though they may seem.

For instance, Auguron Forest is actually based on a place I visited in Oregon as a child where the trees were enormous, some of the largest cedars in the world exist west of the Cascade Mountains (notice #2 on this list). Eagle’s Aerie which appears early in the book is based on an actual rock formation on the coast of Oregon, though not exact in reference. It’s called Haystack Rock and you’ve probably seen it in pictures. Without giving too much away, there are settings that occur underground that remind me of caves I’ve visited.”

5. “We all know how important it is to read within our genre. Doing so shows us what elements make those books successful (and also what overdone tropes to avoid). But reading outside of our genre can be just as helpful. It’s always a good idea to examine what works and why, so we can apply those successful components to our own stories. Fairy tales have been around forever, and Grimm’s stories have particular longevity. What universal guidelines can we borrow from them to bolster our own writing? Shonna Slayton is going to show us what she’s learned from these age-old tales.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “We had already been sidetracked by St Edwold’s tiny church, but we were definitely on our way home now. Except, we thought that as we were passing, it would be a pity not to visit the little village of Sutton Montis, the place where the ghostly knights that sleep beneath Cadbury Castle are said to bring their horses to drink. We had tried to visit on the first day of the workshop and taken a wrong turn somewhere. Perhaps we would have better luck this time.”

2. “Dear Wen…

If you are referring to the comments made at Brimham Rocks, then you need to check your sources, the correct quotation I believe is, ‘You are becoming a ‘Fluff-Bunny’ which I stand by whole-heartedly, still, ‘Fluff-Bunny‘ is infinitely preferable to bleeding all over sacred texts… albeit reassuring to know that the particular tome in question goes with you everywhere as indeed should be the case for an industrious Little Grub like your good self. Or is this some new fangled kind of ritual you are intent on inflicting upon our unsuspecting Companions…”

3. “There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.”

4. you’re writing Medieval history fiction or fantasy, you will appreciate this Quora answer by Helena Schrader, who borrowed from an article she wrote for The Medieval Magazine. To this, I have added information by Brent Cooper, taken from

Getting Married in the Middle Ages

First, a caveat: the Middle Ages lasted a thousand years in places as different as Iceland and the Holy Land. So, things differed from place to place and from time to time. After all, did your grandmother get married in a similar way to you?

No matter where and when, though, a general fact about marriage in the Middle Ages is that it was usually an economic affair.

This is not to say that the parties to a medieval marriage inherently lacked affection, passion, or sexual attraction. However, economic considerations played an important role in marriage negotiations and contracts. Whether reigning kings or serfs, marriages were made for many reasons — to increase family fortunes, secure offspring, and resolve conflicts. Yet, whatever the reason for a marriage, contracting parties were careful to consider the economic consequences — for both parties.”


Some Things More Serious:


2. “When Toni Morrison passed away last year, I asked professor of English literature and author Piper Huguley for advice on which of Morrison’s novels to read. Piper not only offered a recommendation, she advised me on the order I should read these celebrated novels.”

3. “Are these THE Top Ten ways to declutter your writer brain? More accurately, they are a few of the ways. But that would have made the title too long and not great for search engine optimization. (SEO–We all know it’s important, like good electrolyte balance, but how many of us really understand SEO? And that was a prime example of letting a random thought occupy an already cluttered brain. Hence, this blog post.)

If you’ve ever caught yourself staring at a blinking cursor that’s waiting for you to key in more brilliance on your work in progress, but your attention is captivated by the fly stuck between the interior and exterior window, and the lingering odor of the morning’s burnt toast reminds you that you should take a minute to pull something out of the freezer for supper, and that leads to the thought that yesterday would have been the perfect day to defrost the freezer and why didn’t you take advantage of that but now you’ll have to write it on the to-do list which is where again?…then you understand the derailing capacities of a cluttered writer brain.”

4. “Let me preface this blog post by saying that my main diet of reading genres consists of page-turning thrillers, dark suspense, police procedurals, and clever mysteries. I rarely read literary novels and am choosy about which ones I pick—books I’ve loved like The Kite Runner and Love in the Time of Cholera, and books I didn’t love that others did, like The Help. I have dozens of books on my home bookshelves and in my Kindle, but the stay at home order has limited my library visits. I decided to expand my reading into books that have reached bestseller status that I can download from my library’s Overdrive/Libby app. That’s how I chose Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. Most of the reviews were stellar. The book starts with the semi-ending, a device I dislike. Many people hate prologues. I don’t mind them. This wasn’t a prologue; it was part of the ending, and it took away some of the edge. The book is a story of privilege, of mothers’ love, and of class.”

5. “I grew up believing it was possible to have it all – a career, a family, and anything else I wanted. My parents encouraged me to get a good education and become an independent woman. I went to a progressive all-girls’ school, where we were expected to work hard, get good grades and embrace every opportunity that came our way. 

By the time I became pregnant, in my early thirties, I’d already done lots of different things in my life and was settled in London with a good job and decent career prospects.

Like all first-time mothers, my views on parenthood were shockingly naïve. I vaguely knew we’d have to organise childcare after the baby was born, but it never occurred to me that being a mother would affect my career plans. 

Then my son was born, and everything changed. For starters, nothing had prepared me for the visceral, life-changing love that consumed me in the months following his birth (and still consumes me today as he’s about to leave home and embark on his own first steps into the adult world). Alongside this, I rapidly started to realise I’d been sold a lie. 

Because going back to work fulltime, continuing with my career, wasn’t an option. Apart from the cripplingly expensive costs of fulltime childcare, I simply didn’t want to hand my child over to someone else for five days every week.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:






Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “Until their mother vanished, the Greystone kids—Chess, Emma, and Finn—knew nothing about the other world.

Everything is different there. It’s a mirror image, except things are wrong. Evil. Their mother tried to fix it, but she and an ally got trapped there along with Ms. Morales, their friend Natalie’s mom.

Now the four kids—brave Chess, smart Emma, kind Finn, and savvy Natalie—are determined to rescue everyone.

To do so, they have to go back: into the other world, where even telling the truth can be illegal.

But in such a terrifying place, Chess doubts he can ever be brave enough. Despite all her brains, Emma can’t seem to break the code. With everything spiraling out of control, Finn has to pretend he’s okay.

And for Natalie, the lies of the other world include some she wishes were actually true. What if she’s gotten so used to lying she no longer knows what to believe?”

2. “There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.”

3. “Whether you are in the mood for a ghost story (The Haunted Halls, Shadow Work Publishing, 2016) or “creature horror” (Becoming, Alien Agenda Publishing, 2017) or a werewolf tale (Blood and Rain, Cemetery Dance Publications, 2019) or just about any other sub-genre of horror, Glenn Rolfe has got you covered. Described as a “rising star in the genre” by Ronald Malfi, and “a vital part of this generation” by Brian Keene, Rolfe burst onto the scene with his debut novella Abram’s Bridge (Samhain Publishing, 2015) and hasn’t looked back—or stopped working—since. Striking up a great professional relationship with esteemed editor Don D’Auria at Samhain, it is no surprise to see his name feature in the Flame Tree Press roster with his highly anticipated new novel.

Set in the resort town of Old Orchard Beach, Maine in the Summer of 1986, we follow the story of fifteen-year-old Rocky Zukas as he discovers the magic of teenage love and the horror of an all-too-real monster. Full of that good old-time 80s nostalgia that readers of a certain age (this reviewer is amongst them) crave, from the colourful fashion to the classic 80s musical hits and the coin-op arcade machines that would eat all of your pocket money. Rolfe has said that Old Orchard Beach is a real place, somewhere he has visited often, and it shows in his depiction of the setting, adding depth to the story.

Just as the setting is easy to visualise as we read, so are the characters, especi”

4. Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

5. “Hello, my name is Chiara Talluto. I’m a wife, busy mom, author, and a woman after God’s heart. As I ponder this declaration, I find it more appropriate to claim that I am a woman after God’s heart first. He has given me a gift of writing, and I honor Him through my written works. So, pull up a chair and stay awhile.

People often ask what kind of writing I do. I tell them… I write Inspirational/Christian drama empowering women to discover their faith, use perseverance to overcome adversity, and become heroes of their own destinies. I also write middle-grade fantasy-fairy tales to encourage girls in developing strong morals and values, and to always stand up for what is right.”

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