Posted in blogs, dark fantasy, fantasy, MG & YA, Reading, YA

Book Talk Sarah J. Maas’s Heir to Fire (Book 3 Throne of Glass series) Traci Kenworth


Book Talk 9/4/2020: Sarah J. Maas’s Heir of Fire (Book 3 Throne of Glass series)

Traci Kenworth

Heir to Fire by Sarah J. Maas. Bloomsbury 2015. YA.

Amazon’s blurb: Celaena Sardothien, heroine of the New York Times bestselling series, rises from the ashes to burn even brighter than before.

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak-but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life-and her future-forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

In this USA Today bestselling third book in the New York Times bestselling series, Sarah J. Maas again delivers the epic fantasy, heart-stopping pace, and heady romance that have won her readers the world over. Look for a teaser for the fourth book in the series, Queen of Shadows, out in this same season!

My Review: Caelena Sardothien has been sent to her homelands to kill the king and queen there. She finds herself unwilling to complete her orders. While she contemplates what to do, a fae by the name of Rowan, sworn to her aunt Maeve comes to retrieve her. Maeve wants to know what Caelena wants. Caelena asks about the Wyrdkeys. Maeve says she must serve her before she will answer. Rowan begins training her, showing no mercy for her weakness in her human form.

As Caelena begins to remember her former life as Aelin Galathynius, Princess of Terrasen. She remembers who the assassin was who killed her family. One sacrifice saved her. As she mourns the memories, enemies the King of Ardalan has sent to her homelands close in. They work to drain her but she finds forgiveness in her suffering and rises up against them.

Can she do the same with her Aunt? And old enemies who wish her dead? She finds unexpected allies.

The read was an absolute delight! I’ve already started the fourth book in the series, Queen of the Shadows. Three more to go!

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Craft, fantasy, horror, MG & YA, Reading, senryu, Short stories, Writing and Poetry

Three Senryu and a Short Story Traci Kenworth


Image credit: Snapwire from Pexels

a piece of fabric
lies cluttered beside rail tracks
its owner misplaced

did she run along 
the train’s rails, heart in her throat,
or did her dress tear

did she see the beast
leave the shadows of the trees
no bones or blood tracked

The Girl Running Beside the Train Tracks

Traci Kenworth

Millie lost her shoe in the flight from whatever lunged after her. She’d been about to tie her laces at the time. Bent down, she’d heard a noise. Low, keening. Like a wounded animal. She’d thought perhaps a dog—

And gone to look. Eyes hooded like a snake; the beast had crept from the woods. She’d shouted but no one came. Perhaps the train drowned out all sound from around her. Gusting down the tracks, the people inside paid her no mind as they went about their travels. Never mind, that she’d been a passenger. She’d gotten down to investigate some flowers and that was that.

She raced down the path beside the rails, the beast coming near enough to snatch a piece of her purple dress. It spun her around as it did so. She stumbled and braced herself on a tree trunk. Please. Whatever god was out there—

She wanted to live. To grow up. To do so many things.

Why she hadn’t even kissed a frog and turned it into a prince yet.

Okay, maybe that was a stretch. But what about the pony she wanted? Surely, she should have that. Or at least, a kitten.

Maybe both.

She sucked in air. Must run. She bolted toward the blue sky ahead. Someone, help.

The beast panted behind her, its claws snarling in her hair. It swung her around. She batted at it, pushing those great snapping jaws to the side. Her gaze widened at the trickle of blood on its paw. She examined it further, the beast stifling its rage. At once, she saw the problem.

The thorn removed; the beast bowed to her. “My thanks.” He gestured to a saddled and bridled pony. “Yours.”

“I’ll treasure it always.”

The End.

Bestselling in the Little Market, a non-profit for Women. Coconut-Soy Wax Blend Candle. Medium Woven Star Bowl. A Reusable Gift Bag. A Beach Towel. A Dainty Triangle Necklace-Rose gold. A reusable wine tote. Dainty Blue Opal Necklace-rose gold.

Posted in blogs, Craft, fantasy, MG & YA, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Writerly Things 8/10/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Nicola Redfern from Pixabay

Writerly Things 8/10/2020: Do People Take Fantasy Writers Serious?

Traci Kenworth

There’s a saying that people don’t take fantasy writers seriously. Somehow, they think that all the creativity that goes into the writing makes it easy to write fantasy. After all, it’s all made up, right? So, it shouldn’t take a whole lot of talent to write? Just a whole lot of imagination.

Authors Shouldn’t Downgrade Other Author’s Work.

Just because you write literary, for example, doesn’t mean you trash your fellow author’s work. Every writer is called to a different pursuit. Some write genre and there’s nothing wrong with that. Frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I enjoy all types of books. There are others who do the same. It’s a part of our reading life.

Readers flock to all sorts of books. Why deny them the right to read what they want and enjoy? Just because fantasy is often set in other worlds and times doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its merits. Just think of the vast audience of fans GOT had/still has. Movies, books, each enjoys its own rewards. Fantasy has brought us some of the biggest fandoms: J.R. R. Tolkien, anyone? C.S. Lewis? Mary Stewart? Susan Cooper? Marion Zimmer Bradley? And so many, many more.

Just Because There are Funny Creatures.

That doesn’t mean the work isn’t intelligent. Didn’t Tolkien craft languages with his works? C.S. Lewis brought out sharp contrasts between good and evil. Mary Stewart wowed us with tales of Merlin, Arthur, and the Roundtable. Susan Cooper further the Arthur legend. Marion Zimmer Bradley was famed for the complex worlds she built.

Imaginary creatures come with their own Wikipedia page. Some are based on legends. Some history. Others are built after much thought and research. They are both a gift and a curse to their authors. After all, fandoms have a hard time moving on even years down the road. Look at Star Wars. Alien. The Terminator. Predator. Even Jaws.

Time.

When it comes to historical, present, or future, often we have to lay the groundwork for what may or may not be invented by that date. There’s an uncertainty and yet with that comes a great satisfaction for what we create. Maybe there was never spaceships in the time of the French Revolution but isn’t it exciting to see how the author pulls off this stretch?

What about Back to the Future? Its inventions have long been a perk of interest for moviegoers when certain dates arrive. We like anticipating new things. Just like we like to view fantasy elements in our reading or shows. I think it’s the little kid of us out there in the fields, playing with their friends, imagining that footprint, the echo of pterodactyls to drive them back to safety.

No, certainly fantasy writers like other writers should be taken seriously and not dismissed. Some of the stories written have gone on to define the ages. Dune. His Dark Materials. Harry Potter. The Bridge to Terabithia. Sandman. The Eyes of a Dragon. The Dark Tower. We could go on and on. Not bad for a genre that some authors don’t take seriously.

Bestselling in College Cleaning Essentials. Philips Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush. Men/Women Shower Sandals. Bic Soliel Disposable Razor Collection for Women. On the Go Men’s Duffel Grooming Bag. Bathroom Accessories Gift Set.

Posted in blogs, fantasy, Historicals, MG & YA, Reading, traditional, YA

Book Talk 8/7/2020: Brigid Kemmerer’s A Heart So Fierce and Broken Traci Kenworth


Click on image to be taken to Amazon.

Book Talk 8/7/2020: Brigid Kemmerer’s A Heart So Fierce and Broken

Traci Kenworth

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer. YA. 2020. Bloomsbury.

Amazon’s blurb: In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

Find the heir, win the crown.
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Grey may be the heir, but he doesn’t want anyone to know his secret. On the run since he destroyed Lilith, he has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

My Review: The guardsman, Grey, has taken on the identity of farm laborer by the name of Hawk. When his ruse is discovered by accident, his new friend, Tycho is used against him. Back at IronRose, Rhen tortures Grey to find out what he knows about the heir, but Grey won’t tell him. Lia Mara, Karis Luran’s daughter has traveled to see if she can’t make peace for her people with Rhen but he takes her hostage. When Grey uses his magic to save himself and his friends, he must team up with Lia Mara to win a kingdom and a throne. But can he and Rhen bury the past or will they be doomed to repeat tragedy?

LOVED, LOVED! The fairytale deepens with Grey’s side of the story. I wasn’t sure about Lia Mara at first, but she won me over quick. I look forward to seeing how they break the next curse in the next book of the series, The Cursebreakers.

Posted in blogs, Craft, fantasy, MG & YA, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Writerly Things 6/22/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Writerly Things 6/22/2020: Does War Bring Out the Best in Our Characters?

Traci Kenworth

You’ve seem numerous battle scenes. Men and women walking toward their doom or into victory. The question is: does war bring out the best in our characters?

Does It Make Them Stronger Individuals?

For some perhaps. Others, it makes cowards of. The cowards seem to slink off in the midst of every battle but still bray about their prowess to any who would listen. Now, I’m not saying when one of the armies about to clash realizes their outnumbered and to save their people, they retreat and regroup for another day. But when a person repeatedly uses others as shields to get away for the sake of their own lives, that shows cowardice.

To become stronger, the person must face their fate and fight to survive it. These become heroes. Legends. It’s what makes kingdoms stronger. Having a brave warrior or king who won’t back down. With few to support them at times, they stand against the darkness. Shield up, they wait for the fight to come to them and then give it their all.

Does It Make Them Better Heroes?

Heroes defend. They don’t hide. They press into battles with odds against them. Knowing their people will perish if they fail. Their world might cease to exist. They do everything in their power to win. Sometimes they stumble, a lot of times, they fall. But even on their knees, they do not yield. They live to fight another day.

What brings them back when life is ebbing from their bones? Their loved ones. Their friends. Hope. A dream. Give a hero a cause and he will rush into battle despite the cost. Or because of the cost not to do so. They care. Sometimes they gamble. At times, they plead. Never do they surrender.

Does It Break or Support Their Lives?

Think of The Last Kingdom. Uthred fights on. Even with his wife gone and his children hostage. He’s lost everything. Again and again. Still, he stands. He rushes into battle. And he saves for the good of all. Does he get honor in return? Lands and riches? Not from his King. Time after time, he loses. He is forced into giving his oath to one who never rewards him. A good man would lose hope. He does not.

In LOTR, Aragorn is a man filled with shame over what his father did. He learns throughout his journey that he does not need to fill those shoes. He can make his own path. Take back the sword and overcome the darkness that pierces the kingdom. He brings honor and hope to all even in the face of sure defeat. When he wins, so much the better for who he becomes.

So Then, Why Not Bring the Battle to Your Character? Let Them Show Their Stuff?

You might be surprised at the methods they will come up with to win. The distance they will go to save. And the hope they will inspire in those around them. Why do you think the sidekicks exist? To show the heroes spirit. To show what they’re capable of. To make a mark of their own.

Bestsellers in Home Improvements. Refrigerator Water Filter. Wi-Fi Outlet. Handheld shower head. Gorilla Water Seal. LED lights. Indoor/Outdoor Insulated Cord. Flapper Repair Kit. AC Furnace Air Filter. Utility Pump. Waterproof In-Use Cover. In-sink garbage disposal.

Posted in blogs, Craft, fantasy, horror, http://rebekahlpurdy.wordpress.com, Indie, MG & YA, Reading, Rebekah L. Purdy, traditional, YA

Book Talk 5/29/2020: What I’m Reading in YA Traci Kenworth


Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

I’m reading A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer, Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, Where There Be Humans by Rebekah L. Purdy, A36 by Teri Polen, Through the Nethergate by Robbie Cheadle, The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco, Sightwitch by Susan Dennard, The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, and How to Write a Children’s Book by Children’s Literature Society.

Want some fun summer games? How about volleyball? Badminton?

Pool table?

Cricket? Horseshoes?

Need some poolside chairs?

Posted in blogs, Craft, fantasy, Historicals, horror, Links, Links, MG & YA, Reading, Short stories, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Five Links 5/23/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Oldiefan from Pixabay

Five Links 5/23/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/05/thrillers-bring-the-light.html “Yes, this unsightly wasp with its ugly orange head and relatively large body mass, has arrived on our shores intent on killing innocent little honey bees and, indeed, the occasional human.

But just when we think we are in the midst of a Stephen King nightmare, along comes a hero, a savior, a defender of all that is good and decent and pure: the praying mantis!

How appropriate that the vanquisher of a grotesque insect villain should turn out to be an insect of another sort—one that humbly supplicates to the Creator before chomping the brains of its adversary.”

2. https://stevelaube.com/be-a-luddite-not-a-lunkhead/ “I recently read a letter to the editor in a writers magazine in which an aspiring writer of advanced years bemoaned those publishers who accept only electronic submissions (via email or website).

“Surely I am not the only soul who still works with a typewriter,” the correspondent wrote. “Possibly it’s because I’m eighty-eight, but don’t accuse me of being completely out of touch.”

Well, no. Not exactly. It has little to do with age. After all, I just finished reading William Zinsser’s lovely memoir, Writing Places, published in his eighties, in which he describes the limits of his technological advancement while still maintaining a prolific output in the age of computers, blogs, websites, and ebooks.

One can be a Luddite without being a lunkhead.

Luddite is a term borrowed from early 19th-century English workmen who destroyed laborsaving machinery as a protest. Today the word is used to describe someone who is generally opposed or resistant to new technologies.”

3. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2020/05/pandemic-genius-writing-inspiration/ “I don’t know about you, dear writer, but coming to terms with quarantine has been a challenge for me.  Yes, I had extra time at home for the crucible of creativity, but not without a steep learning curve. Writing inspiration has been hard to come by.

During quarantine, my family pushed pause on activities and the daily grind.  We found some comfort in the slower pace of life, dealing with the negative impact as best as we could. As many parts of the world begin reopening, let’s not forget the writing we have accomplished so far.

As always, I am inspired by history. There have been other pandemics, and great works have come from them.

Historical figures can in”

4. https://megdowell.com/2020/05/21/10-surprising-things-i-learned-about-writing-just-in-the-past-100-days/

5. https://stevelaube.com/101-best-websites-for-writers/

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2020/05/22/a-glorious-writing-day/ “This had to be the longest work week in history. It added to my back problems, because I had to spend the entire day yesterday in an uncomfortable chair to attend a Zoom meeting.

I doubted my ability to even get out of bed this morning, but I made it around 7:00. I think the Woodford Reserve helped last night, because I slept like a baby.

Frankie was a little shit most of the morning. She’s really smart and calculates things. She wanted Otto to play outside with her, but he’s figured out her nonsense. She spots an imaginary squirrel, then paws the door with urgency. She runs out all excited, but he watches from the doorway.

Now she’s added me to her game. It was cold, but I’d let her out enough times that I left the door open so she could come and go. She started coming to me in a lather. She stomps her front feet back and forth, makes a Chewbacca noise, then runs to the door… but the door is open.”

2. https://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/5-tips-to-help-you-find-a-blog-topic/ “Finding a blog topic is always a struggle for me. I’m lucky to get to share the writing of this blog with my fellow Books & Such agents, so I don’t need a new topic as frequently. I know many of you run your own blogs and you need to post multiple times each week. I’ve found a few methods that help me to come up with topics and maybe these will help you, too.

1) Watch on loops and in groups, like ACFW, a Facebook writing group, or your critique group, for common questions or concerns that other writers are having. Use these topics and questions to spark a post.

2) Get personal. Connect something in your life to publishing or to your books. A lot of readers would love to hear little details about their favorite authors so even if the personal story you are sharing doesn’t have much application to your story, it might still be a good idea to share it. (Just be careful to be safe with the details you are putting online.)”

3. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/05/21/the-giant-and-the-sun-the-one-with-the-alien-a-thousand-miles-of-history/ “We had decided to visit six churches with our companions. That is a lot of churches to visit in one afternoon… and we were conscious that they are not everyone’s cup of tea. These ones, though, are all old and interesting, and each one of them marks a point of the hexagram in the landscape with which we would work. We had assigned each of the churches to a place on the Fire or Water triangle, which carried with it a planetary attribution and colour, and each companion had chosen ‘their’ church by drawing lots.”

4. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/05/21/dear-wen-norman/

5. https://acoup.blog/2020/05/22/collections-the-battle-of-helms-deep-part-iv-men-of-rohan/ “This is the fourth part of a series taking a historian’s look at the Battle of Helm’s Deep (IIIIII) from both J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers (1954) and Peter Jackson’s 2002 film of the same name. In the last part, we looked in some depth at the organization of the host of Saruman and the seeds of ill-preparation, leadership and cohesion which will bloom as poor performance in the fortress assault at the Hornburg. This week, we’re going to keep that approach going, but turn our lidless eye on the army of Rohan: how is this army organized and what makes it function? How does it cohere? Why is it able to stick together, when Saruman’s more imposing army falls apart?

As before, if you like what you are reading here, please share it; if you really like it, you can support me on Patreon. And if you want updates whenever a new post appears, you can click below for email updates or follow me on twitter (@BretDevereaux) for updates as to new posts as well as my occasional ancient history, foreign policy or military history musings.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/05/conflict-thesaurus-running-out-of-critical-supplies/ “Conflict is very often the magic sauce for generating tension and turning a ho-hum story into one that rivets readers. As such, every scene should contain a struggle of some kind. Maybe it’s an internal tug-of-war having to do with difficult decisions, morals, or temptations. Or it possibly could come from an external source—other characters, unfortunate circumstances, or the force of nature itself.

It’s our hope that this thesaurus will help you come up with meaningful and fitting conflict options for your stories. Think about what your character wants and how best to block them, then choose a source of conflict that will ramp up the tension in each scene.”

2. https://marciamearawrites.com/2020/05/22/how-to-publish-with-kdp-part-nine/ “Hello SErs. Harmony here.  As promised, here is  part nine in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer and on sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback.

If you’d like to take a look back at the previous posts in this series, please click on the links at the end of this post.

So, here’s Part Nine: An overview of your KDP Dashboard.

So, after my last post ( HERE), you now have a KDP account set up. Today, we’re taking a look at what your KDP dashboard looks like, and what the different options offer. Below is an image of your dashboard area >”

3. https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2020/05/22/have-you-ever-touched-an-elephant/ “uring our last trip to Knysna in the Western Cape, we visited the Knysna Elephant Park (est. 1994) which is the first facility in South Africa to house and care for orphaned African elephants.

It was a wonderful experience and we learned that over the last twenty years, the park has cared for and raised more than forty elephants. These animals cared for by the park include relocated animals, orphaned calves, elephants rescued from culls and ex-circus animals. Some remain long term and become part of the resident herd, while others are eventually moved to other reserves and facilities in the Western and Eastern Cape. The decision as to whether to keep an animal at the park permanently or find another good home for it depends on the animal’s personality, bonds with other animals and welfare needs.

You can find out more about the Knysna Elephant Park here:”

4. https://megdowell.com/2020/05/22/11-strategies-i-use-when-my-motivation-to-write-disappears/

5. https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2020/05/23/angel-messages-may-23-2020/

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://charmedchaos.com/2020/05/16/the-owl-and-i/

2. https://seths.blog/2020/05/waiting-and-worrying/

3. https://www.djranch.org/2020/05/21/lily-of-the-nile/

4. https://conniejjasperson.com/2020/05/21/on-poetry-interview-with-shaun-allan-singularityspnt-amwriting/

5. https://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/21/painted-writephoto/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2020/05/23/smorgasbord-book-reviews-fantasy-paranormal-viral-blues-by-c-s-boyack/ “Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.”

2. https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2020/05/23/rosies-bookreview-team-rbrt-football-horror-novella-burntbridge-boys-by-john_f_leonard/ “It’s 1979 and Sammy Rafferty is on the run. From the past. From the police. And, perhaps more importantly, from some rather unfriendly criminal types.
He thinks his football dreams are over, but that might not be the case. He’s run to Burntbridge Lye. A place where dreams don’t always die.

Sammy “the butcher” Rafferty has long since kissed his playing days goodbye. Never kicking a competitive ball again was a hard pill to swallow and he’s not ready for his managerial career to come to an untimely end. The thought of forever being shut out of football makes his heart sink and feet itch.

There isn’t any choice. The cards have been dealt and you have to play the hand you’re given. Sammy grits his teeth and gets on with it. Life settles into monotony and offers only boredom and frustration …until he comes across an old football ground nestled in the back of beyond.

He can almost hear the roar of the crowd as he parks at the gates of the deserted Burntbridge Palmers, a decaying stadium on the outskirts of Bledbrooke Town.
The club that won’t die could be just the place for a man who still has a gleam in his eye. After all, they’re both ghosts that won’t go away.”

3. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2020/05/22/authortoolboxbloghop-may-38-essential-writers-books/ “Hello and welcome to the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop which meets every third Wednesday of the month to share resources and tips for authors. Thanks to Raimey Gallant for hosting this venture.

Please join to learn more about the craft of writing and to meet bloggers who are dedicated to helping each other become the best writers possible. Click here to visit other blog hop participants.

THIS MONTH: 38 ESSENTIAL WRITING BOOKS

In my office, I have my computer table, an oak roll top desk close enough my left elbow bumps it when I really get going on the keyboard”

4. http://storitorigrace.blogspot.com/2020/05/book-review-and-writing-lessons.html “Face-to-face with her past, Audra Ellison now knows the secret she gave up everything—including her memory—to protect. A secret made vulnerable by her rediscovery, and so powerful neither the Historian nor the traitor Prince Nikola will ever let her live to keep it.

With Luka in the Historian’s custody and the clock ticking down on his life, Audra only has one impossible chance: find and kill the Historian and end the centuries-old war between the Progeny and Scions at last—all while running from the law and struggling to control her growing powers.

With the help of a heretic monk and her Progeny friends Claudia, Piotrek, and Jester, Audra will risk all she holds dear in a final bid to save them all and put her powers to the ultimate test. Love, action, and stunning revelation reign in this thrilling conclusion to The Progeny.”

5. https://teripolen.com/2020/05/21/the-gentlemans-guide-to-getting-lucky-by-mackenzi-lee-bookreview-ya-lgbt/In this funny and frothy novella that picks up where the New York Times bestselling The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue leaves off, freshly minted couple Monty and Percy fumble through their first time together.

Monty’s epic grand tour may be over, but now that he and Percy are finally a couple, he realizes there is something more nerve-wracking than being chased across Europe: getting together with the person you love.

Will the romantic allure of Santorini make his first time with Percy magical, or will all the anticipation and build-up completely spoil the mood?”

Beach wear: bathing suits for women, men, and children. Teens.

Beach towels. Umbrella. Sun hats.

Suntan lotion. Sunscreen. Pet coverings.

Posted in blogs, fantasy, horror, MG & YA, Reading, YA

Book Talk 5/22/2020: Kiersten White’s Chosen Traci Kenworth


Book Talk 5/22/2020: Kiersten White’s Chosen

Traci Kenworth

Chosen by Kiersten White. Simon Pulse. Jan 2020. YA.

Amazon’s blurb: Seventeen Best YA Book of 2020 So Far
Hypable Most Anticipated YA Fantasy Sequel of 2020
“Will get Buffy fans up in their feels.” —Entertainment Weekly on Slayer

Nina continues to learn how to use her slayer powers against enemies old and new in this second novel in the New York Times bestselling series from Kiersten White, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom.

And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right?

The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.

My Review: Most of this book I guessed wrong at. Lol. Always a good thing. Nina and her sister, Artemis, are at odds. Artemis has joined Sean’s cult group and is trying to help a god get back his glory. She sneaks into the castle at night and steals a book. Although Nina catches her, she allows Artemis to leave with the book hoping Artemis will realize she can still come home. Out on a hunt with Doug, she is shocked to discover Leo still alive, a fractured shell of himself who is dying because he won’t feed like his mother did. She also picks up three other slayers from Buffy’s fold and takes them back to the castle. Meanwhile, Artemis, hungry for power, attacks the castle with Sean’s minions to retrieve something they need. When Nina realizes the extent her sister is willing to go to, to bring her and the Watchers down, will the prophecy at last come true?

It was a nice edition to the slayer universe. I like how everything ended up. Fighting the darkness within is sometimes the hardest thing to do as evident by both Artemis and Nina. I did find the bit pertaining to Oz’s portrayal weird. It didn’t seem like him at all. Faith was dead-on. Buffy—off in the time she was shown.

Posted in blogs, fantasy, Historicals, MG & YA, Reading, Romance, YA

Book Talk 5/15/2020: Jenny Elder Moke’s Hood Traci Kenworth


Book Talk 5/15/2020: Jenny Elder Moke’s Hood

Traci Kenworth

Hood by Jenny Elder Moke. Disney-Hyperion. June 9, 2020. Netgalley.

Amazon’s blurb: You have the blood of kings and rebels within you, love. Let it rise to meet the call.

Isabelle of Kirklees has only ever known a quiet life inside the sheltered walls of the convent, where she lives with her mother, Marien. But after she is arrested by royal soldiers for defending innocent villagers, Isabelle becomes the target of the Wolf, King John’s ruthless right hand. Desperate to keep her daughter safe, Marien helps Isabelle escape and sends her on a mission to find the one person who can help: Isabelle’s father, Robin Hood.

As Isabelle races to stay out of the Wolf’s clutches and find the father she’s never known, she is thrust into a world of thieves and mercenaries, handsome young outlaws, new enemies with old grudges, and a king who wants her entire family dead. As she joins forces with Robin and his Merry Men in a final battle against the Wolf, will Isabelle find the strength to defy the crown and save the lives of everyone she holds dear?

In Hood, author Jenny Elder Moke reimagines the world of Robin Hood in lush, historical detail and imbues her story with more breathless action than has ever come out of Sherwood Forest before. This novel is a must-read for historical-fiction fans, adventure lovers, and reluctant readers alike!

My Review: When Isabelle tries to help the citizens of Kirklees, she finds herself having to shoot a soldier from his horse with her bow and arrow. Locked in a cellar, her mother and another rescue her. Her mother sends her to the Wild Boar to look up Thomas and tell him, “The Wolf has returned.”

It turns out that Isabelle is the daughter of a certain outlaw wanted by Sir Roger of Durnsay, the Wolf. When he captures her, she is told she has a week to bring Robin to him or he’ll kill her mother. Joining a band of youths, she is taken to Sherwood Forest where she fights for a place among the Merry Men, hoping to meet her father. He is away on business in York they learn and she tells them she must get a message to him. When they at last meet him, will she turn him over to save her mother? Or will she let fear rule her life?

This is a wonderful, wonderful book! The heroic efforts on everyone’s parts are commendable! The cast is so down to earth, full of flaws and regrets. They make a find band for Isabelle to follow and perhaps even lead. I give the book and A+.

Posted in blogs, Craft, fantasy, horror, Links, Links, MG & YA, Reading, Short stories, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry

Five Links 3/27/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by JacekBen from Pixabay

Five Links 3/27/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/03/conflict-thesaurus-bad-weather/ “Conflict is very often the magic sauce for generating tension and turning a ho-hum story into one that rivets readers. As such, every scene should contain a struggle of some kind. Maybe it’s an internal tug-of-war having to do with difficult decisions, morals, or temptations. Or it possibly could come from an external source—other characters, unfortunate circumstances, or the force of nature itself.

It’s our hope that this thesaurus will help you come up with meaningful and fitting conflict options for your stories. Think about what your character wants and how best to block them, then choose a source of conflict that will ramp up the tension in each scene.

Conflict: Bad Weather”

2. https://megdowell.com/2020/03/20/10-signs-writing-success-is-actually-closer-than-you-think/

3. https://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2020/03/24/how-to-plan-a-novel-ep-6-free-podcast-for-writers/

4. https://jamigold.com/2020/03/writing-craft-basics-how-to-format-dialogue/ “If your brain is any amount of scattered like mine, now might be a good time to cover some of the basics of our writing craft. So let’s tackle a subject I haven’t dug into here before: dialogue formatting and a few do’s and don’ts.

I originally started this post intending to dig deeper into a dialogue point-of-view question a reader asked, but the introduction of these formatting basics took up the whole post. Oops! So rather than shortchanging either topic, I’ll cover the basics today and we’ll come back to the more advanced stuff on Thursday. *smile*

Most of us who want to write also love reading, so we might think we already know everything about dialogue formatting, but sometimes a tricky situation can catch us by surprise. So let’s make sure we know all there is to know about dialogue formatting.”

5.  https://rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/brainstorming-by-yourself/ “All across the nation, people are staying home, socially distancing, and generally isolating themselves. Which means, getting together with your critique partners has become a national no-no, unless you’re FaceTiming or using one of those conferencing aps like Zoom.

So what’s a writer to do when you’re staring a new book, and that writer’s retreat that you scheduled where you were going to plot it out with friends has been postponed indefinitely? Short answer: you gotta suck it up and figure it out on your own.

Here’s something I do whenever I get stuck, or I’m just starting a book, and my critique partners and brainstorming posse is unavailable.

Step One: I get a piece of paper and at the top I write the character’s name. And right under that I write down his/her major external goal or problem.

Step Two: For ten minutes I write down stuff that could happen that would make it harder to achieve that goal, or which would make the goal more important. I write down everything including dumb ideas, cliches, and stuff that’s just silly. When the timer goes off, I usually have a list of at least 20 things that could happen, and usually the last few are kind of interesting.

Step Three:  I get a second piece of paper, write down the character’s name and his/her goal at the top.  And then instead of thinking about things that would make the goal more important or harder, I think about all the things that could happen that would make the character’s goal more important/problematic for the community in which the character operates.  In my case that’s always a small town, but for a police procedure it could be the local government or police force.

Step Four:  I get a third piece of paper, write down the character’s name and his/her goal at the top.  And then I list out all the things that might happen that would make achieving the goal or solving the problem a life or death proposition.  This one is harder than the rest because of the kind of books I write.  But I always find ideas when I do this.

When you’re finished with this exercise you will have more ideas on how to “raise the stakes” in your story, and add conflict, which is what people want to read.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/03/20/found-mounds-the-call-of-albion/ “‘…Maybe it is because it is our third visit or maybe it is because there are three of us, or maybe we had to work out the St Andrew thing before we were allowed to ascend, who knows?

Whatever the reasons, we re-convene on top of the man-made-conical-mound which hides behind the Church of St Nicholas, High Bradfield and Wen has an interesting take on proceedings.

“If St Andrew of Scotland is Andrew the Disciple of Christ then he may have come over here with Joseph of Arimathea.”

2. https://legendsofwindemere.com/2020/03/20/types-of-spying-in-war-of-nytefall/ “Now, this may be a better topic for War of Nytefall: Ravenous, but I felt like I couldn’t risk forgetting it.  Spying and gathering intelligence is still very important in Eradication, especially when you see one of the big moves that Leo Kandrel makes.  In fact, the Dawn Fangs and their enemies have come to see that gathering information is more important than battles.  This is where the real struggle comes from since many events come down to who knows what and who learns of things first.  The side that pinpoints the location of the Fist of Durag could very well turn the tide of the slow-moving war.

Now, I’ve noticed about 6 types of spying that goes on in War of Nytefall.  It’s actually 3 to each side.  There is a 7th that I can’t talk about though because of spoilers.  Let’s leave that one alone and dive right into the methods.”

3. https://jenanita01.com/2020/03/20/smorgasbord-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-shortstory-horses-satin-and-cinders-by-jan-sikes/ “A wild black stallion has cautiously watched a beautiful white mare, from the safety of the forest for many years. He longs to be with her, and ventures close to the barn nightly to communicate with her. They share their deepest desires and secrets. Now it is winter, and the rest of the wild herd has moved on, but the stallion stays. He cannot stand the thought of being so far away from her. The scent of sweet alfalfa hay and the enticing lure of the white mare is too much for him. He must find a way to be with her. But will it be worth the risk? Satin and Cinders is a story of courage and determination.”

4. https://scvincent.com/2020/03/21/dignity-and-memories/We were supposed to be in Scotland this week, revisiting a magical place. However, that cannot happen at the moment. As things are rather up in the air, I thought I’d revisit a past trip this week and share a bit of history from a past adventure… and a Yorkshire parish church with an awful lot of history:”

5. https://marciamearawrites.com/2020/03/23/character-archetypes-the-trickster/ “If you’ve been following my reblogs of C. S. Boyack’s series on archetypes, you’ll really enjoy his Story Empire post today on Tricksters. What are they and how can writers use them to add surprising elements to their stories? Just head on over and check it out. You’ll be glad you did! Oh, and please don’t forget to share so others can learn more about archetypes, too. Thanks, and thanks to Craig for such an interesting and helpful post. 🙂

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/what-does-this-pandemic-mean-for-writers/ “his is the question I’m getting over and over again from my authors. COVID-19 has changed everything. How is this going to affect us? What’s going to happen to publishing?

The short answer is: Nobody knows. But there are a few truths we can point to.

First, people are going to continue to read. If you’re a writer, keep doing what you do, because we need you.

Second, publishing has already survived pandemics, recessions, the Great Depression, two world wars, the advent of television, the growth of the Internet, and the proliferation of ways to entertain ourselves. Publishing has changed with the times and will continue to do so. My best guess is that books will still be published and people will continue to read them.

In the short term, there may be fallout. Some independent bookstores, which have thankfully been doing well lately, might not survive. That would be a big loss. (You can help by supporting your local indie right now!)”

2. https://conniejjasperson.com/2020/03/23/writing-through-the-perilous-times-amwriting/ “We live in difficult times. You might be temporarily unemployed unless your work is the sort where you can telecommute. My husband falls into the “work from home” category. My brother does not. Like many others, he is mostly unemployed once again.

If you live in Washington State, you have some help available. They’re small, but better than nothing. Our governor immediately put our fallback resources in place, trying to help our struggling workers and our healthcare system.”

3. https://chelseaannowens.com/2020/03/23/11100/ ““Every persons’ definition of happy may hold a different meaning. I feel it’s important that you recognize what that meaning is for you and once you have defined it, understand that it is up to you to walk toward it.

“It’s so very easy to blame those around us or circumstances we find ourselves in for our happiness. What we do not always realize is that we have control of nothing but our inner voice and a choice. A choice to make our lives more amazing than we thought possible.

“Your happiness depends on you, and while it may not always be clear or it may seem like a dark path to walk, when we realize the light comes from within, the search for it elsewhere is no longer required.”

4. https://whenangelsfly.net/2020/03/23/6-ways-to-help-anxious-children-during-coronavirus-behaviour101/Do you have an anxious child right now? Will they benefit from direct strategies to combat this feeling or will a subtle approach work better? This article provides both.

via 6 Ways to Help Anxious Children during Coronavirus — Behaviour101

5. https://megdowell.com/2020/03/23/when-you-learn-writing-gets-lonely-the-blank-page/ “The Blank Page is a new weekly series on Novelty Revisions dedicated to any writer who is just beginning their journey or starting again after a long pause. Check back every Monday for more tips and inspiration.

Writing — and being a writer — is as fulfilling and worthwhile as it often sounds. There are downsides to every hobby and profession. Writing is also exhausting, sometimes overwhelming and frustrating. But that just makes the entire experience worth the occasional struggle.

Something that isn’t talked about enough is writing and its relation to socialization — mainly that you don’t always understand how lonely writing can be until you experience it firsthand.

It must be discouraging to finally dive into the hobby that could one day become your dream job, only to realize how isolating and lonely it can feel. Especially on days writing is more of a struggle and you wish you had someone to talk with about your frustrations.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2020/03/20/there-are-mowers-mowing/

2. https://kittysverses.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/choice-2/

3. https://www.djranch.org/2020/03/20/flash-fiction-the-storm-to-pass/

4. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-whats-in-a-name-vanessa-in-a-dilemma-by-sally-cronin/

5. https://susansplace.blog/2020/03/23/thank-you-for-all-that-you-do/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/news-round-up-week-ending-20-march-2020/

2. https://pitchwars.org/happy-book-birthday-to-the-derby-daredevils-kenzie-kickstarts-a-team-by-mentor-kit-rosewater/ “A highly illustrated middle-grade series that celebrates new friendships, first crushes, and getting out of your comfort zone

Ever since they can remember, fifth-graders Kenzie (aka Kenzilla) and Shelly (aka Bomb Shell) have dreamed of becoming roller derby superstars. When Austin’s city league introduces a brand-new junior league, the dynamic duo celebrates! But they’ll need to try out as a five-person team. Kenzie and Shelly have just one week to convince three other girls that roller derby is the coolest thing on wheels. But Kenzie starts to have second thoughts when Shelly starts acting like everyone’s best friend . . . Isn’t she supposed to be Kenzie’s best friend? And things get really awkward when Shelly recruits Kenzie’s neighbor (and secret crush!) for the team. With lots of humor and an authentic middle-grade voice, book one of this illustrated series follows Kenzie, Shelly, and the rest of the Derby Daredevils as they learn how to fall—and get back up again.”

3. https://mariacatalinaegan.com/2020/03/24/gods-and-dragons-the-dragon-of-time-book-1-by-aaron-dennis-genre-epic-fantasy/ “Gods, Dragons, a mercenary with a blade and no memory of his past…. The world of Tiamhaal is alight in war. Men ruled by kings slay their opposition in the name of their God, but there are others who claim the Gods are little more than scorned Dragons of ages past. Scar has come to find the truth, but is the truth an absolute certainty, or is it just the skewed memory of a forgotten kingdom?”

4.

5.

In need of some post-its?

What about printer paper? Pens?

What about an inspirational book to keep you company during your down time?

Or a good YA title?